In our usual way of experience, objects and people attract our awareness, so that consciousness goes out in a kind of reactive way. Things and people grab and capture our attention, as it were.
But in a new way of experience, called expanding-embracing consciousness, consciousness intentionally expands outward and embraces the world. One gathers together the world-space around, embracing and enfolding it, bringing the world into consciousness. Of course though, only a portion of the world around us can be brought into consciousness, into our experience. This limitation just has to be accepted. Still, the expanding-embracing consciousness practice is to intentionally meet the world as fully as possible.
This meeting with the world, or with the space around, is with consciousness but also with heart and with feeling. First meet the world with consciousness, awareness, or mindfulness. Second, bring in heart to this meeting, with natural feelings of love and compassion (feeling-with). And third, bring in physical sensation. Feel and sense the physical body energy interacting with life. All levels need to be included in this Full consciousness. Feel the life energy vibrations of each person or thing encountered and the energy interactions between one’s own energy-vibrations and those of others. This is not a mental experience, but rather a sensorial experience. It’s a sensed experience. And conscious breath is needed in this as well. So this world-interactive practice has three parts thus described: consciousness, heart-feeling, and physical sensation, along with conscious breath.
The spiritual path should not be excluding or forgetful of the body, nor the physical world, because our physical body is one of the levels of spiritual expression. Spiritually, we are seeking a finer integration of our body-heart-mind, and all of this with our spiritual soul – which is like our innermost purpose or our deepest spiritual guidance.
Often, spiritual teachings tend to neglect the physical and sensorial component of experience, or even sometimes attempting to suppress it or devalue it. These sort of teachings hold a negative prejudice against the body and physical world. But true teachings value and revere the body and physical world, and also recognize the importance of sensorial experience and physical interactive energies.
The Key is to be fully here and fully alive, and fully real. Be fully in reality, the full reality. This is the true Way. And this becomes the practice; that is, to be fully consciously here in this world around us, embracing what is here with love and consciousness, and also feeling the world and sensing the interacting energies, which is also allowing our physical body and sensorial apparatus to freely interact and be here in this world without suppression or moral-taught proscriptions. Our physical body and sensorial experience is as much spiritual as any other dimension of oneself. So any real spiritual practice of being here must include the physical body with its physical and sensual sensations, and also of course conscious breath.
This practice is very immediate and real. To actually feel the world, touching the world with our senses, makes life real. It needs to feel completely real and the energies of life as completely real. This NOT simply a mental exercise nor merely an idea. The Reality at issue here is real in the utmost physical and sensory meaning of real.
It is possible to have a sensual-sensorial relationship with life and with others. This is the general practice of Tantra, and sex is only one aspect of this. Life is directly tasted, directly felt, and immediately experienced, with as much of our senses and sensuality as possible. Be fully in the tastes of life. When we intercourse with life in this feeling way, with total sensitivity, then our ego-self separateness dissolves in this immediate sensitive relationship, as we are in direct experience with the dynamism of life. An example and analogy of this is when we are sensually enjoying the taste of a particular food or meal; whereby only the taste and enjoyment are immediate in consciousness, and there is no separation between I and the taste experience. One looses oneself, as it were, in the taste. Of course though, this unitive experience with taste itself is not going to continue indefinitely, and we should not make this the only goal of our spiritual life.
But there is a possible rhythm between this kind of unitive experience and relational experience. The relational experience is when there is an I and thou, or by our food analogy there is I and the food, or I and the taste – as in I am tasting. Yet, experience ought to be able to move into the unitive experience whereby the I disappears into the taste or into the enjoyment, and we can describe this as self-abandonment. And then experience at some point returns again to the relationship between I and world. This is sort of rhythm between relational experience and unitive experience can also be known in sex which in Tantra is archetypal of this.
Relationship consciousness is just as spiritually profound as unity consciousness. Relationship involves respect for the other, and this involves an open receptivity and full presence to the other, in order to realize the spiritual truth and beauty of this other. These are the relationship principles applicable to anyone and anything. It is part of being conscious and in love with all life. In this kind of relationship our separate-based ego is dissolved; because the usual ego attitude self-interest and of referencing everything to oneself is transformed in this new attitude of full interest in the other and full presence to them. Interest in just myself and my wishes is transformed into interest about others and the fulfillment of their hopes. Primary consideration for just me is transformed into consideration for others and the whole world. This is the relationship of love.
This relationship consciousness can also involve ordinary objects and also food. Imagine that the objects around you love you, or that they are like kids enjoying your attention and love. So too with food. Our usual attitude and consciousness about food is without any respect for the life and feeling it has; we treat food as dead. Yet a new attitude is perceiving food as having feelings. Try feeling that the food you eat is enjoying your pleasure, and that you are giving the food an enjoyment of being loved and eaten with love and enjoyment. So as I delight in this food, so too does the food delight in my delight. Make this an interesting practice, even if its truth is uncertain. In reality, everything and everyone in our world has feeling and desire, and everything is in relationship. The spiritual path is to bring more conscious light into each relationship and each changing moment, in order to see what truly is.
The problems in our world are mostly the result of people being overly fixated and focused on their own self-desires and beliefs, and not sensitive and perceptive of other people’s desires and beliefs.
Each moment is our most precious gift. Each breath is our only Real Moment.
Think how unsatisfying the past is. Well, yes, we might have some great memories of beautiful or exciting times, but this is now just in memory. These times might tell us what we would like in our future, but none of those times can repeated as they were. So the past is already lost. This, it seems, is the tragedy of life. The past is gone, no matter how it was great or not great. What we have to replace the past is only the now. This is truly the real precious moment, because now is the only moment. Everything else is either memories, or thoughts about things, or hopes, or expectations. Thus, the only real Real is now, in this present moment. And certainly, conscious breath awakens us to our reality of life in this present moment. And since this very moment is the only Real there is, we might as well make this moment and each moment as precious and meaningful as we possibly can.
Know that connectiveness already is. We are already energetically and emotionally connected with others, whether we realize this or not. So consider this. There is an energetic and emotional connection between you and everyone you meet, but this is most often subconscious. So might as well be conscious of it.
The Way is to deepen and expand awareness, to encompass more of Reality. This is the expansion of consciousness, so that a greater portion of the Truth is known. This is the great Path of Discovery. It’s not about learning more book knowledge or information about this or that. A spiritual teaching has to be much more than merely conveying information about a subject. It should be transforming. If there is no transformation or awakening at a spiritual lecture or workshop, then ask for your money back because it isn’t real. It’s not about information. You want insight and transformation.
Anyway, it was said that a greater portion of the Truth can be known, not the total Truth, because all insight and awakening is limited to some degree. We can expand awareness to include and perceive more of Reality, Truth, but its always limited to some portion. This is actually liberating to realize, since we no longer need to expect the ultimate and can now be content with an ever increasing portion. This also applies to our own self-knowing. We cannot possibly know or experience the whole totality of our own being, all of who we are, so the most we can expect is to realize an ever-increasing portion of oneself.
Also to include in our consciousness or mindfulness is our emotional energy and vibration. Emotion is a large part of who we are, and it also interacts with the world around. To be conscious of our emotional feeling is to really experience our self. False spiritual teachings will try to deny our emotional reality, or suppress it, or teach how to get rid of it. But this would be like murdering a child. It is true that some emotions can cause trouble, some emotional expressions can even hurt others, and some are simply dysfunctional and unneeded. Emotions can often be intense, unstable, unpredictable, and even troubling. Yet it is absurd to rid oneself of all emotions, just because they have a potential for problems. Instead, consciously accept the emotional reality. Instead of rejecting emotion, allow the deeper deepest emotions to emerge from the depths of true being.
