Category Archives: bhakti

Allowah’s “Heart ‘n’ Hands” CD is now Available on iTunes, Spotify & Amazon

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“Prescription For Anxiety, Depression and Fear: Listen to Heart ‘n’ Hands daily while sitting peacefully with eyes closed. Repeat until symptoms disappear. These songs have changed my life. The lyrics are important teachings taken from The Course in Miracles (ACIM), brilliantly put to music, making them even more inspiring and etched into my consciousness. They are sung from Allowah’s heart to yours, and you will recognize their truth when you hear them. These powerful songs are replete with Allowah’s passion, strength, transcendence, love, and strong desire to be only Truly Helpful. I love how these songs remind me every day to choose love rather than fear. As the melodies run thru my mind, the authenticity of these enlightened words fill my heart with love, joy and peace. This is more than a CD, it is a heartfelt connection to the love and wisdom of Christ Consciousness. Like The Course itself, it offers the possibility of personal transformation. It’s all about the precious journey of becoming peace, forgiveness and unconditional love. I believe these songs were divinely inspired. Listen to them, and know All is Well.”

~ Jai Segal, Florida Gulf Coast University Professor

DOWNLOAD THE CD

 HERE

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DOWNLOAD THE CD

HERE

You might also be interested in Allowah’s new book,

Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment,

now available on AMAZON,

CLICK HERE

Top Choice cover

Far more than a mere history of the practice of yoga and beyond a study of psychedelic-substance use to aid the pursuit of enlightenment, Who Am I? is a broad, expansive journey told through the eyes of a scholar and researcher—a pilgrim in search of the meaning of life.
While the use of psychedelics, yoga, and the interrelatedness of the two practices have been discussed in the past, Who Am I? explores these topics through both a scientific and a personal approach that is altogether new—the author’s own journey as he transitions from spiritual and yoga purist to open-minded examiner in the realization that psychedelics have been employed by yoga practitioners throughout its history. Does their controversial use in modern yoga ease the path to spiritual clarity, or does it hinder it?
Many questions and barriers face contemporary seekers of truth in the areas of psychedelics, yoga, and general spirituality. In Who Am I?, author Allowah Lani provides guidance on how to find the personal answers that must come from within.

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OFFICIALLY RELEASED!!! ALLOWAH LANI’S NEW BOOK, “WHO AM I? YOGA, PSYCHEDELICS & THE QUEST FOR ENLIGHTENMENT”

Top Choice cover

“With his excellent book, Allowah Lani gives us a tour de force of several major subjects. I’m not well versed in yoga or psychedelics, but I certainly learned a lot about those things from this book. And I was particularly struck by the author’s ability to move into a discussion of A Course in Miracles from the perspective of his own journey, and do a fine job presenting its message. I highly recommend this book to all seekers of the truth. I believe you’ll be blown away, as I was, by its depth and wisdom.”

—Gary Renard, best-selling author of The Disappearance of the Universe

ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

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Book Description

Far more than a mere history of the practice of yoga and beyond a study of psychedelic-substance use to aid the pursuit of enlightenment, Who Am I? is a broad, expansive journey told through the eyes of a scholar and researcher—a pilgrim in search of the meaning of life.

While the use of psychedelics, yoga, and the interrelatedness of the two practices have been discussed in the past, Who Am I? explores these topics through both a scientific and a personal approach that is altogether new—the author’s own journey as he transitions from spiritual and yoga purist to open-minded examiner in the realization that psychedelics have been employed by yoga practitioners throughout its history. Does their controversial use in modern yoga ease the path to spiritual clarity, or does it hinder it?

Many questions and barriers face contemporary seekers of truth in the areas of psychedelics, yoga, and general spirituality. In Who Am I?, author Allowah Lani provides guidance on how to find the personal answers that must come from within.

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About the Author

Allowah Lani has devoted his adult life to spiritual and religious scholarship, earning a BA in philosophy and an MA in liberal arts from the University of Pennsylvania and going on to study the Torah and the Bible in Hebrew in Jerusalem.

