02 Oct TANTRA: ECSTASY WHILE DOING THE LAUNDRY
“Surely you have read traditional accounts of fully enlightened sages of Asia, or Western saints and mystics without blemish. But these ideal stories can deceive us. Actually, in the awakening of the heart there is no such thing as enlightened retirement. Things do not go like this.
We all know that after the honeymoon comes marriage, after the elections comes the hard task of governing. In the spiritual life the same thing happens: after the ecstasy comes the laundry. ” – Jack Kornfield, After the ecstasy the laundry.
I recently read a book that I recommend to all meditators. It’s by Jack Kornfield and is titled: After the Ecstasy the Laundry. I loved it.
This is questioned:
“Most spiritual stories end with realization or enlightenment. But what happens if we ask what happens next? What happens when the Zen master returns home, where wife and children await him? What happens when the Christian mystic goes shopping? What is life like after ecstasy? How do we live our understanding with a full heart?
And it invites us to this:
“In the spirit of Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day and the Dalai Lama understand that spiritual perfection does not come from oneself, but from the patience and love that grows through the wisdom of the broad community; such spiritual fullness and freedom includes compassion for all things that arise in human form. “
This book presents a dilemma with which I have found myself both inside me and outside the world: How to lower ecstasy to the earth, to the everyday, to life manifested in all areas, personal, emotional, sexual, partnership, family, social, in the relationship with the earth, each act, each word.
Thanks to the tantric vision of my teacher Osho, it was relatively easy to enjoy the laundry. Now I understand that not only did he throw us into the void with meditation, but he also trained us to celebrate and love all the things of human life and life in general, and we had the opportunity to learn about the body, about emotions, about sexuality, of the coexistence…
The vision of tantra is that the mundane is not separate from the spirit.
For tantra the duality is not the failure of the unity, it is the unity overflowing and overturning in the creation. And for that it is divided: in Shiva and Shakti, consciousness and energy. The creation is an act of love between both!
All my life has been dedicated to the pursuit of fulfilment. As a child, I kept asking questions such as who am I? What is the purpose of this life? Why so much emotional pain? What is peace, freedom, death, the mystery of love in the concrete and in the universal?
And even after the ecstasy every day I wake up “without knowing”, that “without knowing” is precisely the answer to all the mysteries in themselves. The fact of being able to let myself fall into the void of the “without knowing” and at the same time be completely available to the mystery, of the game of life unfolding before my nose, with me as protagonist, unpredictable, again and again, has been the blessing of my trip to nowhere.
By reading this book I was able to understand the value of the tantric teachings and the way Osho transmitted them to us through life in his ashram. He taught us that you could do the laundry by celebrating. That the beloved always accompanies the beloved, he is present even when she does the laundry.
After being surrendered to the tantric teachings of Osho for 9 years, I was suspended in the mystery when her body left us and finally fell into the void with Papaji, advaita teacher, disciple of Ramana, I understood that what I considered the end of the road was really just the beginning.
Yes, it is true that the realization that I am pure consciousness expanded me into an infinite space in which there was no identification, no tension, no words, no time, no beginning, no end, no you, no me, no form, neither attribute, nor desire, nor longing, pure silence, eternal space.
It is true that I would have liked to stay in the “wholeness”, or in the “nothingness” for calling it in some way and keep me away from the worldly noise of civilization, of the minds identified with the game, with the story. I did not want to play anymore, to plunge into human stories, to identify myself, to be someone, to have emotions and desires, to project, not even to speak. The silent and vibrant formless eternity was all that my consciousness wanted to contain and contemplate, if not to say, Be.
But it was not going to be that simple, oh no … that emptiness was filled! First it was filled with an immense vibration that physically felt like an implosion of energy so immense that being ecstatic was also overwhelming and terrifying. Compassionate and devastating, I do not know how to describe it.
She was life pulsing in my body! A body!!! A form!!! A someone!!! Delimited, unique, sentient, thinking, a concrete incarnation, with a concrete functioning, with tastes and desires, with preferences, with emotions, with a mental functioning configured in a specific way, with shadows and lights, changing ……. It was her, Shakti! And she wanted to manifest, express.
And I observed:
I could see how a new ego disguised as Non-duality, of which the mundane does not matter, because I already know, why I jumped from the mind to the pure consciousness, I already know that I am nothing and that all others are the same and we are all dressed up to take our place in this great tragicomedy, Leela (Game) as they call it so accurately in India.
I wanted to grab on the Void, hahaha!
I understood the anchorites, the hermits, the sadhus who renounce the world to take refuge in a small cell, the monks…, I understood Ramana sitting in a silent cave, rejecting even his mother, refusing any interaction that forced him to occupy a character, a role. Consciousness free of identification with the contents, thoughts, emotional habits, desires and longings.
And yes, there was an absolute truth in all of that, Shiva! The destroyer of all illusion, of all content, pure consciousness that is defined by nothing.
And there was also a part of the ego that wanted to attribute the experience and reject all content not to get involved in what bothered him, like someone who has just cleaned the house and hides in a corner to not make it dirty anymore.
I understood the male’s panic to lose his eternal peace, his pristine emptiness and infinitely free of content.
But no, this chalice was not going to pass by, and I’m still drinking from this cup and getting drunk with its contents, I get drunk on it and I contract in the identification, I make a mess, I dirty, I clean up, hug, reject, love and hate, I judge and accept, I get angry, I get scared, I put myself above and then below, I separate and I am founded. Here I continue from eternity doing the laundry, learning to be a presence in Love, not to reject Shakti in any of its expressions, to trust in any expression that emerges, to trust that whatever happens is welcomed into the eternal present of the consciousness, that I’m still here, always here, always here…, realizing.
