The Power of Mantra

Tibetan Buddhist Prayer Wheel by Jay Galvin

Back on Transcending, I explored right mantra for a meditation practice. I’ve also talked about the language of mantra and how they’re often used. Yet there is a much deeper understanding about mantra that’s largely been lost. But first, some background. People talk today about choosing mantras like they’d choose a chocolate. On Transcending I mentioned the importance of proper instruction so the seed is properly planted and we can connect with the tradition of masters for long-term support. To understand this more, we can go back to fundamentals. Consciousness arises from three fundamental Divine qualities: alertness, liveliness and intelligence. … Continue Reading…

Indifference

Indifference by Damian Gadal

“…The unmanifest Being [pure consciousness, Self] coming to direct experience establishes the reality of oneness of eternal existence: That is the pre-eminent path of gaining knowledge (of reality). “There is no effort, no individual inception of the doer on the path to the experience of the unmanifest Being: Being can only be gained by making use of the thinking process without any reference to any existing thing, without meaning. “With complete indifference (during meditation) to the thoughts relating to activities in the relative world, the direct experience of the Self is gained by one who turns away from all distractions. … Continue Reading…

Roles of a Teacher

Teacher by Valerie Everett

By role of a teacher here, I mean the role they play in our spiritual journey rather than how they may position or present themselves as a teacher. A true teaching emphasizes practical application and direct experience, with the understanding to support that. If it’s just philosophy, it may only make the mind stronger. Understanding should be to serve the path, not be the path. (Yes, Gyani‘s have an emphasis on understanding, but direct experience is still the core path. Otherwise, it’s just mind.) For someone to have the role of a spiritual teacher for us, there is what I … Continue Reading…

Wu Wei or Flow

Wu Wei by Cea

I ran into a Zen quote the other day and thought about how flow unfolds. But first, some background. I’ve only studied a bit of Zen in my time, so am not an expert. But the principles are universal. Zen is a branch of Buddhism that was strongly influenced by Taoism. The word Zen was originally derived from the Yoga term Dhyana (meditation) but the practices now differ greatly from the original Yoga. The focus of Zen is on direct experience rather than book learning. One influence from Taoism (the Way) has been the idea of Wu Wei. Wu Wei … Continue Reading…

Divisions

Division by Candi

In the unfolding of creation, awareness becomes self-aware in every layer. This leads to spaces within spaces as the process steps forward into the world of form and phenomena. Like a set of Russian dolls, only the outer layers are progressively more subtle and diffuse. However, this process gets exaggerated by the sense of separation, of being a distinct individual. It’s natural to recognize our distinctions from others. It’s part of our maturation as a person and the function of the intellect. However, when that is all we recognize as self, it leads to greater division and the mayiya mala, … Continue Reading…

Yoga and Meditation

Meditation on Water by Mario

I’ve described how important transcending was for awakening here. But let’s explore a bigger context. The Yoga Sutra describes 8 “limbs” or approaches to gain Yoga or union and discover our true nature. The first two limbs are the Yama and Niyama, approaches to daily life like non-violence, spiritual study, and honesty. The next five are practiced together to create Raja or Royal Yoga, a path that combines aspects of the other yogas or paths. The result of these 5 is the last limb, Samadhi, when we step into Yoga. Because some of these are done sequentially, the limbs are … Continue Reading…

The Skill Set

Gift by Byte Rider

All of us come in with natural gifts. Some we’re born with and some arise over time. They’re natural qualities of the framework we’re born with. Our society places an emphasis on things like smarts, perceived beauty, athletic ability, and extroversion. But our gifts can take many forms – even to be a disrupter. They can be physical, emotional, mental, intellectual, intuitive, empathic, or spiritual. Trouble is, our gifts may seem quite ordinary to us. Often we’ll need feedback from others to recognize their value. They’ll be extraordinary for them, like healing, composing music, or physical stamina. If we don’t … Continue Reading…

What Awakens?

Cat by Iezalel Williams

Fundamentally, consciousness is simply aware. Then it becomes self-aware and interacts with itself, causing the appearance of forms and phenomena to arise. This self-interacting dynamic is true both cosmically and locally. We can say consciousness is nested or in layers. With a transcending practice like effortless meditation, we go beyond the mind and emotions, settling into simple awareness without content, pure consciousness. In its pure form, it is beyond time and space, infinite and eternal. This is usually how people come to know consciousness itself – simply resting in their own nature. And yet, often we only notice a pause … Continue Reading…

Breath Stopping

Being There by Cattan2011

Breath stopping came up on Transcending so I thought it worth breaking the points out into an article. In a transcending meditation practice we quickly settle within. As we settle the mind, the body also settles. Oxygen consumption and other metabolic indicators drop. In a typical session, this can be 30-60%. When we transcend the practice into samadhi (also called turiya or pure consciousness), we may notice a brief period of inner silence or no thoughts along with very deep relaxation. But when we notice, the mind starts to think about it and the metabolism rises some again. Or the … Continue Reading…

Transcending – The Means

bubble diagram

Regular readers know I frequently mention effortless meditation. This is because of the key role it plays in culturing the ground for enlightenment. Over time, I’ve come to see its value more and more deeply. Yet there’s a key point about practices to make. Enlightenment isn’t caused by anything we do. It arises from the grace of the Divine. The purpose of spiritual practices is not to get enlightened but to prepare the ground. Then when grace arises, the shift is more likely to be smooth and supported. If the ground is not ready, grace will come as a profound … Continue Reading…

The Digesting Fires

Mush by Caroline

Primordial Agni is the fire or driving force and light of creation. In essence, it is intelligent flow. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi called it Creative Intelligence. It shows up on every level as transformation – the fires of dissolution and of creation. The key with transformation is balance. Balance sustains the universe while allowing transformation. Too much fire and too much gets destroyed. Anger, frustration, acid reflux, and Pitta imbalance are some ways this manifests. Too little fire and things are not digested properly. They go toward too much air and ungroundness (Vata) or an excess of sludge and inertia (Kapha). … Continue Reading…

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…