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Hermetic Principles: 7 Keys to Self-Mastery

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The universe runs on natural laws. The hermetic principles refer to knowledge of these laws as passed down by the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. When you can understand hermetic principles you can learn from them and use them to experience more happiness, meaning, and control over your life.

Consider this article as a brief introduction to hermetic philosophy and the 7 hermetic principles. I hope it will raise more interest in you to study the hermetic tradition and hermetic principles deeper.

The Doctrine Of The Universal Laws

Hermetic philosophy as the doctrine of the higher universal laws came to the occult traditions of various peoples from Ancient Egypt, in particular in Chaldean astronomy, ancient Greek philosophy, Persian magic, and alchemy.

The founder of this doctrine is considered one of the great mystics of Egypt, the Master of Masters, the father of Occult wisdom, the founder of Astrology, Alchemy and the Tarot system, revered as the God of wisdom Thoth, – Hermes Trismegistus. There is also a belief that he was one of the Atlanteans.

Hermes Trismegistus is credited with 42 treatises containing all the wisdom of the Universe. However, almost all of them were burned in the library of Alexandria, except for two: “Asclepius” and “The Emerald Tablet“.

Hermetic Texts

The Corpus Hermeticum Image

The entire hermetic philosophy is covered in three main hermetic texts:

  1. The Corpus Hermeticum is the most widely known Hermetic text. It contains dialogues between Hermes Trismegistus and a series of other men. The first chapter contains a dialogue between Poimandres (who is identified as God) and Hermes. In this Hermetic text, Poimandres tells Hermes the secrets of the universe.
  2. The Emerald Tablet refers to the three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe. It was found by Alexander the Great at Hebron, supposedly in the tomb of Hermes.
  3. The Perfect Sermon was written in the 2nd or 3rd century AD and is a Hermetic work similar in content to The Corpus Hermeticum.

Other important Hermetic texts include:

  • the Discourses of Isis to Horus;
  • the Definitions of Hermes to Asclepius;
  • the Kybalion: Hermetic Philosophy (the book that describes essential Hermetic principles);
  • a Suggestive Inquiry into Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy.

Hermeticism

Hermetism Image

The hermetic tradition represents a non-Christian lineage of Gnosticism, which is the name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems dating back to the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D.

Hermeticism is a school of systems and ideas that focuses on the pursuit of Gnosis – the pursuit of empirical knowledge pertaining to spiritual mysteries.

Hermeticism is based on the belief in a Single transcendent Mind. Everything that exists in the Universe is a part of that Transcendent mind.

According to hermetic teaching, everything acts according to the law of analogy, because everything is one Higher Consciousness. But any movement of life is an interaction of dualities. Two dualities, which are two sides of the One, create an infinite number of proportions and probabilities in the creative process. And this makes a choice possible. Making a choice, the soul weaves its fate, chooses its path. Everyone’s path is unique. But all paths lead to a single divine source, which is the beginning of creation.

After centuries of neglect, Hermeticism was revived in the West in 1460, when a monk named Leonardo, who was one of the many agents sent by Cosimo de ‘ Medici to search for ancient manuscripts lost in European monasteries, brought to Pistoia copies of hermetic treatises in Greek, taken from Constantinople. Subsequently, these treatises, translated into Latin in 1461 by Marsilio Ficino, contributed to the outbreak of interest in Hermeticism in the Renaissance and formed The Corpus Hermeticum.

In 1614, the Swiss philologist Isaac de Casaubon, after analyzing the hermetic texts in terms of content, textual connection with other texts, and language, came to the conclusion that the hermetic works attributed to Hermes Trismegistus were not the works of an ancient Egyptian priest, but were actually written already during the Christian era.

In 1945, hermetic writings written in Coptic were found near Nag Hammadi. They were arranged in the form of a talk between Hermes and Asclepius from the Corpus Hermeticum and a text describing the mystical school of Hermeticism.

Not all Hermetists were concerned with religion; some of them considered only the philosophical system of Hermeticism.

