Have you noticed?
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
The elements of ecstasy
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.
A guru poem
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
I am not 'together'
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.
As promised, we have a brand new playlist!
You know, back in the day I would have made you a mix tape...but this is more portable.
This juicy playlist is called Guilty Pleasures...
It’s designed to be played at full volume with lots of raucous dancing, jumping up and down, singing at the top of your voice. It is perfect for shadow body healing.
When healing the shadow body, guilty pleasures need to be embraced and integrated.
You need to stop holding yourself tightly, keeping yourself ‘together’ and feel expansive.
Give yourself permission to feel childlike and joyful.
Accept your primal nature and any tension you perceive between your enjoyment and your mind.
As with the previous playlist, these songs have been rigorously tested in the Tantra Mataji kitchen and you can be assured that they rate highly on the Ecstasy-O-Meter.
When you’ve got this little lot out of your system, try meditating right after. I bet it will be a good one - you’ll find it much easier to quiet your mind and savour your inner peace.
I have been taught not to trust ecstasy.
That ecstasy cannot be my teacher.
That ecstasy is in conflict with what is good and moral.
That it is selfish.
That it is lust.
That it is temporary.
That it is unruly and unreliable.
That it is not social.
That it is not compatible with a good life, an ordered life.
I have not been taught that ecstasy is something to aspire to.
If you experience it, fine, but it’s not the be all and end all.
Always limit it.
Only in specific circumstances.
Only in private.
I have been taught to be suspicious of ‘experience’ in spiritual contexts.
‘Charismatic’ always comes with a warning.
Nothing in my spiritual experience taught me that ecstasy was a goal.
There were surely warnings about letting go, being taken in, trusting the wrong teachings, trusting the wrong guru, suspicions of trance like states (samadhi) and being possessed by demons or negative energies.
Some saints experienced it, perhaps, but it was often touch and go whether to burn or beatify.
And as a woman, what is the messaging? Don’t enjoy your sexuality for yourself. Like ever. Or submit to condemnation in some form. The fewer partners the better. Not before marriage. But when with your ‘ok’ partner, make sure you look as if you’re having a good time. You are a failure if not. We don’t let women own sex. They are too often first introduced to sex on the back foot, forced into either a defensive or ‘pleasing’ position, and will spend x amount of years re-discovering it in a way that includes their wisdom.
Why are we shutting ourselves off from ecstasy with SO much unconscious intention?
On some level we know that once we’ve experienced true sacred ecstasy, we are finished as a limited being. There is no going back once transcendent states have been experienced. We cannot be controlled and made to dance to another’s tune once we have accessed our inner knowing. Even if we are momentarily swayed, we just know and can reconnect with that sense of communion. We know which ‘rules’ bring us closer to that, and which push us away. Ecstasy comes with a big fat happy warning of too much freedom.
No wonder why it is so elusive.
This is me
I am mama
I call for baba
that I don't
and I'm calmly
when you suffer
to take you down
with the others
have an answer
Who am I?
Who are you?
Who are we
The ‘I’ is
but I AM
is all the
at this time
My reality. Just me.
If I AM ok, but you are not, what difference does it make who is who?
Which part of the whole of humanity did you pick up when they were giving out slices of karma? Your concept of 'self' is a part of that karma too.
Hmm, this looks interesting,
I'll explore what happens when.....
Did the game you were playing collide with someone else's?
Can you hear the cosmic laughter?
WE are looking pretty funny. And we are looking pretty awesome. And cute.
We are the sweetheart - mischievous angels.
How many lovers can we hustle?
What happens if we melt all the parts of ourselves together, take little leaps of faith towards each other? How many 'serious' players can we wrestle to the ground in a heap of giggles?
We might have to get closer. It might feel more intimate than we're used to.
It might start to look a little like ecstasy.
I am the breeze that plays about your lips
You kiss me back
Softly your essence gives itself up to me:
tender, treacly pleasure
Butterflies lightly meeting in the air
circling apart, then touching
Undisclosed, beaming joy
provoking bubbles of inner laughter
feeling each other this intimately
a startling, delicate delight
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?'
The Divine Lover bhakti playlist
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.
Moscow is my Himalayas
'Our love affair was a prickly thing
I thought you were ugly and cruel
You enticed me back'
I was planning another post, but given the current diplomatic crisis between the UK and Russia (and the world), this one feels more timely.
As love affairs go, this one's been pretty damn big for me....
Moscow is my Himalayas. I start to breath differently there as soon as the plane hits the tarmac. It's a place to feel more alive. I realise not everyone feels like this.
How do you learn to love something which initially seems off-putting?
Well, this is the essence of tantra, and Russia has taught it to me well...
'Overcast and austere, you make me glad to be with you
Unwelcoming, you embrace my soul
Once more I breathe deeply in your feather-heavy air
My belly bubbles the buzz none can hear'
Often, the things which seem most 'difficult' are the ones most worth the effort. When I first visited Moscow in 1996, I can safely say I was not immediately in love with the place. It was big, dusty, unwelcoming, had horrible red tape, and all the good nightclubs were hidden un-signposted down some back street only to be reached using a hastily hand-drawn map.
But there was something.... an excitement, a challenge, a significance, a secret, a promise of more.
It is becoming a bit of a theme for me, but if you want to experience ecstasy, you need to embrace complexity - the 'good' and the 'bad'. It is only through transmuting the duality of these that you find genuine unconditionality and passion for life.
Those red stars on top of the Kremlin get me every time....
(Also, y'know, Russians are not that difficult to get on with - lots of my favorite, favourite people in this lifetime have been and are Russian).
Poetry heals, and here is a poem I wrote in Moscow two years ago in 2016, a whole twenty years after my first visit - celebrating the things that had changed, the things that hadn't, the memories, and the constant new-ness. I hope it goes some way to offering a fresh perspective.
Am I old or young?
This place tumbles my feelings
Until I melt into the flow
Releasing the years in between
Worn like barricades
Can I still be one of you?
In these spaces so grand
I lose myself lightly
So present in every in-breath
Every mouthful, every undiminished echo
Still delightfully stern and unyielding
Now flaunting glamour and poise
A new-old presence reinvented again
Between grid-locked cars
Joy bursts out at stony walls
A face this serious can only be pretending
One tickle and here's a laugh
It's flooding back to me
I remember how to dance through this
Lilac trees invite
Red stars in the night
Vibrating with stored knowing
A constant landmark for our stories
Yours, and mine
Of course - you were my mentor!
Shaping my young years
Being the anarchy of aliveness
A love of many lifetimes
We must know each other well
Connecting so deeply
Your love-flow flavour
Comes spontaneously to my lips
I am here, now
Dissolving the distance between us
In the awe of your embrace
I am always young
Do we need a song? Hmmmm. Too much choice. I think on this occasion a traditional one...
confidence - freedom - passion