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a place in the heart (by lorin roche)

 

 

A place in the heart

The One Who is at Play Everywhere said:
There is a place in the heart where everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, senses, soul, eternity, all are there.
Are you there?

Enter the welcoming vastness of the heart.
Give yourself to it with total abandon.
Quiet ecstasy is there –
and a steady, regal sense of resting in a perfect spot.

Once you know the way
the nature of attention will call you
to return, again and again,
and be saturated with knowing,
“I belong here, I am at home here.”

Answer that call!

by Lorin Roche
in The Radiance Sutras,
Renderings of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra

(Heart-shaped flash mob meditation photo by Carter Brooks)


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the sounds of string instruments

 

 

Listen with total attention
to the sounds of string instruments.
When performed with grace,
each note appears to rise out of eternity
and disappear back into it.

When the music ends,
stay with the echo of the last note
resonating inside you,
and as the echo fades away into silence
go with it.

by Lorin Roche
in The Radiance Sutras,
Renderings of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra


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a flash of pure joy

 

 

The one who is intimate to all being said:

Beloved, your questions require the answers
that come from direct living experience.

The way of experience begins with a breath
such as the breath you are breathing now.
Awakening into the luminous reality
may dawn in the momentary throb
between any two breaths.

The breath flows in and just as it turns to flow out,
there is a flash of pure joy –
life is renewed.
Awaken into that.

As the breath is released and flows out,
there is a pause before it returns.
In that pause, you are empty.
Enter that emptiness as the source of all life.

by Lorin Roche
in The Radiance Sutras,
Renderings of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra
(Photo by Linda Hannum)


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sensual embrace

 

 

Embrace each of your senses in turn,
Seeing as being touched by light.
Hearing as immersion in an ocean of sound.
Tasting as enlightening.
Smelling as knowing.
Touching as electrifying.

Then leave all these behind,
and become intimate with the unknowable.

By Lorin Roche
in The Radiance Sutras
Renderings of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra


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let the heart be itself

 

 

Abandon this attitude
Of wanting to prolong pleasure
And avoid suffering
Let the heart be itself, and feel
Whatever is there.

Freed from clinging and avoiding,
The heart regains its poise
And revels in creation.

Plunging deep into its center,
Discover that the heart is moved
By a pulse that is everywhere.

by Lorin Roche
in The Radiance Sutras,
Renderings of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra


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a luminous book

I entered the magical world of the Radiance Sutras in the summer of 2006 while attending a yoga teacher training with Shiva Rea at Kripalu in Western Massachusetts.  We were lying down in savasana (corpse pose) after an intense two hour long practice, and Shiva was guiding our descent into stillness.  After we all settled into a deeply relaxed and receptive state, she started reading a stunning sutra from an ancient sanskrit text called the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra.  I was mesmerized both by the slow rhythm and sensual tone of her voice, and by the sheer beauty of that sutra which opens with these lines:

“The one who is at play everywhere said:
There is a place in the heart where everything meets. 
Go there if you want to find me. 
Mind, soul, senses, eternity, all are there. 
Are you there?”

I was suspended to her lips, drinking in her every word, and noticing that the sensations in my body were getting increasingly subtler, as my heart was softening and expanding in all directions. I started feeling connected to every one else in the room, not as a concept, but as an actual felt experience. And this is how I fell in love with “a place in the heart,” sutra 26 of the Vijnana Bhairava tantra, translated by Lorin Roche as the Radiance Sutras.  Right after class, I asked one of Shiva’s assistants where I could get a copy of what she read, and was happy to hear that it had been included in our teacher training manual, along with a link to Lorin’s website.  Later that day, I visited the site, and discovered that thirty more of the 112 sutras which make up this magnificent text were available on his site, each one more beautiful and inspiring than the other.

