I thought I would take the time in my blog to reflect on my personal experiences and growth during my time in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I normally don't use the blog for this purpose but I feel it is relevant now in light of what I now hold to be true with my practice of yoga and tantra.
In 2008, I was living in Portland and was struggling. Struggling with the death of my father, struggling with my business. Struggling with many things. I prayed for insight to come in the form of a tantra teacher as I felt that even with what I was working with the yoga, it wasn't enough. Little would I have guessed at that time that within a month my prayers would be answered. They were not answered however, in the way that I foresaw. As some of you know, my life was then turned upside down and all the mistakes and stickiness which I had allowed into my life came to the forefront. I found myself losing house, business, friends, and more. I blame no one for any of it but myself. It was only years later that I could start to see more of the whole picture.
During the spring of 2009, a strange thing happened. The physical practices with which I had been working began to shift. I began to notice movement inside which I had not been aware of previously. In truth, these movements had been present all along but they had just not been in the conscious light of awareness. I didn't fully start to understand these movements until a couple years later.
When we came to Santa Fe, some of my demons followed me. No surprise there. Nevertheless, coming here was a reprieve. A breather. A place to time out. To reflect. To contemplate deeper matters of choices made in the past to directions that were needed in the future. A place to reflect on the present, who I was, where I was going. I am eternally grateful to all those who received us here: students, employers and friends.
In the summer of 2010, I travelled to East India and was initiated fully into tantra by Sri Amritanandanatha of the Dattatreya sampradaya lineage. This experience turned my world upside down. It also gave me an expanse of freedom which I had never before experienced. Diksa or initiation into the Sri Vidya is almost unexplainable to those who haven't had it. It is like a download. A massive download of information and insight, following centuries of practitioners who have gone before. It permeated everything. Nothing inside of me was left unchanged.
In the fall of 2010 I participated in a local spiritual ceremony which granted me a direct vision of the Mother, in her destructive aspect, which shattered my earthly reality and left me in a powerful void. The realizations that occurred that evening on the full moon in November have stayed with me to this day.
That fall I decided to leave my yoga teacher of 12 years, a man who had been like my father to me. I realized that after 12 years of study I was ready to step out on my own, that I needed to step out. I announced my decision to him in January of 2011 and he very graciously gave me a blessing, sending me on my way. Although we had differences, I will always honor his gifts to me. Most especially his gift of teaching me how to open doors. He never spoke this gift in words to me. It was an unspoken transmission. I had been studying his every action from the moment I met him, and after 12 years I realized that somehow this strange ability had passed to me.
In leaving my teacher, I realized that I was at a strange crossroads. I fell into a strange state. Not knowing how to exactly move forward, I carried certain things forward that should have been left behind. I carried those things with me and couldn't let certain feelings go. Anger arose in me, which infected my teaching. I lost students. I was bitter. In a state of despair.
During this time, struggling with my loss and not knowing how to go forward, I worked with someone who took me into caves at midnight, to rivers and streams, to observe energetics of the moon and other natural phenomena, and I began to commune directly with the natural world. I worked with meditations which revealed to me a layer of mind and experience which I had never encountered before in this life. I started to experience states of consciousness which I never would have guessed existed before, and a lot of what I had held to be true up to that point began to fall away. I struggled with these insights as I was still internally at odds with myself.
Nevertheless, despite my struggles I began to trust in the deeper well of my knowledge and began to open doors, internal doors which began to reveal to me a much vaster world. This culminated in the spring of 2012 when I began to perform the powerful Sri Cakra puja in the early morning hours. At the two-week point of my sadhana, a huge door opened suddenly and I was struck down with a violent illness that lasted for over a month. My demons in the form of fear struck me fully. I began to separate from my body and, in order to understand what was occurring, I dove deeper. I began a series of investigations which took me through intensive studies of Western Occultism and a deeper investigation of the Tantra and Yoga. I began to deepen my studies of the laws of correspondence. I also began to resurrect certain practices and processes which I had forsaken sometime in my 20s. I began to embrace the creative force of the mind, imagination, and the dream world.
Throughout my period of investigation following this illness, I was literally cracking apart. At this time I utilized a combination of methods from psychosynthesis, western magic traditions, and tantra to gather all of the fragmented elements of my internal psyche to come together. I unified myself. This only came about through a deep, deep acceptance of myself and all of its parts; something which I had struggled with for most of my life. This acceptance and unification led to a massive liberation of energy which opened further doors. In fact, at this time so many doors were opening that I was forced to investigate the nature of will in order to clarify my direction as to which doors should be open.
On a day in August, 2012, I was sitting on the porch and it all came crashing down. I was responsible for all of it. All of it. I understood who I was and where I was going. Outwardly nothing much changed. Inwardly there was sudden clarity and a deep understanding of myself as movement. In this shift, it wasn't so much like I became someone else but rather that doubt had truly dropped away and I found myself standing with confidence on my own two feet. A strange conviction and faith was now present. A faith unlike any other. Truthfully, when that confidence and conviction arose in me, a new awe, almost fear, came alive. I was awed at the wonder of what we are and what we are capable of. What we are truly capable of. All of us.
This all led to my decision, with my wife, to return to the NW. To return to the world from the wonderful retreat which we have been blessed with for the last few years. Even now, a big part of me wants to just go dissolve in the wilderness here, to continue to soak it up. But a stronger part of me feels called to come back. To share, to learn, to be with the world at large.
Looking back on my words I realize I must sound like I am one of those obnoxious people who has "found it". Not so. Quite the contrary. There was never anything to find. The Cintamani Gem, what they call the wish-fulfilling gem, is never apart from us. We are never missing that which we seek. That very thing with which we seek is the very thing that we might have been looking for in the first place.
I have decided wholeheartedly to stop seeking and start creating. To partake of God's movement and follow that deep will which is always in motion.
I have immense gratitude.
I want to thank New Mexico for its amazing gifts, its amazing people, its wondrous vibration which has shattered me and brought me back together.
I am truly humbled by its magnificence.
May I always carry Her and her Wisdom in my Heart of hearts, wherever I may roam.