Archive for December, 2010


Part 3.
Richard Dawkins is interviewed by the BBC’s Stephen Sackur for News24’s HARDtalk.

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From a recent seminar in NYC.

Q&A part V of the Hitchens vs. Turek debate at VCU, VA. Full debate: http://www.vimeo.com/1904911
and (annotated)

Again ethics, Hitchens reference about Sokrates who would feel shame when making a dishonest or shady argument clearly points at Tureks demagoguery (Hitler=Humanist) from before.

At 3:03 Hitchens is asked about the purpose of life though, enjoy the answer.

Richard Moss ‘Radical Aliveness’ Interview by Iain McNay

The Black Butterfly is an invitation to fundamental creativity, to essential change, not merely of our ideas, but of the very basis of our lives. This best-selling book calls us to a radical aliveness, to the very edge of awareness and a breathtaking vision of the potential of our humanness.

A BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE FOR ANY AWAKENING PERSON.”

“Dr. Moss writes of his own powerful, beautiful, and totally spontaneous awakening experience and how he struggled to understand it and, through it, begin the process of living a life of ‘radical aliveness.’ In the book he shares his awakened understandings and the experiences of some of his patients and members of his classes and groups.

“I first read the book ten years ago and it had such a tremendous and beautiful impact upon my consciousness that I am still telling people about it today. I was so glad to see it listed on Amazon.com because it was unavailable for awhile.

The message of the book is just as beautiful and important today. Dr. Moss writes that ‘Awakening is going on in varying degrees in every person. It is not something from which we can turn away.’

In the closing chapter Dr. Moss relates the story of a patient whose awakening during a retreat was so powerful that it resulted in a spontaneous healing of cancer and other negative physical conditions. A must read for everyone who is coming ‘awake’.”

– Reviewer: E.M., “writer, artist and awakening person from Southern California, USA” (from Amazon.com reviews)

Interviews with Four Authentic Western Spiritual Teachers Exploring the Nature of Spiritual Energy and Fundamental Realisation

This book features intimate conversations with four unique Western spiritual teachers who have each undergone a radical process of spiritual awakening. Some describe it as the unleashing of the divine current within.

As the interviews progressed, a unique pattern emerged. During pivotal periods of their spiritual journeys, each was graced with a profound encounter with the Divine Feminine. While the Divine Feminine is not the specific focus of this book, it does surface as a theme in the lives of the teachers featured herein.

About the author:
An urban Tantric Yogi, David Rivers is also a writer, an artist, and a spiritual journalist. In his early twenties, David was profoundly impacted by a sudden and unexpected spiritual awakening, and with it a powerful flow of subtle life energy known as Kundalini.
His spiritual journey has been filled with paradox, a kind of dance between darkness and light, pain and bliss.
He currently resides in rural Australia, where he continues to deepen his spiritual practice.

Interview with Dr Richard Moss for the book – The Dance of Stillness

Many have wondered who the Divine Mother is, yet she is part of all spiritual traditions as a Presence. This video was created as a communication of her Being.

Light of the Presence – God the Mother

God the Mother manifests as the fabric of time itself and as the light within all things. Inseparable from the Oneness, she is the Oneness in manifestation. A sequel to “Devi Prayer – Hymn to the Divine Mother.”

Global Mind Change startles us into reconsidering the role of consciousness in major areas of human concern: science and education, spirituality and consciousness research, health and healing, psychology and psychotherapy, economics and management. Revolutions are generally thought of as large-scale, bloody upheavals involving whole countries and societies. But there are quieter revolutions that begin in the individual mind and create the kind of change that may be even more significant. By deliberately changing their internal image of reality, people are transforming the world.

Right now we are living through one of the most fundamental shifts in histroy—a change in the actual belief structure of Western industrial society. Global Mind Change, first published in 1988, connects every major field of human endeavor in its exploration of the possibilities for social transformation through internal change. Harman, whose career spanned both the technical (electrical engineering) and psychological sciences, examines the role of consciousness in five areas:

* Mature science, which validates subjective, religious, and spiritual insights along with objective data as a way of describing reality
* Spirituality and consciousness research, which shows the compatibility between the world’s religions and the insights of thousands of years of exploration of
consciousness
* Health and healing, where the mind’s role is increasingly recognized as a crucial influence on human wellness
* Psychology and psychotherapy, where research into unexplained phenomena and exceptional mental and physical abilities proves the only human limits are those we
believe in
* Economics and management, where managers are utilizing brain-mind research to release employees’ creativity, and corporations are addressing global issues of
poverty, security, and the environment

Global Mind Change

A visualization of a recorded talk given by the late Dr. Willis Harmanon how our problems, and therefor solutions, are al interconnected.

