Saturday, July 18, 2009
by Mason Howe Dwinell L.Ac.
In November of 2002 there were some flyers put up around school (American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, ACTCM), about an Indian man, Hira Ratan Manek (HRM), coming to lecture in Berkeley, CA. The flyer was preaching this man's ability to store the sun's energy in his brain; it was also advertised that HRM hadn't eaten food in seven years. At the time I was certainly caught up in the ‘supernatural’ and the quest of 'enlightenment'. Along with many Bay Area individuals; I owned the tapes, the books and the scented oils. I burned incense, I took classes, and although I had not taken classes on burning incense, I certainly believed there was more to life than meets the eye. What is the goal? Why are we here? Who am I?
I didn't go to the lecture. These far eastern guru types are a dime a dozen, and there was a playoff soccer match at Stanford I was looking forward to watching. Some of my classmates went to HRM's lecture; their feeling was that he was genuine. He lectured on world peace, struggling and suffering. He spoke of hungers; does your hunger control you or do you control your hungers? Not just hungers for food but hungers in general. Why do we make the choices we make? What drives us to complicate things so? World peace begins with the individual, until the person finds peace of mind, there will be no peace. HRM said if we could exist without hunger, then we would have no suffering. He shared his thoughts that one way to experience peace was to embrace the sun. His formula was simple, stand on the earth and stare directly at the sun for 10 seconds with an addition of 10 seconds each day. In 6 months your hungers would be under control and understood. Stand there for 10 months you would never have the need for food again. Not only that, but, you would not have to stare at the sun again. After 44 minutes of sungazing one would be ‘full’, energized, just like a solar charged battery. There was no need to continue the practice; so, within a year HRM was preaching anyone could reach an incredible level freedom.
Some of the information I read about the effects of sungazing included: a decrease in irritability, anger and frustration; an increase in memory and immunity; not to mention bold claims of complete awareness and relief from all disease. Hey now, where do I sign up? I was open to anything that could potentially decrease my frustrations regarding taxes and increase my ability to remember my neighbors name. Apparently (according to HRM) the brain is able to store solar energy, therefore creating the capability to access a larger percentage of our mind. I am told we use about 6-12 of our brain's capacity (Einstein used about 20), through the practice of sungazing imagine utilizing over 50 of your brain. With that kind of power I might be able to balance my check book and discuss a recent film at the same time.
Well, I'm game. While I am here on Earth I might as well taste the tastes of life. Stare directly into the sun during sunrise or sunset, if he says it will be ok, bring it on. My parents and teachers have shared with me many of their 'no's' in life: no smoking, no drinking, no speeding, no sex, no, no, no. I am sure the 'don't stare into the sun, it will burn your eyes!' was on the list. In fact, the fear of burning ones eyes seems relatively universal. Ironically enough while the 'no drinking' and 'no sex' suggestions didn't seem to stick, the 'don't stare at the sun' has had some real staying power. People don't seem to have any trouble pouring poison (alcohol) down their throats, but one mention of staring directly into the sun and many people stop listening.
I'm in, if HRM's eyes were ok, maybe mine would be fine as well (in fact, his lecture mentioned the ability of sungazing to heal many visual impairments). I lugged myself out of bed; walked a few blocks away to Holly Park, stared at the rising sun for 10 seconds and went back to bed. The next day I gazed for 20 seconds, then 30 then 40. As I increased the amount of time staring into the sun certain physical sensations were beyond words, and my mental acuity was certainly changing. Sungazing became an obsession, for the next few months I traveled a fair amount, there were occasions where I would get up at 4:30am, hike an hour in the chill of the approaching dawn to a ridge to stare at the sunrise for 3 minutes. Crazy.
Is this conceivable? Could the problem of world hunger have such a simple solution? Could it actually be possible to live without food? For years people were ostracized for stating the world was round. For centuries scientists have been locked away, doctors have been put in jail, and witches have been hunted. What are we all afraid of?