Now here is a secret about emotions. The more intense expressions of emotion are like amplified vibrations. So if there is a need to lessen the expressionism of a certain emotion, we can intentionally settle the emotion by feeling that vibration settle back down into the belly. Emotions come either from the belly or the heart. Belly emotions are often ego-tainted, such as anger for example. So we can settle this emotion by feeling the vibration return back to its emotional place, which is between the sex organ and the belly button, down there. Then let it be down there. Let it vibrate as a pure emotion. In effect, we are reversing the emotion back to its origin. In other words, since this emotion originally came from the emotional belly cauldron and from raw primordial emotional vibration, it can just as well return there – back to the original basic vibration of pure emotion itself. But we have to accept and even appreciate this raw emotional energy. So, this is not a denial of emotion but rather an affirmation of the fundamental emotional energy – which we can feel as basic, enjoyable emotional vibration, our emotional essence – and yet we can decide to return certain quality-expressions of emotion back into their original raw emotion. And we use conscious breath to accomplish this.
Next to consider is the value and importance of enjoyment, even pure pleasure. For many people the thought of religion or spiritual teaching equates with a denial of pleasure and enjoyment, for the sake of God or some higher goal. It is true that there are times when higher spiritual purposes demand, as it were, a sacrifice of our own little personal pleasures and enjoyments. However, generally, enjoyment should not be denied, if possible, because enjoyment itself is one the great important spiritual purposes. We are here in life to enjoy life. And pleasure is certainly part of such enjoyment. Body pleasure and sexual pleasure are as spiritually important as eating healthy food and being harmonious with nature. These are spiritual pleasures, with spiritual purposes. There is so much false conditioning in our cultures and religions concerning sensual and sexual pleasure, that any teachings suggesting the spiritual value of bodily pleasures seems shocking. Yet this is the real truth. This is not to suggest that body pleasure is the ultimate and greatest of all spiritual virtues or the pinnacle of our spiritual aspirations, but it is certainly an important part of the whole spiritual landscape.
Here is a spiritual practice. Be conscious of and feel the enjoyment-pleasure vibrations in your own body. This is the enjoyment-pleasure of just being alive. It is the consciousness and feeling of life itself, and probably of love itself. And this is the fundamental vibration of our self. Feel it in your being, in your body. It is an object-less enjoyment; meaning that no external object or person is necessary to have it. It’s already in you, in its most original vibration. So to be in touch with this, consciously, is to be true to oneself and also in touch with the Life vibration itself. So let this vibration in you be enjoyable and pleasurable.
Each person has a capacity for enjoyment. This capacity can develop and expand, such that one can hold more enjoyment. Most people have never considered that they have a limited capacity for enjoyment. One can only handle so much, which limits the degree of enjoyed experience, aesthetic experience and sensual experience. Most of our day we are usually in a dull mode of experience without much enjoyment at all, and even if we do enjoy something it is of low intensity. Yet it is possible to expand our enjoyment capacity and increase our enjoyment experience, if we make this a conscious, intentional practice.
The practice is simple but profound. Just open up the body, heart and senses to greater enjoyment of the space around. Imagine being at a mountain top setting or a beautiful beach setting, or any beautiful place in nature. So now, in this setting, it is possible to increase our amount of enjoyment. Think of enjoyment as an energy, a very sensual energy, which fills the body and brings beauty to the heart, and we receive this from the nature we are in. Once this enjoyment is felt, emotionally and physically, it is then possible to increase our enjoyment by consciously opening up to more.
This might sound hedonistic to some people, sounding like an over emphasis on increasing pleasurable experience. It is hedonistic in one sense, in that one is valuing and increasing pleasure and enjoyment. But it is also spiritual in another sense, because one is increasing the experience of natural beauty or whatever the beauty is. It might be useful to check our self about how we think and feel regarding personal enjoyment; if there are any negative feelings or spiritual prejudice about enjoyment. Too often in our cultures, whether western or eastern, there is a strange dichotomy between spiritual and pleasure, as though they are opposites or incompatible. This is because our spiritual and religious traditions have often held a prejudice against pleasure and enjoyment, which sometimes even is biased against the body and physical nature. These false prejudices and attitudes can only be transformed by a conscious acceptance and appreciation for physical energies, sensuality, love and enjoyment. Know that true spirituality is not adverse to enjoyment; in fact, our capacity for enjoyment directly corresponds to our spiritual capacity. God is here to enjoy.
We can find joy and blissful consciousness right here in this world, in this life in front of us. We shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that spiritual joy and bliss consciousness are only found in some transcendental plane beyond this world. It is true that one may have to practice a transcendence from this world in order to first have such inner experiences of bliss. But then, after awhile we should be able to experience this bliss without eyes closed or any attempt to be some other place other than here. So, blissful consciousness is in this existence, not in some distant place beyond here. In fact, bliss and joy can be experienced in any ordinary situation of worldly life – because it really depends on one’s presentness and openness to the joy and bliss that simply is in being itself. Now it may be that in some situations and at some times, the joy seems rather distant and non-present. We might have our ups and downs. But then the appropriate practice is to open up to the Joy and Bliss that is hiding in the essence of any moment, just as there is love in the essence of every moment.
The best spiritual practices are enjoyable ones, though we also do practices for higher purposes or for service work. The best spiritual practices are both enjoyable and for higher purposes. Either is alright but both is much better. So let this be the gauge. When enjoyment is part of a spiritual practice, or involved, then the practice works with ease and has flow. Enjoyment also encourages and motivates the practice, and the practice ceases to an uphill struggle. Nothing particularly wrong with struggle or with difficult practices, but even better when difficulty turns to ease and struggle turns into enjoyment. So beginning practices are sometimes a struggle, but keep enjoyment as the goal. And sometimes enjoyment even invents the practice.
The way is to be Free. Most religions and spiritual teachings are fearful and reluctant about self freedom. There are two main reasons for this. One is because self freedom is unpredictable, and most religious and spiritual teachings seek to develop predicable and well-ordered people, so freedom and spontaneity are avoided. Another reason is that they fear the person will become an impulse-compelled wild maniac, if the person lacks self-regulation under well-ordered rules – which these teachings enthusiastically dole out. Now to put all this in some perspective, we might admit that self-regulation, self-discipline, and an ordered life has some merit and practical benefit, so these are all important self-skills to develop. However, there is already so much religious, cultural, and educational emphasis on a regulated and ordered life, that we might as well consider the reverse for at least some balance. So praise to creative freedom! And praises to feelings of freedom and expressions of spontaneity. Let go of all those restrictions, regulations, and ordered behaviors. Set them down on the floor and dance on them. Set yourself free, free of everything, and enjoy being spontaneous. This is the freedom and enjoyment of life.
