Yoga and Meditation in the Bay Area and in the West have been dysfunctionally commoditized and disconnected from the powerful spiritual traditions in which they were born.
Do you know what Yoga means?
Body and Mind.
Yoga was designed to prepare the body to be fit for meditation.
So doing Yoga without meditating doesn’t make sense.
That then begs the question, what is the purpose of meditation?
It is not to de-stress. The intention of de-stressing is actually counter productive to meditation’s true purpose.
The purpose of meditation is to Awaken to a reality beyond the suffering of the separate self…
To transcend the ego and shift the locus of your self-identity to the deeper part of yourself that is one with everything.
All this yoga mindfulness stuff is nice, but kind of kiddie kindgarten k-ommodification of deep kosmic truth.
Sadly, most spiritual kindergarteners don’t know that first grade exists.
So they just stay in kindergarten forever.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Look within yourself and find the deeper part of yourself that desires to Awaken.
Then find the spiritual lineage that resonates with your body/mind and makes it sing.
My lineage is Tibetan Buddhism in the school of Vajrayana. Which it must be said that trans-lineage integral scholars consider it to be a superior vehicle to Awakening compared to the Buddhist schools of Theravada and Mahayana. The most popular form of meditation in the Bay Area, Vipassana, is essentially a variant of the Theravada school and thus is an inferior vehicle to Awakening, although it still can get you there, much the way a VW bug and a Lamborghini can both drive across the country. A comparably sophisticated tradition to Vajrayana Buddhism would be the Hindu School of Advaita Vedanta. There are also viable lineages to Awakening in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, although it’s critical to find their mystical, esoteric streams, lest you fall into a myriad of their mythic, exoteric, dogmatic traps.
The trans-lineage spiritual path has one essentially moving through 4 stages of consciousness: gross, subtle, causal and non-dual. Meditation usually begins with Concentration practices which tame the mind that is likened to a Wild Elephant or Wild Monkey. When the animal has been sufficiently tamed, Awareness practice can begin where conventional notions of Self, Emotions, Thought, and Time can be deconstructed so that the rays of Awakening may shine through your individuated consciousness.
Once you’ve found the lineage you resonate with most, commit to graduating to the first grade, then the second grade, and keep going until you’ve stabilized Awakening.
Most teachers say committing to Awakening is the most important thing you can do with your life.
Because from the vantage of point of Awakening, everything in your life that you have done or experienced will seem like it was surrounded by a dense, swampy fog, where you could not see the freedom, positivity, clarity, and love inherent to your true nature…
…which holds the deepest reasons for you being incarnate on this earth, at this time, in this particular body.
The spirit in me salutes the spirit in you.