We Are A Community

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In the west, our culture has been very focused on individuality. This is a step up from tribal mode but, like being a teenager, should be seen as a transitional step. We live in a very interdependent community we often take for granted. But our homes, food, roads, cars, water, power, everything has to be planned, made or grown, distributed and made available to us. It all has to be maintained too. Any yet many people live separate lives, disconnected from those around them. Connecting to a community can be very enriching although it can take time to find the … 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 Origin of Fundamental Qualities (Gunas)

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One of the fundamental principles of the Vedic perspective is the three gunas or qualities. I described them in some detail in About the Gunas but here is a basic outline: Sattva: purity or clarity of the flow (golden) Rajas: movement itself, energy or fire and transformation (red) Tamas: resistance or inertia, impediment to movement (blue) I’ve also explored them relative to awakening, karma, and emotions. A similar perspective is the cycle of creation, maintenance, and destruction. (Brahma, Vishnu, & Shiva) In fact, we may think of the gunas as coming from these principles. But they have a deeper, parallel … 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…

True Samyama

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is a short but potent text that describes Yoga or union. It also contains dozens of formulas to get specific results, like knowing past lives, getting great strength, or flying through the air. You can go into any spiritual bookstore and find many translations of this text. There are also many yoga studios. And yet most have little clue of what the simple contents are describing. This is because it’s experiential. It has to be taught properly so the experience can unfold. Right off the top, the text defines Yoga. 1v2-3: Yoga is the complete … Continue Reading…

What is Destruction?

We tend to see change as a loss, partly because the ego likes to feel in control. It’s also disturbing tamas, our inertia. And yet, the cycle of growth requires change: balance, disintegration, growth, integration, and repeat. Without disintegration, there is no growth, no transformation. Life is inherently change. Our very life depends on the transformation of food, water, and breath. And if we look around us we see that change is the order of the day. In fact, the world around us is being recreated in every moment. The only reason it doesn’t completely change every time is because … Continue Reading…

The Dasha Mahavidya

The Dasha Mahavidya

I touched on the Mahavidya in The Mahavidya Interview but needed more research to do a proper job. As I mentioned there, the Dasha Mahavidya (10 great knowledge) are from Tantra and are embodied by 10 goddesses. While the gods are embodiments of laws of nature, the goddesses are embodiments of the powers (Shakti) that drive them and all of creation. The first cannot function without the power of the second. These goddesses tend to be portrayed with a destructive or dark emphasis, like in the Wikipedia article on the topic. There also is an emphasis on their names, forms, … Continue Reading…

The Mahavidya Interview

Rick Archer recently interviewed Kavitha Chinnaiyan, M.D. on Buddha at the Gas Pump. The conversation revolved primarily around her first book, Shakti Rising: Embracing Shadow and Light on the Goddess Path to Wholeness The interview opened with a short discussion on Direct vs Progressive, the topic of last fall’s SAND panel I was on. I found Kavitha’s approach sensible. Not sure why she was using a Buddhist term, but it seems a popular framing these days. The 10 Mahavidya (great knowledge) are from Tantra and embodied by 10 goddesses. Key to understand is that the gods are embodiments of features … Continue Reading…

The Highest Reality

It’s curious to reflect on Vedanta (end of the Veda) at this juncture. The Brahma Sutra is about Unity into Brahman. The Upanishads, assemblies of key verses from the earlier Vedas, explore Self Realization through to the Brahman shift. When you go into Brahman and beyond, you are beyond Veda itself and there is much less that can be said about it. And yet that’s where the real “source of the source” is, where the highest reality is found. The Vedas are among the oldest and most complete texts available to us. It’s a surprise to consider that most of … Continue Reading…

Types of Self

When people use the English word “self” or any of its variations (myself, himself, etc.), they may refer to one or several things. Most commonly, they’re talking about the personal self or me. Yet if you ask them who they are, they’ll offer their name and profession: what I’m called and what I do – not what I am. If you ask them who they experience themselves as being, they’ll probably think the question odd and be unable to answer it clearly. They may drop into stories to explain who they are. But if they explore the question, by default … Continue Reading…