Mantras – Peaceful & Wrathful – An Introduction

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(Extracted from a conversation with a client)

Okay, let’s talk about mantras. Mantras are chants of sacred syllables, and one of the most powerful spiritual practises. The Hare Krishna mantra is, of course, the most well known, as is ‘Aum.’ The great thing about mantras is that they don’t necessarily have to be chanted out-loud – you can keep them going in your mind at all times, so that, whatever you’re doing you’re always engaged in some kind of spiritual practise – and such continuous practise fruits results very quickly.

 

Most mantras are associated with different deities and  energy patterns/beings, and therefore have different effects and powers that they convey. In Tibetan Buddhism, these are roughly grouped into two different types – the Peaceful and the Wrathful. The mantras of Peaceful deities are very good for developing peace, tranquillity, wisdom, patience, healing, equanimity and other enlightened qualities. They’re very gentle, reassuring, and loving, though they will still challenge you from time to time, and can reawaken old memories and psychic powers.

 

The mantras of the wrathful deities are very different, and usually far shorter. They are much more challenging and demanding, but, for that very reason, they get things done a lot quicker. Rather than making us more placid, these mantras generate a huge amount of energy, and make life incredibly more vivid and intense. They have a great fondness for placing you in crazy or strange situations, which force you outside of yourself, and demand you to be more spontaneous, real, or authentic. They will not let you hide from anything! Nor will they hesitate to make you break-down and reduce you to rubble if they think it will do you some good. But, the effects they produce occur incredibly swiftly if one is sincere; and, through them, one can gain powers, awarenesses, memories, and abilities very quickly – you just have to be very brave, as they will always give you far more than you bargained for! Very good for dealing with one’s shadows, personal demons, and visits to the underworld.

It’s usually good to know several mantras for different purposes, and to work with both Peaceful and Wrathful deities, so that you can cultivate both the passive and active/aggressive sides of enlightenment. Usually there will be 1-3 deities that you will develop a close relationship with – though, it’s good to have a strong central one.

If you would like to learn more about mantras, and be recommended some, please contact me at reubenftourettes@hotmail.co.uk

 

Meditation: The Thingsness of Things

Thing, The

After finishing my meditation lesson yesterday, one of my students noted how they always felt they experienced reality differently after a deep meditation. While reality usually felt quite bland or flat to them, after a good meditation, he said everything felt richer, deeper, more three-dimensional and solid. As we had just done a meditation on the nature of emptiness, I was quite surprised to hear him use the word ‘solid,’ until I realized he was talking about The Thingness of Things: a phrase I use which describes experiencing each thing and phenomena exactly as it is, at its utmost blistering intensity.

Most of the time, we only relate to things and phenomena in a very half-assed and dispirited way. We pass a tree we walked past yesterday; we greet a person we see every morning; we unknowingly hear a birdsong that follows us everywhere we go. Because these things have become habitual for us, we treat each of these things – the tree, the friend, the birdsong – as though it is something static, stuck in time, that can never satisfy or delight us. Because we have seen it a thousand times, it has become dull, mundane, and humdrum according to our benumbed senses, always looking for new pleasures, new experiences, new desires.

The tragic thing about this view is that it is incorrect. Every moment is new, every moment is unique, every moment has its own special character that well never be repeated ever again, not even if infinity were to bend over, poke its head between its legs, and eat its own scrotum. Newness is the fundamental nature of each experience – always new, always shocking, always vibrant.

So why don’t most us feel that vividity and uniqueness? It is because of our habituations, and how we have allowed our insecurities to mute the palette of these rich, vibrant moments. We claim we want new, exciting experiences. But most of us are terrified of change, and of anything that threatens the illusory security of our habitual routines. To really experience the uniqueness and freshness of each moment would mean being open, vulnerable, receptive, insecure – it would mean letting down the barrier of our cold comforts, erroneous certainties, and beliefs, and instead just letting things be as they are.

