Transformation, Desire, and Multi-Tasking

December 27, 2023

Shambhavi and the Jaya Kula community gather for satsang and get real about all the questions we humans want answered. Intimate, courageous, heartfelt spiritual talk about pretty much everything. So happy you are here! A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

What is attraction? It's an aspect of desire.

What happens when we feel desire? We move toward something. Or maybe away, but generally toward.

And we are experiencing more of our natural continuity or porosity with what we're attracted to. We become more open to that which we're attracted to. And so it's transforming us.

And we're giving our attention to it, our time to it. Maybe our money, maybe [laughs] food, maybe listening.

All kinds of things that we're giving to the things that we're attracted to.

And what Ma is saying is, every time that you move toward something that you're attracted to, you are giving something. In general, time and attention. And all the various forms of energy.

And so I said, be sure that you're sacrificing. The word for sacrifice in Sanskrit is what?



So, specifically, yajña is a fire ceremony. And obviously fire element is the great transformer. The signal quality of fire element is to transform one thing into another, a.k.a., cook things.

Ma is saying, when you're attracted to something, you enter into a yajña with that thing. You are pouring yourself into that fire and being consumed or transformed by the fire of your attraction, of your desire.

She's implying that when we make the offering of ourself, it should be to something that is worthy. That is helping us in our lives to wake up. To be better people, to be more open-hearted, to be more aware, to be more skillful.

Because, of course, we can pour ourselves into a lot of things that don't do that for us.

That are just numbing, or reinforce various karmic patterns that aren't helping us to wake up. There's plenty of those things we can pour ourselves into.

And one of the great skills of being on a spiritual path is learning to recognize what is helpful to you and what is not.

What people, what circumstances, what activities are supportive, and which ones are not.

So for those of us who are afraid of criticism, and you want to be pleasing to people, and you want to get praise and reward. You often make decisions based on that.

Or you're not even really making a decision, you're just kind of sliding resistlessly through various situations hoping to receive a reward.

And that is not dharmic. That is not helpful. That's what you're sacrificing yourselves to.

Many of you have said you're people pleasers of some sort or another. Or praise seekers. And that causes us to give ourselves, to sacrifice ourselves, to many things that are destructive rather than supportive. Or not destructive in the right way.

The right kind of yajña, the right kind of sacrifice, is destroying our karmas.

That's what a fire does. It destroys and transforms. It transforms things into gold, right? It transforms something that's inedible into something that's edible.

Or it can just destroy and then leave nothing useful in its wake.

So when we're engaging with life, when we're sacrificing ourselves to the wrong things, we become exhausted and numb and dull and...and/or our karmas just run wild. We get––Whatever our native karmas are, they just get worse. We get more angry or more scared or more whatever.

Sometimes we can sacrifice ourselves out of a misplaced concept, or what could be called stupid compassion. There was another teacher who called this stupid compassion.

When we want to be the one who makes everything better for other people.

I've certainly done this with my students at times. I want to be helpful so much that I engage in stupid compassion sometimes.

That's just a waste of energy.

But as we go along, we get more and more discerning about that kind of situation. All the kinds of situations. And this is part of learning how to manage our energy.

And this is why managing our energy is part of the foundation training at Jaya Kula. It's the beginning of stepping on that path of skillful management of our energy.

And skillful means learning to discern what is helpful to us in our growth as human beings and what is not.

And it takes a lot of fortitude and guts to stop doing the things that aren't helpful. Or disengage from the things that aren't helpful.

Because oftentimes we're going against a lot of cultural conditioning when we stop engaging in things that aren't helpful. Or just other kinds of karmas, other kinds of conditioning.

Does that mean it really is just willpower?

Well, it's really not about willpower. There's a word in Sanskrit, a very famous– It's a phrase, really.

Iccha shakti.

It's one of the three primordial shaktis. Jñana shakti is the shakti of wisdom. Kriya shakti is the shakti of, the power of action. And iccha shakti is sometimes translated as willpower, but that is absolutely a wrong translation.

It means the desire. The shakti of desire.

What happens is we have certain patterns running that have energy bound up in them, so they have momentum. And the only way to meet that momentum is with a desire to go in a different direction.

So when your desire becomes strong enough, you will work up the strength to follow that desire, that desire that's going in some other direction.

So don't think of it as brute willpower. Think of it as remembering more natural, healthy desire. And letting yourself experience that and letting that direct you.

So instead of brute willpower, it's more like letting yourself follow a healthier desire.

And sometimes that doesn't happen until we get what I call bad stop.

So sometimes we have these habits that we just don't have enough desire to overcome. Basically, we're just redirecting the energy. And we don't have enough desire to redirect the energy.

And so we just get sick, or we go broke, or someone leaves us 'cause they're really sick of watching us listen to Grey's Anatomy every morning or, you know, whatever. [laughs]

But any one of those situations, I call that bad stop.

