The Heart of Darkness

No one escapes this human experience, this crucible of embodiment without grappling with the presence of what the esoteric schools call "The Void".

The Void is the yin polarity of non-existence to the yang of existence. The emptiness to fullness. The silence to noise. The darkness to light. The death to life. 

As humans with highly developed complex consciousness, we are uniquely aware of the presence of the void. As much as we might try to deny it, it whispers over our shoulder like an ominous presence. It is part of this design we have entered into. And it is not just a concept, it is felt and known in the body and heart of every human being.

The presence of the Void brings with it a collection of raw, challenging initiations in the human experience: 

-Awareness of our mortality

-The chaos and groundlessness of the Mystery

-Existential pain

-A suspicion of meaninglessness

-A reoccurring sense of aloneness and isolation

The ego is extremely threatened by these brutal truths. And so The Void or Darkness has become the ultimate projection screen for the "bad other". It is like a boogeyman that haunts us, threatening to gobble us up. Many of our choices in life are, unknowingly, a defense mechanism to ward off the threat of this looming presence. 

Yet it persists. It is not going anywhere. 

Much of what we call spirituality is unconsciously a desperate attempt to reconcile with the presence of the void. This is why spiritual rhetoric is fixated on "The Light". As though our willful clinging might erase the presence of the opposite. 

We hope we can heal it away. Positive think it away. Pray it away. Manifest it away. Ascend it away.

We are comforted by whatever makes us feel like this Void is kept at bay. We use "spiritual truths" that feel warm and fuzzy inside because they give us the illusion of safety from the void. Yet they are no better than any other addiction or distraction we use to ward off this ultimate Other. We may even delude ourselves into lies which allow us to bypass or suppress our primal feelings about this wild, savage, groundless chaotic Truth. 

Yet it remains a Truth. And it will not go away.

If we can strip away the projection of evil which we carry on a primordial instinctual level, and simply turn around and face the beast, we discover that it is only the ego that is terrified. In truth, the presence of the void and the fierce medicine it carries is not only an inextricable part of this design, it is also an essential aspect to the crucible of the human experience. Rather than use spirituality to avoid this ominous presence and all the uncomfortable feelings it evokes, perhaps an essential aspect to true spiritual practice is found only in turning fully towards it as an initiation. To say yes to the medicine. To trust that this is not an unfortunate accident or obstacle, but an incredible gift.

The only way through, is through.

Our mortality and awareness of death opens us to the radiant precious miracle of life. 

The chaos and groundlessness of the Mystery humbles our egoic fixation on control and opens us to union with what is rather than what we think should be

Existential pain deepens our embodiment. Breaks us open to the disillusionment of our striving into the nectar of our own heart. 

The fact of our aloneness takes us into the deep silence and stillness at the heart of reality. 

Accepting the truth of meaninglessness wakes us up to the profound ISness of reality beyond meaning

The gift of Darkness is not widely known. It holds a precious key. It is feared, hated and denied and yet it pulses at the core of existence. 

The best kept secrets are hidden in the least likely places. 

Who could imagine a more brilliant, majestic, loving design?

 

Practicing the Wound: How Deep Does Love Go?

“Hopelessness is the basic ground. Otherwise, we’re going to make the journey with the hope of getting security. If we make the journey to get security, we’re completely missing the point. Begin the journey without hope of getting ground under your feet. Begin with hopelessness.”

-Pema Chodron

On winter Solstice 2013 sitting in ceremony, I received a vision. It wasn't so much a vision, actually, as it was a Full Body transmission received inside every cell of my Being.

What I experienced was Reality as relentless WAVE, screaming with pure power. It was simultaneously creating and destroying everything, churning and throbbing with unbearable intensity. Contained inside this Wave was every aspect of existence. Every. Single. Aspect. Everything was held inside this great Wave without separation or distinction. It all pulsed as One Fundamental Essence. 

The ferocious totality of this ONE, this ALL, shattered my notions of reality. It was beyond light and dark, beyond good and evil. I sat, mouth agape, shivering in both ecstasy and terror, as I was stretched open wider and wider to receive the abundant fullness of this fundamental Truth. 

I had the distinct, full body knowing that this WAVE had no morality. It did not value peace over chaos or pleasure over pain. It was not evolving into a better version of itself. It did not reward or punish. It did not play fair. It did not make sense or make meaning. It was simply, innocently, breathtakingly complete. It was without pretense. Its crazy wisdom required no justification. It was simply doing exactly what it does, relentlessly, perfectly, forever.

There was an undeniable, overarching Presence inside this wave. A presence that reached through and beyond the sum of its parts as it simultaneously exploded out of each individual aspect. It is a presence which no word or language could accurately express, but the closest I can discern is LOVE. 

