Every week there are three new video lectures. They will be posted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
On Saturday/Sunday please join us for our Q&A live on Periscope. Periscope broadcasts will also be archived here.
Pooja lectures addendum: Sanskrit pronunciation
Introductory mantra theory part 2
Lecture based on a question: What do I believe? AKA The big question of life, the universe, and everything.
Q&A March 19th 2017
Q&A March 12th 2017
Summary and notes:
Books referenced in the talk. (just in case you need extra reading)
Lecture 12 Overcoming Trauma
Lecture 11 Puja part 3
Lecture 10 The Biochemistry of Stress
Lecture 9 The Brain
- The Blissful Brain. Great book. Required reading. If you haven't started it by now you should really hop to it.
- Two brain regions worth singling out when discussing meditation are the amygdala and the neocortex. If you understand their functions you will go a long way towards understanding the effects of meditation on the brain.
- Fake News alert: I accidentally said that the amygdala is located in the rear of the brain. I only caught the error after I'd uploaded the video. Actual location of the Amygdalae.
- With consistent meditation the amygdala shrinks and the neocortex (particularly the prefrontal cortex) becomes thicker. A nice summary and description here in Scientific American.
Lecture 8 Puja Part 2
Q&A February 25th 2017 (two videos so scroll down)
Science and meditation
- Objectivity is the basis for science, persuasion, and collective communication.
- Subjectivity is the exploration of our own inner experience.
- Scientific objectivity requires the existence of discrete objects.
- The distinction between self and non-self is brought into question by the observer effect that comes into play when we try to measure events that occur at scales of measurement where quantum effects come into play.
- The distinction between self and non-self also becomes less distinct through practice of meditation.
- All scientific revolutions occur as a result of observational and measurement tools increasing the acuity and range of human perception.
- We are also increasing the acuity and range of human perception through meditation.
Extra reading (not required but fun):
Weekend Q&A February 19th 2017
Guru Puja part 1
- Puja (also spelled pooja. It's the same thing) is the sacred ceremony performed in many situations in Vedic culture. For example: marriages, major purchases, moving into a home, starting a new job, and of course teaching Vedic Meditation.
- The specific puja we perform before giving anyone a mantra is called the guru puja. Its purpose is to give credit to the tradition of Vedic masters; evoke their greatness; check our egos as teachers; and to evoke the state of consciousness that we were in when we underwent our training.
- The Puja is also known as the maha mantra. It is in and of itself a powerful mantra.
- Your homework is to memorize this first section of the puja
- The link to the mp3 is here.
- The link to the sanskrit text of the puja is here. (I know you can't read it yet. Download it anyway. You're going to learn.)
- The link to the english language transliteration is here.
The 7 states of consciousness
- Western psychology recognizes different states of consciousness.
- Early Freudian theories posited an id, ego, superego, unconscious, and subconscious mind.
- Modern neuroscience recognizes different brain regions that all compete for dominance.
- Changing state of consciousness is a fundamental human need.
- Andrew Weill's book "From chocolate to morphine" (Not required but a very good book)
- Eastern psychological theories go much deeper into meditative, spiritual, and ecstatic states.
- Vedic theory posits 7 states of consciousness: Waking, dreaming, sleeping, transcendence, cosmic consciousness, god consciousness, and unity consciousness.
- Mental health is dependent on alternating between the first 4 states: waking, dreaming, sleeping, and transcendence in their proper ratios.
- The 5th state --cosmic consciousness ( Turiyatit chetana)-- is attained by alternating between waking state and transcendence every day for 1-2 years.
- The 6th state --God consciousness (Bhagavad chetana)-- state is attained by waking up your subtle senses during meditation and then also being able to access them while in the waking, sleeping, dreaming, and transcendence states and bringing soma (the essence of the Brahman in the relative) into all other states
- The 7th State --Unity consciousness (Brahmi Chetana) is attained by becoming so aware of universal consciousness that it never fades and the difference between self and non-self dissapears.
Monday February 13th
Weekend schedule: Rounding.
- One round consists of a set of yoga asanas, at least 5 minutes of pranayama, and at least 20 minutes of meditation.
- On the weekend you should do two rounds in the morning, then go about your day. In the evening you should do one round.
Step 1: Here is the Video of me walking you through the Asanas
Step 2: Here is the demonstration of the Pranayama method you should be doing after you finish your asanas.
Step 3: Meditate for twenty minutes
Step 4: Repeat
- You should expect for there to be some deep cleansing of emotional, spiritual, and physical toxicity when you practice rounding. Make sure your weekends are reserved for self care and non-stressful activities.
- Eat plenty of warm, nourishing, and delicious food.
- Drink warm water. (like tea without the tea) You may add lemon if you like.
- Spend time journaling, writing, making music, or painting (or something similarly creative and relaxing) on rounding days.
Unfortunately there was some kind of technical glitch that prevented this video from getting recorded anywhere other than on Periscope. It is still available on the archive on the periscope app and you can watch it there. I will export an audio version of this file and post it here ASAP.
- Etymological sanskrit note: Brahmin (caste) is not the same as Brahman (state of unified being)
- Brahman is the indivisible state of wholeness that in Vedic philosophy is regarded as the underlying state of being that has the potential to be all things but is itself no-thing.
