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.
Concerning the tree on Jesus Green, the early morning HIIT class (evidence of which in the photo - that was a few weeks ago, it is pitch black now), The Guru, and the juicy mystery...
In the tree again
I found myself
the strong old guru
with loosened bark
where my hand had gripped
in search of treasure
Golden He entered
my every cell
and I in turn
fell blended into wood
blissing at my master
watching this merging
of him in me
and me in all
soaking up and soaking in
dripping with aliveness
and roaring in rage
that I can’t contain this
only be opened
by his exquisite purpose
this sparkling gold
in all of my cells
and the trunk of this soft being
sinking me into oneness
And why did I rage
restless with questions:
It is hope that is killing
he said to me later
But the answer
is there between
the golden sparkles
between my cells
within the unraveling
which knows everything.
Can we slaughter the mind
on the girth of the tree
nail our poison
to being this free?
I am loving this
Guru, this learning
I am loving this unity of existence
Take me back to the tree
push me further
melt me inwards
Let me tell you a secret. I am a mess. I am not ‘together’ at all. I look together on the outside. My life is looking pretty good at the moment. But I am not together. I am falling apart, one piece at a time, or sometimes a whole load of them just start to cleave off in one go. That’s when it gets crunchy. The other day I sort of found myself deciding whether to have a breakdown or not. It could have gone either way. But just like the other times I’ve been in that position, there was too much of me conscious to really go there wholeheartedly. And it's a bit too much drama for my taste. Better to just voluntarily give up and let go. That feels better. Crisis over. I’m a mess, I’m a failure. Generous, loving, but still an asshole at times.
I heal people as I go around without having much control over it anymore and sometimes, as an empath, it makes me trigger and I am still learning how to manage the level of perception I feel. I feel awful for no apparent reason other than that I’m letting go, rather than holding it in. I’m not trying to be cool, but from the outside I’m 'performing' better than ever before without even thinking about it. I feel anxious because when I look around there’s very little else holding me back any more. I read somewhere recently that if the path in front of you is trodden, it’s probably not yours. SO TRUE. I do and experience things ever day that make me weep, make me sublime, make me dissolve, and none of it makes sense. I keep getting married. It doesn’t make any sense. But it’s too compelling to give up now.
I have recently joined a rock choir. For those of you not in the UK, this is a bit like a Glee. It is satisfying and soothing in so many ways, not only for the singing of Footloose and Can't Stop the Feeling in four-part harmony with choreography, but also for the fact it meets in the local church, and we’re all standing there singing to the crucifix at the end. I'm not Catholic, but but y'know, crucifixes have been growing on me lately... Anyhow, I was there last week, just enjoying the experience, and I looked up and thought - He doesn’t look as if he has it all together.... But appearances can be deceptive. The key theme I have running through me at the moment is power, influence and authority. Do you need to look cool, together and badass to have this, or do you allow yourself to come undone? I found myself coming a little undone in the choir rehearsal. And then that night it continued. I read some post on Facebook that made me feel off-centre so instead of trying to resist and figure it out, I just opted back out into that gnosis state. I spent the night going deeper. My guides took me back to the church where I became one with the church itself, the walls, the chairs, the crucifix on the wall. Just feeling into the waves and ripples that made all these solid items. The bliss of dissolving into nothing. The point they made was, who has more power and influence? The one who is together, who looks in control, or the one who knows they can penetrate all things with their influence? The authority comes with letting go.
I’m like the person on the assault course who’s crawling through the mud, and then there’s a big wall ahead, and I just stop. Why is it better at the top of the wall, on the other side of the wall? What is wrong with just lying here quietly in the mud? Feeling into the mud, my body in it, looking up and seeing the sky, becoming one with even the wall. There is no need to go anywhere as I can feel it all in this state of compassion. And what happens to the wall? It just disappears, and it’s like, you can go through now. And I’m like, actually I’m ok here, I’m not sure why I thought I needed to go through but if you say so...
