Embodied Wisdom & Training
I’ve recently returned from nearly three weeks training in Hawaii in the advanced practices of Hatha and Tantric wisdom, practice and purification. I do a retreat annually, though my heart has longed to go deeper in a more formal training for some years. This in-depth training was the perfect opportunity to really submerge myself into the spiritual waters!
One point that was highlighted in this training was the difference between jnana and vijnana.
Jnana is loosely translated as “knowledge”, while vijnana is an “experience of awareness” or “intuition” that arises from jnana. Another way to think about it: jnana is something you intellectually know, while vijnana is something you have experienced. If someone tells me how to drive a car manually, I will know the instructions, but until I practice it, I will not have the experience of this knowledge. Our practice is somewhat like this. We are constantly transforming jnana into vijnana; when we do this, knowledge becomes embodied wisdom. That is the place we can aspire to learn and share from.
My teacher Charu is a humble guide, who serves humanity through his wisdom and heart-centered teaching. We often joked about how Shiva and Ganesh are not yoga alliance certified. (To be clear, this training did meet YA certification requirements, if only as a practicality for those concerned with the Western yoga model). All of these trainings are opportunities for growth, but the popularity of yoga has turned them into solely into money making vehicles for teachers and organizations. Traditionally, Yoga was passed through guru parampara, from teacher to student through the lineage with integrity. It takes time and dedication to truly practice in this way and our Western minds can become very impatient. We want enlightenment yesterday! It seems the Western yoga model values ego over wisdom. (We see this in the popularity of asana teachers with shiny Instagrams, and yet some of the most authentic teachers out there have a fraction of their “following” online or in person). Regardless of this, I believe everyone serves a place and a purpose on our planet. It is not that our model is wrong, it is perhaps incomplete.
For seekers of authentic practice, we must have patience and connect with a teacher who has walked the path before us for many years. Their embodied wisdom allows us to go deeper and we receive transmissions simply from being in their presence. As the saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”. *The paradox in seeking is that we already have the innate wisdom and perfection of divinity within us. Any form of guru-ism is perilous because it immediately sends us back into duality. The religious (and capitalist) model of seeing another being as more holy/pure/better than ourselves is outdated and denies the holiness (whole-ness) that we already are. To practice non-dual tantra (continuity; expansion of conscious), we must recognize the guru as a mirror. A true teacher is not “teaching” us at all, they are a reflection of our wholeness. The real meaning of “guru” is to serve humanity in this way. A teacher helps us blossom the lotus in our hearts that is already there, though perhaps covered in mud.
I do sincerely look forward to sharing some of these practices and wisdom with you in my own way! I will soon release an online immersion centered around sankalpa, yogic intention for the new year. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions!