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.
One of the unremarked aspects of Madonna’s legacy, in my opinion, is the fact that many of her lyrics are exceptionally devotional. She is remembered for the controversy, the pushing of boundaries about women were allowed to express, but also, she intuitively understood the nature of the Divine Lover and the blurred line between 'him' and 'Him'. The chastity and absolution that comes with prayerful loving.
Aside from the obvious (and controversial at the time) Like a Prayer, we also have : Cherish, True Blue, Rain. Deeper and Deeper. Even the (again, controversial video) Justify my Love. You can see so many of them as potent songs of Shakti to Shiva. Flitting between the Him, and the him.
Demanding that the little him shape up (Open your Heart, Express Yourself) to the full glory of what he is capable. As tantrics have always known, this is the mystical power of the conscious female, the yogini.
And you wonder where the modern day mystics have gone... They are going where mystics are supposed to go. Check out the scriptwriters, the rock bands, the writers, the poets, the artists, the thought leaders. Look at Lady Gaga. ‘It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-im. Baby you were born this way’. Or the quietly witty video for ‘Judas’. Just because she’s exploring the shadow, doesn’t make her dark. It's a journey to the underworld, like the goddess Inanna. This is what women are supposed to do: feel and express without judgement. Feeling involves throwing a harness on darkness, rawness, pain, and pulling it into the light. Transmuting it through art into something less scary and freeing. There’s a great power in saying: This is how I feel. What are you going to do about it? Heal it, accept it or fix it, but don’t argue with it or deny it.
I could go on (and on), but in the meantime, what about the song which inspired this post... True Blue?
Go on, have a listen. I bet you’ve forgotten how childlike, innocent and uplifting this song really is.
I am your slave
There's no choice in this
Where you go, I am there also
one and the same
Let me be at your feet
soaking up the rays of divinity
This is not a show
just the fact of my existence
Born from you, to you
Where is the choice?
You move, I follow
You lead, I dance
There is deep magic here
vast oceans of pleasure
being bonded together
We are one
Your ‘free will’ does not exist. It is the state of not remembering. Of experiencing separation.
Instead of 'free will', try exploring executive action. This is choice from a state of empowered union.
The minute you re-member the Lover from which you came, your illusion of free will is finished. The bottom falls out of ‘you’ leaving only ‘is-ness’.
Falling into the embrace of many lifetimes.
Dissolving into totality, unconditionality, surrender.
Lots of people talk about 'surrender'. They say they're doing it. They point to it. they talk about how their life has got better. And some of them, some of the time, are getting close. But you will know when you've truly surrendered because you will be nothing but bliss and ecstasy. You will have the 'problem' of so much pleasure in your life you don't know where to put it.
Try giving up. Stop manifesting, stop intentioning, stop co-creating, and become empty.
Become a living orgasm. Helpless, reckless, yet full of creative power.
And enjoy it.
*Pes mi? (Turkish)
'Do you give up?' or 'Do you give in?'
When love itself comes to kiss you,
don't hold back! When the king
goes hunting, the forest smiles.
Now the king has become the place
and all the players, prey, bystander,
bow, arrow, hand and release. How
does that feel? Last night's dream
enters these open eyes. When we die
and turn to dust, each particle will
be the whole. You hear a mote whirl
taking form? My music. Love, calm,
patient. The Friend has waded down
into existence, gotten stuck, and
will not be seen again outside of
this. We sometimes make spiderwebs
of smoke and saliva, fragile thought -
packets. Leave thinking to the one
who gave intelligence . In silence
there is eloquence. Stop weaving,
and watch how the pattern improves.
It was the first day of Ramadan last Thursday, and my eldest daughter, who is nearly 12, decided to fast for the first time.
This is kind of a big deal.
For those of you not familiar with Islamic fasting, this means no food OR drink from sunrise to sunset. And with it being May, that’s quite a long time. It evoked some unpredictable reactions in our family - I am a big fan of liquid only fasting, but my initial reaction was to recommend she save this for a weekend. She had two school assessments that day and we didn’t know what effect it would have on her. My husband, who is Muslim, but often not the most enamoured with my free-spirited fasting, decided it was ok if she really wanted to test herself. He, after all, started fasting with his family from a similar age.
Not that it mattered what we thought. Her mind was made up.
