Bentinho Massaro has offered one of the most brilliant, but simple, techniques aimed towards Self-Realization. Simply put, take 2-5 seconds throughout your day to take a few breaths and clear your head. Bentinho Massaro tells his audience to do this technique over 20 times per day.
From the ancient Hindu stories, the Puranas, we are given a glimpse of the story line of Hinduisms deities. Though these texts were prepared hundreds of years after the Vedas, they were prepared for the laymen to better understand the complexities of Vedic philosophy by describing the play of the Gods and Goddesses. Shiva is associated with the Vedic entity known as Rudra, meaning destruction. From destruction, the new may sprout and with better understanding (transcendence). The Goddesses in Hinduism are all different aspects of Shakti. With Shiva, his Goddess/Shakti consort is Parvati who is the calm form of the fierce Goddess Kali. From my own viewpoint, Kali is the Goddess who assists in helping cut attachments (karma) that keep us from spiritually accelerating, more particularly our ego-identity. Kali is also defined as Mahamaya, the great illusion. Hence, we have the dance between Shiva-Shakti where we constantly attempt to transcend our vices through better understanding.
All concepts of yoga are derived from Shiva, particularly in his teachings to his consort Parvati. However, unlike traditional Brahmanic culture, Shiva is associated with the "dirty" aspects such as the panchamakara. Sensuality is included, hence, the symbol of the Lingam within the Yoni. Though the western world takes the limited obvious symbolic interpretation, which can lead to the opposite goal of tantra (transcendence), yogis crafted a higher interpretation which is readily discovered in non-dual teachings (Advaita Vedanta).
Under the Siva-Sutras; The Yoga of Supreme Identity, Shiva is defined as consciousness. To be clear, it's not Shiva-Consciousness in the way people say Christ-Consciousness, or Buddha-Consciousness, or Krishna-Consciousness. Shiva is simply "consciousness". Consciousness defined is basically a subject viewing an object, or a subject having an "awareness" of an object. This awareness is simply viewing without thought. Often times, we view objects with our personal filters that create opinions, etc. However, this awareness is clear of thought and simply aware. The meditations provided above are to assist in helping reach that awareness state of mind.
Moreover, Shiva's forehead is often adorned with a mark, a tilaka, which is also often found drawn on the Shiva-Lingam. In defining Shiva as consciousness, particularly seated at the third-eye, it makes sense to view the Lingam as the aroused pineal gland, or the third-eye.
In Advaita Vedanta, there is the concept of Neti-Neti, meaning "not this, not that". Neti Neti is an attempt to discover who you really are, or Self-Realization. Essentially, I cannot be my surroundings as they are constantly changing and are separate from my body. I cannot be my body since that too is constantly changing and shifting through time. I cannot be my thoughts since that is always changing, especially with a shift in mood. I cannot be my name or other things that I associate with my identity, since much of that seems to be defined by external circumstances and similarly changing. So then what am I? Going through the practice of "I am not this, I am not that", yogis have discovered that they are simply "awareness". Under Advaita Vedanta, identifying your(s)elf with simple awareness will bring you closer to finding your true Self, your Higher Self or Atma/Turya. So then, what are all these objects placed within my field of awareness?
Realize that the Self is the self-contained mirror projecting and manifesting this world. -Tripura Rahasya; The Secret of the Supreme Goddess
The Lingam, a symbol of awareness, is often found seated aroused within a Yoni. The Yoni is symbolic of the feminine consort of Shiva, or Parvati/Kali. Again, Kali is the Mahamaya, or the great illusion. Hence, the Lingam-Yoni is essentially "Awareness" aroused within the "Illusion". In other words, all these objects that one is aware of, is simply an illusion. What keeps the illusions going is desire, hence arousal. Every circumstance that we are aware of, we become a witness. Too witness an event is essentially to record through memory. However, much of what we witness is filtered through our own experiences leading to thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, which are all subjective. Just as you can have 12 individuals witnessing an event, you will similarly have 12 different stories as the event is seen through different eyes. Hence, to witness is essentially to construct a story-line, a theater, or a play (Lila).
Siva is absolute Awareness, without any form. Sri Tripura is Sakti (energy) and Witness of the whole. -Tripura Rahasaya; The Secret of the Supreme Goddess
To identify yourself with "awareness" as opposed to the story-line is a mastery in non-dual teachings that leads to Self-Realization. It's like watching a movie that has you on the edge of your seat. When finally a climactic scene is about to expire disclosing a pivotal moment within the film, the film shuts off. During the time it takes to reset the film to the correct position, the scene is no longer the same where the viewers emotional attachment no longer lingers as much. To identify with "awareness" is similarly to unplug from the story-line and an attempt to locate and understand who you are behind the scenes of your life, your true Self.
Your Higher-Self is the aspect of you beyond space and time, which writes the main themes for all of your past and future lives and experiences. When Krishna showed his true essence to Arjuna in the battlefield which led to the Bhagavad-Gita, he was showing Arjuna his Higher Self (past, future lives, and the self-luminous light behind it all), just as each of us has a Higher Self (before unity). As Krishna held Self-Realization, he showed us the possibilities of what can occur under Self-Realization, though within the limitations of the collective belief system.
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"It cannot be too highly emphasized that the mystic swims in the same waters in which the psychotic drowns."
-James Wasserman, The Mystery Traditions