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Cultural Appropriation and the Porous Self

Cultural Appropriation Spirituality
Episode No. 146

Shambhavi talks about cultural appropriation vs. cultural appreciation in the context of spirituality. How can we understand cultural appropriation from within traditions that experience the self as porous and inclusive of various times and cultures? A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

When I was 27 years old, I was living in New York City. I walked into a very New-Agey place in SoHo, and took a workshop called something like Develop Your Intuition. It was completely uncharacteristic. I’ve written about this and talked about this. To this day I have no idea and no memory of what propelled me to do this. It was almost like fate was propelling me. I was on some kind of autopilot, and I can’t remember anything about why I went there. I was a snarky, punky, bookish kind of a person who was completely allergic to anything flowy, woo-woo-y or anything like that.

The teacher was flowy, but she also had a kind of fierceness that I recognized and responded to. She was teaching what I later realized were classical kriyas. We were working with our internal channels and chakras, and using the breath internally. She didn’t use mantra, but they were pretty standard kriyas as I later found out.

Since I was very small, and maybe from the moment I opened my eyes, I had this deep perception that there was more to reality than I could see, experience, or understand. And I was filled with longing, outrage, and a sense of desperation to find out what it was that I couldn’t experience in my condition. When I walked into that workshop and started to learn these kriyas, something in me just identified: this is it. This is what is going to get me to a place where I can actually really perceive what’s happening here, what this world is, and what’s going on here.