It was a while ago my husband was watching the latest Star Wars movie - I forget which, as I’ve sort of lost interest of late. Anyway, by way of making conversation he asked me, ‘Would you be Jedi or Sith?’ And slightly strangely given that I literally grew up on Star Wars and role playing the old movies in the playground, light sabres and all, I said, ‘Sith, Dark Side’.
And he said ‘Yes, I thought so’.
So at least we’re in agreement about that.
And I didn’t really think much more about it, as it was just a bit of banter. But why did I say ‘Dark Side’, I mean those guys are evil, right?
But it was more one of those off the cuff truths in that, what is even worse than Dark for me, is self righteousness, and people who won’t acknowledge their dark side. If you admit to being in darkness, at least you can be saved. If you are self righteous - urgggh. It’s a hard, cold place to be.
Isn’t this the dialectic of humanity? This is why, until the last few of us transcend our duality, there will also be bad guys, playing the role, to teach us humility. It’s like being kept in detention - the bad guy teacher will keep you back until you learn the lesson. And then you realise that they are just you in another guise. A reflection of your own, repressed bad guy.
So what to do?
First, you need to own it - the darkness. Whatever you see in them, is also in you. This ownership gives you compassion, and through compassion, and forgiveness you dissolve the aspect of yourself you judge in others. This then sets them free to let go of the behaviour you dislike.
You need to acknowledge and air the darkness inside you, and find out how to release and transmute it. Your darkness contains your power, authority and highest potential. It’s doing its best to not let you see it at all. It’s trying to annoy the hell out of other people and push them away so that they don’t see it.
You sort of think you know who you are, but the real you, the divine you, is probably more like the opposite of you, even if you’ve been on the spiritual path for a while. Because being divine is nothing like being ‘spiritual’. Being divine is not being ‘moral’. Being divine is completely mindbending to most people because it’s not of the mind - it’s a paradigm shift in way of being. Being divine is not about getting out of here and going somewhere better. If you are divine, in acceptance, are beyond duality, why would you want to be anywhere else?
There are a lot of good reasons to be here.
Once you have transcended polarity, you can play with polarity and actually begin to enjoy it instead of being threatened. It is more fun to manifest from a state of physicality, because you get to play more with the questions: how is the divine going to get this thing to me?
For eons people have disowned the body as being base, as being something to be overcome, something to ultimately leave behind. This is the karma of the spirit, rebelling against the restrictions of the body, the sense of separation. It is the ego that rejects the body, that is too good to be here, to get its hands dirty. It is THE most destructive belief, because it cuts you off from the big story, your own vehicle for accessing the divine. The body is an illusion, but it’s one that can take you home. The wisdom you need is all there, in your DNA, your molecules, in the spaces in between.
But while you think you are somebody, while you are identified as this or that, you are not in your highest power. While you are identified as ‘this’, by definition you are not ‘that’ and therefore in separation. If you embrace and heal all of yourself, you are much closer to embracing and healing all of that which you see in others.
Your dark side contains the gift. The part of you that is your strongest asset.
What is your greatest weakness, your biggest bugbear, your repetitive Groundhog Day ‘I can’t get past this’ karma?
It could be your greatest strength.
Have you noticed
how women worship with their bodies?
and how others
Those tears at the feet
of the anointed one…
with rich perfume
tended with kisses
in total response
damp from caressing
unmindful who’s watching
act of Love
pure in devotion
with a moment
Vignette of passion
all but lost
on those attending
Nothing of sense
for the mind
Did the women
see it differently
with their own bodies
her eternal darshan ?
And if you should see
moved by guileless ecstasy
and your heart
Will you join her in touching
Or, how to make love to life...
When I first began my spiritual journey as an adult, I have to admit didn’t actually have ecstasy as a goal. Ascension - yes, mastery, definitely, wisdom - absolutely, but ecstasy wasn’t really something I had on my list, because I would have defined mastery etc. more in terms of absence - absence of pain and suffering, feeling good and whole, experiencing flow, peace etc.
But I hadn’t really been led, by anyone I’d learned from, to expect states of extreme pleasure, communion and totality.
