The Tantra Show Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

How to Stay Stoked

25 min - Talk


Dr. Robert Svoboda shares a talk on staying the course of your spiritual practice. He offers insights on ways to align and circulate prana so that we can rest in the present moment with awareness and without limitation so that ultimately we can be completely open and aligned with the supreme reality.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Aug 28, 2017
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Once we have determined that we would like to evolve in the direction of being better integrated and to evolve in the direction of developing an ongoing intention, an ongoing momentum in the direction of personal evolution, then it's important to be able to maintain that intention and to maintain that direction. Life is not a sprint. Life is an ultra-marathon. We have to ensure that we don't run out of energy and enthusiasm before we get to the finish line. So we want to employ our desire for personal development and for achieving a healthy relationship with the divine, but we have to hold that desire very lightly.

Because otherwise, the desire itself will start to contract us in a particular direction. We'll start to get worried about whether we're evolving as fast as we should. We'll start to compare ourselves with other people who are evolving and try to determine whether or not we are ahead or they are ahead. Then it becomes much more like an actual race when, in fact, this process should be simply an opportunity for us to rest in the present and not be disturbed by our always altered memories of the past and our hazy projections towards the future. I have been very fortunate in my personal life.

One of the most fortunate things in my life was the opportunity to attend the Kala Chakra initiation that the Dalai Lama gave in 1974 in Bodhagaya, India. At that time, according to tradition, the Dalai Lama was only supposed to give the Kala Chakra three times in his entire life, and this was the fourth time, so he was breaking with tradition there. Also, it was the tradition to only offer the initiation to those who had gone through a very complicated series of prior initiations, but his holiness this time opened it to everyone because he said this knowledge should not be permitted to deteriorate and disappear simply because candidates that we believed traditionally were the ones who were fit to receive it, who were a dikar for it, simply because there are not sufficient candidates. We want everyone to take advantage of it, whatever benefit they can get from it, let them offer it to all sentient beings, and it certainly will do some good for them even if it does not give them the greatest good. So it was very exciting, it was 1974, I was 20 years old, there I was with half a million people in this very small location where Gautama Buddha became enlightened, and I was very impressed by the ceremony, I was very impressed by his holiness, and I was most impressed by another very great lama, Dilgo Kensei Rinpoche.

I didn't get a chance to spend much time with him other than to see him offering, making offerings and performing rituals, but he was a very large man and his entire presence was just redolent of something that I couldn't identify but knew that I wanted to pursue myself and Dilgo Kensei Rinpoche spent many, many years in meditation on his own in a cave, he was a very developed and advanced soul, and later on when I got a chance to expose myself more to some of his teachings, I learned that one of the basics of his teachings is that you have to avoid striving at all costs, do not strive, it's important to be diligent, it's important as some Zen masters have said to work as if your hair is on fire, but striving that is collecting all of your energy together and becoming rigid about it is entirely undesirable. For one thing, the process of maintaining that rigidity will tie up a large amount of your energy, of your Shakti, you will be employing your prana to keep yourself constricted so that you're focused in this direction in which you believe that you need to go on the basis of your past experiences and on the basis of where you conceive that your future lies. These are useful things, they give you kind of a snapshot of where you are as an individual interacting with your environment at that moment, but trying to re-experience something is one of the worst possible things you can do because it is by doing that attempting to keep yourself in a particular groove when in fact that experience might have been the opportunity for you to move in a new and much more useful for you direction. So Dilgo Kensei Rinpoche was very much of the opinion and it's something that I have experienced in my own life and have seen being the case in other people's lives, that it is quite exhausting to maintain fixed reference points about your conception of what reality is. You have a fixed reference point and that is your physical body right here, this is your fixed reference point and if you pay sufficient attention to your organism and ensure that the prana is circulating well in that organism, that will be enough of a reference point for you, that's why we have been given these physical bodies so that they can act as reference points and we can allow our awareness to become much more extended, much more open, much more willing to accept things without preconception.

