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All posts tagged six realms

A Message about Pride

For everyone who has been given an opportunity, however small,
to help others wake up and discover their divine nature. 

Recently I had a conversation with a student who is creative, intelligent, devotional and has a natural desire to be of benefit to others. Despite all of this, nearly every moment of this student’s life is a struggle with competitiveness and the need to prove his worth, even at the expense of others.

In my life as a practitioner, I have traveled from near total ignorance of my own pride and competitiveness, to seeing it everywhere, to many years of doing the work of revealing its manifestations layer by layer and much praying for release. My deepest desire has always been to be used: to be in a position in which every gift I came here with could be used fully to support what I recognized early on as primordial goodness. Yet even with this unstoppable desire, I found that my engrained habit of seeking admiration was standing in my way.

Whatever we give, to whatever extent we are giving to support our own self-image, that is precisely the extent to which we are denying benefit to others. 

After a long time and a lot of sadhana, I reached some kind of tipping point. My desire to discover true open-heartededness became stronger than the karmas of pride and the need to defend self-image.

What I feel today is helpless wonder and gratitude, a desire to humble myself entirely and try my best to give without any reserve or impediment.  I feel that if I am able to do this, even if my gifts are small, my life has been well lived, and I have served my Guru by doing the job she has assigned to me.

Titan conflictI really do not have words to express my gratitude for this less conflicted desire. I feel as if I have been rescued from some endless, incomprehensible struggle.  And even having miles to go, I constantly am aware of the tender, guiding grace of my Guru, step-by-step lighting the way to more unmitigated open-heartedness and the natural devotion and deep relaxation we call surrender.

So many of us here in the U.S. season our giving with the poison of self-agrandizement and pride. We feel badly if we are not continually proving ourselves or striving for greatness and admiration, even in giving. We disguise self-advertisement as humility. We are so steeped in a culture of pride and self-image promotion, that it is difficult even for sincere people to gain clarity about all of the nuanced ways in which we are propagating it.

I mentioned my student and myself, but I can’t think of a single person born in the U.S. who I teach, or have met, who does not embody in some way this culture of pride.

What I have learned, often painfully, is that the only way to give fully, to be fully used, is to get our karmas of self-image protection and striving for recognition out of the way entirely. I think this is the most pressing concern for those of us who are in teaching positions, or positions in which we share wisdom traditions such as Ayurveda, Jyotish and divination.

Until we stop striving for recognition and massaging and defending self-image, we will never be fully fit to serve others on the path of waking up. 

As the accomplished and brilliant teacher Dudjom Rinpoche wrote:

The appearance of greatness like dog shit wrapped in brocade
If I have it, fine; if not, fine
Having smelled the stink of my own ignorance,
May I constantly practice the Supreme Teaching.

Lots of love,
Shambhavi

asura loka

The Amerika Virus

There’s a virulent virus that has spread throughout the U.S. It makes you sick, but it can also earn you more money and enhance your social status. It makes you unhappy, but if you don’t have it, people think you’re weird.

Long ago, the virus was identified by wise seers from India and Tibet. They named it “Titan realm vision” after a group of compulsive strugglers — beings who competed with the Gods they tried to emulate and who simultaneously lorded it over the lower beings.

People infected with Titan realm vision believe that life is an effortful climb and that the only safe place to be is on top. They see life as a contest with winners and losers.

The virus creates show offs, manipulators of public image, exaggerators and liars. Infected beings deeply doubt their own self-worth and so struggle to prove themselves by making great efforts to master life (or at least present the appearance of mastery).

Titans are unhappy, restless, anxious beings who compete ferociously to succeed in an attempt to hide their real condition.

Are you infected? Here are some of the symptoms.

  1. You believe that if you aren’t continuously growing, improving and getting more, you are failing.
  2. You define yourself by your mission. When you don’t have a mission, you feel empty and that life is meaningless.
  3. You subtly or not so subtly disparage others in order to distinguish yourself.
  4. You are always measuring your accomplishments against those of others.
  5. You feel your world is crashing down if you make a mistake, or someone points out something you have done that is less than stellar.
  6. You find it difficult to take responsibility for your behavior, and you will defend yourself aggressively even when you know you are in the wrong.
  7. You do whatever it takes to hide your supposed shortcomings, including by tearing others down.
  8. You exaggerate your accomplishments, or even lie about them.
  9. When life naturally takes a turn for the worse, you feel humiliated.
  10. You are haughty, or even mean, toward people you feel are less powerful than you are.
  11. You have a constant underlying feeling of anxiety that something is wrong with you, or that you are inadequate, or that you are about to be unmasked.
  12. You monitor other people’s reactions to you and take swift action to manipulate other people’s view of you when you imagine they are less than admiring.
  13. You swing between elation at “success” and depression at “failures.”
  14. You are exhausted.

One of the great cures for Titan realm vision is recognizing how nature actually is. Circumstances naturally change. Whole civilizations naturally come and go. Life is not a ladder or a mountain or a measuring stick. It is more of an undulation. Surfing is a more useful skill than making a continuous effort to climb.

Graceful adaptation is the key to happiness. Competing to be “on top” is a recipe for suffering.

Want to know more about Titan realm vision and how to leave it behind?  Read this.

American Mahatma vs. the Greatness Virus

aka 9 ways to discover your innate goodness and forget about being Great

 

Here in the U.S., we suffer from a terrible virus. We catch it at a young age and most of us virusdie with it running rampant in our systems after a lifetime of uncontrolled replication.

The virus is so ubiquitous, many of think it is who we are. We don’t notice it sucking our time, energy, attention and joy. In fact, the more infected we are, the more “successful” we are likely to be, the more acclaim we will garner and the more money we are likely to earn.

Unfortunately, no matter how successful we become at meeting the demands of the virus, the more impaired is our ability to feel satisfaction, contentment or fulfillment. This virus has one ceaseless demand: become Greater, and Greater and then Greater still. Read On…

Romp Around the Realms: Hell Realm

God • Titan • Human • AnimalHungry ghostHell

These are the names of the six realms, or lokas in Sanskrit.  The realms represent the six styles in which human beings lose touch with their real nature and experience suffering, aka, karma.

When we do sadhana, we begin to step out of the realms. Our clarity, spontaneity and freedom of expression increase.

Last time, I wrote about hungry ghost realm. Today I conclude the Six Realms series with hell realm and a few pointers for working with this painful pattern.

Hell Realm

Hell realm karmic vision is intensely painful, all-encompassing and full of anger. Life itself, including other people, is experienced as torturing. The best weapon against hell realm is a sense of humor. Unfortunately, a sense of humor is hard to come by when a person is trapped in hell realm visions.
Read On…

Romp Around the Realms: Hungry Ghost

God • Titan • Human • AnimalHungry ghostHell

These are the names of the six realms, or lokas in Sanskrit.  The realms represent the six styles in which human beings lose touch with their real nature and experience suffering, aka, karma.

When we do sadhana, we begin to step out of the realms. Our clarity, spontaneity and freedom of expression increase.

Last time, I wrote about Animal Realm. About every two weeks, I will be describing a new realm and will offer  a few pointers about working with each flavor of karmic fixation.

Hungry Ghost Realm

The archetypal image of hungry ghost fixation is a being with a long, thin neck and big empty belly. The throat is too thin to get enough food, and consequently, hunger is constant. Read On…