I was completely awe struck with how mind-bendingly TOTAL this Love was. Nothing was left out. Everything was included. Every beauty and horror, every joy and devastation, every saint and perpetrator, every mundane and sublime aspect of existence was embraced with utter totality. Nothing had more value than anything else. Love was screaming and birthing everything into existence. Love was slaying and burning everything to death. This Love was a Yes that has no No. 

The fullness was so total and complete, that it rang with clear emptiness. The scream was so loud, it was silence.

I was fascinated with the emotional texture of this Love. It was nothing like what I had known love to be. This Love was brutal in its wild relentlessness and yet filled with profound tenderness. It was harsh and destructive yet as innocent and natural as a blooming flower. It was completely indifferent to the impact of its constant churning, and yet simultaneously full of so much gentle grace. It was holding and embracing everything with deep, exquisite intimacy yet it had no sentimentality. It was a potency I had never tasted before. Wild, brutal, innocent and tender. It was as if it was saying: I love you, and this is really going to hurt. 

For the first time I finally understood, deep in my bones what is meant by groundlessness.

Reality is a constant churning of impermanence, being born and dying, creating and destroying. As much as we may try to find security and comfort or cling to illusions of control, the basic truth is that there is no stable ground under our feet. Reality does not submit to our attempts to pin her down or deny certain aspects. She simply is churning perfectly, and we cannot escape or slow down the fundamental instability of existing inside her wild Totality.

With this transmission inscribed inside my soul, I committed to spend the rest of my life in apprenticeship this Truth. This Non-Dual Love at the heart of reality. This Yes that has no No. This wild, brutal, innocent and tender Wave of existence. 

 

“We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not knowing is part of the adventure, and it’s also what makes us afraid. So we begin with the understanding that profound well being comes only by working with, not against, the gritty reality of life.”

Pema Chödrön

Tantra is essentially the practice of fully facing the reality of groundlessness, which means facing many harsh truths. Only as the heart breaks open to these harsh truths can the Heart can fully open to the Totality of Reality as it is, to the All inside of ones Self and inside the overwhelming intensity of this groundless wave of existence. Intimacy with the Perfection and Fullness of every beauty and horror stretches us open to that untamed LOVE, that relentless churning, that is forever saying YES.

The drop is in the ocean and the ocean is inside the drop. Just as fractals reach their tendrils into infinity, so are we as individual human beings, fractals of the Whole. We are inside of this wild, groundless Wave yet the totality of the wave also lives inside the cosmology of our own Being. 

At some point I began to wonder: If Reality is a perfect expression of wholeness, if all is the singular pulsation of the ONE fundamental essence, knowing itself through a kaleidoscope of forms, if Love is holding everything perfectly, then what is a Wound inside of this cosmology? What is there to Heal?

In this wild, groundless existence, nothing can be eliminated. The All exists here, now and always. There is no escaping it. There is no gaining control over it. We exist in Totality.

Perhaps, then, what we experience as wounding is actually a place where we are resisting reality, as it is. 

We resist and reject what we find unfavorable. And yet the Fullness of Love, the Totality of Reality includes even that which we find unfavorable. It is already part of the perfect, wild, untamed wholeness and completion of who we are, and indeed of the All that Is. 

When we attempt to change and transform ourselves or eliminate our own wounding, often what we are doing is switching from one side of a polarity to another. The law of duality is that both sides of a polarity cannot exist without each other. They in fact exist inside of each other. Shame lives in Pride. Sorrow lives in Joy. Weakness lives in Strength. Both sides are here, always, in the totality of Reality as it is. Despite our dualistic preferences, we cannot escape the other side. 

All we can do is shift our relationship to what we find unfavorable. We can turn towards the wound, the unfavorable side of the polarity, with not only radical acceptance, but with an embodied embrace, letting its presence be known inside our own skin. 

In this deep embodied acceptance, we taste the radiant core of pure consciousness, the ONE true presence that lives in everything, innocently pulsing, saying ‘YES, this too is Holy.’ When we embrace the reality of these wounds and disavowed aspects and accept them as part of the Totality that we are, we discover how deep love actually goes. There is actually nothing Love does not touch, nothing it leaves out.

The realization of our perfect nature comes not through purification, through fixing, eliminating, or transforming ourselves but through the full embodiment and open hearted embrace of all of our messy imperfections. 

This is what is known as Practicing the Wound. 

 

 

“Piercing the body with a sharp pointed instrument, and then projecting consciousness there, verily there is movement towards the pure nature of reality.”

-Dharana 93 from the Vignana Bhairava Tantra

Practicing the wound goes beyond attempting to fix and transform it. It goes beyond passive acceptance. Practicing the wound is diving down inside of it, projecting your whole self there.

