"Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitute wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there." Meister Eckhart (12th Century mystic)
As humans, we seek and value experience. Our experience is best when it involves all parts of ourselves. The more of ourselves we include, the more fulfilled our experience.
Imagine a family sitting around a table to partake of a meal, like Christmas or Thanksgiving. If there is an argument between a couple of individuals, the rest of the family cannot enjoy the meal.
This dynamic happens to our experience when there is an internal conflict going on during our experiences: for example, watching a movie. Although we might be doing something enjoyable, we are not enjoying ourselves.
This dynamic happens during spiritual practice, as well. We are doing something supposed to make us feel better, but we feel dead inside. There is not enough juice in our experience to fulfill us.
Tantra is a path that teaches us how to have full experiences. We learn to include the disparate parts of who we are by pulling them together into the cohesiveness.
Sometimes, it is not so much that parts of...
Please join me in a daily practice of speaking (or chanting) a beautiful mantric prayer for 11 days. It takes less than a minute, and you can easily add it to your regular prayer and meditation.
As the war in Ukraine enters a new phase, we need to use our voices to do all we can to build a better world. One voice we can use is the voice of prayer.
Friday is a sacred day to begin a new undertaking with the grace of the goddess. And this is the start of the Tamil New Year, too.
In the video below, you can learn to speak a mantra. Vedic mantras are beautiful prayers often offered for the welfare of the whole world.
Although this mantric prayer captures the spirit of the Vedas, it is not from the classic Vedic tradition. It is, however, easy to learn.
sarveśāṁ svastir bhavatu
sarveśāṁ śāntir bhavatu
sarveśāṁ pūrṇaṁ bhavatu
sarveśāṁ maṅgalaṁ bhavatu
oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
Mantras might offer us enhanced consciousness in a world...
Mountains have always been a draw for those who seek higher consciousness. Like spiritual practice, climbing mountains require effort. But not everyone wants to see spirituality as something that requires action. For instance, healing through relaxing or meditating to destress is often the draw.
Here are three reasons why mountains inspire spiritual practice:
1 Effort: First, mountains (like spiritual practice) require effort. Not everyone wants to put in the effort. Most people like things to come easy their way.In Yoga, effort, abhyāsa is the essence of the path.
2 Detachment: Second, we can only carry what we need to climb a mountain. The rest we must leave behind, which requires detachment, a willingness to let go of all except the essentials. In Yoga, this is vairāgya.
3 Mystery: Finally, mountains move us away from the familiar. We are journeying into the unknown, into the mystery. Most people prefer the familiar, which prevents authentic spiritual...
For the Tantric practitioner, every night is Shiva Ratri. Each night, as we go to sleep, we can consciously surrender our minds and bodies to sacredness. Shiva is a way into pure consciousness.
Once a year, in the holy month of Phalguna, occurring between late winter and the advent of summer, at this very time of year, we celebrate "Maha Shiva Ratri," the Great Night Of Shiva.
There are many stories about the symbolic significance of this festival, chief among them being Shiva's celestial dance, also known as the Tandava. This dance embraces creation, sustenance, and destruction.
It is awful that this Maha Shiva Ratri, the people of Ukraine, are undergoing a devasting experience of death and destruction. Shiva, however, does not mean "destruction" but blessing.
The dance of life includes birth and death. Amid this process is the soul's liberation from the cycle of births and deaths. Therefore, we can pray for the people of...
These are undoubtedly challenging times for everyone in the world. But I want you to know that there is always hope. And a way to address our inner conditions.
When speaking of spiritual practice in the unprecedented circumstances of our time, we have to weigh every word we utter. In addition, our methods have to address the anxiety and depression resulting from so much uncertainty.
No superficial practice will cut it. What is happening in our world is not simple. So we cannot expect a simple solution.
For example, if you want to calm your mind and the nervous system quickly, I suggest chanting "Om Namah Shivaya" with Gnana Mudra. You can reference the mudra in the blog image above. The combination of sound and gesture is powerful. You are grounding and energizing simultaneously.
