Browsing All Posts filed under »Spiritual Practice«

How do You Know if Someone is Enlightened?

May 18, 2006


There are some spiritual teachers who claim to be Enlightened, and yet their actions may not seem very Enlightened. This creates doubt about whether or not they are really Enlightened or not. Is there a way to know? What are the signs of Enlightenment? How can you know for sure if someone else is Enlightened? […]

To Seek or Not to Seek?

November 7, 2005


Some spiritual teachings tell us, “You already are that which you seek” or “Give up all practices. Just be.” Like any teaching, the value of these kinds of teachings depends completely on what happens when they are put into practice. If those teachings spontaneously bring about an Awakening, if they are actually followed, then great. […]

Mystical Poetry

October 25, 2005


Some of the most ancient poetry was sacred poetry and song as a vehicle for sacred teachings. The Vedas of India, for example, are sacred verses that are traditionally chanted. It is said that they are not merely descriptions of doctrines, but revelations of Truth. Their poetic power to transform consciousness derives from the fact […]

Jnana vs Bhakti

October 25, 2005


Bhakti yoga (union through devotion) is often contrasted with jnana yoga (union through knowledge). The stereotypes of these two paths make them out to have little if anything in common, except perhaps their ultimate goal. One common image used to describe them is that they are two paths that converge only at their ends. I’d […]

Bailing Water from a Sunken Ship: A Parable

August 6, 2005


Two little fish friends are swimming in the ocean and find a sunken shipwreck. As creative and imaginative young fish tend to do, they start playing in the ship, imagining that it is floating above water, that they are sailing on great adventures, encountering pirates and storms, taking this ship on a great journey across […]

Getting Beyond Spiritual Teachings

August 1, 2005


Teachings are intended to be helpful to us, of course. Sometimes, though, our thinking mind can get tied up in knots with them, especially the more paradoxical of the mystical teachings. When this happens, it might be helpful to remember that all teachings are “fingers pointing to the moon” and are not absolute truths about […]

Being in the Present Moment

July 29, 2005


Many spiritual teachers advise students to “stay in the present” or “be in the present moment.” But why is “staying present” considered important or valuable? In short, this teaching is an antidote to the habit of being lost in thoughts (which are usually about the past and the future). To help us become more aware […]