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Central Channel Mandala Visualization

central channel

Guided Nondual Meditation by Michael Taft

Streamed on March 3, 2022

So the first thing I want you to do is just remember your intention. Why are you meditating? What are you doing here? And let’s also just set an intention for world peace, for peace on Earth and good will towards all beings. Not just men, not just even humans, all beings, have peace on Earth; good will towards everyone. And then what I’d like you to do is just spend, let’s sink in right here to just a little bit of breath meditation, just to kind of get us going. So I want you to, once you’ve taken your meditation posture, I want you to breathe normally and naturally and begin to just follow the body sensations of the in-breath and then follow the body sensations of the out-breath. And if you want to, you can even use, like, a continuous labeling to help you stay with it. Like ‘breathing in, breathing in, breathing in’, ‘breathing out, breathing out, breathing out’. Or whatever, so you’re just naturally breathing and you are staying with the breath. So let’s get going there and we’ll do that for a little while and then we’ll unpack the rest of the guided meditation together.

Okay? Very good. Now moving along here, what I want you to do is continue in the same way on the in-breath, ‘breathing in, breathing in, breathing in’. You feel the breath sensation in the body. You track it all the way to the bottom of the in-breath. But then on the out-breath you’re just dissolving out into space. You’re not tracking anything, you’re just allowing the mind to just dissolve. All the thoughts to dissolve, all the emotions to dissolve, all the sense of time and space to dissolve, all the sense of being anybody at all to dissolve into vast, awake space. So, very normal in-breath meditation, just tracking that in-breath but on the out-breath we just – it’s almost like we’re blowing. You’re not literally blowing, but in the exhale it’s almost like you’re exhaling the mind out into space and just allowing it to become vast space on each out-breath, so let’s do that now.

Okay, good. Now let go of tracking the in-breath and just allow yourself to rest as vast, spacious awakeness now, right? We’re not making vast, spacious awakeness/vast, spacious awareness be vast or be spacious or be awake or aware; it already is all that. We’re just not interrupting. We’re just sitting back and allowing our nature as vast, spacious awareness to recognize itself. So just resting as vast, spacious awareness, if you become involved in thinking, just drop that and let them dissolve. Don’t do anything to them, just let go. If you notice yourself getting involved in anything just relax, let go. Let awareness just come back to its natural spaciousness, its natural awakeness, its already existing wisdom and clarity. 

Again if you find yourself picking up thoughts, just relax and drop them. You’re not trying to stop them or not trying to push them away but neither are you engaging with them. So if you find yourself engaged, just drop and come back to being space. If you’ve, same thing with emotions, if you find yourself wrapped up in emotion, just let go. Come back to being space, the space you already are. You don’t need to visualize anything. If you find yourself visualizing during this part, just relax. Come back to being space. There’s nothing to do. We’re just coming back to our nature of space by simply relaxing. 

In this place there’s nothing to do, there’s nothing to change, everything is just right. Just rest into, rest as, vast, spacious awareness. Already awake, totally clear, utterly complete. Nothing to do and no doer. 

Good, now we’re going to do some visualization. So, into this field of emptiness, into this field of just empty awakeness, vast space; it’s easy to project visualization because there’s nothing in the way. And what we’re going to visualize tonight is, going to start out with, we’re going to pretend that this awake awareness is centered at the top of our head, or sort of towards the top center of your head. It’s of course not centered anywhere at all but for now I want you to imagine that there is a kind of a beautiful white light with maybe a tinge of – very, very light tinge of – purple shining, radiating in the top, from the top of the head, like a sphere of light. And the sphere of light is just the center of this total acceptance, total sense of loving presence. A real deep, deep peace and complete kindness and wisdom. So just imagine this whitish light radiating like a beautiful white sun at the top of the head. And it’s radiating out complete unconditional love, complete kindness, deep, deep, deep sense of caring and compassion. And just keep visualizing that for now. 

Just imagine that awake awareness, the vast, spacious awareness is like centered at the top of your head. Again, it has no center. But imagine for now that there is a center there and it’s composed of a shining white light that’s just radiating out in all directions. A brilliant, beautiful white light of love and kindness and caring and compassion. Deep, deep, deep wisdom shining in all directions. 