Not as a Victim. Not as a Rescuer. 

 

As a Lover.

 

You become intimate the wound

 

You let it in

 

You enter into Union with it

 

You become it fully 

 

You embody it, imitate it, sing it and dance it 

 

You let it dance its dance Through You

 

You give up trying to control the direction of its flow 

 

You give up trying to make it go away

 

You give up being a victim to its existence 

 

You give up trying to transform it

 

You surrender to the fact of this wound

 

You fill it with your own consciousness

 

You open your heart to it, fully and completely 

 

You seek to know it deeply, on its Own Terms- for its Own Sake

 

You bring it as close to your body and heart as if you were making love to your Beloved

 

You let it come alive

 

You make it as present as the spit in your own mouth

 

You hold it deep inside

 

You meet it with curiosity and presence

 

Without needing it to change

 

Without needing it to stay the same

 

You climb inside its skin

 

You dilate and stretch open, making a home inside

 

You open your eyes while you are inside its skin

 

And see Reality as it sees Reality

 

You allow yourself be surprised at what you see

 

You let it show YOU its POWER and BEAUTY

 

You caress this Beloved and let it caress you back

 

You sink your teeth into it like the most delicious meal 

 

Without pushing or pulling

 

Without grasping or resisting 

 

And then, with practice

 

The wound reveals itself to simply be 

 

A Portal

 

Into the Totality of Reality

 

It is revealed to be a part of the WHOLE 

 

It always was, from the beginning


And always will be

 

It is wholly inseparable from the Whole 

 

Holy. Whole

 

You dive into this portal

 

This piercing in your own armor of resistance

 

Down, down, down

 

Until you realize

 

What is inside

 

Is innocent and perfect 

 

Exactly as it is

 

It has a core of profound Stillness

 

Radiating with Peace

 

And then it just

 

Simply. Is

 

Pure, radiant, perfect consciousness

 

It is already filled with Love 

 

It is the ONE essence knowing itself in this unique expression

 

It is inseparable from Truth

 

It is inseparable from the whole

 

It is as a shining gift full of secrets

 

You could never imagine

 

It is here to teach you

 

How to remember

 

To simply be

 

Total

 

With the wholeness that you really are

 

To know this wholeness is 

 

The deepest Truth

 

To know this Truth is

 

Freedom

 

Love on the Tantric path is relentless. It is brutal in its kindness, leaving nothing out. It will not be tamed by our dualistic preferences. Every inner demon and awkward inferior, every hatred and rage is held in the great heart of the Self and rocked in the booming ocean of deathless Love. It is the One True Taste. Forget everything you think you know of Love from the White Light Cult of New Age Spirituality. Tantric Love is the Love of the deep black groundless Void that swallows all distinctions and reveals everything to be the ONE primordial essence. It is the deep Red Love of sweet, fragrant Roses lined with piercing thorns, and the Red of Blood shed in death and childbirth. It is the wild Love of Kali, who destroys suffering by wearing the naked bones of skulls, rattling the love song of the brutal and beautiful truth underneath all surface appearances: That nothing can escape the mind bending Totality of Love. 

Practicing the Wound is like making the wound, our own resistance to reality as it is, our Tantric Consort. In consort practice we engage in relating with our Beloved for the purpose of spiritual awakening. We open our hearts so profoundly to another human being that we enter a state of surrender and union where we actually feel reality as they experience it. 

This other human being comes to represent the Totality of existence, the entire phenomenological world. This includes all of our dualistic preferences, but it also includes the other side of the polarity, everything we cannot control and all that we resist. It is easy to open our hearts to the aspects in someone we find favorable and attractive, it is easy to accept someone when we are sharing the same view of reality. 

But what about the aspects that are ugly or that we have deemed wrong? Their frustrating behaviors? Their perceptions of reality that clash with our own? 

When we open our heart and our body to a Consort, we are engaging in a practice of dissolving our limited perception of reality. We are surrendering to the fact of groundlessness. We are seeing reality through someone else eyes and coming to know that reality as deeply, profoundly beautiful and sacred.

This experience of deeply meeting the OTHER who is outside of us burns our egoic boundaries and preferences, incinerating them with the flames of compassion. It files down our rigid assumptions of who we think we are and what is worthy of being Loved. It opens us to see the sacredness in all dimensions of reality. It shows us how deep love goes. 

Taking this consort attitude to our wounds, our shadows, our disavowed parts, has the same effect. We begin to stretch open to taste our own Totality, to know the many different realities that are all part of the whole. We begin to allow ourselves to be undefended and vulnerable against the multiplicity of forms dancing inside the self. We begin to taste the purity and naturalness of all of the wild faces of existence.

