Intervention: Path of the Goddess

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Dear One, Tripura is the ultimate, primordial Shakti, the light of Manifestation.
She, the pile of letters of the alphabet, gave birth to the three worlds.
At dissolution, She is the abode of the tattvas, still remaining Herself.
– Vamakeshvara Tantra

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Stupor

One of the most difficult tasks for any addict is finding a way out of the stupor experienced as heaven and hell: one’s drug of choice – whether it be a substance, an activity, or even a person or memory – provides escape from a world of pain and the promise of the beyond. The prospect of giving this up is daunting, for it plunges the addict back into the depths, forced to confront a fate that one had so desperately tried to flee.

This probably explains the isolation of addicts by treatment facilities, away from drugs but also from familiar surroundings and friends. The tactic is favored precisely because of the immensity of the task at hand. If a change is to be made, there has to be a radical break – establishing a different relation to the world and, more fundamental than this, a different relationship with oneself, especially if a new beginning is to be found.

While usually couched in terms of relinquishment ("giving up" one’s addiction), the process is actually closer to self-transformation, one that begins with an inventory of the subterranean forces (and decisions) that maintained one’s marriage to the addiction. This is a subtle shift, in more ways than one, and a radical one, as well. For it requires a commitment to self-understanding more courageous than most people are willing to undertake as their own.

Sri Chakra Yantra

It’s precisely this kind of commitment that’s depicted in the well-known Sri Chakra Yantra, perhaps the most elegant portrayal of what it means to lead a life free of addiction. As a representation of the universe’s creation, as well as its dissolution, it depicts the body of the Divine Goddess: Her descent into the material world and her return to Her original home.

The outer perimeter takes the form of a fortress shaped like a square. This stands for the reality in which She finds Herself, the element of Earth. The fortress also represents the imperative of boundaries for the task at hand, establishing a border between oneself and the external world.

Around its edges are four gateways associated with different Gods, but even these are closed, suggesting that access to their divinity must be cut off. They had once provided access to the Ocean of Nectar within the fortress walls, but that job has now been completed. Attention must turn, instead, to the Island of Gems that’s contained within (and raised like a mountain). For at its summit is the place She wants to be.

The Sri Chakra Yantra describes Her path towards that goal. For those uninitiated in its secrets, it provides a tutorial on what to look for during the journey, and how to mark one’s progress during the work of Her ascent.

Spiritual Anatomy

In many ways, this Yantra also depicts the five sheaths of the human being, the "veils" that separate the human from the One. Often described as "bodies," these sheaths reveal our spiritual anatomy, including the spiritual forces that shape our lives on earth.

Which provides another rationale for isolating addicts from their addictions, the Gods who made life tolerable and gave it a semblance of meaning. Unlike the Gods that provided access through the Gates, The Goddess resides at the very center around which the entire edifice is built.

Because of these veils, most humans cannot see or recognize what lies within. Instead, they operate with organs least attuned to that task. Which is probably why so many of us are prone to getting sidetracked, looking for the divine elsewhere, looking outward for what already exists in the core as the One.

So, it’s by blocking out the unnecessary – building a protective wall or fortress – that allows attunement to what was blotted or became attached to a substance instead (divinity transferred onto one’s drug of choice).

Fulfiller of All Desires

But once the distractions and dependencies are cut, a different kind of experience is allowed to begin. New sensations become "visible" once all else has been quieted, a new world waiting to be discovered and known.

The first circle or chakra, for example, represents the sixteen forms of desire: the five gross elements, the five organs of the senses, the five organs of action, and the ever-changing mind. Sixteen "Hidden" Shaktis reside on each of its petals, each a manifestation of the Great Goddess Herself, and each praised for their primal attractions, for it’s through their desires that the nature of the Goddess Herself can be divined and known.

This form of praise – puja – is often translated as worship, although it’s meaning is much more than this. In fact, it’s said to involve physical alchemy in which one substance is transformed into another. At the level of this chakra, the shift is represented by chyle, the first substance the body produces when digesting food. Subsequent chakras represent additional stages facilitated by the Shaktis that reside in them, each to be praised for their assistance in leading toward Her goal.

Part of the way in which this transformation is achieved is by becoming more attuned to the body’s constitution and the veils that separate the human from the divine. In learning from these sixteen forms of desire, one becomes aware of what had been hidden before: the inner instrument and the subtle mediums of sensation that – together with the elements, the organs, and the ever-changing mind – act as the (unseen) vehicles of desire.

Christy God and the Elements

But not all addictions are created equal, as is illustrated by Christy, the target of much ridicule by viewers left dumbfounded by her story. She lives in what appears to be a hovel, a small apartment in which her father allows her to live. She seems to spend her time in this place alone, getting high and struggling to solve a cosmic puzzle she’s acquired (from where, we’re never told).