Explore freedom consciously. This is much better than unconsciously or half-consciously. Spontaneity does not need to be unconscious; in fact, any unconscious or half-conscious behavior is probably reaction or impulsive habit, which is not spontaneity. Reaction and habit is not freedom; it’s mechanical. So real freedom and spontaneity has to be from full consciousness. Indeed, if reaction and habit emerge from half-consciousness and subconsciousness, and if these are opposite to freedom and spontaneity; then it logically follows that freedom and spontaneity must come from full and awake consciousness. The greater the consciousness, the more freedom and spontaneity is possible; just as the less we are conscious, the more likely we will act with reaction and impulsive habit. This insight reveals a common misconception that spontaneity comes from a kind of mindless or unconscious behavior. Only reaction and habit comes from mindlessness; while free spontaneity comes from greater consciousness. Greater consciousness is even the remedy for habit and mechanical reaction. Therefore, become more conscious! Then be consciously free and spontaneous! Indeed, be free of reaction, habit, and conditioning.
Some teachings talk about impurities or bad parts of the self, and soon one is caught up in this dualistic tension between the good and bad of oneself. First of all, let us admit that some self-manifestations are not so good, even dysfunction or sometimes harmful. But this does not prove that people are inherently bad or plagued with some original sin. It merely shows that people can go astray in false ideas and false paths, even when they may feel they are supremely devotional and righteous. Distortions of Light are possible, but the original Light inside is pure. If we go deeper into our true beingness, we find our original purity, but social conditioning and the hypnotism of some false ideas can lead to distorted spiritual behavior. We all come from original purity, but this can be distorted by circumstances, distortions in culture, or distortions in beliefs.
Secondly, impurity is sometimes a prejudiced way that we perceive ourselves and others, which is simply based on our own limited thinking and ideas. In other words, what is sometimes regarded as impure or bad is simply an unfamiliar side of human selfness that we fear and thus demonize. We are often too quick to judge certain of our own traits or qualities we see about our self. These become the shadow side of oneself; that which remains in the dark from consciousness and often feared. But this fear and suppression is often based on a prejudice or false idea about oneself.
The practice of expanding consciousness must include and embrace all aspects of oneself, all that is in us and real in us, and without any falsely conditioned prejudice. One needs to have a starting attitude of openness, inclusiveness and embracing. Open to, include, and embrace all of oneself. This is the best attitude. Breathe in all there is of oneself. Nothing to fear, and nothing to suppress. It’s all good, because this is the inner essence of oneself. And then, the idea of purity gains a new meaning – that of having purity in consciousness and insight; in contrast to the ‘impurity’ of clouded or prejudiced or distorted or unreal self-awareness. It’s about purity of self-experience, not about some hoped for purity of what is found. It’s not that we will discover in our self some hidden badness or impurity; rather, the real impurity is when we don’t openly introspect into the hidden parts of our self. Thus, impurity is any lack of self-insight or a distortion of self-understanding; while purity is clear and open self-awareness, with a free and uninhibited introspection. And whatever we find about our self can be accepted with love. With full self-awareness and love, some aspects we find about our self will move into a higher transformation, but if we do not notice and also love what we find then it gets stuck. So let what is found dance and sing; for all that emerges from the depths of oneself is spiritually wonderful. Open to the real of yourself, being open and accepting of whoever you are. Let yourself dance.
Be non-dependent on others, and self-reliant; yet dependent in God. In being non-dependent upon others and not dependent on love from others; one can still love others passionately. One can still enjoy being loved and also enjoy being helped by others, but one is not dependent or attached to this. Then one is free in oneself, because one has broken the chain of neediness. Neediness is one important stage in life, childhood, but if we always remain needy or dependent, then we are not progressing from childhood to spiritual maturity. Most people remain as little children emotionally. If that is where you are now, then that’s alright. Feel who you are emotionally; it’s alright. Have a good cry; that’s alright. Feel needy. Feel what this is. Maybe you never received enough love. Maybe you were hurt. Our childhood emotions often carry on. So we need to begin where we honestly are, so feel your emotional self and embrace yourself with love. But at some point you will be able to move on from the needy child. How? This is where God come in. Because with God you can be the needy child. Let God fill you with love, with so much love that you will not ever feel needy of others again. Then you will be free. You will still be dependent on God, but now not so dependent on others. But don’t worry about this state; because you will still feel and enjoy love from others, and you will still feel love for others. It’s just that you won’t feel so needy and dependent on others.
Interest and desire are the great motivators. Some spiritual traditions suggest that interest and desire are lowly ego qualities and should be transcended or destroyed. They value indifference, disinterest, and desirelessness. These qualities, along with nonattachment, are certainly important along the Path to Self Realization and Wholeness. But it is a wrong notion to dismiss or destroy all interest and desire. For instead, let us take these qualities to a higher level. Sure, low selfish interests and desires need to be transcended in order to reach the higher Compassionate Self; yet we could hold higher interests and desires. So rather than simply treat all interests and desires as negative self-qualities, it is much more useful to embrace interest and desire as potentially positive qualities – yet only when our interests and desires are positively aimed at higher spiritual goals, such as God-realization or an interest/desire to serve life unselfishly. Desire the good. Desire what is best for the whole world, Take interest in spiritual understanding and service. Desire to spiritually awaken; not tomorrow but today, right now! This is the higher way of interest and desire, and it is much better to use these motivating emotions for spiritual good, rather than discount their worth or try to destroy them. So it really depends on what the interest and desire is, or what is being aimed at; doesn’t it? For on one hand, interest and desire can lead to a superficial or predominately selfish life; or on the other hand, interest and desire could lead us to the Greatest Desire of all, which is God-Knowing and divine manifestation. So take this moment to embrace interest and desire; then find you very highest spiritual desire and interest. Then let this be the power that leads you to this higher goal.
Go for enjoyment; yet seek higher qualities of enjoyment.
Liberation gives high bliss states.
In the true teachings of Unity, desire is not suppressed, devalued, or eliminated in the spiritual path. Desire is the energy of life, along with passion and enjoyment. There is nothing wrong or unspiritual about this. It’s spiritually alright to enjoy, desire and have passions. Embrace all of this as part of a spiritual life. Many teachings imply that a spiritual person is one who abandons all desires and passions, or transmutes these into desire and worship of God. Even the recognized saints are often ascetics or those who sacrifice enjoyment. But the teachings of Unity embrace all desire, passion and enjoyment. Desire is accepted as spiritual, and this includes desire for anything or anyone.
Now it could be argued that certain kinds of desire are not so good, so should be avoided or even denounced. It is true that we can imagine unhealthy and harmful desires. Yet the desire itself is not the problem; rather, it is the object of desire that might be problematic. So this is the first point to consider; let us make a distinction between desire energy and the possible objects of its intended gratification. The second point to consider is that we don’t have to actually worry about bad/evil/wrong desired-objects, because better desires will naturally come to us. The vision here is that if we accept and allow all desires, but not become attached to any, then the better or more enjoyable ones will emerge in the foreground. The best ones, the most spiritual ones, will attract our heart, our love; while the lesser desires will slowly fade from view. The importance of this vision is that we do not have to desperately pick apart all of our desires and dived them all into necessarily good and bad. The spiritual Tantra teachings avoid making such definite divisions. Instead, accept and embrace all desires, and allow the spiritually greater ones to naturally come to the forefront of our desire and wish.
Love and desire all things. Enjoy and delight in all things, all people, all places, all situations. Suffering comes as one tries to avoid stuff or denounces certain stuff as bad.
Desire out then in.
