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Best Books For Spiritual Awakening To Assist Your Spiritual Journey

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In this article, we want to share with you 15 best books for spiritual awakening. It doesn’t matter if you are a spiritual seeker or you are new to spirituality. Regardless of what stage you are in on your spiritual path right now, our collection of best books for spiritual awakening has a book for everyone!

Below are 15 best books for spiritual awakening. Choose a book that best resonates with you!

15 Best Books For Spiritual Awakening

“A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle

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This is definitely one of the best books for spiritual awakening. And if you are new to spirituality, it’s perfect to start with!

Most of us aren’t aware of how our thoughts control us and we derived our sense of self from our mind. This identification with our mind is what Eckhart Tolle refers to as an ego-based state of consciousness or being unconscious. This bestselling book is about transcending one’s ego to enhance personal happiness and impact the world positively. It’s about awakening to a new state of consciousness and discovering our inner purpose.

Attachment to the ego can contribute to negative feelings and patterns of thinking. Reading this book will help you be more aware of the subtle things your ego does to make you unhappy and suffer.

“A New Earth” has been written as a traditional narrative, offering anecdotes and philosophies in a way that is accessible to all. Illuminating, enlightening, and uplifting, “A New Earth” is a profoundly spiritual manifesto for a better way of life and for building a better world.

“The Shift” by Wayne Dyer

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“The Shift” is a companion book to the movie of the same name – illustrates how and why to make the move from ambition to meaning. Such a shift eliminates our feelings of separateness, illuminates our spiritual connectedness, and involves moving from the ego-directed morning into the afternoon of life where everything is primarily influenced by purpose.

As we contemplate leaving the morning of our life, where ego has played a commanding role and entering the afternoon (and evening), where meaning and purpose replace ambition and struggle, we may encounter unexpected occurrences that accompany this new direction. It’s almost a universal law that we’ll experience a fall of some kind. Yet these falls or low points provide the energy we need to move away from ego and into a life of meaning and purpose.

The Shift doesn’t mean that we lose our drive and ambition; it signifies that we become ambitious about something new. We make a commitment to living a life based on experiencing meaning and feeling purposeful, rather than never-ending demands and false promises that are the trademark of the ego’s agenda.

“The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield

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You have never read a book like this before – a book that comes along once in a lifetime to change lives forever.

In the rain forests of Peru, an ancient manuscript has been discovered. Within its pages are 9 key insights into life itself – insights each human being is predicted to grasp sequentially; one insight, then another, as we move toward a completely spiritual culture on Earth.

Drawing on ancient wisdom, it tells you how to make connections among the events happening in your life right now and lets you see what is going to happen to you in the years to come. The story it tells is a gripping one of adventure and discovery, but it is also a guidebook that has the power to crystallize your perceptions of why you are where you are in life and to direct your steps with new energy and optimism as you head into tomorrow.

“The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo

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Featured as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2010, this book has become a classic go-to for people seeking spiritual meaning and purpose in their lives.

Written by a philosopher-poet, this book is a collection of 365 beautiful essays, one for each day. At the end of each essay, there’s a mini exercise to help you be present and get more in touch with your spirit.

The Book of Awakening is the result of Nepo’s journey of the soul and will inspire others to embark on their own. He speaks of spirit and friendship, urging readers to stay vital and in love with this life, no matter the hardships. Encompassing many traditions and voices, Nepo’s words offer insight on pain, wonder, and love. Each entry is accompanied by an exercise that will surprise and delight the reader in its mind-waking ability.

In this book, the author also shares his own journey as a cancer survivor and the spiritual insights he received from his experience. Reading this book will inspire you to embark on your own journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening.

This book is best suited for those who enjoy learning via the experiences of others and reading short essays.

“40 Day Mind Fast Soul Feast: A Guide to Soul Awakening and Inner Fulfillment” by Michael Bernard Beckwith

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Numbers held great significance to the ancients, and the number 40 is constant in a variety of spiritual traditions. With 40 Day Mind Fast Soul Feast, you may begin your own 40 day transformational, mystical journey with a wise, experienced guide who has walked the terrain for 30 years as a practitioner and teacher of meditation, affirmative prayer, and the Life Visioning Process.

“The Spiritual Awakening Guide: Kundalini, Psychic Abilities, and the Conditioned Layers of Reality” by Mary Mueller Shutan

The first modern, comprehensive resource on spiritual awakenings, this pragmatic, clear guide covers everything from the first step on a spiritual journey to enlightenment, and the different types of spiritual awakenings, from mild to dramatic, we may go through.

