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Why I Don’t Live Stream Spiritual Teachings

ganging
February 10 2020

Occasionally someone gets angry with me because I don’t publicly live stream many teachings, especially teachings that include instructions for practicing.

They think I don’t empathize with their situation (parenthood, work commitments, financial difficulty, health).

But I don’t publicly live stream because I prefer to focus my limited energy on more intimate and intensive relationships with my students. I’ve discovered over the years that keeping things small and focused is a natural expression for me.

The core of our community, Jaya Kula, is currently about fifty people. While we don’t live in an ashram, our experience is that we are closely accompanying each other through life. We share successes, tragedies, stuckness, difficult emotions, difficult behaviors, illness, joy, a lot of mutual care, and spiritual openings. We see and are seen.

Students also run Jaya Kula on a day-to-day basis. Over many years, we’ve collaboratively developed a unique and playful system for doing that. Being in community and working together to hold the community are important aspects of our sadhana.

One of my jobs is to keep all of this activity integrated with the process of waking up. I’m in contact with many of my students on a daily or weekly basis. I also closely follow how they are doing with seated practice and provide guidance.

Most of the students in Jaya Kula are sitting for stuff such as meditation and mantra a minimum of an hour a day. This has created a stable base for our community and a basis for bringing our daily lives onto the path. We have our commitment to seated practice in common, and that experience informs all of our activities together.

new people

Because I don’t often offer live public stream teachings, if new people want to participate, they generally need to start by showing up in person. This allows them to meet me and cuts down on the possibility that they might develop a fantasy teacher-student relationship or project a bunch of stuff onto the teacher or onto themselves.

By participating in live teachings, new people get to explore the flavor of the community first-hand. They can have a more precise understanding of the view of the traditions in which I teach. So if they decide to stay, they have a much clearer, more sober idea of what they are getting into!

Finally, when people travel to teachings from afar, that represents a significant offering. A real student teacher relationship is always call and response. When the call is given, the response is inevitable and manifests in a wonderful, spontaneous way.

I’ve always been in love with the student-teacher phenomenon. Even before I had a teacher, I dreamt of a Friend who would meet me, know me, and teach me in a special way.

My own experience is that teachers and students working together in traditions such as Trika Shaivism and Dzogchen have the potential to discover the most rich, nuanced, intelligent, and inexhaustibly beautiful relationships vouchsafed to human beings. This is what I want to share with people.

360°

We have many distractions in our lives. We have many responsibilities. Jaya Kula, taken as a whole, is supporting people in a kind of 360 degree way to take steps toward centering the process of waking up and eventually to experiencing open-heartedness and devotion toward all.

On the continuum of spiritual traditions and communities, Jaya Kula is a very small thing, but it is embodying a version of my ideal life. I feel enormous gratitude for the people who have helped to create and sustain this.

I have posted some guided meditations and mantra chanting instructions to our website. These are practices that can be safely done to good effect without intensive oversight.

We also have published hundreds of podcasts and videos. These are recorded live at our weekly satsang. The podcasts and videos don’t typically include practice instruction, but through them, you can learn about Trika Shaivism and Dzogchen and hear me talking about many aspects of life as a human in response to questions from students.

So please enjoy these, and I hope to see you and welcome you in teachings one day.

Lots of love,
Shambhavi