More reflections of desire and enjoyment:
Return to the enjoyment of Just Being. There are many kinds of enjoyment, including sensual pleasures and sex, but the enjoyment of Just Being is the deepest. Therefore, bring all enjoyments back to the centre of Being. There can still be enjoyments of outer things and people, which is fine and wonderful, but if we know how to bring this energy of enjoyment back to our own centre of Just Being, then enjoyment ceases to be dependent on the outer things. Think of desire and enjoyment as like energy strings emerging outward from our being. These emerge outward from a our reservoir of desire/enjoyment emotional energy. And this outward emergence is natural to our interactive life with others and the world; it would be weird if we did not desire or enjoy outer things and people. But these energy strings tend to attach to the objects of desire and enjoyment, which then creates dependency and also anxieties that those people and things will leave us or go away. Instead, it is possible to have those outward strings or enjoyment connections, yet at the same time be able to bring those emotional strings back to our centeredness or back to just being, which is to enjoy the presence of just being.
Desire and enjoyment energy can then move easily between inward and outward. It can easily go outward to most things, but can just as easily return inward to just being, which is object-less love and enjoyment.
Desire need not be exclusive to just this or that, but rather, desire can be more inclusive; and the same goes with enjoyment. We may not ever reach a point of desiring and enjoying anything and everything, which is probably unrealistic anyways; but we certainly can be more inclusive in our enjoyments. Exclusivity makes for more dependency. For example, if one could only fulfill desire with just one person/thing and if this was one’s only possible enjoyment, then this would make quite a dependency on this one object. But if there were many possible desires and enjoyments, then there wouldn’t be as much dependency of just one. And yet the greatest possible independency would be if enjoyment were always known in oneself, so that enjoyment would never be dependent on anything outward.
The pitfall of desire is its tendency to grab and seek to possess. An archetype of this would be a caveman grabbing a woman and hauling her off to his cave to possess her. This may appear to be extreme, but it is archetypal of the most common tendency of desire, whether a man’s or a woman’s. We can also understand this as a possible attribute of the lower ego, since ego is fundamentally a desire. Desire (or desire-ego) wants to grab and possess. Yet if this can be surrendered, then desire is freed and we are free. For imagine what desire is without being grabby or possessive. It is, then, a very alive energy, ready to enjoy, but without trying to grab and hold on to anything or anyone. Desire can then go out to anything or anyone, but without any exclusiveness or particular attachments. This is desire that is free, and it is not dependent on any particular person or outcome. We can also understand this as a free enjoyment, without any dependency or attachments or exclusiveness. Enjoyment is free to be experienced anytime and anywhere and with anyone. One is not exclusively waiting for a particular kind of enjoyment, nor is one fixated on just one possible enjoyment, because all is inclusively possible to be enjoyed. So then, desire and enjoyment move freely in and through our life, like water moving easily anywhere. This is our possible freedom, which is not dependent on an elimination of desire (as in some teachings about being desireless), but instead is a full self-acceptance of desire though without possessiveness or exclusiveness. We just have to relax or surrender any fixations, constrictions, or grabbiness of desire; then allow desire and enjoyment to flow freely and spontaneously anywhere, like free flowing water, but without restrictions and fixations. (restrictions are just negative fixations).
Let us consider some differences between ego desires and spiritual passions. These are differences between emotions of the ego and emotions of the soul, and sometimes these are referred to as lower and higher emotions. True spiritual passion or emotion emerges spontaneously from deep being. Also, it feels to be independent of outer circumstances, that is non-reactive. Whereas ego emotion is based on a desire for outer life to be fulfilling in some manner. Then the ego emotions react negatively to outer life when this is not happening. Ego wants the outer life, including other people, to fit into its goals and its ideals and its beliefs. Ego does not like disagreement nor upsetness to its goals, ideals, and beliefs. So many emotions are simply reactions to how outer life upsets us, upsetting the ego who wants outer life to be satisfying. Spiritual emotion, on the other hand, enjoys success but is independent of success coming from outer circumstances. Spiritual enjoyment essentially comes from within, though of course we would also enjoy outer successes and beauty. But ego enjoyment is dependent on outer circumstances and others, and this enjoyment is essentially a reaction to the outer world – though it is first based on ego wanting pleasures and successes for itself.
Spiritual passion inherently has the qualities of love and enjoyment, which happen to be qualities that ego wants, but ego searches outward for love and enjoyment, wanting to get this from others or from outer activities. The irony, then, is that ego is searching outward for emotional states which are already inherently within the self but not realized as yet because of ego’s outer focus and reactive tendencies. To realize and experience spiritual states of love and joy, one needs to first be quiet inside, somewhat inwardly focused, and not mentally or emotionally racing outward to be satisfied. Remember that spiritual emotion is already present within the soul, so thus only needing to emerge into conscious experience; and this will actually occur naturally and spontaneously if the ego mind and reactions don’t get in the way. Therefore, practices of emotional letting go and a returning to inner quietude are the way to experience spiritual states of joy.
Ego desires can also be distinguished from spiritual passion because ego desires have strategies. If we notice a sense of strategy in a desire, then most likely this is an ego desire. There is a manipulative undercurrent to ego desires. In addition, there is often an effortful struggle, a kind of trying hard to make others and outer circumstances conform to one’s wishes. Also, one tends to treat others as objects – to be useful for one’s wishes or as objects to actually possess. There is an attitude of using or manipulating, of grabbing, of possessing, and often having subtle strategies for acquiring personal success in getting what one wants. As well, the ego weighs and judges possible pleasures. This would be more pleasurable for me than that, or would mean more success for me. We spend much time trying to achieve these desires, and in order to achieve them we often make a kind of performance to others, which is part our subtle strategy for self achievement. Moreover, we are enthralled by and captivated by our own wishes and self-interests. Our mind and emotions are completely enwrapped by I and me – which also become the dominant theme of our social conversation.
Conversely, spiritual passion is without manipulative strategizing, without using, without grasping, without self-focused interest, without performance, and without judgments. Nonetheless, spiritual emotion is joyful and loveful. There is an openness to enjoyment – which has a quality of allowing enjoyment to just spontaneously arise. Enjoyment spontaneously arises from within, but also there is an openness to all kinds of enjoyment in relation to the outer world and others. But this openness to outer enjoyments does not involve strategizing, manipulation, insincere performance, nor any amount of grasping. It’s like being open to whatever currents of enjoyment happen to flow between oneself and the world at any time. So spiritual enjoyment is not just an inward thing and not something to reach by necessarily rejecting or renouncing the outer world of possible pleasures. Spiritual joy does essentially come from within, but it is very often in relationship with outer life and others. In fact, a goal and passion of our spiritual life might be understood as the natural (unmanipulated) merging of our inner spirit with outer life, and enjoyment is part of this energy exchange.
Yet there needs to be a freedom and allowance in this, as well as an evolving sense of trust in ourselves and in life. It could be that trust is the most difficult quality to be, probably because life sometimes disappoints us. And so because of our lack of trust, the manipulating and strategizing ego comes to power. For if complete trust is present, then ego has no reason to be and thus disappears.
Desire is the vibration of life energy, which is in every living thing. It is the desire to live, love, and enjoy. Human beings do have special extra-ordinary desires, such as self-esteem, challenging achievements, and service to others. But the basic desires are to live, love, and enjoy. And such desires are vibrations of life itself. So there is nothing unspiritual about desire, unless life is unspiritual. Too many spiritual teachings, from both west and east, have made people doubt the spirituality of desire, pleasure and enjoyment. The saints and revered spiritual people are most often ascetics denying enjoyment or those who lack any sense of enjoying their own body and nature around them. Such has been the paradigm model of spirituality. What a fraud. The true spiritual goal is not to transcend out of here, or escape, but rather to fully get here. In fact, the goal of spiritual life is vibrancy – which is to have more vibration, energy, and enjoyment.