This is a bit like my life now.
My mind is checking out. So ciao, see ya! I hope you weren’t attached to me with my mind.
I go into my mind and I can’t string a sentence together. To be honest I never could. I switch off my mind and just turn up and open my mouth and something coherent comes out. I know where I’ve been going wrong all this time....
Luckily, losing your mind is a good thing in spiritual terms.
I go into my mind with an issue and it shouts random words at me like a perverse word association game. They say when you are drowning your life flashes before your eyes - this has been going on for a while... I look at someone and my mind delivers a name that is not theirs - Jessica becomes Sarah, Emily becomes Jenny, Nicki becomes Natasha, I become Wendy, and so on.
But, there’s nothing wrong with me. I don’t want a diagnosis because in your diagnosis is always an implied judgement. I don’t want to be fixed. I want to be loved the way you love a rose. I want to be held and told it will all be ok. There’s nothing wrong with me. Finito.
Go deeper, I tell myself.
More and more, the message I am getting is to FAIL. Allow it. When I fail, give up, everything shifts. Sometimes from minute to minute, sometimes overnight. How else are you going to dissolve your ego? Too many people are holding on to a half life instead of living. How can you define a successful life? I am hot out of seeing Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema - Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45. Successful life or unsuccessful? To me, successful is surrendering to your poem, your part in the tapestry of humanity that you came here to weave. If you try to be together, chances are you will probably hover on the edges of success but never actually benefit from that full swell of feeling the wind behind you when you seize your moment.
Fail better, Fail harder. Fail nobler. And let the universe fill in the gaps. It's MUCH bigger than you are.
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?'
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.
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.
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...
There is a lot of chatter about 'abundance' these days on the airwaves. A lot of talk about removing blockages to this abundance. What they are usually talking about is financial 'success' aka performance, and often a successful romantic relationship. If you're really lucky you'll meet your 'twin flame'...
The trouble is, these desires are mostly a result of projection, and therefore lack. You want these things to compensate for what you don't currently have as a permanent state.
Try thinking about abundance in a different way. How much bliss do you experience when you meditate? How many layers of appreciation do you feel when you listen to a piece of music or watch a movie? How deeply into your own body can you go and how much of the universe can you find there? How many nerve endings are activated when you interact with another who is not your lover. How much self-compassion do you have?
When you start to truly have abundance in this inner way, you could choose to live in a cave and feel as if you have the whole world.
For me, abundance is characterised by a pomegranate seed. It's a little red, juicy jewel in which you can find everything. Try looking at one with appreciation. When I was teaching myself this, I spent some time clocking little 'jewels' that I found in my life, and endowing them with appreciation, collecting them like trinkets - gifts to me from the Beloved.
It's a good practice - how much 'juice' can you squeeze out of a little pleasure? Can you find pleasure in something you would normally resist? Make it into a game.
When abundance really happens, it would be unusual for your external circumstances to not reflect this. But that's not why you do it, because a critical aspect of this is surrender and letting go. You let go of your performance-led goals, and start living like a poet or an artist. Celebrate your own creativity in any way that pleases you. If you treat yourself with something nice, do it in full consciousness out of self-compassion and make sure you enjoy every drop. Re-define abundance, and it will be more likely to work with you.
I wrote a poem about these jewels of abundance a while back.
Always a good reminder.....
Jewels that I find:
Shining pomegranate seeds
French fancies, battenburg and Swiss roll
Our love in these
Like rubies and pearls
Shared moments of laughter
Glasses clinking and tinkling
You make me coffee
And I kiss you
Being is exhausting. Spending all day holding together your self-constructed identity will tire you out.
How about letting go?
The ego will never manage to overcome the problem that it simply doesn't exist. But it will keep you wretched trying.
Not being on the other hand is easy. You don't have to work at it.
Relax and let the cosmos breathe through your nothingness.
confidence - freedom - passion