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…

Where is the Resistance?

Resistance by Monika

The experience of resistance can be a very useful flag. But it’s important to look into it and see where it’s coming from. Is it within us or from around us? Where do we feel it? If an event arises in life and we have a strong and sustained reaction, we know there is an inner resistance and an emotional charge here to be resolved. For example, someone makes an off-hand comment that dismisses something important to us. Do we roll our eyes or flame up in anger and resentment? The latter shows a past experience is influencing our present. … 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…

Action and Support

Kalani.

The recent article Natures Support lead to some further questions and discussion that are worth exploring. Karma is an eastern word that means action. It is energy with a motivator in it. For every action there is an equal reaction, a consequence. Usually, when people are talking about karma, they’re talking consequences. When we resist what is arising in our life, we can prevent the flow of energy from completing. Thus it cycles around again in the future. This is the wheel of karma. If there has been a history of resistance, which is typical, a backlog builds up. This … Continue Reading…

Nature’s Support

ocean of love

I wrote about Nature’s Support last spring but the topic has come around again from a different angle.   There is an idea in eastern philosophy known as the support of nature. As we stop resisting life and instead learn to work with what is arising, we cooperate with the flow of life in and around us. Our desires are then fulfilled more easily, we can work out problems faster, and what we need just shows up.   Keep in mind that everything that happens is being done. Our cooperation allows those who support us to support us more easily. … Continue Reading…

Feeling Supported

sand sub

There is a great curiousness to the human condition. We’re bathed in a sea of love and yet many experience being alone and unsupported. Our body itself is a community on multiple levels and yet we experience being a separate individual. There is profound work in creating and sustaining our life. Yet we’re often unaware of this. Historically, we lost our connection to the Divine in the descending cycle of time. This caused us to grasp at what we still knew of, our sense of personal identity. But disconnection from the whole caused us to fall out of sync with … Continue Reading…

Offer it Back

prayer of the frog

If we’re struggling in some area of life, it may be due to the cycles of time, the collective, or unfolding karma. But it’s also useful to look at how we are with circumstances. If we’re resisting or responding with depression or other heavier emotions, we may be offering a sinkhole to the energy of growth. This is not a suggestion of blame. It’s natural to feel bad when things go poorly. But soon, it’s time to move on. What are we bringing to life? What are we feeding? What is supported now? An early example for me was Maharishi … Continue Reading…

The Appearance of the Doers

The deeper you go, the less localized and more universal you get. For example, most experience their body, emotions, and thoughts as local and personal. But as you touch deeper into fine feelings, intuition, and bliss you find them more expansive and less personal. And yet, these more universal values may also feel more intimate as they’re closer to your true Self. We can also look at this another way, through the elements. Earth is very specific, water has a little less distinctive edges, fire even more so. Each is less localized. Ditto the lower 3 chakras. But as you … 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…