The terminology of Consciousness traditions is rich and varied. Translations from Sanskrit and Pali, and interpretations
across all the schools and traditions makes it useful to define as closely as we can here
what is meant in our particular practice.
is the Upanishads' term for the supreme universal Energy, which is the origin
and support of the phenomenal universe. The nature of Brahman is
described differently by different philosophical schools of Vedanta.
Higher Self. That vibration of infinite Conscious Energy which has become an individual human being, but which is not limited by the denser energy levels of the lower three chakras. When access is gained to this Higher Self, after the energy of the lower three chakras is optimized, clarity and optimal awareness in all things follows. Decisions become easier, and the demons of the lower chakras – fear, guilt and shame – cease to be obstacles on the path of awakening.
Nadi. One of the multitude of
conscious energy pathways within an individual’s energy field.
Optimization and Evolution. Taking the help of the infinite Energy of Consciousness to facilitate connection to the Higher Self, which is the individual’s conscious connection to that Energy. Specifically, the process of ascertaining which components of the energy, or chakra system are deficient or excessive. With the guidance of this Energy, the client and practitioner work to heal and optimize the field and reconnect the the Higher Self.
Kuṇḍālinī is the expression in an individual of the Energy of Consciousness. As a concept, kuṇḍālinī provides a means to receive, internalize and stabilize the energy of healing and transformation, and to send the energy upward, in the "current of liberation."
Shaktipāt. Literally the descent of infinite Conscious Energy – shakti - into the individual being, via transmission by the teacher.
Shushumna nadi. The principal pathway of conscious energy in the human energy field. The seven principal chakras are stations along this nadi, which corresponds in the physical body to the spinal column. The infinite Energy of Consciousness coalesces to become an individual at the top of the shushumna nadi above the seventh chakra, and it flows down the shushumna to the first chakra down the legs and at the base of the spine.
Tantra is not a medieval Indian sex cult. Rather it is a movement, and a body of early CE literature from India, which give marvelous practices to bring the individual into unity with the Higher Self, and the Infinite Conscious Energy of the Universe. Sexuality is one miniscule part of these practices, and focusing on this aspect limits it unnecessarily. “An important characteristic of this movement was that it is a radically positive, world-embracing vision of the whole of reality as an expression of a joyous Divine Consciousness” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantra).
Tathāgatagarbha is the name of the Energy of Consciousness among Mahayana Buddhists, in English Buddha Nature: the concept that that each sentient being contains the intrinsic, effulgent Buddhic element or indwelling potency for becoming awakened, or a buddha.
Yoga. From the Indo-European root yug, "to join." In terms of our practice, it most specifically means joining the limited individual consciousness with Supreme, Infinite Consciousness. Contemporary physical exercise programs called yoga are quite different. The article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga is useful in clarifying this rich term. Many of the commercial Yoga practices and publications offered today emphasize a contemporary interpretation of haṭha yoga, or the physical limb of yoga. The danger in this is to reduce a multi-faceted spiritual practice to a physical fitness regime. True yoga is reunification of the individual with the universal, and is profoundly spiritual.