Saturday, May 22, 2010

Road maps to Epiphany

We want to share some thoughts, probably in four blogs, on "Paths to Epiphany" or "Spiritual Development".
On any journey, whether temporal or spiritual, you need a road map. There are many road maps to help you with your spiritual development. Most spiritual journeys require an ability to go into deep meditation. Several of our books give detailed step-by-step instructions. All of our guidance calls for only a comfortable chair, a safe place, and fifteen minutes a day of uninterrupted personal time. It is not sitting on a mountaintop and learning to disregard the cold, or sitting cross-legged on a bed of nails. It is inner meditation, not outward meditation looking for guidance, not outward meditation leading to astral travel. If you drift into either of those other modes, you need to constantly come back into yourself
The oldest road map to spiritual epiphany, then, is probably ancient Tantra; that is, Tantra before the Axial Age, that 500-year spasm when male gods supplanted the earlier goddesses. After the Axial Age, Tantra became chauvinistic, as can easily be seen by anyone reading the Kama Sutra.
Gavin was privileged to live in a Tantric house that was trying to recover the old pre-Axial ways. This was in India, under the auspices of Indira Gandhi. The procedure they used would have been easily understood by anyone who comprehends the ideas of the chakras (psychic centers).
In order to meditate on the classic concept on each successive day of the cycle, one's endorphine level is adjusted with orgasm.
You start at new moon in the base chakra. You spend two days understanding and comprehending everything about the base, your shadow-self, and the negativity involved, as well as the fact that the most beautiful lotus grows in the most malodorous muck.
Pictorial representation of the base is the goddess Dakini, a violent, primitive woman born out of the swamp. She is a typical multi-armed Hindu goddess who holds in her respective hands a skull, a bloody knife, a whip, and a fractured cube representing the World. Her animal is the berserk elephant, the most feared and dangerous creature in India. A pictorial representation of Dakini is shown on page 156 of our own "Tantric Yoga". The same book offers illustrations of all the goddesses and gods in the Tantric system. Page 250 illustrates the progression through the goddesses toward Nirvana and back through the gods toward the new moon. The book contains detailed mind keys for each goddess and each god, as well as dietary practices and the progression of sound mantras (page 256) and symbols (page 257).
As you progress upward with the waxing moon, spending two days in each successive chakra, you begin to understand yourself in more and more detail. Only when you pass the heart chakra with the goddess Kakini or Kali do you begin to move into more spiritual and intellectual levels.
Eventually you go through the final non-physical chakra at the top of the head (represented by the thousand-petaled lotus) and move out, trying to imagine what it is that you wish to become. Reaching this point requires the entire cycle between new moon and full moon.
Notice that all the ascending chakras are active and represented by goddesses. After the full moon, you descend the chakras; in this stage of the Journey they are represented by gods who are all contemplative. You contemplate what you learned as you ascended the chakras, again spending two days in each area, until in the base chakra you finally arrive at the most contemplative god of all, Brahma.
Then after the new moon has passed, you go through the cycle again. Each successive month for at least six months you continue the process. When you imagine an overview of it all, you realize that it is not a repeating loop but an upward Spiral.
The task is quite an onerous one, requiring a deep commitment; but even in the first cycle it is very rewarding. You learn things about yourself and about your place in the world, about your desires and needs, that sometimes cause a complete revision of your lifestyle and your attitudes.
We encourage you to try it, even if you can make it through only the first month.

Next time we will examine the Sephirothic Tree as another road map.