Harman was a social scientist, academic, futurist, writer, and visionary, best known for his work with SRI International, for being President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, and for his work in raising consciousness within the international business community. (Source: Wikipedia.)

Willis Harman: Metaphysics and Modern Science (excerpt) — Thinking Allowed DVD w/ Jeffrey Mishlove

Contemporary science is engaging in a process of integrating human consciousness into its body of knowledge. As an example of this new direction, Dr. Harman summarizes research into the conscious survival of the death of the body. He points to several lines of evidence suggesting a need for a larger understanding of consciousness.

Willis Harman, Ph.D., is President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. He is author of Global Mind Change, An Incomplete Guide to the Future and Higher Creativity.

Krishnamurti-What is the nature of conciousness-Part 8 of 8


David Wolfe interviews David Wilcock at Eden Hot Springs about EVERYTHING

This series reveals one of the most powerful triggers for weight-regulation, immunity, body fat reduction, and anti-aging… shot at the Longevity Now Conference 2010

This series reveals one of the most powerful triggers for weight-regulation, immunity, body fat reduction, and anti-aging… shot at the Longevity Now Conference 2010

Dr. Lad is the single most influential figure for Ayurveda in the western world. In this video he is interviewed by Floracopeia founder and master herbalist, David Crow.

Sitting Down With Dr. Vasant Lad

Dr. Vasant Lad, M.A.Sc., is one of the world’ foremost experts in Ayurveda. He holds a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery (B.A.M.S.), a Master of Ayurvedic Science (M.A.Sc.) and his academic and practical training includes the study of allopathic medicine (Western Medicine). In the U.S., he is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Ayurvedic Institute, which he founded in 1984. Julie Deife spoke with him there.

By Julie Deife
Julie: When does the soul enter the fetus?

Dr. Lad: According to some Vedic traditions, right at the time of fertilization. The moment the male seed, the sperm, and female egg, the ovum, meet. It is called kalala and love is the foundation. That is one school of thought. Another school of thought says that when the fertilized egg undergoes mitotic division. And one school of thought says that the moment the heart is formed, and that period is the third to fourth month. These schools of thought are there and they speak that we carry parents’ VPK (vata pitta kapha) factor.

Julie: What determines the child’s VPK?

Dr. Lad: Mother’s VPK factor and father’s VPK factor and their diet, their seasonal changes, their lifestyle and their emotional patterns. If the father has high pitta and the mother has high kapha, then these two factors will unite to create kapha pitta constitution into the baby. But even when parents have three kids, the three kids will be three individuals, three personalities, three prakrutis because time of conception is different, season of conception is different and the parents who are making love at that time, what was the mental status of their mind? That is also taking part in creation of prakruti, which is constitution.

Julie: Do the karmic properties of the parents influence the prakruti of the fetus?

Dr. Lad: Every soul chooses his or her parents through his own karmic factors. That is called Sanchit karma, the accumulated karma within the astral body. We attract such parents who are karmically connected and the parents’ karma also attracts that soul that is karmically connected to them.

Julie: Has the discovery of the structure of DNA influenced Ayurvedic medicine?

Dr. Lad: No. Even vata pitta kapha has qualities, has energies in the RNA/DNA molecules. We carry cellular memory of our parents and grandparents in us. This memory is recorded into the kapha part of the cell. Intelligence is the pitta part and the vital breath the cell is breathing, that is prana, the vata. So even though there is discovery of DNA, it doesn’t effect Ayurvedic principles because Ayurvedic principles of vata pitta kapha are subtler than RNA/DNA molecules.

Julie: How does Ayurveda see depression?

Dr. Lad: Depression is not a disease, it is just a symptom of some underlying doshic imbalance. And Ayurveda looks at depression according to doshic type.

