Thursday, August 12, 2010

Amrita Shiva Guru

I recently had the great blessing of a couple days of study with Tantric philosophy scholar Paul Muller-Ortega. Of the many, many jewels of his teachings, here is one I loved:

Amrita Shiva Guru

Amrita means nectar. It is the emanational expression of your own consciousness. It is our essence, and includes the qualities of astonishment, sweetness and joy. Paul asked us, do you remember a time when you felt unreasonably happy? We taste this happiness, this "nectarian consciousness", throughout our lives. Something happens that pierces and opens our heart, and the amrita, the natural happiness and sweetness of our own consciousness awakens. Though it may seem that this sweetness comes from an outside experience- such as watching an exquisite sunset or dancing into a state of bliss- amrita does not come from the outside. We don't have to go anywhere to procure this nectar- it is who we are, not just within us, but our very own essence. This feeling happens naturally when we are able to instinctively touch the sacred.

For all of us though, there remains the reality that we do not live in this nectarian consciousness all- or even most- of the time (although my three year old daughter seems to drink from the nectar of her own consciousness most of the time. She usually experiences a near constant state of delight in life and wonder at everything! Except for the usual human meltdowns and tantrums, of course).

How do we live from this state of being more of the time? This is where yoga comes in. Through practice, we begin to remove the obstacles to this state of being. It takes Abhyasa Kramena. Abhyasa meaning practice, kramena meaning a particular sequence... by means of a particular combination of elements, we learn to refine our state of consciousness.

A- Mrita means not dead! You are not dead. Our choice is to align with the higher reality of our lives.

Shiva means auspicious.

Auspiciousness is often meant to refer to something well begun, that which bodes well. In Tantric philosophy, Shiva is the auspiciousness of your own nature- divine, whole, perfect.

Guru means "the sacred intensity of that guiding consciousness inside of you". Guru means the heavy, weighty- the most weighty, or valuable, experiences and energies. That which guides and teaches us, sometimes in the form of an external teacher, but always a guiding consciousness that emanates from the inside.

With all things in life, may the Amrita Shiva Guru - the sacred intensity of that divine, nectarian consciousness that compels us forward on our path be our guiding light.

Though doubts and fears will arise- this is all part of the divine's pulsating dance of limitation and freedom- may we take the highest path, the path of the heart.

Written by Sara Rose

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Nature of the Universe

As we begin the final month of summer, we find ourselves completely surrounded by the beauty and heat of the natural world. What a wonderful time to contemplate the Nature of the Universe. On those balmy summer nights as we gaze up into the beauty of the night sky, we become aware of how small we are in the midst of the awesomeness before us. We begin to sense the oneness. Looking beyond our mats we find the many teachings of Anusara yoga to explore and reflect upon.

From the tantric point of view everything in the Universe is Supreme Consciousness. The Universe is comprised of both absolute and relative worlds of existence. Levels of existence are referred to as tattvas. There are 5 tattvas of the absolute world, 6 tattvas of the physical world and 25 tattvas of the relative world.

One of my favorite tattvas of absolute reality is Ananda which means bliss in sanskrit. It is supreme creative power. Ananda is associated with Shakti, the personification of the female principle. On the other hand Shiva is the embodiment of the male principle. The figure of Shiva and Shakti entwined in the yub-yum (mother-father) position is the symbolic representation of Oneness, the realisation that both are an aspect of the Singularity, the Total Consciousness, The Absolute ONE without beginning or end.

In the remaining weeks of summer take a moment to invite Ananda in. Let the beauty of nature be your guide. Simply bathe in the Summer sun or moonlight and breathe in the bliss.

Written by Susan Elena Esquivel