Most of us have what Rinpoche called a mask of self-protection and certainly it is important not to have your external organism completely open to everything all the time because there are plenty of things that have parasitical intentions, starting with microorganisms like parasites and proceeding up to two-legged parasites, all along this continuum of people who want to suck people including microorganisms who want to suck your energy, it is important to have a boundary but beyond that boundary you don't need to keep yourself so constricted that you are not allowing anything in. You allow the boundary to be healthy and otherwise instead of attempting to protect yourself by being contracted, it is much more efficient to protect yourself by allowing prana, allowing shakti to circulate in your organism, to continue offering that prana and that shakti to the divine and to allow the divine to protect you because really that is the only protection that any of us have. If we allow ourselves to rest in the lap of the universe then the universe will take care of us, whatever that means, whatever is the best thing for us which is often something that we really cannot personally understand until we have experienced it and then understood it. Rimpoche's teaching was one should experience everything totally with a complete carefree acceptance, an openness to all situations without limit and this is going to be naturally a very difficult thing to do particularly because there are some situations that are extremely hard for an embodied human being to digest but if we go towards those situations with an openness to attempt to digest and assimilate them and accept them then at some point there is every opportunity that that will be what we are able to do. We do need a certain amount of protection, we do need a certain amount of keeping ourselves slightly confined especially nowadays because there are so many people who are trying so hard to leave their bodies behind and live in virtual reality.

It's a funny thing or I find it funny at least that we have a perfectly good and useful and serviceable astral world and yet the human beings have created a fake astral world in which there are all kinds of fake deities and fake angels and fake other things going around and so there is a very complicated continuous self-referential image after image. I like the French word in this case, there is no English word, mise-en-a-beam, mise-en-a-beam which is what happens when you get two mirrors and you put them towards one another, you get infinite regression in both directions and that's what we are heading towards as humans not just our civilization here in the United States or the West or however you want to define it but it's happening everywhere, everywhere people are allowing themselves to be drawn in to this continuous create an image of an image which is an image of an image and it just goes in all directions but it disconnects us from what the real reality is, the real reality is this reality right here. The reality we have to start with, the reality that as long as we are alive as living protoplasmic organisms, this is the reality that we have to work with so as long as we keep referencing back to this reality we have the desire to move in the direction of becoming more open and free of limits but we acknowledge with a free and easy and carefree acceptance of the limits that exist then it will be much easier for us to move forward in a positive direction as we work our way through step by step the lives that are in front of us. It's very important not to grasp, not to grasp at enlightenment whatever that means, not to grasp at evolution or development, not to grasp at anything but to understand that what the one of the again we find that in tantra there is no one goal that can be defined in a particular way, there is no one preference but often what is said in the tantras is that the aim of the practice is laya and laya means dissolution, getting rid of all the limitations not just the physical body limitation but all the limitations, all the structures that keep our individual consciousness separate from the supreme consciousness that has no limits, no attributes, no qualities that is unlimited that is available in all directions at all times as long as we remove those limitations. We can't remove all limitations while we're alive but what we're trying to do is remove the limitations, we dissolve into that reality and then we re-precipitate, we coagulate again but hopefully every time we re-coagulate we create a new version of ourselves that is a little bit better aligned both with that supreme reality and the reality that we have to live in so long as we have to live in it.