Why did she want to do it? Mainly to keep company with one of her best friends who was fasting. Also, to see what it feels like. To see if she had the willpower. To manage her intake.
And she did it.
We didn’t even get up for a pre-sunrise meal in the early hours as many do. At just before 9pm when I got her favourite dinner ready a little victory shimmy was happening in the kitchen.
Sometimes life just throws out a surprise. The daughter who grazes every time she walks past the fridge or cupboard managed something most adults would find challenging...
The funny thing is, I have been fasting a lot recently, just not this kind of fasting. Initially I thought I might get the blame for setting a 'bad' example, but as we've seen, this wasn't the case. I find fasting more effective than almost any other practice, for almost everything: being present and in the moment, peace, increased levels of bliss and balance, clarity of guidance, clearing karma without struggle, letting go, slaying demons, breaking patterns, increasing devotion, self acceptance, manifesting something outside my comfort zone etc. etc.
When I say 'fasting', some people think this is quite extreme, for others my kind of fasting is probably a little tame, but generally, a not too arduous fast for me is 3 - 7 days of fasting until evening meal. Plant-based gluten free. No caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, or chocolate. I also avoid soy. On a couple of occasions I’ve gone all the way through without evening meal making it around 48 hours in one go but this is rare and depends on not having people around who are alarmed by this. I’d like to do more, if only out of curiosity, as after a fast that long I start to feel ready for pretty much anything. And it’s easier to keeping going once you’re in the groove and feeling the benefits than it is to get started. But people get concerned I'll waste away so what’s to do?
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I always knew that one day I’d try a Ramadan-style fast. What I didn’t know is that my daughter would beat me to it. So on Monday when she decided to do it for a second day, I joined her.
It’s not that bad.
After all those years of concern over the lack of liquids for so many hours (I drink a lot compared to most people), it just wasn’t that hard. I didn’t really feel that hungry or thirsty.
It was quite revealing - just how much of a displacement activity eating and drinking is. I have never sat at my desk and focused for so long - no tea breaks, no toilet breaks, just working and not thinking too much about it.
Coming home and not getting dinner ready immediately was also challenging as this is something I look forward to. By the time sunset at 20.57 arrived we had amused ourselves by preparing more food than we could eat and arranging it on the table beautifully. I was struggling after half a plate which doesn’t happen during my usual fasts. Admittedly, this would be a lot more difficult in a hot climate, or as a manual worker, and this is nothing on those who do this every year for a full 30 days, but it was an experience. And there are benefits to not drinking, as even water carries a certain energy which can be positive or negative depending on the source. When you consume nothing, you have your breath and nothing else.
So now we know what our Turkish relatives experience every year, and will be prepared to join them if our visits coincide with Ramazan. And we’ll probably test ourselves a few more days before the current month is complete.
In case you haven’t noticed, I highly recommend fasting.
As long as you’re fit, healthy, not insulin diabetic, pregnant etc. it's a great practice with many benefits. It’s not to be confused with a health detox or diet as the attitude and goals are different although some of the benefits may overlap. Fasting as tapas (austerities) is to be carried out with a humble attitude and devotion for a spiritual purpose. Intermittent fasting for can also be used for weight management - you will reap many benefits from this as well, but it is good to be clear about your purpose before starting.
If you’ve never tried it before, I’d recommend trying a 1-3 day fast with water and evening meal as described above. When I first started, I this I was still eating fish, dairy and wheat and still found it to be highly beneficial, so I wouldn't worry too much about the content of meal you use to break the fast as long as it's 'clean'.
Give it a go, and see what changes in your life.
I've been wanting to say a little about consecration for a while. This is an enormous topic but if you're serious about your wellbeing and development, a very important one.
You can consecrate just about anything - your food, your projects, yourself, but what I am going to talk about now is consecration of your space. This one thing can make a huge difference to your sense of peace, wellbeing and clarity of mind.
You might wonder why this is such a big deal, but if an area is under-consecrated, your energy will be lower, the quality of your thoughts will be more negative, and it may be difficult for your family to feel in harmony there. This may not make sense to the rational mind, but everyone knows how much better they feel in harmonious surroundings, such as in nature, or the difference between when you've tidied up before you went to bed, and when you haven't.
