As some of you may be aware, I’ve just returned from a five week stay in Thailand. Much of this time was dedicated to my annual retreat for the spiritual path I’m initiated into.
Every moment of my time on retreat was joyous and wonderful – even when it wasn’t. I didn’t want to leave and quite truthfully if I didn’t have to worry about money, family, my cat or other worldly attachments I would have stayed. Eventually, I will retire there, to this property my school has purchased. But in the foreseeable future I’ll be visiting as often as I can for our training intensives and for my own private retreat time.
In terms of what we did – yoga and meditation sessions every day starting between 5.30 – 6.00am most mornings. Discussion and study of the Siva Sutras – a classical meditation text. Working on the property – helping prepare the permaculture garden, rejuvenate the soil on the rest of the land, planting, hoeing etc… We had the blessing of local chefs cooking for us in traditional Isan (northern Thailand)/Laos style cooking. It was clean and delicious. The landscape and weather were amazing. We lived in bamboo huts and bathed either in the pond (skinny dipping) or bucket bathing in banana circles. Most poetic. Warm. Divine.
Having a Guru is a curious thing, especially for westerners who might view such a thing with suspicion. I’m not going to address that topic however, except to say that for those with an authentic Guru, it is both delightful and terrifying to spend so much time in close proximity to that personage.
Delightful because you’ve never met anyone who is so loving, open, and compassionate. Someone so flexible, nurturing and giving. Someone with more knowledge and wisdom than they can possibly share, whilst remaining intensely humble and caring.
Terrifying because to be around a genuine Guru is to sit in a karmic pressure cooker. Whatever ‘stuff’ you have is going to come out one way or another. It’s not always pretty, but this is what we pray for – to be opened up as wide as possible. To purify our samskaras (karmic patterns of limitation) to lead us into freedom, to an enlightened nature. However, this can be exceptionally confrontational and scary. As yogis, we need to be ready for anything and accepting of whatever happens.
Amongst other learnings on this retreat, I think I finally gained a broader view of my samskaras. It’s a complex picture with several moving parts, interconnecting and feeding each other. This is possibly why I’ve found myself to be such a slippery customer in terms of piercing my own delusions.
And it puts my experience of being assaulted in perspective actually. It’s a part of the bigger picture, fitting right in with existing patterns that I’ve had possibly all of my life.
These insights were things I already knew about myself ofcourse, but hadn’t connected up in this way before. The themes include:
- Love – wanting it, not wanting it, heartbreak, putting massive castle walls up to protect my heart, mistaking other things for love
- Discrimination – choosing inappropriate men, not knowing what’s good for me, inability to assert myself when I should, taking care of the needs of others before my own
- Self-perception – low self esteem, thinking no-one will be interested in me
I should qualify the above by saying that I am generally pretty functional and self-aware. And I have done constant work on these things over the years.
However, even whilst grinding down my ‘stuff’ to ever finer ‘stuff’… until it’s gone, a seed always remains. And I think… generally we just have no idea how much the undercurrents of our patterns influence our moment to moment behaviour.
I still have much to write on this blog about what has been. But now, I can see ahead with a great deal more clarity. I can see, I think, a little of where I’m going for the first time in years. And I will try to explain it a little here, interspersed with fleshing out the rest of the story of my recovery.
One thing I know I have to be careful about right now is men. You see, I really do suck when it comes to choosing which men to let into my life. A minor insight from retreat is that any personal power I gain from being on retreat apparently attracts energy vampires. So I need to look very carefully at any men who turn up in the next six months…
I’ve known my Guru for many years now, but I was only formally initiated into the lineage a month or two before I met Andre. I came home from that retreat all juicy with lots of shakti and inspiration.
Then, last year after returning from retreat in the U.S. I met a man that appeared to be very genuine and together. The first man I’ve been involved with since Andre. But in fact, he was very weak and deluded with no idea who he really is. His M.O. however, was to feed off the energy of the women he targets – women who are ‘damaged’ in some way. I’ll tell more of that story another time!
Essentially, doing spiritual work is rejuvenating, it’s powerful and self-nourishing. And, this time I’d like to avoid having some random guy undo my good work.
So I’m declaring that for now, as much as I’d love a relationship, as much as I miss sex like crazy – no men! Not for the rest of the year. I mean, they can be around; I can be friends with them. But I just can’t get involved… not until I’ve known them for a bit and I can see them clearly.
And not until I’ve stabilised the work I’ve been doing.