REVOLUTIONARY LOVE

 

 “At the risk of sounding ridiculouslet me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.”- Che Guevara

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It begins and ends with love.  If there is one lesson, one key to being all you can be – and I don’t mean being a soldier, I mean being a warrior – it’s learning to love.   But just what does that word, love, mean?  It has become so fraught and loaded with double meanings and empty promises that many are justifiably cynical at the mere mention of love.   I’m not talking sentimental love, I’m not talking hallmark love, I’m not talking ‘luv.’  I’m talking about a fierce love, a revolutionary love, a true love, a love beyond illusion, a love that is not afraid to freak you out with the truth, even when it hurts like hell.  This Big Love is agape love, it’s a universal love, and it is, I believe infused in all of creation.   

When I asked Archibishop Desmond Tutu one of my favourite questions,  “what is the meaning of life”, he replied, “The God in whose image we are created, is a God of love.  We are the result of a divine loving.  Ultimately we’re meant for love…we’re meant as those who will communicate love and make this world more hospitable to love.”   

You don’t need to believe in God to feel the power of this truth – somewhere deep inside us all, is a bonfire of love, that we are here to embody, to unleash, to liberate from captivity.

Take a moment and send your awareness down to your heart, and see if you can feel a little taste of this vast love which is hidden there, like a shining diamond – your diamond heart.   Can you feel it burning within?  Or do you find constriction? A little of both?

If you’re like most of us, there is a thick armour coating around the jewel of love at the heart of your heart.  We create this  shield in  an attempt to keep the pain away, but what it really does is keep the pain in.    If you could only release  this fiery love from it’s hiding place onto the world, your every word, your every action, would be a blessing and boon to all you encounter.  And all that love would come right back at you.

How do we unleash the vast reservoir of love from inside us?   Little by little, day by day, step by step we can open the gates.  Don’t expect it to happen all at once, but if you make a conscious decision to reverse the process – from building up that armour plating, to tearing it down – it will happen.

Sounds scary?  Of course it is!  What could be more frightening than loving and allowing love in!   But, what could be more rewarding?  Nothing on earth.   The love I’m talking about is not dependent on others – it’s not something that anyone has to give you. It is already alive, inside each and every one of us.   It is always there, just waiting for you to access it.  

Opening your heart does not mean giving away your freedom, it does not mean surrendering to every person who comes along and demands a piece of you.  The kind of love I’m talking about begins with loving yourself, and then radiates outwards.  If you do not love yourself, you cannot love others effectively. And sometimes, the most effective and compassionate way to love another is to say ‘no’, especially when they are hurting you, the planet, or other people.   

Do you love you?  Really?   Chances are, if you are like most of us, there’s at least a piece of yourself that you just do not Love. Maybe it’s even the whole package. You are not alone – there is an epidemic of self hatred in our society.  Not all cultures have been trained to dislike themselves in quite the same way those of us in the west have, though the disease is spreading, with a global, all pervasive media campaign that teaches us that we lack…something.  It doesn’t matter exactly what it is we are lacking, just a vague sense of lack is good enough to make us ripe for commercial exploitation.  We might be lacking the right clothes, the right car, the right brand of cigarettes, we might be lacking youth, the right butt, a big enough penis, an HD TV.  There’s always something that we need, and we’re never quite good enough. But we could be, if we only had the right appliances, the right deodorant, another hit of viagra.   

There are  many other sources for this pervasive sense that we are not good enough – or not good period. Parents, peers, friends and relatives can all be dampers, stomping out our spark. We each have our own personal moments when this feeling may have taken root, turning points in our life that become touchstones of self loathing.   It’s important to recognize them, see them, bring them into the light of your conscious mind, and release yourself from their hold.  Because you are worth it. You deserve to be loved, by the world, and by yourself.  You deserve to be loved, simply because of who you are.  Not because of what you do, what you have, what you look like, but simply, because of who you are.  You don’t need to be anything more than yourself.  Your true self.

Tibetan culture is one of the lucky ones – as a community, they’ve largely escaped the disease of self hatred.  Some years ago an interviewer was explaining to the Dalai Lama how we in the north suffer so much from self worth issues.  He was genuinely puzzled, “really?  You hate yourself?  How strange.  Very very strange.”  In Tibet, they love each other, and they love themselves. 

