To Retire

nautilus shell

There is a word in the Rig Veda, Nivartadhvam. It means to “twist within” or return or retire.   We retire from the world through samadhi or transcendence. Then we return to the world by retiring from transcendence. This is like the analogy of dying the cloth. To dye a fabric the old way, it was dipped in the dye to soak, then hung up in the sun to bleach. That cycle was repeated until the colour was fast. Too much time in the dye (practices) and the fabric will rot. Too much time in the sun (activity) and the … Continue Reading…

The Brahmasthan

Neutron Star 2004

The brahmasthan is a term from the Vastu Shastra or Sthapatya Veda, the guidelines for Vedic architecture. Vastu recognizes that a properly designed building will amplify the presence of the building and support its occupants. “The brahmasthan is a special central zone in a building. It is free from any obstructions in the form of a wall, pillar or beam, furniture or fixtures and is often well lit from above, by skylights for instance.” It is the silent center of a space. Every space has a center as I’ve illustrated here before. We can think of the brahmasthan as the … Continue Reading…

Styles of Teachers

feather

“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…

A Calling

feather

As I wrote about recently, many things in life require action. Life is movement and flow. It requires activity to be sustained. We need to breathe, to eat, to consume, to move to live. If we want to move forward, more is required. We often need to experiment and seek advice for best ways of doing to get a certain result. But if we’re planning to express higher values into life, we need a different approach that’s not driven by action. Spirituality is about being rather than doing. If we come to spiritual teaching as a person wanting results and … Continue Reading…

Embodiment

There are several factors that influence how we move forward through the stages of development. – Preparation of the vehicle so it’s able to sustain new depth – Purification and refinement to allow higher clarity of more abstract values – Integration of what has opened so far – Cooperation with the process due to right understanding and OKness All of these are closely interrelated But a big one I’m seeing is the embodiment of the current stage. For example, if there has been a long spiritual practice and depth of presence but we’re averse to being in the body, around … Continue Reading…

Breaking a Bad Habit

I’ve spoken before in various ways about shifting out of our habitual response to life. We tend to resist what we don’t want, including what is arising from inside ourselves. While this is a subjective trick to avoid experiencing something, it is quite ineffective. Instead of resolving, the issue festers and grows In this TED talk from 2015, Judson Brewer talks about how to break a bad habit by shifting our approach to it. We move out of fighting it into simple curious noticing. On TED In the talk, he emphasizes the role of positive and negative reinforcement and how … Continue Reading…

Pilgrimage

Recently, I was asked about the role of pilgrimage. Generally, I’d place pilgrimage as a practice related to faith or devotion. However, some pilgrimages are more about an odyssey, perhaps having a therapeutic purpose. Sometimes they’re used in coming-of-age rites. And sometimes people talk of the spiritual journey itself as an inner pilgrimage. Difficulties are often associated with a pilgrimage, perhaps as a rite of purification. But care must be taken not to make it about “purity through suffering.” Humility and letting go are important lessons that may be difficult to learn but suffering is not the wise door home. … Continue Reading…

Adyashanti and Michael Rodriguez on Buddha at the Gas Pump

I quite enjoy Adyashanti’s pragmatic take on the awakening process. I’ve written various articles on his books like Falling into Grace or The End of Your World. Last fall, I posted a conversation Rick Archer had between Adya and Susanne Marie on the post-Self shift. Prior to the Science and Nonduality conference last month, Rick spent time with Michael and Adya, followed by a 3 hour recorded conversation. They explored a wide range of topics including how you can get stuck post-awakening in emotional avoidance, detachment, or meaninglessness. The latter topic came up several times, exploring how to recognize deeper … Continue Reading…

Atman and Sattva

One of the curious things about the spiritual journey is that the reality of one stage is not the reality of another. As each stage is a shift in being, it brings its own sense of self and the world. As Maharishi Mahesh Yogi used to say, “Knowledge is different in different states of consciousness.” For example, we can easily compare waking and dreaming states. The reality in each is quite distinct. This also means that terminology that well-suits one stage doesn’t work as well for another. My book editor, for example, steered me away from a few phrasings like … Continue Reading…

Flavours of Bliss

It may seem ridiculous to say this but everything we experience and the movement and energy behind them can be experienced as bliss. By that I mean deep, resonant happiness. Life is like an ice cream store with a nearly infinite choice of flavours. There is nowhere to go to get there. It is right here in who is experiencing. If you’ve seen Gangaji give satsang, for example, she will guide a person suffering under their experience. Behind everything is always stillness or bliss. It’s deeply nourishing to know this directly, however we come to that experience. The difference between … Continue Reading…

Witnessing Sleep

As consciousness awakens within, we can have periods of time when we experience being a detached observer or witness of our life. Our life continues but we are no longer seen as the doer. We observe while life continues. What I describe is not a disassociative state or escape from life’s problems. We don’t get there through avoidance or hanging out in the dreamy astral. This is a shift into consciousness itself, beyond all that. We find it through acceptance of what is here. If we’re well-rested, this witness may continue throughout waking, dreaming and deep sleep. Alertness continues during dreaming, … Continue Reading…

Healing Trauma

In the west, we often spend our time in our heads or devoted to distractions like television or games. Some people and cultures are more OK with emotions but may get caught in the drama more instead. It’s not easy being human. All of us have experienced illness, death, violence, and abuse in one form or another. How we respond to such experiences makes a big difference in the consequences for us. But our response is natural and often automatic. It’s not something we control – however hard we might try. This is especially true when we’re young and the world … Continue Reading…