Lani began a PhD in Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University comparing Kabbalah and the yoga philosophy prior to becoming a full-time yoga instructor. He is the founder and director of Yoga University, which offers teacher training and is registered with the Yoga Alliance.

Lani currently lives in Naples, Florida. Who Am I? is his first book.

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Top Choice cover

What Readers Are Saying…

“With his excellent book, Allowah Lani gives us a tour de force of several major subjects. I’m not well versed in yoga or psychedelics, but I certainly learned a lot about those things from this book. And I was particularly struck by the author’s ability to move into a discussion of A Course in Miracles from the perspective of his own journey, and do a fine job presenting its message. I highly recommend this book to all seekers of the truth. I believe you’ll be blown away, as I was, by its depth and wisdom.

Gary Renard, best-selling author of The Disappearance of the Universe

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“We are in a time of resurgence, the next wave of psychedelic and entheogenic exploration and reflection. Allowah Lani tours the reader through many different perspectives and differing conclusions on this crucial subject. He observes, explores and researches with a most important tool of [inquiry] meditation and Yoga— openness and questioning as opposed to certainty. Since ancient Eleusis, and time immemorial, a philosopher stoned has always used potent psychotropic means that open windows into other realities, new perceptions and into life itself. Most serious explorers of living and dying have not denied theses powerful tools and catalysts. This book will get you thinking, and perhaps seeing.”

Ganga White, Director of White Lotus and author of Yoga Beyond Belief

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“Wow!!!!!!! Just need to tell you I can’t put it down… Reading excerpts every night even when I’m thoroughly exhausted… It’s very engaging and written from such a deeply intimate place… Truly exceptional and unique in its honesty and your sharing these parts of your history and experience are a gift to anyone who will be fortunate enough to read it.”

Marie Colandrea, Yoga student and teacher

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“Allowah Lani has written an incredible book combining deep insights from the teachings of yoga, psychedelics, and A Course in Miracles, each of which provides us with doors and windows into what is possible for us including an awakening back into the heart of God. Though I’ve had no experience with psychedelics since the 1970s, I know how incredible that experience can be. Each of these disciplines are “alchemies.” Let them “cook” inside and you will see another world your body’s eyes could never find.”

Jon Mundy, Ph.D. author of Living A Course in Miracles

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“This book MUST be read by people. Period.”

John Allen Gibel, Yoga Teacher & Scholar

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“Your insights of the Yoga tradition are original and unique. I truly hope you can make this happen.”

Estella Arias, Literary Agent, New Chapter Editions

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“The author’s new book dealing with an important topic on the history of yoga is a very engrossing read and a very unique book. In exploring its topic areas with the author, we feel as if we are falling down the rabbit hole hand-in-hand with him. He treats his exploration with the intellectual honesty, respect, and open-mindedness it deserves and the reader is drawn into the narrative by the lucidity of his prose and by his ever-expanding exploration of this fascinating area of study. Drawing upon a wide array of ‘seekers’ who have come before him, the author presents a straightforward and engaging narrative that investigates his topic for anyone and everyone on the road to enlightenment. The fact that there are no other books on the market that engages this specific subject makes this book’s appeal that much greater.”

Anne Dillon, Project Editor, Inner Traditions, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont

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“Incredibly well-written, highly personal and throughly researched, Allowah Lani’s new book Who Am I? explores the links between Shamanism, Rituals, Plant Medicine and Yoga. Shamans and Yogis were the original explorers of evolutionary consciousness, healing and communication with the Spirit Realms. Nature and all its tools have been their guides since the emergence of the human race. Ancient Egypt was one of the first great centers of the mystic and healing arts including early forms of what would later be refined in India as Yoga. The Egyptians developed sophisticated spiritual initiations and practices that are still alive in different forms today throughout the world. Read this book and you will learn of many of the possibilities that have existed throughout time for Humankind’s evolution and how they relate to you.”

Danny Paradise, Ashtanga yoga master

ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

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Is the Age of the Traditional Guru Over?