The fundamental problem with common desire is its tendency to become attached to or fixated upon specific people or objects of desire. But consider the possibility of being free from specific attachments, while also accepting the spirituality of desire itself. For it is possible to accept desire and reach enjoyments, but not being attached to anything or anyone. This could be called object-less desire – having the vibration of desire but liberated from any particular object needed to fulfill this desire. In other words, desire is never fixated on any particular, and enjoyment is completely flexible, rather than being rigidly limited to certain specific objects or outcomes. An even better description is object-less enjoyment; whereby one can enjoy anything and at any time, without any attached dependence on a particular object, person, or circumstance.
If we live passionately all the time, then there would be less dramatic ups and downs, since the passion would be continuous, and nothing in particular would be passionately desired since everything would be desirable.
If we could love and enjoy each moment and part of life, then we wouldn’t be desperately attached to any one thing in particular. It is only because our enjoyment is not pervasive throughout each moment and through all of life, that we have such dramatic hopes and attachments related to particular people or circumstances. The way is to desire and enjoy, but without grasping or clenching.
This is the essence of Tantra spiritual teachings, to love and enjoy everything and everyone, because the Divine moves through all aspects of life, including nature and our bodies. The Divine Mother Goddess, Shakti, is the living energy of all life. She is not somewhere else in some transcendent dimension. Rather, She is right here, manifesting as the life energy, the passions, and the physical reality of nature and bodies. This living world and everyone in it IS the Goddess Shakti. She is the living energy and the physical manifestation. She is pure love, passion, desire, vitality, enjoyment, and beauty. Christian teachings say that God loves us. This is a beautiful essence of Truth, Yet in Tantra teachings Shakti IS love, and this is not an abstract kind of love but a very felt and expressive love. Shakti doesn’t just enjoy; She IS the enjoyment. Her passion and energy is running through our heart and life.
Shakti is not in any way abstract. She is the energy, love, passion, enjoyment and beauty of our life. This means all of life is Divine, since all of this life is Her. The Divine Goddess, Shakti, must be experienced right here and right now, in this present manifestation and present experience. She is the essence inside us and the beauty around us.
She is the Great Divine Mother but also the Great Divine Lover including the Divine Sex Goddess. All Goddesses are Shakti manifestations, but each with their own special emphasis. Each are like incarnations of the One Goddess (who we named as Shakti). Mother Mary in Christian theology and narrative is especially beautiful, for she is the most revered and pictured mother in humanity, and her energy vibration is pure love and caring. She is a beautiful archetype for all mothers, as she cares for her Divine Son. And every child is Divine; every child is a Jesus, whether boy or girl.
Philosophically this would be pantheism, as the Divine Being is fully contained in this world, or that the Divine is substantially the same as this world. So, ontologically, Shakti is pantheism. But in Tantra She is balanced by the polar complement Shiva, Who is the transcendental aspect of Reality though Shiva is also present in our experience. For Shiva is Consciousness. But understand that Shiva and Shakti are really the same Ultimate Divine Being, the Only One. These are simply polar aspects of the One. And there is a special beauty in this polarization of the One, because we can see the cosmic intercourse between transcendental consciousness and manifest life energies.
Shiva is the transcendental Being, Pure Consciousness and without any form, though often depicted in form.
Shakti is the energy of Shiva (Consciousness) vibrating through form, as life energy and life-transforming energy. One aspect of Shakti is the Mother; because Shakti is also creative and sustaining.
Shiva is the Unchanging Eternal Being.
Shakti is the Changing, ever-transforming Life.
Thus we have Being and Life.
We have Consciousness and Form.
There are two great sides of Being, consciousness and life. These have been called the two major streams. They are also two major ways of experiencing The One Being. So in meditation God can be experienced as our primary consciousness, which is the same essential power of consciousness in all people, though each person most often has unique content in this consciousness. Yet in meditation God may also be experienced as Life, the One Life. This may be new to some people, never realizing that God can be experienced as consciousness and also as life itself. In the older religions we hear that God created life; but actually God IS life. Or maybe we heard that God is conscious; but even more profound, God is Consciousness. So God is the life energy, and the life energy is God; though life energy is not all that God is. Furthermore, we can experience this life energy, we can feel it, and in doing so we are experiencing God.
In one of the older Indian religions, primary Consciousness was called Shiva and Life energy was called Shakti, and these two are in eternal relationship. Shiva is the God and Shakti is the Goddess. Each needs the other. What good would consciousness be, without life to be conscious of? And what good would life be, if there were no consciousness of it? Consciousness is meant to enter into Life, and Life is meant to become conscious. In the chakra system, Shiva Consciousness is above and Shakti Life is below, much the same as we might think of Conscious God as above and Mother Earth below. But we should not mistaken this to imply that the higher is of greater importance than the lower. Both are equal in importance; and what is especially profound about this spiritual model is how both the Shiva-God and Shakti-Goddess are equal partners in the divine scheme. The lower is often referred to as the receptive and the higher referred to as the active. But each can be both receptive and active. The Shakti Life Energy can obviously be active and creative. The Shiva Consciousness can obviously be receptive, or understanding. There is also a third energy between these two, a mystery yet to be considered.
There might be some interest in the seeker about such matters, but the main importance is about how one can experience God, primarily as Consciousness or as Life. Now also important to consider is the middle stream, that which is between Consciousness and Life. This is Love. Esoterically we might call this the Christ, and one might picture Jesus as the great embodiment of Love. In the Indian tradition, this is Krishna. But we should not strictly define Love by any one person, and we should remember that Love can just as well be represented by a woman figure, as Love is trans-gender. So in between Consciousness and Life, or in between Shiva and Shakti, is Love. And this Love is God. It is the very Power of God, or we could say the very power of the Almighty Goddess, the Goddess of Love. God is Love, and Love is God; speaking here of the gender-less or trans-gender God. The important point here, though, is that we can experience God as Love. And we can know Love as God (or as the Great Goddess, if one prefers). So in meditation, discover God in the love you feel, either the Presence of Love around you or the Presence of Love within you.
Unity embraces polarity. It doesn’t simply reject it, nor deny it. There are times for absolute unitive experience, but also times for a dualistic polarized experience. Both kinds of experience are functionally important. Thus, both need to be fully accepted and understood.
Sometimes it’s good for consciousness to separate from the outer energies of life. It goes into an aloneness from life. This is the solitary meditation of Shiva (Consciousness). Yet most of the time Shiva enjoys intercourse with Life (Shakti); in other words, consciousness being involved with life (world or body), rather than withdrawing from world and body to isolate back into a solitary mystical meditation. Shakti is the pulsating, vibrationary, vital energy of Life. Life is vibrating, and this vibration of Life is Divine Presence. She, Shakti IS Life, which is also the Beingness of Life. Presence is the Vibration of Being. Again, this is Shakti. But realize always that there is only One Being; Shiva and Shakti being two polar aspects of the One. So the Shiva-Shakti polarity is from the One, of the One, in the One; thus, not denying Oneness.
Love is the vibration of Shiva and Shakti together, Consciousness and Being – in the heart.
We pulsate between…
interconnectivity, expansiveness, intercourse
retreat, solitude, contraction.
