focus of THE SPIRITUAL FUNDAMENTALS DEPARTMENT
is the question:
is genuine Spiritual practice?
provides detailed education about the process of tangibly connecting
to the Divine Being for real: how it has been done traditionally,
and how it can be done now. Topics include: the need for a moment-to-moment
spiritual practice, and the need for a Spiritual Master.
Some of the questions
we address in this educational track include:
- What is
the nature of the Greater Reality? How do the various teachings
and Realizations of shamans, saints, yogis, and Spiritual Masters
relate to each other and to the actual nature of Reality? Is
it actually true that all paths to God are equal? Or are there
real differences among religions and Spiritual paths that are
important for us to know about in order to find the most beneficial
Spiritual means? What
is the greatest Spiritual
potential and destiny we can realize, and what means is available
for realizing it? Why
aren't such Spiritual means more generally known or more widely
- Tell me
more about the tradition of genuine Spiritual Masters (Jesus
of Nazareth, Gautama the Buddha, etc.), the different degrees
and types of Spiritual Masters, and what the relationship with
a living Spiritual Master is like.
- What are
the elements of genuine Spiritual practice capable of leading
to Spiritual Realization?
Secrets of Human Transformation
to change springs out of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. But
what change is actually possible? And what bearing do approaches
for change actually have on our happiness? In this course, we
examine a variety of approaches to transformation, from Sigmund
Freuds psychotherapy, to Stephen Coveys 7 Habits, to the self-transcending
God-Realization of the great Spiritual Masters.
The Life of Spiritual Practice: Habits of Highly Spiritual People
Perfect Happiness is possible through Spiritual Awakening from
the dream of ordinary life. This course provides a picture of
the Spiritual practice for Waking Up, in the form of seven habits.
The Need for a Genuine Spiritual Master
The reason we even think about a Spiritual Master is because we
want to Realize Something Great Spiritually (such as Perfect,
Eternal Happiness). And we have some sense despite the neurotic
over-emphasis of our "modern" time on individualism and anti-authoritarianism
that a Spiritual Master may (even these days) play a central
role in the attainment of such a Spiritual Realization. Changing
social views over the centuries change neither the laws of physics
nor the laws of the Spiritual Reality; but they can rob us of
opportunities without our even knowing it. The
Spiritual Transmission of a genuine Spiritual Transmission Master
for Spiritual growth and Spiritual Realization.
Primary Obstacles to Spiritual Growth
True spiritual life has always been a challenge: there have never
been large numbers of genuine saints, yogis, or holy men and women
in any given age of the world. But while some obstacles to spiritual
practice have remained constant throughout the ages, others are
unique to our own age. In some sense, we are born with three strikes
against us (more, in fact). This course surveys some of the primary
obstacles to spiritual growth. Significant spiritual growth can
occur only when we have understood and transcended all the primary
obstacles, whether they are set by culture, society, biology,
psychology, or even conventional religion.
Spiritual Practice and Self-Understanding
Spiritual Transmission of a genuine Spiritual Transmission Master
is necessary for Spiritual
growth and Spiritual Realization (see course SF103); but it is
not sufficient. Many are the
stories told of devotees who were in the physical company of their
Master virtually all the time, but did not Realize anything great.
(The brother of Gautama Buddha is a famous example.) The necessary
complement to the reception of the Guru's Grace is the understanding
of what is blocking it: in other words, self-understanding
is necessary. In this course, we draw on Adi Da Samraj's wisdom,
which makes clear that the ego blocks Spiritual Transmission;
that the ego is an activity, not an inherent structure; that it
is possible (with the help of the Spiritual Master's Transmission)
to make that activity conscious and then, to stop doing it; that
such self-understanding requires ever-increasing sensitivity and
feeling-awareness; that ever-increasing
sensitivity and feeling-awareness is dulled by every form of seeking
(whether geared toward self-indulgence or self-suppression); and
that, therefore, disciplines that counter seeking in all its forms
are essential to self-understanding.
that support Spiritual practice The following
courses deal with disciplines that support Spiritual practice,
such as dietary discipline. Appropriate diet doesn't make
one "spiritual"; but it is necessary as a support
to genuine Spiritual practice, if Spiritual practice is
to have a chance of flowering into Spiritual Realization.
The reason behind a dietary discipline (or any other supportive
discipline) is not based on religious beliefs, morals, or
rituals. Rather, certain diets (including the conventional
ones) tend to bind attention and energy to the body-mind
and its materialistic point of view, whereas other dietary
regimens free up energy and attention for the greater Spiritual
can think of there being a "critical threshhold"
of free energy and free attention that is required both
to discover the Spiritual Reality (through an experience);
and a much higher "critical threshhold" of free
energy and free attention is required to literally "relocate"
into that Spiritual Reality to the degree where one's fundamental
sense of reality is
the Spiritual Reality. Most people who dabble with the idea
of "spiritual practice" never undergo this fundamental
shift, because they either do not understand the necessity
of these supportive disciplines, or they are not willing
to engage them.
has never been more true than in today's materialistic society,
where there is a presumption that even the basic laws of
Spiritual Realization must bend to the disposition and culture
of "no work and instant gratification", in the
manner of an "enlightenment weekend". But in truth,
the laws of Spiritual Realization are not mere social mores;
they do not change with the times any more than the laws
of physics, as every genuine Spiritual Realizer, saint,
yogi, or shaman can tell us.
truly interested in Spiritual Realization must understand
the laws that lock our attention and energy into the materialistic
sense of reality, in the manner of an addiction: by force
of habit. A tremendous counter-egoic force is required to
buck the trend of destiny. And that counter-egoic force
must cover the "whole guy" every aspect of the
ego if the entire limited egoic viewpoint is to be transcended
once and for all.
Spiritual Practice and Diet The esoteric anatomy
of a human being the full body-mind of each of us includes
much more than the physical body, or even body and "soul".
It is no accident that the Hindu tradition names the outermost
(and most superficial) layer of the human body-mind, the annamayakosha,
that is, the "food body".
The senses associated with the "food body" are the means
by which we are aware of the "material dimension" of
the Greater Reality. That our sense of reality altogether is confined
generally to the material dimension is an indication that, in
general, we are only aware of this outermost layer of the human
body-mind and its associated senses, and do not have conscious
access to (or control over) the "senses" associated
with the greater-than-material layers of the human body-mind.
"food body" primarily is made
of food should be a large hint to the role diet plays in confining
our energy and awareness to the physical body. In this course,
we consider the spiritually optimal diet, which minimally binds
energy and attention to the physical body. We will take into account
not only kinds of food but quality, quantity, and preparation
of the food. We will discover that controlling the food intake
of the body also makes the "food body" in its entirety
its desires, behavior, etc. easily controllable.
Spiritual Practice and Emotional-Sexual Intimacy
That sex is an immense force in human life cannot be overstated.
And the force of sex is only matched by the amount of misinformation
about its relationship to spirituality. Notions like "to
be a saint you must be celibate" or "a tantric Spiritual
practice is a way to have your cake and eat it too" have
a grain of truth to them; but to follow such suggestions without
understanding the anatomical basis of such propositions and how
exactly they apply (if at all) in our own case is to place oneself
in the dark unnecessarily. This course examines the flow of energy
in the human body-mind in the form of a circle, down the front
of the body-mind (the "frontal line") and up the back
(the "spinal line"). The same energy that is experienced
as vital energy and sexual energy in the frontal line is experienced
as "kundalini" as it turns upward at the base of the
spine. The usual life and most especially the usual use of sexuality
through orgasm breaks the energy circuit in the frontal line,
so that the amount of energy that makes it through to the spinal
line is relatively minimal. The spiritualization of the human
body-mind requires closing the breaks in the circuit (whether
through celibacy or a tantric practice), and mastering the conductivity
of energy in the full circuit.
But there is even more to the story. Sex is anatomically rooted
in the heart. Emotion and sexuality are two halves of a single
coin. How we express ourselves sexually and emotionally are reflections
of each other. Sex without love is cold and depraved. Love without
desire is not yet full. Love-desire is a single force that is
naturally expressed in emotional-sexual intimacy. Just as the
circuit of energy in the human body can be broken by conventional
orgasm, so too can the expression of feeling be reduced to something
less than love (fear, anger, sorrow, etc.) through various oedipal
rituals that express "you don't love me" rather than
"I love you".Transcending those oedipal patterns is
also an esssential prerequisite to the spiritualization of the
human body-mind, and its full entry into the Spiritual dimension
of the Greater Reality.
Spiritual Practice and Cooperative Community It
is no accident that Guatama Buddha included in His three jewels
(triratna) not only the Buddha (or Spiritual Master) and
the Dharma (or Teaching), but also, the Sangha (or community of
Spiritual practitioners). Just so, Christian and other spiritual
or monastic traditions make much of a communal circumstance for
spiritual practice (such as a monastary or a convent). This course
considers the viewpoint that the community setting is generally
a more auspicious circumstance for Spiritual practice than a conventional
living circumstance, and also even more auspicious than the traditional
isolation of a cave, a desert, or a forest, for several reasons:
- First is
the principle of "Good Company": we (and, therefore,
our destiny too) are greatly influenced by whomever we spend
our time with; hence we should spend as much time as possible
in the company of the Spiritual Master and our fellow Spiritual
is the Teaching of the Spiritual Master, Adi Da Samraj, that
the fundamental activity of the ego is the avoidance of relationship.
While that avoidance plays itself out on many levels, it is
most obvious at the level of human relationships. Cooperative
community is an excellent discipline for cutting into the moment-to-moment
egoic tendency to seek isolation and immunity.
the Spiritual Transmission of the Spiritual Master is greatly
magnified in the communal setting. For example, walking into
a meditation hall in which many practitioners have been "invoking"
the Spiritual Master's Transmission feels like walking into
a tangible Force Field. It is much easier to practice staying
concentrated in and absorbed by that Transmission in such a
explores both the benefits and the difficulties of living in cooperative
community, as well as what form such an arrangement might take.
A useful companion course is COOP105:
A History of Cooperative Community.