On Spiritual Materialism

I wasn’t going to write on this until I saw a glaring example on-line. As we grow on the spiritual path and clear some of our shadows, what remains becomes more subtle and elusive. We may emulate seekers around us who are actually spiritual materialists. These are people using spirituality in service of the I-self or me. Kavitha Chinnaiyan‘s book Shakti Rising explores the issue.

“…we may take up yoga classes, change the way we behave and who we associate with, and learn to speak the language of spirituality. Although the original intent for liberation was genuine, the I-self … Continue Reading…

Entrenched Habits

Some habits can be very difficult to change. Even if we successfully get around them for a time, they can rear their head again. They can be like a petulant child who always wants its way.

This is a flag of resistance and of karma. Because of its shadow nature, it is often hard for us to see, even if it’s obvious for others around us. We can call this a blind spot. This is especially true of fundamentals, like food, relationships, and money. This is because these habits can be started very early in life when our mental … Continue Reading…

Being in the Flow

Recently, I saw a TED talk on Flow by Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He researches happiness and what makes people feel life is worth living

He found that work which brings us into a flow state is most rewarding. This state is beyond culture and education but usually comes when a skill is highly developed and practiced. We don’t have to think about the process but just step into it and go with it.

He outlines these common features of Flow:

1 – completely involved in what we’re doing
2 – a sense … Continue Reading…

Remaining Shadows

I found a quote near the end of Kavitha Chinnaiyan‘s book Shakti Rising à propos, considering the discussion over on The Challenges of Teaching. This closely relates to the development of Sattva.

“If we have the good fortune of interacting with wise and skilled teachers who have both a strong, compassionate, ethical foundation as well as non-dual insight, we notice that they seem to know what is best for everyone involved, from a universal perspective that is unconditionally loving and impartial. Although it is tempting to assign their abilities to non-dual insight alone, this is usually not the … Continue Reading…

How Many Brains?

In some ways, the whole body can be seen as a “brain” in the sense that the brain is an interface with mind and consciousness. However, there are certain centers that are more focused as a nerve plexus. We could say they’re more connected.

We usually think of the brain as being in the head between our ears but recent research has discovered other major centers of nerve concentration that have other specializations.

The brain between the ears is composed of about 100 billion neurons. It behaves as the central processor, the place where most of our sensing is … Continue Reading…

The Importance of Actual Yoga

In Yoga, the key is settling the mind. Then the Self “behind” the noisy mind can shine through.

Yoga Sutra 1 v2-3:
Yoga is the complete settling of the activity of the mind.
Then the observer is established in their own nature.

This state of quiet mind or yoga is known by many names like Samadhi, transcendence, or Turiya.

Many techniques today try to force or control the mind to settle. But as this is not arising naturally, it is difficult to achieve. When it happens, a rare clear transcending may be seen … Continue Reading…

Embodiment

There are several factors that influence how we move forward through the stages of development.

– Preparation of the vehicle so it’s able to sustain new depth
– Purification and refinement to allow higher clarity of more abstract values
– Integration of what has opened so far
– Cooperation with the process due to right understanding and OKness

All of these are closely interrelated

But a big one I’m seeing is the embodiment of the current stage.

For example, if there has been a long spiritual practice and depth of presence but we’re … Continue Reading…

The Strange Reality of Being Human

Most people think of themselves as a single being, distinct from others. This is my body, these are my private thoughts, and this is how I feel. However, this is just a set of ideas, a story we tell ourselves.

And I’m not taking a spiritual approach here but one leaning more on science. Your body is an assemblage of trillions of cells, each with their own life and life cycle. They come and go at various rates but overall, our body almost completely replaces itself within 7 years.

(The cosmic body is similar, only that is a body composed … Continue Reading…

What is Destruction?

We tend to see change as a loss, partly because the ego likes to feel in control. It’s also disturbing tamas, our inertia.

And yet, the cycle of growth requires change: balance, disintegration, growth, integration, and repeat.

Without disintegration, there is no growth, no transformation. Life is inherently change. Our very life depends on the transformation of food, water, and breath.

And if we look around us we see that change is the order of the day. In fact, the world around us is being recreated in every moment. The only reason it doesn’t completely change every time is … Continue Reading…

The Dasha Mahavidya

The Dasha Mahavidya

mahavidyaI touched on the Mahavidya in The Mahavidya Interview but needed more research to do a proper job. As I mentioned there, the Dasha Mahavidya (10 great knowledge) are from Tantra and are embodied by 10 goddesses. While the gods are embodiments of laws of nature, the goddesses are embodiments of the powers (Shakti) that drive them and all of creation. The first cannot function without the power of the second.

These goddesses tend to be portrayed with … Continue Reading…

The Layers of Samadhi

I’ve written several articles before about the layers of samadhi or transcendence described in the Yoga Sutra. These are the settling into the waves, then surface of the ocean of being.

When we wake up or become Self Realized, that inner samadhi becomes ongoing. Inner peace becomes ever-present behind the usual day-to-day life. We’re essentially in activity and deep meditation simultaneously.

Some people consider this the end of techniques. We can feel done and awake. If we’re already there, what need is there for going beyond? In my case, there was no longer a person to meditate so … Continue Reading…

Forgetting

There is a curious experience we have as we grow into new stages of development. We forget what it was like to be in our prior stage. This is very simply because we remember prior experiences from where we are now, not from how we were when the experiences happened.

For example, when we think back to events when we were 12 years old, we remember from where we are now, not from how we were at the time. We recall our preteen experience as an adult. This is true throughout our life. We give our teen children advice from … Continue Reading…