Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The beloved arrives as an electrifying mirror

Why is intimate relationship such an alchemical vessel for growth, healing, and transformation? One of the reasons is that in intimate relationship there is nowhere to hide. All of our early trauma and wounding arose in an interpersonal context and must likewise be unwound within a relational field. If we have a partner who knows our early history, who is intimately familiar with our core vulnerabilities, and is compassionately attuned to its unfolding and illumination, we are in an interesting predicament: On the one hand, this partner has appeared as a guide from beyond, as a mirror into our own hearts. What a precious situation.  

On the other hand, we have entered the realm of the terrifying and the unknown. It is vast here, but there is no ground; we are being held, but it is a holding that is unbearably vulnerable and without history. We stand totally unclothed in their presence, unable to fool them like we fool so many others, unable to pretend we’re running around in some mythic awakened reality, safe and secure and tucked away from the uncontrollable burning fires of intimacy and its revelations. The beloved sees all, but is this what we really want? This is not the almighty guru from afar, or the friends and spiritual brothers and sisters that know us only in context. Something more electrifying has come onto the scene. And it seeks to re-order *everything*. 

The beloved appears as grace, but it is not always a sweet grace, or a grace that supports egoic process or our spiritual identity-accomplishment projects and fantasies; at times it is unrelenting, uncompromising, and fierce; for it is the grace that reveals the deepest mysteries and qualities of your own heart. It is the grace that your cells and DNA are made of; yes, it is that intimate. Love has appeared in the form of this beloved not to provide certainty, comfort, safety, and awakening fantasies of a life of invulnerability. Fortunately, though, this was not what you were after anyway; for you are being called to something much more majestic, much wilder, much more creative. It can be incredibly anxiety-provoking to realize you will never have a day off again, there will be no more retreats, no more vacations, no more hiding out in the transcendent: for the beloved has come and she wants to show you something… everything. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Snatam Kaur – free live stream to open the Wake Up Festival!

Dear friends, as we prepare the field for the upcoming Wake Up Festival, I am so happy to announce that we’ll be offering a free live stream of our dear friend Snatam Kaur’s opening night performance. Register at no cost here

I’m looking forward to seeing so many precious friends from around the world for our week-long journey in the mountains together. My dear friend Jeff Foster arrives next week; Snatam, Adyashanti,Tara Brach, David Whyte, Jack Kornfield, and so many others. There will be a real love field there, a special sort of holding environment where you can meet your own heart, in community, in celebration, in a space which can support you to fall apart, to move toward that which is calling you. Matthew Fox will be offering a full cosmic mass on Saturday evening, Jeff will be offering workshops on the shadow, Adya on the end of your world, Tara on self-compassion, and so much more. To be together with 1000 or so of you, with you while you open in this way, will be a real honor for me, I'm sure. 

Snatam is one of the most celebrated artists in the world of sacred chant. Her concerts combine musical and spiritual traditions from the East and West, inviting us to open our hearts and experience our connection to each other and with the divine.

Streaming live from the opening night of the 2013 Wake Up Festival, “By Thy Grace” brings you a special 60-minute performance by Snatam along with Todd Boston on guitar and Ramesh Kannan, a master percussionist and vocalist.

The performance will also feature a special guest appearance by pianist and composer Peter Kater, who has received 7 Grammy® nominations in the last 8 years and has scored more than 100 television programs and films, as well as 11 Broadway and Off-Broadway plays.

One never knows what to expect at Snatam’s concerts—in addition to beautiful chant, she often integrates pranayama meditation, ecstatic dance, and periods of silence that serve to immerse participants in peace and joy. We really look forward to seeing you live, in-person, or online on August 14th! Sending all our love,

-Matt Licata, co-organizer, Wake Up 2013

A vessel for your burning

It is possible the most radical commitment we could ever make is to the reality of our immediate, embodied experience, as it is. When we set aside the habitual movement to heal, transform, transcend, or change our experience, a majestic energy is released. It is an energy that is new, unbearably creative, wild, untamed, and utterly unprecedented; it is the energy of the unknown. It has come to deliver just one message: everything is valid here. Inside every feeling, in the center of every emotion, at the core of every bodily sensation, love is trying to reach you, to undress you, to enter you, so that it may reveal new pathways of grace inside your body. 
In this uncompromising sort of holding environment, everything that appears does so as a guide from beyond; all is path; everything is the beloved in disguise. Even your most raging neurosis is seen to be an expression of luminous, creative, particles of wisdom, sent to unfold within your body. Love calls out – please do not send away these experiences; I plead with you not to subject your spiritual processes to them. Sadness, “problems,” “ego,” mind, body, longing, fear, sexuality, the terrifying realities of intimacy:  these are portals through which I will do anything to find you. 

There is no grace that comes in the future; there is no “high” “divine” state of consciousness waiting around the corner, there are no special accomplishments waiting to be bestowed upon you. For love is alive! It has come to show you that its purpose in your life is not to provide respite, surety, and safety from the breaking open of your heart – or some awakened landing place to rest in, free from it all – but only to provide a vessel for your burning. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Love is pouring out of the sky, the ground, and the stars

It is unfathomable, really, to let in the reality that another day has been given. It is so easy to take for granted that we have been offered a precious human body, with all our sensitivities, rawness, tenderness, vulnerability, able to just look up into the sky or into the eyes of a sweet little baby - it is so awesome, really. What will this day bring? Will we allow another person fully into our hearts? Will we take the risk that love always requires? Are we willing to fall apart and never be put back together again? What about anxiety, fear, shame; what about that deep sense that maybe we aren’t loveable after all? Will there be room in our experience for even these old friends, who have returned as cloaked pieces of our own hearts?

There is a part of us that knows that in such a meeting something will be shattered. Our images? Our dreams? Our hopes? Our deep need to be seen? Our strategies to avoid the risk of intimacy? Our fantasies that we will never break open again? It seems we are also simultaneously aware of a call from beyond, whispering to us that in this shattering something will be reborn, reconstituted out of the dust-heap of the broken pieces of our tender hearts and faded dreams. Maybe it was only love after all, taking whatever form required to re-introduce us to ourselves. Things may not be quite what they seem here. Love is pouring out of the sky, the ground, the stars, the trees, and the butterflies around you. It is coming to find you. But it may come in disguise. Please keep your eyes wide open.