There is nothing defective, nor waiting to be fixed, it is already being, it is an adventure!!!
And to travel through this adventure I am equipped with an ego, a healthy identification that is integrated little by little in the experience, that allows me to take care of myself, to feel my needs, my desires and longings, that is surrendering to know that sometimes life brings me what I need and not what I want, what I can desire knowing that my essential happiness does not depend on objectives, that I can be this self and not another, that is listening to what is necessary and true at this moment, that is fluid and firm, that sustains me and bends me. That is my way to bloom and sing and contribute to this existence.
And like this I began to dive into the experience of being alive and incarnate, as if the sea were sea and fish at the same time. I am That and That is living in a small human with this form, having in that way a unique experience of itself.
Until that moment there was no consciousness in me of what incarnate life supposes.
At that moment I understood what Osho said in his speeches: Life is not a problem to solve, but a mystery to discover, to celebrate, to love.
Until that empty and eternal consciousness did not contain all the expressions of life and energy with the same even, relaxed, compassionate and respectful gaze, the experience was not complete, and yet I refer to everything, to the history of this human incarnation, to my son needing my attention and love, my mother worried about my future, the purchase in the supermarket, the laundry, my neighbour complaining, the mechanic who told me that my car has been seized, my empty pocket returning from India and not wanting to do something to fill it, to a love saying goodbye to me to return to their land…, to the fear of not knowing how to live in the world being who and how I am, vulnerable to feel the unbearable lightness of Being.
It has been 26 years since then and here I continue to bring awareness to all aspects of the incarnated Shakti. Learning from all aspects of life, which this one wants to show me, including them all.
She deals with history, plays, costumes, words, feelings, changing diapers, dancing, putting a flower, crying and laughing, continuing to love, filling the void, that the game never stops.
I just had a surprisingly painful moment of my incarnated life. I say surprising because I was very surprised to observe myself in resistance, in struggle, in suffering, in realizing that even knowing who I am in the deepest of realities, I don’t stop having deeply human contractions, objections to the forms that life takes, tensions of my individual system against the script and that I will never stop having them.
Humility is what I am learning every moment, every day. To realize that I do not know anything, that “She” is unpredictable and at the same time has its laws, its exquisite functioning, its responses, its limitations, its tears, its infinite possibilities not yet explored, it is nature itself, the mother of all that has form, she is as indestructible and eternal as consciousness, only that she changes and moves, and incarnates herself.
Bowing to all its expressions is what really gives freedom to my consciousness.
I have also had to embrace Kali, Shakti enraged trampling Shiva because more than once my energy in the form of emotion has been raised and despite being full consciousness (Shiva) realizing its occurrence, I could not help but observe how It triggered the storm.
The masculine ego, the one that takes in assimilating an accomplishment that strips you of all control and capacity of lie, the one that still has not surrendered, would have wanted to protect itself, deny it, repress it, flee from it, or analyse it, ignore it or anything to not having to humbly give it space and witness its unfolding and then welcome it and allow it to rest in the heart. I am also that and that and that other….. and take the form that it takes, it is still love.
At the beginning, after the honeymoon between my consciousness and my energy, (I say “my” to clarify that it is being experienced through this little incarnation with which I have had to identify myself, which I call myself), my Consciousness was disconcerted to be filled with certain contents, like feeling a painful emotion, perceiving limiting thoughts of judgment and comparison, being filled with fear, anger, etc … in short terms, to see me think, act and feel things that did not seem to me congruent with the immaculate perception of being self-aware emptiness. That is, to believe that my experience of incarnate Self is under my control. That there is some other option than to surrender with absolute totality at every moment with what it brings, inside and outside of me.
After the honeymoon, Shiva and Shakti have to descend all that infinite love dissolved in the infinite consciousness and give it shape in the concrete, in the manifest, in every act, in the everyday, in the human.
Now, being human requires walking the tightrope between discipline and fluidity, male and female.
The discipline of being with the consciousness relaxed in the present of my incarnated body accompanying the vital energy as it is designed to move through it in every moment and circumstance.
The discipline of witnessing habits of thoughts that unconsciously direct my vital energy and maintain a loving new and present look that by itself accompanies this energy allowing it to receive the natural form for which it was created.
It is a process of constant incarnation that matures in parallel, as Shakti feels witnessed and welcomed, she moves with more elegance and loving fluffiness and as she is known as love, Shiva losses fear and realizes that whatever is her expression, she is still being love. This relaxes and contributes to the presence.
He knows that he is still present whatever is her expression, and She knows that she is love and that it is witnessed in her eternally changing nature.
The story of that love between Emptiness and Energy, Shiva and Shakti, Feminine and Masculine happens every day within myself and within you as well.
I feel the fusion of them in me and in everyday life when there is no separation between my consciousness and my energy, when I contemplate and love what I am as much as existence itself contemplates and loves me. When I offer myself to be fully in the body so that the divine can be expressed with totality through me, without conditions.
And I also feel the separation when some of the expressions of life are excluded from my consciousness and I do not experiment with the same love and presence with which God-Goddess is looking at me. In that moment the gaze of the separated and not integrated ego narrows, puts conditions to love and pretends to be better than the very existence that created me.
What a delirium it is living incarnated!