Depression could be treated like vata type, pitta type, kapha type. Ayurveda says that vata is related to fear, anxiety, loneliness and nervousness. Pitta is anger, aggression, competitiveness and violence. And kapha is rather slow, sluggish, detached. So if we look at vata depression, just like a breeze, it comes and it goes. Nervousness makes the person, even normal person feel depressed. But vata depression, during that phase, the person is agitated and angry, dry tongue, dehydration, little thirst, insecurity and when that is gone, the depression is gone.

Pitta depression is dangerous, because pitta people are very aggressive, competitive, they are always right and they want to be successful and they are always successful, seeking success, and a man of success always carries fear of failure. If a pitta person fails in the business, fails in his image, he becomes upset, he becomes self-judgmental, and then anger comes towards oneself and then he can get thoughts of committing suicide. Such a serious type of chemical depression is a pitta type of depression. It is worthless to live like that, without self-esteem, without self pride.

And kapha depression is rather romantic, sweet depression – when they are depressed they can eat chocolate, and food is a substitute for their depression and they become chubby and obese. We can eradicate the patterns of depression, but Ayurveda is not a quick fix, it takes time.

Julie: In America we often use Prozac and other drugs for depression.

Dr. Lad: It doesn’t go to the root, it is just playing with the branches and leaves and they don’t attack the root cause.

Julie: If I came to you with pitta depression what could I expect?

Dr. Lad: If such a person comes to me, Ayurveda will feel the doshas through the pulse and through tongue and eye examination. Don’t eat hot, spicy food, don’t eat sour or citrus food, follow pitta soothing diet, and then we’ll give pitta soothing herbs. Once we have established the balance between vata pitta kapha, amazing changes will happen. The fellow will become mellow.

Julie: Are organ transplants an Ayurvedic solution?

Dr. Lad: No. The organ transplant concept was not in Ayurveda. If you transplant the organ you are taking the karma of that person, right? And you also do not know whether that person was vata pitta kapha. Suppose a pitta person’s kidneys are given to the vata person? Ayurveda says, why not rejuvenate the organ? But people don’t have patience. People want instant coffee and instant result. And Ayurveda is not a quick fix.

Julie: What about cloning?

Dr. Lad: It is inappropriate for that sort of thing. Our life is a unique phenomenon. Our parents karma, our own karma, and also, life has a purpose – the purpose of life is self-realization. To know oneself as well. In all these artificial means of cloning, we are interfering with the law of karma.

Julie: What does Ayurveda say about Alzheimer’s?

Dr. Lad: Alzheimer’s is kapha blocking vata, so that athersclerotic changes in the cerebral arteries create vata aggravation and vata dries up the brain cells. It will take time for rejuvenation, but Alzheimer’s can be effectively treated with Ayurvedic management of treating the vata dosha, and rejuvenation of the tissue will give quite excellent results. If it is very serious and most of the brain cells are dead, nothing can be done.

Julie: In your most recent book, The Textbook of Ayurveda, you state that Ayurveda uses ordinary perception and extraordinary perception as diagnostic tools. Ordinary perception is experienced by a direct perception through the senses, and ‘extraordinary perception through association and intuition is developed through persistent yogic and Ayurvedic practice and daily observation.’ Would you explain this, please?

Dr. Lad: I am looking at you. This is ordinary perception, how I look at you. Am I judging you? Am I criticizing you? When I look at an object, I become the observer and the object becomes the observed. Observer/observed division in perception is ordinary perception. When I look at something, something goes out of my eyes, that is my attention.

At the same time I look at the client, I look within. Then observer and observed, both are observed. As you are watching, at the same time watch the watcher and when you watch the watcher and the watcher becomes watched, you will have extraordinary perception. Through that total perception, you know what is going on.

Julie: What is intuition?

Dr. Lad: Intuition is insight and insight is inner light, and inner light is the light of attention, the flame of attention. Not to get lost in the object. Hmm? Intuition is there in the heart of every person. Every person is born with it.

Julie: You are also an artist, and as such, would you say that one’s understanding of Ayurveda is facilitated by right hemisphere activity – the practice of visualizing and conceptualizing and synthesizing holistically?