 It is very difficult to truly love others, if you do not first learn to love yourself.  If we all loved ourselves, we would soon find that conflict would disappear in the world.    If every tin pot dictator learned to truly love himself, if every general, every leader, every jailer, every gang member, every would be killer, were to learn self love, this would be a very different world.   We project our self hatred outwards, onto others, and onto the planet herself.  In the feature documentary, “The Age of Stupid”, a man from the future,  looking back at the mess we made of this beautiful world,  wonders how we could have let things go so wrong.  Why did we fail to save ourselves?  Perhaps, he suggests, the answer might be that we didn’t think we were worth saving.

But we are!  We are so very worth saving, each and every one of us.  We are part of an extraordinary wave of manifestation, an incredibly rare and precious pearl of self aware consciousness in a vast expanse of silent space, and we are so very beautiful.  You are so very beautiful.  This does not mean you are perfect. Neither am I.  You’re not here to be perfect. You are here to be human.  You are here to be perfectly imperfect.  It’s how the light gets in.   This doesn’t mean  rest on your laurels – keep growing, at all costs, keep growing, but do it with self love, not out of self hate. 

WARNING:  self love does not equal narcissism.   One of the major pitfalls on the road to true self love is the trap of narcissism.  It’s an important but sometimes confusing distinction.  Narcissism means seeing only yourself, loving only yourself, to the exclusion of all others.  Perversely, many of us are self hating narcissists, obsessed with ourselves, and unable to truly see others.   Hitler was a narcissist, and projected his extreme narcissism onto a public willing to be seduced by claims that they were the chosen ones, the Aryan race.   This is not self love – this is hatred disguised as self love.   

In order to distinguish between healthy love of the self, and unhealthy narcissism, ask yourself:  am I loving myself from a place of ego, or from the authentic self?  The authentic self is Love.  It only Loves.  It does not hate.  To hate is to be inauthentic.  At the same time, the authentic self Loves in an egoless manner, as it is by definition beyond the ego.  This kind of self love is true, deep and sustaining, and will never draw you into the trap of self obsession, a sad and depressing addiction in our society.   True self love is a window to loving others, not a doorway that shuts out the world.  

To serve the world, to truly be of service, we need to be very very conscious.   We need to look at old programs, and see if they are running the show, instead of our true heart.  For women, in particular, the old models of serving others have been put in place and maintained by the patriarchy.  All of us, men and women, have to take a good look at how we go about serving this planet. We are not meant to live on our knees, we are here to stand tall on our feet, to truly shine.  We serve best from a place of power, not from a place of submission.  Not patriarchal power, but true power, a more feminine power – a generous, compassionate, loving power, that has no desire to dominate, but refuses to be dominated.

This week we interviewed Shandra Alexandre, founder of the Sha’can Tradition, for the film Redvolution.  She described how,  in Hindu mythology, the goddess Kali is shown with four arms.  On the one side, her arms hold gifts and boons.  On the other, a sword and a severed head.  The sword is for severing the head of the ego.  Painful as this may be, it is also the path to true freedom.   Terrifying as those Kali moments might be in our life, they also can be much more powerful and transformative than all the cuddling and coddling in the world.  We tend to want the gifts and boons of life, and want to avoid the fierce rewards of truth, but we do so at the expense of our growth.   

Fierce Self Love is not about denying our shadow, it’s not about being lazy and settling for less.  It’s about loving your potential, and choosing to water that seed.  Believing that no matter where you are right now, at the bottom of the barrel, or the top of the heap, inside is a divine spark that can never be extinguished, a glowing ember beyond the vagaries of fame and misfortune.     A sense of fullness, of deep, radiating satisfaction.  Beyond the power of lack.    Love is indomitable, unquenchable, unstoppable.  It can be hidden, but never destroyed.  It is at the core of who you are.   

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Ecstatic Activism

“Mysticism is creation seeking its source” —Stuart Davis

 

Velcrow Ripper phot in Tasmania of Fern

Pump up the volume. Turn up the burner. To 11. Move over Spiritual Activism – let’s talk Ecstatic Activism. “It goes beyond tree hugging,” says Spiritual Cowgirl Sera Beak, “ecstatic activism is more about tree humping.” It’s about being utterly and completely in Love with this divine planet we live on, this astounding multi~verse we’re born from, this incredible unfolding kaleidoscope of life, of ever changing energy, shuddering with the orgasmic after shocks of G~d’s Big Bang. It sets your hairs on end and electrifies your Soul. It’s the rich ripeness of those moments when you dare to open Your heart and plunge face forward into the Mystery.