Shiva and Shakti are the main polarities in classical Tantra. Shiva personifies the cosmic masculine and Shakti personifies the cosmic feminine. Yet we need to remember that there is ultimately One Being, though having polar aspects, and the Rhythm or Vibration of these is that of the One Being. Shiva is the Primordial Power, while Shakti is the manifesting energy. By analogy, we might say that Shakti is active electricity, while Shiva is the Power Source of electricity. So what moves through all of life and the whole universe is Shakti. This is why some texts say that Shakti is the active energy of Shiva – who is the Power of Being Itself.
Shiva is also Cosmic Consciousness, which is the Source and Ground of all mind. So in a sense, Shiva has the Qualities of both Power and Consciousness, which makes sense because in this spiritual philosophy Consciousness is the ultimate Power, since Consciousness/Mind both creates manifestation and also destroys it. The creative aspect of the universe, though, is predominately attributed to Shakti, since She is creative energy in action. Yet it is assumed that the Shakti creative energy relies on Shiva Consciousness Power as its Source. Shiva is often regarded as the Destroyer, in contrast to the Creator, but this was a later classification during Vedic times. Nonetheless, Shiva does have definite destructive power, in the same way as Pure Consciousness destroys rambling thought and eventually every manifested creation will return back to its Consciousness Source. Pure Conscious Beingness is Shiva.
Shiva and Shakti can also be understood as the polar realities of Mind and Manifestation. So, Shiva is Consciousness-Mind, while Shakti is all manifesting energy and material form. Shiva is the Conscious Meditating God, while Shakti is the active Mother, constantly giving birth to new things. Mother is thus etymologically related to Matter (Mater), just as Father is to Essence (Vater).
Shiva is also the Cosmic Potential, which again is related to Mind, since all potentials qualities of being and all creative potentials must be first in Mind. This philosophy sees that everything manifested in the universe must have first been a potential in the Cosmic Mind. And by being the Great Potential, Shiva is often known as being at Rest, or in restful still meditation. While Shakti is the active aspect.1
Another polar meaning is the Eternal and Temporal. Shiva represents the Eternal Essence that is unchanging; while Shakti represents the whole flux of change throughout life. Flux and change are necessary qualities of Shakti, because Shakti energy will always create change or transformation. Something will always be happening and transforming when Shakti arrives.
The transforming energy-fire of Shakti is known as Kundalini – which first resides in the very base of body and matter, like a resting snake, but when awakened by Shiva-Mind this Kundalini rises up to transform and bring maturity to form. Kundalini is also known as the fire within, but it can either be resting or active. When active it can either be destructive or creative, or both. It destroys old stuff, but also creates new, and its transformational energy is one of the causes of evolution. As Kundalini arises in our etheric-energy body, it energizes our centres (chakras) and even helps to energize our latent Cosmic Consciousness. And yet, it is consciousness or Shiva which must first awaken the dormant Kundalini from its sleep. Thus, we should give credit to both Shiva and Shakti-Kundalini for awakening each other, and each one needs the other.
Now we might also mention Maya in all of this. Maya is considered a feminine goddess or divine aspect. And Maya is often regarded negatively as representing deception or illusion. One approach in understanding this is to accept that the Shakti and Matter aspect of reality has a negative side to it, of deception and illusion. We should not down play the negative aspects of deception and illusion, yet we should also understand how Maya positively plays into the overall cosmic scheme. First understand that Maya is an aspect of Shakti – which is related to Matter and Form. All creation and everything we experience in life is a form, and without form there would only be formlessness to experience. Think how boring this would be. Many teachings speak of the problem form and the quest for formlessness, without ever considering how boring formlessness might be. Consider God without a world or without any creation, and how bored God would be. It’s similar with Shiva and Shakti. If there was just Shiva Consciousness without any Shakti and without any creation, eventually this would be a complete bore. There was a good reason why creation came into existence. So Shakti is the energy of creating, and She enjoys creating. The point here is that creation and form is good. It’s not something to belittle, or seek to remove yourself from. God wants creation and form. That’s why it’s here. Shiva and Shakti want kids. That’s why we are here. Yet because of the nature of form, or because of the effects of this material form-world upon our mind, there are possible negative effects – such as deception and illusion. Thus, the material world and form can cause deception, illusion, glamour, attachment greed, and being wrapped up in this can lead us away from the spiritual Goal (which is the very purpose of matter and form). Maya is not necessarily this material world. Many teachings say it is, but this is wrong. Maya is the possible deception that this material world is all there is, or that it is worthy of all our aspirations and attachments. Maya is also deception itself; so any false concepts or false thinking or mental delusions would be considered as manifestations of Maya. Thus, all false side-tracks, attachments, and fixations of the mind are regarded as Maya. She is quite a seductive and often successful witch; yet this is just a possible negative aspect of an essentially positive and beautiful Goddess Reality.
Maya is mental. It is mental deception. It is not that the world and the plurality of lie relations is an illusion, but rather that our mental beliefs about the world is sometimes deceptive and an illusion.
Brahman and Ishvara (see the other writings on this)
Brahman is the Universal Self in its more Absolute, Abstract, and impersonal sense. While Ishvara is what one refers to as my Lord or my Master or my Creator. I bow to Ishvara with complete devotion and ask for help and guidance. With Brahman I surrender myself into This Being, but it has an impersonal feeling to it. In one’s relation with Ishvara, or any other name of Deity, I have a conversational relationship. This is what is meant by personal relationship. But with Brahman, it’s more like a relationship with Light Itself.
Brahman, the Universal God-Being, is absolutely one and without any gender assumption. In writings the pronoun might be male, but there is no gender in this. The same is true for God and Allah in those respective religions. God might be pictured or even talked about as like a Father, but God is just as much the Mother as the Father, and the same is true for Allah. The Absolute Universal Being is way beyond male and female distinctions. Yet in the Tantra teachings of India, two fundamental polar aspects of the One are understood, which do have a gender assumption. These are Shiva and Shakti.
Shiva is the Transcendental Power of Absolute Being. It is Power in its Infinite Potential. It is the First Power, First Cause, First Seed. But it is as yet manifested. It’s sort of like a Universal Black Hole, where creation falls into and then out of, in a continuous vibration. So, Shiva is the Unmanifest Potential Power. It is Divine Being at rest in Itself, silent and formless. And it relates to absolute silent, formless meditation, called Samadhi.
Shakti, on the other hand, is the Immanent Creative Power of Absolute Being, which is active throughout the manifest universe and in all of nature. Shakti is the Creative Mother, the Creative Energy Itself, the Creator of forms. Within Shiva is the Will-to-create, but Shakti is the actual creative form-building energy. Whereas Shiva is Being at Rest, in deep meditation; Shakti is Being Creative. Shakti is also energy in continuous transformation, from one form to another, and from one level to another. So Shakti is always moving, always in motion. She’s very active.
Also note that Shakti and Maya are basically the same, both being the creative form-building and transformational energy. Maya, though, is the name given to the illusory and dream-like aspect of all this. For all creative building adds to our enthrallment with form and phenomena, and get lost in this; until the Transcendental annihilating energy of Shiva brings us back to Conscious Being at Rest. So, teachings say that Maya is the illusionary power of the Creative Mind. She’s the Temptress Goddess, because through Maya we get enthralled and engrossed in worldly forms and phenomena.