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Here’s a Facebook thread on this issue posted around 12/21/12.  Here is the question I posed to my online community of students:

Question: Is the age of the traditional guru nearing an end? Is 12/21/12 the beginning of a new era in which we will finally free ourselves of what we thought was our liberation, but was really only our enslavement? Please take a few moments to read the following, written by a western woman who was Ammachi’s personal attendant for 20 years and who is only now beginning to speak out about her experience: http://blogdesinfideles.blogspot.com/2012/02/lombre-damma-fait-surface-gayatri-et.html (It’s in French and English). I post this because Ammachi was one of the biggest reasons for my getting on the yoga path in the first place. I have no set opinions myself about all of this, I am just bringing it up for us all to be aware of…

NOTE: PLEASE READ THE RESPONSE BY “RAM DAS” TO WHAT GAIL WROTE.

After deeply considering all of this, here is what I subsequently wrote on Facebook:

  • I have brought this to light after years of looking into this issue, and having read many of the firsthand accounts of those who claim to have been abused by their gurus, or the organizations inspired by them. There are not many gurus who have not had some claims brought against them, and while some of them are minor, many of them are quite serious.
           That said, my own feeling right now, based upon my own experience — and I realize this might not be the popular point of view — is this: It could be that those who are saying now to “be your own Guru” and the “True Guru is within you” are enabling the masses to remain somewhat asleep to their highest potential? It could be that those who buy into this line of thinking are actually wanting to not fully face their own deepest fears/nightmares.
         The Guru is the one who brings light to the darkness — to the darkness generally that we can’t see, because we are hiding from its presence within ourselves. We are just not ready for it yet! My teacher, Karunamayi, spoke to us all as “spiritual babies” doing our baby meditation and other practices, and her point was also that most if not all of us were just not ready to sit still and face ourselves, to see the ego for what it is. I can see that I left my own teachers due to ego, and that I was not ready to go deeper once the initial honeymoon period of blissful spiritual experiences and divine seduction was over and I began to see the darker underside of things. It was too much for me. I bolted.
          Perhaps the greatest fear on the spiritual path is that we are asked to put 108% faith in this person, and we see that they are human, too, like us, and we feel: “Where is this all going? Where are you taking me? Is my mind being controlled, and will I be your eternal slave?” That’s “the horror, the horror” as I see it, and in the case of Ammachi’s attendant, Gail, on top of all of that she saw some of the seemingly ugliest abuses and violations that would make even the most devoted person seriously question their teacher. I can see how this might just have all been a great test for her — the greatest of all tests.
          I say this while still open to the possibility that there truly is a necessary shift happening here to bring us into a more enlightened age where we can all learn to be our own gurus (shamans, healers, etc). Yet I question my own motives for wanting that shift to happen, because I see it might be just because we’re wanting the easy way out. A life of comfort that leads nowhere, rather than a life of discipline that brings true wisdom, joy, peace. The Upanishads speak of the “Razor’s Edge Path” — since way back then, it was understood that the spiritual path to liberation is fraught with Awe-Full life-or-death challenges…
        I realize that you won’t fully understand what I’m saying here unless you have had my experiences, which have included being in the presence of Ammachi on several occasions, and I have also lived with various gurus in India and the States. There’s’ more I’d like to share about all of this, but perhaps some other time, thank you for listening!
  •  One last thought: Perhaps we have other tools at our disposal now that make it such that we no longer need to devote our entire lives to another person…? What are your thoughts?

    ADDENDUMS:

    The absolutely last bit of starlight/energy from the Draconian star system reaches Earth today. The Draconian system has been a bunch of black holes for a long time, but it has taken ’til now for the last of it’s light to reach here.

    The beings aligned with this now defunct system have the energy/consciousness of power-over, creating of the slave mentality & were only interested in being at the top of the pyramid with all others supporting them underneath. They used the light from their home system to help them remain ascendant here on Earth.

    They ruled by fear & terror (The Mayan culture was a good example, also ancient Egypt, & everything in between, down to today). Their energy is no longer being hosted by Earth & will, from now on, become less & less prevalent (already been happening for awhile!). Their time is over.

