“This openness, this conscious Presence, is the sole means of unveiling your innate Bliss.” Christopher Wallis.
Once I balance my inner relationship with tantra, bringing my polarities into presence, I create a solid foundation for divine radiance to interpenetrate my life. The mother, the father, and the holy child = me. To cultivate this triangulation within us, we need to know how to resecrate – resanctify – make sacred our world. As without so within.
The ancient texts which describe relationship as sacred are no longer part of the religions they birthed. Relationship is the realm of the feminine – within each of us. She longs for connection, for procreation, for celebration. To achieve control of the few over the many, we were separated, no longer able to relate to our homelands, our tribes, our language, our rituals.
Relationship is described as sacred by the Deep Ecology movement. In a deeply ecological way the sacred is manifest each day in our interactions with other humans, plants, animals, and landscapes. Blossoming Neotantra communities like Tamera, in Portugal, call this a ‘healing biotope.’ This is an expression of life in hierosgamy.
“The essence of ‘the sacred’ is relationship. It has to do with conforming to patterns in nature because the patterns in nature are both within us (evolved through millennia) and without – in nature outside of us. In a good culture there is little dissonance between these two patterns. If such dissonance arises it is resolved through seasonal festivals.” Dolores La Chapelle.
Naturally we live in harmony when we are a part of nature’s pattern. It is not common knowledge that the sacred springs from our innate pattern awareness. This is a shamanic tool. Rather, we are told what is sacred, and it is pointed out to us as – this church, this mountain, this grove, this book, this master. We often wonder why these things are considered sacred, as we have no relationship to them. If we do have a relationship to this mountain or this saint, we will feel their sanctity in the patterns which flow between us, and there will be no question why?
“The Ituri Pygmies say that the forest encompassing them is the body of God. That doesn’t mean the forest is one thing and they are another thing. They are the forest encompassing them and the whole of the forest, including the people, is the body of God. For example, in their daily life if a quarrel breaks out in one of the grass huts at night, the head man will shout out: ‘Shut up. You are disturbing the forest.’” Dolores La Chapelle.
A funny idea, but a useful one on the tantric path. The aim is to embody this singularity, this ultimate oneness with all manifest creation, for then we become Shakti, and thus we allow Shiva to enter us. So we become whole. For now I am Shakti only in moments, when the immensity of manifest creation suddenly seems all within me, and thus I glimpse Shiva. I love profoundly in those moments when I am immersed inseparably in the warp and weft of living.
When we are a part of the pattern we feel at home. The home is the hearth, ruled by female archetypes. This pattern can be a family, a community, a kriya, leaves of a fern or a landscape. This perception of feeling at home which was gradually extracted from our culture by a ‘sleight of mind,’ leaves us prey to real estate and resource grabbing binges – hunting a dollar. When we can drop into femininity we perceive life wholly, and find heaven on Earth because we feel at home here.
What a crazy journey I went on to rediscover this simple truth! I am writing to you in the hope of expediting your travels on this path.
Reconciling in our psyche, the distinction between what we have been told to worship and what we feel is really sacred to us, is a path of feminine power. It can be a very subtle practise to perceive the difference between enforced reverence and personal attraction to our spirit’s calling. We must practise to make this distinction. Through our personal work to dissolve our limiting programs, we learn to observe all we have repulsion and attraction for, and discern if this is coming from a program we have ingested or from the truth of our beings. If we can do this on a community scale we have a key to transform the world.
In capitalistic communities religion has decided what is sacred. This includes deities, buildings, rituals and limited forms of relationship that are given the ok by the historical religious authority, such as a contractually married couple. The church also made government sacred. So what we are told we must have a relationship with – like the tax department, schooling, policing etc – are often things with which we have no real relationship. My school chapel was a nice building, but with my atheistic upbringing, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing there. I was daydreaming my gypsy adventures while the psalms were read.
