Live a More Conscious Life, and Find Beauty in All Its Forms
This 12-week online course will offer the means to live a conscious life and find beauty and wonder in everyday activities. We will do so by combining the study and practice of the ancient knowledge of Kashmir Shaivism, and expanding on the Hridaya teachings.
Our lives are the sum of moments that are usually regarded as “common” and, therefore, uninteresting. Kashmir Shaivism teaches us that when we are in full awareness, each moment is worthy of attention. Every moment is interesting because each moment is a door to the Consciousness of Oneness.
Combining theoretical understanding with exercising awareness in formal meditation and in everyday life, our True Nature (Shiva, atman, the Spiritual Heart) is revealed as the fabric of this world, and the world is then a reason to celebrate the Divine in every action.
Kashmir Shaivism is then a direct path to transcendence, embracing also the entire human life. It is also one of the primary inspirations for Hridaya Meditation.
This course is for those who already love meditation, have a daily practice, and want to discover new dimensions of the inner world.
Kashmir Shaivism and the Hridaya Teachings
As Hridaya students, we are already familiar with some of the key teachings of Kashmir Shaivism (spanda, sahridaya). In this course, we will expand this knowledge by learning new ways to relate to them and enriching our existing understanding. Another important aspect is the way that Shaivism teaches us to bring meditation to everyday life, so that each moment is a possibility to practice awareness, centering in the Heart, and opening to the flow of existence. The fundamental question that we use in Hridaya Meditation—Who am I?—becomes an opening to the divine grace of Shiva (the Supreme Consciousness).
For experienced Hridaya practitioners, Kashmir Shaivism helps in refining the understanding of meditative states of consciousness, offering a Tantric vision of them, of the world, and the relationship between meditation and everyday life. This continuity of consciousness, whether with eyes closed in contemplation or wide open enjoying life, helps us go deeper in experiencing spanda (the Sacred Tremor of the Heart), Self-awareness, and the revelation of our True Nature.
Content & Schedule
This course consists of 12 Zoom classes with Sebastian, including both a lecture and practice in every session. Since this course unfolds over a longer period of time, you will have the opportunity to explore practices, integrate, and receive guidance as you progress.
Together with the teacher, you will discover the ancient knowledge that brings spiritual insight and the highest awareness to everyday life.
Sessions will take place every Thursday from 7:30-9:30 pm CET/12:30-2:30 pm CST, starting December 8th.
- Week 0 (Introductory Session): General information about the course and Q&A
- Week 1: History of Kashmir Shaivism and the main philosophical schools; What is Kashmir Shaivism and Trika, the trinity of Shiva (Consciousness), Shakti (Energy), and Nara (individual)?—the relationships that define the non-dualism of Shaivism
- Week 2: The 36 tattvas (principles of manifestation), the way in which the universe surrounding us is brought into existence by their play, and how we can use them as a ladder to reach the highest consciousness (Part 1, the “impure” tattvas)
- Week 3: The 36 tattvas, part 2—the “pure” tattvas and practical instructions
- Week 4: Bhavana or creative contemplation, a method to use meditation as a tool of knowledge (of both the Self and the world)
- Week 5: The three impurities (mala) that transform the Divine Consciousness (chit) into bound individual consciousness (chitta), and the modalities to free us from them
- Week 6: The five energies of Shiva that also exist in each of us (consciousness, bliss, will, knowledge and action) and how our experiences are created by them
- Week 7: The five actions performed by Shiva (creation, preservation, dissolution, revealing, and concealing) and how perform them in life
- Week 8: The four upayas, the paths that we can take in meditation depending on our aspiration and Divine Grace
- Week 9: The five states of consciousness—wakefulness, dream, deep sleep, samadhi (turya), and furthermore, samadhi with open eyes (turiyatita)
- Week 10: Light and awareness (prakasha and vimarsha), the play of consciousness, and the way to integrate meditation and everyday life
- Week 11: Spanda and the Shaivite roots of Hridaya Meditation
- Week 12: Synthesis, how all fits together
Sebastian started his yoga journey some thirty years ago at the age of 16 and grew up practicing. In 1996, he became a yoga instructor offering classes in Fagaras, Brasov, and Miercurea Ciuc, Romania and has been doing that full-time ever since.
Sebastian lives at the Kamala Yoga and Meditation Center in Brasov, where he continues to teach, practice, and learn. He gives yoga and meditation classes in Brasov, Bucharest, and online, offers retreats with his colleagues and friends at the Kamala Center, and is a senior teacher in the Hridaya Teacher Training Course in Romania. He has co-authored several books on yoga, meditation, and spirituality.
One of his first encounters with Kashmir Shaivism was through some beautiful verses on love, longing, and ecstasy in the poems of Utpaladeva, which he found in a book called Bhakti by Lilian Silburn. At that point, Sebastian became fascinated with Shaivism.
He co-translated and edited a booklet called the Kramastotra, a poem about Kali written by Abhinavagupta with commentary by Lilian Silburn (an excerpt from Hymns to Kali). He later co-published another translation from Silburn’s books containing hymns and poems by Abhinavagupta. The books included poetry and extended commentaries on the meaning of the ideas presented in Shaivite philosophy.
Sebastian also co-published a translation of Pratyabhijnahridaya, The Heart of Recognition by Ksemaraja, which helped him integrate the Shaivite vision into his Hridaya Yoga practices. He participated in writing, translating, and designing spiritual books at the Kamala Publishing House. He also published books and articles on yoga and spirituality in Elixirium Magazine and Yoga Magazine. His entire life is based on the spiritual ideals of yoga. He aims to continue to spread the wisdom of yoga, meditation, and bhakti…
for the removal of obstacles, which are no other than Shiva.”
Introductory Session and Course Registration
Introductory Session and Q&A
Sebastian will be offering a free introductory session, including a lecture and Q&A on Kashmir Shaivism, at 12:30-2:30 pm CST/7:30-9:30 pm CET. (Find the time in your area using this converter.)
The session is opened to everyone, whether you plan to enroll in the full course or not.