However, sustaining spiritual consciousness during challenging times requires stamina. Mantra practice will lend itself to the process, but we must learn more than just mantra practice. That's where this...
The new year is upon us, and the first thing we want to impress upon ourselves is that this is a long moment of refreshment and rejuvenation. Like the start of a new day, after the night's sleep, we get a whole new year to realize our dreams and formulate new ways of being healthy and happy.
Here is a new message for our Yogic Mystery School students. It offers insights on healing, spirituality, time, agenda and our calendar...
TANTRA, MANTRA AND WHOLENESS
This Sunday, Jan 9, Asha offers a Wholeness Cooking class complemented with a discussion group next Sunday, Jan 16. The previous month's meetings and supportive webinars and tutorials are all loaded up in the related web portal for this Wholeness Immersion. In addition to recipes, we're teaching "Food Mantras" and exploring "Foods, Moods, And Mantras" together.
A SLEEP OF PRISONERS
Dark and cold we may be, but this
Is no winter now. The frozen misery
Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move;
Christmas is here, and it is no ordinary Christmas. News about covid continues to dominate our world. In several regions, there is deep concern around the threat of war breaking out. In other parts, like Afghanistan, war has ended, but a humanitarian crisis has emerged in its place. Children, innocent, and without a clue, suffer from a lack of food and medical care.
Coming into proximity with divinity can offer us deep healing. So this Christmas, we invite you to find your way to come into proximity with the holy mystery that we celebrate as the entry of God into human consciousness through the incarnation of Jesus. We can observe this child's energy at this time of the year and connect our inner child to this spiritual birthing.
On Hindu holy days, like Diwali or Navaratri, we remind all our students that these are powerful opportunities to connect with the divine because of the devotions of millions at that particular time. So, too, this Christmas, we want to invite you to find...
Navaratri means nine nights, an auspicious time of the year to invoke Durga. Durga is a form of the Ultimate Shakti, which is the feminine Godhead. All women (and especially disempowered women) should tap into this identification with Ultimate Reality and the formidable sense of power Shakti conveys.
Shakti is the ultimate principle of life that is both feminine and powerful. Durga represents the formidable power of this Ultimate Shakti, coalesced into symbolic form with multiple arms and weapons and riding a tiger (or lion). She is a warrior goddess whose very name translates as a fortress unto herself.
There are three Durga mantras in varying levels of complexity I would like to suggest. These are not necessarily Navaratri mantras; however, they can and will help you tap the power of Durga and the significance of this Shakti at this time.
That's a good starting point. This mantra develops the...
Over many millennia, humans have used sound and music for healing in cultures around the world. Shamans are the perfect example. With their rattles, drums, and vocalizing, they invoke a spirit or take the person in need of healing into a dimension not known in ordinary states of consciousness. In the 1600s, the western world learned of such conditions through trance-induced yogis who could sleep on a bed of nails and offered cures to various ailments. Later, in the 60s, non-ordinary states of consciousness were associated with psychedelic drugs such as LSD used by hippies. Unfortunately, neither of these examples does justice to the healing power of non-ordinary states. At the same time, we need to take care not to be quick to assume that any non-ordinary state achieved by any means can be helpful to our healing. Finally, we might like to add that a certain maturity is necessary to approach the process with integrity. This article is about such maturity and integration.
First published in Common Ground May/June 2021 as "The Yoga of Sound: Mantras and Creativity"
When repeating a mantra is boring,
here's how to enliven your practice.
Today, there is widespread interest in kirtan and in mantra chanting, especially within the yoga community. It is as though Western yoga has discovered its soul through these expressions. And there is a lot of creativity happening with mantras, which while good in some ways, can compromise the power and potency of mantras on the other. Creativity, however, is important! It is in itself a form of healing. Mantras too are a form of healing. How then do we bring the two together—mantras and creativity?
Health, we are fast realizing, is not simply the absence of disease: it is a condition of soul that invigorates our being, enabling us to derive the most from life. Also, the effects of yoga as well as of sound vibrations upon our health and well-being have garnered credibility in recent decades....