Showing posts with label visions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label visions. Show all posts

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ekstasis

"Carson is drawn to selves who desire immersion and disintegration into an absolute inhuman essence (in the case of Porete and Weil, the essence is God). What's intriguing about her portrayal of this sensibility is the utter absence of melancholy. She doesn't say whether loss of the self is something any of these women try to stem or evade; instead, she focuses on the paradox of someone seeking self-affirmation in an experience of dispossession and dissolution. " Decreation

I have Ann Carson's book, I'm reading it in the evenings. Hers is literary, the way she enters. Ariadne's thread, the scholar who is a poet. But ekstasis, Greek, 'going out of oneself,' 'standing beyond oneself,' it's affecting me. When I dispersed into stardust all about myself, I was losing my/self, it was fearful, this dissolution. It was like the universe pervaded my aura, the stardust in which stars are born, a sprinkling of lights throughout a faint purplish mist. And I was seeing from all points of the expandedness. Overlapping visions, a universe come inwards and the self who is the woman in this life, and some other anthropomorphic interlocution that I don't want to call god-like but was. Each dancing starpoint an eye of seeing. Seeing myself like this and seeing outwards from these vantage points. Disturbing, being shifted out of myself, and peaceful, profoundly so.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oh, sigh, my visions...

It wasn't an unusual evening. Something to eat, orange juice, a 5km walk with my dog, a long talk by phone with my daughter, who's enjoying her new school, a little red wine, a bit of cheese before bed - had been up early doing yoga before work, so was tired. Woke in the night, not unusually. Awake for a few hours, again normal. But I was tired, mind racing hither and thither, so I sat against my Orbus-forme backrest, a fleece blanket over me, and meditated, over and over the same mantra, the one I've been silently intoning for at least 15 minutes a day since September 1994. The mantra and I know each other well and have been through a lot together. I've used it for many different purposes besides general receptivity to 'what is '- working out problems, kick-starting creativity for a project. It always works: whatever the intention, going through the medium of the mantra causes what I need to happen in my inner insights and motivations. I've used it to understand how to manifest pathways to what I might need at times too. In the middle of the night I turn to the mantra to calm me, and, when I'm tired, and it's dark, it can succeed in stilling my mind long enough for me to roll back into sleep, even an hour helps. I am grateful to this little mantra for all the ways it enables me to be as I want to be.

Only last night I experienced one of those 'mind shifts' during meditation. And I didn't enjoy it. It was like I expanded beyond my body. Like I was dispersing. I was floating in the air all about myself larger than I am. More expansive. Being blown outwards.

I thought, 'Oh, no.' And remembered the other times in my life when I had significant mystical experiences with various forms of mediation and the ways in which those experiences changed my life. In my 20s I was safely enrolled in a doctoral programme in English Literature when I had a few months of extraordinary mystical experiences of light, in dreams and in meditations; they were so powerful, I left the doctoral programme and embarked on a crazy course that never found completion. I applied to Interdisciplinary Studies and fought everyone in the department to get my thesis proposal accepted and was going to write some massive ambitious thing covering imagery of light from cave art through mythology, religion (oh, East and West, if you please), art history, literature, science, psychology, and so on. I might even have completed it, I was a workaholic who rose and began working at 8am right through to 11pm every night, 7 days a week, no social life, who cared, I was driven. But my father went into ICU for 6 months, then passed away, a brother had a break-down, and I took over looking after the family holding companies, then got married and had children. While a lot of that research and thought about light goes into my prosepoems, it was a wild goosechase triggered by mystical mediative experiences. In my 40s, after starting to learn Kundalini Yoga, begining the mediation that I have since done daily, I began to experience energy waves and other phenonemon during my private sessions. A sense of deep inner transformation once again. The upshot of that phase was that I left my marriage in 1997 and who knows what I've done since besides raise two children alone with barely any work. Never mind. Creatively I produced writing and art that I would never have done in the confines of my marriage. But was it all worth it?

So when I experienced one of those 'energy shifts' last night, differently expressed to any of the other times I've gone through a radical shift in my consciousness, I felt fear, and tried to back off. But the experience took me anyhow. I remained larger than myself for some time, like I was a nebula floating, understanding universal process from the vantage of the stars, it was beautiful, oh I'll admit it, stunning, deeply mystical and peaceful, and I did manage to fall back to sleep for a short while.

Following these visionary escapades aligns me perhaps with my 'soul journey' but it's been damn hard on my life, these mind-altering experiences that cause me to make major shifts in my direction.

