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…

Karma Collecting

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To feel in control and secure, we identify with experiences of what is here. I experience through this body-mind so it is me. This is my job. These are my possessions. These are my friends, partner, etc. This expands into stories for the mind that support the agenda. This identification emphasizes two qualities: inertia and sustaining. These maintain the experience as it is, even when life is changing. Yet the only constant in the world is change. Things are always changing, dissolving, and growing. When we resist change, we experience pain. Pain is a signal something is wrong. And yet … Continue Reading…

Styles of Teachers

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“Spiritual teacher” is a generic term used to describe many types of offerings. It’s useful to be clearer on the differences so you understand what’s there. As usual, I base this on my own observations. Some who use the term are not “spiritual” per se. They teach energy work, healing, concepts, and other modalities related to more subtle but not-yet-spiritual levels. Perhaps they consider themselves spiritual in orientation but even that can be muddy. To me, spiritual means related to source, consciousness, being, and enlightenment. Let’s explore a few related Sanskrit terms first. Guru: many people equate “spiritual teacher” with … Continue Reading…

Simplicity

The most potent things in life are very simple. Love, happiness, peace, sleep. But the mind likes to grasp and control things. Simplicity confounds it. Yet simplicity is a marker of universal principles. Karma or action would be a good example. The rules of action are very simple. For example, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The energy of nature is always seeking a balance of forces. Balance keeps the world sustained. But in its expression, karma is complex beyond imagining. Unfathomable, as the Bhagavad Gita puts it. Simplicity is also the hallmark of the most … Continue Reading…

What are the Perfections?

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If you read the Yoga Sutra or about the siddhis, you often see them translated as powers or abilities. I’ve used variations on that myself. But siddhi actually means perfection. Often this is taken to imply a personal perfection in the ability to know past lives or fly. But these are not personal. As Lorne Hoff has pointed out, the siddhis are perfections of experience, of the ability of consciousness to know itself in specific ways that this form is capable of. Each channel of knowing is a function we can call a law of nature, a way nature can … Continue Reading…

The Right Time for Right Action

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Things happen when it’s time. Not time for you but time for the whole. Time for challenges to unfold, time for benefits, time for birth, time for awakening, time for peace. When it’s time, the circumstances and people show up to help catalyze events. We can do our best to feel into this process and cooperate. Or we can resist and fall into a drama and suffer. For example, people can search for years for the right teacher to awaken. Then they show up when it’s time. The form they arise in may vary from our expectations though. On the … Continue Reading…

Nature’s Support

I’ve worked with the concept of “nature’s support” since the 70’s and have come to perceive the mechanics. I’ve written on the topic before, but sometimes more obscurely. The subject came up on Choice and Surrender and it became clear I needed to say more. When you put your attention on something or act towards it, is this movement supported or not? Do you get smooth and easy results or obstacles? Where are results happening? In the direction intended or over to one side? Nature in this case refers to the world – the environment and others. How is what … Continue Reading…

An Ayurvedic Cleanse

Many people treat their cars better than their bodies. They’d never consider putting a coke in their gas tank and yet all sorts of dubious things end up in their mouths. Even if we have good intentions, sludge builds up in the physiology over time. This gradually leads to chronic health issues. But that sludge can be flushed periodically. This flushing is known as a cleanse. Consider it routine maintenance. Want to know if you have crud buildup? Just look at your tongue. Is it perfectly pink? Or does it have a white overlay? Just in the middle back or … Continue Reading…

Invocation

In ancient Indian tradition, a ceremony is performed prior to instruction. This is known as a guru puja. The ceremony recognizes the tradition from which the teaching comes. Such a puja typically has three parts: the lineage, offerings you would make to a guest in your home, and a celebration of the wisdom. It also serves to raise the consciousness of the teacher prior to instruction. At the beginning of the guru puja is an invocation: Apavitrah Pavitro va Sarva Vasthan Gatopi va Yah Smaret Pundari-kaksham Sa Bahya-Bhyantarah Shuchih “Whether pure or impure, whether all places are permeated by purity … Continue Reading…

Dosha Changes

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian system of medicine. It focuses on maintaining balance of the body-mind as a whole to avoid health issues. It’s often better at handling systemic and chronic conditions than western allopathic medicine is. I’ve spoken before about how we’re born with a certain balance of laws of nature. We all have roughly the same principles but are each a unique combination of emphasis. One may do well at sports and be a natural public speaker who struggles with other languages. Another speaks multiple languages fluently but is uncomfortable with public speaking and only enjoys soccer. Both … Continue Reading…

The Bliss of Sleep

When we settle into bed, we all enjoy at least 2 states of consciousness: sleeping and dreaming. If we have a history of samadhi (yoga) in meditation, that creeps into our sleep time too, with various periods of transcendence (turiya) in sleep. This is especially true after the witness is established and there is a value of awakeness 24/7. Part of our night is spent in the mind and emotional bodies, processing the day’s and life’s experiences. This shows up as dreams, in many combinations. In deep sleep, we settle into the bliss body and are deeply soothed. However, this … Continue Reading…

The Source of Grace

There is a curious paradox in spiritual practice. On the one hand, awakening and progress in consciousness happens through grace, through the hand of the Divine. Awakening isn’t an experience or something a person does or has – it’s an awakening from the person. There is nothing we can do directly to make it happen. And yet, we are not separate from the Divine. The Divine moves though us to prepare the way and organize circumstances that allow grace to happen. This shows up as the opportunity for good practices, teachers, books, and so forth. As the renowned sage Vasishtha … Continue Reading…