    Different stralight/energies will now become ascendant on Earth which are much more aligned with how the Earth now wants to be. Life, love, community, creativity, healing all the wounds of the past centuries, healing the earth, the animals, finding new ways to be here without hurting everything, healing ourselves of the Draconian induced traumas/wounds/pyramid consciousness…..this is how it will be more & more.
    2013 & beyond…bring it on!!

    Meant to add that the Mayan priests calculated exactly when the last of the Draconian starlight would reach earth (today – 21st Dec 2012!!!) & their calendar ending on this date was a warning & sign to their own kind that their world (themselves-the elite-ruling over the masses) as they knew it, would be fast ending after this date. For them, it IS the world coming to an end. For everyone else, it is a new & longed for beginning! (posted by Bill Sammons)

    ALSO:

    The idea being put forth now by some is that this moment in history marks a spiritual power shift from India & Tibet to Chile & Peru… http://www.dailyom.com/library/000/002/000002625.html
    “There are tens of thousands of people, mostly indigenous people, who have been led by a deep inner guidance, from 1949 to the present, to help to bring this unyielding White Snake to its new location high up in the Andes Mountains in Chile, where it now finally resides. Not only is this a shift of spiritual power from the male to the female, but it is also a spiritual power shift from Tibet and India to Chile and Peru. The Light of the World that has been nurtured and expanded with the Tibetan and Indian cultures is now completed. Its new reign has just begun in Chile and Peru, and soon it will affect the hearts of all mankind. These are my personal stories as I have followed my inner guidance helping bring balance to a troubled world.”

“The Real Yoga is Bhakti Yoga” ~ The Practice of Heartcore Yoga

“GOD IS ONE, LOVE IS ONE…GOD IS LOVE.”

~  Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

~ Namaste’ Beloved One ~

There’s a really nice documentary on yoga that we show at each of our yoga teacher trainings — it’s funny, hip, sexy, and is also able to get deep into the heart of this thing that we call yoga. If you’re really into yoga, you’ve probably already seen it. The film is called “Enlighten Up!” and if you haven’t had the opportunity yet, it’s definitely worth a couple hours of your time. Here’s a link to the Official Website.

I bring this up because towards the end of the film, which up until that point had mainly focused on “Hatha Yoga” (the more physical form of yoga most seen in the West), we get thrown a ringer: The real yoga for most yogis in India (and for most Indians, as well), we are told, is not Hatha Yoga at all, it’s Bhakti Yoga. This bit of news comes from Shyamdas, a Western-born yogi who has lived in India off and on for something like 30+ years. Here is the clip from the movie to get a better feel for what I’m about to talk about:

So what is Bhakti Yoga, and why is it the “real” yoga?

     Bhakti is the Yoga of “Love, Devotion, and Surrender” (see Santana-McGlaughlin : ), and it is the real yoga because it is the foundation of all the other forms/paths of yoga. The essential idea is that when we love something, we give it our attention. We become attracted to whatever it is, and our heart is in it — we consciously choose to explore that thing more deeply, to enter into relationship with it. For example, many of us yogis get into yoga because we initially are just following our bliss, our heart, and decide that we really want to spend more time getting to know this Yoga thing, and ourselves, more intimately. Then we give it our love, our attention, and go about devotedly and intently practicing and learning it to our heart’s content.

That’s Bhakti.

And you see how by definition it lies at the base of all other paths of yoga, and really can be seen to be the foundation of all that we do in life: We tend to tend and attend to what we love to do — whether it’s Hatha, Tantra, Jnana, Karma, Raja, or any other form or path or style of yoga. In this sense we might say that all yoga is real yoga, because ALL Yoga is Bhakti Yoga.

That said, Bhakti Yoga is its own path, too, and it is much more than that. Because we can practice the other forms of yoga and miss the “heart,” the juicy heart of it all. Indeed, we can miss the point, the essence, the rasa (juice). For Bhakti Yoga is the path of Love, and if Bhakti lies at the foundation of everything else, it is because Love does. And so if our Yoga is not working on our heart and somehow helping to remove all the armoring and blockages around the heart that has served to keep us from truly loving ourSelf and an “other” as ourSelf, then it is not true yoga. No, it is yoga that is actually only serving to reinforce the ego’s boundaries, and leading us away from Yoga, which is no different from Love, from Unity, from the Divine.

Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with a strong ego, as it all depends where we are on our life’s journey.  As Ram Das, one of the great Western Bhaktas (Bhakti Yogis), and one of my greatest inspirations, has often put it:

“You have to be somebody before you can be nobody.”

For me, this means that we truly have to be very strong within ourselves to fully face and even embrace the reality of our non-existence. Put another way: Our ego is also what drives us forward on the path, and it is through it that we feel more empowered to live a full human life in the body-temple we have been gifted, which affords the chance to “slowly, slowly” prepare for our inevitable demise. So if there were no ego, there would be no game to play here — we would be dissolved back into the Godhead/heart (or GoddessHeart, if you will ; ) — and that’s not so bad, either, it seems to be what we’re all secretly seeking!!! A strong, healthy ego also will have the ability to look death in the face (or our greatest fear(s)), and say, “yes, bring it on.” And a strong, healthy ego will also be able to fully look at our shadow, and if not fully enlighten the darkness, then at least keep it in check.

Now, I bring all of this up because this is all truly fundamental & foundational for all that we do in yoga. And it also feels so essential for the current 2012 and beyond time period that we are navigating. It does now feel to be time for the Shadow work to be done, where we stop stuffing our stuff — the horrific damage we’ve been doing to our bodies, each other, the planet — and actually fully face it all and deal with it (by first not being in denial anymore). Yes, it’s time to truly Be the One that we’ve been waiting for, to be our own Hero/Savior/Beloved, individually and collectively.

I know, easier said than done! Because in truth, this heart work is hard work, perhaps the hardest we will ever do. It takes great courage (from the French word for heart, “coeur“) to get to the core of things, to look unblinkingly at the truth about ourselves… For truth hurts, and the truth can even kill us (or the ego, at least). Many of us are not yet prepared to handle such truth, and so we live our lives on the surface of things, judging and blaming others instead of pointing the finger back at ourselves in the realization that we have our own inner demons to confront. The good news is that the practice of yoga, in its fullest sense (that is practiced integrally, holistically), is one of the greatest systems ever devised to prepare ourselves for such intense revelations, empowering us also to then make the necessary changes in our lives so that we may truly be beacons of light in this world.

I happen to be writing this on Easter morning, 2012. I have no strong opinion whether Jesus truly lived and died for our sins, or not, though I do feel it’s possible, certainly. At the very least, if he truly said all or most of what we find in the Gospels (including the non-canonical ones like The Gospel of Thomas) — much of which we find in Eastern wisdom, too — then Jesus was indeed a great yoga master, an avatar (incarnation of God on earth), if there ever was one. And if Jesus really is Love, then hell (or heaven) yeah I believe in Jesus, because I know the Power of Love. I don’t believe in a Second Coming, except in the sense that we are each responsible for our own resurrection in Love, and that we are all the Messiah, and that it will be something of a “team effort” here to truly bring Heaven to Earth. And it is happening.

Omni Vincit Amor

Love is and has always been the ever and only lasting answer. It does truly conquer — or perhaps better, contain — ALL. There is no force in the universe greater than Love. A great yogi (Yogi Berra ; ) once said:

If life were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

Well, the same is true for us: We are all perfectly imperfect — perfect in our imperfectness. Even our desire to be saved from our imperfections is perfect, too. And perhaps the only salvation for our imperfection, for our “Fallen” nature, if you will, is to Fall In Love, to fall deeply In Love.

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

I want to close by sharing two things which have been brought to my attention this past week, and you will note also speak to what I have been sharing here. The first is a piece by Marianne Williamson on why the phenomenon of “falling in love,” is not an illusion at all, but a taste of enlightenment. I actually first saw this in Natural Awakenings magazine, and then found it here on the web: Marianne Williamson on Love

The other is a song that we all know, one of the most beautiful and profound love songs I have ever heard:


 

Thanks for Listening!

Love, Allowah