HOW TO SUN GAZE
First of all let it be understood that HRM achieved his results in a very controlled environment under strict Jain principles. Also, there are many different sungazing practices from cultures around the globe. Some of which are relatively recent and some are as old as the hills. There were some cultures where you could get imprisoned for staring at the sun (only certain priests were allowed). HRM’s method is simply one method. In stating that; yes, the sun has enormous power. Yes, you may tap into higher spiritual realms as well as other time and space dimensions. Yes, you can live without food. Yes, you may allow other entities into your space and end up with metallic aliens dancing on your bed (true story). If you chose to embark upon the journey of sungazing, please heed the advice that slow and steady wins the race. I do not recommend this practice to anyone. If the sun seems or feels to bright, well then, don’t look at. If you chose to partake, be very careful, take your time, be cautious, be humble and document your progress. You can damage your eyes from sungazing, just as you can burn your feet from walking on fire. I have participated in both practices, my feet and my vision are in perfect working order. We are all wired a bit differently; therefore it is impossible to predict how each individual will process the suns brilliant light. If you wish to partake, by all means enjoy the daily practice. Truly embrace the beginning (or ending) of the day. Feel all the joy the sun has to offer…and of course, if it amuses you to wear a purple top hat while sungazing; then by all means, make it a beauty.
There is no wrong way to do this. This is just one man’s suggestion. In fact, this is my interpretation of a man’s suggestion. Depending on life style and location every person may carve out their own form of sungazing. Understand that because of the many differences to take into consideration, the results will most likely be different as well. And that is ok, whatever experiences you experience are still yours and yours alone.
Depending on the weather and the level of commitment this is only a nine month to a year practice. Once you reach 44 minutes of sungazing you are finished. You should not have the need to stare at the sun any longer, your sungazing is complete.
Sungazing is to be practiced standing bare footed on bare earth.
Without shoes you can stand on sand, gravel, mud, or bare earth. Your bare feet should be in contact with the bare earth. Try to avoid standing on tar, concrete, granite, stone or even on grass (the grass absorbs the solar energy). If you happen to stand on any other surfaces, that is fine, the results may simply be a bit different or arrive a bit slower.
While the sun is low on the horizon the intensity of the rays will be at a minimum. During this time, the sun's rays are tolerable, and the UV radiation is lower, so the potential of harming your eyes is lower. Use common sense within these parameters, if the sun is too bright and it feels as though it may be burning your eyes, don't stare at it. The best time to learn about your limits is right as the sun rises or a minute or so before it sets. According to HRM the sunrise holds more energy, vitamins and minerals then the sunset. Go figure. Personally I love both the sunrise and the sunset, it is a wonderful time of day, energetically it is a beautiful balance of yin and yang. You only need the sunrise or the sunset, both may be a bit much. By rushing about you will not find what you are looking for any faster. Be careful and always listen to your body.
To begin: as the sun rises over the horizon simply gaze at the whole glowing ball of light for 10 seconds only. The key is to be relaxed, just like in mediation, let go of all thoughts and become immersed in the moment. Simply, look at it. No stress or strain on the face, facial muscles or eyes. Relax your jaw. Stand at peace, knees bent with your arms at your sides. Let go.
If you choose to get up with the chickens, and try gazing at the rising sun. Stay relaxed and receptive for greater assimilation of the beneficial aspects of the sun's rays. Try to become aware of what your body is feeling, how is your mental, emotional and physical state as the sun fills every atom, every electron, and every cell in your body. Feel every tissue filled with the regenerative and healing properties that the sunlight imparts on your body. You may notice an amazing increase in your overall energy as well as your physical stamina and positivism. Be aware of how the sunlight actually cleanses and rebuilds the whole of your being, your mind and thoughts, your feelings and your physical body; total rejuvenation. By completely surrendering to the suns greater power, and as the minutes of sungazing increase, the awareness of your energetic being may heighten dramatically.
There is no need to maintain an unblinking, stare. Blink as and when it naturally happens, sort of like watching television. For the first few moments you look into the sun it may be very bright, after about 3-7 seconds of continuous gazing all the brightness generally goes away and you are left staring into a soft ball of pure white light; a beautiful pulsing orb.
Don’t squint. If you feel yourself squinting, relax the muscles in your face and eyes. Let the light in. The more open and relaxed the muscles are in your body the more oxygen and energy is able to flow within your cells, and then more light will be allowed in.