In hermetic religion, the Supreme deity or Principle is called God, the One, or the All. Many Hermeticists also ranked their faith and the mystical ideas of other religions, such as Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and the mainline of paganism, because they held the view that all great religions have a common heart, are similar in their mystical truths, and contain a share of understanding of the seven hermetic principles.

The 7 Hermetic principles are:

  1. The Principle Of Mentalism
  2. The Principle Of Correspondence
  3. The Principle Of Vibration
  4. The Principle Of Polarity
  5. The Principle Of Rhythm
  6. The principle of Cause and Effect
  7. The Principle Of Gender

Who is Hermes Trismegistus?

Hermes Trismegistus Image

“Master of all arts and sciences, perfect in all crafts, Ruler of the Three Worlds, Scribe of the Gods, and Keeper of the Books of Life, Thoth Hermes Trismegistus — the Three Times Greatest, the “First Intelligencer” — was regarded by the ancient Egyptians as the embodiment of the Universal Mind. While in all probability there actually existed a great sage and educator by the name of Hermes, it is impossible to extricate the historical man from the mass of legendary accounts which attempt to identify him with the Cosmic Principle of Thought.”

Manly P. Hall — The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Hermes Trismegistus is the name of a syncretic deity that combines the features of the ancient Egyptian God of wisdom and writing, Thoth, and the ancient Greek God Hermes, who were both gods of writing and magic in their respective cultures. He is the purported author of the Emerald Tablet and the Corpus Hermeticum.

Hermes was credited with tens of thousands of highly esteemed writings, from both Egypt and Greece. While the Italian Renaissance believed Hermes to be an Egyptian Priest, it is possible the Corpus Hermetica was actually written collectively by unknown authors who were Platonistic and Stoic Greeks.

Thus it’s still a mystery if Hermes actually existed and if there was a link between the Greek God Hermes and the Egyptian God Thoth and the connection between Greek and Egyptian culture. However, what we can be certain of, is that the Hermetic principles held immense value for these ancient cultures, whoever their author (or authors) may be. 

The Kybalion

Kybalion Image

As I mentioned above, the Kybalion is a collection of the main hermetic principles which are transmitted from the Teacher to his student.

The “Three Initiates” who wrote the Kybalion wished to remain anonymous, which led to much speculation about the authorship of this work.

It is generally assumed that the author of the Kybalion is William Walker Atkinson, who wrote this text independently without assistance. Atkinson was known for using numerous pseudonyms for his published works. He was also the owner of the publishing house “Yogi Publication Society”, which published Kybalion.

According to one theory, Atkinson co-wrote with Paul Foster Case and Michael Whitty.

Other possible co-authors of the Kybalion include Harriet Case (the wife of Paul Foster Case), Ann Davies, Mabel Collins (theosophist writer), and Claude Bragdon (architect, theosophist). However, given how prolific Atkinson was as a writer, it is doubtful that he needed any co-authorship.

Mental Transmutation

The Kybalion describes mental transmutation, which is also known as spiritual alchemy, the art of spiritual chemistry, and the art of polarization.

Hermetic Alchemy is the mutual conversion of spiritual vibrations of one type into others — the transmutation of the spirit. This process affects absolutely all objects in the Universe and follows seven hermetic principles. So now let’s take a closer look at these seven hermetic principles!

Hermetic Principles

Principle #1: The Principle of Mentalism

“The Universe is Mental – held in the Mind of THE ALL.”

The Kybalion
hermetic principles mentalism image

This principle states that everything is mental in nature.

Everything that exists is intelligent, even that which we cannot understand. But it is not rational in itself but is a part and product of the vital activity of the One Mind, some eternal and unchanging entity, the Absolute, or simply the spirit. The universe is just a mental image of this Absolute, it is present in every part of the Universe. However, the Absolute doesn’t identify itself with the Universe. This is a manifestation of the immanence of the spirit.

Similarly, a person creating a mental image creates his own Universe, filling it completely with his presence, but not identifying himself with it. Man is both a Creator and the one who lives directly in his thoughts, just like the Absolute. This seems a paradox, but only to the limited human mind.

And just as we can suddenly stop thinking about something, so for the absolute, the creation and destruction of any Universe is a matter of a moment.

In other words, everything in the universe is created by thought or mind. There is nothing that exists in the material world where this is not the case.

