October 19, 2013
Rozane, learning with this tradition.
Abhyasa Ashram is a monastery and yoga meditation center which practices universal meditation as taught by the ancient tradition of yogis of the cave monasteries of the Himalayas, especially as transmitted through the lineage of Swami Rama. The tradition has no name, and is not affiliated with any of the institutions or religions of the plains of India or other countries surrounding the Himalayas, although individual meditators may personally align themselves with a wide variety of religions or institutions. We may refer to the tradition as "the tradition of the Himalayan masters" or "the Himalayan tradition", but that is for the sake of convenience, and is not a style or brand name as is popular these days.
Our methods of meditation and contemplation involve systematic awareness of all levels of our being, including actions/senses, body, breath, mind, finally resting in the awareness of the Self (atman) which is one with the universal Self (brahman). At Abhyasa Ashram we have aspirant training, not teacher training. Our approach to training is mostly individual coaching, as Yoga meditation and contemplation has been traditionally taught for thousands of years. Also, we have ten or so gatherings per week to discuss principles of practice; these are both online and here at the ashram. Aspirants with various degrees of experience naturally teach or coach others within the context of their own lives and modes of service.
The basic principles and practices of Yoga (Meditation and Contemplation) can be learned in a few minutes, but the refinement of understanding and practices becomes subtle only with considerable months and years of effort. For this reason, the people of our ashram community enjoy coming together in a spirit of friendship to learn and practice.
From the perspective of our meditation tradition, each person is perfect, pure consciousness (atman, purusha, shakti) at the core of her or his being. The entire process of yoga sadhana (meditation and contemplation practices) is to reduce the colorings of attractions, aversions, and fears that usually veil that realization (often called Self-realization). This is done by systematically receding inward through senses, body, breath, conscious and unconscious mind. The final barrier is removed through a transmission of grace, which is known as shaktipata, the bestowing of the pure consciousness of shakti. It is also known as guru kripa, grace of guru. In our tradition guru is a force field of consciousness, and is not any person, although that grace of guru can flow through a person.
At Abhyasa Ashram the word "Yoga" is used in its traditional meaning, rather than the revisionist meaning of Yoga as merely a gymnastic or physical fitness program. Yoga means “union” of the individual consciousness and universal consciousness, Atman and Brahman, Jivatman and Paramatman, as well as Shiva and Shakti. It is pure consciousness (Purusha) standing alone from primal manifestation (Prakriti).
Yoga is traditionally taught, practiced and learned through close relationships in a community of noble friends, known as kalyana-mitra. Guru is a stream of knowledge of direct experience which, though it may operate through a person, is itself not a person. While some participants in ashram activities have a theistic (god) orientation and others a non-theistic orientation, we virtually all intuit that there is only one, nondual (advaita), absolute reality even though it may appear to be dualistic.
Our purpose is to share with people who have an interest in the principles and practices of the Himalayan masters, including traditional Yoga Meditation, Vedanta, and internal, meditative Tantra (Yoga, Vedanta, Tantra). Our community of meditation and contemplation is devoted to serving those who deeply long for the direct experience of union with the eternal, pure center of consciousness, the bliss of being that is one with the absolute reality, as the wave who seeks to remember it is one with the ocean. One word for that union is "Yoga."
The word "Abhyasa" means "practices." Abhyasa is purposefully choosing to do that which leads to "sthitau," which is a stable, steady, undisturbed inner calmness or tranquility. Abhyasa is one of the twin foundations of Yoga, along with Vairagya, the mental stance of non-attachment (Yoga Sutras 1.12-1.16). The root of the word Ashram is "shrama," which means "effort" or "striving." The hermitage, home, or training center of a swami or other person serving people in their efforts towards inner peace and awakening of consciousness is often called an Ashram. Thus, our community of meditation, contemplation and learning is known as Abhyasa Ashram. More than any physical location, it is really a place of the heart, an inner sanctuary of silence.
Our ashram is a small community of sincere and loving people, some of whom live locally in Florida, and many of whom live in other cities, states, and countries. If you would like to see what we're doing, please take a look at the calendar (linked in the left column) or contact me through the "Contact Us" button if you have questions. Take a look at the ashram website, or my website on principles and practices, which are linked just below. Stop by and visit for meditation for a few minutes of stillness and silence.
PLEASE NOTE that most of our members and participants are familiar with the ongoing schedule of the ashram and do NOT click on the attending buttons on the Meetup pages. Therefore, it may look like most of the events are not well attended when there are actually people here. Come and join us, and you will meet some very nice people who are sincere about their meditation practices.
May your meditations today bring you peace, happiness, and bliss.
In loving service,
Swami Jnaneshvara ("Swamiji", "Swami J")
Ashram Website: http://abhyasaashram.org/
Online course: https://www.udemy.com/what-is-yoga-as-meditation/
Swami J Website on Principles/Practices: http://swamij.com
Playlist of video commentary: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5B1627ADAF657A2C
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