What Should We Do?—the Pandemic Version
Many of us want to know how we can contribute positively in our current circumstances. Shambhavi breaks it down. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi
Podcast First Words
I’ve been thinking a lot about my history—how I entered into writing about spiritual life, how I’ve conducted myself, and what I’ve emphasized. Initially, I was studying with a teacher. I really didn’t have much contact with the typical things that people read about spiritual life when they’re investigating by reading books or personal accounts online. I didn’t do that until I was really pretty old, like in my mid-thirties.
So when I started reading those things—like Autobiography of a Yogi and things like that—I realized that a lot of those accounts hopped from one extraordinary spiritual experience to another. No one was really talking about what happened in between.
When I started writing, I really wanted to show in some way what the granular day of practitioners is like. What does it really feel like for ordinary schlubs like us to enter into a serious spiritual practice? When we’re not, maybe, going to be flying through universes and all the things that people did in those stories?
And then when I started teaching more formally, my emphasis has always been on making teachings simpler. Making them easier to understand, and bringing them into a language that can be understood by contemporary people—people from this culture by and large.
I’ve really de-emphasized a lot of the intellectual study that I did when I was in graduate school. I spent about ten years reading texts from this tradition—scripture, commentaries, histories, and other kinds of things. In doing that I encountered a lot of difficulties trying to piece together reliable teachings through those books and reliable accounts of the tradition I was interested in.
I realized that hardly anyone was going to do that much study. So I could bring what I had learned to people, but it would have to be in a less intellectual way. It would have to be in a more digestible form. So that’s what I’ve been focusing on.