Managing Anxiety

We live in a world where the dials are gradually being turned up. This brings us great opportunities for growth but also the stress of almost constant change. Globalization has made our world smaller but has exposed us to the breadth of human suffering.

As a result, hypertension, PTSD, and anxiety disorders have become normal. The most common illnesses are either directly caused by stress or deeply influenced by it.

If we want to enjoy life and grow in healthy ways, we need to learn how to be in the world the way it is now. Aversion and escapism are … Continue Reading…

Favouring the Positive

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s good to favour the positive, to give more of our attention to what brings enjoyment than pain.

I don’t mean in the sense of faking it or resisting what is here. If we’re feeling anger or grief, we should feel them fully. This ensures they complete and resolve.

But at a certain point in all experience, we reach a place of choice where we can continue to dwell on the past or the feeling or we can let it go and move on. That’s when it’s good to choose joy.

By enjoyment here, I … Continue Reading…

Words

The American Dialect Society held its annual “Word of the Year” vote for 2016.

The winner was dumpster fire: an exceedingly disastrous or chaotic situation. (e.g. US election)

In third and fourth place were normalize (what was once unacceptable) and post-truth. But sitting at number two?

Woke

Yep, it is in part a reference to enlightened. It also made the slang word of the year list. Of course, it’s use is casual and generalized but it’s fascinating to see words like this migrate into common use.

My, we live in interesting times. … Continue Reading…

Karma Mimamsa

Traditional Indian philosophy has 6 branches or approaches, known as the upangas or darshanas. Often they’re seen as competing philosophical systems when if fact they largely each describe the reality of a different stage of development.

I’ve talked some about several of them, including:
Vaisheshika and Samkhya

Yoga

Vedanta or end of the Veda (Brahma Sutra, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads)

Nyaya is the system of logic that informs the others.

One I’ve only touched on is Karma Mimamsa, also known as Purva Mimamsa. Karma Mimamsa means an investigation … Continue Reading…

The Irony of Seeking

At some point on our life journey we tend to become seekers. The desire for more, experiences, exposure to some teaching; something triggers a shift. We transition from a life focused on our individuality to something bigger and deeper.

Usually, a good part of the seeking process is framed as self-betterment or escape. In other words, we’re still very much personally oriented. The search is usually driven by aversion to pain or a grasping after more pleasure or both. As Yoga observes, both of these lead only to suffering.

At the same time, the seeking activity helps keep us … Continue Reading…

Experiencing Brahman

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi spoke of how dynamism is afraid of silence and silence is afraid of dynamism. The first we may experience in the approach to awakening when the lively mind is afraid of the empty, silent “void”. If we’re not clear enough, it’s not recognized as ourselves but rather an opposite.

Once Self Realization is established that deep inner silence can be nervous about dynamism or liveliness. It wants to stay above the world. Yet moving back in is the flowering of the next stage. By the peak of Unity, there is no separate silence, … Continue Reading…

Two Processes of Divinity

To embody Divinity post-Brahman, there may seem to be two distinct processes.

This is akin to the 2 processes of development in consciousness – Atman and Sattva.
One aspect is becoming where we recognize we gain a deeper relationship with consciousness. This is the Atman part of the equation.

The other is Sattva, the refinement and polish that leads to deeper knowing and experience and  embodiment. Together, they are the primary purpose of spiritual techniques.

But as is the way of all creation, this turns out to reflect deeper causal drivers. As above, so below.

Continue Reading…

The Divine

When we come to the divine for the first time, it’s often through form. This can be a very profound experience. It may trigger major heart opening, insight, devotion, and/or deep humility. Yet it may also bring confusion, circumspection, or reconsideration. If we’ve developed an atheist philosophy, for example, that can certainly be disrupted. But even if we’re a person of faith, the divine won’t necessarily show up as expected.

Often people experience representatives of the divine first; what are commonly called angels or devas. (not to be confused with astral beings) But we may also experience the … Continue Reading…

Models of Development

Over the years, I’ve seen many models of spiritual development. Most of them follow a subjective process that one or a few people experienced that doesn’t reflect how it will unfold for many others. Fundamentally it is shifts in being – in who we recognize ourselves to be – that reflect the underlying process. This is why I’ve focused on that.

Yet it can be instructive to see some of the other things that can shift that are reflected in other models. Categories like this can give you a sense of where they’re coming from. But there can be … Continue Reading…

Energetic Embodiment

In some teachings, the kundalini or energy process dominates. It is seen that awakening kundalini  opens and rises, leading to awakening. They may prescribe techniques to encourage or even push the energy along. This can be quite hazardous and can make the process much rougher.

However, the deeper problem with a kundalini emphasis is that kundalini is not causal. It is the energetic process that results from the process in consciousness and will unfold in the body naturally when it is ready.

I explored some of the variations in the energy process here.

In a similar way, some teachings … Continue Reading…

The Seeker

The Seeker can be described as a stage of development in a spiritual process. It arises when we shift from being focused on our personal life to a focus on development beyond ourselves, to our higher nature.

This can develop gradually, such as goals shifting to a spiritual orientation or inner development. Or it may come on suddenly, with the impact of a profound experience. The profound may arise through an unexpected opening or out of trauma.

The Seekers dominance can vary over time. Some people grow weary of seeking but not finding or of ever looking, for … Continue Reading…

Who Am I?

This comes out of an on-line discussion on the Falling Away of Self interview. Someone asks if Rick was referring to the individual soul. Rick responds “It seems to persist from life to life, some say forever. Is that the self?”

My response, edited slightly for this context:
That depends. What do we subjectively relate to as “who I am”?

I find the Vedic perspective useful. They describe layers to it. The ego-self (Ahamkara) or sense of being a separate self. It is identification with this that leads to the sense of a personal, separate me. It is … Continue Reading…