It’s a nasty business, living: Too full of ups and downs. Sure: “Life’s really not all that bad,” you say. But you haven’t gotten to the other side yet—the world of old age, miserable health and endless loss of friends and all that matters. These are essential bits of clarity that the Buddha has been kindly trying to get into your gut awareness for all the years of your adult life. You’ve probably heard the term before and know the drill: dukkha. It means suffering in all its many guises. Buddhism takes this as the starting block for the race of life: the deeply sobering but liberating insight that life is not simply a party. Of course, you would—rightly—think otherwise if you looked around in any direction. Facebook and cell phones aside, the world is so lost in distractions and interruptions these days that the simpler pace of life and steadier ethics of but a few generations ago seems a pale shadow of health that once was. The splendiferous rat race you know and love (or at least live) so well, also stands as a specter of things to come. And, just as for Scrooge in Dicken’s classic novel, this “Christmas future” doesn’t bode too well by anyone’s definition or terms.
The notion of dukkha, if it sinks in deep enough, provides you the way out to a better place: a much better place beyond all too many hassles and never quite enough love and kindness. Suppose you get it. Say, you really get it: “You know, maybe there’s more to this than meets the eye. Maybe conventional society and all my cultural heritage and baggage don’t provide all the answers?” What next then? Well, throw a rock—anywhere, anyway. Wherever it lands just begin.
The truth is that it doesn’t matter much what flavor you choose—traditional, alternative, eastern, western, scientific, commercial or spiritual. These are all just trips—ways of organizing your mind. They give you a framework to get outside the box that modern culture wants to keep you stuck in forever. But you get outside to the fresh air only if you have the skill to finesse the trip you choose to your own ends.
So, that’s the rub. First, there’s no hope for you at all unless you know you’re caught in a lost cause—a mad chase for some cheap amusement that champions the moment and youth and beauty to the exclusion of deeper truths and joy—friends that won’t betray you and desert you along the way. And second, once you’ve wizened up to the plot and chosen a suitable life path there’s still no hope unless you learn and apply tools to open up your heart space and inner world.
It has always been the same but now it is even worse. There are too many voices. Everyone has an answer for how to take the inner journey. But just think for a second. How can they all be right? Can they? Likely not: good luck finding your way through the forest to Light these days. The rub is this: all the answers have become too superficial themselves. They echo society and the mess it wreaks.
The way out? Start with a tested approach to higher awareness, one that can at least boast of some true success stories. By this criterion, any of the traditional yogic or metaphysical paths will do. These pages tease out and then knit together the best of three great eastern yogic praxes—Hindu, Tibetan and Daoist. However, just go with what speaks to you. The information here will still apply since all metaphysical paths use more or less the same tools to get to more or less the same place. Of course, there are differences; but during the first few legs of the journey it's better to understand how all traditions share common ground. Discerning subtle shades of coloring remains the province of experts. So, wait until you're a spiritual expert yourself before tackling the humongous task of classifying and clarifying all the highways and byways of different spiritual streams of evolution.
Okay, it should make sense so far but what's an arudha lagna? Well, this beastie captures, in toto, your life story: it sketches and hues all the many voices that have shaped you: all the familial, cultural and social voices that have found their way into the bedrock of your psyche and heart; all the energetic imperatives and persuasions that have chiseled out your life in society and this world. Whether you're a beggar or a banker, destitute or a star, sickly or glowing with health, it all shows up in the arudha lagna.
How come? The AL (arudha lagna) belongs to Jyotish (Vedic or Indian astrology). It's a concept that's been around for at least fifteen hundred years and likely much longer simply because the idea lands smack dab in the middle of reality—how this world really operates. In a nutshell, you come into the world with hopes and dreams and aspirations; and the world—along with everyone and everything else—has other plans. So, there's essentially a contest of wills and the AL shows the result. Even though the world wins this one against most folks, there's still hope.
Another chart in Jyotish shows your true heart—what it would be like if you were truly living up to your highest ideals and with great passion and were really aligned with your highest ethics and all the wonderful characters (all your deepest and truest feelings) that live in the enchanted land of your heart space. Sound like an amazing place? It is. And, this astrological system can help you find the way there and then beyond to higher dimensions and eventually, Spirit.