We launched our third online course earlier in the month of March. It's 2022 and online learning has been growing rapidly since COVID forced everyone convert to teaching on Zoom. I am still not sure how I feel about it, but I am learning to love the fact that I can share what I've learned from anywhere, to anywhere, and with anyone who finds me on this vast space known as the internet. It does not replace in-person learning, but it is certainly suitable and there is the possibility of transmission occurring. At least, this is what I hope to be true.
My skills with online teaching are growing as I learn to navigate what I feel can and cannot be taught through Zoom. I have been focused mainly on teaching principles, concepts, definitions, terms and giving basic core practices to refine the students' individual sadhana to a point in which their own authentic insights and learning can come through. I feel that this is ought to be a primary aim for any teacher - to give tools of real empowerment and learning, and not simply offering information. My goal in my own path is self-empowerment, and I wish that for others as well. The path I've been walking has shown me many things, and one of the main things is that we must prioritize our own insights arising from what has or will become our own practice (even if we are using "someone else's method"). I wish to elaborate a bit on this here, as I think this is an important topic to address.
When we talk about "someone else's method", what we are really referring to is the adoption of another teacher's "way" or a technique that has been cultivated or refined by another person. This other person is first and foremost a student of said method, and because of their studentship and dedication to the practices they are sharing, there is a living transmission from teacher-to-student which cannot and should not be underestimated or undervalued. We learn from repetition, and we learn best from those who have practiced enough times for something to become embodied and vibrationally attuned to their being. As we receive this transmission from the teacher, we then take a spark of their shakti and cultivate it in ourselves. With enough time, dedication, and patience, this seed-fire of shakti is nourished by the waters of our own devotion and eventually sprouts to bear fruit in our own lives as well as the lives of others. I believe that this is the case for any legitimate spiritual method. In the yogic tradition it is known as shaktipat, and perhaps could be understand very logically and rationally if we were to look at what is actually happening.
So, what is actually happening? What even IS embodiment? I think if we look at the birth of a child and the growth of that child into adulthood, we can begin to see the process of spiritual evolution and how this relates to spiritual methods, living transmissions, and embodiment. Allow me to explain.
When a child is conceived, a spark of the infinite intelligence of life awakens inside the joining of two opposite forces of the sperm and the egg. The union of opposites creates life, and the blueprint for life is within this single cell. It is Creation. The infinite intelligence of life "instructs" the cell into replication, proliferation, and the growth of what is to become firstly a fetus, then a baby, then a toddler, then an adolescent, a teenager, and eventually an adult human being capable of passing on this spark of creation. This is profound to consider! The profundity of this situation multiplies when we consider the "learning" process that this cell-fetus-baby goes through. The infinite spark of life, the Soul, that enters the organism ends up being filtered through a matrix of biology which is influenced by the child's genetics and environment. In yoga we call this matrix karma, which is simply the law of cause-and-effect. The Soul, which is connected to the spark of life, and is at its essence pure light and cosmic energy (think it of as the animating force of the organism), is "shaped" by the matrix it exists in. It's a bit like a crystal - the way light shines and refracts in a crystal is determined by the type of compounds that make up the crystal. The Soul enters the body in a very similar way. Can you see the metaphor being drawn here? Light, or Spirit, descends as a Soul into the body, which is a vehicle for Creation to happen, and according to the make-up of the body, said Soul "expresses" itself differently, like a different colored ray of light from the Infinite One.
Circling back to ground us into the conversation of embodiment and transmission, think about how this baby learns. Imbued with the power of consciousness, the Light that is shining through the crystalline matrix of it's body and mind, the baby "learns" about Creation by observing its surroundings. The fresh nervous system is imprinted by the observations made. These imprints are known as samskaras, which are like neural groves in the brain and nervous system, and cause energy to flow in fixed pathways so that learning can occur and the Infinite One can navigate the infinite complexity of life through a series of choices and decisions which lead to specific outcomes. Spirit is building itself a container through which it can actually experience life, or duality. From Oneness there springs forth many, and from the many, the spiritual path returns to One.