Dr. Lad: Ayurveda is also art. Art of reading pulse, art of looking into the eyes. Art of listening to the heart sound. And art means to put everything in its right place. That is the definition of art. Ayurveda is art and science. Ayurveda is poetry. Poetry is an art. Ayurveda is logical. Logic is science. And you will see in Ayurveda there is a beautiful balance between logic and art. So right hemisphere is art, intuition. Left hemisphere is logic, science. When they both are balanced the third brain (diencephalon), the primordial brain, awakes and that is the ground of Ayurveda.

Julie: You say the seed of the mind is in the heart.

Dr. Lad: Heart means not physical heart. Heart means the seed of consciousness.

Julie: What is the difference between awareness and consciousness?

Dr. Lad: In true awareness, you are not aware that you are aware. The moment you are aware that you are aware, the awareness is released into consciousness. Consciousness is nothing but having boundaries, and consciousness contains thoughts, feelings, emotion and memory. These are the content of consciousness and if you empty the consciousness, it becomes awareness. It loses its boundary. It loses its structure.

Julie: What do you make of research that’s being conducted hoping to prove benefits of yoga and
meditation?


Dr. Lad:
Even in India there has been research and many researchers are qualified medical doctors. They took EEG before meditation and after meditation they took EEG. Before meditation they took blood profile, after meditation they took blood profile, then they do breathing pattern, blood pressure, electro cardiogram.

There are some alpha waves and beta waves, and electroencephalogram shows slower pattern and there is more carbon dioxide in the blood. They come up with some positive, concrete results and then they conclude that meditation is a good stress management program.

That’s very good. Then meditation can reduce the blood pressure, which is very good, then meditation increases carbon dioxide in the blood so the meditation trains the brain cells to live, to survive, to hibernate even if there is no oxygen. That’s why yogis stay in samadhi. So this is good to do research so that will make the pitta mind, the scientific mind, happy and they will think that, oh, well, this meditation does wonderful stress management. I think it is good to do research based upon this modern technology.

Julie: Would you say that students of yoga should study Ayurveda?

Dr. Lad: Yoga and Ayurveda are ancient branches of healing. Since thousands and thousands of years in India, the land of the Vedas, the land of yoga and Ayurveda, they are absolutely together, no separation. It is very important for the yoga person to learn Ayurveda because in Ayurveda it is said that certain asanas are not good for pitta people. Certain asanas are not good for vata people. For example, headstand, shoulder stand and inverted positions are not good for pitta people.

What I say is a yogi without Ayurveda is half a yogi. And an Ayurvedic physician without yoga is half a physician. The Ayurvedic physician must know yoga and yogic person must know Ayurveda because these are two sides of the same coin.

Julie: How much time should a person plan to take for their first panchakarma treatments?

Dr. Lad: Ayurveda is flexible. In the West, people, the lifestyle is so busy, to have five days from their busy schedule is quite difficult. So if they come for five days and do panchakarma, they feel much better. We should slowly, with great compassion, make people aware of the value of Ayurveda, which works, rather than having strict rigidity.

Julie: What about ‘quickie’ shirodhara treatments becoming so popular?

Dr. Lad: That’s fine too. You know, Ayurveda should be done at airports also. There should be one little place where people traveling a long distance have massage and a nice hot shower and shirodhara. It will definitely do wonderful jetlag management.

Julie: What would you like to share in closing?

Dr. Lad: Ayurveda is for those people who are seriously seeking a longevity of life and really want to heal their relationships, who want to change their way of life, the way they eat, the way they respond.

Ayurveda is not only a medical science, it is a science of life, it is the art of living life, moment to moment, in harmony with the nature, so that Ayurveda will make the life whole. And such a whole person is holy. So Ayurveda truly brings that holiness in the life of the individual.

Julie: Thank you for your time.

A tribute to the great Yogananda and his service and dedication to God and mankind.

This video takes you into a mystical journey deep into the Himalayas .Holy Ganges is captured flowing in all its glory (in the backdrop of Shiva sahasranama Mantra).
The Journey ends in the Vasishta caves where austere penance on Almighty Shiva is still performed,… away from the Maya and illusions of the World.
Come let us merge with the Almighty!!!

At the 2nd International Ayurveda & Yoga conference in Rishikesh, India. Smt.Sambhavi Chopra talks about Ayuveda & Yoga education.