Shine/shamatha meditation teaches us to do this. By mindfully resting in the uniqueness of each moment, without weighing it, analyzing it, or assessing it, we no longer fear being afraid of the startling shock of every moment. This, in turn, effects how we experience reality, post meditation. Each moment, each second becomes like a new century, a new epoch, which disturbs and delights us with its instantaneously known unknownness. Colours become more colourful. Every touch becomes more erotic. Sounds become more soundy. Even things that usually annoy us suddenly become palaces of wealthy delight that cause us to loosen with fertile appreciation.

All this spell-binding depth and luxury can be returned to your reality, just by learning to be still, and rest with all of your feelings and thoughts.

Joy and Suffering in Meditation

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Meditation is all about integrating yourself into reality in a completely fundamental way. As repeated practice continually refines your sense of awareness, your joy becomes clearer – your suffering becomes clearer.

Through this heightened clarity, both our suffering and joy is heightened. They are not lost, transcended, escaped, or destroyed; rather, whole new dimensions of reality are added to them. Two-dimensional joy becomes quantum joy, unfolding and overlapping into increasingly vast panels of existence. Selfish suffering transforms into selfless suffering – an awareness of the incredible fragility of everything we touch and co-exist with.

This sensitivity changes how we respond to reality. Deepening the realms of our joy, we become more intimate, caring, and friendly – every moment, no matter how chaotic, confusing or challenging, becomes an opportunity to love, to learn, to understand, and, most crucially, an opportunity to be truly naked in the presence of all beings and experience, without contrivance or adornment.

Deepening our suffering, we no longer grasp at it as something endemic to us, but recognize it as something intensely personal to every living being. Whatever sadness or sorrows I feel, you will also one day feel, and vice versa – how could such a knowing not breed empathy, compassion, and Bodhicitta? Being aware of this engenders an authentic tenderness in us – a wish that this weren’t so – a wish to cradle all beings from their unceasing afflictions, and to try make life as smooth and as real as it can be.

Your joy and suffering are not obstacles to the path – they are the path. They are the intertwined and indivisible staircases that we use to ascend to the heaven of non-duality – the twin-breasts that nourish us with the milk of oceanic compassion.

Keep adding new dimensions to everything in your life through daily determined meditation. Eventually, once all walls have been broken down, and all untruth stripped away, Dharmadatu can be attained.

 

 

Tao Te Ching Teachings: Controlling Your Chi

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“Control your chi

Becoming gentleness itself

As a newborn child”

Chi is the basic force that keeps our physical beings alive. In the same way that we would die if we had too little blood, so we begin to perish and decay when our chi stagnates or scatters.

Being that chi is the source of life, it is naturally quite lively, meaning that we need to control it before it controls us. Chi responds to our mind, moods, and emotions. If we get over-excited, our energy screams and races around like a toddler. If we get angry, our energy becomes fiery, dangerous, and difficult to control. When we get depressed, our energies stagnate; when we get obsessed, our energy gets trapped in just one place.

So, in order to keep our Chi gentle, we must keep a gentle mind. Anger, over-excitement, depression and obsession all stir up and exhaust the spirit, damaging all areas of our health. Emotions do not have to be dangerous by themselves, because they are also an energy – it is when they are extreme, excessive and uncontrolled that dangers begins.

Even the strongest among us may feel all of these things from time to time; but, so long as we do not allow these moods to become habitual, and deeply-rooted within our psyches, having the ability to transform these energies into something beneficial, then we can still succeed.

Taoist alchemists often refer to this act of governing chi as ‘The Firing Process’ because it is a lot like boiling water. You want to keep the water at a stable temperature. Too hot, and the water sizzles up and scars your face; too cold, and the water loses its life and potency.

Keeping Chi even isn’t easy – it requires the constant practice of gentleness and balance in every area of our lives. If we can be like a baby – soft and gentle, yet carrying within us a lifetime’s worth of potential energy – then we will be that much closer to preserving The Way.

TAO TE CHING: Vitality and Spirit

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“Cultivating vitality and spirit

Embrace this unity”

Vitality is the totality of energy of your physical being. Spirit refers to transcendental energy – the part of your energy that inhabits and vivifies your body, but is not dependent upon it, only visiting it as a guest.

