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All posts tagged women

Can a Woman be a Crazy Wisdom Teacher (and get away with it)?

Crazy wisdom is at play when a spiritual teacher embodies uncompromising compassion paired with over-the-top creativity. These powerfully and magically transfigure the scene of teaching in order to help students to wake up.

Crazy wisdom is a “by any means available” situation. Some of the moves associated with crazy wisdom are rapid pivots from tenderness to fierceness to hilarity, or just fierceness in general; acting in ways counter to the expectations that students have of spiritual teachers, or generally provoking, or scaring or shocking students; refusing to treat anything as nonspiritual, a.k.a. using every and any circumstance as a vehicle for practice; and energetically engaging students in the wild creativity that is fundamental to existence.

Trungpa July 4th

Trungpa celebrates July 4th.

Although Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche coined the phrase, stories about crazy wisdom teachers are a part of the spiritual inheritance of every direct realization tradition. Even in the absence of a specific crazy wisdom teacher, traditions offering a more direct approach to self-realization, such as Dzogchen, Trika Shaivism and Chan Buddhism, naturally embody crazy wisdom in their teaching methods to some degree.

For instance, both of my traditions, Trika Shaivism and Dzogchen, deploy specific sharp mantras to induce mild shock and clear conceptual mind. They also feature a more playful, unpredictable and fierce style of teaching. I heard this memorable aphorism during a teaching with the wonderful Kagyu meditation master, Lama Wangdor. “When the lion of Mahamudra roars, many are scared off. But the cubs come running for the milk.” Read On…

Jaya Kula students

Gender Karma in Spiritual Communities

The Hindu pantheon of deities presents us with a playground of playfully shifting gender expressions.  Nonetheless, the force of conventional gender role expectations and confusion plays itself out everywhere, including in spiritual communities.

The group of traditions and lineages that comprise what is called “Hinduism,” and Tantra, include the worship of deities that manifest all of the conventional gender roles. But we also have male deities who appear in half-male/ half-female forms, or even who show up as all-female at times. We have dancing male deities and male deities who give birth. We have female deities who ride lions and tigers and are fiercer warriors than their male counterparts. Everybody gets to wear jewelry and grow their hair long.

A rare image of Sri Vidya Ganesha - a female form of Ganesha

A rare image of Shri Vidya Ganesha, a female form of Ganesha

My Guru, Anandamayi Ma, at times incarnated as Durga or Chinnamasta, both female deities, and, at other times as Krishna or Lord Shiva. Read On…

Meditation and Parenting as Medicine

“Meditation and Parenting as Medicine” was written by Jaya Kula student Katie Rablin.

Being a mother to my son is a potent medicine that has opened my heart.

Through the process of mothering, a curiosity about life has blossomed inside me. I’ve been born into a larger version of myself through giving up who I thought I was and simply being myself with my son.

Katie and Ancil

Katie and her son Ancil

I was pregnant during a summer 2014 meditation retreat with my teacher in Maine. It was my first time practicing meditation, and I had a lot of nausea, dizziness, fear and all kinds of things coming up. Read On…

Shakti Rises: Sex Abuse, Sexism and Renewal

During the recently renewed sex abuse and violence crisis in the Satyananda yoga lineage, some of my students and others online have suggested that recurring incidences of sex abuse, violence and coercion of women by Gurus and spiritual teachers in Hindu communities are due to the “suppression” of male sexuality in India.

Let me just say NO. Feeling sexually suppressed or repressed does not translate into sex abuse. Sexism translates into sex abuse, violence and coercion. Women, girls and childrens’ empowerment translates into greater safety. Read On…

Unborn in the U.S.A.

Ramblings of a Tantrik Renunciate at Large

hard meditationYou know. Renunciates. Those oh-so-spiritual folks sporting shaved heads and orange robes, or natty dreads and tattered loin cloths. You’ve seen photos of them sweeping floors in ashrams, blowing horns in monasteries, prostrating along mountain roads and proselytizing in airports. They don’t have sex or eat meat. They can’t get married, have kids or any fun at all. Right?

Wrong. Mostly.

I live in the U.S. I’m a renunciate householder. I don’t live in a monastery, wear robes, profess vegetarianism, or anything, really.

This essay is in part an attempt to open a few doors and windows with regard to renunciation.

It’s partly a coming out.

And it’s mostly the love song of a Western renunciate at large. Read On…