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Day three of our Virtual Rains Retreat in Bristol with Tejananda saw about 50 of us exploring the aspect of Spiritual Death, through the ‘Dynamic Mandala’. Tejananda re-emphasised the fact that we can’t meditate unless we are able to know this sense of being embodied. He talked more about the value of engaging with our actual bodily sensations through which we may discover that soma or the ‘cloud’ of sensations of the body are less fixed than we may have thought. Soma is vibrational - to put it simply, tingling. He suggested by bringing awareness to an area of the soma, it tends to open up and reveal more. The somatic approach to the system of practice means everything becomes experiential and exploratory and in some way simpler.
This approach also puts the mind back into it’s proper place. It remains as one of the six senses but without crowding out the other senses with mental proliferation.
We began with a 15 minute meditation to settle and touch into the areas of integration and positive emotion as explored in the last two days then Tejananda explained the term ‘spiritual death’ which is Sangharakshita’s chosen term for wisdom/insight practices that facilitate seeing through that which we are delusively holding onto. This process leads to the cessation of dukkha. He then talked about the emptiness teachings point to the fact that our actual experiences are empty of what we are delusively holding onto. Emptiness is often misunderstood in nihilistic way, but it actually points to the fact that really we are undivided from everyone and everything. We are not a separate entity, we are part of a whole. The practice today explores this somatically, so that hopefully we’ll fail to find boundaries between our own bodies and what’s outside.
Although this material is open to all, please note it is intended for those with a regular meditation practice.