The baby learns all that it needs to learn about life through direct transmission of vibrations and resonance with its surroundings. It learns to walk by seeing others who are walking. It learns to speak the language of those speaking it also. It learns about life by observing life. Once the baby is grown up, as an adult, it has a relatively fixed set of patterns and behaviors which it learned very early on. The samskaras of its early life carry it forward into adult life so the Light of Consciousness flowing through it no longer need to concern itself with the mundane and can turn towards other efforts. The spiritually-minded being turns his or her efforts towards understanding their meaning and the real purpose of existence. A mundane mind might instead turn his or her efforts towards the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain - a perfectly legitimate aim, as this is how our biology is hardwiring us. Remember, we are a Soul living in a body, and the body we live in was created over millions of years of successful evolution. The evolution was successful precisely because life was able to avoid being harmed and move itself towards pleasurable things (food and sex, notably). However, there is perhaps a deeper concept to consider now. Is there an evolutionary spark that is causing us to seek deeper than the surface level? Is there some evolutionary impulse inspiring us towards growth and transformation and not merely diving into the mundane realities of life? Is there where we start to seek higher learning? Spiritual study? Is there when or where we find others who have also sought the same, and we start to learn from these teachers through their embodiment of seemingly higher principles, principles which transcend the material goals?
Maybe "waking up" and the awakening process, or the spiritual quest of man, is a process of realizing that we are still babies seeking to grow into spiritual adulthood. That our parents, bless them, served their one job - bringing the Spirit down into form and giving it a safe matrix to learn about the Earth plane. But now our spirituality has awakened and we must search for how we can return to the Heaven plane. This return the Heaven is not something that occurs later - impossible. It is the paradoxical realization that Heaven is here Now, but we must seek to embody this higher ideal for it to become manifest on Earth. perhaps this was what was spoken about as the Second Coming of Christ. It is the enlightenment of the human system. The polishing of the mirror of the mind so that the mind can contemplate on the Creator, or a mind that can "see" life not through the lens of the mind's conditioning, but through the Light of pure consciousness. Maybe this is what a Soul that has been freed of its bondage actually means. And maybe this is a possibility for us all. Certainly there are others who have walked on this path before us and have left us footprints of guidance, hints of their ascension, and have shared their shaktipat with other serious seekers.
Speaking about my own path for a moment: my quest for embodiment has led me to understand what, exactly, I am seeking to embody... and why this is important. It has shown me that, if I am not embodied, my Soul has still yet to descend fully into my form and there are parts of me that have been unclaimed and remain hidden from my Awareness. There are parts of me still re-enacting the past, repeating habitual thoughts and behaviors based on my karma and samskara. My quest for embodiment has shown me what a joy it is to reclaim my Soul from its bondage to the world, and to experience the true joy of Consciousness that is not fixated on or bound to worldly motives or objectives - mainly pleasure and pain. This quest has led me into contact with others who share similar motivations. Teachers, tired of being caught in the loop of suffering created by the mind, who carved their own way forward based on the teachings of great spiritual systems that have been set up to help humanity. Something was felt immediately in their presence, and the best word for that "something" is freedom. And suddenly I knew what I was seeking after all.
I'll conclude with saying this. What ARE we after? What is it that all these spiritual methods are meant for? Why should we even care? Maybe we don't. Maybe all we want is a comfortable life. For me, I've realized that pursuing only comfort leads me to the same trap again and again. And I think this is because of that hidden plot twist mentioned above: maybe life is meant to evolve, and that we carry this evolutionary spark in our hearts. Maybe. I don't know for sure, but I definitely feel it. And I know that by dedicated my time and energy to understanding this spark of evolution has led me to a greater understanding of the nature of Creation. It has led me to come up with my own concepts of God and the Divine, of the Supreme Creator, and of the Great Mystery of Life itself. These authentic insights and inspirations are what motivate me further on this path, and are perhaps what contribute to the level of embodiment that I feel and am continuously striving for. After all, all that I have discovered and have come. to "know" is coming from the One infinite intelligence of life. It has all arisen from attempts to understand, from curiosity, and from practice.
I hope that we can all remember we are babies. This concept has certainly taken me far. We are all babies, and we are all trying to figure out how to live on this Earth. And the Creator has a blueprint for us, just as the Creator did when the Sperm met the Egg. Discovering this blueprint is my life's work and I hope you join me for this quest.