From my previous experiences, I would say that there is no way if a series of mind-altering shifts are coming that it won't affect the path of my life.

And I'm not so sure that is good.

Okay, each time it has opened creative potential and greater creative expression.

But each time I've left the conventional road and slipped off into the unhewn fields where there's no security. I've followed these visions to the utmost of my ability, been true to them, let them guide me. But they have been visions which always abandon me at some point - meaning the energy which fires them and my crazy leaping about in unknown fields disperses -leaving me in a completely different locale with nothing but my day-to-day mind to cope with a life that looks less and less normal and on which no-one has ever been able to advise me.

Why do I tell this tale to you, dear reader? I suppose, if it's happening again, I ought to track it, note the mystical experiences as they occur, see where they lead. For surely they will lead off the beaten track...

Thursday, October 23, 2003

The Great Bliss Queen's Mansion of Flaming Bliss

This is a love poem. Listen to 'The Great Bliss Queen's Mansion of Flaming Bliss' here, or click on this link: dial-up; DSL or Cable.


















Great Bliss Queen, acrylic on canvas, 29.5"x35.25", & India Ink drawing on parchment paper, Brenda Clews 2003

At my Art & Writings website I have created a page for The Great Bliss Queen's Mansion of Flaming Bliss, it's prettier though harder to read than this site.



Place of surrender,
of the softness of the lotus and the heat of its flames,
the way everything dissolves,
the way I am aroused and caressed,
barely remembering who I am,
this way of falling into what is receiving us.

That first time, I see you on the other side,
across the dance floor, dancing...

The sensual dance of the liquid fire
of flaming bliss.

A tantrayana.

In the Tibetan texts, she,
the place of the coming to be,
the arising of all existents,
of the coming and going,
the Great Bliss Queen a matrix,1
the essence of the great expanse.2
She rises from the water, a vision,
Jigmay Lingpa, an 18th c Tibetan visionary,
"From the mouth of the lotus was born
The swift goddess, heroic liberator
Who went forth in human form
Amid the snowy mountains of Tibet."3
Aren't we all born from lotuses?
Aren't all lotuses bliss?

The secret history of the life
of the Queen of Tibet,
her Lute Song of the Gandharvas,4
an epic map to enlightenment,
her namthar,5 way of liberation, balancing
love and compassion,
a limitless ability to help others...

The Great Bliss Queen Dakini's mandala
of flowing awareness, flaming mansion
of bliss, an entryway
into the expanse of reality.
Imagining into,
that space, its mindfulness, this tantra,
becoming one with the generative force,
this secret path

That evening with you...
disappearing into
the empty vastness of love.

Is Buddhism an extended meditation on the self?
And mindfulness consciousness of the self in its unfolding?

This complex construction of self,
nexus of who I am, you are,
watching the process of ourselves unfold...

...if I had a stable and solid 'self' that is,
instead of this mutable, floating, ever-changing
and constantly renewed consciousness...

Yeshe Tsogyal, Great Bliss Divine Queen,
in her Lute Song, embedded as icon,
transparent and luminous as the water,
heroine, a founder of Tibetan Buddhism,
enlightened girl, woman, Queen,
a Buddha, back there, in the 8th century,
when she comes out of the caves with her consort/lover,
where she has disappeared for months, blissing out,
from her swollen, love-bitten lips, red as flames, says,
and after the ordeals in the mountains of Tibet
meditating alone through the Winters,
without food or clothing or warmth,
where she has learnt to generate heat from within,
to draw nectar from the air,
where she has learnt not to dissolve into passion
but to allow passion to dissolve her,
Yeshe Tsogyal says,
"If there is no mingling of bliss with voidness
All is useless...
Taste rather bliss and voidness, as they rise, united!"6

The bliss and the void...
this primal purity.

Yeshe Tsogyal does not represent awareness,
but the gift of awareness.

Do we sometimes have visions which define our lives?
Which define how we understand the way our consciousness
exists in the continuum we float in?

I am dancing with my eyes closed,
can I witness your light?

...a vision, years ago, between dream and waking,
in the black, black night,
of the nothingness on which all matter rests...
the void, the great emptiness, non-being...
the way all form, all energy collected into form,
are waves flowing on nothing,
a nothingness so deep as to be without depth,
pervasive, everywhere, what each molecule rests on,
each vibrating cell of life,
the nothingness all consuming...