In the months that followed, I started learning several of these sutras by heart.  I just loved what happened to me whenever I would spend time reading and reciting their lines.  I would spend hours with them, taking them on walks, bringing them into my yoga practice, and sharing them with friends.  I eventually contacted Lorin to express my enthusiasm and gratitude for his work, and to inquire about the other 70+ sutras not included on his site.  He said he was in the process of editing them, and did not yet have clear plans for their publication, but kindly offered to keep me posted.  Then, a couple of years later, in February of 2009, while I was in Bali, I attended a week end retreat with Ateeka, another wonderful yoga teacher.  She had just facilitated a three weeks long teacher training, and several of her students were present for the week end.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that they were each carrying a copy of the newly released print version of all 112 Radiance Sutras!   I was delirious with joy!   Ateeka unfortunately did not have a spare copy for me to buy, so I begged someone to lend me theirs and stayed up half of the night, reading and savoring the sutras I had never read, and typing them up. I later bought several copies of the book, so I could give them away to friends.

The book is still one of my most treasured possessions.  The sutras have literally changed the way I experience ‘reality.’  This text is much more than a book.  It’s collection of rare and precious gems, each of them a portal into presence, an invitation to experience all aspects of life more fully by connecting with our life force with all our senses.  In Lorin’s words, the book is about “full body spirituality, being at home in the universe, and techniques for accepting every breath, sensual experience, and emotion as a doorway into deep and intimate contact with the energies of life.

The sutras have played a big part in my embodiment journey, and learning them by heart has kept giving me opportunities to feel and experience my inner body and subtle energy while moving through life, walking, playing, working, and dealing with day-to-day curve balls.   Each sutra is an invitation to enter the body fully and then let the deepening of that connection naturally expand one’s sense of self beyond the boundaries of skin, and the constrictions of identity and personality.

More

You can listen to audio recordings of my favorite radiance sutras on this site, and order a copy of the whole book on Lorin Roche’s website.   You can also join the facebook page, and read Lorin’s stunning commentaries about the sutras in the LA yoga magazine.

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Lorin Roche’s preface

This little book is the Bhairava Tantra, one of the early teachings on yoga and meditation.  It is my favorite meditation text ever.  The name, loosely translated, means “The terror and joy of realizing oneness with the Soul.”  It is said to date back to the second millennium B.C.  For most of that time, it was purely in the oral tradition, meaning that it was changed and memorized.  I say it is little because it is only about three thousand words in the original Sanskrit, perhaps forty minutes of chanting.   It is astonishing that in so few words it describes the essence of many of the world’s meditation techniques.  I call it The Radiance Sutras because it is so luminous.

A tantra is not poetry, although it may sound that way in the original and in translation.   A tantra is a manual of practices.  This is what a how-to-book looked like several thousand years ago, at least in one of the meditation traditions.   It is a book of meditation instructions, set as a conversation between lovers.  The focus is on full body spirituality, being at home in the universe, and techniques for accepting every breath, sensual experience, and emotion as a doorway into deep and intimate contact with the energies of life.

The text feels as though it was composed by a couple, a man and a woman who sang the verses to each other as they co-composed.  They lived this teaching.  The techniques that are described here occurred to them naturally, as an evolution of the questions they were asking of life, and their explorations of the body of love.   As was the convention of the time, they frame the conversation as the Goddess and the God in them speaking.  The conversation is about how to enter into the vibrant essence of the world with the dual balance of passion and detachment.

An early translation of this tantra came into my hands about thirty years ago, and I have worked with the methods every day ever since.   It has been a love affair and I am blessed.  One day several years ago, I started to write an English version and it evolved into this book.

February 2009, Marina del Rey, California


a place in the heart (by lorin roche)

    A place in the heart The One Who is at Play Everywhere said: There is a...
article post

the sounds of string instruments

    Listen with total attention to the sounds of string instruments. When...
article post

a flash of pure joy

    The one who is intimate to all being said: Beloved, your questions require...
article post

sensual embrace

    Embrace each of your senses in turn, Seeing as being touched by...
article post

let the heart be itself

    Abandon this attitude Of wanting to prolong pleasure And avoid...
article post

a luminous book

I entered the magical world of the Radiance Sutras in the summer of 2006 while attending...
article post