It’s a highly unusual portrait of addiction, perhaps the only one of its kind featured on Intervention, since two things soon become clear: first, she spends much of her time at home naked, requiring A&E to censor the images on screen and, second, much of that time is spent with her notebook as if she were still enrolled in school, except the problem she’s working on is nothing like those favored by teachers responsible for the education of our young.

One is God. [He] created the Earth (gravel) and Fire (friction).
He walked 6 days and rested. (Died on the 7th.)
The wind blew Mary making Air and Life, the 5 elements.
Water – Adam & Eve – are started for the test.
Satan turns against God and tries 2 take over the world by trying 2 make all evil.

The Sequence of Numbers Good and Evil

In place of the what normally passes as knowledge, she’s consumed by numerical sequences and the elements, all of which revolve around the same problem: the battle between Good and Evil, between Satan and God. Those who pass judgment never pause to ask about the origin of this imperative, taking comfort instead in their ability to declare her insane. The program’s producers will describe it as an example of "meth psychosis."

For anyone who’s paying attention, however, at least one thing’s obvious. She’s actually developing her inner instrument, her higher faculties and her capacity for abstract thought. If there’s any confusion that still remains for the audience, it concerns the source of this frenetic activity, why a woman as young as she would turn to these symbols and equations. What’s the problem she’s trying to solve?

The answer is already there in her writing: the problem of Good versus Evil. Even if the terms have little concrete meaning for most people, they clearly have meaning for her: Satan emerged at the end of creation when God disappeared, as if a second being took the place of the first. This left Christy alone to give witness to the hole left by His absence, as much an homage to God as a consecration of her experience of His grace.

In the wake of God’s death, she’s been condemned to fight against Satan. And this might be why, in all her scribblings, the equation that’s most central – the one she has yet to solve – is boiled down to a single question:

(+) Good + (-) Evil = ?

Or, in different terms: what happens when you add a positive with a negative?
Does it equal zero? It is merely nothing? This is a conclusion she cannot accept. If she did, she’d be guilty of blasphemy. She’d also be negating the very truth of her experience of bliss.

Home - Earth - Gravel Provocation

With such matters weighing on her mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the basics of living come with some difficulty: that when heaven has shifted, her earthly home comes to resemble something else.

It might also explain her constant nakedness, as if flaunting the rules of civilized existence, or what appears to be her delight in taunting others, including her very own sister. It’s almost as if she does it on purpose, as if there were a design behind the madness: as if by eliciting their anger, she were privy to something that had been withheld. As if by virtue of her provocations, a certain kind of "truth" came to be displayed that only she was able to behold.

I’m an Angel.
I am God trapped in the form of a human body.
– God’s eyes –
None of you can take that away from me ever.

If she’s become God eyes – able to see Him and the beauty of Creation – why would anyone trade that in for anything else?

 Dad Talking to Dad

The only one exempt from her prodding, the only one free of her provocations, is her father who drops by for a visit unannounced. Acutely aware of the camera, their conversation is stilted, as if this were a performance for the benefit of others. Playing the role of the concerned father, he declares his intent to "save" her before she’s too far gone. But she resists, refusing the script that he’s decided to follow.

Well, I already saved myself a long time ago
Or else, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am, okay?
– I’m happy you’re happy, Christy, but …
Then, that’s it! That’s it. [end of conversation]
– That’s not it. It doesn’t stop there.
Well, then, that’s your problem. It’s
not mine.
– It sounds like you’ve got that selfish thing down really well.
Yeah, and where’d I learn that from?

Clearly, it’s a familiar argument, as is the issue of his divorce from her mother, when at the age of nine she had a mental breakdown. But just as things get heated, just as she’s beginning to challenge his assurance about the nature of her problem, the conversation ends abruptly. The thing is, I have so much to say, but I can’t. I need a drink. I’m too excited right now. Which he takes as a signal to leave. But despite this, she shouts out words of encouragement to the man walking out the door:

Don’t feel bad, Dad.
You should be happy that you gave life to such a cool person !

So, we’re left to wonder why her father – and a conversation such as this – makes her feel like turning to drink. Or what it was she was unable to say in front of the cameras about selfishness but which was tacitly understood.

Chakras of Preservation

The Sri Yantra consists of nine chakras divided into three sets of three:

1-3. Chakras of Creation
4-6. Chakras of Preservation
5-9. Chakras of Dissolution

Each set represents the stages in the path of the Goddess in the creation of the universe (moving outward from the center) and its dissolution (moving inward from the periphery). She is the Red Goddess Tripura Sundari, Beautiful Goddess of the Three States, also known as Lalita (The Playful One).