Where she also shares insights and in-depth experiences of these two Ancient Indian Knowledge Systems.

There will also be Yoga and Meditation sessions led by senior teachers, to enable us to open the heart, expand the consciousness and become more receptive to the wisdom.

As the Sun Lotus in Heaven, as the delightful Moon in the clouds,
The Fire on the summit of the human world,
Such is Mother Prachanda Chandika.
Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni

The Mother Goddess opened up the windows of my heart to her beatitude and grace. The Goddess gently drew me into a mystical world of amazing marvels, where I met beautiful people with deep resonances in the inconceivable surroundings of her sacred creation. There arose a profound awareness along with a worldly intelligence at viewing life’s larger picture, seeking divinity within the throes of Mother Nature.

One soon realised that the reality of Shiva, the ‘Transcendent Being’, is seeded deep within us. The eternal presence of Shiva’s mystic light rests at the core of each soul. It is not something one needs to reach out for, as if it were apart from ourselves. Shiva’s divine light is not circumscribed or restricted by any effort or design. An assertive or desperate approach to a spiritual life loses its effects, for Shiva and Shakti must be experienced through Bhakti, ‘profound love’ and fervent invoking. The Divine forces are not available for our personal demands. Clarity of thought, astute awareness and shraddha ‘deep faith and confidence’ must be invoked in tandem with the universal energies that pervade even our ordinary lives. Then the grace can descend in its own way and according to its own wisdom.

A Devi or ‘Goddess’ energy guided me in seeking out the purity and mystique of one’s essence, allowing the bliss of Her eternal presence to illumine my prevailing awareness. Life never changed, but my approach to its myriad experiences took on a new mantle. Through the Devi’s grace one embellished the fabric of this sacred mantle with rich hues of varied designs and motifs of larger spiritual experiences.

Mother Nature continued for me as the support of a veritable Guru, unravelling her wonder and beauty where ever I chose to be. Mother Nature has no religion, just as she recognizes no national boundaries. Her scriptures are open-ended and flow with the benevolence of all life. Sacredness cannot be limited to the pages of a book. Our inner consciousness spontaneously relates to the abundance and beauty of Nature’s world through our ability to sense the Divine spirit existing in a tree, the mountain rock, flowing rivers, or whatever our senses partake of in nature’s mysticism surrounding us.

The female sadhak ‘spiritual aspirant’ who embraces Mother Nature from within is the true Yogini. The Yogini abounds in the sweet bliss of Nature’s mystique and lives in her sacred aura. The Yogini yields to the gentle strains of the inner guru. One who inspires us from within is the real guru, removing the veils of darkness which cloud our thoughts and actions, not simply the one who teaches or preaches. The Yogini sustains the flow of inner joy that is the true form of Guru Shakti. The Yogi can only provide the space and the presence for Shakti to flow; the Yogini herself carries the powerful currents of its celestial energies.

However, before embracing the Mother Goddess’s Shakti sadhana, we must create the appropriate vessel to allow her Divine Grace to be held. For this we need to first deal with our own mental and emotional unrest and turbulence. All the emphasis on psychology dominating our thought today, even in the spiritual realm, has driven people into analysing their suffering and attributing it to others , rather than learning how to catalyse it into something positive and sacred. Through sadhana one learns not to condemn others and dwell on our emotional hurts and traumas; instead we must transform our personal psychology into a deeper love and joyousness, embracing both ourselves and others with compassion and understanding. We must be willing to move forward and shift our energy to higher planes of nirvana, where all can dissolve into an abiding peace.

Life is not meant to be a saga of sinful acts, for which we are continuously punished and left guilt ridden. Life should be an incessant festival of joyousness and vivacity as is the Lila ‘Divine Play’ of Shiva and Shakti. Every moment can unfold a deeper experience of the Divine presence, whether cooking food in our kitchens, doing our work in our offices or our sadhana in our meditation space. Once we awaken the inner flow of grace through our deeper seeking, the Divine guides our hearts and mind.

The mystic spirituality of Rishis ‘great seers ‘of ancient India, is not a faith veiled in sin, condemnation, judgment or damnation. It is the cosmic truth which leads us to the transcendental reality of life as a celebration, where every experience holds universal blessings through the grace and abundance of unbounded divinity. Our celebration rests in the beneficence and freedom of Nature which is an expression of a higher consciousness and joy.

