"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)
Each year, for the past twenty-five years, we’ve taken our pilgrims to a snake temple on the outskirts of the local village. This is no ordinary temple. Upon entry, we are greeted with an image of a beautiful goddess hooded with a five-headed serpent and the body of a snake. What is remarkable about this temple is that a live serpent dwells here in the form of a female cobra.
Eggs and milk are left out daily and are consumed by the snake that dwells in a large mound covered with turmeric as a sign of healing and worship. There is also a stone form of the goddess inside, upon which the priest pours liquids for special pujas. He performed a rather remarkable ritual for us, during which we chanted many of the mantras we use in our school, along with mudras, to engage the experience.
The original snake cults that are also associated with fertility cults continue to be integrated into the Tantric form of Hinduism that dominates popular Hinduism today, especially in our native state...
A few days ago, we performed Rudra Abhisekham on the river bed. The waters of the holy river Cauvery are controlled by a dam in order to distribute the water over many fields and villages. It is a wide riverbed with gorgeous river sand in areas that make for amazing spaces to meditate and conduct spiritual practice.
The effect of this ancient form of worship is to generate a powerful wave of positive energy that, in turn, removes negative vibrations. The Shiva Lingam, which is the focus of the puja, emanates a distinctive vibration for which mantras from the Yajur Veda are chanted, in particular, the Sri Rudra Praśna.
Around 6 pm, on a full moon, we gathered together on the river sand to pour milk and make other traditional ablutions on the Shiva Linga, offering flowers, incense, and fire. It was a magical experience, especially to sit as a community in silent meditation after the ritual was completed.
The Rudra Praśna is a collection of eleven anuvākas (sections) comprising the...
Bede Griffiths would often tell us how important it is to live close to nature, which is why he designed a lifestyle for the monk modeled on Indian village life.
So very often, when we encounter nature, we want to engage the experience through the lens of our phones and cameras, documenting the encounter instead of experiencing it.
Can we experience our experiences as experiences?
If you want to explore what this means, try and become aware of how much of the human experience you are having at any moment is consumed by descriptive and inferring thoughts, images (of others one might be connected to), projections into or away from the immediate experience and associations with other matters, even if related to the experience.
Imagine the ability to experience an experience, no matter what it is, with a minimal amount of thoughts, associations, projections, and imagination. What would a peach, or some wonderful fruit, taste like? Even the simplicity of eating something...
Our most recent experience was an extraordinary fire ceremony known as homa, havan or yagna. We’ve experienced countless ceremonies like this over the years, but this one was different and amazingly powerful.
First, the ceremony began with a ritual that we learn in our mystery school. This powerful healing Tantric ritual fashions tumeric into an shape that is representative of the remover of obstacles (Vighneśwara). Many of us turned to each other in recognition as we noted that procedure and the mantras that we’ve learned to chant.
The next part was the fire ceremony that began with the homa nyāsa followed by the homam, which was extraordinarily powerful. It was to the Ultimate Shakti, invoking Her as Brihadnayaki (the ancient leader).
Although we have learned to offer mantras and offerings in the sacred fire, there was a fascinating vibration during the priest’s rendering of particular mantras, mudras and offerings, something that cannot be put into words. Some...
OVERVIEW: ABOUT THIS BLOG
I've put quite some thought into this insightful blog that can help you discern the best approaches in your meditation practice. The approaches are those that stimulate creativity and productivity in contrast to those that take us into depth consciousness and mystical relationships.
There's quite a bit of insights in the blog for teachers, coaches, and healers, as well as professionals and everyday spiritual practitioners. You will need to read the blog to understand the concluding recommendations on why it is best not to engage both approaches simultaneously.
FUNCTIONAL MEDITATION VERSUS MYSTICISM
The word "meditation" is most often used in a generic sense to mean any type of spiritual practice. Since the Herbert Benson study at Harvard, practices that elicit what is called the "relaxation response" have come to be the benchmark for meditation practices. Any practice that helps you lower your stress can, inversely, increase your productivity and...
Because spirituality, like life, is about relationships.
What is spirituality about most of all? One word that perhaps most humans will relate to behind the various norms and practices is "connection."
On the one hand, as humans, our spiritual connection (with the divine) is with something we don't see with our physical eyes; on the other, it is with something we discern through a different sense: something like intuition, perhaps.
In other words, there is a paradox behind the word "connection" and the process involved. We seek connection through a mysterious process about something that words often fail to define: the divine reality. It is challenging to pin down the divine truth as this, that, or the other. Yet, we believe in it and relate to it as a reality, or, in most cases, the truth, the supreme reality.
"Paradox" is another word critical to deep spirituality, as paradox helps us resolve the profound contradictions that arise within us due to spiritual experience and process....
Lakshmi Tantra is the quintessential method of manifestation. Many teachers of manifestation have taken their methods from this ancient system without giving credit to their sources. Now you can study the traditional way to assist your process as a practitioner of manifestation techniques or as a teacher of such techniques.
Can you identify a sense of lack in your consciousness, in relationships, your career, your finances, your location, your environment?
Can you determine that you are willing to do something about this lack, that you are determined to commit to the process daily?
Can you decide that you are willing to commit to building your relationship with Lakshmi because you see her as a way towards.
If you can say YES to all three of these questions, you can change every “I can’t” To “I can”
Sunday, November 12 is Diwali, perhaps the most important Hindu festival of the year that celebrates the triumph of spiritual light over the darkness. It is on par with Christmas for Christians.
To help you prepare for this auspicious day, a time to invoke the goddess Lakshmi, you can engage a 15-minute abundance meditation visualizing what you want to manifest for yourself, your loved ones, and the world.
We hope you can feel the blessing of this moment when the stars and deities configure to grant us prosperity and well-being. Wear a good headset for an immersive effect and make yourself comfortable before you begin the meditation.
Without throwing a dampener on this blessed time of the year, recent developments in the world cast a shadow that is impossible to ignore, especially as civilians come under direct fire. Let us pray for the resolution of conflict in our world and for peace to establish itself in human hearts as we envisage good fortune and well-being...
While temple elephants might be seen as emissaries of Ganesha, could we, as humans, also explore this possibility? On this pilgrimage of life, what does Ganesha symbolize for us?
One of our secret expectations on pilgrimage is to encounter a temple elephant. Somehow, these elephants are different. Could it be because people approach them as Ganesha, the God of Wisdom and Remover of Obstacles? Could it be because they are trained to bless those who come to them by gently touching their trunk on the bowed head of the devotee?
Although live elephants can draw people to the temple, that is not the intended reason for their presence there. It is their connection to divinity and sacredness that is paramount. The unmistakable connection is to Lord Ganesha, Hinduism's beloved elephant-headed God, a child born of Shiva and Shakti. Receiving a blessing from a temple is especially auspicious.
In ancient times, elephants were used in India to clear the forests for agriculture, so...
In many places worldwide, humans hurt other humans in the most horrendous ways. At times, it happens in our families, neighborhoods, and backyards.
What happened in Israel on Oct 07 was awful and emotionally devastating. And now Gaza is painful to follow. And then, there's Ukraine; and Sudan.
In some ways, one feels helpless. What can we do, we ask, to end these human conflicts? Where does our power lie? One response is prayerful chant.
There is nothing political about this post. It is simply an assortment of peace prayers in multiple languages that can be sung sequentially and simultaneously.
You probably have places on the planet that deeply concern you. Please join us in collectively praying and chanting for peace on a global scale.
Featured on this page is a video with graphics that serves as a meditation, a complete text of the lyrics, and a video showing the guitar chords if you want to learn it.
PUT ON A GOOD HEADSET AND KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN...