Manual Achievable Enlightenment: Embracing Grounded Spiritual Practice

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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Judith Te Huia has run spiritual development workshops.
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Now and Then

For Life's little emergencies Apr 22, Available for download now. Embracing Grounded Spiritual Practice Oct 28, Provide feedback about this page. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. The permeability of the body to immanent and transcendent spiritual energies leads to its gradual awakening.

A possible further horizon of bodyfulness was described by the Mother, the spiritual consort of Sri Aurobindo, in terms of the conscious awakening of the very cells of the organism. Resacralization of sexuality and sensuous pleasure: Whereas our mind and consciousness constitute a natural bridge to transcendent awareness, our body and its primary energies constitute a natural bridge to immanent spiritual life.

Sexuality and the vital world are the first soils for the organization and creative development of immanent Spirit in human reality.

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That is why it is so important that sexuality be lived as a sacred soil free from fears, conflicts, or artificial impositions dictated by our minds, cultures, or spiritual ideologies. When the vital world is reconnected to immanent spiritual life, the primary drives can spontaneously collaborate in our psychospiritual unfolding without needing to be sublimated or transcended. In a context of embodied spiritual aspiration, however, it becomes fundamental to rescue, in a non-narcissistic manner, the dignity and spiritual significance of physical pleasure.


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In this light, the formidable magnetic force of the sexual drive can be seen as attracting consciousness to matter, facilitating both its embodiment and grounding in the world and the development of an incarnational process that transforms both the individual and the world. The urge to create: Although disagreements about the exact nature of such states and the most effective methods to attain them abound in the literature and naturally led to rich creative developments within religious traditions, spiritual creativity was regulated and arguably constrained by such predetermined unequivocal goals.

Embodied spirituality, in contrast, seeks to cocreate novel spiritual understandings, practices, and expanded states of freedom in interaction with immanent and transcendent sources of Spirit. The creative power of embodied spirituality is connected to its integrative nature. Whereas through our mind and consciousness we tend to access subtle spiritual energies already enacted in history that display more fixed forms and dynamics e.

Put simply, the more that all human dimensions actively participate in spiritual knowing, the more creative spiritual life becomes. I am not proposing, of course, that religious traditions regulated or restricted sexual activity deliberately to hinder spiritual creativity and maintain the status quo of their doctrines.

In my reading, all evidence seems to point to other social, cultural, moral, and doctrinal factors. What I am suggesting, in contrast, is that the social and moral regulation of sexuality may have had an unexpected debilitating impact on human spiritual creativity across traditions for centuries.

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Although this inhibition may have been necessary in the past, an increasing number of individuals today may be prepared for a more creative engagement of their spiritual lives. As we have seen, most spiritual traditions posit the existence of an isomorphism among the human being, the cosmos, and the Mystery.

In other words, the more human dimensions creatively participate in spiritual knowing, the greater will be the dynamic congruence between inquiry approach and studied phenomena and the more grounded in, coherent with, or attuned to the nature of the Mystery will be our knowledge. For example, spiritual visions that hold that body and world are ultimately illusory or lower, or impure, or a hindrance to spiritual liberation arguably derive from states of being in which the sense of self mainly or exclusively identifies with subtle energies of consciousness, getting uprooted from the body and immanent spiritual life.

From this existential stance, it is understandable, and perhaps inevitable, that both body and world are seen as ultimately illusory or defective. This account is consistent with the Kashmir Saiva view that the illusory nature of the world belongs to an intermediate level of spiritual perception suddhavidya-tattva , after which the world begins to be discerned as a real extension of the Lord Siva.


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We are born on earth. I passionately believe that this is not irrelevant, a mistake, or the product of a delusional cosmic game whose ultimate goal is to transcend our embodied predicament. Perhaps, as some traditions tell us, we could have been incarnated in more subtle planes or levels of reality, but the fact that we did it here must be significant if we are to engage our lives in any genuinely wholesome and meaningful manner.

To be sure, at certain crossroads on the spiritual path it may be necessary to go beyond our embodied existence in order to access essential dimensions of our identity especially when external or internal conditions make it difficult or impossible to connect with those dimensions in our everyday life.

Embodied Spirituality

If we live in a closed and dark house, it is natural that we may feel pushed periodically to leave our home in search of the nourishing warmth and light of the sun. But an embodied spirituality invites us to open the doors and windows of our body so that we can always feel complete, warm, and nurtured at home even if we may want at times to celebrate the splendor of the outside light.

The crucial difference is that our excursion will not be motivated by deficit or hunger, but rather by the meta-need to celebrate, cocreate with, and revere the ultimate creative Mystery. One does not need to hold a spiritual world view to recognize the miracle of Gaia. Imagine that you are traveling throughout the cosmos, and after eons of dark and cold outer space, you find Gaia, the blue planet, with its luscious jungles and luminous sky, its warm soil and fresh waters, and the inextricable wonder of embodied conscious life.

Unless one is open to the reality of alternate physical universes, Gaia is the only place in the known cosmos where consciousness and matter coexist and can achieve a gradual integration through participating human beings.

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The inability to perceive Gaia as paradise is simply a consequence of our collective condition of arrested incarnation. When the body is felt as our home, the natural world can be reclaimed as our homeland as well. In other words, having recognized the physical world as real, and being in contact with immanent spiritual life, a complete human being discerns nature as an organic embodiment of the Mystery. To sense our physical surroundings as the Spirit's body offers natural resources for an ecologically grounded spiritual life. A complete human being recognizes that, in a fundamental way, we are our relationships with both the human and nonhuman world, and this recognition is inevitably linked with a commitment to social transformation.

To be sure, this commitment can take many different forms, from more direct active social or political action in the world e. Integration of matter and consciousness: Matter's experiential dimension as an immanent expression of the Mystery is generally ignored. This belief, in turn, confirms that matter and Spirit are two antagonistic dimensions.

The journey can only begin when we learn to withdraw consciousness from the mind and be fully present in the body. It is not an anesthetizing but an awakening of the mind. Take that first step towards becoming fully present in your body. Keep turning up the illumination of the Present and living fully in the moment, whether that means feeling joy or pain. So doing, we stop being the slave and become the observing Master; our suffering ceases to exist and wisdom gradually unveils itself. Our destination is here in this lifetime. There is no need to look elsewhere.

The Falsehood of Self There is a truth within us that makes all pain, suffering, hurt and disappointment in life seem decimal. The Journey Inside The inherent problem of living is that the incessantly roving mind is typically stuck in the past or racing toward the future, while never grounding itself anywhere.