Good. Now let’s just allow that center of awake awareness to just drop down into the center of the head, okay? And now let’s picture this as a golden yellow orb of radiating light, radiating light. Your body, your bones, your muscles; none of that is in the way. The orb of radiating yellow light is there and this light is the light of spiritual wisdom. This is, if you want, you can picture all the spiritual teachers of all time there. Or whatever spiritual teachers, especially the great masters of the past. They’re all located there, shining this light of wisdom, of jñana, of vidya, right? So you can either picture this yellow, glowing orb on its own or you can include the presence of these tremendously powerful spiritual beings who are looking upon you with kindness and caring. Total, total acceptance of you just the way you are, and radiating, beaming wisdom. Aiming wisdom and clarity and confidence into your being. So it’s both inside you but it’s also radiating into you and radiating out into the world. And it’s filled with every being who you consider to be, like, an awakened spiritual master; like a Buddha, like a bodhisattva. All of them looking at you with kindness and caring. 

So you may have noticed we’re doing the mandala visualization but instead of placing the mandala around us horizontally in space we’re stacking the mandala up and down the central channel, the madhyanadi

So often we see these spiritual or wisdom figures as judgmental but here they are utterly accepting of you just the way you are. Utterly on your side, utterly cheering you on, so to speak. You know, giving you guidance that you require. Freely offering you all the wisdom they have to give. And helping to awaken your spirit to clarify your mind, to… and you can feel the confidence and you can feel the competence pouring into the system and radiating out with this yellow light all around.

Good. Now let’s allow that pretend center of awake awareness to drop down right into the center of your chest, even behind the physical heart. Deep, deep, deep in your chest at the level of the heart. Right in the center, unlike the heart. And I want you to picture green light now, a green sphere of beautiful, emerald green light. A very life giving color. The color that makes you feel enthusiastic and inspired and filled with joy. And this is the place of our loved ones. So together with this radiating green light of love and belonging, that feeling of friendliness and togetherness and love and caring, I want you to picture your dearest loved ones. Your family, your friends, your animal companions; all the beings who are in your life whom you love and who love you. And picture them there in the heart, again. Gazing at you. Gazing at each other with total acceptance; acceptance, real friendliness. Friendliness in this case is that desire to just connect with others and be kind. And also you feel mudita there, the sweetness, the sense that when they’re happy, you’re happy, when they smile, you smile. And I want you to just feel that love pouring out from the awake awareness center in the heart and pouring back in. Filling you with love, filling you with sweetness, filling you with friendliness. So it’s both radiating out and also radiating in at the same time in this green light at the level of the heart. 

Keep up the visualization and feeling the emotions. Don’t get lost in thought. Just keep feeling the friendliness, the sweetness, the love, the caring, the belonging, the acceptance; visualizing that radiating out and pouring back in continuously. 

Good. Now again let’s allow the apparent or imaginary center of awake awareness to drop down into the solar plexus region. This isn’t the belly, the lower dantian below the stomach, this is above. You can really feel like a solar, the solar plexus energy. I want you to see this very bright, very sharp, very fiery red light there. Bright red light. Incredibly vital, incredibly strong and in a way it’s sharp. You can even, though it’s this radiating red light from a sphere, it has a pointiness or a sharpness. And this is the energy of protection. This is the energy keeping us and others safe. This is both us keeping others safe and others keeping us safe, and even spiritual beings keeping us safe. So with this red, fiery, pointy, fierce, intense red light; picture any beings there that you think of as protectors. Protectors for you, protectors of the world. The world needs protectors really bad right now. Imagine the beings, they might even be the same as the spiritual beings, they might even be the same as the love beings. They don’t have to be different. But the beings who are fiercely protecting the earth, fiercely protecting you, fiercely protecting other people, fiercely protecting all the beings of this earth and of this universe and who are intensely aware of the preciousness of each being and the dignity of each being and the nobility of each being and are dedicated to preserving and protecting them. So feel that really fiery, really powerful, really beautiful, kind, protective energy; the fierce, protective energy in this solar plexus area now.

Okay, very good. And now from there let’s drop down again. Drop down, drop down all the way to the perineum, right? So to the very base of your torso. And here I want you to picture deep blue, good deep blue, almost indigo light radiating out. Radiating out in all directions from this center of awake awareness, all the way down in the perineum. Feel it glowing. Feel it shining. This tremendously stabilizing, grounding, deep blue light. This is the area of support. This is the energy of resource and resilience and support. This is the support of all the ancestors. This is the support of the physical world around us and the support of the body. Feel this incredibly structured, patterned, predictable and beautiful, soothing blue light radiating out and also pouring back in, at the base of the body. Feel the support, feel the groundedness. Feel the sanity and humility and stability. Feel the gravity and the earth itself.