Using the concept of the twelve layers that cover an awakened state Mary Mueller Shutan addresses every step of the spiritual journey, starting with the Self and showing how family, ancestral, past lives, karmic, archetypal, and other larger layers such as societal, cultural, global, and cosmic energies condition us to sleep and obscure our realization of an awakened state. Instructions for how to navigate through each of these layers and how to recognize where we are in our spiritual journey are included each step of the way along with common physical, emotional, and spiritual symptoms that may be experienced. By addressing post-awakening states, oneness, dark nights of the soul, ego death, near-death, and severe illness, psychic abilities, addictions, dietary changes, the God-self, personal and collective shadow, and psychosis vs. awakening we understand the experiences we may go through while struggling with spiritual awakenings. This practical book opens new understandings of how to live in the world while going through an awakening process and offers the revolutionary idea that we are meant to be humans, to have a physical body with physical, sensate experiences and emotions. We are meant to live in the world and be a part of it even as fully awakened individuals. This guide proposes a look at the possibility of leading a grounded, earth-bound life of work, family, friends, and other experiences in an awakened state.

“An Invitation to Freedom: Immediate Awakening for Everyone” by Mooji

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Amidst the busyness and chaos of our daily lives, many of us search for meaning, fulfillment, and a genuine sense of who we really are beyond our ego and conditioning.

An Invitation to Freedom guides you toward the immediate, authentic awakening that so many of us seek – the realization of our true nature as pure, effortless awareness. These simple yet profound instructions, questions, and contemplations will lead you directly into the heart of truth and absolute freedom. This could be the greatest discovery you make in your life.

“3 Steps to Awakening” by Osho

This is one of the best books for spiritual awakening written by Osho!

Waking up or awakening means that the dream is over – the dream of unconsciousness we all spend most of our lives in – often a life of tensions, anguish, feeling unfulfilled and running after illusions which are just substitutes of what we are really looking for. This little book is actually a big book, containing Osho‘s entire teaching from an early period of his public life and teachings. He takes us through three steps on the path to awakening, steps to help us to get out of our conditioning, our limitations, and frustrations. “There are only three steps: freedom of consciousness, simplicity of mind, and emptiness of mind.”

For freedom of thought, for the liberation of thought, and for the awakening of intelligence, the first thing, the first awareness that is needed is: “No thought is mine. No thought is mine.” While we read this book, Osho takes us through this experience of letting go of identification, allows us to get a glimpse of what a life of awakening can be.

“Awakening of the Heart: Essential Buddhist Sutras and Commentaries” by Thich Nhat Hanh

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Awakening of the Heart is a comprehensive, single-volume collection of the Buddha’s key sutras, translated with contemporary commentary by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Awakening of the Heart captures the heart of Buddhist wisdom and Thich Nhat Hanh’s unique talent to make the Buddha’s teachings accessible and applicable to our daily lives and times. This is a wonderful gift for anyone looking to deepen their practice and understanding of the teachings, as well as a unique resource to understand the fundamentals of Buddhism from its source.

“Awakening the Sacred Body: Tibetan Yogas of Breath and Movement” by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

The power of the breath has been recognized for millennia as an integral part of health and well-being. In Awakening the Sacred Body, teacher Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche makes accessible the ancient art of Tibetan breath and movement practices. In clear, easy-to-understand language, he outlines the theory and processes of two powerful meditations—the Nine Breathings of Purification and the Tsa Lung movements—that can help you change your relationship to yourself, to others, and to the world.

The simple methods presented in Awakening the Sacred Body and in the accompanying online video focus on clearing and opening your energetic centers to allow the natural human qualities of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity to arise. When sadness releases, joy is able to arise. When anger releases, love becomes available. When prejudice releases, equanimity prevails. And when lack of kindness ceases, compassion is present.

These practices, which focus the mind and breath together while performing specific body movements, will help you discover your inner wisdom and express your greatest potential.

“Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World” by Lama Surya Das

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Lama Surya Das, the most highly trained American lama in the Tibetan tradition, presents the definitive book on Western Buddhism for the modern-day spiritual seeker.