To practice the wound, we become intimate with its reality. We soften our defense against reality as it is, and welcome home all of what has been disavowed. We surrender to the hopelessness of ever gaining any illusion of control over the groundlessness of existence. We surrender to the fact that Love cannot be tamed, that nothing can be eliminated from the Totality of reality. We begin to embrace the fullness of what we are and what the reality of Love is. We become naked and transparent before the intensity and beauty that is this wild, brutal, tender, innocent existence. 

 

Sting of a wasp
Rip of a nail
A razor’s slice
The needle’s plunge.

A piercing word
A stab of betrayal
The boundary crossed
A trust broken.

In this lacerating moment
Pain is all you know.
Life is tattooing scripture into your flesh,
Scribing incandescence in your nerves.
Right here
In this single searing point
Of intolerable concentration,
Wound becomes portal.
Dive through to the wild brilliance of the Self
Brokenness Surrenders
To Crystalline Perfection of Being

-Radiance Sutras




The Yoga of Naked Awareness

Making love to the moment with naked presence. Intimate communion with the depth of reality. Surrendering to the spontaneous arising of existence. This is my favorite Yoga. 

The depth of reality is always here, it is here weather we pay attention to it or not. It is the fertile ground which the moment itself is constantly birthing out of. Some call this depth of reality Love. Some call it Space. Some call it Emptiness. Some call it Light. Some call it the Void. Labels are irrelevant. Descriptions cannot touch it. It is closer than the next breath yet most of the time it escapes our awareness. It is the constant steady pulse beneath our surface experience. 

Cultivating nakedness before the presence of the moment requires that we strip down beneath our layers of fabrication and resistance. The more naked we become, the more intimate our communion with the depth of the moment. This is a practice of becoming radiantly, excruciatingly, brilliantly Real. Intangible to the mind, it is a Yoga that unfolds within the space of the Hridya- the great heart. And it begins with radical, honest presence to where we are, right now. 

There is a Tantric saying that "The path is the result, the result is the path". There is no where to get to. The deepest reality is always here, now. There is no final goal to the practice. Our living, breathing, human experience is a Yoga of communion with the Sacred Source of Reality.. By burning the bridges to past and future, the full, sensitized, vulnerable, undefended, ungrasping, naked, embodied immersion of awareness into the moment itself becomes the sacred doorway into the heart of reality. This Yoga of communion can never be perfected. It is an ongoing practice which requires the Totality of a person, whose totality is never final because existence itself is never final. It is the simplest yet most difficult Yoga of all. It does not require a meditation cushion or any fancy techniques. It is forged within the fire of not-knowing. It is what the Tantrika practices their whole life. 

As the great Yogini Lalita Devi proclaims in Daniel Odier's book, Desire: "Adhere deeply to reality with the heart of your being. There is nothing else to look for!"

Alas, we are neurotic creatures. Our orientation towards reality, when filtered through the Ego, tends to waver between the polarity of Resistance and Grasping. The Yoga of Naked Awareness will reveal all of our Hesitant Self Consciousness, our Violent Impulsivity, our Fabrications and Manipulations. We begin to see clearly how not-naked we are. We see all of our defenses against the intimacy of communion. This noticing is an essential aspect of the Yoga. 

This is a practice riddled with paradox. We must be available for meeting the depth of reality, without contorting ourselves with too much effort. We seek always the madhya, the middle ground. The space in between Relaxation and Alertness, Vitality and Detachment, Hesitation and Impulsivity, Penetration and Surrender. We merge with the subtle realm as the gateway to infinity. We choose to know nothing, and in this relinquishing of knowledge, we gain access to what is Real. We do not eliminate or suppress the ego, we expand the ego to encompass all opposites. By liberating the polarized limitation of the ego, we reveal its radiantly empty core. We taste identity as pure consciousness, manifesting through the rainbow spectrum of human experience. By grace and with practice, moments of Nakedness emerge. Moments of true Spontaneity. Moments where we are immersed in the Non-Dual Heart of Reality. When such moments occur, we practice the Yoga of letting go. We make ourselves available for these states of unity to arise, and we make ourselves available for them to leave us. 

As Lalita Devi  says: "Just one moment of true presence is worth all the books, all the teachings of all the ages."

If we want to practice how to be supple, open, tender, alive, spontaneous, creative, vulnerable, naked, attuned, connected and intimate with the moment, if we want to practice this Yoga of Communion with the Depth of Reality, we can do it any time, any where. If we want to dive into the cauldron of Not-Knowing, into the Heart of Reality, there is no where to look but right here. There is no better time to begin than right now.