You do have some desire to do it differently, but maybe it's not quite strong enough. So you're going to keep lying there watching Grey's Anatomy in the morning until the desire gets strong enough.

Or until something comes along and stops you and makes your desire stronger.

This is completely fictional, everybody, but just say that you have this desire and it's making you feel bad that you keep lying there and watching Grey's Anatomy. But not quite bad enough to actually get up and not watch Grey's Anatomy. [laughs]

And then– And then your partner, after, like, months and months of this, or years of this, is, like, Oh, God, I just can't take this anymore. I'm out of here.

And then suddenly you're, like, Oh, my God, I really want to get my life back.

And that's the key. It's like, I want to get my life back. So desire is always the number one key.

There's just so much happening for us to field energetically in our bodies, energy, and mind. Anyone is having trouble just even, you know, beginning to digest everything that's happening.

And losing ourselves in serial TV watching is a way of shutting down our senses so that we don't have to have so much input coming in.

So it is not just a habit, it's a coping mechanism.

We all are indulging in various coping mechanisms.

So, just think about maybe there's some other coping mechanism that would be more suited.

But when we sit down to do meditation, or yoga, or whatever we're doing, our senses are opening more even. [laughs] We're feeling livingness, aliveness more.

And then it's like, augh! Right? [laughs]

This is a really great time to understand Ayurvedic teaching on meat as medicine. There's no prescription, or no dogma about vegetarianism in Ayurveda.

And right now we are in a really chaotic, disintegrating time. This is a destruction phase. And the groundlessness that was always there is now being felt much more strongly.

So being a vegetarian during this time, for certain kinds of people, and I would say for most people, unless you're, like, super kapha...

Eating a little meat, bone broth, that is medicine. It will help you to cope with what's happening. You need this strength.

This is just the wrong time to be a vegetarian for most people. We need that as medicine. It helps us to handle things.

That's another coping mechanism that's maybe a little more sustaining and actually healthy than watching Grey's Anatomy every morning. [laughs]

Right now, I'm trying to, like, finishing up, you know, paperwork while I'm listening. Is it okay with you? Because we're working with everyone's conditions during satsang, that everyone can do things during satsang and not just be, like, this really rigid type of satsang.

You're just simply not capable of multitasking.

I mean, the human brain cannot read one thing and listen to another thing at the same time. It's just a hardwired fact.

If you are looking at any other media, or reading, during satsang, then whatever time you're spending doing that other activity, you are not at satsang.

It does have to do with getting out of our iPod––me, myself, and iPod––and thinking about, what is this circumstance? What is this circumstance? Who is here?

Well, first of all, the teacher is here. I'm here.

And...I would feel compassion for the teacher. Here is the teacher trying to relate to you through this medium, putting out a lot of effort to do that.

So I'm here fully. I am not doing anything else.

And if our hearts are really open, I am convinced that there would be compassion for the teacher. That would be a big factor.

And then there's everybody else. And there's the feeling of the group. There can be a feeling of the group even in this medium.

It's not as much fun as when we're together physically, but it's still there. And people are talking about really important things to them. And sharing things. And we should be here listening, if our compassion is fully awake.

Not, we should be here listening because it's the right thing to do. I'm just saying...feel for other people. What is this circumstance?

Just like I would never start reading my email or my text messages while I'm teaching. Why wouldn't I do that? 'Cause it looks bad, or I think it's wrong, or something?

No, because it would be uncompassionate toward you and because I actually feel compassionate toward you.

I want you to know. I want you to feel my devotion to you and to this.

Because if you feel that, then you can have more of that in your life, and that's what I want. I'm just saying this is a possible form of life.

Here in the Kali Yuga, which is just shorthand for...about 100,000 things...that we would live our lives in devotion to others is unimaginable.

I mean, almost everybody here is doing something to help other people. Like, you're all thinking about what's going on in the country, in the world, and with other people. And it's not like anyone here is devoid of compassion or caring about other people.

But imagine just living in full-on sensitivity to others every minute of every day. When you're never retiring into your paperwork, or whatever, because you always care.

You always care how other people are experiencing things.

So, this is my experience. I'm just doing, it's– For me, it's a natural expression. It's not anything I'm like, Oh, gosh, I wish I could look at my email, but if I do, they won't feel my compassion, so I won't. You know. There– I'm not, like, thinking [laughs] about any of that.

It's not whether it's okay with me or not. It's just when that is going on, I see what your condition is. That's all.

And then that's my job, is to unveil a different way of being in the world for you. And of course, I do that in large part just by the way I'm showing up.

Don't think about anything. Just go into your heart.

I spend a lot of time on video for work, and it's common that, people are just working.

I mean, well, you're in a circumstance where most people are not thinking about these things, don't care about it, don't think it's weird.

What you can do is show up in a way that causes some subset of people to feel a loving presence there.

That's what we're doing. We're showing up with as open-heart as we can, with as much other-focus as possible, open-heartedness towards others, and paying attention.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.