For the Taoist, it is essential to nurture these two things. Taking care of our physical being, we live easier, and make ourselves more receptive to the spirit, aligning ourselves with the earth. Cultivating spirit, we align ourselves with heaven, learning to control our body without becoming attached to it.

Cultivating one, we enhance the other. What is good for spirit, is good for vitality – what is good for vitality, is also good for spirit. They are a unity – no difference should be made between them.

But, because of the materialistic philosophies of our culture, we only think about the vitality of the body, and ignore the crucial role the mind and spirit have in regulating it. Only cultivating vitality through physical exercise, with no concomitant refinement of the mind, will exhaust you, and be of little purpose. Only cultivating spirit through meditation and psychological practice, without also flexing our bodies, altering our lifestyles, and improving our diets, then all our spiritual achievement will be impractical, and our relationship with our bodies will be unhealthy and out of balance.

Many mystics were serious haters of the body. The body is a walking coffin, a ticking time-bomb, a prison for the spirit. It can seem like our greatest impediment to growth at times. But, the very difficulty of having a solid body is what enables us to make so much spiritual progress while we are in it. Our body can feel our resentment and hatred for it. We have to love it, or it will not comply with us, any more than a dog will return loyally to an owner who beats it.

Diary of a Mystic: The Tiger

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Good meditation today. I managed to throat sing and chant with a far deeper resonance and endurance than I have done for well over a week. Produced some truly majestic sounding overtones, and still feel as though my understanding of the mechanics of the production of these frequencies is growing ever deeper and unconscious. Chinese chanting, and  Tuvan chanting too.

I used Tara’s Mantra, and the tantric technique of imagining myself with her female body, allowing great cosmic energy to penetrate my vagina. Worked on bringing this energy into all my chakras, and especially the energy channels along my spinal column which I still feel especially need more work.

I saw a stripped tiger. In China, the Tiger is a symbol of autumn, whiteness, the lungs, decay and death. It is the protector of the West, and it’s element is metal. This metal is the alloy of transformation. Like a mineral, it can be manipulated through fire, purified, and then eventually solidified into something else. It is the element of deep and lasting change, as opposed to something fleeting and ephemeral that can easily snap back to its habituations.

In Chinese astrology, the tiger is also representative of Aquarius. Thus, he is gregarious, powerful, innovate, eccentric yet sometimes conservative, lively yet sometimes reckless and impulsive, and also, quite often, promiscuous.

The symbolism of the tiger is said to be based in anger, aggression, personal power, strength and vitality, as well as representing the sudden, swift, and unpredictable. Given our closeness to entering into Aries, I think it is a good warning to channel that fiery strength in a positive way, and not to be allow it to make you destructive. Arians have a lot of personal power, but can be very quick to anger and conflict. It is a warning to keep that power under wraps, so that I control it, without it ever defeating me. Using my personal power in the most beneficial way. Being spontaneous as opposed to being impulsive. Being prepared for the unexpected – but also acting in a sudden and unpredictable way, so as to overcome others.

The bear also made another appearance, but we already explored his symbolism recently – solitary and withdrawing. Both of these creatures are loners by nature (I think) so perhaps it is an encouragement to enjoy being single and going it alone? The appearance of the ant recently was certainly very significant, as I have been very productive and industrious these last few days, able to be quite persevering, unemotional and prolific.

Diary of a Mystic: Spirit Animals and Forgiveness

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Interesting meditation before bed last night. The visualizations and interior depth of my meditations are beginning to return thankfully and joyously. This bug has been stuck on my chest at the moment, so I had to direct a lot of energy towards my heart chakra to help it heal, and to also, hopefully, reawaken the compassion and warmth that was temporarily occluded by my selfish sickness.

