The contents of the Academy’s program
- Fundamental concepts
- The principles of Non-duality
- Holistic Spiritual Psychology
- Spiritual practice – Sadhana
Presentation of the contents of the Spiritual Academy
The Fundamental concepts
- The purpose of life
- Pleasure, suffering, happiness, bliss
- Bondage and freedom
- What is Non-duality, Spirituality, Self-knowledge and Yoga
- Spiritual Practice and Self-Disciplines (Sadhana)
The important principles of Non-duality
What is Non-duality (Advaita Vedanta)
Brahman (absolute consciousness)
Atman, Divine Self (the apparently individual consciousness, Soul, Spirit, Self, Intimate Self). Our true nature (Being or Consciousness) is peace, bliss and absolute freedom (without limits) and we are already That. The Self constantly shines in our heart and illuminates our mind and all external and internal experiences.
The apparent Self (Body-mind-ego entity). The conditioned by the egoic tendencies Consciousness (Physical body, vital energy, mind, intellect, subconscious, causal body. Five Sheaths or three bodies according Advaita Vedanta)
The Shakti, the Maya, the divine power. The intelligent creative energy that creates all the universe
The three gunas or qualities (sattva, rajas and tamas),
The five sheaths and the three bodies
The five sheaths
- The five sheaths1. Annamaya Kosha, the Food Sheath (the physical Body)
- Pranamaya Kosha, the vital sheath (the vital energy, -Prana
- Manomaya Kosha, the mental sheath (the external mind, -Manas)
- Vijñanamaya Kosha, the sheath of the intellect (the intermidiate mind, -Buddhi),
- Anandamaya Kosha, the sheath of bliss, bliss (the Causal body)
The three bodies
- The causal body / The Anandamaya Kosha, the sheath of bliss or happiness
- The Subtle or Astral body / The Pranamaya Kosha, the vital sheath, The Manomaya Kosha, the mental sheath (manas), The Vijñanamaya Kosha, the sheath of the intellect (Buddhi),
- The Physical Body / The Annamaya Kosha, the Food Sheath
- Ignorance (tamas, the veil)
- Projection (rajas)
- Identification, Non-identification
- Attachment, passion
- Detachment, dispassion
- Self-awareness, being aware of yourself
- Enlightenment (Liberation, Self-realization)
- The enlightened or liberated (Jinvamukta) and his characteristics
Holistic Spiritual Psychology
(The constitution of the Human Being)
The two fundamental aspects of our human nature
- 1. The true Self – Consciousness (Self, Divine Self, Soul, Essence, Atman).
- 2. The apparent Self – Body-mind-ego (Physical body, vital energy, mind, intellect, subconscious, causal body)
The apparent self (Body-mind-ego)
The apparent self is constituted by
- The Causal body
- The Subtle or Astral body (constituted by the Vital energy (Prana) and the Anthakarana or mind – the fourfold internal organ or instrument).
- The Physical body
The Causal body
It cosists of the Anandamaya Kosha, the sheath of bliss.
The mind – the quadruple inner organ
or instrument (Antahkarana)
The 4 aspects of the mind and its capacities
- Manas – outer mind, (emotional, thinking, motor)
- Buddhi – intermediate mind, (Intellect, intelligence)
- Chitta – inner mind, (mental consciousness, the conditioned mind, the subconscious),
- Ahamkara – the illusory identity, (The two aspects of the ego: the lower rajasotamasic ego, and the higher sattvic ego.
Although the mind is one, it has different aspects and levels (Manas, Buddhi, Chitta, Ahamkara). Each of them does their own special work, but all of their parts function as a whole. Because of the Rajasotamic lower ego the mind is unbalanced and its higher capacities are not developed.
The three gunas or qualities (Sattva-Rajas-Tamas)
- Sattva is light, harmony, intelligence and maintains balance.
- Rajas is energy, movement, change, desire, passion, and produces imbalance.
- Tamas is substance, inertia, resistance, darkness and creates inertia.
The three gunas are the subtlest qualities of Nature that constitute matter, life and mind. The gunas are the qualities through which the mind manifests and expresses its various tendencies and functions.
The three gunas (sattva-rajas-tamas) are in the minds of all human beings, but in the vast majority of people tamas and rajas predominate, while people with predominantly sattvic minds are very rare on this planet. Most people spend their days and most of their lives between tamasic and rajasic states and occasionally experience sattvic states. That is why they rarely experience peace, happiness and love and rarely feel content, as these are sattvic states.
The ego, its nature and aspects (Ahamkara)
The Ego (Ahamkara) or I is what we think we are and it makes us have the delusion that we are the body and separate individuals limited by the physical body and the mind. The ego is the one that causes the sense of I-ness and Mine-ness in relation to the body and mind and objects respectively.
Because of the ego (the egoic tendencies energies and vibrations) we do not experience the freedom, peace and bliss of our essential nature. We can live the fullness of our true Self if we are willing abandonthe false beliefs and illusions of our limited egoic self, to dissolve the egoic tendencies and the egoic field of energy (kama-manas), its desires and passions that give us a little pleasure or joy and a lot of suffering.