Think of your living area as being a reflection of your energy (and that of any other people you live with). The macrocosmic mirrors the microcosmic, so if your home is disharmonious, it is likely that your mind lacks harmony. Often people think, 'I will wait until I have more time/energy/things are less chaotic and then I will do it', but the opposite is often true. It may be that the most compassionate thing you can do for yourself is to give your space some love, and this will bring about the desired changes in your world. It means that the space will work for you in your life, providing an area of light for you to grow in. An unconsecrated space can magnify your karma and keep you stuck. If the people you live with are going through problems you may not be able to change them directly, but you can provide a safe space for them which will give them the best chances of working through their issues. If your work is challenging you, you need a sanctuary to return to at the end of the day.
If you are going to meditate or take part in other spiritual practice, it is extremely important to clear and consecrate the room in which you do this. It will make your practice progress much more easily and help you to feel more connected as you do.
Ideally all spaces in your living area should be consecrated, but in order of priority, look at your communal and sleeping areas, and then if you work, your desk or other areas.
So, how to do this?
As a first step (and if you only do one thing), de-clutter and tidy. Then de-clutter and tidy some more. Clean (this is a note to self here too over the bank holiday weekend). Feel into the space. What would make it more harmonious? Do you need to move things around? Is anything unsightly? As an aside, it's good practice to keep electronics out of your sleeping area. The most important ingredient in consecration is love. Love the space, enjoy keeping it in a pleasant state. If it helps, think of your efforts as karma yoga, a form of prayer, or devotion.
There are many, many practices and objects you can use to consecrate a space, however I am only going to recommend here those which I have found most effective versus their simplicity, practicality and price.
1. Fire - if you have a stove or fire, put it on regularly. If not, or if it's summer, get yourself some candles. There is nothing as purifying as a flame, and it creates an atmosphere which is harmonious on all levels. Most people resonate with candlelight so you are not going to freak out your family, partner or less sensitive housemates.
2. Sacred symbols - for the sake of ease and simplicity - choose a sacred symbol which appeals to you for each room you are consecrating. Easy to find, print and put on a wall. Try to feel into what the space requires rather than imposing something on it. For example, I love the Sri Yantra for it's power and ability to bring on/enhance samadhi, but recently when I was re-consecrating my bedroom, Sri Yantra was not right - despite the fact that I meditate here. The 'right' symbol for this space turned out to be the Om Shanti symbol. If you're not sure or new to this, try one or more out until your room feels attuned. Be prepared to re-evalutate this over time as your needs change.
3. Crystals - by no means a must, but a very simple, easy way to help clear your space and keep the energy attuned to your highest good. As with symbols, experiment with what you are drawn to for a particular room. The bigger the crystal, the more powerful its range. Amethyst is a good all-round choice for purifying energy, and is useful for 'in-between' places - perhaps halls and smaller rooms that you' haven't given the full treatment. Crystals are also good for a child's room as they are tactile and your child can help choose which one they want. Remember to cleanse the crystals when you first receive them in salt water and refresh at intervals thereafter.
4. Anything else you've learned: Reiki, tibetan singing bowls, music, scents, holy water, flowers, plants, clever geopathic healing etc. etc.
5. Any of the above will lose their impact if you fail to keep the space uncluttered, fresh and tidy. Your space needs to feel loved, not neglected. Keep your eyes on the ball and continually see this as a work in progress. There are some times when your space will feel more challenged than others and may need extra attention to keep it in alignment.
Don't underestimate the importance of consecration. In your list of spiritual practices, this may not be at the top, but you may want to move it higher. It's something I didn't consider so important when I first began my journey, but now I can feel the difference when I move from room to room or if something is out of place. I spend a lot of time in spaces which could be made to work better.
Over time, consecration will simply become a way of being, a way of going through life that allows you to slice effortlessly through karma. It's both an art and a science that you'll develop with practice.
Start with your home.
Today, I’m excited to be introducing...
(drum roll), The Divine Lover bhakti playlist. (You can find it here).
Explore consciousness with me through Bhakti yoga...
This is the first Tantra Mataji playlist which has come to fruition but there are more to come. These are the result of many years of rigorous testing in my very own kitchen. Each playlist has its own focus, but together they are designed to help you become more alive, more total, experience more love. In order to make the list, each song has to rate very highly on the Ecstasy-o-meter. The blend of artists, lyrics, music, and combination of songs in the list adds a further dimension of complexity.
Who do I mean by The Divine Lover?