And, if we want to accelerate our practice and add coals to this potent fire, we can practice this Yoga through Touch. 

When we touch the body of another with naked presence, we are meeting the Other as Self. We are touching them as though they are us, as though they are the Totality of existence itself. When we meet the moment through the flesh of a living, breathing human being, we commune with Life in its most intimate, raw, vital and vulnerable form. In Tantric ritual, physical nakedness always enhances the potency of ritual. Including the body into spiritual practice is like lightening fuel for awakening. When our spiritual practice expands to encompass the Yoga of Touch, we see even more clearly all of our resistance to what is and our grasping at what is not. Touch magnifies our stories and fantasies, our defenses, our strategies to avoid the Real. We work with touch as a Yoga to become intimate with these projections, to drop beneath them over and over, to learn to dance with the real arising of existence. We slow down, become more and more subtle, and through subtlety we are opened to Infinity. 

The Yoga of Naked Awareness through Touch does not seek to fix, heal, arouse, seduce, comfort or satiate. Consciousness is cultivated, naked presence is awakened, by simply attuning deeply to the core of the Being we are touching. Communion with the Real arises from our willingness to meet the Other as Self. To experience them in their Totality, their Wholeness. By eliminating the agenda to heal with our touch, we offer the gift of true presence to the One we are touching. Paradoxically this gift of presence without pretense is immensely healing because it is the touch we have all been longing for our whole lives. 

We all long to open, to surrender our resistance to life. We all long to be free. This opening occurs through Touch when there is a pure meeting, when contact has no agenda. Quite simply, we open when we are listened to with immaculate presence. Just as the Real of existence opens and reveals itself through the gateway of our tender listening, our penetrating awareness, our embodied surrender, so does the Being of an other Open through this same quality of Listening, Penetrating and Surrendering. 

The Yoga of Touch invites this meeting, it calls us into the Deep. It does not deny any aspect of our humanity nor does it require any specific results. It is a moment by moment meeting of the Real, of stripping down beneath the surface, into the intangible Empty Fullness of the great Heart. 

When Lalita Devi was asked about this Yogic Touch Practice, which in Shaivite tradition is called Kashmiri Massage, "What is the objective?"

She replied: "Absolutely nothing, but it may cause enlightenment."

Eating The Tail: Inner Tantric Yoga and the Quest for Fulfillment

The other day I was reflecting on the single most common human suffering: The never ending grasping towards fulfillment. 

You know how it goes. 

We hunger for satisfaction, and project a feeling of fulfillment onto the future. 

I'll be fulfilled when....

I get that new job.

I save enough money.

I meet my soul mate.

I find the perfect home.

I complete my work of art. 

I lose weight.

I find my life purpose.

I go traveling.

I take that next workshop.

I heal my childhood wounds.

On and on and on....

In this tender, painful, compulsive orientation towards reality, we constantly hunger for a feeling of fulfillment. We imagine that once we obtain the elusive object of our desire, we will somehow feel Complete within ourselves. We might imagine that we will at last be able to enjoy life in a way we are not able to now in our state of hunger. We might even imagine that suddenly we will be able to be present, in the moment, fully alive. As though once we obtain this shimmering goal, our lives will finally begin. We will finally able to rest in contentment. 

 

Of course, you know how this goes. We obtain the object of our desire, or the goal that contains our projection of fulfillment, we allow for a brief feeling of satisfaction and then we invent the next thing that we believe will bring us to some imaginary place of completion.

We project our fulfillment again and again.                        

On and on. An endless wheel of samsara. The dream state, cluttered with illusions of some perfect heaven that is just on the horizon.

It seems to be built into us as human beings. This vague sense that there is some beautiful blissful ecstatic place of absolute perfection. Its somewhere, not here. Somewhere, somehow, we must find it. 

And our chasing of this ultimate place becomes the greatest unrequited romance of our lives. 

Isn't this the very thing that advertisers are constantly seducing us with?

We possess a powerful hunger for fulfillment. And an equally powerful sense that something essential is missing.

I always notice this pattern most strikingly when I plan to travel or take a vacation.

Maybe you've experienced this too...

You invest tons of time and energy and attention into planning this trip. Fantasizing about the future. Consciously or unconsciously, you imagine yourself arriving to the destination and feeling full and alive. More full and alive than you feel now. You imagine you will be happy, in the flow, in harmony with yourself and the environment. You will really be savoring life. Enjoying life. Being in the moment. Being yourself. More yourself than you feel right now. You will be you, but peaceful, content, resting in the fullness of simply BEing. You will become the best version of yourself. The you who you Really are. 

