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* For those intersecting with mental health.
Today, mental health conditions are at the forefront, with years of covid, the war in Ukraine, and levels of uncertainty never experienced on such a scale. Unfortunately, while meditation can be a powerful tool in mental health, it can be an equally powerful means of avoidance and spiritual bypassing. Our school has explored the relationship between spiritual practice and mental health for many years. As a result, it has come up with insights and innovative methods outside the box of meditation conditioning.
* For those interested in enlightenment.
Meditation plays a unique role in simulating and stimulating the enlightenment experience. This intensive focuses on honing specific techniques for realizing atman, otherwise known as the deep self, or the imago Dei, the divine image within us. These words (atman, Imago Dei, etcetera, are metaphors for an experience that is also a process. Unfortunately, the process aspect of enlightenment is often downplayed to emphasize a state of consciousness beyond methods. Our school emphasizes the latter because that's where we identify our blinders on the path.
* For those interested in advanced mantra meditation
This intensive is for both students and teachers of meditation who want to further their understanding and practice. Vedic mantras, in particular, are a tremendous aid to the enlightenment experience as they help create luminosity in our consciousness. Although our school does not claim that solely chanting Vedic mantras ensure enlightenment, we devote substantial time and energy to the traditional Vedic chanting, which we know as simulating and stimulating the enlightened state. In this intensive, we focus on ways to chant Upanishadic Shanti mantras to facilitate optimal conditions of consciousness for enlightenment.
Three characteristics of Vedic mantras require consideration if we want to tap into the spiritual technology behind these other-world sounds.
1) CADENCE: One of these is cadence, the ebb and flow of speech conveyed by the length of vowels. There are three vowel lengths in Sanskrit, and each must be correctly spaced to facilitate proper cadence. Unfortunately, dedicated and yoga-loving spiritual practitioners often incorrectly pronounce these lengths, extending short vowels, contracting long vowels, and compacting medium-length vowels.
2) ASPIRATES: Another is the heavy-sounding aspirates, sounds that require a lot of breath, which is why they are known as "mahā prāṇa." Mahā means "great," while prāṇa, as you would know, is the life force within the breath. These sounds are often not pronounced, meaning without aspiration, which is why most chanters do not sound like the brahmin priests and pundits who articulate these sounds giving mantras they śakti: power!
3) PITCHES: Finally, there are the tones. Traditional Vedic chanting, particularly from the Krishna Yajur Veda, uses three primary pitches: middle, upper and lower. The use of these tones, combined with the cadence of correct vowel length and the explosive power of the aspirates, creates the magic of the experience, entraining the mind and body to an alternate state of consciousness. In other words, we are not creating musical expressions like kirtans or devotional singing of such mantras for their effect.
Vedic mantras are the quintessential mantra! The word "mantra" occurs first in the Vedas. No other civilization has a term that connotes the meanings or the method associated with this spiritual technology before the Vedas. Therefore, staying true to the three characteristics—cadence, aspirates, and tones, facilitates the entrainment intended by the Rishis of old. In our Yogic Mystery School, a modern-day equivalent of the ancient Upanishadic schools, we teach this system, and students are successful in mastering the method.
When all of the characteristics of Vedic mantras come together, we put on the mind of the Rishi, much like a virtual reality headset, and we experience the perceptive power of those ancient seers while simulating and stimulating the exprience of what Karl Jaspers once called the Axial period. The Upanishads heralded this period with its forest texts and their Shanti mantras.
This is what we offer in our Yogic Mystery School.