Maya is really the illusionary aspect of mind; more so that being the illusion of the physical world. Mind is the foremost creator and sustainer of illusion. Mind thinks it knows what is real. This is common for most people. They think they know what’s real. But they don’t realize the limitations of their mind. They think they know it all, but they don’t know what they don’t know. And it is very easy for this mind to get so caught up in and believing in it’s own thinking that it has not a clue how off reality it is, or how illusory it is. So the mind gets all caught up in Maya, similar to how a man might become so seduced and bewitched by a woman’s magic of beauty. But Maya is not at all like an evil witch; it’s just that She is so attractive, seductive, and we fall crazy for her. This is the power of Maya through the world. But ultimately, Maya begins in the mind.
The main Tantric teachings are concerned with liberation of consciousness but while living joyfully in this world. It has a practical balance between transcendence and earthiness. It teaches ways to achieve liberating transcendence, union with the Divine Light, through meditation, mantras (sounds) and yantras (visual mandalas). Spiritual interaction with a teacher is also significant. But Tantra also teaches one to love and enjoy all of life, realizing that everything and everyone is permeated with Divine Essence, or Shiva. This is the main part of Tantra, which is called the right-hand path. This side of Tantra was and has been easily received by other areas of Hinduism and it is fairly parallel with the techniques of Yoga. But another side of Tantra, called the left-hand path, and less practiced, is more difficult to understand and accept.
The left-handed path of Tantra has often be criticized for its impurity and self-indulgences. There may be instances of wrong application, as well as wrong intent, but there is a spiritual rationale for left-handed Tantric practices. Without going into the oft strange details of this, the general idea is to do things which would normally be forbidden or perceived as profane, yet performing such with an attitude of its sacredness. First of all, the very labeling of these practices as left-handed suggests a dichotomy or oppositeness to a right-handed way – which literally suggests a right way. So its meaning is to go opposite to what is usually thought to be right, but we must keep in mind that this is only in relation to a certain perspective about what is right and wrong. The labeling of left-handed was actually the description used by those who denounced those kind of practices, suggesting that they were bad; and yet ironically, the left-handed practitioners accepted such labeling because it showed an essence of what they were doing – which is to go opposite to the normal perception of spiritual good. You see, the right-handed view of spirituality has a belief in their own spiritual righteousness and also in a dichotomy between spiritual and profane. But the left-handed tantriks believe there is no such dichotomy, or in other words, there is no real division between spiritual and profane activities, because Brahman the Spiritual Essence pervades all life and all things. Everyone and everything is Brahman, the One and Only Spiritual Self. So the whole physical and sensual world is spiritual, and the spiritual is not essentially distinct from our everyday activities. So to make this point realized, the practices suggest doing activities counter to the normal spiritual perspectives about what is sacred and good2. By doing what is normally considered bad from a spiritual perspective, they are breaking through religious and cultural conditioning about what is good vs. bad, and possibly breaking through into a new awakening that spiritual essence, or God, is in everything.
There are though certain principles to keep in mind. One is that merely doing activities that are normally perceived as unspiritual is not sufficient, because one has to do these activities with a profound attitude of sacredness or with an immediate realization of the pervading spiritual essence. In other words, the sacredness needs to be realized, or the spiritual essence realized in it, otherwise its an unrealized activity. In a sense then, the tantrik has its own kind of sacred-profane distinction, but it depends on realization and not on the activity. That is, any activity can be sacred (no necessary good/bad distinctions according to activities or place), but only IF there is sacred realization in it.
Still, we can make distinctions between better or worse, in relation to what is most efficient or useful for a higher purpose. Some activities, some places, and some groups of people, are better at helping our spiritual realization. And yet, any activity, any place, and any social gathering can be a highly spiritual experience IF we are able to realize the spiritual essence in it. Besides, if one realizes their own spiritual essence, or for the tantrik that they are in fact Brahman, then nothing can possibly diminish this spiritual truth.
Tantra teachings (know that I could put things like “Tantra say” into footnotes and keep the reg text non-specific to any teachings – which is what I’m doing mostly anyways) say that all space and all the world is full of desire and enjoyment energies. All of life and everything of Earth desires and also enjoys. So desire and enjoyment is all around. It’s even everywhere in all space, since Shakti energy is everywhere, and Shakti is desire/enjoyment. When this is realized, we respect this desire and enjoyment in all life. Also, we can enter into this enjoyment all around us. We can enter into the radiant space of enjoyment that is all around everywhere. This can also be described as entering into the Radiant Joy of life all around.
Tantra teachings continued…
In tantric practice there is an aspect of outwardly expanding the senses and sensitivities, to engage with the world more fully and completely. This world is the Body of the Divine Self, and we can enjoy this Body as we would a lover. The world itself, and everyone in it, become the lover. Our senses reach out to things to create a sensual relationship and aesthetic experience. And all of life can potentially be enjoyed. Yet also in tantric teachings is an aspect of withdrawal. These two aspects of expansion and withdrawal are the rhythm of tantric vibration. Withdrawal is consciousness returning to essence, after being about for time in the world.
Our senses interact in the world like connective strings between our consciousness of outward forms. Consciousness follows these strings outward into the world, which means that our psychic energy tends to get lost in outward things and forms. An prime example of this is becoming overly attached to or even fixated on another person, or upon some activity we just have to do. This is the basis of attachment. Our senses and our enjoyment become attached to people and things of the world, and so our psychic energy is out there. Of course though, psychic energy is meant to go out to relate with the world; however, a problem arises when it gets attached or stuck, then cannot return easily to oneself.
So the tantric teachings speak about withdrawal, as well as sensory expansion.
This practice is to withdraw consciousness back to the resting place of its home. The teachings say to withdraw the senses back to the central channel (susumna). Here, consciousness is replenished in its home, its body, which makes possible a renewed outward creativity. We also call this inward meditation. Withdraw the psychic energy strings toward outward objects, people, and also to outer objectives and hopes. Now, a Fresh Power of creative mind is possible. It is as though one now has all this mind energy gathered in one storage locker, or reservoir in oneself, and with no strings attached to the previous stuff; and thus, the mind can now create anew. The power of creative mind is now FRESH and full of all its reserves. Now, begin to visualize the person you wish to be and the circumstances you wish to be in.
--- THAT WAS IMPORTANT
Shiva and Shakti
It can be said that God is Life, and Life is God. The living essence is God, though God also has the attribute of consciousness. Consciousness and Life are most obviously the essentials of describing Reality. Physical Energy would be the third undeniable reality. Fundamentally, these are the most basic self-evident truths: Energy/Matter, Life (or the Intelligence of Life), and Consciousness (which we can only know for ourselves). These are the greatest mysteries of the Universe.
In tantra teachings all of Reality is understood as a polarity interaction between Shiva and Shakti. We also understand this in ourselves. There is still Oneness of Being in this teaching. But instead of calling it all God, they distinguished a polarity of Oneness into God and Goddess. Shakti is understood as Life. She is the Essence of Life. Feel your relationship with Life. This is Shakti. Life is a vibrant and creative energy. This is Shakti. She is the energetic vibration and will of Life. She is Life. On the other side of the coin is Shiva, who is Consciousness. Life without consciousness would be insignificant be
cause nothing would be known or experienced. Consciousness is the experiencer. Also, consciousness without life would be insignificant because there would be nothing of interest to experience. SHIVA is the Knower, and SHAKTI is the known.
