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 case. Opening … 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 interfaced … 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 as an awakening. But real Self Realization … 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 because … 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…

The Challenges of Teaching

There is a common idea that awakened people automatically become teachers. But teaching is a skill, one that allows us to speak to the student at their level. Many don’t have this skill. They speak from their understanding and others hear from theirs. Mixed results ensue. A traditional spiritual teacher also adopts their dedicated students, guiding their way home. This is a large, long-term responsibility not to be taken lightly. Often what triggers the start of teaching is an inner call to share the revelations of a major experience or stage change. It feels so profound and important we want … Continue Reading…

Self Sabotage

It’s very curious how we develop conflicting inner dynamics that get in the way of our own happiness. For example, we desire career success but sabotage our work by being sloppy or making mistakes because we don’t believe in ourselves. Or we make career choices based on expectations rather than through discovering what we’re good at. Similar dynamics can show up around money and relationships and spirituality. Many single adults desire a partner but are afraid of being hurt again. Or we sabotage the relationships we have by holding on to perceived hurts. You see couples who start off well … Continue Reading…

The Pace of Change

Many people experience the world speeding up. This is partly an effect of our perception of time. As we shift through the decades, our metabolism gradually slows and time seems to go by faster*. This causes the pace of change to seem to increase. However, technology is also speeding up change. Many of us have seen the demise of steno pools, switchboard operators, typists, telex operators, and more. Contacting people in another city has shifted from “snail mail” and “long distance” to nearly instant global communications. Thomas Frey predicted 5 years ago that half of all current jobs will disappear … Continue Reading…

Perspective

A worthwhile read in the New York Times Sunday Review: Why 2017 Was the Best Year in Human History. I’d change that to “known history” but he touches on some important points. Things are, for people the world over, getting better. The news media focuses on the lowest common denominator – an identified ego that wants to know what’s wrong and who’s to blame. Then it can feel better about itself and confirm inner fears about the world. However, the author says “That’s because most of the time, quite rightly, we focus on things going wrong.” The “quite rightly” is … Continue Reading…

Breaking a Bad Habit

I’ve spoken before in various ways about shifting out of our habitual response to life. We tend to resist what we don’t want, including what is arising from inside ourselves. While this is a subjective trick to avoid experiencing something, it is quite ineffective. Instead of resolving, the issue festers and grows In this TED talk from 2015, Judson Brewer talks about how to break a bad habit by shifting our approach to it. We move out of fighting it into simple curious noticing. On TED In the talk, he emphasizes the role of positive and negative reinforcement and how … Continue Reading…

The Chance Assumption

“What astonishes me, just as it astonishes a child when he becomes aware of his own identity, is the fact of finding myself here, and at this moment, deep in this life and not in any other. What stroke of chance has brought this about?” “The penetration of that particular ovum by that particular spermatozoon, with its implications of the meeting of my parents and before that of their birth and the births of all their forebears, had not one chance in hundreds of millions of coming about. And it was chance, a chance quite unpredictable in the present state … Continue Reading…