Then you get there and you realize....You are just the same. You are still you, just with a different background. You are still a bit awkward and dissatisfied. A bit neurotic. You allow for some enjoyment. You experience some pleasure. And you struggle just the same. Soon, realizing you are not fulfilled in the way you had imagined, you begin fixating on the next fantasy that will bring you contentment. Perhaps even planning all the wonderful things you will do when you arrive back home!

Is there anything more tragic than this endless fixation with grasping for contentment? Waiting till the day we can experience the fullness of being alive while day by day our lives pass by....

Its almost comical the way we continuously expect the next thing to get us to that ultimate place. Yet each time it never does.

Then occurred to me: What we really want is to stop wanting. 

 

This realization stunned me. 

 

So simple. 

 

We want to stop wanting. 

 

We hunger and chase after what we hope will finally at last end our painful state of separation from fulfillment. 

You can try this experiment: Locate a strong Desire. 

Then ask yourself: Why do I desire this? 

Continue asking Why? To each answer you receive. 

On and on....

Until you will find the Core of your Desire...

To stop wanting. To stop grasping for future satisfaction. To be fully existing in peaceful contentment with Here and Now. To exist in a state of Being rather than Doing. Receiving rather than chasing. Full rather than hungry. 

In Tantra it is said that there is only one Desire: The Desire for God.

God, being the simplest word available to name the utterly indescribable, radiantly empty, vibrantly full presence at the Heart of Reality. The supremely free and intelligent awareness that permeates every cell, atom, and corner of the universe.

From here onward, this presence will be referred to as the ONE. 

Underneath every Desire is the longing for the ONE. To taste this Absolute. To experience Oneness with the Self. Unification with the Source. The Desires we chase after may have the decorations of our personal particularities, but underneath them all is a hunger to rest in the ONE. 

Why is it that our Desires never seem to get us there?

Our constant chasing seems to be a symptom of our state of separation and duality. We believe we must go "out there" to find it. Yet "out there" never quite brings us to this luminous place we crave so deeply.

There is a Tibetan Buddhist Proverb that speaks of Awakening to True Nature as:

So close you can’t see it.

So deep you can’t fathom it.

So simple you can’t believe it.

So good you can’t accept it.

Just for a moment, hold in your awareness something you are deeply desiring in your life. Something you find yourself reaching, grasping or hungering after with a lot of intensity. 

Now, imagine how you will feel once you get this thing. 

Notice the STATE that arises in you. 

As you feel into the state that arises, you begin to recognize how palpable it really is. How utterly close it feels.

In fact, its so close you can actually taste it right NOW. 

This is why we chase after our desires with such intensity of conviction: because a part of us knows this place of wholeness exists. We remember it. We know it intimately. 

We know it because we ARE it. 

Underneath our grasping, this is the ultimate fulfillment we crave. To rest in the nourishing fullness of our inner most Being, the state of Oneness within ourselves. Union with the ONE who dwells within all things and is the very core of our consciousness. 

This is where we keep hoping our desires will lead us. 

What an incredible paradox. We hunger for that which we already ARE. 

The ONE that we keep hungering for, is actually available to us right NOW. It is available to us because it is not separate from our own innate consciousness. 

As these words danced through me: We hunger for that which we already are.... 

Suddenly the Ouroboros flashed through my vision, taking on a whole new meaning.

Ouroboros-dragon-serpent-snake-symbol-716x400.jpg

The snake, hungry for that which it already IS, eats itself in an endless loop of desire and nourishment. An ongoing dance of infinite hunger and ultimate satisfaction. 

The ONE is intrinsic to who we are.

But so is Desire. 

Desire has been called the root of all suffering. Its been more than problematic for spiritual seekers. Some have attempted to solve this dilemma through asceticism, essentially starving the self of all desires. Or hedonism, the unrestrained pursuit of all desires. 

The Ourobouros as it appeared to me now, seemed to be playfully winking to this Desire conundrum. 

 

Yes, Desire is endless. Its not just inevitable. It is a vital to life itself.

The mouth of the snake is perpetually open, hungry, seeking.

But because the root of Desire is a hunger for Source, for Pure Being, for the state of inner fullness that is union with the ONE.

Because the ONE is not separate from our own innate consciousness.

The snake simply eats itself. 

Hunger and nourishment cycle infinitely inside its body. 

Desire and Fulfillment pulse simultaneously in Non-Dual Union. 

The line of linear time, the ultimate symbol of future projection, wraps itself into a circle. Whole. Complete. Contained. 

orobourus2.png

 

Non-Dual Inner Tantric Yoga is learning to feed the snake its own tail. 

Shiva- The formless bliss of supreme awareness is not separate from Shakti, the Goddess- our body, mind, senses and heart. 

They are ONE.