I saw quite a lot of magical spirit animals in this meditation: a leopard – a bear – an ant – and a few others I cannot immediately recall. An ant is symbol of the power of co-operating with others. Though tiny, army ants, through working together, are a fearsome force in the jungle. When tiny things assemble together, they are capable of achieving greatness. The importance of working together with others. Even on a singular basis, ants are incredibly strong, capable of lifting things that far exceed their size. As a colony, they function through psychic integration and intuition. And they are also supremely selfless, seeing themselves as a collective whole, and not as an assemblage egos each with their own unique desires to gratify.

The bear is almost the opposite of this. A solitary cave dweller, he prefers isolation, entering into the depths of darkness to perceive the essence of The Way. He is quite territorial, but also shy. To the Native Americans, the bear was emblematic of Virgo. So, I must reconcile and harmonize these two seemingly conflicting sides of my nature – the solitary and the social. That which desires to withdraw and work alone and within – and that which desires to unite with others, and work for the greater good. Both of them are ultimately seeking to attain the same thing – just through different methods and modalities.

According to my book of symbols, the Leopard was associated with the great destroyer Seth in the Egyptian pantheon. Priests would wear leopard pelts to symbolize their ascendency over the forces of destruction. The leopard, due to its cunning, strength, and blood-lust was also a symbol of the warrior castes, but also one of transformation – its coat changes with the seasons, and the loss of its spots indicates purity – losing the spots of sin.

A website on spirit animals had this to say of the leopard:

He is reminding you that there is always a period of rebirth after a period of suffering and death on some level. Leopard is the healer of deep wounds and will bring old issues to resolution through the reclaiming of power that was lost during the time of the wounding. He is reminding you that you have many resources, skills, capabilities, inner resources and patterns available to you that will allow you to do a broad range of tasks at will. These resources can be physical, mental, psychic, emotional and spiritual.

Alternatively the Leopard is letting you know that you need to accept your own spots and use them as your own strengths. Stop hiding because of your own perceived weaknesses. You have the power and the strength to accomplish everything you dream of. You simply have to believe, have faith and find the right path. Persistence is the keyword.

 

I think this is all incredibly relevant. I have been going through many deaths recently, and I’m currently on the upswing, and in gradual recovery mode. I feel very wounded at the moment from mistakes and experiences I’ve had recently, so to be assured of a resurgence of new power and strength and resolution is pleasing to the soul. The past week really did knock a lot of my confidence and faith out of me, so it will be beautiful to be realigned with an awareness of my limitless potential, instead of constantly being bound and stymied by self-limiting insecurities and worries.

I do also need to be more accepting of my own weakness, and not over-highlight them at the exclusion of the whole, but rather integrate thoroughly with them. All weaknesses can be converted into strength if you know the secret of transmutation. I think, especially, I have been castigating myself for my extreme changeability, seeing this aspect of my protean nature in an entirely negative light, when actually, it is an important part of my character, and abundant in virtue. Changeability is neither good nor bad in and of itself, for such transformations are an essential part of how the universe evolves. It is just about how you direct it (or how it directs you).

I had a beautiful moment of consolation earlier too. I prayed for forgiveness from a lover for all the pain that I’ve put her through. A voice reminded me that she’s already forgiven me. All these lifetimes, and unpleasant blips are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Mercy and forgiveness are the basic modalities of the universe. She has never truly hated me, and will always love me. What forgiveness need there be?

Diary of a Mystic: Vajra Lands

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First thoroughly enjoyable and integrative meditation since I first came down with this illness. Given all the anger, bitterness, and ill-will I’ve been experiencing as a side effect over these last few days, I decided to use Vajrayogini’s mantra to help me eat up and transform these unpleasant emotions. And it certainly worked, as I feel much more gentle and mentally pliable now than the misanthrope I’ve been masquerading as for these last few days.

The energy that envelops everything was no longer kept at a distance from me that horrifying fever fire, but could actually fully enter into my being. It was truly blissful and pleasurable, as though my being was gently being suffused with yogurt, milk, ambrosia, or some other sweet elixir of the Gods.

The initial imagery was of some jungles, and a face that looked rather Mongolian. But, to my knowledge, I don’t think Mongolia is a jungle terrain, so it was more likely a Chinese kingdom I was seeing, or maybe even something from Central or South America.

