Session One - Introduction and Overview (Free Preview)
The central narratives of the course are presented as an overview: 1) engaging the tantric and alchemical traditions to transform obstacle into opportunity; 2) the importance of Right View from an absolute and relative perspective; 3) “outsider” vs “insider” – how we lose our way when we only focus outside of ourselves; 4) waking up vs waking down – the importance of body on the path; 5) the power of spiritual reductionism – the discovery that everything boils down to spiritual issues.
Two contemplations on happiness are offered that reveal the limitations of conventional pursuits of happiness, and point the way to unconditional happiness. Session one also presents the binding theme of “gnostic pedagogy,” or the three wisdom tools of hearing, contemplating, and meditating. This is a bidirectional tenet, which means that we purify concepts when we descend into the body, and conversely stain experience by ascending into our thinking mind.
The first “emergency meditation” is presented, along with the second binding narrative of view, meditation, and action. Meditation is not the final point. Enlightened action is the final point. Stepping into this world with a clear vision, and seeing what needs to be done, is the fruition of our journey.
Transformation Through Obstacles and Challenges
Andrew talks about transforming the storm of modern times into opportunity, and how we can use the experiences of anxiety and fear as accelerators for the path. He explains what we will be working with throughout the course, and how that relates to bringing the absolute into harmony with the relative.
The Natural Wisdom of Our Bodies
Andrew reviews how we can use the natural wisdom of our bodies to "come to our senses," literally and figuratively. He speaks about how we can override our cultural conditioning to flee when we feel anxiety and fear. Next, he speaks about how to go directly into circumstances that we normally run away from. Following this, he leads us through two short contemplations on happiness.
Deconstructing Secondary Emotions
Andrew talks about primary and secondary emotions, and how if we deconstruct our secondary emotions and come to their root causes, we can free ourselves from those secondary emotions. He also speaks about the importance of hearing, contemplation, and meditation and how they build upon one another. He then reviews how Samsara happens when we leave the wisdom of our bodies, and explains how asking the right questions can lead the mind in the right direction.
Simplicity and Complexity
Andrew talks about how reality is simple -- confusion is complicated -- and that spiritual teachings are complex to match the complexity of our minds. He touches on how the more advanced the teaching gets, the simpler it gets, and the less there is to say.
Session One Q & A
Two Short Contemplations on Happiness
Andrew leads us through two short contemplations on happiness.
First, bring to mind three times in your life when you were really happy. In these three instances of happiness, can you extract a common denominator? Is there a common ingredient behind these three instances of happiness?
In the next contemplation, imagine those same 3 instances of happiness, or some other instances of happiness. Notice what happens to desire, or want, in the moments when you’re happy.
Emergency Complaining Meditation
Bring to mind something that upsets you. Notice what you feel in your body.
Is there some kind of contraction that happens in your body? Some kind of unwanted sensation?
Whenever you feel yourself wanting to complain, ask yourself "What am I feeling right now that I don’t want to feel." Then stay with that feeling.
You can view all the contemplations and meditations from the course here.