All the words defined here, and all those filling this whole background essay section, are useful to read but they do not mean nearly as much as doing the actual practices, games, rituals and processes described in other parts of the site.
And doing any exercise, game, process, as important as they are, are not nearly as affective as the experience of real connection which takes place in a face to face exchange between people.
This web site is an attempt to offer a resource which uses this modern medium to surpass the role of books as a way of helping you to enhance that moment. It passes books, because it uses every available symbolic language to point to the realm of mystery which fills the gaps between thoughts and feelings, power and action.
Literally wheel, but generally used to refer to wheels of light. Important energy centers in the body, but more profoundly each center presents a state of being or mind and so are ways of organising and experiencing the world. Follow the link, for a summary of the meanings of each center. For a deeper analysis of the symbolic language of the chakras follow this link
Teachings of Gautama Siddhartha, Buddha. (Follow the link for a more detail.)
Self-examination and observation generally through stillness and silence but also through intellectual as well as intuitive questioning of your emotional and other internal processes. This is the Western philosophical and mystical definition.
Zen is the Japanese name for the Chinese Chan version of the djana (or dana) tradition of Buddhist contemplation. In this approach Nirvana (the mystery of being) is entered by stepping sideways (the literally Transcendence) to a new perspective on the world. The mystery expressed in Nirvana is an experience beyond words which has inspired hundreds and thousands of books. The explanations of it have been argued about for two thousand years. Those arguing where and often are wish-making philosophers trying to box it in concepts and words, otherwise they are teachers trying to find away to point us to it. All are useful.
In the post-modern era we can talk about the aim of contemplation as achieving a new identity (self definition and experience) based on the flow of the essence of mind instead of the objects of mind. That is, the mystery ('void' is often used because it feels that way, but it is not empty as the word suggests) between thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Many teachers focus on the bliss associated with some meditative states as a way of talking about the aim but bliss (even internal versions which feel very spiritual and give the impression of great power, infinity and all knowing) is an experience happening and is therefore an object of mind. Identity is invisible until threatened, it is the eye we see with, the ear we hear with and the body we feel with and so is the fundament of existence.
The search for wisdom includes bliss and power.
Literally: Inner truth of Tantra. Tantra, the history and the word's meanings are lost but in general it is taken to be web or in more modern terms network, as in the network of relationships both material and psychological which create reality as we experience it. (Follow the link for a more detail.)
Essence of Mind and Objects of Mind
These two terms come from Zen - specifically the Shambhala Dragon Editions' book a translation of "The Diamond Sutra and the Sutra of Hui Neng", 1990. These two sutras are the foundation of Chan, the Chinese version of contemplative Buddhism which is better known by its Japanese word - Zen.
Objects of Mind are thoughts, feelings and experiences as we experience them within, subjectively. Essence of Mind is the substance of internal experience noticed in contemplation. A field of mind is the individual experience of the essence into and from which objects of mind are made.
The problem is that we have a very limited language for talking about the subjective, i.e. the inner life. In away that is what poetry can be the discovery of a unique language for sharing the real moments constructed by these elements. Our sense of identity comes from the way we value our experiences both inner and outer. Values are the architectures, the tracks, which create the objects and the courses of the ripples of reactions which are themselves also objects.
If we think of the essence of mind as the water in the ocean. Then a large current like the Gulf Stream would be our individual identities, the fields of mind, then the smaller currents would be the deeper emotional patterns and flows (these are the larger objects of mind which organise the others) then there are the waves and ripples, the moment to moment thoughts and feelings.
This process is a multi-dimensional and multi-directional but with ordered patterns in it. The smallest ripples are the building blocks and expressions of the ocean's uniqueness and yet the water and the ocean's shape and nature affects the winds and weather, the depths of its floors, all coming out of history, creating the ripples, the waves.
Literally, beginning, to begin something, to enter a new level of power.
To go through a symbolic process, very often a mythically based ritual set of actions, which builds connections between the deeper aspects of our being and our daily life. It usually passes on knowledge to allow you to participate in a new world of power and action.
If it's an affective process it will bring into play your history/karma, all seven senses, the emotions, the body and the intellect.
Karma is generally used to speak of a morally conscious intelligent history, with quotes from the Bible like "you reap what you sow". Many use it to explain bad luck or tolerance of bad behaviours on the part of others. The bad luck to be born with difficult parents is often explain by your "karmic load" carried over from past lives.