Your sweetheart? Your guru? Your deity? Does it matter?
Sufis know God as the Beloved. Jesus offers himself as the Bridegroom. Shiva is a loving husband to Parvati. Krishna is Lover to many. What are these archetypes telling us about our relationship with the Divine? Who or what will point the way to communion with the ONE and Divine Unconditional Love?
I am not making any apologies for the song choices (Boyzone warning). There will be some tracks which you don’t immediately like. That is ok. There may be some song transitions that shock you. The goal is to PLAY with the list. If something annoys you, ask yourself which part of you is annoyed. Savour the tracks you do like or which move you. Stop and start and play the ones you like over and over. These are not designed as background music or easy listening. Ideally, if the idea resonates, you will treat this as sadhana and ‘work the list’. Turn up the volume and sing. Dance around. Do it in front of other people. Especially if it’s ‘not you’.
‘Yes, but I don’t really do Bhakti’ I hear you say. Hmm, that’s what I used to think - not a devotional bone in my body. I guess that joke is on me (spontaneously dissolves into puddle). If you are human, you are capable of Bhakti yoga. If your goal is bliss and ecstasy, try it. Paramhansa Yogananda once told a disciple, “Kriya Yoga plus devotion works like mathematics. It cannot fail.” It’s a bonafide path of yoga that works, especially in combination with other practices.
And if you’re still hovering, this is not just a simple Bhakti playlist (you can find plenty of those already on offer on YouTube). My mix-y up-y mix tapes are tantricly woven to challenge you a little, activate more energy sub-harmonics, and help you expand into totality.
Warning: This post contains fruity content (!)
A tale of two lovers...
Our divine couple...
Two beloveds, wandering free in the countryside, in the desert, over the sea, have attained sacred union - the eternal inner marriage of hieros gamos. Conjoining, they watched as their essences spiralled round each other, golden, in a double helix, binding them together.
Once two, now they are one, communing constantly as a single being in two bodies.
Whether together or apart, their energies sing to each other. From their tongues, their energy channels, their love organs - streams of tingling consciousness speaking the mysteries of the universe.
They began with wildly different backgrounds, Love is funny like that, but if you asked them now, you would find they have forgotten their starting points. Meeting in the centre they have dissolved their histories, their former selves and opened to the Christ consciousness, the inner soulmate.
How old are they? Who can tell? These entwined beings are constantly renewing through the breath of the cosmos that flows between them.
Together they have become a love-bomb, dissolving all barriers to Love in their paths.
Inspired by the new sensations flowing through them, between each ONE and the Divine, with childlike curiosity they look for new ways to experience more, share more divine communion.
What can there be to dislike, to argue with, concerning a love such as theirs? But they have heard rumours, incomprehensible ideas, and it makes them wonder...
She takes his hand:
My tongue speaks to yours
communing like wafer
So much to say
yet no words taking form
like a stream
with eager boisterous
Please be gentle
What are you saying?
This is popping candy
Like a tongue on pencil sharpener
like the stream
Can we go to the chapel
for the love
with each other?
I want to feel it
the wafer on my tongue
Will it speak to me
Can we go there together
as we offer our tongues
to this union?
Hold my hand
The priest is on our side
No lover of mine
is an enemy
we are fine
I promised myself a while back, if I ever got a taste of enlightenment, I'd try to describe what it feels like.
Because if you're on a path, I think it's helpful to know what you're aiming for.
And because despite everything, I didn't really find a good description anywhere, or at least anything that resembled what my experience was like in order to explain it.
So my question was, either those doing the talking are missing something, not sharing, or on a different trajectory.
Words like 'bliss', 'peace', 'rapture' and 'ecstasy' get flung around, but what does that actually mean? 'Ecstasy' is a word invented by people who don't experience a lot of it, and we just have to make do with inadequate vocabulary.
It's my belief that in the higher realms there are probably entire languages devoted to expressing the many flavours, tones, harmonics, subtleties and varieties of love experience.
I've been reminded recently how good it actually is.
peaceful, passionate, playful,
tender, physical, total, dissolving,
ecstatic, rapturous, prayerful,
blissful, kissful, ravishing, caressing,
extinguishing, re-birthing, romantic...
And much more (like I said - inadequacy of words)
It's not just about chasing inner peace.
And I reckon that's worth a bit of inner work and meditation...
confidence - freedom - passion