Saturday, July 27, 2013
The ever sticky, gooey, messy mandala of your own heart
The spiritual journey is often viewed as a movement upward: higher and higher, into the light, more divine, more cosmic, less and less yuckies and more and more yummies. It is also often organized around accomplishment, things that will never have to be felt again, and a fascination with power: I am awakened now, I have made it, I will never have a problem again, I will never feel fear again, there is “nobody here,” I had the most “powerful” experience, he is the most “powerful” teacher, and so forth. This archetypal orientation to spirituality has been around for thousands of years, emerging for the most part out of pre-mythic, male-oriented cultures and ways of organizing experience.
There is another view of spirituality that is organized more around the energy of descent: into the untamed intelligence of the body, into the earth, into the uniqueness of the human being, into sexuality, into intimate relational messiness, and into the sacredness of the relative world. It is gooey here, uncertain, unknown, and luminous. It has absolutely nothing to do with either accomplishment or power. It is not interested in “other,” “higher” states of consciousness, for there is only one state of consciousness that could ever exist, and it has been given to you right here and right now as a raging expression of love. Rather, to turn away from this state for another is seen to be the ultimate act of ingratitude. This path does not seek to remove “problems,” the “ego,” the “self,” the mind, “unspiritual” thoughts and emotions, or the messiness of the relative, for it knows these energies to be none other than innovative expressions of informational grace, and potential pathways of skillful means to help others. And it is not interested in fables of the completion of some mythical journey, or luring others into agenda-driven fantasies for the right price; for this would be deeply unkind.
Of course these distinctions are relative in and of themselves, can be seen as merely consciousness at play, and just fingers pointing at the moon within your own heart. There is no need to take them all that seriously. Many of the tantric oriented paths, in fact, integrate these primordial movements of ascent and descent, where it is always messy and gooey and naked and sticky and yummy and yucky and utterly unresolvable. It is like falling into a pot of the gooiest love-honey where we are sure to get tangled up, caught, and stuck for a while, but it is a divine, cosmic sort of stickiness – you become stuck to the beloved, she releases you, and then she lures you back in again. But this dance will never be resolved, there will *always* be the risk of further heart break, further sadness, more sensitivity, more feeling, more opening the body, more “problems,” more “self,” more cracks in the armor of spiritual identity – for this is how love can reach you.
It may be seen that in the end there is no “making it,” no mythical journey to take and complete, no ground or reference point to rest in, no support for egoic spiritual identity projects, no certainty, and no assurance that the beloved will not use *any* experience to break you open and to show you something she wishes for you to see. But, friends, this is extremely good news: for the radiance that you are is only limited by these things, and is ever expressing the limitless; what you are is the totality, is the expression of the whole, and it is through embracing your wholeness that you will become a transparent vessel through which love may pour through the relative world.