What is a Soul?

The topic of souls came up in conversation with friends. In the west, we debate if animals have souls and talk of loosing one’s soul, splitting the soul, and so forth. A lot of that is confusing a sense of self driven by mind with the eternal, untouchable soul.

The Vedas contain several philosophies with some variation on this topic. But generally, soul is seen as equivalent to jiva, a living being with life force. In other words, a dog and a plant have a soul but a chair does not. Even though everything arises in and of consciousness, it … Continue Reading…

Perspective and Perception

I talk a lot here about stages of development in consciousness aka stages of enlightenment. This is to offer context for the various experiences and teachings out there and help us gain a better understanding of the path.

But sometimes, it’s useful to hear it all said a different way. On a recent retreat, Lorne Hoff spoke of Purusha and Prakriti. These are terms used by the Indian philosophy of Samkhya, a dualistic outlook that enumerates how the world comes into being.

In Samkhya, Purusha is the cosmic spirit and Prakriti is nature. Together, they are the origin … Continue Reading…

The Kavach

Kavach is a Sanskrit word that means armor. It refers to protection from subtle negative influences. If you read about it on-line, you’ll find many references to a medallion or amulet with astrological symbols, numbers, or mantras chosen to protect the specific wearer.

However, what value does an engraved piece of metal have against anything subtle?

The texts prescribe that the item has to be properly “charged” by a person properly prepared. For example, they’re supposed to have a strong Jupiter and be spiritually developed. How do you verify that through an on-line store? It’s also worth noting the original … Continue Reading…

An Avatar of the People

On a recent retreat with Lorne and Lucia, we discussed the embodiment of divinity. They observed that nobody alive today fully embodies Divinity. If they did, we’d be in a different age.

Lucia mentioned Kalki (an avatar) as a collective. That triggered an understanding here.

To explain, you may recall an article from 2014 called The Second Stage where I was observing a new stage of development in consciousness or the collective.

The first stage is when a law of nature that had long been dormant is awakened by a human capable of living … Continue Reading…

The Trinity of Self

Atman or the Cosmic Self has a three-fold nature. It has a subject or observer aspect, the process of observation, and the object or observed aspect. I illustrated this here.

As consciousness is aware of itself both globally and at every point, it can observe its own dynamics and experience this directly.

“Locally” or personally, we experience this as the ego or I-sense, the intellect, and the mind.

Samkhya describes how Buddhi (intellect) recognizes self as different from other, creating Ahamkara, the I-sense or ego. This arises in early childhood as a baby distinguishes itself from mother.

Manas … Continue Reading…

About the Gunas

I’ve written or commented on the gunas in a variety of articles. This includes The Gunas and Emotions, Karma and the Gunas, and The Gunas in Awakening. I talk about them regularly because they play a key roll in our style of awakening.

The gunas are the fundamental qualities of consciousness as it begins to express. As vibration arises, it has 3 qualities:

Sattva: purity or clarity of the flow (golden)
balance, harmony, goodness, purity, universalizing, holistic, constructive, creative, building, positive, peaceful, virtuous, light, buoyant
– Jupiter, Moon, Sun

Rajas: movement itself, energy or … Continue Reading…

The Means of Liberation (Yogas)

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13
Verse 24
Some realize the Self by the Self in the Self through meditation, others through Samkhya yoga, yet others through Karma yoga.
 
Verse 25
Others, however, not knowing thus, sit near Me [Krishna], having heard from others, they also do cross beyond death, devoted to what they have heard.

This lays out the Yogas or paths to liberation.

The first is Dhyana Yoga, the path of meditation covered in Chapter 6 of the Gita. These days, it is often taught as Raja … Continue Reading…

The Two Trees

There can be said to be two trees of life.

The first tree is the one most of us know better. It is rooted in the “world of men.” The roots originate in action, born of attachment to its fruits. We act to achieve a desired result. Seems natural, right?

Yet by grasping at what we want and avoiding pain, we impede the smooth flow of life. We build a web of unresolved energy that ties us to our past and others around us. It gets much harder to fulfill desires and action often leads to undesired consequences. … Continue Reading…

Gods of the Elements

I’ve spoken before about the five subtle elements or constituents of form. In the process of becoming or manifesting, consciousness creates a subtle “space” by recognition of itself as subject and object. This is much like you noticing objects around you now. They exist in space because perception inherits from the qualities of consciousness.

Flowing attention brings the quality of movement in space or ‘air’. The light of consciousness brings ‘fire’ and so forth, collapsing into increasing levels of density. Space, air, fire, water, earth.

Parallel to this in the structure of life is Continue Reading…

The Soma Plant

Some old texts speak of rituals that “milk” the soma or they describe “flow soma through the filter” to create the nectar of the gods.

Much of this is gestures that symbolize the real process that takes place right in our body.

Samadhi happens, at first usually in meditation, when we go beyond the mind into pure consciousness. We settle into our true nature. This is often brief and foggy for a while. But at some point, we’ll have clear experiences of the process. We may also notice a wave of happiness when we cross in or out of … Continue Reading…

Shiva’s Inertia

From a Brahman perspective, the world was never created in the first place. And yet here it is, appearing to the senses. As we shift into ParaBrahman and notice the Divine Shaktis, we can gain the sense of creation as a tapestry of consciousness. It’s created as a kind of after-image of the threads (shaktis) of Divinity. Consciousness tries to mimic Divinity. From that perspective alone, it seems a little pointless. Divinity is fully self-aware and profoundly networked. Why would consciousness try to make an appearance out of that?

Here we can explore the nature of Shiva. Shiva … Continue Reading…

The Source of Perception

One of the curious things I noticed many years ago was how much we agree on the appearance of the world. While there is a huge variation in emphasis and interpretation, we have no problem driving down the street. Other’s reality doesn’t cause the roads to change appearance continually as we go by.

This points to a shared reality. Modern science takes the approach that the physical world is real and we interpret it subjectively with our brains. But when we recognize that the world arises from and within consciousness, this points to a deeper shared reality.

Samkhya Continue Reading…