Which are the illusions and identifications that the ego creates
Which are the factors that cause the illusions: The lower ego, the rajas and tamas gunas, identification, projection, superimposition and imagination, lack of Self-awareness, lack of attention and lack of discernment.
The aspects of the ego in relation to the three gunas
- The sattvic or superior ego
- The rajasotamasic or inferior ego
The aspects of the ego in relation to the vehicles of our existence
The ego identifying with the body, mind, heart, senses, and intellect (intelligence) fnctions as:
- The Physical Ego,
- The Vita-emotional Ego,
- The Mental Ego
- The Intellectual Ego
and respectively we become:
- The Doer by identifying with the body,
- The Enjoyer, Sufferer, Feeler by identifying with outer and inner heart,
- The Thinker by identifying with the mind and intellect,
- The Perceiver and Observer by identifying with the senses, body, manas, intellect and Consciouness as well) we become the Perceiver and the Observer of sensory objects and the psychological structures
The psychological structures (Desire, Selfish tendencies, patterns, programming, emotions, impulses, beliefs…)
- Memorized sensory impressions, imagination, thoughts, emotions
- Desire and attachment.
- The pairs of opposites. Its nature, its aspects and its mechanisms
- The emotions. What are, how do they work, managing emotions, dissolving negative or inferior emotions.
- Selfish tendencies (Samskaras and Vasanas). How they are created, grow and are empowered. Experience, identification, recording, conditioning of the mind,
- Programming, Mental, Emotional patterns and Habits (mental, emotional, physical),
- The beliefs, the importance and their effects. Investigate all beliefs and change wrong, harmful and limiting beliefs for true and beneficial ones.
The vital energy or Prana
Life energy animates matter. Without prana there is no life. The body and the entire universe move and function thanks to the vital energy. That’s why there are traditions that consider prana as higher or more important than the mind.
The two aspects of prana
The psychic and physical prana. The physical prana provides the energy for all physical actions and functions and the subtle psychic prana provides the energy for all psychological functions.
Sexual energy is the most fundamental expression of cosmic energy, because thanks to it the entire universe is born and exists. In our bodies it also has a very important role, which is the reproduction of the species and the experience of pleasure. But sexual energy is very important for spiritual development as well. The retention and transformation of sexual energy is necessary to achieve liberation.
The 7 Chakras and the Shakti-kundalini
- Primer: Muladhara or Root chakra.
- Second: Swadisthana or Sacral chakra.
- Third: Manipura or Solar Plexus chakra.
- Fourth: Anahatha or Heart chakra.
- Fifth Visudda or Throat chakra.
- Sixth: Ajna or third eye chakra.
- Seventh Sahasrara or crown or light chakra, (literally, “thousand-petalled lotus”)
Nadis (energy channels)
- 72.000 Nadis
- Ayurvedic and acupuncture meridians
- The important nadis: Ida-Pingala, Sushumna and Brahmanadi.
The three bio-energies (doshas in Sanskrit)
- Vata (Air, Space)
- Pitta (Fire, Water)
- Kapha (Earth, Water)
The three subtle energies
The physical body
The physical body is the base the receptor that allows all the cosmic energies and the Soul to function through it. That is why the body is called the temple of God. The physical body is born, grows, changes, decays and dies.
- The 5 sensory organs (Eyes, Ears, Nose, Tongue, Skin)
- The five organs of action (Hands, Legs, Tongue, Genitals, Anus)
Spiritual Practice and Discipline (Sadhana)
- What is sadhana and what does sadhana consist of (spiritual practice)?
- The main paths of yoga: 1. Karma Yoga, 2. Bhakti Yoga, 3. Raja Yoga and 4. Jnana Yoga
- Preparation and Purification of the mind and the final goal of the practice (sadhana)
- The Method of Advaita Atma Yoga – The double approach
It’s sadhana aims to prepare the mind to meditate and achieve Nirvikalpa samadhi in which the ego is totally dissolved and the mind merges with consciousness and reaches enlightenment.
In order for us to be able to meditate steadily and deeply and realize the Self, a sattvic mind is needed, free from passions, attachments and desires and very very weak egoistic tendencies.
So sadhana has as its main objective the purification of the mind, the increase of sattva guna and the elimination of rajas and tamas gunas from the mind, the elimination of desires, attachments and egoistic tendencies. This process will result in a mind that is harmonious, calm, calm, detached, stable, lucid, sharp, intelligent and concentrated. Such a mind is capable of correctly understanding the teachings about the Self and the illusory self and capable for deep inquiry, meditation and Nirvikalpa samadhi through which we will achieve liberation (enlightenment, self-realization).