The radical and compelling message of Buddhism tells us that each of us has the wisdom, awareness, love, and power of the Buddha within; yet most of us are too often like sleeping Buddhas. In Awakening the Buddha Within, Surya Das shows how we can awaken to who we really are in order to lead a more compassionate, enlightened, and balanced life. It illuminates the guidelines and key principles embodied in the noble Eight-Fold Path and the traditional Three Enlightenment Trainings common to all schools of Buddhism:

Wisdom Training: Developing clear vision, insight, and inner understanding – seeing reality and ourselves as we really are.

Ethics Training: Cultivating virtue, self-discipline, and compassion in what we say and do.

Meditation Training: Practicing mindfulness, concentration, and awareness of the present moment.

With lively stories, meditations, and spiritual practices, Awakening the Buddha Within is an invaluable text for the novice and experienced students of Buddhism alike.

“The Little Book of Buddhist Awakening: The Buddha’s instructions on attaining Enlightenment” by Eric Van Horn

The Little Book of Buddhist Awakening looks at the subtle and elusive questions about awakening, which is also commonly called “enlightenment.” What does it mean to awaken? What are the different ways in which the Buddha described the end of the Noble Eightfold Path? What are common misconceptions about awakening?

“Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart: Core Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism Hardcover” by Dalai Lama

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The second volume in the landmark Library of Tibet series, Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart examines the next step of the Path: Compassion. Based on a classic fourteenth-century Tibetan poem famous for its ability to awaken compassion in the human heart, this elegant primer combines the mind training and stages of the path traditions of Tibetan Buddhism with enduring simplicity and illuminating prose.

“Holy Science” by Sri Yukteswar Giri

This extraordinary treatise explores parallel passages from the Bible and the Hindu scriptures to reveal the essential unity of all religions. Swami Sri Yukteswar, the revered guru of Paramahansa Yogananda, outlines the universal path that every human being must travel to enlightenment. He also explains the vast recurring cycles of civilization, affording a profound understanding of history and the ever-changing panorama of turbulent world events.

“The Yoga Sutras by Patañjali” by Swami Satchidananda

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This valuable book provides a complete manual for the study and practice of Raja Yoga, the path of concentration and meditation. The classic Sutras (thought-threads), at least 4,000 years old, cover the yogic teachings on ethics, meditation, and physical postures, and provide directions for dealing with situations in daily life. The Sutras are presented here in the purest form, with the original Sanskrit and with translation, transliteration, and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda, one of the most respected and revered contemporary Yoga masters. In this classic context, Sri Swamiji offers practical advice based on his own experience for mastering the mind and achieving physical, mental and emotional harmony.

We hope you enjoyed our collection of best books for spiritual awakening and were able to pick a book that resonates with you!

Spirituality

Spiritual Transformation: 6 Signs You Are Experiencing One

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Human beings are spirits inside a physical body. However, most people live their lives like bodies inside the spirit. Spiritual transformation means transcending beyond the physical body to the level of the soul. As complicated as this sounds, we will explain how easy it is to achieve spiritual transformation. But first, let’s get a bit more practical. 

Common Experiences of Spiritual Transformation

Overcoming trauma

Have you ever shied away from attempting something just because that thing reminds you of your past trauma? Once you overcome such experiences, it’s a clear sign you have transformed spiritually. Like a rape victim finally getting married and enjoying motherhood. 

Letting go of a toxic behavior

Most people can possibly relate to this one. How many weight-loss diets have you tried before achieving your weight goal? Or, how many times did you try quitting smoking before you actually did? See, spiritual transformation is not a walk in the park. But once you get the hang of it, you become the unstoppable hero. 

Becoming Soul-centered

When you experience spiritual transformation, you start journeying back to the center of your being. You echo the advice “be yourself” and now find it easier to apply. Perhaps it’s because you now know who you really are. 

How Does Spiritual Transformation Differ from Spiritual Awakening?

In the past, we have explored Spiritual Awakening. So what is the difference? Now spiritual transformation occurs as a by-product of our spiritual awakening journey. And since spirituality is a never-ending journey, it means if we continue in this journey, we will experience multiple angles of spiritual transformation. 

Enough of the theories, how then do you know that you have achieved spiritual transformation?

6 Signs You Are Experiencing Spiritual Transformation

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Let me start by reminding you that we are all different. A change might go unnoticed for one person yet be painfully unbearable for another person. That means you might notice some of these signs but not all of them. 

