This year, Guru Pūrṇimā (poor-ni-mah) is on July 5th, during a lunar eclipse!
Pūrṇimā is a Sanskrit word meaning, “full moon.” It also means, “observance, commemoration.” As well, at times it is translated as meaning “full, replete.” Guru is the Master Teacher, the Sacred Guide, the Wisdom Mentor.
< If you wish to go directly to the practice in this blog, simply scroll down toPRACTICE BEGINS HERE I won’t mind! >
Guru Pūrṇimā is a day to honor and celebrate our teachers, guides and mentors. In the Indian tradition, this celebration is to particularly honor those Master Teachers who have helped us to experience the “full moon” of our consciousness. This phrase describes the experience of one’s Puruṣa, a word that is often translated as “spirit” or “soul.”
The Puruṣa (poo-roo-shah) is our contentless consciousness. Meaning it is empty of all matter, thoughts, etc. When we experience this Puruṣa part of us, it often feels as if we have slipped inside a very silent and still part of our consciousness. As well, in that experience we may also feel as if our consciousness is englobed in a white light of varying intensity. This is the “full moon” of our consciousness.
In response to the above, a person may think, “And, so what? What is the practical purpose of this experience?”
The short answer to that is: Healing.
I will get to that very shortly. A few very brief things to understand about your consciousness.
- You spend most of your life experiencing the outward flow of your consciousness.
- Your mind spends a large portion of its time active. Even in sleep!
- Every physical, mental and emotional reaction and response you have is grooved into your consciousness. Think of drawing a line in mud. Every time you react or respond, you draw a line in the mud of your consciousness.
- Over time, these grooves in the mud of your consciousness become the primary way you react to a given experience. In other words, you are on autopilot quite a bit, though not aware of it.
- Your physical, mental and emotional reactions and responses directly affect the entire physicality and physiology of your body.
That last sentence is the destination of the previous four, and directly ties into how well or how not-so-well we heal.
Quick explanation of two terms: Physical refers to your body parts that can be physically measured. Physiological refers to the functions of those parts, specifically related to increased and decreased efficiency.
For example, you become angry.
A physical reaction or response might be to lash out with your body in some way.
The usual physiological effect of that is an increase in blood flow, heart rate and respiration. This is good or bad, depending on the situation. If you are fighting for your life, it might serve a useful purpose. If you are pissed off because you cannot find your car keys, that anger is not serving a useful purpose at all.
In both cases it is elevating your stress levels. That in general causes wear and tear on the functioning of everything that suddenly needs to kick into high gear, including your adrenal glands and nervous system.
That silent stillness at the core of your consciousness is like a perfectly cool oasis in the middle of a vast desert, or the calm in the eye of the storm. In that cool calm, your awareness rests and resets.
No, it really rests and resets.
Even more so than sleep.
You read it right. More. So. Than. Sleep.
I am a big fan of sleep. Deeply Restful Sleep is necessary for the better function of everything in your body, especially your brain. But how often do you get that type of sleep?
“All the time. I am a professional sleeper!”
Good for you! How would you like to go even deeper than your sleep takes you?
The immersion of your awareness into that silent, cool and calm stillness that is your root consciousness is like sleep times 10, or 20, or 50. I speak from experience.
“I don’t believe you.”
Good! I have a practice for you, specifically for this full moon weekend of Guru Pūrṇimā. (Were you wondering how I would manage to return to the main topic? Me too!)
This practice involves chanting a mantra from the Indian Hindu tradition.
This does not necessitate a religious conversion at all.
It does not require you to believe in anything specific. Because it is not necessary for any belief system to be in place for you to experience your consciousness. And, if you have been mostly experiencing life through the outward flow of your consciousness – which is the field of your five senses and mind – this practice most likely will open you up to an experience of a deeper level of your consciousness than you have had. It may not be that deepest silent oasis of the full moon, but it will be deeper than your normal outward flowing consciousness.
By practicing mantra, your mind will become less active by having one thing to focus on, instead of the usual many things that flow through your mind in the space of even a few seconds.
The repetition of short mantric phrases brings your physical, mental, and emotional bodies into a more still state. Because there is a lessening of the usual up and down of those mental and emotional waves pulling your mind out of stillness into activity over and over again and again.
Let’s get to it!
PRACTICE BEGINS HERE
The mantra is:
Oṃ Hṛīm Namaḥ Śivāya (ohm hureem nah-mah shih-vai-yah)
Tasmai Śrī Gurave Namaḥ (tas-my shree goo-rah-vey nah-mah-hah)
A simple translation:
“I welcome the infinite vastness of Consciousness in me, from which all creative potential in life arises. To that radiantly alive Consciousness, to that Sacred Guide, I offer the utmost respect.”
Go here for a recording of the mantra, repeated five times. It is around 5½ minutes. The sound in the background is the storm that was passing through yesterday when I made the recording.
Eyes closed or open. Chant for the length of the recording, or longer if you can. I recommend at least 10 minutes to sink in a little deeper than usual. So following the recording twice, if needed.
This is a practice I learned from my teacher, Paul Muller-Ortega, in 2007, and I practice it often.
Through the outward repetition of this mantra, we are naturally calling our attention to the Master Teacher of life – the part of our consciousness that can lead us into deep states of restfulness.
In that deep state of restfulness, there is a part of our creative potential that naturally surges forward like a cool salve to soothe our body, mind and emotional center. From that soothing, we become deeply calm and settled. That calm and settling allows us to heal in the body at the very source place of whatever ails us.
It is a slow trickling of this healing ocean at first. But over time, those trickles change to streams. Those streams to rivers. And those rivers eventually merge to become the ocean in which our body mind consciousness is submerged to be most deeply repaired.
If your part of the world offers you good weather to step outside in the evening today, or even tomorrow or the next day, step outside, gaze at the sky. Even if the moon is hidden from your gaze, let your awareness open out into the sky. Open to the moon’s presence and light by simply acknowledging it is there, because you know it is there, even if it cannot be seen. You can be seated inside and chant as well, gazing out a window or with eyes closed.
When riding my bicycle or walking at night through the streets of Kyoto during the full moon, I always feel heart-compelled to stop and gaze at the moon while chanting this mantra. It is very nourishing.
And it opens our awareness, bit by bit, to the presence of something greater inside of us. It matters not your belief, as long as you enter into the practice with an honest and sincere heart and open mind.
Questions about the practice? Comments? Leave them below, and I will be sure to respond.