Furthermore, I’m scared to call the IRD. Whoever is on the other end of the phone has no relationship to me. I know they are going to treat me like a number, which I am not. I am a human being.
This enforced obeisance to authority in the relationship we have with government or religion is exactly the kind of unhealthy relationship we would be advising our girlfriends to get out of. For instance, the government demands utmost respect in relationship to legislation, but if an incorporated entity wants to open-cut mine a landscape we hold personally sacred because of our relationship with it… we all know what happens next. We don’t get heard. So often it is a one way street where our deeper needs are not considered. That is not a healthy relationship, by anyone’s reckoning.
If we do not feel a relationship to these institutions then we must ask ourselves – why are we treating them with reverence? What is really sacred in our life? Can we feel security and belonging in the pattern of our community, or do we need an external authority to rule it to be so? Remember how our trust in community was slain during the Burning Times? It has been designed so that we cannot feel secure without an external authority, but if we look around at the pattern of our daily lives we find that all our needs are met by the warp and weft of our fellow humans working together in community. It is a good relationship with our direct community that makes us feel secure.
Relationship is a feminine quality.
Many interactions we experience fall outside of our consent. My relationship with patriarchal systems of governance falls into this category.The Wheel of Consent, developed by Dr Betty Martin, outlines four types of interactions and encourages us to define where we are in the circle of consent – taking, allowing, giving and receiving. By defining our boundaries we begin to perceive if we are inside or outside this wheel of our consent. It is revelatory to consider things we may be doing because we are unconsciously forced to, and not because we are consciously consenting. Our lives would look different if we had the ability to stay firmly within our consensual boundaries. This is what standing for love looks like. It is a powerful act of maintaining our personal integrity by standing on our ground.
On the tantric path we take back our power. We stop lying to ourselves and we no longer treat things which are not sacred as if they are. We start acknowledging as sacred that with which we do have a meaningful relationship. We slowly return to our authentic ourselves, even though this may be uncomfortable, even painful, and we may lose relationships along the way. Consent is what has been taken from us time and time again, until we no longer realise we are breaching our boundaries. Ultimately, returning to the consensual process, returns us to love, of self and world.
In modern culture the sacred pattern of our authenticity is so hidden that we have forgotten how to connect with it. We often go to seers, psychics and shaman who do this for us. In an analysis of modern man, Deida exemplifies this loss of pattern awareness.
“Every man knows that his highest purpose in life cannot be reduced to any particular relationship. If a man prioritizes his relationship over his highest purpose, he weakens himself, disserves his universe, and cheats his woman of an authentic man who can offer her full, undivided presence. Admit to yourself that if you had to choose one or the other, you would choose to succeed at your purpose. Just this self-knowledge often relieves much pressure a man feels to prioritize his relationship when, in fact, it is not his highest priority.” David Deida.
Actually, we don’t have to choose.
Do I really want a relationship with a man more than anything else in my life? Is that gonna be the pinnacle of my female embodiment? Is my purpose my priority? If I ‘admit this’ to myself will it make me happy? No. I want both.
Is this because I’m a woman, therefore more able to multi-task? Is it because this statement was made by a man entrained to exist primarily in single pointed focus, therefore only able to handle an ultimate goal?
No, it’s just about integration. It is exactly this separation of purpose from relationship that facilitates the proliferation of consumerist culture as it destroys our community values and our environment. Masculinised humans are desperately seeking things to fill the gap left by relationship. We have lost the divinely feminine ability to commune so we’re driving a linear sword towards an imaginary Lord. Reintegration of purpose and relationship heals the wounds of desecration. Perhaps, if we make healthy relationship our purpose, we would heal our world?
Tribal societies developed traditions which stem from pattern awareness and enables those participating in ritual to access the numinous. Celebrating seasons is one example. The ritual use of medicinal plants is another. Tantric rituals involve oils, essences, crystals and flowers, because in observing the beauty of nature we can appreciate our own beauty, our own Divinity. It is a reflection.