#1: Things Start Falling Apart

That moment when you can’t seem to hold anything together. Your partner breaks up with you, you get fired at work, your family becomes a thorn in the flesh, and all you want to do is close yourself up and cry. Transformation can only happen when there’s a space in your life that leads you to change. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small change. At this point, you need to realize that whatever is lost isn’t necessarily good enough for you and instead open up to new opportunities. 

#2: Heightened Agitation

You start getting emotional at things that would not usually bother you. Like overreacting when you find yourself stuck in traffic. This is a sign of transformation if you wouldn’t normally react this way.

Agitation occurs when we allow fear to drive us. That moment when you feel lost in the middle of nowhere. You have no idea what to do or where you are going. 

#3: Your Desire for Change Is Greater Than Your Fear of Not Knowing

Do you have a strong desire to change, say your career or your body, but the fear of the unknown keeps you off? Well, during spiritual transformation, you realize that this desire grows bigger while your fears diminish. You can quickly draft that resignation letter without worrying about your next opportunity. Or, you can easily break up with your fiancée without worrying about your “biological clock”. 

#4: You Trust Easily and Your Faith Grows, or the Vice Versa

Trust is usually the last chapter of the transformation. After you’ve been through emotional rollercoasters and denial, you are now ready to surrender and accept the will of your creator. It’s also at this point that your world starts turning around for the better. Mainly because your spirit is now open to other avenues. 

A good example is when you can’t let go of a toxic relationship even when all the signs say otherwise just because you can’t see past the relationship. Then after you’ve finally let go, you start wondering why you took so long. Sounds relatable? 

Now, for some people, the lack of trust is what signifies spiritual transformation. You suddenly feel the need to research any information you gather, irrespective of the source. Even though this is a temporary phase, your life can be very lonely. Just hang in there, pal.

#5: New Opportunities Open Up for You

A story goes of a peasant who kept presenting his wishes for the new year, yet nothing changed every year. One day he came to the priest as usual, and instead of giving his wishes, he told the priest that for the first time in 10 years, he saw the miracle he had been praying for. So he asked the priest what had happened? 

The priest simply answered, “your miracle has always been around. Now you’ve experienced it because your old horse died.” 

The same relates to us. You can’t win if you keep betting on an old horse. It would be best if you looked beyond your current limitations.  

#6: You Open Up to New Relationships

At some point in your spiritual awakening journey, you will realize that you no longer fit in your current relationship circles. This is normal. Consider finding like-minded individuals that you can easily connect with and dream even bigger together. When you keep holding onto relationships whose levels you’re past, they will keep dragging you behind instead of pushing you to even greater levels.  

Moreover, note that we begin to experience Christ’s consciousness after the transformation. Instead of feeling resentful to people who have hurt us in the past, we now feel compassion for them. The hatred turns into love and understanding, and in extreme cases, we grieve for their pain.

The Bottom Line

As much as spiritual transformation can get uncomfortable, the most important thing is allowing yourself to grow until you finally feel that part in you that you turned off a long time ago because someone told you to. You also have to be willing to see and accept the things you don’t necessarily want to know about yourself. Be open, and allow yourself to evolve and participate in your transformation journey.

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Spirituality

Family Karmic Connections: What Are They Teaching Us?

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The scriptures say that the most serious impact on our lives is caused by the actions we commit against our parents and teachers. When we criticize, judge, or disrespect our parents or teachers (no matter what their characters are), we create very negative karma that is likely to manifest itself already in the current life and to the maximum extent. This is because it is our parents and teachers who are the souls with whom we have the greatest amount of karma. And therefore, the actions that we do in relation to these people will influence our movement along our spiritual path. In this article, I want to talk about family karmic connections, how they affect our lives, and how to pass these karmic lessons with our parents so that negative patterns don’t control our lives anymore.

But first, let’s take a look at a couple of famous examples of family karmic connections.

Family Karmic Connections in Buddha Shakyamuni’s Life

Let’s take a look at the example of how family karmic connections can manifest themselves. Let’s use Buddha Shakyamuni’s life as an example.

Prince Siddhartha (Buddha Shakyamuni) was a prince from the Shakya family, who lived in ancient India. He was born into the family of King Shuddhodana, who, being frightened by the prediction on his son’s birthday that he would become an ascetic, surrounded him with luxury and wealth so that he would not know suffering and would not embark on the path of spiritual self-discovery.

But not everyone in Prince Siddhartha’s family was supportive of him. For example, his cousin Devadatta envied him, realizing that Siddhartha was his direct competitor in the matter of succession to the throne, and constantly schemed against him. And so from an early age, the prince learned to show compassion not only to those who loved him, but also to those who hated him. And in this sense, Devadatta, without knowing it, was one of the first teachers of Siddhartha.

