I have just returned from another sojourn in India. This time to the North, mostly in Rishikesh where my wife and I did volunteer work teaching at an amazing school for children of the poorest families of the slums. It is an amazing project that we were so happy to see and to contribute to. So now I return to my blog about life lived with a deep meditation practice. (See www.mothermiracleschool.org to learn more about this school.)
The teaching tradition and meditation practices that I teach and practice come from the non-dual Shaiva-Yoga of Kashmir. This teaches the universality of consciousness as the highest principle of existence: that our own ultimate “Self” is actually consciousness. And that the essence nature of the entire universe is the singular “field” of consciousness, which contains and manifests everything. That is our own true and imperishable “Self”, and simultaneously is the “Self” of all, the source of all life. This is the meaning of the first Śhiva Sutra: “Caitanyam Ātma”. “Consciousness is the Self.” It is imminent (fundamentally present) in all beings and objects and simultaneously transcendent, beyond and surpassing all relative living beings and things.
This truth can only be verified and realized in one’s own personal experience. It is within our meditation that we can access direct knowledge of this, see and verify it for ourselves. That knowledge is ultimately liberating, and it fundamentally, permanently changes how we understand ourselves and life altogether.
There is no philosophy or thought construct that can possibly encompass and contain the knowledge and nature of the Absolute. It is said that only consciousness can truly know absolute consciousness. It must be seen in direct non-conceptual experience. Fortunately, we all come equipped with the essential tool for realizing it: our own field of conscious awareness that is present in our every experience in life. All we need is to addthe extra ingredient of a true empowered meditation practice. This is what is given in the initiatory teaching of Neelakantha Meditation. It is the essential and easy “all-access pass” to exploring the highest dimensions of sublime consciousness within ourselves every day.
There are several beautiful teaching systems within the philosophy and practices that come from the Kashmiri teachings of the 8th through 11th centuries. Perhaps the highest of them is known as the “Trika” school. Trika is the teaching perspective on the “three”, the triadic-perspective on consciousness. The Trika perspective teaches that the operation of our conscious experience in normal “relative” life is of a three-fold nature. In every experience of cognition (the act of perceiving and knowing something) there exists these three aspects:
1) The knower or the person, the one who is seeing or knowing it. 2) The means of knowledge or knowing, such as the senses like sight, or the inner perception in thought-forms. And 3) The known object – that which is observed or in some way known. These three aspects are classically illustrated in the example “I see the pot (vase).” “I” is the knower. “See” is the means of knowing it. And the “pot” is the known object. These three are present and always together in every experience in ordinary waking awareness, our experience of relative (material) life.
And yet our experience in the “melted” inward state of our deep meditations every day have an entirely different character. The Triad dissolves into a unity-perception: Knower, means of knowledge and what is being observed or known all dissolve into a transcendent and amazingly beautiful unity. This is the transcendent yogic perception. In other words, in ordinary relative perception we know something by coming into relationship with it. It is dominated by the differences. However, in the direct experience of reality in meditation, it is perceived and known in a unity of consciousness. We know it by becoming it or entering into it. We know the highest consciousness as our own self by means of our own consciousness alone.
In the teaching texts of the Kashmir Shaiva tradition this is taught via metaphor: such as the Sun, the Moon, and the fire. Moon represents the “known-object” that which is seen. This very morning there was a beautiful full moon in the sky in the pre-dawn, brilliantly illuminated and magnificent. And yet the light of the Moon was not its own. It is of course illuminated by means of the light of the Sun. So the “light” of our consciousness is represented by the Sun. And fire, a small personal “light” burning here on Earth. Fire represents us, our own individual field of awareness. That, without which, nothing could or would be known.
Sun, moon and fire all melt into the unity that underlies the three. That is the teaching of the Trika: that there is always a fourth factor that transcends, encompasses and unites the triadic structure. In our deepest meditations we call that the “Turya” or the fourth-state: the vibrating sublime and endlessly fascinating state of the direct knowing of ultimacy. It is something which cannot be described adequately in words. It is beyond and behind all conceptual thoughts. It is the “Sky” of Consciousness.
This is ever a transcendent experience of awareness that is profoundly liberating. Access to this is immediately available to us every day by means of the easy method of deep meditation that is taught in personal initiatory learning. Once learned, it is yours for life. It grows by day and by week and by month, changing and uplifting life. Later, it begins to spill over into our outer (open-eyed) experiences in life. Unity perception comes to be predominant over difference perception. Yes, this requires a dedication to regularity of practice. But with that it works for each and every meditator. Those who would like to learn this ancient yet modern practice to enhance and support their own life are invited to contact me for personal instruction.