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Posts tagged ‘intensities’

  1. Reflections on a ‘Kundalini’ experience – I

    I’ve started working on an autobiographical writing project recently – looking back on some of my earlier writing, and reflecting on what experiences and ideas prompted me to do a particular piece, placing it within the context of my personal trajectory at the time, and how my ideas have changed since. An example of this process that I thought would be of interest to enfolding readers follows, an examination of the events which contributed to one of the first essays I ever wrote relating to the general subject of tantra, entitled “Kundalini: A Personal Approach”. Continue reading »

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  2. On Numinous Sound: some opening thoughts on Mantra

    The King of Mantras, O dear One! is at all times engendered by the union of Śiva and Śakti, and by that of the Yoginīs, the Vīras, and the Vīrendas. Thus constituted, delighting in the utmost bliss, the Goddess, whose nature is vibration [spanda], of innate beauty, once known, is to be freely worshipped.
    Yoginīhṛdaya 2, 17-18 (transl. André Padoux & Roger-Orphé Jeanty)

    At the end of the last post in the Saundaryalahari series, I promised that I would say something on the subject of mantras. This is a vast subject, and even with over a quarter-century of study & practice at my back, it is still a topic which I would approach only slowly. Before diving into the historical & philosophical complexities of mantra, I thought I’d begin then, with some reflections on my own early encounters with mantra-practice. Continue reading »

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  3. Reading the Saundarya Lahari – XV

    “…those who always ponder over this [fivefold act of the Lord], knowing the universe as an unfoldment of the essential nature [of consciousness], become liberated in this very life. This is what the [sacred] tradition maintains. Those who do not ponder like this, seeing all objects of experience as essentially different, remain for ever bound.”
    Kṣemarāja, Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam

    Now for some brief discussion of verses 26-27 of Anandalahari. Continue reading »

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  4. Practice notes: glittering

    The ancient masters have shown how to suppress it [the mind] through detachment and repeated practice. [Instead], we will teach how to obtain suppression with no effort. (v.12)
    This is just like what happens when a rumbling thunder gradually vanishes: once the thunder has completely vanished, the mind too, due to its resting on it, becomes extinguished. (v.14)
    The adept should fix his exclusive attention on any pleasant sound coming to his ears, till the moment in which the sound, having disappeared, becomes the cause of the supression [of the mind]. (v.15)
    In this practice, the sensorial faculties, which are the instruments of perception, are to be brought to a state of ‘equality’. Equality comes from escaping from attachment, as well as from the extinction of aversion. (v.18)
    If one is running without being determinately aware of his own efforts in making steps, and, consequently has his mental activity free from intentions and constructs, the supreme Self shines in him.(v.24)
    Whatever longing he may experience for any object, like food and so on, he should satisfy it as far as possible. Thus he will become full and without support.(v.28)
    Verses from Svabodhayamañjarī (transl. Raffaele Torella)

    Continue reading »

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  5. Practice Notes: Joy in meeting

    “On the occasion of a great delight being obtained, or on the occasion of delight arising from seeing a friend or a relative after a long time, one should meditate on the delight itself and become absorbed in it, then his mind will become identified with it”.
    Vijnanabhairava (transl. Jaideva Singh) v71

    In the previous post for this month I gave some short reflections on an “opportunistic practice” – grounded in verse 92 of the Vijnanabhairava. I’ve been reflecting on the possible consequences of this kind of approach to practice – and I think it is less about achieving – temporarily – a particular state, condition, or even a “result”; but rather, a process of habituating oneself to a general “stance” or attitude – that any moment of engagement can (potentially) unfold into an intensification of wonder, joy, delight (see Tantra keywords: Relational for some earlier reflections).

    Verse 71 of Vijnanabhairava roots this unfolding of delight in everyday, human encounters and the recollection of of those moments of feeling: on the occasion of delight arising from seeing a friend or a relative after a long time, one should meditate on the delight itself.

    i don’t think this requires any further comment.