I hadn’t been led either, to think that ecstasy could be a tool to experience more of those other good things. Tantra for me has become an attitude to life. When I experience resistance in certain areas, I feel in and let the ecstasy do the work in healing and unblocking so that bit by bit more of life becomes ‘ecstasy-compatible’.
When I first opened to ecstasy, many of the elements were familiar, whereas others were completely new. I think it is helpful, if the concept of ecstasy resonates with you, to know what you are aiming for, and which states and experiences to develop. It is like joining the dots. You start with isolated incidents, then they ripple out, joining into each other to create a state which you can dip into at any time.
Ecstasy is a state of non duality where you can observe polarity but simultaneously hold two poles, understandings, opinions, in your consciousness, with appreciation but without judgement. You reach a point where the one enhances the other and you understand that both are a part of the whole, of what is divine. You can feel this rippling through your body.
Ecstasy has infinite moods and layers. It is literally all of existence, every feeling, every experience, transmuted into divine pleasure and communion. The more of yourself you can allow, can open to, the greater your capacity for the many ‘threads’ and harmonics of ecstasy.
So, these are some of the elements of ecstasy. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start...
Joy without boundaries. Childlike. Just because you are IT and this is IT. Touching joy in another at being alive and observing the primal nature that brings you together.
For ecstasy this is a key element. It is much more important than ‘love’, which is an overused term to the point of being meaningless for many. Compassion for another opens you to the depths and layers of feeling that will melt you at your core and bridge the polarity that separates you.
The more complex a situation, relationship, an appreciation, the greater its potential to teach you ecstasy. The fact that you need to hold awareness of many different appreciations at once which may seem impossible to resolve into black and white, right and wrong, forces you simultaneously into simplicity - checking out your mind and seeing only with your presence.
Dipping into your emotional reservoir - the feelings you’ve healed, those which are unresolved, those that others are going through to which you can relate. The songs we sing, the stories we tell. The histories. What it means to be human AND divine.
Not necessarily sexy, just alive and full of creative power. Power to heal, power to be vulnerable, power to surrender, power to explore the shadow, power to accept. Appreciating everything in its finest, many layered potential. Not judging.
A quieter state on which to build. Do you attain this in meditation? Where else does this crop up in your life? Talking to animals, after a yoga class, massage or Reiki treatment? For me, for years, inexplicably, this was induced by sitting with a cup of tea and my favourite catalogue. Practice imagining yourself in that state until you can tap into it just by focus.
Accepting your place in it all. Your childlike self, your divinity. Being humble yet curious. Infinite yet finite. Primal yet harmless.
Humour and delight
The kind of humour where someone adores you but can’t help teasing. A precocious child who says something gorgeous and you are not sure whether to weep or giggle. When you see a kitten and want to give it’s tail a tweak...
Especially this. You need to allow yourself to look at pain and surrender to it. If you try to shut yourself off from pain or other difficult emotions, if you resist them, you are also shutting yourself off from ecstasy and higher states. We need to own what it means to be human. This is the hardest element for the ego to swallow. When Babaji first showed me this it made part of me very uneasy. But if you want to own your birthright, you need to be able to look at pain with the perspective of deity, of everything being ultimately ok from the perspective of eternity, not of the individual stuck in illusion. Feel into pain, don’t resist it, express it, then access that higher perspective and work on transmuting it into one or more of the other elements.
If you do not feel this is ‘you’ (I didn’t used to), try starting with love and compassion. Think about it. Are there certain tasks you devote yourself to easily? Do you feel this more easily around certain people? A lover? A child? A mentor? Start where you find it, then spread it outwards. The goal of devotion is not to put the ‘other’ on a pedestal and make yourself wretched, but is in fact an act of enormous self esteem (big Self), which allows you to dissolve into communion with the other and puts you in a receptive state (also try my Divine Lover Bhakti playlist for more on this).
So those, for me, are the key elements of ecstasy.
Add to these a healthy dose of surrender, gratitude and inner connection, and you’re on the right track.
confidence - freedom - passion