The Utah Talks – 1

Salt Lake City

Traveling into Utah was a distinctive experience. The altitude is over 4,000 feet and the air dry. The plain by a salt lake is surrounded by large mountains. Salt Lake City has no apparent apartment towers and is spread wide. This is Mormon country. The entire county has streets and addresses laid out on a grid starting from the main temple. The group consciousness has a curious constraint and unsettledness. The talks took place in a private residence, about 2 dozen chairs spread through the living and dining rooms. Attendees were a very diverse group – in age, stage, background, … Continue Reading…

The Backlog

Filing Pile by Cas

The old texts tell us we have mountains of unresolved experiences (karma) in our catalogue. When we learn how to heal and accept experiences that arise, it can seem like an endless task. And that’s just the “suitcase” we came into this life with. What the heck is the point of doing all this work when we have such an endless backlog? It’s important to understand that the purpose of practices of acceptance and healing are not to fix ourselves. We couldn’t possibly process every unresolved experience from innumerable lives. The point of such practices is to shift how we … Continue Reading…

The 10 Bulls

Longhorn Bull by Larry Smith

There is a famous series of 10 panels (below) portraying the stages of enlightenment from a Zen Buddhist perspective. They are known as the 10 Bulls or Oxen. I’ve touched on these before but it’s come up a few times recently so I thought it worth doing an article on the topic. I am not a Buddhist scholar nor practitioner but have studied the basics. The approach has never appealed because of the style of experience here. Self has been conscious since I was 20 so I don’t relate to a no-self or emptiness approach. I also see modern Buddhism … Continue Reading…

The Maaya of Maya

1e by Masbt

On this blog, I’ve been arguing that the Sanskrit “maya” comes from the root “to build” and means creation, not illusion. We may see the world as an illusion at a certain stage but the reality is deeper than this. It turns out we have lost some detail in transliteration from the larger Sanskrit alphabet to English. There’s three different words in play: maya, maaya, and maayaa (aa meaning long A). Maya means “made of”, from the root “to build.” We see this in words like annamaya kosha, the “body made of food” or physical body and in the name … Continue Reading…

More on Death

Death Valley by Peretz Partensky

Over the years, I’ve written surprisingly often about death. This is because there is a lot of fear and misunderstanding around the topic. Yet we’ve all been there before. Recently a good friend sent me a site on the Vedic approach to death. I wasn’t born into the culture in this life so I don’t follow the rituals much. However, there are useful points we can draw from that understanding to support ourselves and others through this process. Settled Space It’s useful to create a settled environment for the dying. Prayers and meditation are more supportive than expressions of grief. … Continue Reading…

The Humanity of a Teacher

Humanity by Bryan Ledgard

I’ve written a few articles about modern issues with spiritual teachers. Students often see enlightenment as a superhuman perfection. We see the teacher as beyond mistakes. If a teacher buys into such ideas, they can create a large blind spot. Unresolved identity or unconscious needs are bound to be acted out with students. Expecting perfection, students may excuse the behaviour as “crazy wisdom” or similar. The Westernization of spiritual teaching has meant that most teachers are now independent, sometimes affiliated with a lineage and sometimes not. They’re often outside of any peer-support structure and often lack understanding of relationship power … Continue Reading…

Nested Bliss

Velvia Bliss by Taomeister

I’ve spoken before about nested space and about layers of bliss. The causal kosha is also known as the bliss body as we often experience it as a wave of bliss when we pass through it, as when transcending during meditation. But why then are there layers of bliss that can include massive increases and raptures? This comes back to nested spaces. We exist in a personal space, in the space of our family, in the space of our community, city, province, country, world, solar system, galaxy, galactic cluster, supercluster, unnamed region, and universe. At the event horizon of each … Continue Reading…

Lokas and Patalas

Kapaleeshwarar Temple by Vinoth Chandar

I’ve previously talked a little about lokas, mainly for the 2 versions of the Gayatri mantra. One describes a 3-worlds model of physical, subtle, and Divine. The other, a more detailed 7-worlds model with the physical, 3 progressively more subtle layers, and 3 heavens. Same arena divided in more detail. How many colours in a rainbow? Loka means place or world. The Vedas define lokas ranging from the physical world up into various heavens in the celestial realm. Essentially lokas are a type of nested sub-space. Just as the described koshas often stop with the causal, heavens are not usually … Continue Reading…

Satsang in Utah

Deer

As regular readers know, I occasionally give talks in various venues like a conference or a church. Michael Speight, a fellow BATGAP interviewee, has invited me to give a 2 part-satsang near Ogden, Utah later this month. It’s scheduled for Friday evening April 26 and Saturday morning April 27 followed by a potluck lunch. If you are in the area, you’re welcome to join us. Contact Michael for details and directions through the Contact form on his website. [Update] We’ll be recording the talks so I should be able to share them later. Davidya

Nested Dharma, Nested Karma

Nest by Furtwangl

Down on the level of Buddhi, the intellect and intuition, the interactions of the fine devata create relationships. These structure the subtle or sacred geometry that defines the forms of our world. These subtle structures are composed of sutras or threads of light. We can describe them as structured flows of light, feeling, and sound. Those fine threads are sustained by tubes, like insulation on a wire. Flowing attention curves back on itself in a spiral down the thread, creating a tube. These tubes are embodied as subtle life-forms known as nagas. These are ancient and benevolent beings, quite different … Continue Reading…

The Sex Chakra

bears kiss

Sex is fundamental to our nature as humans. We have an imperative to reproduce. Most cultures set expectations around sex to ensure healthy outcomes. For example, a committed relationship. This ensures the resulting off-spring are cared for and people are treated respectfully. Too often, expectations become rules that lead to suppression. The powerful energies of creativity are distorted by unnatural guidelines. For example, in the grand cycles of time, spirituality came to emphasize renunciation and celibacy. Yet only a small percent of the population is suited to long-term celibacy. Adopting it inappropriately leads to it leaking out in unhealthy ways. … Continue Reading…

The Wisdom of No Escape

pier

Susanne Marie writes occasional short articles she calls Reality Bites. I particularly enjoyed this one: “Sometimes the only way to be free of something is to allow yourself to be fully trapped. Our desire to escape suffering creates it’s own bondage. Most of us are initially drawn to spirituality with the understandable desire to feel better and in general to be released from suffering. But this desire in itself plays into the belief that something needs to be done about how we are feeling. That we need to somehow disappear a feeling by replacing it with bliss or peace, or … Continue Reading…