ON BREATH

March 16, 2018

In this podcast I give a brief outline of breath disciplines described by Patanjali and Svatmarama and discuss their practicality and significance. I draw attention to the common tendency to manipulate the mind-body complex and endow the resultant effects with significance derived from received models of the human being and metaphysical narratives. I ask, 'how do these fit in with the fact that this is it?' [Free. 26 minutes.]

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ON TABOOS

January 26, 2018

This podcast is a rambling discussion which seeks to elucidate the nature of taboos. This involves considering law, superstition, transgression, the unconscious and Freud's metapsychology. We find ourselves questioning the coherence of the notion of the unconscious whilst at the same time finding it almost indispensible. Do we have to have taboos? We conclude that theoretically a society could be without taboos but that it is unlikely in the near future. However, minimising the play of irrational forces is thought to be desirable. The one thing that taboos have in their favour is their connection with the transgressive element in erotic jouissance. Contains a discussion of swearing and an account of a tantric exorcism. [Free. 38 minutes.]

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MUSIC AND THE BELOVED

January 19, 2018

In this podcast I elucidate devotional music which a great sufi called "Nothing other than the portrait of our beloved". It covers modal music and raga, the role of culture in our experience of music, and improvisation as an expression and communication of immediate emotions, particularly of love. [Free. 29 minutes.]

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LAO TZU: PART SEVEN

September 30, 2017

In this podcast, we consider Chapter Twelve of The Tao Te Ching. In this Chapter, Lao Tzu advises against sensory overload and excess in general. We contrast this approach with the Dionysian spirituality which uses excess, intoxication and the senses. We find that these seemingly contradictory approaches to living are not stark opposites and that Lao Tzu's advice, that we use a honed intuition to help us to know how and when to use the different modes of being available to us, is good. [Free. 25 minutes.]

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LAO TZU: PART SIX

September 16, 2017

In this podcast, we consider Chapter Eleven of The Tao Te Ching. This chapter deals with the uses of emptyness, not only in the sphere of practical life but also for meditation. [Free. 17 minutes.]

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YOGA’S COUNTER-CULTURAL ROOTS

November 11, 2016

In this podcast, we explore Yoga's counter-cultural roots in the ancient Saivite-Dionysian religion. [Free. 38 minutes.]

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KUNDALINI

May 9, 2016

This podcast deals with many aspects of the Kundalini phenomenon, particularly the nature of the experience itself, the discourses surrounding it, the theories about it and the practices associated with it. [Free. 40 minutes.]

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ON THE BODY [PART FIVE]: SEX, NATURE, CULTURE & ENLIGHTENMENT

April 1, 2016

As always this is wide-ranging. We discuss the nature of sexual arousal, sexual practices and the ideas people have about sex, attempting as we go to free ourselves from the conceptual straight-jacket imposed by the popular binary nature-culture. This naturally {!} leads to a consideration of sexual taboos and the transgression of them in Dionysiac/Tantric orgies and a fleeting analysis of the emancipatory potential of raw joy - ananda. We find it useful to identify two recognizable modes of consciousness aroused by sex. In one, fantasy is intensified. In the other fantasy is attenuated and 'immediate' sensations take over. [Free. 53 minutes.]

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ON THE BODY [PART ONE]: YOGA AND THE BODY

March 4, 2016

This is the first part of a series on the human body. It deals with various attitudes to the body found within yoga culture and texts and attempts to evaluate them against their usefulness for life. I also propose that the affirmation of the human body and the attribution of the highest value to it is essential to Yoga practice. Accordingly, the value of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika lies in the fact that it refrains from condemnation of the body whilst reminding us that "Hatha is for Raja". This recording was first put out on YouTube some time ago. We're repeating it here because it touches on many of the themes we want to explore in more detail in this series. [Free. 30 mins.]

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PATANJALI ON PRANAYAMA

September 20, 2015

This short podcast is stimulated by Yoga Sutras 2.49 to 2.52. In these few short aphorisms, Patanjali outlines four elements of pranayama.The first three prefigure the  much later Hatha Yoga pranayama of Svatmarama which is an operation of will upon the body, particularly upon rhythms of breath. The fourth pranayama is a more subtle breath disciplne which reveals the 'light'! [19 minutes. Free]

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