The essence of anything that is physically created is mental because the essence of everything is mind. Our actions arise from our thoughts even if some of them are on a subconscious level.

Edgar Cayce says “thoughts are things.” When we have the right thoughts, the right actions will follow.

“He who grasps the truth of the Mental Nature of the Universe is well advanced on The Path to Mastery.”

– The Kybalion

If all that exists is thought, then it is possible and more productive to interact with this “all” with thought. Which, if you think about it, opens up endless possibilities.

The entire universe was created by the thought of God. And the same is true for us, we create our reality both metaphysically and physically by the power of our own thoughts. Yes, it is our thoughts that create our reality!

Principle #2: The Principle of Correspondence

“As above, so below; as below, so above.”

The Kybalion
Hermetic Principles Correspondence Image

This principle is a universal law used in Hermeticism to understand all the unknown and inaccessible, to know the hidden laws of the Universe.

According to this principle, the macrocosm is a reflection of the microcosm and vice versa. 

To solve complex paradoxes, we look at what is above us (a macro level) and below us (a micro-level). What works for the planets also works for the atoms. And what works for the solar system and atomic system also works for the human system.

According to the Hermetic Philosophy, the Universe is divided into the Three Great Planes:

  1. The Great Physical Plane;
  2. The Great Mental Plane;
  3. The Great Spiritual Plane.

The classification of the planes of the Universe is conditional and based on the different frequency of its vibrations. It is also important to understand that all planes mutually penetrate each other and do not have absolute isolation. All these planes work in correspondence with one another.

Grasping this principle is what allows us to deduce the hidden solutions to problems by looking at what exists a layer above, and below the problem, to infer the pattern and shadow nature of what is in-between.

By observing the Principle of Correspondence, we can come to know the whole of the Universe by exploring the higher and lower nature of things. And likewise, discover more of ourselves, by experiencing and studying the world we are integrally a part of.

Principle #3: The Principle of Vibration

“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”

The Kybalion
hermetic principle of vibration image

This hermetic principle embodies the truth that Motion is manifest in everything in the Universe – that nothing is at rest – that everything moves, vibrates, and circles. All of life is vibrations at different frequencies.

Some vibrate slower and others vibrate at a high frequency. Higher frequency vibrations are in the realm of the unseen while lower frequency vibrations reside in the physical world where our sights can translate the “visible light.”

We either vibrate at a state of harmony or a state of chaos. But the good news is this is within our control!

Our thoughts have their own rate of vibration and we can control them like tuning an instrument. As our understanding of vibration, frequency, harmony, and resonance increase, so too shall our power over ourselves and our reality!

Every atom is a micro-universe within every molecule of our physical bodies. Our thoughts manifest our feelings, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, health, energy, and ultimately what we attract in our lives. Energy follows thought!

Therefore our ultimate goal should be a creation of such a vibration that is determined by our Higher Selves, rather than by manipulations of our egos. 

Principle #4: The Principle Of Polarity

“Everything is dual; Everything has poles; Everything has its pair of opposites; Like and unlike are the same; Opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; Extremes meet; All truths, are but half-truths; All paradoxes may be reconciled.”

The Kybalion
Principle Of Polarity Image

Everything that exists has two opposite aspects, and what seems to be the exact opposite is actually the extremes of the same thing — the line of polarity. For example, heat-cold, light-dark, heavy-light, gift-curse, love-hate, good-evil, laughter-tears, etc. Between these poles, there is a great variety of gradations of the same nature, which explains the incomprehensible diversity of all states of existence.

For Hermeticists, the norm is free movement along any line of polarity, that is, the transition from one qualitative state to another which is considered mental transmutation.

One state of mind can be turned into another (as metals and elements can be turned into each other); one degree of mind can be turned into another; one condition of its manifestation can be turned into another; one pole can be turned into another; one mental vibration can be turned into another.

This principle is very important because it suggests we can change the polarity of a degree of emotion, by recognizing it and choosing the degree which best suits our needs.

Usually, these transitions from positive to negative emotions, happen unconsciously in an ordinary person’s mind. However, by applying the principle of polarity, we can consciously choose to experience these transitions by using our willpower for the betterment of our own lives and the lives of others.