Then the scene takes an almost anime turn, two beautiful lovers, in a watery, nebulous, rainbow space. It is quite indistinct, but I feel very turned on and sensual, a delicious sense of hyper-sexual unity that continues throughout the meditation.

There is one scene that almost feel like a living painting. We are sailing down this psychedelic, jungle river. All these beautiful and mysterious creatures lurk elegantly along the banks. Roaming through clouds and beautiful vajra lands.

Diary of a Mystic: Rhino

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A lot of incredibly powerful wrathful energy came through me yesterday evening. It was a very unusual experience, like being a child, I felt incredibly happy and ecstatic, yet also very quick to wrath, and felt anger about a lot of things. It began when I was preparing for my massage, and then came through as a black Dakini-like figure during the massage – my face was contorting, and I was struggling quite a lot not to go into trance right there in the middle of the session! Had it been a friend accustomed to such things, I might have allowed it; but I had a responsibility to he client, and could not go full shaman in that moment. One day, I will do, when I have clients coming to me precisely for that reason.

I decided to subdue it by meditating after my bath, and doing a Vajrayogini meditation. Though my parents had gone to bed, I still felt impelled to chant spontaneously in that mysterious Asiatic language. It was a lovely, serene meditation, and I felt soothed very quickly, like entering into deep space, occasionally suffused by a beautiful dark blue light.

At one point, I saw a rhino before me, and I quickly became the rhino. I could feel the power of its enormous horn protruding from my third eye. I was strong, stolid, stable, serene and silent. A heavy piece of ponderous peace. Here is a list of attributes associated with the rhino as a spirit animal:

  • Agility
  • Solitary
  • Wisdom
  • Paradox
  • Freedom
  • Stability
  • Gratitude
  • Longevity
  • Judgment
  • Grounding
  • Peace of Mind
  • Self-Assurance
  • Unconventional
  • Sensory Perception

 

I would say all of these are extremely relevant to my current experience. More and more I am relishing my solitude and freedom from all constraints. The need for stability as I acquire ever greater and more volatile sources of energy. Gratitude for everything, especially the opportunity to love and serve all beings. Judgement, so that I have the perspicacity to still do the right thing, and not allow the impulsiveness of these new energy flows to get the better of me. And I feel thoroughly unconventional in just about everything I do at the moment, and, indeed, am likely to get more so!

The rhino bathes in the warmth of mud. I, too, must sink deeper into the earth as I re-establish my shamanic roots, taking the underworld as my bathing ground, so I can reach ever greater heights.

Feeling other people’s emotions more and more. Bodhicitta really is like being in love with every single thing.

 

 

Visions of Sisyphus

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After note: Also had an image of a man pushing a boulder up the side of a very pointed Himalayan mountain. However, once he reached the pinnacle, the boulder fell down the other side, and he flew up into space. This throws some interesting light on the legend of Sisyphus as a teaching about reincarnation. We incarnate into lives to learn, to become stronger, kinder, and increase our spiritual power and integrity. However, once we reach our climax, and we achieve much, we crumble and die, and are cast into another body, and thus, have to start the cycle all over again, right from the very bottom. It is enough to master the teachings of the Tao & and Dharma in one life time – but to have to return to it again and again, right from the bottom – what an endeavour!

This is the why the understanding of past lives is so useful in eastern countries. Because their reality is widely recognized, beings who are reincarnations or emanations of great teachers of holy men become recognized early on, and are able, with special training, to continue right from where they left off. One of these beings, reborn in the west, however, has to deal with a whole new set of obstacles – the pathologization of spirituality and mystical experiences in our culture – still pervasive literalist Christian dogma and superstition – and the quest to discover teachings which are foreign and opposed to our culture, and not very easy to come across.

However, a truly motivated spirit will always have the integrity to return to their original nature, regardless of the depravity of the society in which they find themselves, and The Great Spirit will orchestrate things so that all the right lessons, teachers, and experiences, fall into their path. Everything is well-taken care of. We just have to do our best, and not submit to ignorance and defeat.