That night with you, your large body enveloping mine,
your intensity, hunger,
in the passion for each other, its fire,
we undress
peeling layers
until we, tongue, touch, wet, skin sliding on skin, hot, electric
then my body disappearing into emptiness...
cheek, lip, tongue, breast, dissolving
like the dark side of the moon,
where there is no light, no air,
only the vast and open cosmos,
and can I call it terrifying, this loss, of me,
me spinning into,
crumbling into moondust under your hot breath...

Consumed into emptiness...
blissful waves of orgasms...
our bodies performing a music of light
our essence, shining,
shining through each other
making each other appear,
your touch, the serenity of you,
your breath, your body, your energy flowing,
you an anchor of light I come back to in the ocean flowing,
and then dipping back into the extinguishing...

My being is fragile, arbitrary.

I disappear into you, past you
I am floating on the other side of the cosmos
my body of bliss, waves of bliss
until only the waves of bliss remain...
a wake of bliss spreading, the clear light, like lightning

The Queen and the King cause the thunder
to roll over the mountains of Tibet.

The Queen and her consort practice
the secret tantra.

The Bliss Queen is a passionately happy deity.

In her rainbow body, the heavens bright with thousands
of spirits, she departs, wise and profound Mother, leaving
a trail of miracles like lotus petals...

...and when I meditate...
that energy, vital energy, percolating, ever-renewing,
subtle energies, delicate winds, from the unmanifest to the manifest,
creating, maintaining, dissolving, everything,
what we see, think, feel,
whispering the intention of non-being to be,
and in being dissolving again into nothingness...
vast, complex, intricate,
this febrile field of life with all its appearings and disappearings,
its passion and its cessation,
its constant, eternal flow recreating
itself every moment, anew...

© 2003 Brenda Clews

Notes
----
1 "Matrix" refers to the womb of Yeshe Tsogyal (777-837), the Great Bliss Queen, ""a womb that is reality." To know this reality, which Buddhists also call emptiness, is to give birth to enlightenment.” Anne Carolyn Klein, Meeting the Great Bliss Queen (Boston: Beacon Press, 1995), p. 156. Similarly, in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, Prajnaparamittra means ‘emptiness,’ which is synonymous with ‘great mother wisdom.’
2 Line taken from the title of the liturgy of Yeshe Tsogyal by Jigmay Lingpa (1729-98), “famous scholar-practitioner,”Long chen sNying thig rza pod (The Very Essence of the Great Expanse), quoted in Great Bliss Queen, ftn.3, p.263.
3 Jigmay Lingpa, quoted in Great Bliss Queen, p.15.
4 Lady of the Lotus-Born, The Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal, A Translation of The Lute Song of the Gandharvas, A Revelation in Eight Chapters of the Secret History of the Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal, Queen of Tibet, trans. The Padmakara Translation Group (Boston: Shambhala, 1999).
5 A namthar is a “tale of liberation,” Lady of the Lotus-Born, p.xiii.
6 Lady of the Lotus-Born, p. 173.

Works Cited

Klein, Anne Carolyn. Meeting the Great Bliss Queen. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.

The Padmakara Translation Group. Lady of the Lotus-Born, The Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal, A Translation of The Lute Song of the Gandharvas, A Revelation in Eight Chapters of the Secret History of the Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal, Queen of Tibet. Boston: Shambhala, 1999.

Extended Bibliography

Anand, Margo. The Art of Sexual Magic. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995.
Arguelles, Jose and Miriam. Mandala. Boulder, Colorado: Shambhala, 1972.
Chopel, Gedun. Trans. Jeffrey Hopkins. Tibetan Arts of Love: Sex, Orgasm & Spiritual Healing. Ithica, New York: Snow Lion Publications, 1992.
Danielou, Alain, Trans. The Complete Kama Sutra. Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press, 1994.
Feuerstein, Georg. Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.
Khanna, Madhu. Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity. London: Thames & Hudson, 1979.
King, Francis. Tantra: The Way of Action. Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books, 1990.
Lacroix, Nitya. The Art of Tantric Sex. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1977.
Mann, A.T., and Lyle, Jane. Sacred Sexuality. Rockport, Massachusetts: Element Books, 1995.
Rawson, Philip. The Art of Tantra. Greenwich, Connecticut: New York Graphic Society, 1973.
Rawson, Philip. The Art of Tantra. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978.
Shaw, Miranda. Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism. Princeton: New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994.

This poem was originally presented at, Mothering, Religion and Spirituality, October 24-26, 2003, York University, Toronto. It's been read at a number of venues, York University, the University of Toronto, and the Victory Cafe in Toronto, since then.