I spent the last several days in a study retreat with Paul Muller Ortega. It was INTENSE. He is a serious academic - a scholar of philosophy and sanskrit. I think he must have forgotten to mention the pre-requisite courses -- I felt as if I had been dropped into a 7oo level course. I'm about up to speed for a 101 level course. But although it may melt down a few million neuronal connections in the process, I think the end result is just what my heart has been desiring.....a Deepening through study of and contemplation into the Great Path of Yoga and a Melting with deep practice.
And here's a happy circumstance - my study group partners are my good friends, Sundari, Rainey and Denise Benitez. We will be working together to melt open - through study and contemplation - the sutras and teachings. I couldn't wish for more auspicious company. As Douglas Brookes has often said, "We become the company we keep, so keep great company." I am keeping GREAT company. These 3 wonderful women are also my travel and rooming companions. Lucky me.
In addition to 3 study retreats, we are committing several hours each week to individual study, group study, memorization and practice of quite a library of mantras, bi-weekly teleconferences with Paul, and lots of practice of meditation.
Paul has made a strict rule that we do not teach what we are studying and practiciing this year. That is so great! I can tend towards wanting to teach everything I learn. This comes from a good impulse in me as I am always looking for fresh material to serve up to my most wonderful students. But the end result of teaching something too soon is that the practices and studies don't ripen and grow inwardly, but get dispersed outward to the four winds while they are still in unripened form. One of the principles Paul spoke of at length was mouna - the holding within, in silence, of pranic charge and potential so that it can grow strong. He also taught the related principle of "First Within - Then Outwardly."
Anyway, I won't be teaching any of the Sutras or Mantras or meditation practices.....what a relief!
My initial experience with the meditation practice - called Neela Kantha meditation is that it is exactly what it is meant to be - a Melting practice. I have meditated a lot and for a long time - but I have to confess that it has gotten a bit dry. Neela Kantha meditation is anything but dry. I have already found that in this most wonderful practice my areas of thickened and roughened consciousness, my "cramps," begin to melt. As the melting begins, what is released is like nectar - and what else could it be if one agrees that "All is Supreme Consciousness" - Caitayanma Atma - and that Supreme Consciousness is deeply intelligent, outrageously benevolent, pure Nectar.
I highly recommend that anyone inclined to take on a meditation practice or who wants to shift in their practice, go to one of Paul's initiations into Neela Kantha. It's not a whole year long commitment like I'm doing but a weekend process that he offers in various parts of the country. And it's not sectarian or religious - it's a brilliant technique for meditation. The results of mediation can be enriching to whatever one's spiritual path.