For doing this, we have to realize that the difference is not a hurdle to be surmounted, but two expressions of the same thing, differing only in degree, that can be consciously chosen. This practice is the essence of the art of Mental Alchemy.

The alchemists of the middle ages were preoccupied with transforming base metals into gold. However, the real meaning of this seems to come from the knowledge of changing base thoughts and emotions into “spiritual gold” or higher energies. We just need to polarize our consciousness and life vibration differently since they are all varying degrees of the same thing.

For a deeper understanding of this principle, read our article “SOLANCHA: The Law of Harmony and BaLANce“.

Principle #5: The Principle of Rhythm

“Everything flows, out and in; Everything has its tides; All things rise and fall; The pendulum swing manifests in everything; The measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; Rhythm compensates.”

The Kybalion
Hermetic Principle of Rhythm Image

What flows in must flow out. What swings forward will swing back again. And what goes up must come down.

Science expresses this principle by the formula F = – F.

There are many examples of the principle of rhythm: the change of seasons, day and night, moods, life and death, incarnations, epochs, the rise and fall of civilizations, etc. In addition, Karma itself follows this hermetic principle.

Hermeticism believes that you can not escape from the action of the Pendulum or interrupt its movement, but its impact can be compensated. The person concentrates himself at a certain desirable resting point and then compensates for the movement of the Pendulum in both directions.

Some people do this unconsciously when, for example, they are trying to overcome stress or change their mood. But the possession of this principle consciously allows you to balance yourself and others, as well as various events in your own and other people’s lives. It is believed that it is even possible to balance the whole nation on a global scale.

The balance is the key! You see if you enjoy the fruits of the highest highs, you won’t be able to avoid the destruction of the lowest lows. You can try to neutralize it to a degree. And that degree depends on your understanding and application of the Hermetic Principles. Then you will be able to enjoy “the rise” and neutralize “the falling”.

“Nothing stands still – everything is being born, growing, dying – the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline – the law of rhythm is in constant operations.”

The Kybalion

The hermeticists apply the law of neutralization to their consciousness. They learn how to use this principle instead of being used by it. They do this by the use of will and detachment to create a state of consciousness that is not swung forward or backward like a pendulum. 

Most people live on a mental and emotional roller coaster. This creates disbalance which makes the Pendulum swing. As a result, people see life as an alternation of good and bad events.

The hermeticist’s goal is to attain a state of consciousness of inner peace, divine indifference, even-mindedness, and bliss.

The idea is to stay even-minded, whether you experience joy or sorrow, whether you receive compliments or criticism, whether you feel pleasure or pain, whether you are sick or healthy, whether you win or lose, etc.

Divine detachment is a point of neutrality that is not caught up in the pendulum swing between the polarities. Instead of seeing a situation as good or bad allow your conscious to have a detached and higher view from a consciousness perspective. This is how duality becomes transcended.

All the suffering that humanity experiences come from their attachments or misplaced points of view.

Principle #6: The Principle of Cause and Effect (Causation)

“Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its cause; Everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the law.”

The Kybalion
The Principle of Cause and Effect Image

Simply put, nothing happens for no reason, and that there is no such thing as ‘chance.’ Nothing happens without explanation.

All known science, in particular almost all classical physics, is built and developed on the laws of cause and effect. This regularity has also been widely studied in philosophy, which completely excludes any probability of chance.

However, the Hermetists believe that it is possible to master this principle if you learn to control the causes, and therefore their effects. This becomes possible if you subordinate the causality of higher planes in order to influence the effects on your own plane.

If you want to experience the empowering impact of this principle, try to make the conscious choice to rise above the plane of thought you currently occupy to become your own Cause, and not just an Effect of others and the situations you find yourself in. In other words, instead of reacting to circumstances, make a conscious choice of what thoughts you fill your mind in. Rise to a higher plane of consciousness and take your rightful place as a master instead of a victim, and focus on causes instead of effects.

It seems like this might be an essential step for everyone who wants to be happy – to become a master and drop a victim mask. The difference between a master and a victim is that a master takes responsibility for all good and bad events in his life whereas a victim denies it.

