Greetings Dear Friends and Sangham
Some notes on our topics and the central theme examined this month:
Void or emptiness is important to both Buddhist and Yoga philosophy. The important thing is not to conceptualize the void but to experience it.
This void is called “shunya” in Sanskrit.
Last month, we considered the importance of listening in yoga endeavors. We noticed that the chakra associated with listening or hearing is the throat chakra also known as the Vishudha chakra. This chakra is associated with inner space or ether.
The physical body speaks in the language of feeling or sensation. By enhancing physical sensations, yoga asanas turn up the volume of the voice of the body, leading us naturally to enter the dimension of inner space for the listening.
Deep listening is a kind of merging with the ‘shunya,’ inner spacious silence. This kind of attention to emptiness permits sound to resonate and expand. In Tantric terms, silent attention perfectly, consensually, “marries” the sound. Form and Nothingness interpenetrate in love.
This month of October contained in it the beautiful holiday known as “Divali” in India – the festival of lights.
It is a celebration of light, beauty and abundance, embodied by the feminine aspect of opulent Divinity,
We got to thinking about how much void or spaciousness prevails in the experience of beauty — how health, abundance and beauty is as much a matter of what is not present, as it is of what is present. Simple spaciousness is awe inspiring and beautiful.
With Yoga practices we make our mind and heart feel open, free and spacious.
A Goddess of abundance found on Roman coins is Aequitas, and she holds a balance scale in one hand and a cornucopia in the other.
Her iconography symbolizes the power of balance in setting up an infinite flow of abundance.
Balance in diet; balance in exercise; balance in posture and energy use: these form the crucible of a yogic life. Along with the balance of presence and absence, doing and non-doing, we balance our attention to the external world with equal attention to the abyss of all-pervasive silence.
You can do a meditation on that silence even when there is noise, by attending strictly to the silence in which the noise resonates.
As meditators know, it isnt necessary to ‘empty the mind,’ but simply to lead it to the emptiness that is always present.
Emptiness or Void, the shunya, is what is also known as the “infinite.”
Attention to emptiness permeates you with satiety, the sensation of fulness.
In the Tantric methods the infinite is paradoxically personified as the Formless One, Bharaiva.
In class, we often do Tantric practices from the text called “Vijnana Bhirava Tantra” : the Wisdom of Bhairava. The instructions come in the form of a dialogue between Bhairava, and his eternal consort, Bhairavi, aka, Shakti, the Goddess of the World.
Tantric techniques utilize recognition of the cosmic interpenetration between the finite and the infinite to enter into non-dual consciousness and liberation.
O Bhairavi, One who repeats Om perfectly while concentrating on the void, experiences the void, and by that, the transcendental Shakti is revealed.”Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, V. 39
Here is a song of praise to Lakshmi, universal beauty and abundance, we have been hearing this season in class:
Happy, Abundant Beauty of the Season to you!