According to legend, the karmic connection of the Buddha with his cousin Devadatta originated long before their incarnation in the family of King Shuddhodana. Once these two souls incarnated in the body of a two-headed bird. And it was then that a confrontation arose between them. Devadatta (then, of course, he was not Devadatta but one part of the two-headed bird) hated the Siddhartha (that was another part of the two-headed bird) so much that he deliberately ate the poisoned fruit. He wanted revenge so much that he was even ready to destroy himself because, despite the fact that the bird had two heads, the body was one.

It is believed that this was the beginning of the long journey of Buddha Shakyamuni and Devadatta. Devadatta followed the lower path of development — he alternately incarnated in the world of people, then in the lower worlds. And the Buddha, on the contrary, incarnated in the world of gods, then in the world of people. The world of people was the only place they would meet again.

Once they both incarnated in the world of people, Devadatta was constantly creating obstacles to the Buddha. However, can we really say that Devadatta harmed the Buddha? On the contrary, difficulties allowed Buddha Shakyamuni to develop, because only by overcoming his limitations, could he become better and stronger. Therefore, paradoxical as it may sound, Buddha Shakyamuni needed Devadatta in the world of people, because he was in some sense Shakyamuni’s teacher. And this seemingly difficult karmic connection had an incredibly beneficial effect on the spiritual development of the Buddha himself.

Already in the last (or rather, the last known to us) incarnation of the Buddha, in which he became a Buddha, Devadatta also caused him a lot of difficulties. Once he set an elephant on Buddha, but Buddha was able to subdue him with the power of his compassion. Another time, Devadatta pushed a huge stone from a cliff onto Buddha. But due to good karma, the stone did not harm Buddha. However, a fragment broke off from the stone and injured the Buddha’s leg — it is believed that at this moment the last negative karma that he had was worked out. So, all the obstacles Devadatta was causing made the Buddha only stronger.

Buddha Shakyamuni and Devadatta Image

The most interesting thing is that from Sanskrit, the very name Devadatta means “given by God”.

Family Karmic Connections in Milarepa’s Life

Another example of an interesting family karmic connection is the karmic connection between Milarepa and his mother.

Milarepa’s life was quite difficult — he lost his father early, and he and his mother became completely dependent on unfriendly relatives. Despite the fact that Milarepa’s father was far from a poor man, his relatives actually appropriated all his father’s wealth and forced him and his mother to drag out a miserable existence. Unable to bear it, Milarepa’s mother demanded that he learn black magic and kill all the relatives who did wrong to them. At first Milarepa refused, but the mother was determined and began to threaten Milarepa with suicide if he did not fulfill her insistent request.

Milarepa was strongly attached to his mother, so he was forced to obey. He learned black magic and, when returned from training, he collapsed the roof of the building so that 35 of his relatives died.

But the story didn’t end there. Realizing what he had done, Milarepa began to look for a teacher who could give him a method to get rid of the negative karma that he had accumulated. There were many years of searching and various difficulties. Finally, Milarepa met Marpa, his karmic teacher, from whom he was destined to learn.

Marpa and Milarepa Image

So, what can we see from this story? The immoral (at first glance) act of the mother, in fact, pushed Milarepa on the path of spiritual development. Yes, the method was quite cruel, but, apparently, there was no other way.

Of course, it may look like a cruel act to sacrifice 35 people for the sake of somebody’s spiritual development. But, in this case, all those people already had such karma — to be killed by black magic. Apparently, in the past they also practiced back magic or did other evil so that they created the karma that was in resonance with the death from black magic.

Some teachers believe that Milarepa’s mother was a Bodhisattva who incarnated in the form of his mother to create the situation thanks to which Milarepa began to look for a teacher, found him, and achieved spiritual self-realization. And, perhaps, if not for his mother’s act, he would never have embarked on this path. Or his path to spiritual quest would have been much longer. This is another example of how family karmic connections helped speed up somebody’s spiritual evolution.

Your Family Members are the Best Spiritual Teachers You Can Find

As you can see, it is the karmic connections in the family that have the greatest impact on our spiritual development. And even if it seems like some of our family members cause us suffering and seem to “interfere” with our development, in fact, as a result, all this leads to our spiritual evolution.

