What is Mind?

Untitled by Joost Markerink

Mind is a big topic. Fundamentally, mind is a kosha or field around our body that is the medium for what we experience as thinking. But there’s a great deal more to it than that. Let’s explore my current take. This field surrounds the whole body but we feel mind is “in the head” because the senses are concentrated there. Mind is the hub that processes and integrates our senses. It also interfaces with the brain and nervous system and emotional body in one direction. And the other way with the intellect, memory, and cosmic mind. The cosmic mind is … 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…

Four Flavours of Dharma

Saraswati

I’ve observed that while dharma is often translated to mean purpose, it more precisely means ‘that which sustains‘ – those actions which sustain the world so we can grow and evolve through experiences. Otherwise, entropy sets in and it all dissolves. I’ve also spoken of the 4 legs of the bull of dharma: Tapas – warming Saucha – purity Daya – compassion Satya – truth During a low age, only the leg of truth remains as a clear path. As the age rises, dharma is supported more and more. Thus a smoother and more roundly successful life can unfold. It … Continue Reading…

The Utah Talks – 2

Lake Powell, Utah

< Talk 1 This talk started with a 10 min meditation that was not recorded. I start with a bit about listening from silent presence rather than the mind. As one participant said, they didn’t understand any of it but really enjoyed listening. (laughs) Theres a bit of breakup towards the end of this talk. Links to Topics: Doership Free Will and Determinism Natures Support Association of Spiritual Integrity The Humanity of a Teacher Right Action Wake Up, Grow up, Clean Up Dorothy Rowe Hypnosis Sanskrit vs English Name and Form Stages of Becoming The Structure of the World Cognition … Continue Reading…

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 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…

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…

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…

In the Big Picture

Milky Way from Big Bend by Vincent Lock

If we see our lives as small and insignificant, we may be excused for spending it on escape. If we see our efforts at spiritual progress as temporary and with limited benefit, we can be excused for drifting away. But this is thinking small. I’ve mentioned before how Atman and Sattva, consciousness and clarity, are cumulative through lifetimes. Let’s look at this more closely. With the right practices and circumstances, we very much have the potential to awaken in this lifetime. Not everyone will shift, perhaps because of karmic backlog. But none of it is a waste. When the body … Continue Reading…

Gathering the Means

Growth

On the recent Action and Support post, I talked about Natures Support. Rick Archer reminded me of an old Vedic saying: the means gather around sattva. Let’s discuss. The means here is the ability to get things done effectively. The ability to solve problems and fulfill desires. While we all have levels of skills and abilities, if we don’t have support from the environment to get things done, we’ll struggle and thrash. For example, no matter how great a runner you are, if nature turns the track into mud you won’t do well. We also see this when people move … Continue Reading…

Action and Bliss

Turtle.

Another conversation brought out further points around action.  They mentioned the “Law of Reversed Effort” in this short article*. “The harder we try the less we shall succeed.” “The harder we try with the conscious will to do something, the less we shall succeed. Proficiency and the results of proficiency come only to those who have learned the paradoxical art of doing and not doing, or combining relaxation with activity, of letting go as a person in order that the immanent and transcendent unknown quantity may take hold. We cannot make ourselves understand; the most we can do is to … Continue Reading…