Courses Offered by Michael Taft

The current sequence of courses is

  • Vast Sky Mind, Level 1
  • Vast Sky Mind, Level 2
  • Tantra, Level 1
  • Tantra, Level 2
  • Reversing the Stack

See the descriptions of each course below.


Vast Sky Mind, Level 1

Nondual meditation is the ageless path of realizing the awakened mind already inside you. While generally following Buddhist understandings, this course takes a non-denominational approach that is informed by modern neuroscience and scholarship.

Whether you are new to meditation, or if you are a mindfulness meditator whose practice seems stalled, or if you have been following Michael’s guided meditation series on Youtube, if you are wanting something more—a practice that both engages with life and that can actually lead to awakening—then this course is for you. 

In Vast Sky Mind, you will learn:

  • What the term “nondual” actually means
  • How to meditate on emptiness (and what “emptiness” even means)
  • The techniques of “effortless” meditation
  • How to overcome the obstacles that are blocking your realization
  • The history of nondual meditation worldwide
  • How nondual meditation is understood in Buddhist traditions such as Vajrayana and Dzogchen
  • Serious practice without a guru
  • A system of meditation that you can stick with

This is a live-only, online course that takes place on Zoom. Class will meet once a week for 90 minutes. During each class, Michael teaches on that week’s topic, takes live questions from the group, and leads a guided meditation. In addition, students are encouraged to join a “practice pod”—a group of others students from the course—to study, share, bring up questions, and support each other’s practice throughout the class and moving forward. There are also optional Q & A sessions, supplemental readings, and a Discord server to help deepen your practice and understanding.

Requirements:

  • Commitment to meditate for 30 minutes daily
  • Complete all assigned course materials
  • Attend each class (classes are not recorded! You must attend live.)
  • Strong desire to learn, understand, and practice nondual meditation
  • While it’s not a requirement, this class is much easier if you already have a strong meditation background

Vast Sky Mind, Level 2

Nondual awareness is our shared human heritage, not the property of any one religion or tradition. It has been talked about, practiced, and experienced all around the globe. Different traditions have explored different understandings, different avenues, and different expressions of this fundamentally liberating aspect of our humanity for millennia. And now with Vast Sky Mind, Level 2, you can get a genuine taste of these explorations.

In VSM1, we learned a system of nondual meditation that—when practiced diligently—can bring you to an experience of awakening. In Level 2 of the course, you will continue to deepen your practice of this system, while simultaneously broadening your understanding of the fundamentals of nonduality.

Together with other VSM1 alumni, you will learn the history and background of the various nondual meditation traditions; how they are similar, how they are different, where they came from, and why they matter to our practice—and our lives—today. You will also learn a wide range of powerful, classic techniques from each of these traditions. And crucially, you will learn to integrate these traditional meditations into the practice structure we’ve already developed.

In Vast Sky Mind, Level 2, you will learn:

  • The history and background of nondual meditation worldwide
  • How to understand the differences (and surprising similarities) between schools of nonduality
  • Why nonduality is a “human thing” and doesn’t belong to any particular religion
  • How to overcome the obstacles that are blocking your realization
  • Serious practice without a guru or initiations
  • A system of meditation that you can stick with
  • Much more

This is a live-only, online course that takes place on Zoom. Class will meet once a week for 90 minutes. During each class, Michael will teach on that week’s topic, take live questions from the group, and lead a guided meditation. In addition, students are encouraged to join a “practice pod”—a group of others students from the course—to study, share, bring up questions, and support each other’s practice throughout the class and moving forward. There are also group AMAs run by teaching assistants, supplemental readings, and a Discord server to help deepen your practice and understanding.

Requirements:

  • Commitment to meditate for 30 minutes daily
  • Complete all assigned course materials
  • Attend each class (classes are not recorded! You must attend live.)
  • Attend practice “pod” meetings outside of class
  • Strong desire to learn, understand, and practice nondual meditation
  • Successful completion of VSM1

Tantra, Level 1

Over 1500 years ago, a tidal wave of transformative practices swept across Asia, completely remaking the spirituality of the time. Based in a magical worldview, these practices involved harnessing and transmuting of life energies, the integration of opposites, powerful visualizations, breath control, and more—all to ignite a direct, experiential union with the divine.

This new way of working, called Tantra, became the main form of many religions—including Buddhism and Hinduism, Jainism—for a thousand years. Now you can come explore the wisdom of Tantra in this comprehensive, non-denominational 12-week course on Tantric philosophy, practices, and experience.

Taught by Michael Taft, a teacher with decades of experience in Tantric practice, the course is an exploration of the ancient wisdom of Tantra that transcends religious boundaries; encompassing Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Learn powerful meditation techniques, explore the energy of sacred mantras and pranayama, experience the transformative practice of mandala visualization, and more.

Open only to Michael Taft’s students from the Vast Sky Mind and Reversing the Stack courses, Tantra I will be an intensive, advanced, challenging, and ultimately enlivening journey into the depths of your nondual meditation practice.

In Tantra I, You Will Learn:

  • How Tantric and nondual practices work together to facilitate and stabilize awakening
  • Methods of visualization meditation
  • The radical, goddess-based vision of the Tantric worldview
  • How to turn discomfort, disease, disgust, and despair into powerful awakening
  • To deeply engage with Michael Taft’s specific Mandala meditation
  • How to do the most important Tantric practices
  • What mantras are and how to use them—including bijas, or “seed syllables”
  • The history and background of Tantra, where it came from and how it spread
  • Several powerful pranayama (breath control) practices that greatly deepen meditation
  • Working with chakras and the human energy system
  • A system of meditation that you can stick with

Requirements:

  • Successful completion of VSM1, VSM2, or being a current or former student in Reversing the Stack
  • Commitment to meditate for 30 minutes daily, every day, for the entire three months
  • Complete all assigned course materials, such as readings and videos
  • Attend each class
  • Attend practice “pod” meetings outside of class
  • Strong desire to learn, understand, and practice Tantric practices and nondual meditation

Note: Tantra doesn’t mean “sacred sexuality,” and there are no sexual practices of any kind in this course.


Tantra, Level 2

description coming


Reversing the Stack

This is the most advanced course Michael offers. In this course you will learn a system of deepening your nondual practice step-by-step, on the cushion and in daily life. Overall the course follows what we call the “Reversing the Stack” model, meaning that you will establish a firm basis in non-conceptual/objectless meditation (“resting the mind in awareness”). From this basis, you will then learn to investigate sensory arisings and the mind, as well as how to bring this open mind to all daily activities. As the course progresses, you will discover how to contact awake awareness (i.e. Rigpa) and furthermore how to stabilize this contact. 

This is a powerful, interactive course in a small, focused group (limited to 25 students) meeting once a week on Zoom for six months. Note that although the commitment is for six months, the course often runs for years.

Requirements

  • Admission via an enrollment process – You must be accepted into the course!
  • Do a minimum of 60 minutes meditation daily. 
  • Attend the live classes unless missing a class is absolutely unavoidable (expected attendance is at least 21/24 classes)
  • Take an active part in class discussions. 
  • Meet with your “practice pod” regularly outside of class for small-group community practice discussions 
  • Read/view all assigned materials (books/videos/etc).