In the West are increasingly encouraged to withdraw from relating to the real world. We find our reflections in manipulated media. The less we are engaged with the physical world, the more manageable we become within the industrial military complex. The more we withdraw into our clever distractions, the higher the statistics for depression, suicide and environmental crises rise.
“Only in the present moment can the divine come into existence. Men may make plans, but a
mother attentive to her children knows the real need of the moment. She feels in her being the interconnectedness of life in a way that is veiled from the masculine.” Llewellyn Vaughn Lee.
Relationship takes place in real time. It requires presence. It means showing up for a momentary connection with a person, place or plant. Presence is how we connect with the sacred, how we weave ourselves into the pattern of life.
It is an amazing experience to be with a person who is truly present. We make contact deep into our eyes and love pours out through our irises, all time and need to converse drops away. We are just there, feeling so nurtured and making this moment sacred, as if it would last forever. White tantra cultivates presence through meditation, and applies it to relationship. The ability to truly be present with another being has the advantage of firing all our mirror neurons. This is how ritual works.
“We are all experiencing the world around us, and particularly the people around us, through the activation of our mirror neurons. Our mirror neurons help us in our constant pursuit of love and approval from the people in our world. Dr. Goulston’s research suggests we develop something like hunger for the world to mirror us back. Every time we mirror the world, a reciprocal hunger is generated for the world to mirror us back. We want to feel understood.
We want to ‘feel felt.’” James Bauer.
Mirror neurons fire in our brains when we recognise something in another that we recognise in ourselves. We both like unicorns, so we have an instant connection and feel good about the other person, who is feeling good about us. We commune with the beauty of nature and we feel beautiful ourselves, as we feel part of nature. We see divinity in another’s eyes and we recognise our own transcendant power. Pujas and ritual identify this process and raise loving kindness when we engage. Mirror neurons operate in obvious ways, and in subconscious ways, like our need for approval, which is a program used by culture to take advantage of us.
When we empower someone with our presence, and they feel felt, this is a form of feminine relating. Between mother and babe there need be no words.
If we are ‘in our heads’ and not present, we know we are in our masculinity, looking for action. School trains us to be this way, in single pointed focus. Family violence or a colonialist past has a similar effect. The good news is, no matter how we are feeling, showing up in the presence of relationship rewards us with mirror neurons firing yumminess into our brain chemistry. There is a cure.
“We feel a wave of emotional intensity when our experience is validated. It’s invigorating when we can tell someone else is noting and sharing our experience in their mind. Sometimes it brings people to tears because the feeling is so overwhelming. Recognizing and responding to someone’s mirror neuron hunger may be one of the most powerful tools for connecting with and influencing people in your personal and professional life.” James Bauer.
Our masculinity likes things defined and reliable. Let’s make a plan and execute it step by step. This is fine if we want to build a house, but it doesn’t work to build community. Despite the best laid plans by armies of intellectuals and public servants, domestic violence, suicide, crime, autism, ADHD and drug abuse continue to rise.
The broader tantric vision, as expressed by the sages of ancient Kashmir, is to influence the shape of community by dispersing tantric practitioners therein. As most tantrikas were householders, the learning on the path was disseminated into the culture through their interaction in their homes and businesses. One delightful way to practise relationship is to drop in deeply with the salesperson at your local store, giving them your full presence.
We are so distracted from inner work by entertaining things. From this perspective it is hard to see how focussing on presence, developing our capacity to relate, or living in a synchronous system of community could bring us satisfaction, so accustomed are we to getting our needs met with products. The only way out, in my experience, is to leap with faith and take the journey. It was in my determination to escape and not participate in the linear pursuit of commodities, that I found the presence of communion, slowly, that satisfied the deeper yearnings of my mirror neurons and my heart – for love requited.