The objectives and ultimate goal of the spiritual path and the practice
- The purification of the body, vital energy, sexual energy, mind (4 aspects, manas, buddhi, chitta, ego) and causal body,
- The transformation of the mind and vital and sexual energy,
- The elimination of rajas and tamas gunas from the mind and the increase of sattva. Transform our mind in pure-sattva,
- The elimination of selfish tendencies, attachments, desires and negative emotions,
- The investigation of our beliefs and the abandonment false and limiting beliefs and replace them with beliefs aligned with the truth,
- The development of virtues and capacities of heart and mind. Openness, adaptability, adjustment, common sense, simplicity, practicality. Love, devotion, empathy, kindness, benevolence, compassion, generosity, courage, self-confidence, faith, acceptance, self-worthiness, patience, coherence, truthfulness, sincerity, patience, tenacity, resilience, perseverance, endurance. The development of concentration, will-power, discernment (discrimination between true and false, right and wrong, the Self and the non-Self), dispassion (indifference for sense pleasures and experiences) and ataraxia (serenity, equanimity among the pairs of opposite),
- The establishment of positive habits (physical, mental emotional) and positive attitudes,
- Stopping identifications and projections,
- Live consciously moment to moment all day. Being alert and Self-aware, self-observing, self-discovering, stopping identifications and eliminating selfish tendencies moment to moment,
- Surrender to God, developing the attitude of being an instrument of God.
- Development of trust, faith, love and devotion to God,
- Practice Self-inquiry to discern our true Self (Consciousness, Being, inner silent space), from the sheaths, the mind and the ego
- Practice meditation and Self-inquiry daily with regularity, in order to be established on the Self, facilitate awakening and achieve the enlightenment or liberation that is the final goal of our life and the spiritual journey.
The three pillars of spiritual life and practice
- Scheduled practice at home
- The moment-to-moment practice
- A well-organized sattvic life
1. The scheduled practice at home / The daily spiritual program
Knowledge to plan a daily program of practice (sadhana).
Knowledge and capacity for setting goals and strategies.
Schedule morning and evening practices, moment-to-moment practice throughout the day, strategy and goal planning and implementation in practice.
Knowledge of practices, methods and disciplines. How they are made, what are they for, what are the benefits. Application of practices, methods, etc.
Methodology to make changes and achieve our goals
The means to achieve the goals of practice and spiritual life
The means are the daily program, the practices, the disciplines, the techniques, the methods, the exercises, a well-organized sattvic life. I point out that achieving a goal goal helps to achieve others easier. For example, purification of the mind helps in the development of virtues, higher abilities of the mind, and meditation.
Fundamental spiritual practices and methods
Being attentive, alert moment to moment, being aware of the Self (Self-awareness) self-observation, self-inquiry, meditation, reflection, study books, watching videos, attending satsang, introspection, practices for the dissolution of selfish tendencies (desires, impulses, attachments, addictions, negative emotions, mental emotional patterns), Karma Yoga, prayer, mindful eating, Hatha Yoga asanas, pranayama, devotion, repetition of God’s name and mantras (Japa Nama and Japa mantra), the chanting of mantras (Kirtan), surrender to God or redemption, acceptance and forgiveness.
Meditation and Self-inquiry
2. The moment to moment practice
(goals and practices related to moment to moment practice)
Being alert, self-awareness (being aware of inner silence), self-observation (observing thoughts, emotions, etc.), repeating the name of God or a mantra (japa nama and japa mantra), prayer, control of the senses and the mind, recognize, observe, calm and dissolve the selfish tendencies that are manifested (impulses, emotions, thoughts, desires), not identify with the mind, stop the identifications with the thoughts, emotions, impulses, etc., dissolve the egoistic tendencies, purify the mind, deepen the silence.
3. Sattvic and well-organized life.
Requirements and qualities to achieve the objectives and liberation
High motivation, burning thirst for truth, practical-open-flexible mind, common sense, adapt, invent, clear goals, plan, strategy, organized action, commitment, coherence, sincerity, firm determination, will, self-confidence, faith, discernment, dispassion, detachment, patience, tenacity, perseverance, endurance, diligent systematic constant practice, action plan evaluation, reassessment, changes, improvements.
Obstacles and their overcoming
1. Frequent or common obstacles that prevent us from applying the daily program and practices, achieving the objectives and developing what we have planned.
The first obstacle is the tamas guna and its expressions: laziness, procrastination, resistance, self-justifications, insincerity, hypocrisy, misperception, false understanding, harmful habits
2. The process to overcome obstacles. We follow a process to find the means and solutions to overcome obstacles and achieve our goals.
Methodology to make changes and achieve our goals
3. Requirements and qualities to overcome obstacles: high motivation, practical-open-flexible mind, common sense, adapt, invent, clear objectives, plan, strategy, organized action, commitment, coherence, sincerity, determination, enthusiasm, will, self-confidence, patience, tenacity, perseverance, endurance, diligent and systematic constant practice, action plan evaluation, reevaluation, changes, improvements.
The aspirant and the path
The teachings, knowledge and teachers are essential factors that help us to free ourselves from psychological suffering and live free and happy. But the most important factor is you. No one can make the path for you. No one can practice for you and the practice will not flourish without faith, devotion, will and firm determination to apply the teachings and do the practices with perseverance, interest and attention. It is imperative to do all you can with body, heart and mind until you are free from all illusions of the ego and constantly live the peace, love and eternal bliss of the Consciousness that You are.