This workshop will explore the tantric explanation of the vast cycle of the evolution of the universe: its beginning, middle, end and its beginning once again. We will explore the nature of Shiva as static conscious awareness (or purusha) and Shakti as the creative and dynamic energy (or prakriti). We will begin our journey at the point of the maha bindu or the great seed at which all energies are unified and the universe is in an unmanifested state.
We will learn how Shiva’s desire for Shakti initiates the unfolding of the universe through a series of complex stages. Through the sacred dance of Shiva and Shakti all consciousness and matter are created. It is through lila- the divine dance- that the universe is manifested. All levels of consciousness, the five elements, and gross and subtle matter are created by the divine dance. All are part of Shiva and Shakti. All are one in non-dual awareness.
However, we live in the world of maya or creative illusion. Maya prevents us from understanding the reality of non-dual awareness. It is maya that causes us to experience separateness and alienation from the universe. We live in our self-contained egos and, in our egoic isolation, we are full of attachment, aversion and spiritual ignorance. The result is suffering. Our suffering alienates us from feeling compassion and love for our fellow beings.
We will consider the origins of yoga philosophy as discovered by the great and mysterious rishis in ancient times and their use of the psychedelic plant known as soma as a path for accessing the Vedic gods and reaching a state of unity.
We will explore sacred sound as the very essence of matter and consciousness, and its role in the evolutionary cycle of the universe. We will discuss the use of sound as a spiritual practice.
To break the bonds of maya we must begin our spiritual journey from our egoic isolation back to our original and true state of non-dual awareness. We will seek the guidance of the divine femine as expressed in the form of the ten Mahavidyas (the tantric goddesses).
We will explore Kali and Kamala and will learn some practices that we can use to tap into the energy of the divine feminine. These will include meditations, visualizations and journaling practices.
We will listen to mantras and examine images of the Sri Yantra (the great map of cosmic evolution) and the Mahavidyas to help us understand the tantric system.
At the close of the workshop, our journey will be complete. We will have arrived back at the beginning of the cycle-just before the vibration of the primal sound and the sacred dance that brings the universe back into existence once again.
Gary is Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance and has a Certificate of Yoga Philosophy from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has studied yoga at Esalen Institute, Parmarth Niketan Ashram and Satchidananda Ashram. Gary published his first book entitled: “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.”