Very few commentaries actually say what these three "states" might be. But from the experience of Christy, it’s clear they refer to three states of consciousness: she has access to states quite distinct from the wakefulness most of us take to be the one and only reality. Like someone caught in the non-culmination of the Sarasvati nadi, however, she zooms from one to another, unable to stay in a single place, in one moment caught in her vision of God, and the next, faced by the Devil himself.

Because of this see-saw motion, there’ll be times she loses her bearings, admittedly made worse by her addiction, unable to distinguish between heaven and hell. One moment, she’s the sister of Jesus, at other times, she’s Satan’s bride.

Sometimes, when I’m under the influence so hardcore,
I’m, like, being possessed by the Devil.
I love it!

Anticon Always Confused

This kind of experience is often the result of occult practices that are hidden from public view. Their purpose has less to do with spiritual enlightenment than a form of parasitism that cultivates certain talents and abilities for another’s use. This is a perversion of the two-step process found in some spiritual traditions in which a non-culminating rising is immediately followed by a diversion that directs Shakti to a nadi that can actually reach Her goal.

This takes place when an occult master prepares a student for the harvesting of brain center capacities and does not intend for a diversion to take place, lest the student follow their inner Divine guide rather than the master, who has a vested interest in utilizing the skills the student will gain. The person may become trapped in the master’s service, or be seduced by the powers they gain and want to stay in the occult group.

This is nothing short of spiritual slavery: students groomed for another’s benefit without any consideration of the toll it will take on their body, mind, and spirit. Their higher capacities will be stimulated, producing remarkable talents, but they’ll also find themselves swinging between the poles of heaven and hell. And unless they’re fortunate enough to find a teacher who can instruct them differently, they’re likely to languish and die, yearning for God even while mourning his apparent indifference.

I c my self Cycles of Time

Which might be why, in the Chakras of Preservation, the Yantra turns the adept’s attention to others aspects of the energy body, extending its earlier lessons about the nature and vehicles of desire. The focus here are the nadis, as well as the vital breaths that are meant to activate and flow through them.

Each of these can be damaged, leading to different forms of addiction, and learning to recognize the signs is an important step in working towards healing. When Apana is abused, one is left with an unending hunger, inheriting a deep desire and need to consume, often in the form of sex. Disturbance of Samana leads to digestive and eating disorders, from anorexia to compulsive eating, since the normal functions of assimilation have been impaired. A broken heart upsets the healthy functioning of Prana, leaving the person vulnerable, yearning and with a devotional nature that’s difficult to fulfill. When the upward movement of Udana is squashed, the brain is left with a deficit of endorphins, leaving the person hapless, desperately seeking stimulation for what has been depleted.

Since Vishnu is the Preserver of the Universe and The All Pervading Essence (i.e., Vyana), these chakras resonate with his power. But it’s the Shaktis that reside here that help heal disturbances that lead to dependence upon an external source. Once stabilized, the vital breaths should be directed toward the stomach where the digestive fire becomes magnified, strengthening it’s ability to process what might have previously been too difficult to digest.

Shakti is worshipped as the protector (fire) and takes the form of Ten Deities of Protection. Each corresponds with an Ayurvedic body type: vata, pitta, kapha, vata-pitta, pitta-vata, pitta-kapha, kapha-pitta, vata-kapha, kapha-vata, and vata-pitta-kapha. Since each has its strengths and weaknesses, since each meets its limit in a certain "food" that cannot be processed, these Shaktis help protect against those limitations: balancing the energy body that might have been damaged and healing the addictions that might have arisen, as a result.

The Three Doshas

For simplicity’s sake, these body types (doshas) are usually discussed in their pure forms – vata, pitta, and kapha – that possess different qualities based upon the elements with which they’re associated: vata, air and ether; pitta, fire and water; kapha, earth and water.

Each has distinctive qualities. Vatas, for example, are typically slender, creative, excitable, mercurial, impulsive, mentally quick, with hands and feet that tend to be cold; they are also prone to anxiety, racing thoughts, irregular heartbeats, nervous stomach, and constipation. Pittas are generally physically strong, mentally sharp, focused, assertive, competitive and passionate; they are also prone to baldness, sarcasm, anger, ulcers, heartburn, and insomnia. Kaphas are said to be easy-going, loving, stable, deliberate in speech and thought, physically sturdy, and slow to anger; they are also liable to gain weight easily, depression, possessiveness, envy, greed, and the accumulation of water and mucus in their bodies.

According to Ayurveda, when unbalanced, each body type is prone to different types of disease. And since food is one of the main ways the balance of elemental energies of the body can be altered, diet becomes crucial in that effort: Kapha’s tendency to accumulate mucus and water can be counterbalanced by the ingestion of foods that are dry and hot; Vata’s "airy" tendency and constipation can be balanced by foods that are grounding and wet; Pitta’s fire can be lessened by cooling foods and by avoiding those that are acidic and spicy, including coffee.