You have at your disposal an incredible amount of electricity to make things happen in your world. With the aid of sunlight, you can recharge each cell and atom to its full potential.
Increase the time you gaze at the sun by a few seconds each day - say by 5 seconds or so per day, until you are comfortable and relaxed with the entire concept of staring into the sun.
Once you are comfortable with the concept of sungazing feel free to increase gazing time at a constant rate of 10 seconds per day. You may find it helpful to get a watch or employ a friend to keep tabs on your staring time. Subtle slow increments of time are important for allowing for the rods and cones within the anatomical structure of the eye to adapt to the intense levels light.
Increase the sungazing time by 10 seconds each day until you have reached 44 minutes, at which point you should be fully charged. At 44 minutes you are finished with the HRM’s method of sungazing. Depending on weather this may only take nine or ten months.
What to Expect
Sungazing can be used as a tool for tapping into your human potential. Some change will occur to reach these peaks; your perceptions may alter circumstances, you may begin to change from the inside out. Change can be uncomfortable. Nonetheless, when we release our physical and emotional energetic blockages these changes will become trivial relative to the incredible expansiveness of the universe. If at least three months are committed to the sungazing practice (reaching 15 minutes of staring time) some sort of change of your perception of your world will occur.
We are all energetic beings, vibrating at different frequencies, so we should be comfortable with the concept that all of us are different. There may be many different reactions, sensations and experiences. Remember, whatever happens to you is perfect. It is yours and yours only. At every turn there are lessons to be learned. It may be helpful to become objective in your approach to life, awareness may prove to be an essential ingredient. Be positive and open-minded; feel all there is to feel.
Once you reach about 15-18 minutes (3-4 months) of sungazing many of your mental tensions: irritability, anger, fear, grief, and general personal frustrations may go away. This is just the beginning, but what a beautiful beginning it is. As we learn to relax, more light is able to filter into our eyes. As our gaze upon the canvass of the planet softens so will our foot steps. A blissful, euphoric sensation may envelope you. Your energy levels may increase. The benefits of having a routine in conjunction with the earth's rhythms will begin to have a peaceful affect on you and your perception of the world.
It should be important at this point to take careful note of what you are ingesting. What type of foods and drinks. Drugs? Alcohol? It is at this point when the sun's vibration may really have a chance to benefit your cells. If you happen to be eating and drinking low vibrational items (refined sugars, alcohol, refined wheat, processed goods, drugs ect) you may be self defeating in your efforts. Just a helpful reminder to slow down as much as possible and try to be aware of what items (foods, locations, people) in your life cause you to feel good, bad or indifferent.
At about 25-30 minutes (6-7 months) of sungazing, your hungers may begin to diminish. How and why you make the choices you make may come forth with remarkable clarity. Your self confidence may begin to increase, as your comfort level with being you is heightened. And yes, your physical hunger for food may also begin to lessen. For anyone sungazing for more then 30 minutes there should be careful consideration of one's diet. Lighter and lighter foods. Preferably adjusting to salads, soups, broths, juices and teas.
Between 35 and 40 minutes (9-10 months) of sungazing; physical disharmonies, injuries, and diseases may be remedied. Also your hunger for food may begin to substantially diminish. At this point you may also feel awakenings in your charkas as well as possible energy beginning to stir within your kundalini. Each day more energy blockages may be dissolved as you get closer and closer to your knowing your higher self. According to HRM at about 35 minutes your brain reaches its ability to store an energetic charge.
The final step…40 to 44 minutes. Wow. Once you have reached 44 minutes of staring at the sun you should be full. Now you stop sungazing. To continue on can be detrimental to your eyes. At this time, sungazing is concluded and there is no need to continue the practice any more. During the first three months, the pineal gland is getting activated, and the hypothalamus or pathway to the brain from the eye is getting charged. After that period the solar energy starts reaching your brain and charging it. Then the solar energy starts getting stored in each and every cell in your body. When all the cells in the body are purified there is no need to sungaze any more. By all means feel free to enjoy sunrises and sunsets and occasional sungazing. However the necessity to tap into the sun’s energy through sungazing is no longer. It is possible that after completing the practice to become fully charged.
Thanks Kristen + Rudi's sis.