My sadhana transpired amidst the blissful throes of Nature’s abundance, in the sacred shadows of India’s great Himalayan ranges, opening up vast vistas within, unveiling the secrets of the Supreme Spirit. My traverses into sacred precincts of ancient temples like Shiva’s Kedarnath in the snows of 13,000 feet, Shri Durga’s Jhoola Devi nestled in the beatitude of Kumaon hills, or Kalika beckoning the mystic night amidst Deodar forests, all enkindled the embers of inner fires, drawing me into mystical realms of the universal sacred powers.

What the western mind calls Hindu Gods and Goddesses, we refer to with reverence as Devata, ‘Divine principles’, sacred aspects of Brahman, the impersonal Godhead reaching beyond the manifest universe. The Devi or Deva manifest as powers of Bhakti Yoga or Divine love and Jnana Yoga or ‘sacred wisdom’. The Devata symbolises Ishvara, the ‘Cosmic Lord and Creator’, which is why their forms and powers symbolize the extraordinary, supernatural, paradoxical and mystique.

Sacred symbolism unravels the subtleties of Tantra. Symbols unveil the imagery, allegory and metaphors of deep hidden secrets. The ancients called it ‘Gupt Gyan’ ‘deep hidden sciences’, where only the Tantric adept could practice the sacredness of divinity. The Tantrika or ‘sacred adept’ sifts through the veils of mysticism opening the doorway to higher truths and sacred realities. Ancient cultures used symbolism to communicate with Divine Powers relating to profound wisdom through myths and stories.

The sadhak with an inner vision and deep devotion realises the Divine currents of the Devata working through forces of light, fire, time, space and all of Nature. He experiences that Brahman manifests as the unchanging ground of being within the entire cosmic revelation. Brahman prevails in the Devata, God, the Guru, and the sadhak’s own self. The Deva and Devi are two aspects of this supreme Brahman as its Shiva or ‘supreme will’ and Shakti or ‘feminine power and energy’.

The Devi’s Grace, through devotion, prayers, sacred rituals, and the maintenance of a pure sattvic lifestyle, transforms our individual personality into a vast impersonal, balanced nature of equipoise. Divine Grace energises and personifies the Infinite, allowing us to move through the entire gamut of life, death and rebirth. In experiencing the Divine forces as Brahman, we truly allow ourselves to envision the powers and characteristics of their divinity through the yearnings of our spiritual heart. We discover the Divine Person who is not limited by the taints of any human personality, who has the peace of the impersonal but, can manifest it through Divine love.

Not bound by limitations and prejudices of the human mind, one can experience the deeper meaning of the entire cosmic play of innumerable Devatas or Gods and Goddesses. Paying reverence to these Divine forces by relating to their powers through mantras, meditation, yoga asana and Pranayama drew me into their flow of grace. Through spirituality, the devotee relates to the Divine as the mother, father, the consort, child, ideal companion or friend – through every possible human relationship or mode of devotion. Even Hinduism is not about mere idol worship; the image is but a conduit of sacred intimacy to specific Divine powers of deep love and wisdom beyond our human consciousness. Hindu dharma is based on recognition of the One, the All-pervasive Supreme Being, both as Creator and the Unmanifest Reality beyond creation.

Inner Yoga

In inner Yogic practices, one learns to resonate with the sacred name to the nameless; through the sacred form to the formless. Vibrations of the sacred mantra lead us into a deeper silence and transcendental bliss pervading the Absolute void. The sadhak associates himself with human factors in his worship of the Devata. Yet the Devi-Deva, ‘goddess or god’ gradually merges into the one Godhead, the Absolute Brahman beyond all personality and form. The human heart understands and responds easily to the expressions of Divine love and emotion held in such visionary forms. The deity is propitiated in the form of a living or manifest divinity with rituals, sacraments, ceremonies and celebrations. In reality it is the Divine within ourselves which we are propitiating, celebrating and consecrating.