Vata - Pitta - Kapha

In the end, however, these physiological types and emotional tendencies are but external manifestations of more subtle currents that run through the body. And it’s these that are the focus of the chakras concerned with the nadis, vital breaths, and digestive fires.

Once the nadis have been identified, particularly those most relevant to oneself, this opens the way to examining the flows of energy that have been enabled (or disabled) along the way, and facilitating their movement where they’ve become blocked. This enables a deeper understanding of one’s subtle constitution, including the possible reasons behind one’s physical maladies and their relation to one’s limited ability to digest.

Parallel to the kind of balancing used in Ayurvedic diets, the digestive fires come to be ignited when the five vital breaths are brought into contact with the stomach. The recommended method will vary, depending upon one’s dosha. Vatas are said to benefit from peace and calm, avoiding stress and distraction as much as possible, taking naps when they are tired, and establishing a secure and stable style of life; meditation is used to empty the mind of worries, and surrendering to the fears and anxieties they are prone to suffer. Pittas are encouraged to establish cool and pleasing environments, practicing affectionate and loving behavior while avoiding conflict, ambition, and strain; through meditation, they should focus on positive energies, peace, forgiveness, and artistic creativity. Given their tendency toward laziness and attachment, Kaphas are encouraged to adopt an austere lifestyle, like sleeping on the floor and staying up late, learning to break their attachments, and taking up physical exercise; their meditation should also be "active," focusing on studying, inquiring, reading scriptures, perhaps even singing and chanting.

In this way, vayus that have been damaged can be corrected, opening channels that had previously been blocked, and compensating for inclinations and addictions that later emerged.

Bestower of All Accomplishments

After completing this puja – after this alchemical transformation is done – the adept continues to the level of dissolution and the (causal) body of bliss. On the last step of the journey, the adept will find the central triangle, Seat of the Mother which, according to some, is the most creative spot in the universe (Her yoni or womb): the origin of the entirety of creation and the penultimate stop on Her way back home, the final veil that hides the Goddess contained within.

Three "Extremely Secret" Shaktis reside here, at each corner of the Triangle:

Flowering Yoni (Bhagamalini), consort of Brahma
Adamantine Lady (Vajreshi), consort of Vishnu
Lady of Desire (Kameshvari), consort of Rudra (Shiva)

They’re also said to correspond with the gross body, subtle body, and the (causal) body of bliss; the forces of creation, preservation, and dissolution; as well as the the three fundamental tendencies which, by some accounts, belong to the pure tattvas, just short of the One.

Kriya Shakti, the power to manifest
Jnana Shakti, the divine power of knowledge
Iccha Shakti, divine will

It’s almost as, if at this level, all of creation is laid bare, including what’s been most hidden from public view, inviting recognition of how the world came into being.

It’s said that the main obstacle for transcending this sheath (or any sheath, for that matter) is the tendency to identify with it, to mistake it for the Self: the tendency to identify with a certain form of energy, an aspect of mind, or even the gross body itself. It should not come as a surprise to learn that there’s a tendency to identify with the body of bliss, as well.

But if one recognizes that the causal body can be "seen" like any other – observed as an aspect of the microcosm patterned after the Goddess Herself – then it becomes clear that there’s an observer doing this seeing, separate from what’s being seen. This is the Witness. And with this realization, the Goddess of the Three States becomes the Fourth (turiya) and all forms of duality come to an end.

Positive plus Negative The Devil's Equation

One advantage of the pantheon of Gods found among the ancients is that one’s less likely to confuse a God with The One: once their multitude is recognized, no longer can a single one represent completion. They also possess traits usually taken to be human, turning into babies or monsters when they don’t get what they want. But once the sheaths of the body have been traversed, it’s easier to recognize how the Gods are also shaped by energy and, for someone like Christy, this might even help explain how Satan came to replace the Divine.

There’s nothing necessarily "wrong" with confusing God with The One; in fact, it prepares the ground for the Goddess’s ascent. It only becomes a problem when it creates a stalemate, faced with an equation [Good + Evil = What?] that seems to come to naught.

Those who’re stuck this way are faced with the most awful problem of the spirit: how to honor the Divine without having to sacrifice oneself. The solution to this problem is what’s depicted in the Sri Chakra Yantra. Rather than remaining beholden to a God that’s disappeared, a different kind of Divinity can be found: the Goddess in all Her splendor and Her glory.

She reaches a point where She can say I C MY SELF without qualification or need for confirmation since, at this level, there can be no "negative."

She becomes the Fourth that transcends the Three.

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~ by mistified on 7 December 2011.

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