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  6. Heart Practice: Tantra as ethical practice – I

    “Using the plow of truth,
    sowing the seeds of love,
    plucking the weeds of falsehood,
    pouring the waters of patience;
    they look directly into themselves
    and build fences of virtue.
    If they remain rooted in their good ways,
    The Bliss of Siva will grow.”
    Appar (seventh-century Tamil poet-saint, from Pandian, 2009, p21)

    “Ethical encounters are jubilant, joyous encounters of both affectivity and liberty.”
    Patricia MacCormack, Posthuman Ethics

    A great deal has been written about tantra as a transgressive practice and the perceived necessity of moving beyond normative values in order to discover “freedom”. However, the idea of tantra as an ethical practice seems to me to be relatively unthought. For this post then, I want to make some preliminary reflections on the possible ethical dimensions of contemporary tantra practice. Continue reading »

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  7. Practice notes: On lingering

    There are times when I languidly linger and times when I awaken and hurry in search of my goal; but cruelly thou hidest thyself from before me.
    Rabindranath Tagore Gitanjali Poem #14

    lin-ger

      1. to remain or stay in a place longer than is usual or expected, as if from reluctance to leave
      2. to remain alive; continue or persist, although gradually dying, ceasing, disappearing, etc.
      3. to dwell in contemplation, thought, or enjoyment.
      4. to be tardy in action; delay; dawdle
      5. to walk slowly; saunter along

    dictionary.com

    Last year, on my birthday, we went to the Whitechapel Gallery in London, where we experienced Zarina Bhimji’s haunting film – Yellow Patch. There was one sequence – where the camera zooms slowly towards the crumbling facade of an old Indian palace, revealing a world of untold richness and depth. Afterwards, I was struck by the thought that it is when we slow down – even momentarily – that the world – in particularly the everyday or mundane world that so much of contemporary magical writing tends to disdain – becomes wondrous. Continue reading »

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  8. Heart Practice – I

    “The emissional energy of Sambhu thus abides everywhere. Out of it [arises] the ensemble of motions of the liquid bliss of joy. So indeed, when a sweet [song] is sung, when [there is] touching, or when [there is the smelling of] sandalwood and so on, when the state of standing in the middle [the state of indifference] ceases, [there arises] the state of vibrating in the heart, which is called precisely “the energy of bliss,” because of which a human being is with-heart.”
    Abhinavagupta, Tantraloka

    “A heartfelt practice requires attentiveness to the stillness and movement of experience – to the multiple tightenings, contractions, fluidities and expansions of immediate somatic experience. Attentiveness is the doorway to a new curriculum of breath, silence, and listening – listening in the body, listening to feeling, listening to the ordinary experiences of life – hearing [and seeing] with the heart. It is in the ordinary, disregarded or forgotten phenomena of the everyday that we discover insight and freedom. From the ordinary we distill the essence of human/heart experience.”
    Diana Denton, The Heart’s Geography: Compassion as Practice

    Continue reading »

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  9. Intensities: Walking sacred London

    My working day begins with a passage through London, a tour through a slice of history in a city which continually rewrites itself. It is during my daily walk to my workplace that I take time to connect to my sense of the sacred – found in moments of connection; in chance encounters; in memories of my own past entwined with the histories of of the places I pass and the spaces passed through; in those instants when I am caught unawares by wonder; thoughts stilled in the swirl of the senses. Continue reading »

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  10. Practice Notes: Wot, no circle?

    “Infinite and endless creations are threaded on me as pearls on a string. I myself am the lord that resides in the causal and subtle bodies of the jivas. I am Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. I am the sun, moon, and stars. I am the beasts and birds, the Brahmin and the untouchable. I am the noble soul as well as the hunter and the thief. I am male, female, and hermaphrodite. Whenever there is anything to be seen or heard, I am found there, within and without. There is nothing moving or unmoving that can exist without me.” Devi Gita

    Pretty much all of the Pagan public rituals I have participated in over the last decade or so have shared a common feature – some kind of circle – which does not feature in my own practice of tantra puja. Whenever I facilitate open pujas, some of the commonest questions that arise are related to the differences between contemporary Pagan ritual processes and tantra puja as I practice it, so this post is an attempt to reflect on these very basic distinctions and how they are underwritten by very different ritual ontologies. Continue reading »

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