Okay? Good. Now, what I want you to do is on the in-breath, I want you to picture the breath coming in through the top of your head, through that white light. Moving into the center of your head with the yellow light, coming down the center of your spine into the heart with the green light. Into the belly with the red light and into the perineum with the blue light. And then on the out-breath it’s going the other way, in through the perineum, up the spine, through each of the centers; blue then red, then green then yellow, then white and out the top of your head.

Okay? So it’s a funny visualization. Energy coming in the top of the head, moving through each of these centers. Re-each of the centers, continuing to radiate and feeling that energy. And then in through the bottom of the spine, coming up, up, up, up through the spine and out the top of the head, okay? Continue with that visualization now and really feel the energy at each location. Don’t pause, don’t hit your breath but just lightly feel the pulse of each of those spheres of energy, as the breath goes up and out and then back in and down. 

Continuing on that in-breath, the air goes through the top of the head all the way down to the bottom of the spine and then now all the way down to the center of the earth. And then that out-breath comes from the center of the earth, all the way back out through the top of the head and out to the cosmos. So the in-breath actually comes from the entire cosmos, down through the top of the head, all the way down to the center of the earth. Feel the center of the earth. And then the out-breath from the center of the earth, swooping up all the way back up into the cosmos.

Okay? Good. Now let go of that and just allow the white light and the yellow light to come down into the green light at the heart and gather there. So that all three are shining now much more brightly, much more intensely. And allow the blue light and the red light to come up and gather in the heart, now shining much more intently. And all these lights together, of course, make white light again. So this was a brilliant, beautiful, tremendously loving, tremendously wise, caring, compassionate light. Shining in the heart; light of awareness, light of wisdom, light of compassion, light of love, light of total acceptance, light of peace and kindness, shining in the heart. Feel that very clearly. Shining in the heart, radiating out in all directions and pouring back in from all directions too. Let this radiant love touch all beings everywhere. Let this peace touch all beings everywhere. Let this kindness touch all beings everywhere. Let this wisdom touch all beings everywhere.

Good. Now let go of all the visualization and just come back to resting as open, empty, spacious, clear awakeness. Awakeness that has always been there, that always is there. Total clarity and kindness that always is behind every experience. This vast, spacious awareness; just rest there. No images at all, no doing at all. If any doing comes up, just let go, let go, let go. Simply rest as the vast, spacious awareness you’ve always been.

Okay? Good. Very, very good. All right everybody let’s end the meditation there. 

Dharma Talk

And you can allow yourself to move and shake and wiggle and stretch. And just allow your body to do what it needs to do to feel good. Allow yourself a nice glass of water or some tea, or whatever suits you at the moment. And just notice how you feel, how you feel after doing this, we’ll call it a central channel visualization; the madhyanadi, the central channel visualization. We were stacking the visualization that we normally do as a mandala. Again, normally the mandala is around us in space, here it was stacked up the central channel. It’s another way to do it and a very powerful way to do it.

I want to remind you that, you know, awake awareness, awareness itself has no center. It’s not coming from anywhere. It already is everywhere. It is non-local, it has no center and it has no edge. It has no circumference, it has no boundary. So when we’re doing the visualization that it’s coming from the head, or that it’s in the center of our head or that it’s on top of the head or in our heart, or whatever. I was pretty careful to say a couple times at least that it’s pretend or that it’s an imaginary center. But I just want to re-emphasize that – that we’re picturing it as having a center but it doesn’t really have any center. Or to put it in another way that’s equally true, we could say it’s centered everywhere and so everywhere is the center. That’s why we can visualize like that and have it be powerful. 