Penetrating awareness into ordinary phenomena within the present moment delivers the Yogi into unity with the ONE. These Inner Yogas are technologies for the cultivation of true nourishment through the alchemy of precise concentration and surrendered receptivity. 

In Tantra, we merge our awareness into the pranas, breath, energy, emotions, tasting, touching, smelling, hearing, seeing, feeling as direct gateways into this state of Inner Oneness. Even Desire itself is eaten as nourishment. Even the dense energy of Fear is the Shakti we ride into the wide open space of Shiva. Even the pain of separation is the chasm we use to fall into God. 

The Tantrika slips between the cracks of reality, in the subtle pulsation between one moment and the next, between one breath and the next, where all grasping at the future dissolves into the spacious ground of BEing. 

One of my favorite yogic manuals for accessing these technologies is the Vignana Bhairava Tantra which translates as the "Mystical Text of the Ultimate Reality." These Yogic Sutras reveal that because the Supremely Free Awareness of the Ultimate Reality is not separate from our own Core Essence, just the slightest shift in awareness can drop us beneath the ordinary mind, dissolving the veil of separation. The Inner Tantras are like technologies to access this innate fullness of God/Source/Oneness that dwells within.

What an incredible paradox. We hunger and crave the satisfaction that is already to available to us as our own INNATE BEING. 

We are what we Seek. 

We are that which we are most Longing for.

We are the Hunger.

We are the Nourishment.

We are the Snake, eating its tail. 

We are the ONE.

Beyond Pleasure: Tantric Sexuality as a Spiritual Practice

The transfiguration of Divine Embodiment through the crucible of sexuality begins with the acknowledgement, embodiment and integration of deep seated sexual shadow. These shadows reveal themselves primarily through the polarity of Craving and Aversion.

 Our bodies hold personal sexual shadow as well as the shadow of the collective. The process of integrating the shadow is ongoing, but becomes more subtle and refined as more material is integrated over time. The more dense levels in the initial stages of transfiguration include addressing sexual shame, fantasies, repressions, traumas, addictions and narcissism.

 As the body-mind integrates repressed sexual shadow material, the contractions of Craving and Aversion begin to soften, opening up greater space and freedom within the habitual body. The temple of sexuality is slowly emptied of pretense. From within the bare bones of this temple, lovemaking has the potential to birth the lover into strikingly intimate contact with the Real of existence as it arises new in each moment: Naked, raw and innocent. Vibrating with truth and pulsing with pure love.

 This Tantric Sex is not technique based or even pleasure seeking. It is a profoundly naked un-doing of the self in rapturous devotion to the Absolute.

 Reclaiming pleasure is initially an important step in the transfiguration of Divine Embodiment. The repression of the body and demonization of pleasure by religious and patriarchal structures has created deep wounds of disconnection and shame. The healing, life-giving and nourishing vitality of pleasure is a birthright, worthy of honor and celebration. Yet fixation on pleasure alone can easily become a narcissistic gratification or addictive distraction. The soul can sense there is more to sex and calls out in longing for a deeper union.

 Tantric sexuality as a spiritual practice goes beyond personal sexual empowerment or expansive orgasmic states. True Tantric sex holds the key to Divine Embodiment. Once the pleasure body has been reclaimed and embraced, the Tantric Lover is called to go further. 

 By penetrating awareness into the phenomena of sensation, the Tantric lover rides the waves of sensation out to their origin and merges with the Source of pleasure. The Non-Dual ground of Being. 

No longer the destination. Pleasure becomes the doorway into the Mystery. 

 It is here that sex reveals itself as the potent intersection of Immanence and Transcendence at the heart of reality. The formless Bliss of the Absolute is contained within the mortal form of our sacred flesh and blood. Passionate, tender worship of the naked body becomes the ultimate holy ground of spiritual practice. Sex unfolds as a deeply rich meditation on the flow of sacred energy and absolute consciousness as they unite and dance through every particle of the universe down to the very cells of the body. Divine consciousness is consecrated with the energies of the flesh. Sensual pleasures are offered to the Absolute.

 The temple of sex then becomes a spiritual training ground, where the lover learns to embody naked awareness, unbounded love and spontaneous communion with reality beyond the Craving-Aversion polarity.

 This Non-Dual lovemaking unites the stillness, presence and penetrating awareness of Masculine Essence with the deep surrender, expansion and spontaneous creation of Feminine Essence.

 The Tantric lover dwells in the holy middle ground between detachment and vitality.

 Here, a profound initiation occurs into the state of Empty Fullness.

 With humble devotion, the subjective, egoic desire of the lover unites with the Desire of existence. When Desire is no longer projected onto objects of gratification, it ignites a burning flame of radiant awareness. Rather than propelling the lover to fill a void of dissatisfaction, Desire is reborn and baptized as an infinite source of inner nourishment.