For Shakti-sadhana or Devi spiritual practices, one needs to cultivate the quality of a Vira, an heroic, valiant and fearless approach. Only a courageous soul can perform the internal and external puja, or worship of the Goddess’s supreme power, in Nature’s profoundness. The Vira seeks the truth in every sphere of life unfolding the higher ideals of a spiritual existence. Life plays out the sacrificial Yajna, ‘sacred ritual’ with every simple act of worship in every living moment of our existence, in which we learn to offer ourselves to this higher unknown power.

Sacred rituals hold a deep meaning, symbolising Nature and the Cosmic Reality. Yoga itself is an internal ritual of worshipping the Divine within. Propitiating a Divine form with flowers, incense, fire offerings, sacred chants, food and prayers, we initiate the sacred rites into our own consciousness. Bathing in the waters of sacred rivers purifies our inner and outer being. Through fire rituals we burn away impurities in ourselves and in the environment. Residual sensory impressions, mental agitation and emotional anguish are purified through using incense, the sattvic ‘pure’ bounty of nature’s food, mantra, meditation and a Yogic lifestyle.

As an expression of deep faith or ‘shraddha’ sacred rituals, unfold Mother Nature’s subtle nuances through the language of transformation, divinity and purity. Vedic and Native traditions use certain sacred materials, which enhance the power of our senses unfolding their inner potentials through Nature’s symbolism. The distinctive nature of the offering of incense, food, wood, flowers, oil ,water, and fire consecrated with sacred chants employed, all create vibrations which resonate with the subtle bodies of both the Devata or ‘divine form’ and the person partaking in the practices. Our inner divinity resonates with the Divine in the universe.

The sacred space of worship is fortified with mantras ‘sacred chants’ against all negative influences, drawing lines of protection in the form of fire and water. Through sacred rites of Prana Prathistha, specially designed to bring the divine spirit into the object of worship, the form, image or picture, is induced with Divine life energy. It is worshipped and consecrated with great love, adoration and tender care; through offerings of food and clothes, bathing and shringar or ‘adorning with ornaments’.

Puja involves placing Prana, the life force, into the deity form. The Devata, deity, icon or form, remains inert unless energised with love, life and a consciousness. The image is no longer of simple clay, stone or a mixture of metals; it embodies the spirit, throbbing with the pulse of life, love and higher consciousness, resonating with our own individual being. Prayer alters the vibrations and resonances of our body, mind and spirit.

With sacred rites, I learned to perceive the wisdom beyond worldly appearances, experiencing an unlimited space of the Goddess’s divinity. The whiff of incense impregnated peace and a higher consciousness, the mantra recitation and music sung in praise of the Devi’s glory, unveiled the light of my own human limitations. Through this sacred honouring, the seeker aspires to traverse beyond all outer forms, names and rituals, ultimately realising the Devi energy in the all-pervading Absolute Consciousness and the Self.

The true sadhak awakens various energy centres or Lotus Chakras in his being, invoking the Supreme Spirit into one’s own heart. All ritualistic worship aims towards drawing the Divine into the inner seat or throne in the small flame of the spiritual heart. The sadhak must realise the absolute truth of worshipping the transcendental reality within the core of his own being, allowing divinity to unravel its mysticism and deeper potential in our own lives.

Prakriti, ‘Nature’ in herself, is an expression of divine dance. Her inherent charisma interacts through the passion-play of butterflies with flowers, bees and pollen, the awesome silence of mountains with the echo of a stream’s ripple, the romance of wistful clouds and their odyssey in space, the tempestuousness of ocean waves with the winds, and the electrifying dance of lightning through the void. Is this not the Goddess’s dance, which permeates the rhythms of our lives in tandem with Mother Nature? We must gravitate towards the sensuous movement of all sacredness celebrating life through a cosmic dance.

Since millennia human life has intimately interwoven with the sacredness of Nature’s play, such as the sacred rituals that we find in all traditional societies. Nature holds its sacred intelligence in our very being, despite our forsaking its power with modern day technology. The same Prana ‘life force’ and energy exist in its rhythmic cycles where Nature plays to the symphony of the cosmic fire in every soul. Our innate wisdom remains inseparable from Mother Nature’s sacred wisdom or ‘Jnana’. Vedanta, Ayurveda, Jyotish (Vedic Astrology) relate to this prevailing universal sacredness that is inherent in the cosmic movement itself. These are not topics of mere curiosity; they hold the cosmic wisdom for our future healing, well-being and Global harmony.

