Tag Archive: tantric yoga philosophy

Sankalpa + Lila =


We can set all the intentions that we want, we can live according to our dharma (whatever that means), but that will not stop the cosmic play. 

If setting particular and timely intentions (sankalpa) helps us to live day to day most sweetly and efficaciously in the play of chance and chaos, though, then it is a worthwhile practice.  I have found that to be true for me.



Sometimes we call out the names; sometimes they call out to us.  I’ve been too tired and stressed to yearn for more adventures in the near term, but this week, I have found myself wanting to be in India, to be surrounded by the colors and the sights and the outrageous display of creative imagery.

The photo is of a roadside temple, with Siva in the aspect of Dakshinamurti–guru of all knowledges (jnana).  I have been told that is good to chant to Dakshinamurti when one is looking for support and guidance in teaching.

In my work as a civil servant, I spend much time informally teaching colleagues and the regulated community the details of the complex area that is my specialty.  I set my intention to be able not only to be clear, but to convey a bigger purpose even in that which does not readily come to mind as being something of spirit.



330 Million Gods (Mas o Menos)

In which I encounter some more of the 330 million gods (mas o menos).

(Notes:  (1) Hindu philosophy speaks of 330 million gods, i.e.  a bigger number than we can actually get our minds around, one for every person, giving room for a complete diversity of belief.  While I don’t believe in “God,” I have no problem with the idea of 330 million gods, none more exclusive or correct than any other, with no permission to use of the concept of “God” as justification for murder, physical harm, repression, or suppression of expression because of societal or family of origin privileging any particular belief.  (2) “Maya,” which in Sanskrit not Spanish, literally means to measure, is the tattva that is the bridge between the universal and the manifest.  The “universal” is immeasurable; what we think of as manifest is always measured in space and time.  The distinction between how the tantrikas and other yoga philosophies interpret the concept of maya is for your own research or another day.  (3) The number 108 refers to Shiva.)

330 million 1a 330 million 1b 330 million 1c 330 million 1d 330 million 1e 330 million 1f 330 million 1g 330 million 1h 330 million 1i 330 million 1j 330 million 1k 330 million 1l





Fences, Freedom, and Viveka

Refining how and to what we say “yes” and “no” in the world is one of the purposes of the yoga practices.  The dedicated yogin seeks ever-growing discernment (viveka) of his or her own limits for the purpose of living ever more expansively and in fact more freely than is possible for those who fight against or ignore limits.

If we stick up or hold onto fences and defenses where they are not needed, we miss the opportunity to connect.  Conversely, if we fail to honor the extraordinary combination of limits that makes us our exquisitely individual self and shapes our embodied connection to the world around us, we will be less free in ourselves and in the world and with each other, which leads to suffering.



Yoga Ideas Best Put Aside

I just received a yoga email advertising classes and workshops that quoted a well-respected teacher as saying not to  listen to your mind and to listen only to your heart.  I respectfully disagree.

I do believe that if we listen (listening in the deepest and broadest sense)  only to our mind, we lose connection with body and emotion, which can lead to ill health and unhappiness.   I also believe that individual consciousness is more than mind and includes bodily and emotional awareness as well as brain function and that one of the salutary aspects of yoga practices is to expand our capacity to be aware beyond thought and mere processing of sense perception.

But to listen only to our heart is to be empty-headed, to be without discrimination (viveka), and also presumes that we can process and act on what is in our heart of hearts without using our minds.  To dismiss our mind as somehow not being a source for deep listening also defies the tantric yoga notion that all is an essential part of being, of consciousness, of the source of inner bliss (Satcitananda–being, consciousness, bliss).  Why would we have minds if we weren’t meant to use them?

Want to be a fully engaged yogi who lives in the world?  Go ahead:  cultivate, educate, enlighten, and use your mind.  Just do it with an open heart and ever expanding sensitivity and awareness of all your being and all that is around you!

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