ENTERING THE HEART OF SHIVA Frequently Asked Questions
March - October 2023
Foundational Online Course on the SvaTantra Teachings
of the Freedom of Consciousness
"Where do we come to rest? Where do we locate that which is stable, immutable and eternal? That which is unchanging stands outside of the entire domain of mortality altogether and yet it also abides very deep inside ourselves.
The pulsation of the Absolute deep inside ourselves is the persistent note of our entire existence. To attune to that through meditation and study is to locate the highest support, the deepest source place, the absolutely stable foundation upon which the changeable dynamism of life can truly be auspiciously based."
We are very happy to invite you to enroll in Entering the Heart of Shiva, the foundational online course of meditation study based on the SvaTantra teachings of the Freedom of Consciousness. The next Entering the Heart of Shiva (EHS) Course begins in March 2023, offered in an eight-month model.
We are pleased to outline some of the details and frequently asked questions about this extraordinary opportunity. Please take a look below and let us know if you have further questions.
What is the Entering the Heart of Shiva course?
Entering the Heart of Shiva is the foundational course of Study that invites students into a profound process of understanding the deeper elements of sādhanā, or spiritual practice. This transformative course is based on the study of ancient, time-honored texts, practices, and teachings designed to enliven and uplift your natural experience of life from the inside out.
Entering the Heart of Shiva students may separately receive personal instruction into the daily practice of Neelakantha Meditation from an Authorized Teacher online, at a regional course, or on retreat (when live retreats resume), and EHS Students may join one or more online Hṛidaya Madhya Dhyāna online gatherings, or Vibrating Silence Retreats in the year they are enrolled and in subsequent years. Studying in EHS, Practicing Neelakantha Meditation, and practicing deeply on Retreat are the three powerful pillars that facilitate your deep unfolding. The most profound experience is gained when the three pillars are combined, however, we now offer each component separately to make these teachings as accessible as possible to the householder practitioner.
What is the background of the Entering the Heart of Shiva course?
This extraordinary foundational course has been taught each year since 2007. In the rich context of a very in-depth curriculum, Entering the Heart of Shiva carefully provides serious individuals with a deeply transformative course of Tantric study and consideration. Additionally, it presents in detail an accessible and yet highly potent introduction to the esoteric philosophies within which the most authentic practice of deep meditation practice and study have historically unfolded in the Shaiva Tantric tradition.
What is the spiritual perspective of the course?
To participate in Entering the Heart of Shiva is to enter a doorway that allows anyone to dive into and dwell deeply in the Great Heart of Consciousness. The course is taught within the Shakta-Shaiva Tantric metaphor of the Heart as the essential Source Place of Reality, that which is both completely beyond everything, and yet also innately present within everything and everyone. This rich paradoxical space of the intimate Heart of Existence is that Wholeness which all human beings instinctively seek to locate, experience and know.
Who is eligible to take the course?
Entering the Heart of Shiva is open to everyone. The teachings are accessible and applicable to current practitioners of Neelakantha Meditation and also to those yet to learn the practice. Entering the Heart of Shiva is taught specifically in the "Householder Tradition," the time-honored teachings for those with the daily delights and responsibilities of family, career, and home. The EHS Course and expert teachings are designed specifically to strengthen and uplift all aspects of our lives.
Is there an in-person component to this course?
There is no requirement to travel in the EHS Course, unless you choose. More and more, students around the world are wanting to study EHS, and even in the US everyone has such full lives, that we are making the study course 'a la carte,' if you will, from the retreats, and Neelakantha Meditation Initiation, to maximize the flexibility and possibility for everyone. You can take the EHS Course entirely remotely from the comfort of your own home.
How much time can I expect to need for studying in the course?
EHS Students typically spend about 2-10 hours/week studying and listening to Webinars (live when possible or recorded afterwards). All EHS Students have full lives and there is no expectation of any set amount that you would be doing each week. It is very much an adult learning environment and you can set your own pace. Some weeks, when students have more time, they choose to focus on certain pieces more deeply, and other weeks there is little time for extra study. It is self-paced in that way.
When are the live webinars?
The live webinars will be on weekday evenings - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday - and typically from 5:00 - 6:30 pm Pacific Time. There will be approximately 12 live webinar over the 8 months of the course. You can join the webinars via video or audio only.
What if I cannot attend all of the webinars live?
It is ideal to join as many webinars live as possible to receive the maximum learning and engagement with the teachings, so we just ask that you join the webinars live whenever possible. Each webinar is recorded for future listening and study and is made available via an online library. This is a householder tradition, amenable to our full lives and 'adult spirituality.’ The course is in keeping with an adult learning environment.
When and where are the retreats?
EHS Students are invited to Vibrating Silence Retreats (and/or online meditation gatherings (Hṛidaya Madhya Dhyāna) while travel restrictions are in place) in 2023 at a discounted enrolled student rate. Each student may decide which one(s) to attend, by separate registration and tuition. We anticipate that the online Hṛidaya Madhya Dhyāna or in-person Vibrating Silence Retreats open to EHS students in 2023 will be:
Exact dates and locations for these gatherings
will be announced as details are finalized
Are there any prerequisites to joining a Vibrating Silence Retreat?
If you have not learned the practice of Neelakantha Meditation before you come to a Vibrating Silence Retreat, as an EHS Student, you will learn the practice at the beginning of the retreat so that you are prepared to practice on retreat. In that case, you will need to register for Initiation into Neelakantha Meditation by separate registration and tuition before the retreat begins. Similarly, Hṛidaya Madhya Dhyāna gatherings are open to practitioners of Neelakantha Meditation, so you will need to arrange to learn the practice in order to attend the online gathering.
When can I learn Neelakantha Meditation if I do not already have the practice?
If you have not learned Neelakantha Meditation, you can contact any of our authorized teachers who may be located near you (see the Authorized Teacher page) or on Retreat (dates above). Initiation is available by separate registration and tuition.
The EHS Course model is now such that you can study in the course without having the practice of Neelakantha Meditation until it is possible for you. Ideally you learn the practice either before or during the EHS Course, but it is not necessary. The content will be taught for those with the practice and those who do not have it yet.
Are there scholarships or payment plans for the EHS Course tuition?
Yes - the registration form outlines the specific details. After the initial deposit, you will see there are two options: 1) full-pay or 2) monthly payments. There is also a need-based tuition option for students who meet the criteria for that support.
What if I have other questions that are not addressed above?
Email SvatantraStudy@gmail.com to ask your questions. We are always happy to help!
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