Another thing we should remember is that a very highly developed being can incarnate in our family just to create difficulties for us so that we can learn to overcome our own limitations. Therefore, to condemn your loved ones for misunderstanding or allegedly opposing our spiritual development is a very short-sighted view.

You cannot know for sure whether your mother, father, siblings, or other family members is the Bodhisattva or not. However, you should remember that a Bodhisattva has a deeper vision of reality and karmic intricacies. And therefore his/her behavior may not always be understandable, and sometimes it may seem cruel and immoral. But a Bodhisattva’s soul always knows what he/she is doing and acts solely out of compassion.

Therefore, when one of our family members has a disturbing behavior, judges us, criticizes us, or even betrays us, perhaps, we need this lesson in order to learn how to be patient, loving, and compassionate no matter who is standing in front of us.

Family karmic relationships are the best opportunity to work out our limitations and weaknesses.

Are Our Loved Ones Our Enemies From Past Lives?

Some spiritual teachers say that in Kali Yuga, enemies from past lives incarnate in the same families. Moreover, for example, the killer and his victim can be incarnated in the same family.

Why is it necessary? As always, it’s not so that we just suffer. Again, this is necessary for our spiritual evolution. Because with such close interaction, we will simply have to learn how to build a harmonious relationship with a person with whom there were conflicts in past lives.

According to yoga teachings, if we hate someone, we concentrate on this person and thereby sow the seed in our subconscious and form a karmic connection. What’s interesting is that sometimes hatred can form an even stronger karmic connection than love. That is why in the future incarnation the strongest karmic connection will be with those whom we loved or hated in past lives. Often the people around us are divided into those with whom it is easy, simple, and pleasant for us to communicate, and those whom we cannot accept.

Conclusion

Our family members are the people with who we have the strongest karmic connection. This karmic bond can be negative or positive. Both, negative and positive karmic connections, are beneficial for our spiritual development. No connection is accidental and has its purpose. However, looking at the examples, we can conclude that often negative karmic connections has more positive impact on our spiritual development than any others. Moreover, some of our family members could be incarnated Bodhisattvas who came into our lives to teach us to overcome our egos and be more patient, accepting, loving and compassionate.

In any case, it is important to understand that it is impossible to escape from the manifestations of our karma. The only way out is through. Until we learn our karmic lessons, we’ll be repeating them again and again. You can stop talking to your parents or siblings, divorce your husband or wife, abandon your children, but this does not solve the problem. Whatever karmic lesson you need to learn, you will have to learn sooner or later. Yes, it is possible that we will not meet this or that person again in this life, but if we have not passed the karmic lesson, have not worked out some problem, have not untied the karmic knot, then the situation will manifest itself again and and again until the lesson is learned.

Therefore, be grateful for every soul you meet on your path. Pay close attention to those who project negativity towards you and think about what kind of lesson they’re trying to teach you.

Namaste!

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Personal Development

Neotantra vs. Classical Tantra: What’s the Difference?

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The original ancient tantra was a path to enlightenment and liberation for anyone on a spiritual path. Later on, the practice became available to other persons, not necessarily on a spiritual path. Today, tantra is available in the West on a commercial level. This modern and commercial version of the original tantra is called neotantra

And, it is popular in the West, used to spice up sex lives or bring harmony in relationships. So, what does neotantra entail? And, how does it differ from the classical tantra version? Let’s discuss more in this article: –

Understanding Tantra

Tantra is a philosophy and a set of practices that form the basis for our healing and transformation. It revolves around working with the three most powerful human experiences. These are sexual desire, love, and our desire for freedom. Historical records indicate that tantra came into Buddhism and Hinduism in the 6th century. At this time, the practice was in spiritual rituals to invoke all-powerful deities. It, however, spread fast in India, with Hindu and Buddhist monasteries studying its ideologies. 

Some of the pioneers of neotantra include: –

  • Sir John Woodroffe
  • Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
  • Margot Anand: “Skydancing”  tantra. The Art of Sexual Ecstasy
  • Daniel Odier, Charles Muir, The Richardsons and others

Neotantra vs. Classical Tantra: The Differences

#1: Focus: All vs. Select Ancient Teachings

Classical tantra embraces ancient holistic Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religious practices. These are authentic tantric teachings to balance, heal, and enrich our physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental being. More so, it liberates us from suffering by getting rid of trauma, societal conditioning, or ignorance, leading us on a path to spiritual awakening.

