I am in love with this blessed mess of our humanity, more than ever. I see the Divine shining through the stink and the shit, the Absolute penetrating into every pore and crevice of relative existence. I see nonduality in the hot, sticky, burning mess of duality itself, unspeakable courage and hope at the pit of our despair.
I see the sad old patriarchal spirituality, the toxic masculine cosmology that shamed and devalued the body, its desires and its vulnerability, its passion and its sweat and its tears, its needs and its gloriously awkward and often highly contradictory feelings, slowly dying and being reborn as something more tangible, and honest, and grounded, and integrated, and real.
We are beginning to understand that the teachings of Advaita and Perfectly Pure Present Awareness are beautiful (don’t get me wrong, they contain so much truth!), but so very incomplete when standing on their own. We may be the “Light of Consciousness” itself, but mere intellectual insight cannot begin to heal our deepest trauma, for we are human and wounded as much as we are Divine, no matter how much we try to hide it. Holy light must penetrate the putrefying darkness inside, slowly, lovingly, and the body and its authentic feelings must be drenched with compassion and breath. Nonduality must speak to the healing of trauma, for we are all traumatised, whether we know it or not.
Absolute truth is toxic if it does not walk hand in hand with fierce human truth. Teachers who speak of spiritual awakening as some kind of final state of total invulnerability, some resting place where we become immune to grief and pain, untouched by human suffering or wounding, the ‘illusion’ of human feeling and trauma transcended at last and the ‘separate self’ finally reduced to ashes, are misguided at best, manipulative at worst.
At some point on this path, we are all greatly humbled, brought back down to earth. Our happy dreams of ourselves as enlightened beings, invulnerable to imperfection, incapable of error, floating above all human suffering, stabilized permanently in our true nature, crumble and burn.
Yes, in the end, expert and amateur alike, we are all humbled by life. We all encounter heartbreak, and loss, and unexpected pain, and we are called to grieve our own arrogance, accept that we are not the flawless beings we thought we were, turn towards our deepest wounds - our shame, our terror, our loneliness, our own hubris - and dive in.
Yes, we are Peace and Love and Joy and Beauty and Freedom. But we are also so damn spacious and vulnerable that we contain bottomless Despair and Loneliness so huge that it makes worldly love possible, and infinite Boredom, Boredom so great that it births a thousand universes just to experience itself, and a magnetic Longing, a Longing so powerful and attractive that it can rejoin us with ourselves, even if we have spent a lifetime trying to run.
I am in love, more than ever, with the sensitive, vulnerable, imperfect, awkward, shy and shaky humans that we all are underneath the myriad spiritual masks we wear. I am in love with how damn hard we try to get things right sometimes, and how damn beautiful it is to fail.
I am in love with our vulnerability, the cracks in our armour, our raw edges, the soft fleshy parts that we try so hard to hide.
I declare that nonduality is a tantric love affair with duality, and is one with it, and is its essence and its life, and it binds the feminine and the masculine principles and renders all our ordinary moments sacred.
And when pretending to know gets too exhausting for you, friend, when you tire of being the expert and the world’s teacher and the one with all the clever memorised answers, just let yourself fall, let yourself tumble to the ground and question everything and weep out the old dogmas, and I will be here to hold you.
Francis Lucille answers questions from the audience at SAND 18, bringing his intelligence and wit to a variety of topics
In this interview with Zaya Benazzo from SAND Italy, Ellen Emmet talks about the relationship between self-enquiry and the exploration of the body through tantra.
Eric Baret explains clearly that there is no need for the self to appropriate achievement
Performing at the opening night of the 2019 SAND gathering in Italy, Parvathy Baul sings and dances
Creativity can be seen as a state of natural flow...
SAND co-founder Zaya Benazzo interviews Turiya Hanover, co-founder of The Path of Love
This excerpt from the The Strange and Necessary Case for Hope is rare medicine for our dark times.
From the dualistic thinking of the first half of life into the contemplative mind of the integrated self
Is it possible to live a life of activity while holding the perception of unity and fulfillment?
In most spiritual traditions, love is seen only as universal or cosmic love.
Lama Tsomo teaches us the ancient Tibetan compassion practice of Tonglen, one of the Four Boundless Qualities
While we have unlocked the potential of a single atom we have yet to unlock the full potential of wise, loving and compassionate action
Rupert explores the perennial, non-dual understanding that lies at the heart of all the great religious and spiritual traditions
Jun 26–28, 2020
Delight Yoga, Prinseneiland studio, Amsterdam
Dzogchen, the bardo, sleep and the yoga of dreams
To think of the human stage as simply for enlightenment shortchanges the potential of humanity.
Can you live "IN" the Dream world with absolute integrity and authenticity
Eric Baret points out that there are no sculptures of yogic asanas in Indian temples before the modern era. He describes today’s yoga as a commercial project...
What may or may not be appropriate behavior for a spiritual teacher?
Zaya Benazzo interviews Mark Dyczkowski on the history of Tantra
It is the mind that turns now into past, present and future, and there is no way to leave the now.
Sam Harris speaks with Roland Griffiths about the current state of research on psychedelics.
The Yamabushi in northern Japan practice a once forbidden ancient religion. While their tradition is at risk of disappearing, it offers a way for those seeking a different path in Japan‘s society.
In this memorable conversation from SAND 18 Peter Levine, the father of trauma therapy work, and Thomas Huebl, a spiritual teacher known for his work integrating healing of collective trauma, discuss the relationship between healing trauma and...
"It is not a person that is waking up, it is consciousness."
Wake up! Wake up! Errrr, ummmm, grrrrggr, Oh yes, I’m awake now. Wow, that was a weird dream.
Silent awareness is mostly drawn to light, sound, color, beauty, movement, patterns and contrast.
Ever since the tender age, I’ve had this passionate love affair with the aspen trees
The path of reality is not a path, for it is an exploration of life in all that it is...
Yoga does not bring us to truth, truth expresses itself through yoga.
Aisha Salem talks of being willing to let go of our limitations, of keeping ourselves small, and of living our individuality
Fear is raging, systems and structures are crumbling, much is being undone.
When even the sense of being collapses into the utter simplicity of what is.
Richard Rohr, as a Catholic priest and Franciscan Friar, will offer a concise history of how Western Christianity once had, soon lost, tried to retrieve, and now is roundly rediscovering its own traditional understanding of unitive consciousness
Everything in the universe is shakti and spiritual life is the discovery of shakti.
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