Most ways that people talk about it are very simplistic and linear. In the esoteric systems of both Buddhism and Hinduism and (even in the concept of sin in the Bible) karma and history are more complex because they acknowledge the moral ambiguities of reality. Any action's meanings change over time, are never purely right or wrong. The Warrior seeks simple truths to justify their anger on the battleground. Listen to the Warriors and they will talk of history in very black and white moral terms, without understanding the rainbow of possibilities each action and event has in flow of time.
This Warrior's view is emotionally enticing because we all seek security, and strength looks like the shortest route to it. The Lover's understanding of the relativity of moral situations and meaning looks like a recipe for inaction, for overwhelming powerlessness. Like Karma has no meaning, that it won't offer the vengeance hidden in so many people's conception of it. That Karma won't be the instrument of responsibility, so you can hide in inaction and powerlessness and moral irresponsibility. The Hero stands with the understandings of the Lover and acts, being the warrior but without the need for the simplicities of rage and yet maintaining sensitivity.
A primarily subjective experience which happens during intense meditative, emotional psycho-sexual and physical events traditionally characterised by shooting sensations up the spine, but not always.
The activation of each Chakra represents different states of mind. Each person generally operates from an identity based on one or two chakras
Techniques for developing choice with mind/body states (including the emotions). (Follow the link for a more detail.)
The Sacred Sex aspect of Ritual. One of the five elements (or makara) in Tantric ritual.
Sound meditations - Chants often combined with music. (Follow the link for a more detail.)
Movement and posture meditations. (Follow the link for a more detail.)
Multi-sensory Imagination and Memory
Meditations and other exercises involving all the senses coordinated together. (Follow the link for a more detail.)
Open relationship based on honesty, responsibility, freedom, respect and love.
Holistic events involving all the senses with meaningful actions which invoke the power of myth. (Follow the link for a more detail.)
An alternative way of thinking about experience and the Chakras. One sense for each Chakra.
The Senses are the traditional five plus the 'proxemic' sense and the sense we use to perceive thoughts. Follow the link in the title for detail.
One of the two lineages of traditions indigenous to China. The other is Confucianism. There are many different teachings and schools, many with Buddhist influence. It has also had an influence on the forms of Buddhism there as well. (Follow the link for a more detail.)
Taoism or Daoism (the 'd' is the modern spelling as used by the Chinese) is the Indigenous Chinese Mystical Tradition based on their ancient shaman practices. (Follow the link for a more detail.)
'Peak Experience' is the commonly used term for intensive states, often blissful, associated with spiritual practice. I prefer 'Threshold Experience'.
Peak experience connotes the climbing of a mountain, or getting high (both spiritually and chemically). In some ways it is based on the sense of achievement after effort, it also has embeded in it ascension model of spirituality - ie that the spiritual is above and beyond the muck and mire of the mundane world of everyday life. Also embedded in it is the sense that it is a special case, the bliss of a unique moment brought on by a ritual process (possibly but not necessarily including drugs). It also includes the idea of simplicity, at the top of the mountain all the complexities of the path there fall away, you are free of struggle, and all you are left with is a spectacular view. Beautiful.
Threshold Experience includes all the above, and much more. It is the meeting place, the edge, the gateway, the doorway and the window between many emotions, many experiences, which can all exist together. It is complicated. Inner and outer coexist, in fact, co-create. Effort and effortlessness are felt together, choice and destiny, void and substance, bliss and agony, reality, illusion and fantasy, past, present and future, our many inner characters. A complicated place with all the senses alive with thoughts, feelings and mystery.
The flaw in the 'peak experience' naming is that at its core is a hierarchy of experience which decides that the ecstasy at the top is beauty and the rest is a blockade from it. Each moment is a threshold experience dynamically changing, love and peace come when we can sit with it, in it and appreciate its beauty moment by moment. It is an inclusive idea, including ambition, envy, sexy sensuality, pain, power, rage, isolation, desolation and sorrow, in their mundane washed out everyday versions and in their flooding overpowering versions.
Moving sideways. Many who use this word are actually meaning rise above or away from the everyday pains and desires of
Visual meditations using both abstract and figurative. Often used in art. The image to the right is an example of an artwork inspired by the Sri Yantra, a centrally important tantric symbol. (Follow the link for a more detail.)
Literally discipline, particularly for spiritual progress.
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