Saoirse

Freedom by Josef Grunig

No, not the actress. What she’s named for. “Of all the treasures a person can possess, she says, the most valuable is saoirse [pronounced sear-sha “like inertia”], the Gaelic word for freedom.” Andrew Nikiforuk, interviewing Biologist Diana Beresford-Kroeger “Saoirse, an ancient concept, comes from the original Brehon laws of the Celtic world before the time of Christ. In those days the idea of freedom could not be separated from the community or nature, because it was embedded in the medicine, language and culture of the Celts whose ancient ways influenced people all the way to Russia and Central Asia.” “You … Continue Reading…

Bhedābheda Vedānta

Vedanta Temple Bell by Ray Sawhill

Vedanta means the end of the Veda or final knowledge and is the last of the 6 systems of Indian Philosophy (Yoga is the 4th). We also know these systems as the Vedanga or subordinate limbs (to the core books of the Veda) and as the Darshana. The core text of Vedanta is the Brahma Sutra of Bādarāyaṇa. The Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita are also generally considered Vedantic texts. But like any older philosophy, it has drifted into mind and concepts and then to distinct schools of interpretation. There are three primary schools of Vedanta with many sub-branches. The … Continue Reading…

Who Am I?

La Petite Concierge painting by Francis Smith

This is one of life’s big questions. Most people identify with things like their name, work, background, nationality, skin colour, tastes, and so forth. But these are stories about ourselves or roles we’ve adopted. They have little to do with who we actually are. New Age approaches usually focus on upgrading the filters and stories we tell ourselves. A better story for a better life. Eastern paths can take this further with self-inquiry: who are we behind the stories? But as I’ve mentioned before, if there isn’t a practice that takes us beyond the mind into source, what is culturing … Continue Reading…

Meaning and Purpose

Excellence Reporter

Recently, I was invited to submit an article on the Meaning of Life to a website of single focus. They host over 1,100 articles on that single topic from a very wide range of people from around the world. This includes historical figures. Excellence Reporter Personally, it was a curious article to write as the usual flow wasn’t happening. It did finally gel but took a couple of weeks. Davidya

Austerity

Emaciated Siddhartha, photo by Akuppa John Wigham

In spiritual traditions the world over, austerities have been considered a key requirement for spiritual progress. Shankara, for example, revived the monastic tradition in India and there has been a clear lineage since. Buddha gave up his royal role and withdrew to the forest. St. Francis of Assisi did similar. However, a large part of this has been because of the age or Yuga we’ve been in. We needed to withdraw from the thick mud of the world to go within. Our age has changed. In the 60s and 70s, millions of people took up meditation, gradually clearing theirs and … Continue Reading…

Preyas and Shreyas

Sunday morning pleasures by Caroline

Recently, I read an article by Kavitha Chinnaiyan M.D. on Preyas and Shreyas. It’s not an approach I’ve explored before but one that can shed some insight. Preyas means pleasing, desired, gratifying, a lover; what appeals to the senses. Shreyas comes from the root “shri,” which means auspiciousness or radiant and also support. In a spiritual path we seek the support of the auspicious like an enlightened master or natures support. In the opening of Krishna’s discourse to Prince Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita or Song of God, he outlines the key: Contacts (of the senses) with their objects, O … 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…

Chitheads Interview

Chitheads

On December 11, I chatted with Jacob Kyle on the Chitheads* podcast from Embodied Philosophy. He suggested we’d chat for about 45 minutes but we went an hour and a half. Even there, we skimmed a lot of the territory he wanted to cover.   They list these topics: – Davidya’s continual journey of awakening – 7 stages of consciousness – Awakening inside and outside of a tradition – Chasing experience – “Feeling value” and its role in the process of awakening – Personal and impersonal – changing focus – Ethics and awakening – three folds of the ego – Rising … Continue Reading…

Inherent Intelligence

sugar magnolia

When we talk about origins, it’s important to recognize the intelligence embedded in the process of all experience and expression. Pure Divinity seeps into everything. For example, in the origins of consciousness, when liveliness stirs alertness, it doesn’t just agitate it. Alertness becomes awareness which becomes self-referencing and reflective. This is the foundation of all experience. Similarly, within the dynamics of consciousness, there would be no devata value or process of experience and no recognition if there were not inherent intelligence. On a more personal level, we can see the dynamics of our own intelligence. When we’re agitated, our forebrain … Continue Reading…

Unity vs Duality

Early on, silence and expression can seem opposed. For example, in a meditation practice, we may seek Yoga. 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. Seeking a silent mind, we may rail against the mind’s constant expression. And yet that railing is the mind wanting to control. Or as Yoga puts it, aversion that leads to suffering rather than liberation. In an effortless practice, we allow the mind to do its thing – partly because the practice causes the physiology to settle and … Continue Reading…

The Void

neutron star 2004

The ancients talked of fundamental elements whose combination lead to the forms and phenomena we see around us. For example, fire element brings light, sight, colour, heat, and so forth. The elements have associations with the senses, the chakras, and the doshas (body types) of Ayurveda. We can also associate them with the valence groups of chemistry. Deepest of the 5 elements is space or ether. Space is more a container than a substance. And yet space behaves like a medium, hence the name ether. We see a similar idea in physics where space-time is modeled as a flexible sheet. … Continue Reading…