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
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...
The places you make love to me
In blind sight
The plump pillow that catches my cheek
Wilting my will
The bliss of stillness
Kissing with tingles
The low ache of pleasure
Caressing my back
In each asana
Sharp pleasure of presence
Your brush at my curl
Behind my ear
The songs you play
For all to hear
While I quietly weep
The little smile we share
The cool water you offer
The giddy barefoot lightness
When I'm wearing my shoes
The way you cover me
While I sleep
The languor of laying with you
Breaking from working
The emptiness I dedicate to you
The constant peace
Of a moment shared
The tear of ecstasy
When I close my eyes
The inner sigh
Can anyone see?
These are the places
You make love to me
My first post!
This poem was inspired by many different things - pictures of yogis wearing little but a loin cloth with no thought for poor women of a sensitive constitution, the jokes shared with the inner beloved, my own experiences meditating.
Give me a camera, and I'll be there....
confidence - freedom - passion