- Brahman is by its nature difficult to describe using language since language requires distinctions to be made between things and brahman is a state of non-distinction. All language is phenomenological by nature and if there are no phenomena occurring then language falls short.
- Approaching Brahman gives one a feeling of permeating bliss.
- Brahman is the meta-religious concept of a universal consciousness beyond deities.
- Most religions end up creating a synonymous concept to Brahman, for example the holy spirit in Christianity, great spirit, etc.
- Nirguna Brahman cannot be comprehended whereas Saguna Brahman is the state of excited brahman that is perceptible to the subtle senses.
Shruti, The Subtle Senses, and introductory mantra theory.
(Video lightly edited to remove conversations about the connection issues that some people were dealing with.)
- There are many senses beyond the traditional 5 that we are taught in primary school.
- Each sense has a subtle level and its more expressed level.
- Meditators experience the subtle senses as they begin to approach transcendence.
- The perceptions on the subtle senses can be can be one of the definitions of shruti.
- Shruti is often perceived as a high pitched ringing in the ears, a blue tint upon opening the eyes, tingling sensations in the skin or the equivalent sensations that could appear on any one of the other senses.
- Classical vedic philosophy defines shruti differently and it is worth understanding what the distinctions are in case it is ever brought to your attention by scholars.
- Mantras are allocated by stage of development. Stages in which a person is increasingly capable of metabolising spiritual experience.
- Mantras are unfolded shruti.
The Science and Spirit of Breath part 1
- "Prana" is the sanskrit word for breath but more precisely the subtle breath that flows as a life force through subtle channels in the body known as Nadis. There is a surprisingly good wikipedia article on prana here.
- Prana and Chi (from traditional chinese medicine) are largely interchangeable terms.
- Every state of emotion and state of consciousness has an associated state of breath. Fear, anger, joy, misery, ignorance, and enlightenment all can be recognized through breath patterns. Notice your own breath patterns during any heightened emotional experience and you will gain great insight and control over your inner processes. Do you think it's worth starting to pay attention to other people's breath patterns when you're communicating with them? Give me your thoughts on this.
- There are multiple methods for controlling the breath to stimulate states of consciousness. I demonstrate 3 of them and also discuss why we'd take various approaches in different forms of meditation. You'll have to watch the video to get these. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of variations on breath control techniques.
- Given that there are so many ways of influencing consciousness through breath why do we just let it all go during Vedic Meditation? The answer is in the video. 😄
- There are multiple divisions within the nervous system. At the top level we have processes governed through conscious processes (speech, cognition, fine motor skills etc.) and processes governed by the autonomic nervous nervous system (digestion, immune system, healing, sexual response, cardiovascular activity). Most people are unable to directly control any autonomic nervous system functions.
- The autonomic nervous system is further divided into two parts: The sympathetic nervous system which governs the body in states of excitation, stress, and anxiety; and the parasympathetic nervous system which governs the body in states of rest and relaxation.
- The parasympathetic nervous system is neurologically connected to the outward breath whereas the sympathetic nervous system is neurologically connected to the inward breath. This is why we gasp when we are shocked and exhale when we get a massage.
- Hey folks fill out this questionnaire and send it back to us if you plan on continuing the course and you want to have a personal mentoring session.
February 2nd 2017
- Starting today we are going to be building our bodies to be able to contain and metabolize the experience of advanced states of consciousness.
- We will begin by practicing "kriyas" -methods and practices that allow the body to maintain full health and support the progression towards integrating spiritual experiences into our bodies.
- The Kriyas are as follows:
- Tongue scraping
- Asanas (see link below)
- Pranayama (Click through to see my demonstration of alternate nostril breathing pranayama)
- Mindful eating
- Eating prebiotics and probiotics ( Prebiotics: Leafy greens, avocodo, banana, jicama, sweet potato, beans and legumes. Emphasize diets containing fiber including inulin and FOS) Probiotics: Fresh kombucha, acidophilus sources such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and/or suppletents. The most well respected probiotic supplements available in the USA come from Jarrow labs.
- The essential aspect of "rounding" on the weekends. On Saturday + Sunday you have the following homework for your morning routine:
- Practice 5 minutes of pranayama
- Go through your yoga asanas in a gentle and easy manner
- Meditate for twenty minutes as per usual
- Do your evening meditation practice for 20 minutes some time between 2:30 in the afternoon and dinner time
- PLEASE fill in and return your questionnaires!
Materials and methods referenced in the lecture
Meditation Mastery kicks off on February 1st 2017. Here are the first steps you can take to get ready for the start of the course.
Bookmark this page. This will be the home base for materials, schedule and lectures for the meditation mastery course.
Download the Course Outline so you can start reading up on our topics and overview for the coming weeks.
Put our weekly lectures on your calendar
Lecture 1: Los Angeles 5am ; New York 8am; London 1pm ; on Wednesdays / Bali 9pm ; Sydney Midnight on Thursdays.
Lecture 2: Los Angeles 2pm ; New York 5pm ; London 10pm on Saturdays / Bali 6am ; Sydney 9am on Sundays
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