The average person in this world is an effect, not a cause. They are victims of their own thoughts, emotions, feelings, moods, opinions, biorhythms, other people, past lives, subconscious programming, the weather, illusion, astrological influences, disincarnate spirits, fantasies, the environment, etc. In fact, the average person can always find something or someone to blame for. This victim mentality leads to constant suffering and the lifestyle of a prisoner of destiny, fate, circumstances, etc.

On the contrary, the Master rises above all the “circumstances” and has a great deal of mastery over these things.

The basic cause of our life is the thoughts and images we hold in our conscious and subconscious mind. By learning to be utterly watchful and only allowing the thoughts that serve us, we are able to create the desired reality (both inwardly and outwardly).

Yes, in fact, our thoughts cause our reality. Our thinking must be submissive to our spirit, instead of our ego.

If you are not a master, you are a victim. This is the law of polarity.

We need to learn how to gain mastery over our mind, which will lead to mastery over our emotions and desires.

Principle #7: The Principle of Gender

“Gender is in everything; Everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.”

The Kybalion
hermetic principle of gender image

This hermetic principle embodies the fact that both the masculine (active) and feminine (passive) exist in all things. Not just in sex, but in the creative nature of all things, on all planes. The masculine and feminine exist not only in the physical plane but also in the mental and the spiritual. 

The masculine is the penetrative, progressive, assertive, and explorative energy that drives progress. The feminine is the receptive, treasured, sacred, protective energy, that maintains tradition and nourishing that which is most essential to life.

The types of correspondence between the two beginnings traditionally include man and woman, logic and intuition, Sun and Moon, microcosm and macrocosm.

Too much masculine energy brings imbalance and leads to a growth of power to the extreme of reckless abandon. As a result, we lose perspective of what is most important and disconnect with our intuitive side. 

Too much feminine energy also creates disharmony and leads to a life deeply grounded in the present. As a result, our lives are missing the perspective and become determined by the cycles and external circumstances out of our favor.

On the physical plane, each of us has a male or female physical body. However psychologically each of us is androgynous with male and female qualities. Each of us has a left brain and right brain.

In science, this principle has been confirmed in the electronic theory of matter – just remember the structure of the atom of matter. In fact, the same applies to all planes.

This hermetic principle is aimed not only at structuring everything that exists, but also at the process of creativity and recreation. For example, regarding the structure of human consciousness, this principle is manifested in the duality of levels of mind – consciousness (active) and subconsciousness (passive).

The path of balancing the masculine and feminine aspects within self and also balancing the heavenly and earthly aspects within the self is the path that Buddha called “the Middle way”. True progress is possible through the balancing of the two energies of Gender in oneself, relationships, life events, and the environment.

To choose the “Middle way” between the present-oriented feminine and future-driven masculine and seek balance in all things, is the key to using all the 7 hermetic principles to full effect. This is how lasting self-mastery is achieved.

The Bottom Line

7 Hermetic Principles Image

Hermeticism is a synthesis of religion, philosophy, and science. Perhaps one day it will serve as a base for a new, even more grandiose synthesis – harmonious and integral teaching, built on the entire set of experimental data obtained by mankind. This reconciliation of faith with knowledge, religion with philosophy and science, an ancient humanistic worldview with Christian mysticism, or, symbolically speaking, the cross with the Rose, was the original dream of the Rosicrucian Order that emerged in the middle ages, being the spiritual heir of ancient hermetic and Eastern wisdom, on the one hand, and Gnostic Christianity of the first centuries, on the other.

No matter what your religious or spiritual view is, these 7 hermetic principles suit any spiritual path and help to expand consciousness to see a greater Universal truth that is a basis of many spiritual teaching and religions. Study them, meditate on them, and apply them to your life. Very soon you will start seeing the world you live in from another angle and discover the creative divine potential within yourself!

Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Spirituality

Spiritual Transformation: 6 Signs You Are Experiencing One

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spiritual transformation image

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

spiritual healing quotes image

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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Family Karmic Connections Image

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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Neotantra Image

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

What is neotantra image

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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