Essays

Essays (93)

Spiritual Essays by Shunyamurti, the director of the Sat Yoga Institute, on a wide variety of topics ranging from the goal of the spiritual path, to enlightenment and liberation, psychoanalysis and ego dynamics, and even quantum physics.


Wednesday, 03 August 2011 10:25

How to Profit From the End of the World

Written by Shunyamurti
Calling all capitalists! It is time to invest in your future—while you still have one! Capital means head, so capitalists are (or should be) those who use their heads, who employ the creative capacities of their minds to solve problems.

We have indeed a small problem: the capitalist system itself is about to go down. Our entire civilization is decomposing before our eyes. In fact, the natural world, the physical environment on which we depend for our ongoing existence, is officially dying. We are in the midst of a massive extinction of living species. These are apocalyptic times, indeed, and one does not have to be religious to see it.

But one does have to be courageous and intelligent enough to think outside the box—way outside—if you want to survive through these cataclysmic times, and even to profit from what looks to many people like the end of the world.
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 14:26

The In-Mates of Egontanamo

Written by Shunyamurti
The ego is a prison camp. No one is ever released. There is only one way out: through the death of the ego. But the ego is fragmented. It is made up of many egons, ego particles, each with its own drive, its own jouissance, its own paranoid patterns of behavior, its own history of criminal activities. No egon is innocent, even though some are guilty of lesser charges than others. The egons are controlled—and regularly tortured—by super-egons, who are their guards, but who are also lifers here in Egontanamo. The cruelest entity here is the warden, known as the Censor. He keeps all the in-mates under constant surveillance. He remains hidden from view, safe in his bastion, keeping the whole camp running, and enjoying its aggressive, paranoid, sado-masochistic energy field. He alone has the power here.

But secretly, a prison break is being planned. The authorities are not aware of it, but the Great Escape is already underway. Paradoxically, it is beginning in the most highly guarded hell hole, the punishment cell, in constant lock-down, solitary confinement. There, all alone, sits a unique in-mate of this prison: he is not officially here, he is only a legend to most of the prisoners. Yet, there in the deepest dungeon he waits. They say he was kidnapped as an infant, and some even speculate that he was born in the prison, and that his mother, who was really innocent, died soon after. Somehow, he survived, hidden away and forgotten.
Saturday, 04 June 2011 18:23

From Porn to Purna

Written by Shunyamurti
Today, the world is massively obsessed with porn. Because of a feeling of lack in one's heart, a feeling of meaninglessness in one's soul, a feeling of neediness and craving in one's mind, and anxiety in one's body, people turn to pornography for a fix—an instant gratification of the scopic drive, the drive to see an object of desire, to devour it with one's eyes, to fill the lack with a false sense of power and possession.

The urge to view pornography is heightened in a society that offers no higher culture, no more elevated images of beauty, no sublime sense of spiritual majesty and radiance. The lack of more exalted significance to our bodily form as transmitter of divine energies, of beauty as symbolic expression of spirit in action, of nobility of character, of incarnation of transcendent love and wisdom, leaves humans in a state of perilous lostness, in which they seek to make their bodies at least an object of profane desire and enjoyment; or make of others' bodies a feast of egoic delight.
Saturday, 04 June 2011 18:14

Experience, Imperience, and Sumerience

Written by Shunyamurti
Spiritual development can be thought of as the double passage from one mode of perceiving reality to a second and then a third, specifically from the mode of experience to that of imperience, and finally to that of sumerience.

In the experiential mode, consciousness is divided into subject and object, on the one hand, and identified as an objectified subject, on the other. Awareness is funneled through the imaginary and symbolic grid of meaning, and the value differentiations of the ego distort perception through the curvature of perceptual space produced by the unconsciously determined egocentric selectivity of data and reactivity impulses that organize the dimensional projection of the primordial energy of Being into structured world-appearance and egoic physical identification plus ongoing repetitive mentalization, plus the absent heart of the Ground of Being, creating a sense of lack and a nostalgic desire for an impossible fulfillment. This can be mythologized as a religious feeling, or converted into an aesthetic, ethical, or scientific discourse, or de-sublimated into an addictive craving for an existent object.
Saturday, 04 June 2011 17:58

Gunas and Roses

Written by Shunyamurti
In the psychology of yoga, ego-consciousness is always in one of three states (or qualities), called gunas: sattva guna, rajas guna, or tamas guna. The three gunas can be compared to the parts of a rose.

Tamas would be the thorns. The ego's defense mechanisms of contraction, inertia, avoidance, negativity, nihilism, all are included in the field of the tamasic. The thorns have a function, but they are not beautiful or kind or inspiring.

Rajas would be the stem and the leaves. The ego's urge to grow, to be active, to achieve, to change, are all part of the field of the rajasic. The rajasic quality can, however, be in the service either of the buddhi, the higher intelligence of the Atman, or still operating under the influence of the lower pleasure and power centers. In the latter case, the rajasic projects will ultimately fail, and lead to a crash, into the tamasic state.
Monday, 30 May 2011 15:27

The Real and the Merely Realistic

Written by Shunyamurti
The most important opposition to be understood by spiritual aspirants is that between what is realistic and what is Real. The realistic is determined by the culture. It is what conforms to reason, reason that is adapted to social reality, a constructed reality, a reality constructed specifically to maintain a given, though hidden, under-structure of power.

The Real is thus always unrealistic. The Real is what is beyond both imaginary concerns and symbolic concepts. The Real cannot be captured by symbolism. The Real is what is repressed from mundane, realistic discourse. To be on a spiritual path is to be on a path toward the Real. To be on a spiritual path is thus inherently to be unrealistic.
Saturday, 14 May 2011 12:07

The Sat Yoga Philosophy of Sex, Part Three:

Written by Shunyamurti
From Desire to Love, From Jouissance to Ananda

Sat Yoga is a map, a methodology, and a mediation aiming toward the achievement of the Supreme Liberation. It shares the same inner structure as all other classical spiritual paths, but is pared down to its essential Logos, and stripped of mythology, ritual, dogma, guru worship, or other forms of blind faith. It has also been updated with the most advanced knowledge available in our contemporary world. The old wine has been poured into a post-postmodern bottle. Sat Yoga does not put forward any claims about how people in general should live—other than as harmoniously as possible. But Sat Yoga does assert, on the basis of both logic and long experience, that those who yearn for Liberation from ego and ignorance of the Real would benefit from the adoption of a sattvic lifestyle; membership in a serious transformational community; regular practice of meditation; deep and intensive work on the deconstruction of the ego and its defenses; purification of the unconscious; generous ethical service; and profound study of metaphysics, philosophy, psychoanalysis, science, and art.
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