Sādhana is the intent of freedom that transforms confused understanding into wisdom, contraction into openness, judgement into insight, and mind into heart. All hesitation is incinerated in the fire of commitment.
In the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition, the term “liberation upon seeing” has two meanings. One is that liberation comes when we truly see our misunderstanding and limited perception — and our willingness to live in and defend that confused state. But it can also mean that liberation occurs upon seeing the guru as Awareness.
What is so powerful about those two statements is that they are not actually different. In fact, the entire interaction with a teacher is to create a mirror that reflects back to us our own misunderstanding so that we can know it for what it is. Left to our own devices, we don’t have such a mirror and remain trapped in our opinions, confused state, and contracted heart. We are unable to see beyond that.
The Relationship with Pure...
Consider the (mis)adventures of Wile E. Coyote, who is perpetually chasing the Road Runner. As the chase reaches the edge of a giant canyon, Mr. Coyote barrels over the cliff while the Road Runner stops short, watching his nemesis fall. An incessant chase. . . and perpetual near miss.
This is not to say that reaching for things in life — relationships, careers, or anything else — is necessarily bad, or that these things are not part of the search for God in our hearts. But one of the things we incessantly chase and get tangled up in is relationships. Instead of allowing our relationships to be the expression of life’s abundance, we get caught in the chase.
Attempting to find fulfillment, happiness, or joy anywhere outside ourselves stems from our misunderstanding, based on dualistic consciousness. As nondualists, we must come to realize that everything is an expression of the simple, profound beauty of life, and we should endeavor to cultivate and celebrate that...
There is only one key to being absorbed into the Divine — and only one key in spirituality — and that is surrender.
The true essence of surrender is the surrendering of our will, and the greatest act of our free will is to surrender it. We all have the choice to surrender, but when we decide to make that choice is a critical point in our spiritual freedom. Make it early, make it late, but make it. We make it not because we are forced to, but because we celebrate the opportunity to give our life back to God. I believe that the joyous offering of ourselves back into our Source is the highest expression of free will.
Tantric tradition discusses the progression of our spiritual life in terms of the means of practice, called upāyas. The highest is śāmbhavopāya, which is the path of awareness, the path of will, and the path of Śiva. A concise way of combining these elements is that it is the path of Śiva’s will to express His own innate awareness in us, through us, and...
Surrender is the conscious offering of oneself back to the Self. — Swami Khecaranatha
Samvitti’s words, the ego appropriates the Self, succinctly explain how the limited part of us called ego perpetuates its own existence through the freedom of choice given to all individuals.
The ego binds us in separation and suffering — in an unwillingness and inability to know the pure joy of our Source, which is ever-present within us.
God’s pure, infinite Consciousness has within it every level of consciousness, even the limited level of ego. We are always part of that Unity, but because we are attached to our separate identity, we must surrender that self-image. This must be a conscious act of offering ourselves back to the very power of freedom that gives us the capacity to offer our selves back!
What does it mean to surrender something, and how do we surrender the mind, which is the agent of ego? There are three conscious acts of surrender:
1) Surrendering Something...
As students, we have a responsibility to continually connect to the depth of refined energy that is transmitted through the teacher. This requires some discernment, because the energy that moves through a lineage is perpetually purifying and refining itself.
In any authentic practice the energy is like water running down a mountain, finding its own path. As it does so, it purifies its external connection, as well as the people that it is drawing to itself. This is a continuing source of nourishment for those who can connect and attune to the changing energy.
Unfortunately, as that shift takes place, everyone’s drama, resistance, and a myriad of reasons for not making that shift seem to arise and be perceived as valid. We must therefore be sure that our commitment to growth is expressed through disciplined action. It’s not enough to have the abstract desire of wanting to know God — we must cultivate the disciplined capacity within ourselves to not be caught in the...
Making contact with the deepest dimensions of the central channel activates powerful energies within us that will purify our entire psychic system. Due to that enlivenment, we may have to be patient and allow the rippling effects of that process to change us.
To understand why working deeply may cause some volatility in our lives, we first must explore the nature of the suṣumṇa, the central channel. The suṣumṇa is the core of who we are. Śakti, the dynamic power of God, expresses our life through the descent of kuṇḍalinī into this channel; it creates, sustains and nourishes every aspect of us.
Accompanying this individuation is a forgetting of who we really are. We experience separation from God and become consumed by our mind and emotions. We get caught in trying to control life by changing the conditions we face, which only reinforces the perception of duality.
The purpose of sādhana is to remember that we are not separate from divine Consciousness. The awakening and liberation...
The rising and expansion of awareness happens in three ways:
~ Actuating the ascent of our individuated awareness through the skypath of the central channel.
~ Soaring with ease on the updraft like the majestic hamsa bird.
~ Or, in absolute surrender, being inhaled upward into that infinite space by God’s in-breath.
In most spiritual traditions it is understood that breath is the means of contacting the highest Consciousness within. Consciousness is the place from which breath arises, and the pulsation of Consciousness gives life not only to our breath but to all manifestation. This is spanda, the subtle pulsation of the breath of God, the imperceptible movement of Consciousness into form. My teacher Rudi described the experience of being in a deep state of surrender as “being breathed.”
There are three ways we can use our breath to penetrate within and discover the pulsation of Consciousness:
The soul’s pain of separation and the longing to be reunited is equally matched by the egoic fear of being dissolved. This is why it is so important that we remain aware of our power to choose, because we must consciously choose Oneness instead of separation. — Swami Khecaranatha
In the image, above, there is a checklist of how we can choose real freedom in our lives. Let’s look at them one by one.
1. I am willing to give up my dubious freedom of following dualistic rationale, knowing that I am in fact losing nothing and gaining the possibility of everything.
This is a bold statement but is perhaps the easiest to mark checked! However, we must remember that any commitment we make is meaningless if we fail to follow through with action. In our search to know the highest in ourself, it is our actual unwillingness to live in the commitment that disqualifies our stated willingness to do so.
There is such extraordinary grasping and holding on to what we...
One of the remarkable things about humans is the superficiality we are willing to accept in ourselves, and the superficiality we bring to our search for depth. We must work to develop the psychic mechanism in us that can hold the structure of higher consciousness.
A student came to me recently and said, “I’m really a mess and haven’t meditated in a long time.” This is a story I hear repeatedly, and perhaps you’ve had a similar experience. We can get so absorbed by drama, tension, and the pressures of our life that we are pulled out of ourselves. We push, demand, and are consumed by struggling with our own experience.
All struggle is ego. To say this is not to deny that we face challenges. But we allow our engagement with these difficulties to make us forget that they are only a reflection of our own state, of our misunderstanding. The fundamental discipline is to not allow ourselves to be caught in struggle, and we do that by simply taking a breath and...
Pray for the fierce love of a guru, a fire breathing, eyes blazing, śakti throwing one.
This is the most succinct way I can describe my guru, Swami Rudrananda. He was always breathing fire and his eyes were ablaze with śakti, which he was continually throwing, even without moving. His energetic fierceness expressed his relentless transmission of the power to liberate that flowed through him. It was relentless, and it was intentional.
It was impossible for Rudi to be any other way because there was nothing left of him: he was just an open channel, an agent of the śakti that moved through him. There was a wide range of dynamics with Rudi – his personality, his incessant requirement of discipline, his absolute, unconditional love for us – that was all delivered through this extraordinarily intense, embodied person. By being Rudi’s student, I learned that the very point of having a relationship with a guru is to receive the liberating power that is flowing through...