In contrast, modern tantra focuses on limited ancient instructions relating to sexuality. Here, the practice alters the original teachings on tantric sex to create its western variation. Here, tantric sex draws on the creative power of sexual energy to evoke healing and transformation in our lives. It bridges the gap between sex and spirituality as a form of transcendence. 

#2: Spiritual Sex vs. Sacred Sex

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Since neotantra focuses only on the teachings on sexuality, it is a small puddle in the original classical tantra. The practice combines modern therapeutic techniques with original tantric concepts like sacred rituals and devotions. It aims at elevating the person into a higher level of spirituality. Hence, sexual pleasure is no longer focused only on the genitals but the entire body. Modern tantra benefits us physically, psychologically, sexually, and spiritually. Check out some of the activities typical of neotantra below: –

  • Purifying one’s chakras and consciousness
  • Making the sexual space sacred
  • Having slow, uninterrupted sex
  • Looking at orgasm as a means, not a goal for sexual intimacy
  • Practicing mindfulness during sex; being present in body and mind
  • Becoming aware of your entire body during sex
  • Practicing meditation and relaxation as part of sexual intimacy
  • Attaining transmutation of one’s sexual energies
  • Maintaining eye contact/gaze with a partner
  • Practicing slow and deep breathing
  • Expressing love 
  • Controlling ejaculation and other sexual impulses

In contrast, classical tantra has three traditional forms as follows: –

Monastric Tradition

The monastic tradition of classical tantra refers to an intense way of living where the participants withdraw from mainstream society to pursue purity. The participants live solitary and disciplined lives, characterized by silence, prayer, and a struggle against sin and vice. They spend most of their time studying the ancient tantric texts and practicing sacred rituals like drawing mandalas, singing mantras, and performing ritual prayers (fire pujas). Likewise, the monks sustained their lives by doing simple manual work like farming, gardening, basket weaving, and rope making.

Householder Tradition

The householder tradition of classical tantra involves lay practitioners applying the sacred concepts of tantra to ordinary everyday activities. For example, lay practitioners seek to find magic or unity in nature, people, and animals. They do this as they go about their lifestyles when talking to others, cleaning, working, meditating, or engaging in intimate relationships. The ultimate goal is to live in communion with the universe. 

Wandering Yogis Tradition

During the early medieval period, the Mahasiddha people living in forests and caves of Northern India practiced the wandering yogis tradition. It is a combination of yoga and tantra, also called tantrikas. These people would hold ganachakra ceremonies, a type of tantric feasts, and practice meditation to celebrate the pleasures of senses. There was singing, dancing, eating meat, drinking alcohol, and having sex. Today, the wandering yogis tradition remains active in India, often taught in yogic schools.

#3: Conflicting Sexual Ideologies & Interpretations

Did you know that some neotantra sexual ideologies are considered as sinful when viewed under classical tantra? Indeed, unlike neotantra, classical tantra does not entertain sexual fantasies in pursuit of sexual pleasure. Also, the original tantra views any sexual activity that involves menstrual blood a taboo. 

#4: The Benefits

modern tantra image

Below are some of the benefits of classical tantra: –

  • Growing presence and self-awareness
  • Practicing self-love and body confidence (acceptance)
  • Harmonizes the active and receptive energies
  • Connects our physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual being
  • Expands lovemaking beyond attaining an orgasm
  • Promotes healing, integration, transformation, and spiritual maturity

Here are some of the benefits of neotantra: –

  • Get more from a sexual relationship
  • Attain a sexual awakening characterized by the loving presence and profound intimacy
  • Healing wounds from sexual trauma
  • Have longer and satisfying lovemaking sessions
  • Releases toxic sexual energies, including shame
  • Provokes a journey of self-discovery leading to the entire body or multiple orgasms
  • Improving communication and communion between intimate partners
  • Cultivate a holistic approach towards sexual intimacy, focusing on mind, body, and spiritual connection
  • Delaying orgasm or preventing premature ejaculation or non-ejaculatory orgasms for men

Conclusion

What does tantra mean to you? Tantra continues to be a subject of fascination for many, even misunderstood at times. Yet, the practice has evolved for centuries and is now either classical tantra or modern tantra. Whereas classical tantra sticks to the authentic teachings that are a path to spiritual enlightenment, neotantra focuses on only the sexual component of the original tantra. By channeling sexual energy throughout the body, neotantra aims to achieve a higher level of intimacy and sexual pleasure.

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