The word liminal: Derives from the Latin word Limin, which translates as threshold. A threshold is a boundary that marks a point of transition between one place and another, one state of being and another, or one object and another.…
It’s easy to get snagged in the chaos and gloom of these troubled times. The world’s shadow is creating mass-polarization, and it’s also easy to get sucked into one polarity and lose your center, your Self.
Knowing who you are, and having a clear intention, a Sankalpa for your life is essential. Without this self-orientation, you will feel like a leaf in the wind, or a cork floating on a stormy ocean. Your life path will be based on external circumstances, and you need a lot of luck on your side.
To become self-oriented, you need to become aware of your true nature, your innate self—your dharma. This is not achieved by thinking alone, or by emotion alone.
To become aware of your purpose requires much more of you than your thinking mind and your emotional attachments. Thinking and emotion are very important, but not your whole story.
Medical research estimates stress plays a significant role in 90 percent of illness and disease. Stress can interfere with your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
– Centers for Disease Control
The state of relaxation is a healthy, vital glowing state of body and mind. Unfortunately, few people experience this joyful, glowing, relaxed state.
Many people think that to experience relaxation, all they need to do is stop working and take some time off. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Time out does not guarantee relaxation, usually because we carry deep-seated worries and anxieties about life.
Most people only experience moments of relative peace. They rarely get to enjoy the peace fully because of underlying tensions held in the subconscious mind.
Deep and enduring inner peace depends on your ability to relax your body, mind, and emotions, and your deeper psyche.
You can achieve this by:
- Understanding the mechanics, the basic theory of how stress accumulates in the nervous system.
- Practicing relaxation-meditation techniques, for example, to remove long-term existing stresses, patterns of bracing.
- Learning to detect and disarm new stresses the moment they occur in daily life.
With these skills and knowledge, you will be far less vulnerable to tiredness and fatigue, and common sicknesses such as cold and flu. Your overall level of inflammation—a major cause of modern diseases—will reduce. This will enable you to keep youthful vigor as you age.
Within many yogic and tantric traditions, certain seasons, months, and times of the day are given special importance.
They are ‘auspicious’ times when cosmic energies are heightened and, as such, support psycho-spiritual practice. These auspicious moments in time assist us in achieving positive results. For example, dawn and dusk are said to be ideal times for yoga and meditation.
The festival of Navarātri or Nine Nights (‘nav’ is nine and ‘rātri’ is nights) is one of the great ceremonies in the lives of Hindus in India. The exact time of this celebration varies according to the lunar calendar. It begins on a dark moon in the Indian autumn (in the month of Ashwin, usually in October) and ends ten days after. In 2020 Navaratri starts on the 17th of October (depending on which part of the world and time zone you live in).
This period of The Nine Nights is devoted to invoking The Great Mother Goddess, The Divine Creative Power, or Shakti, the creator and supporter of the universe. She is most closely identified with Durga, an exquisitely beautiful goddess who rides a lion, and who wields in her many hands’ awesome weapons, including the ‘shul’ (pike), ‘chakra’ (wheel), ‘parashu’ (ax), and ‘talvar’ (sword).
Durga is said to be the manifestation of the power of all the goddesses that, long ago, faced a terrible and irresistible demon called Mahishasura.
Mahishāsura is a mythic representation of the human ego in its demonic form
Many yogis do not see Navaratri as a religious process, but rather as a psycho-spiritual one, and a unique opportunity for yogic practice.
They adopt certain practices and rituals to understand their psychological shadow and to confront their egos.
They have tried a few simple mindfulness and breath awareness techniques; however, they tell us they couldn’t meditate because they couldn’t stop thinking. They either feel bored looking at their thoughts, which they had hoped would stop, or they become nervous because they could not stop the anxious feelings, emotions, and memories that accompany these thoughts.
It is a common misconception that you have to stop thinking to meditate. Rather the opposite is true. When you start off in meditation, the mind will be full of thoughts. This is a sign of success. The attainment of the thoughtless state, the state of Inner Silence, comes later on down the path.
The tragedy is, that because of this initial experience with pure mindfulness techniques, many people close the door on meditation and say that it is not for them. The real problem is that they have experienced only one technique, have not had access to theory, and are unaware that there are many other techniques that can give them a peaceful experience of meditation, even if they are thinking.
Mindfulness is one of the most popular forms of meditation. However, mindfulness, which is really the simple act of paying attention to the present moment and not being lost in thinking and rumination, is only a small part of meditation. It has gained popularity because it has been integrated into mental health programs where it is part of a larger approach to mental health. Mindfulness is not a standalone technique. It supports the clinical psychologists’ treatment of mental illness.
For most people, and especially in a clinical setting, mindfulness needs to be combined with other techniques that enable you to reduce negative feelings attached to thoughts. You need to combine mindfulness with techniques that enable you to cultivate positive feelings so that you develop a positive sense of self-control.
Much more is possible if you understand the theory behind meditation. This includes learning about the structure of the mind, and how to apply meditation to the thinking, feeling, and knowing aspects of the mind.
The following story, called The Rainmaker, was told to the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung by Richard Wilhelm (1873-1930). Wilhelm was a German sinologist, theologian, and missionary who lived in China for 25 years. He was fluent in spoken and written…