When in deep meditation, who are we conscious of? It is Shakti, the Shakti of our self, our beingness, our livingness. And who is conscious of this, or experiencing this? It is Shiva, the Shiva of our self. And when the known and the knower are One, in experience, this is the Union of Shiva and Shakti, the orgasm of Oneness.
There is added significance in seeing Life as the Feminine Goddess. She is the Creative One. She also loves all of this creation, all her children. She is also the natural intelligence of life. Whether one is either a Darwinian naturalist or a devout religious fundamentalist, it is undeniable that nature shows incredible intelligence which is the intelligence of life.
In the gender represented God-Goddess model, God is Power and Knowledge, while Goddess is Beauty and Intelligent Manifestation. In between these is Love, which is the essence of the whole relationship as well as the purpose.
There was a theological mistake in thinking that God is separate and beyond life, or that God is at a distance from this world. Yet the Truth is that God is here, in and through life.
The practice of Mahamudra, ultimate meditation, is meditation in one’s natural presence. This is a non-effort meditation, because there is no effort needed to just be. If one is trying with effort to meditate, or even practicing some planned form of meditation, then this is not the Mahamudra. This is not pure meditation. Meditation is a way of conscious being, without dispersion, without a scattering of thought, and with consciousness all together in oneself. One may need some effort to get into the meditation practice. This is true. But the meditation should eventually turn into a natural, non-effort, consciousness of being, and an experience of peace and pure bliss. Thoughts and feelings might arise in the meditation, but these will be experienced as superficial in relation to the pure truth of being. If thoughts or feelings arise, then just let them be, recognize them with respect, then allow them to dissolve. One does not have to forcefully reject thoughts and feelings, nor try to make them disappear. Rather, treat every thought and feeling with loving respect and compassion, and keep to the goal of just being in pure consciousness.
Maya – the necessary power of illusion, so that we can experience unique appearances or phenomena. It’s the mind’s creative form-making power. Mind creates form or phenomena, or experience. Maya makes all the varieties of color and form, so without Maya this world would be quite dull and uninteresting. This is the positive value of Maya; but the negative side is when we get deluded by phenomena or attached in it or believing that one particular view is the absolute reality. All views and all experiences are limited perspectives ; each perspective has some value, but no one perspective is the Absolute Truth.
Ultimately and Absolutely there is only One Being, from which all other deities emerge. The Absolute is Allah, God, or Brahman, depending on the religious name, and the Absolute is necessarily beyond any male or female distinctions. Yet only the pure mind and heart can realize the Absolute God, One Being, beyond all distinctions. So on the path of gradual realization and spiritual life we often encounter other lesser deities in meditations and teachings. These lesser deities are like essential qualities of the One Being. In Islam we speak mostly of the Divine Names, rather than speak of lesser deities, and in Christianity we most often speak of Angels in almost the same way. In Hinduism and Buddhism we speak of multiple Deities or powers. Sometimes we even speak of gods and demons, which are powers in Existence and in the Psyche. The Divine Names, the Angels, the Deities are all particular powers, and these may have influence in our psyche and in our earthly lives. Remember that Existence has seven levels, or dimensions, and each contains its particular powers. The highest deities or powers are closest to the highest level at the Absolute.
What is higher to one power is lower to another. It’s all relative to the level where one is. Thus, when anyone speaks of gods and demons, these are relative terms. We can say that the gods (or goddesses) are helpfully good, while the demons are disfavorably bad. But remember that each of these powers are relative to other powers. Therefore, while sitting and living at a certain level we experience a particular helpful God power; these same power may become a burdensome demon later on if we progress to a higher level. A god at one level might be a demon at a higher level. Likewise, if we experience a demon power at a certain level of our life, this could be a helpful god at another level. The gods and demons are relative to one another.
In Buddhism, gods sometimes look like demons, and demons sometimes appear as gods. A beautiful goddess might appear singing enchanting music, yet this may actually be a demon in disguise, lulling us into slumber and apathy, or luring us into emotional attachment. Or, what might appear as threatening could later be realized as helpfully healing; just as we might see a knife as threatening, but this same knife could also be used to cut out something poisonous in us. Healing is sometimes a sharp knife. And sometimes we fear our own possible enlightenment, because of the changes it might bring. So a healing power might appear to one person as a goddess, but to someone else it might look scary or witchlike. To the sleepy, anything that is trying to wake them up might appear as wrathful or mean. Remember that appearances can be deceptive.
Appearances might also be illusionary projections. An appearing helpful god, goddess, or guide might really be your own love-wisdom projected outward from within. What we see in the spiritual world, in meditation or in vision, is often just a mirror image of our own spiritual self. This is known as self-arising phenomena. As in a dream, we see a power or quality of our own being as a particular image or spiritual being. We might realize that the spiritual power, the deity or the dakini in our vision, is really a creatively imagined image or representation of a power-quality in our self. Sometimes we have to see these qualities out there, before we realize and assimilate them as our own.
Also see other writings on this from another file:
To also add on demons about fear::
Advice - Look into fear, until it dissolves, because fear is often an illusion. There are legitimate fears in life, but often we have more illusory fears than valid ones. Illusory fears are scary faces or scary masks that frighten children. The appearance looks scary, but it’s just a mask. If we look into a fear that is frightening us, and look deeper into it, we might see into the illusion or into the mask. Psychology has learned the efficacy of this. For the more we self-observe and look deeper into some of our fears and resentments, they begin to dissolve, because we are seeing into their illusion and realizing they don’t really have much validity.
Another technique is to realize that this fear is a mental invention and has been projected from our own mind, like a movie projector.. If this is so, then the mind which projected it can just as well absorb it back. If we can realize that mind has invented and projected this fear, then we have the power to absorb it back and dissolve into our inner boddhi mind, the pure mind at peace. We can actually do this with any negative energies or negative thoughts, which are stuck in our aura. Bad spirits and negative energies are often inventions and projections from our own mind. In other words, it’s our own stuff, yet projected as a particular image or spirit. So re-take this back, re-gather it; then it will dissolve inside us.
The Path: The Way: The Right Choice:
is to follow the inner heart, the real guidance and soul direction from within.
The Way is also to listen to the Nature Beauty Way and dance in this.
If one is only trying to fulfill practices and duties, then one will still be lost on the wheel. The primary aim has to be liberation/freedom and immediate realization. If the aim is always about tomorrow, then tomorrow will never come. Instead, make the aim this very present moment, and liberate from everything. Liberate from everything. This is a very, very high aim. Can we be free in this very moment?
Can we come into realization this very moment. It has to be in some present moment. Realization is realizing that I am just consciousness. I, this consciousness, might be attached and identified with various possible thoughts or emotions; but who I really am is consciousness – which is the same as spirit.
The other side of realization is liberation.
Respect this Earth as our Mother, and all lives as our brothers and sisters. This is our bigger family. Come into a loving relationship with everyone.
earthiness being here grounded ness loving relatedness
the next great religion will be Earthy and Life-centered.
some of this ought to be put together with meta, see parts put in organic
1 Of course we shouldn’t try too much to correlate all this with human gender generalizations; women are very active and creative, but men aren’t always sitting around contemplating their whatever, although there is a Hasidic joke that men very importantly contemplate and philosophize about God, while women do all the other work in life.
2 Note that some described practices may be mostly intended to shock the reader’s religious conditioning, or the practice itself intended to shock the practitioner. But some texts say that these are practices only for the most courageous.