To be an ecstatic activist is to be a Love Warrior, fierce and fiery…diving into both the light, and the shadows, reveling in all that it is to be divinely human. That means all the mess too – it’s the creative friction that propels us to grow, and growth is what it’s all about, least it is for my being. One of my sacred symbols – I’m wearing a version of it around my neck right now – is a spiral, amongst the Maori known as the “Koru”, and modeled on the unfolding fern frond. Ecstatic unfoldment of life. You can feel it pulsing through you – it’s eros, it’s erotic, it’s hot. It gets me out of bed in the morning, makes me want to change the world, change myself, open my heart even wider, and go out and hump a tree or two. Make love to my morning bagel. French kiss G~d with every action. Dance the dance of Fierce Love.

Course this kind of intensity ebbs and flows in our life – there are times when I am a still pond, and other times when I am a turbulent sea. At the moment (in case you hadn’t noticed) it’s one of those times when I’m feeling the fire. Might have something to do with having just come back from another film shoot, this time for Redvolution: Dare to Disturb the Universe. It’s Fierce Light Films new feature documentary project, and it’s all about ecstatic activism in it’s many forms.

This time around it was a short shoot – four days in Boulder, but as always when it’s Redvolution time, a few days feels like a month. My co-director and co-conspirator in the project, Redvolutionary Sera Beak (who’s based in San Fransisco) and I, met up in Boulder to film and interview twisted mystic and punk monk, Stuart Davis, host of a new television show called “Sex, God and Rock n Roll.” Sera was a featured guest on the taboo smashing show, which dares to disturb the pants right off the universe.

Here’s an episode from Stuart’s previous show, “The Stuart Davis Show”…

 

 

 

“One could say that Davis’ work mediates between sensuality and spirituality. Davis practices meditation in a Buddhist tradition (and he has recently taken Genpo Roshi as his teacher), but he believes that religious traditions ultimately fail to transmit the transcendent events from which they spring. He has identified Ken Wilber, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Ramana Maharshi and Aurobindo as influences, and his work displays a deep understanding of Zen and Sufism.

Davis’ songs are populated by alcoholics, atheists, bulimics, drug addicts, egoists, false prophets, fetishists, sadists, masochists, narcoleptics, pedophiles, pornographers, prostitutes, rapists, sexual predators, suicides, swingers, and terrorists. But his lyrics also describe angels, artists, gods, gurus, messiahs, mystics, prophets, psychics, and saints.

This tension points to the profoundly integrative aspect of Davis’ thought—on his view, the theme of sexual deviance does not contradict the spiritual themes. His perspective is wide enough to coherently include much more of the human experience than most. Thus it is possible to see Davis as a mystical poet like Rumi, Kabir, Basho, Ikkyu, Rilke, or Emily Dickinson.”~ Wikipedia

 

“There’s a light bulb in everyone
bright enough to swallow the sun
Earth and sky are all One taste
there is just the Original face

—Stuart Davis, “Original Face”

 

Spending three days with Stuart was akin to standing in a bucket of water and putting my finger in a light socket and throwing the switch. Stuart is a phemomenom unto himself, the embodiment of Crazy Wisdom, but all the madness is rooted firmly in his big open heart.  

Chögyam Trungpa, a brilliant (and crazily wise) Tibetan Buddhist teacher, founder of the Naropa institute in Boulder, describes “crazy wisdom” as an “innocent state of mind that has the quality of early morning—fresh, sparkling, and completely awake. From this profound point of view, spiritual practice does not provide comfortable answers to pain or confusion. On the contrary, painful emotions can be appreciated as a challenging opportunity for new discovery.”

For the ecstatic activist, everything that life throws our way is a divine Koan, a chance to dive further into the mystery. Sometimes we learn through joy, and ease and sunshine, and other times it’s through what Liyanna Silver, (www.redefiningmonogamy.com), another guest this weekend on Stuart’s show, calls AFGO – Another Fucking Growth Opportunity. It’s all part of the sacred puzzle, and too often we ignore the shadow – I was one of those light obsessed seekers myself. Problem is, the shadow doesn’t go away, but instead percolates below the surface, where it is much more dangerous.

Stuart Davis is a trickster in the temple who brings our collectively unconscious shadow out into the light, with the power of humour and rock and roll, exploding our preconceptions and programs, all in the name of Love.  Walking home after the show on Saturday night, he pointed to the sky and cried, “look, the moon! Look at it, if you dare!”

What about you – do you dare to look at the Moon? Do you dare to stare at the Sun? Put them together, and what do you get?

 

 

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Trees humping.

 

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