by Trilia Chen, MA
For me Telugu has been an extension of a personal calling to take care of the earth and protect nature. While working in the environmental profession, I realized that resolving our environmental challenges requires a shift in human consciousness; people need to counter negative tendencies and move away from acting egocentrically. We have to think of our ecosystem as an extension of ourselves and realize that when we poison and damage it, we are destroying our own lives. If we don't care that we are destroying ourselves, each other, and the earth, then we have to consider working through our personal blocks and developing more self-worth and value towards ourselves, humanity, and all living beings. We need to work selflessly and collaboratively, from a sense of deep compassion and love for the earth, for humanity, and for all living beings. Yet, how can we develop these qualities? The knowledge in ancient manuscripts from India provides practical solutions for these and many other challenges. For example, specific teachings found in these manuscripts include mantra meditations that help calm down feelings of unworthiness, selfishness, and anger. When we have methods for countering negative human tendencies and raising our consciousness, then perhaps we can begin to set aside personal agenda and destructive blocks and learn to collaborate and implement practical solutions that will prevent further damage to our ecosystems.
There is so much about human consciousness that modern Western civilization is just starting to recognize. We have only begun to investigate and validate transcendent experiences through our modern way of knowing. Humans are capable of transcending the ego and experiencing unitive awareness and the fundamental oneness of non-duality. The feeling of deep connection with other individuals, with the earth, the ecosystem, and the cosmos is a real human experience. In these states, one's sense of identity extends beyond the individual and the persona. The American Psychological Association recognizes a field of study that focuses on these experiences and states. This field of study is called Transpersonal Psychology (TP). “TP is the overlap and integration of psychology and the world wisdom traditions (spiritual systems). Thus, spiritual views and practices are incorporated into psychology, and psychological concepts and methods are applied to spirituality….Ultimately and fundamentally, each part is part of the whole, and the whole is non-dualistic. From this come two other central insights: the intrinsic health and basic goodness of the whole and its parts, and the validity of development and experiences ‘beyond the mask’ of the conditional and conditioned personality.” (Davis, J).
In our contemporary everyday lives, not many of us regularly experience transpersonal consciousness nor do we recognize or understand its significance and benefits. Fortunately, the ancient saints have left us with these amazing palm leaf manuscripts detailing their research into human consciousness and the many positive benefits that result from working with consciousness in specific ways. There are indeed many proven benefits, as current students who have practiced a fraction of the knowledge from the palm leaf manuscripts can attest. The ancient saints' spiritual research is significant and important for understanding human potential and the evolution of our consciousness. There is a treasure trove of wisdom in these manuscripts that can help us in so many aspects of our lives. As a transpersonal ecopsychologist, I have a strong interest in the the palm leaf manuscript knowledge and how it informs us about human relationship with nature, creation, and the earth. I am also keen on discovering how this knowledge can help us live in harmony with each other and with nature. It is my belief that our environmental and human problems cannot be fully solved solely through technological advances and scientific research and that the solution is a matter of consciousness intrinsic in wisdom traditions available through the palm leaf manuscripts. Our challenges must be solved by shifting human consciousness beyond the mind and ego and acting from a sense of unity. This is why it is so important for us to learn Telugu in order to discover and learn from the saints of this ancient wisdom who have delved into the study of the soul, nature, and human consciousness.
Reference: Davis, J. We Keep Asking Ourselves, What is Transpersonal Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.nonduality.com/tp.htm
volunteers at the Recovery Cafe in Seattle. She teaches meditation practices to members of the Cafe who are recovering from addiction. She began studying the ancient knowledge in 2000 and traveled regularly to India to study with Sri Kaleshwar for eight years. She holds a Master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology from Naropa University and has worked extensively in environmental research and education.