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Archive for August 2010

Student Question: In school today we were learning about how to teach kids to read. And in one particular model, the first phrase that you teach the kids is that reading is thinking. I heard that and, I don’t know why, but it really rubbed me the wrong way. Is that true, that reading is thinking?

“Well, it depends on what thinking is,” clarifies Shunyamurti, the founder of the Sat Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. “Reading is entering into the mind of another being, of another consciousness.” So a better question is not “Do you read?” but “Who do you read?” “Literally, reading is an act of altering your state of consciousness. That’s what it is, it’s a drug. And if you read something very powerful, it can bring you into chakra seven.” However, today, reading has fallen into “this horizontal mastery of some skill sets on the physical plane. That’s not what reading is about at all. It’s the ladder to Heaven.” Recorded on the evening of Thursday, August 26, 2010.

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“One of the bhajans that was playing during our preliminary meditation was sung by Lata Mangeskar, a very famous early Bollywood singer when it was still relatively pure, and they were singing mantras. And the first mantra was ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram.’ And this translates as ‘the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.’ And the aim of meditation,” clarifies Shunyamurti, the Good, True, and Beautiful spiritual director of the Sat Yoga Institute in Costa Rica, “is to find that in yourself which is eternally True, supremely Good, and infinitely Beautiful. And what’s important is that you have faith that you have that within you that corresponds to those attributes. Everyone does.”

However, to deal with the world, we created an ego structure. “And once we created that ego structure, it veiled the truth of our being. It veiled our radiance. And it veiled our goodness.” But the veiling was an illusion. And we have never been anything but the Satyam Shivam Sundaram. “And so all we’re doing in meditation is remembering that: that ‘I am That.’ Not the ego with its history and its shameful episodes and its failures and its losses and its depressions and anxieties—not that; that’s an artificial, false self. But the self that I am—the ‘I am that I am’ that is talked about in the Bible—that self, that ultimate Self that you are is already the radiant goodness of true being. And all we have to do is stop running away from the Self. . . . And if we will accept these three powers of Truth, and of Goodness, and of radiant Beauty, we will overcome the shadow within and the shadows without. And we can bring a world of light, a world of beauty, a world of goodness back into manifestation.” Recorded on the evening of Thursday, August 26, 2010.

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Student Comment: During the teaching, you talked about how the ego is formed early on. So I was wondering how it forms. It has to come from somewhere.

“Humans are like monkeys; we imitate the other. And so the infant takes in the mirroring from the parents—the mother, primarily—and begins to express that back, and that creates the first structure. It’s called the ‘Mirror Stage,’” delineates Shunyamurti, the founder of the Sat Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. “And then more and more elements get added and built around that, and as the child is called certain things . . . negative and positive signifiers, they get attached to the identity, and the structure builds according to the clues that the child picks up from the parents as to the role they want the child to play.” Recorded on the evening of Thursday, August 26, 2010.

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“I wish you all a wholehearted welcome,” offers Shunyamurti, the spiritual director of the Sat Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. “And that’s important because there’s very little that happens in the world these days that is wholehearted.” The contemporary ego structure is hyper-fragmented. It can’t love. It can’t trust. It is paralyzed by “the fear of letting go of those beloved defense mechanisms” that cause us all of our suffering. And it has developed all of these defense mechanisms to deal with a very decadent, and even demonic, culture. And if we can put down all of the ego’s defense mechanisms, all of its narratives, and make a wholehearted effort to “dive into the silence,” then we will find “the salvation of our being. That’s where we put out the fire of suffering, and we are healed by the waters of life.”

“But the world doesn’t value, any longer, this opportunity to dive deeply into the inner silence. It values busyness and distraction and continual production—activity—in which we lose our soul in the outer crust of our consciousness.” Ironically, the Self is actually “closer to us than our own minds,” but it has been “obscured by the thoughts and the chaos of negative feelings—of lostness, of terror, of fear, of anguish. But that consciousness that contains all of that—no matter what it is. That consciousness that is the ground and the support and the substratum of whatever arises in our minds and our hearts—that is pure and soothing. And if we enter into that silence, we will be healed. To whatever extent we are willing to dissolve that ball of suffering in the silent space of the Self, we will be whole; we will be made whole by the very consciousness that we’ve been running away from.”

“And then we discover—we come back from that silence with a new meaning, with a new understanding—a new intelligence that grasps the world without its coating in the conditionings of the past upon which the ego-mind is based. We find a new freedom to be reborn from that silence. And we are reborn . . . [as a] free, reborn spirit that is able to—now, without those preconditions and stories that limit and prevent us from seeing the world as it truly is—now, we can really find what is our heart’s desire and live it out, fully, wholeheartedly—no longer split—because we’re no longer deceiving ourselves, hiding from ourselves—running away—but wholeheartedly jump into life fully, passionately, wisely—and achieve the ultimate potential of which we are capable.” Recorded on the evening of Thursday, August 19, 2010.

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Student Question: Could you please expand on the gestalt diagram (see below) that was pictured in the book we’re reading in our Prema-culture class, Signs of Meaning in the Universe?

The issue “goes back to Gestalt Psychology. And the Gestaltists realized that our perception is always in the form of a foreground and a background,” explains Shunyamurti, the founder of the Sat Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. “We tend to focus on the foreground, and the background drops out. . . . But whatever we choose as foreground is indeed a construct, and is culturally created—most of the objects that we perceive, we perceive because we have linguistic concepts that delineate those objects for us. And if we didn’t have such constructs embedded in language and cultural values, etc., we would see the world very differently because, in fact, everything is connected.”

“But then there is the next question of, well, ‘Who is perceiving both the foreground and the background?’ The perceiver is not on the paper; the perceiver is never an object. So there is a third level that is always beyond any understanding you have of reality, because the one who has that understanding does not appear in the reality; you are always beyond it. And so the self—when you begin to then incorporate it into your understanding of reality, whatever it is you understand of the self and add that in . . . there remains then another observer. . . . You will never be able to capture the self in any definition or construct or understanding. Because whatever you capture, that ‘you,’ is beyond.” Recorded on the evening of Thursday, August 19, 2010.

Gestalt Diagram

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