Keynote Presenter

Bahman Shirazi

Bahman Shirazi

Bahman Shirazi, Ph.D., has had a lifelong interest in self-knowledge and the relationship between psychological and spiritual development. Before refocusing his academic work in Integral Psychology in the late 1980s, he studied other traditions such as Buddhism and Sufism that offer deep insights into the nature and processes of psychospiritual development.

He continues to draw on Integral Yoga and other spiritual psychologies and key western psychological traditions in his approach to Integral Psychology, and has published a number of articles and book chapters on related topics.

Bahman is currently an adjunct professor as well as archivist and Institute historian at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He has previously taught at several Bay Area universities in the areas of research methodology, transpersonal psychology, and cross-cultural psychology.

Aids and Obstacle in Integral Yoga Sadhana

According to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Integral Yoga does not proceed in any prescribed forms of practice but by aspiration for the Divine, and inward or upward self-concentration and self-opening to Divine consciousness and power. Three interrelated processes comprise the unfoldment of the sadhana: aspiration for the Divine, discernment and rejection of all falsehood, and complete surrender to the Divine.

There are always difficulties that obstruct or slow down the progress of yoga in its early stages until the aspirant is ready. Typically resistance arises from two major sources: our embodied nature’s ignorance and resistance, and hostile anti-Divine forces that take hold of our lower nature and distort our consciousness and progress on the path.

In this experiential workshop we review some of the major factors that can help our progress in sadhana (such as equality, faith, silence, surrender, focused effort, sincerity, the psychic being) as well as common pitfalls and hindrances (vital desires, attachments, ego-centeredness, fear, restlessness/anxiety, ill-will/hatred, inertia, doubt, hostile forces).

We will examine the three phases of sadhana—aspiration, discernment and surrender—and challenges and rewards associated with each stage, by sharing our personal experiences and using selected teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for guidance.

Sri Aurobindo's symbol

Mother's symbol