For this purpose it is very important to focus and to focus on not our conception of what it is that we think that we want to achieve but to focus on the personal deity, the divine personality that we have taken as our image that we are trying to work towards and to always bow down to anyone that acts towards us as a mentor. Now the word that is most commonly used for mentor in Sanskrit is guru and the word guru literally means heavy so yes a real guru is a heavy weight character not just big and heavy like Dil Gokense Rinpoche was but heavy in the sense that as a student is attempting to become enlightened and as my teacher used to say a person becomes enlightened as they remove as they work through the karmas that are keeping them bound down they become lightened of their karmas and then they can perceive reality more accurately like Kensei Rinpoche my own mentor used to say there is nothing like enlightenment that you have to try to move towards all you have to do is get rid of everything that is obstructing your perception of the supreme reality and you in the supreme reality will automatically exist together there is nothing like some state that is separate from reality because reality is real everything else is not permanently real so all we have to do is remove those limitations that we have to maintain as long as we are alive but remove the clinging of those limitations remove our being tethered to those limitations so that we can slip out of them into a state of being spontaneously aware a meditative state that is not limited by anything and then return to our limitations and be able to negotiate them a little more effectively the more that we are able to do this on a daily basis the better it will be because every day when we wake up it is as if it is a new world for us every night when we go to sleep when we disconnect our awareness from this world it is very similar to dying so what every morning when you get up and this is one of the reasons that in traditional Indian culture people have gotten up before dawn because dawn is like it is the beginning of a new day it is the birth of the day and it is like a human being gets an opportunity to be reborn again so it is important even if you can't get up before dawn all the time especially if you live in a very high latitude in either hemisphere it is important to get up well before you have to go out and do something in the world to get up and spend some time a good thing to do if you can't do anything else practical is just get up sit up in bed and do nadi shuddhi do alternate nostril breathing for a few moments just after you have gotten up so that you are aligning yourself even a little bit with the day you have made however at that moment at the beginning of a new day which is like a beginning of a new life for you you have made a commitment to try to be in balance during the day this will benefit you sincerely and on that subject of sincerely sincerity about your purpose is quite important it is understandable if you have curiosity about various things but what you should and you can be curious about various different processes that might be employed for example spiritual development but it is very important that you have a sincere desire to open yourself to things and to accept them as best you can in the spirit of moving towards the spirit moving towards that state of being completely open and cognizant of aware of aligned with the supreme reality there is a famous text in India called the brahma sutras which is a text on the supreme reality and the first line in that text is attato brahma jnasa atta means now it doesn't mean now like now and then it means at the moment that something happens atta means here for or there for brahma jnasa brahma means the supreme reality in this context and jnasa means a sincere desire for so what that phrase means is now there is a sincere desire to comprehend thoroughly and utterly jnasa it's the same route from the which comes the word jnana which transcendent wisdom so now there is a sincere desire to understand reality completely so that now means whenever your desire to understand reality becomes sincere that's the time you should pick up this book and start to read it because if you pick it up before then and start to read it it's going to be meaningless to you because you have not aligned your prana sufficiently in order for your desire to be sufficiently sincere so that you'll be able to understand and implement what's written in here in this context there is a definite distinction being drawn between jnasa which means a sincere a craving a sincere and highly motivated desire to achieve something and the kutuholta which in sanskrit means curiosity simple curiosity is the mind as my mentor used to say it's like a fly it will land on manure and enjoy it then it will land on sugar and enjoy it no you decide what taste you want to and you only go in the direction of that taste stick to that taste move forward and then no matter how long it takes you will certainly get to the goal that you have set for yourself in this context one of the useful things that humans have found to be promoted of attention and of that kind of vivek that kind of discernment that we need in order to be able to determine what we should do at what time in what way is to pay attention to the fire humans have been using the fire since one one and a half million years the fire has done many things for us it's expanded the number and amount of things we can eat it has provided us light and heat it has kept dangerous predators away from us there's a lot that the fire has done but in particular it has caused us to to appreciate what the eyes can offer to us the eyes provide us the ability to have a philosophy to be able to have an opinion about reality this is one of the things that the fire has given to us so we can go back to the fire and when we go back to the fire every time we do that because fire has been open flame has been part of our life except for maybe the past hundred ish years it's been part of our lives for all this past million years so when we go back to it we're going back to one of those things that has made us into humans and that works at it on us at a very very very fundamental level.


Lucille P
2 people like this.
Wow! Whatan incredible experience!!!! Lucky, lucky man grateful for this that lead you to share so much knowledge. 
Caroline S
I am going to remember this...curiosity is like a fly, mind where it lands, brilliant !
Nicole E
Thank you for your amazing amount of knowledge and insight, truly wonderful

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