The secrets of Yoga rest in the beneficence of Mother Nature and her universal energies. These ancient secrets divulge their potent powers through the wisdom of the ‘Inner Yogic Eye’, our intuitive perception and insight. The elements of Nature play a pivotal role in creating a deeper awareness of this Yogic Reality. Each element, be it the stability of Mother Earth, fire’s flaming rage, the magic wisps of air, cooling waves of water or the atmosphere’s ethereal hint, all serve to unravel an inner sacred reality. Nature encodes every cosmic reality for our inner unfolding of divinity.

The yogic vision finds its poetry in the gentle flowing waters of our minds, the rushing blood of our hearts, the pure effervescence of a waterfall, the vibrant spirit of rivers, the whirlpool of an ocean and the deep stillness of placid lakes. Sacred waters hold the essence of all divine grace, the Soma, the honey nectar of life, the ultimate Ananda of immortality. Sustaining and energizing these Pranic waters in our global world and our personal lives revitalises the soul, allowing the being to traverse the hidden delights of our universal existence.

May our prayers seek the art of flowing with the sacred waters through life’s surging streams invoking the divine grace of the Goddess within!

Jai Ma Guru!

By Shambhavi Chopra, adopted from Yogic Secrets of the Dark Goddess (Wisdom Tree India, 2007)

Pilar Jennings was exposed to Buddhist meditation early in life. Her mother took her to her first meditation course at age 10, and her experience there has essentially influenced her spiritual and professional life ever since.

In this engaging and informative work, Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism (Wisdom Publications, on sale December 1, 2010), psychotherapist and long-time practicing Buddhist, Pilar Jennings, Ph.D., explains how she came to this world of “mixing and matching” healing traditions. Mixing Minds explores the interpersonal relationships between psychoanalysts and their patients, and Buddhist teachers and their Western Buddhist students. Through Jennings’ own personal journey in both traditions, she attempts to shed light on how these contrasting approaches to wellness affect our most intimate relationships.

Through her lucid writing, Jennings discusses the many radical differences and areas of synergy between Buddhism and psychoanalysis, with a focus on the primary relationships within each system. She explores how each tradition helps us enter into and sustain relationship, and how the core teachings of each tradition come to life by examining how Buddhist teachers relate to their students and how psychoanalysts relate to their patients.

Mixing Minds tackles subjects such as the assumption that one’s spiritual practice addresses the same issues/dynamics that are explored in therapy; cultural differences in the origins of these two practices as well as the differences in emphasis (spiritual/universalistic versus psychological/personal); the driving motivation behind the Western exploration of meditation and Buddhist teaching, as well as potential stumbling blocks along the path of practice for Western Buddhists.

Pilar Jennings in an engaging and fascinating interview, discusses:

• Why the focus on relationships is relevant to religion
• How Buddhism and psychoanalysis are different in their goals and methods
• How Buddhism and psychoanalysis are actually compatible healing traditions, and why they need each other
• How Buddhism is in fact a religion, and how this understanding can be useful to the psychological well-being of its practitioners
• The psychological pitfalls to practicing Buddhism as a Westerner
•Does therapy really work

Mixing Minds is one of the finest contemporary books on the dialogue between Buddhism and psychoanalysis. Jennings’ rich discourse examines the strengths and limitations of each discipline, clarifies the way in which they can complement one another, and consequently deepens your understanding and appreciation of these two great wisdom traditions.

Pilar Jennings, Ph.D. is a writer and researcher who has focused on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation practice. She received her Ph.D. in Psychiatry and Religion from Union Theological Seminary, and has been working with patients and their families through the Harlem Family Institute since 2004. Prior to this training, she earned a Masters degree in medical anthropology from Columbia University, and a Bachelors degree in interdisciplinary writing from Barnard College of Columbia University. Pilar is a long-term practitioner of Tibetan and Vipassana Buddhism, and has studied with senior teachers in both traditions. She has also trained as a Buddhist chaplain through the Zen Center for Contemplative Care. Pilar Jennings lives in New York City.

In this clip, Dr. Jennings, author of Mixing Minds, discusses Buddhism and psychotherapy. For more information, visit http://www.pilarjennings.com.

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