At first I saw it in others’ eyes and wondered what place of peace they came from. From there I began to drop into their peace, awkwardly at first – didn’t I need to say something? Were we gonna do this forever? Then I began to sense when the energy shifted, and it was time to blink and smile and slowly part. My meditations became deeper, more oneness seeped in, and when I arose I stayed in that place of soft presence for longer and longer. Usually until someone demanded I make a single pointed action about something.
“Experiencing men, like experiencing a sunset, or a walk in the forest, or a work of art, or
childbirth, or rain, or sex requires that we let go of the urge to do: to photograph the sunset, to hike through the forest, to write about the art, to push the baby out, to dodge the rain, to
work toward an orgasm.” Rori Raye.
In the land of love denied, we bus our children to school; we seek out entertainment, travel many miles to visit family and even further for a break. If you are a global citizen your holidays are likely to be closer to home than your family and friends. We are so busy connecting the dots of fulfilling our purpose that we miss the point of being love. Bonding does not occur in a culture that is dissipated in so many directions, unless we develop the capacity to connect with kindred spirits instantaneously, and let them go with similar surrender. This practice is called ‘dropping in.’ It is a talent that has been developed by global gypsies to recognise and connect with each other as we wing around the world.
Cultivating presence cultivates power within, as we step into our authentic selves. One of the most subtle and challenging lessons is how to stop giving our power away in a culture which takes power from us daily. When all systems are set up to remove it, how do we maintain the relationship with our self, our intuition and personal direction? A critical mass of humans believe we are just a sinful biological accident spinning in space, and ought to be regulated. How can we reassure them that we are not dangerous when we are living as love? Yes, we want to live free, and responsibly so.
To reclaim the power of being human, of being in a body incarnate in this powerful time, we reconnect the sacred circle so the resources and energy flow in a relentless spiral. The model of a ‘resource based economy’ which works on a ‘fuzzy logic’ exemplifies this interactive flow. Create this sacred circle in your own life first by discovering ways to contain your power in a nurturing embrace. Bring outgoing energy back in to allow time for presence; first with yourself, next with nature, and followed by those other humans who you can trust to honour your journey. There are many times when I have closed the circle of my life for a while, headed on a vision quest or lived in community far from civilisation, so I could learn to be more discerning about where I spend my energy.
These were novice years on the tantric path. Since my initiation I find I can re-emerge into the mainstream and maintain my discernment successfully. I can stand within my wheel of consent, mostly.
So I urge you to create directly for yourselves; be it veggies in the garden, time in retreat, savings for the lifestyle dream, or just moving somewhere you can live your dreams, initiates a spiral of dynamic creation – naturally. You don’t have to work it all out with your head beforehand, because spirals are magical vortexes of divine influence. That is why those who want to rule us broke the circles and hid feminine power from sight. Circles – really spirals – move with kinetic energy which creates. The most successful progressive gatherings are all modelled on the sacred spiral.
This may seem far-fetched for our plan-oriented masculine minds, but my experience validates the truth of the spiral which manifests needs and desires, so much so that I seek out these gatherings and immerse myself in them. This is why tribes thrived in a psycho- spiritual realm bringing all they needed towards them, how they found medicines and food, how they influenced the weather and the future. One must step fully into the circle to appreciate the force of this flow. You will see nothing from the outside perspective. You must spend time in this alternative reality to get to know it. There are counterforces at work putting increasing pressure on humanity to block the cultural descent into the powerful presence of relaxed relationship. Stay long enough away from these to experience what magic happens when you’re in this flow.
We are participating in another myth creation, a new world chaos, from which will arise, to our surprise, a natural order.
So don’t worship things. That’s a mistake. The path of the tantrika, of inner alchemy and enlightened living, is full of spaciousness and the freedom to follow our spirit’s path. Things come and go. Give yourself all the time you need for yoga, nutrition and quiet contemplation. This is where we connect with the most sacred relationship of all – our inner beloved.