Kavaca : The Shield

Hot off the press! I’m thrilled to be able to share a powerful set of teachings this Fall in upstate New York with Douglas Brooks. The idea for this retreat started a few years ago when I was in my early months of sleep deprivation after the birth of my son Jasper. My morning meditations at that time were particularly lucid, full of color and light and diverse emotion. And one morning I started to learn a practice that kinda, just like, CAME to me through the ether. While meditating, I started to hear sets of words and phrases in sankrit. I’m no sanskrit scholar and I’ve barely scratched the surface of this complex and magical language so I didn’t really trust what I was receiving. The next day there was more: my teacher’s teacher who we affectionately call Appa came to my meditation and explained more about the practice to me. This was a meditation first for me, to receive complex teachings while seated with my eyes closed. I was like, um, this is pretty weird. And cool. And a little bit scary.

I asked my teacher Douglas about what I was hearing and he said nonchalantly, “Oh that’s the kavaca. We’ll learn more about that someday soon.” What? Well, I started applying the mantras I had learned to my daily practice and all I can say is that they made everything more vibrant, more juicy. I’m so thrilled to learn and share even more of these special practices this Fall. Douglas just sent me a description for the retreat we’ll host together at Lake Rahasya Retreat House in Bristol, NY on October 27, 28, 29, 30. Save the dates. More details to come soon.

In the Shadow of the Ferocious Light: Tantric Meditations on Siva Bhairava

(That curly haired fellow with the dog above is Lord Bhairava.) 

There are practices of meditation in Tantra that take us deeply into the realm of the shadow, that place in our experience where we must turn holding as much courage as we do fear so that we might find the all of our selves.  Rather than become averse, suppress, or claim a transcendence of the experiences of negativity, the Tantra teaches us how to create boundaries that are permeable, boundaries that allow us to traverse in constructive ways through the complexities and fears we all share as human beings.  In this retreat we will learn a practice of mantra called kavaca, the “shield”, which the Tantrika wields not merely to protect or prevent the assault of feelings and thoughts but rather to engage the shadow with an active and focused effort.  These meditations are practical; they resonate with the issues of real life, loss, fear, death, sex, and survival; they encourage and empower us to address our experiences with candor and compassion, with a clear mind and a resolute heart; and they teach us that our human soul is healthy and capable of a deeper happiness when we learn to encounter the whole of our being.  No previous experience or understanding is expected or required.  Come willing to learn, to listen, to experiment, and to meditate: you are in safe and experienced hands, and this is a real opportunity to go deeply inside and see the world basked in new light.

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One response to “Kavaca : The Shield

  1. I hope you write more…soon and often.

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