You notice before we started we did a kind of, we did awake awareness or vast, spacious awareness; emptiness meditation, right? Just dropping everything. Just letting everything be. Just letting awake awareness, letting awareness rest in itself. And then we did our whole visualization and then at the end we came back to just allowing awareness to rest in itself with no visualization at all. And so that’s how we do that. We kind of like, it’s almost like metaphorically we’re just erasing the blackboard, you know? I don’t know about you but I went to school when there were real blackboards that wrote with an actual chalk and you know we had those kinda cloth erasers, eraser blocks. And so you know before you’re going to write something on the board you just erase everything that’s there and kind of return to that blank slate, the tabula rasa. And in a way awareness itself is the ultimate tabula rasa. It’s kind of the primordial, uncreated source of all creations. So we return to that before we begin, right? I had you do some stabilizing breath meditation first. But then we go into vast, spacious awareness and essentially wipe the blackboard clean, we erase the blackboard. And that gives us a beautiful palette, or what’s the correct word? The canvas, a beautiful canvas upon which to – now I’m going to change from the blackboard metaphor because we’re using colors. A beautiful canvas upon which to paint our visualization of these various energies. 

So in case you want to go over that again, we were doing first—energy of just unconditional kindness, unconditional caring, love and so on. And that’s just awareness itself. That was the white light at the top of the head. 

Then in the head it was gold and yellow light. And that was the wisdom, specifically the wisdom energy of all the spiritual teachers. 

And then we went to the heart which was green energy. Green energy of love, of friendship, of community, of connectedness. So that was the green. 

And then we went down to the solar plexus, kind of the upper belly. That real radiant, intense, red protective energy. Lots of people report that when they do the mandala visualization, or in this case the central channel, one of the central channel visualizations, that red energy seems like the one that’s the most missing or the hardest to get in touch with. And the idea there is – part of the kindness, part of the caring that we’re discussing is taking care; taking care of other beings like just how you would protect a tiny animal or you would protect a little baby, or whatever. That kind of fierce protection, “hey I’m not gonna let somebody harm this being.” Well, in the same way we have spiritual protectors who feel that way about us. We have energetic or, or imaginary, archetypal protectors who feel that way about all beings or the whole earth or the whole universe. That kind of like, “hey, we’re going to take care of this thing and we’re going to actually use our energy to protect it.” So that’s that red protective energy and if that feels weak for you or it was hard to get in touch with then, that’s telling you something, right? That’s, and in fact this whole way of visualizing can be thought of as kind of a, too strong a word is diagnosis, but it just kind of shows you where maybe things are a little weak. And so if you, like many people, weren’t able to tune into that protective energy so easily or it was not as available, then I want you to spend extra time thinking about what symbolizes protection; like ‘fierce, mama bear protection of the cubs’ kind of energy for you. And to be able to picture that and to feel that, okay? 

And then going down all the way to the perineum, all the way to the base of the spine. All the way to the kind of like, fundament of the body. We have that blue energy and that is the energy of the foundation, the groundedness. The kind of physicality of our being itself. It’s a gorgeous indigo blue; deep, deep, blue light. And you feel that kind of structuring principle, the patterning principle, we even feel the ancestors. So there’s a whole connection with death there. And that one goes all the way down. We could think of it as going all the way down into the core of the earth. Just like we can picture the upper one, the kind of like, formless wisdom one, expanding out to contact the entire universe. 

And so you can think of this visualization however you want. It can be kind of a Jungian psychological, a Jungian-esque psychological tool. Or you know, depending on your own personal way of relating to things, you can think of these as real energies and real subtle beings and with Buddhas and bodhisattvas and various deities involved. So it’s, you can take it however you want to take it. But you’ll notice after doing the visualization that you feel more centered, more alive. Things are more vibrant, more 3D. And also there’s a kind of clarity and your heart is open. It’s very, very, very important. Again, I said this during the meditation, but when you’re picturing these wisdom beings, whatever, whoever they may be. I don’t want you to ever think of them as being judgmental or like ‘oh, you’re a sinner or oh, you’re doing it wrong, or whatever’. They’re never like that. That is, that is not the energy of a wisdom being. The energy is – they’re on your side. They really love you and care about you and they want to help you to grow in a really positive way. They really just want the best for you. They want you, they want you to grow and they want the best for everyone else, too. So it’s not like a zero-sum game. It’s not like, ‘oh, they want you to grow at the expense of the rest of the world’. They want you to grow together with all other beings. So these are the kind of energies that I want you to picture. When, especially for the wisdom beings, the spiritual beings, the guides in the yellow light in the head – we could have put it right in the third eye if we wanted to – a way to picture them is really on your side. Not somehow judging you or finding you falling short, okay? So that’s a little bit about that, a little bit about this visualization. Let me know how that went for you.

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