Living and loving with awareness implies caring deeply about other people in our lives, whilst at the same time remaining detached and releasing any sense of ownership; speaking out when there’s injustice, but doing so with non-judgement. It requires us to use our skills and knowledge honestly to interact to the best of our ability, fully aware of the energetic and practical consequences of our thoughts, emotions, actions and words, and with personal responsibility for the choices we make.
Even when we feel mistreated and undervalued, rather than contracting or retaliating, the goal is to respond by remaining open and giving. When in the throes of personal or inter-personal conflict, if we manage to continue living and loving with an open-hearted awareness we will both demonstrate the degree of our integrity and ensure that energy continues to flow through our subtle body as well as through our life circumstances, instead of the energy becoming stagnant.
Free-flowing energy is essential if we are to remain healthy during stressful times and if we are to facilitate the best possible energetic conditions capable of ushering in change and improved life circumstances. Moreover, living and loving others and ourselves with conscious awareness can bring us a greater sense of peace and empowerment.
Modified extract from my book “She Who Is Unto Herself”
Joy’s physical support system had crumbled again, and the way ahead in her life remained blocked. Gino, who shared Joy’s need for a subtle balance between movement and stability, recognised her struggle. “Remember that you can find strength from spiritual sources,” he said to her compassionately in one of her moments of deep disorientation. “You yourself have told me that the physical is transitory. When your exoteric support structures have disappeared, you can access your power from the esoteric.”
Although Gino’s words revealed no new perspective to Joy, they greatly aided her to find a point of balance. Gino was aware of the subtle dimensions of life. His support was crucial to her because he was able to advise and encourage her without dragging her back under the veil of illusion.
Joy found her breakdown hard to accept because she had believed that she’d learned to hold the high ground over her emotions in any situation. Instead, she discovered that the vicissitudes of life were still able to provoke bitterness and depression in her. Maybe breakdowns are always a part of life? Perhaps what’s important is how we respond to them? Joy was aware that even in the depths of this current crisis a feeling of purpose lay just below the surface of her gloom. She recognised that her faith was growing stronger, enabling her to reorient herself more quickly after a breakdown than in her younger years. Continue reading →
What is love? What comes to your mind when I ask that question? Is it romantic love and sex? Is it religious or spiritual love? Is it filial or parental love? I guess most people would choose out of these options. Would any of us refer to self-love? Without an apologetic tone in our voices? Self-love might start with a rational analysis of our worth and achievements, probably in line with prevailing social and cultural norms. However, such contemplations risk remaining purely intellectual in nature and are likely, therefore, to end in self-condemnation and feelings of inferiority or – quite the opposite – egoic pride and a sense of superiority. To counteract this kind of mental cul-de-sac, the good news is that there’s a more authentic and deeper self-love that can be accessed when we step beyond the rational, thinking mind and the pull of the emotions. This self-love might be experienced as an incredibly calming energy that pervades your whole body, giving you a deep sense of presence, acceptance of the moment and connectivity with all that surrounds you. Tantric techniques aim to stimulate more of this kind of self-love. As such, Tantra offers “the greatest empowerment of all: the power to determine your own inner state, regardless of external circumstance.”
Extract from my book “She Who is Unto Herself”
 Wallis, C.D. (2013) Tantra Illuminated. Mattamayura Press: San Rafael, CA, p.192.
The over-arching Shakti, “the formless course of everything”  – a definition that’s strikingly similar to the concept of Tao – is believed to take the form of various gods and goddesses, which personify the “different energies that make up the multiple dimensions of existence and of our own consciousness”.
Cassandra Lorius gives further food for thought on the distinction between Shakti and other goddesses: “In fact, Shakti is not so much a goddess, as the creative force behind existence, who manifests in different forms. That’s why she’s not depicted as a single deity, but as a number of goddesses who represent the various qualities of this primal energy.”
Bearing in mind that abstract concepts are fluid and subject to perception, and as a neophyte to Tantra, I am tempted to situate the all-encompassing Shakti in the transrational sphere and put the various personifications of Shakti – for example, the different tantric goddesses like Durga, Parvati and Tara – within the transpersonal plane in the form of archetypal energies. “When [Tantric adepts] invoke a particular deity, they mentally bridge the gulf between the personal and the impersonal.”Continue reading →
“From the highest source of tantric authority we learn […] ‘To worship it, become it’ […] Without this ‘becoming’ there is no worship. There is no worship without. Worship without is a rite; it becomes a mere ritualistic form. The only worship, like love, must be a continuous, penetrating and merging flow of energy from within, from within to within. ‘Becoming it’ is the first demand for a successful prayer. It is the soul in shape. This is at the root of our worship of deities. […] It may be Kali, Mary, Buddha or Jesus. Unless a prayer makes the devotee ‘become’ it, the prayer has failed. It is like reciting a cook book in order to appease hunger.”
Quote from Bhattacharya, B. (1988) The World of Tantra. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd: New Delhi, p.215.
I struggled for years with feelings of guilt around being joyful. Although I’ve always felt tremendous gratitude for the life I’ve lived – all the interesting experiences I’ve had and the love I received firstly as a young child, then growing up, and now as an adult – I’ve often been caught in the trap of wondering how I can feel happy when so many children, men, women and animals in the world are suffering, mistreated and in pain. In addition, there’s all the damage inflicted on the plant and mineral kingdoms, often at the hands of ruthless human beings. I’ve come to the conclusion that precisely because of this painful reality it’s part of my life purpose to be joyful – in the sense that it’s not only my right to be filled with joy but rather also my goal. It’s my task to smile, to bring positive energy to my exchanges, to be centred and believe in Love – the Love that is the essence of each human being. Smiling, laughing, enjoying each and every moment is a great gift I can share with the world. Continue reading →