The word liminal: Derives from the Latin word Limin, which translates as threshold. A threshold is a boundary that marks a point of transition between one place and another, one state of being and another, or one object and another.…
Mantras are said to be the language of the gods. What does this mean and how do mantras work?
- Do mantra simply calm the mind or are they magical words of power that can unlock the secrets in the deep unconscious parts of you?
- Why is it said that mantras can both liberate and protect you?
- Why is initiation so important? Why is it said that mantras can only unlock the secrets within you if you have had an initiation from a guru or experienced teacher?
These and other questions will be answered in the upcoming Yoga Tantra Study Group Masterclass, which is focusing on the higher aspects of chakras, mantras and yantras.
Attempts to deal with desire range from the uninhibited revelry of Greco-Roman cults, the ‘desire is good’ approach, to the strict asceticism of old-world traditions such as Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, the ‘desire is bad’ approach.
These two approaches still exist today.
For example, The Law of Attraction encourages the pursuit of desires and teaches that whatever you want, believe, and focus on will manifest. On this path, be careful what you wish for. If your desires are not dharmic (aligned with your nature), they may either fail to manifest or cannot bring the satisfaction you imagined.
The ascetic approach aims for a desireless, egoless, and selfless existence. Asceticism views the body and its appetites as separate and inferior to the spirit and prescribes transcendence of the body. To succeed in the ascetic life, the seeker needs a particular temperament, the right environment, conditions, and training. Who of us can truly give up desire? Even the intention to surrender desire is a desire. When desires arise, the ascetic may feel they have failed at spiritual life.
There is a third approach that balances the extremes. More suited to the contemporary seeker, the yoga tantra approach regards both desire and desirelessness as equally important. Yoga tantra forges a conscious connection between dharma, desire, and transcendence. This enables seekers to fulfill their desires in a balanced way while striving for spiritual growth.
We teach the yoga tantra path at Big Shakti.
Within many yogic and tantric traditions, certain seasons, months, and times of the day are given special importance.
They are ‘auspicious’ times when cosmic energies are heightened and, as such, support psycho-spiritual practice. These auspicious moments in time assist us in achieving positive results. For example, dawn and dusk are said to be ideal times for yoga and meditation.
The festival of Navarātri or Nine Nights (‘nav’ is nine and ‘rātri’ is nights) is one of the great ceremonies in the lives of Hindus in India. The exact time of this celebration varies according to the lunar calendar. It begins on a dark moon in the Indian autumn (in the month of Ashwin, usually in October) and ends ten days after. In 2020 Navaratri starts on the 17th of October (depending on which part of the world and time zone you live in).
This period of The Nine Nights is devoted to invoking The Great Mother Goddess, The Divine Creative Power, or Shakti, the creator and supporter of the universe. She is most closely identified with Durga, an exquisitely beautiful goddess who rides a lion, and who wields in her many hands’ awesome weapons, including the ‘shul’ (pike), ‘chakra’ (wheel), ‘parashu’ (ax), and ‘talvar’ (sword).
Durga is said to be the manifestation of the power of all the goddesses that, long ago, faced a terrible and irresistible demon called Mahishasura.
Mahishāsura is a mythic representation of the human ego in its demonic form
Many yogis do not see Navaratri as a religious process, but rather as a psycho-spiritual one, and a unique opportunity for yogic practice.
They adopt certain practices and rituals to understand their psychological shadow and to confront their egos.
They have tried a few simple mindfulness and breath awareness techniques; however, they tell us they couldn’t meditate because they couldn’t stop thinking. They either feel bored looking at their thoughts, which they had hoped would stop, or they become nervous because they could not stop the anxious feelings, emotions, and memories that accompany these thoughts.
It is a common misconception that you have to stop thinking to meditate. Rather the opposite is true. When you start off in meditation, the mind will be full of thoughts. This is a sign of success. The attainment of the thoughtless state, the state of Inner Silence, comes later on down the path.
The tragedy is, that because of this initial experience with pure mindfulness techniques, many people close the door on meditation and say that it is not for them. The real problem is that they have experienced only one technique, have not had access to theory, and are unaware that there are many other techniques that can give them a peaceful experience of meditation, even if they are thinking.
Mindfulness is one of the most popular forms of meditation. However, mindfulness, which is really the simple act of paying attention to the present moment and not being lost in thinking and rumination, is only a small part of meditation. It has gained popularity because it has been integrated into mental health programs where it is part of a larger approach to mental health. Mindfulness is not a standalone technique. It supports the clinical psychologists’ treatment of mental illness.
For most people, and especially in a clinical setting, mindfulness needs to be combined with other techniques that enable you to reduce negative feelings attached to thoughts. You need to combine mindfulness with techniques that enable you to cultivate positive feelings so that you develop a positive sense of self-control.
Much more is possible if you understand the theory behind meditation. This includes learning about the structure of the mind, and how to apply meditation to the thinking, feeling, and knowing aspects of the mind.
The following story, called The Rainmaker, was told to the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung by Richard Wilhelm (1873-1930). Wilhelm was a German sinologist, theologian, and missionary who lived in China for 25 years. He was fluent in spoken and written…