 In wild love with Absolute Source, the personal will of the ego is surrendered to Divine will.  With naked presence, the Tantric lover plunges into the river of existence, merging with reality without anticipation. Inner and outer become unified into one continuous ground of awareness. The lover meets the moment with totality, drinking deeply from the nectar of reality as quickly as she releases it into the sacred void. The flow of the hands, mouth and genitals unfold with attunement to the sacred tremor at the heart of all creation. The movement of the body originates from a source deeper than hunger.

 Laying down all addiction to performance, the lover moves from pretence to presence. Willing to wait forever in the tender vulnerability of stillness, the absence of action. Like a tiger, the Tantric lover becomes the hunter of the real: supple, poised, open and present, awaiting the spontaneous arising of Truth to ignite the body into motion.

 Lovemaking becomes a radical act of surrendering into the Unknown.

 Love without object, without discrimination, opens the lover to the Non-Dual ground of reality. The flow of loving, alive, sensitized presence is neither grasping nor resisting. It is born from a deep letting go of any effort to manipulate sensation. Rather than making love, it is allowing the fullness of Absolute Embodied Love to unfold its holy transmission through the temple of the body.

 There are no techniques or maps to attain this experience of lovemaking. It arrives by grace. It is a continuous spiritual practice where each arrival at the temple is brand new. The lover cannot anticipate the arising of the real. There is only the preparation of the body, mind and heart to become supple, open and present enough to receive this holy mystery. Sex becomes the ultimate form of devotional practice, where the distinction between worshipper and worshipped dissolves into the ground of Non-Dual Oneness.

 

Within this transfigured sexuality, there is no end to the interpenetration and alchemical union of opposites.

 

Immanence and Transcendence. Masculine and Feminine. Form and Formless. Inner and Outer. Soul and Body. Divine and Human. Energy and Consciousness. Lover and Beloved. 

 

 

Dancing with the Shadow

There is no getting rid of the shadow. Wherever the light of your consciousness lands, the opposite will be manifested in the unconscious. There is no way around this. There is only an ongoing process of continuous integration.

The shadow is whatever has been hidden, repressed or denied, be it "positive" or "negative". One of the pleasures of being human is the process of identification. Ceaseless is the arising of identity. Yet through this process of creation, as we identify with the objects of our own self image, these objects are destined to cast inevitable shadows.

This is a piece of the non- dual mystery. You are both. You are the Light and the Shadow. You are all of it. And none of it.

There is no getting rid of the Shadow, so how do we dance with our constant companion? 

It is misguided to think we can transmute or transcend what is so intricately entwined with the light. 

Ignore, deny, or attempt to fix the shadow and it becomes ravenous and starving, screaming for your attention. What is being called for is our respect and compassion. To acknowledge how our disowning of the shadow has made it our enemy. Our neglect has created an insatiable hunger for integration. What is needed is to feed it the light of our own pure awareness. And to honor the irrational forces that are calling us into wholeness.

To enter the secret wisdom of the shadow, you must first have respect for it.  Worship the mortal temple of your own flesh and bone. The landscape of inexplicable forces of sensation, emotion and feeling. Your shadow lives in your body. You must drop beneath the mind. The crazy wisdom of the Non-Dual requires that you let go of your preferences and notions of how things ought to be. So give yourself over to not knowing. Dive in. Give yourself, humbly and whole heartedly to the Dark womb of the Mystery. The gift of the shadow may not be what you thought.

Stay rooted in the Light of awareness. Not because the light is superior. But because it can give you the courage required to see into the unseen.

The shadow is different from the element of pure Darkness, yet it is the Dark force that will guide you through the process of integration. The womb of the Dark Void is the brilliance of the Non-Dual, where distinctions of light and shadow can no longer be seen. Where all forms dissolve back into formless origin. The Dark is the space of Oneness. Immersion into her belly of secrets reveals the dynamic truth of the wisdom of Duality- the magical interplay of Light and Shadow. This is the Holy Trinity of Dual and Non-Dual.

Stay rooted in the Light as you Plunge into Darkness.

Let light into shadow and shadow into light. Be ravished by the lovemaking of these fated opposites. Feel how the shadow gives depth to the light. How it feeds potency into her radiance. How the shadow is a cool shade, protecting you from the scorching heat of ego inflation. The shadow worships the light. The light worships the shadow. See how they pulse in harmony, content to be together forever.

Be ravished by this lovemaking. And be initiated into the Greatest Secret. 

Wherever the light of your consciousness goes, your shadow is following behind.

Listen carefully- Life is seducing you into Wholeness.