14 September 2023

 

We asked our students, “What do you perceive Kashmir Shaivism has brought to your life?”. Read their touching and meaningful answers below:

I am walking through a thick white fog. The earth on my bare feet is my only connection to the reason for my existence. I look for an explanation of my reality there but nothing substantial can be found in the dirt. From time to time in the fog I perceive the tips of white wings of benign presences. Then behind me to my surprise and delight, I hear the sound of horses hooves and the creak of wheels. My heart beats fast, my eyes stretch wide as two lights shine out of the mist. A golden carriage approaches. It is drawn by a black horse and a white horse. A medieval knight, rides out in front carrying before him the blunt sword of mercy. The knight, the horses and the carriage are resplendent in fluttery flags bearing Siva’s trident and a six pointed star: this is the livery of the house of Trika. I am humble in my simple cotton shift and quickly shake the dust from my feet as I enter the carriage of pure reality. From the window the view is magnificent. The air is shimmering with atoms falling in love. I see the knights armour dropping away. The roof of fog above is thinning showing patches of blue and black of starry night. I look behind me, all my belongings are strew along the road. Now they take the shape of fossils, the detritus of my ignorance turning to dust. The horses walk in rhythm, nodding their heads in agreement. The wheels on the carriage turn and fireflies leap and play, shimmering down the spokes towards the centre where they merge in a final flash of surrender. Around the golden coach there are butterflies in constant motion, turning from chrysalis to full flight then back to chrysalis again. “Which path is this?”, I ask the knight. “All paths are the path of the heart”, he replies.” I see I have taken the correct route. “All is mystery and wonder”, says the knight, “do not try to work it out, you are beyond mind, admire the view and all will be revealed.” I see the fog deep and white and occasionally thinning to reveal a golden beam of sunlight and a mystery within that only my heart understands. There is birdsong so I know I am not alone. The divine sounds are silent, only lightning in the air reveals their truth” – Vivienne. 

The Kashmir Shaivism course brought in my life a very direct path to the Heart of God. The awareness of the techniques and the exemplifications opened my being to more and more of what is possible. The techniques that are revealed can be extremely simple and very effective, for example a breathing technique that we learned has stayed with me after practising it for a few weeks and became one of my favourite tool to elevate my consciousness. 
I feel enriched and very grateful for everything that I received in this course.” – Jeno 
 

“Greater understanding of the individual nature and consciousness and the interconnections between them and profound connections of all things and beings.” – Josianne. 

From an intellectual perspective, the Kashmir Shaivism course has been helping me get a deeper understanding of the Tantric principles and practices. I usually find myself having “why” questions on the Tantra and Yoga courses, and this course has been providing the answers to some of those questions brilliantly.  
It has also been helping me get a deeper understanding of myself and the Universe as a whole. 
From an esoteric perspective, it has been one of the most direct ways of receiving Shiva’s grace. I have experienced some of the most beautiful states of His grace during the exemplifications in class” – Sasan. 

About KS, it has enriched my life in many ways. Mainly it is how different levels of understanding are revealed. So many things I had intuitions about, become explained. It has helped me trust my intuitions, and fostered a keener love of learning more. Connections between so many things. Expansion. Growth. Connectedness. Spirit running through us all and in all and everywhere, mystery, beauty, God” – Enrica 

Kashmir Shaivism was the discovery of a spiritual scientific explanation and model of existence and the Universe that co-relates with many of the subject we study to understand the Universe, with the difference that this is observable from almost any scientific lens and empirical experience. 
A profound initiation into understanding God, Universe myself and existence, everything.” – Cintia 

Lots of subtle information. Very structured course. I do not imagine where else I would find these materials. This feels like the knowledge and wisdom underpinning all the great religions. Knowledge to ponder in for a lifetime which will reveal new aspects to me as I grow and mature” – Scott 

Shiva linga, an iconic representation of the Hindu god Shiva

What do I perceive Kashmir Shaivism has brought to my life? 

I have studied Kashmir Shaivism for two years. In that time the rigid cages of thinking about my life, that I thought were real, the idea of myself that I thought was me, have fallen away. The teachings have sounded a bell of truth that I know to be true because it resonates in my heart. These days I am more courageous and less fearful of the unknown.  

All my life I wanted to know the purpose of my life, the purpose of all life on the planet, why I am here and what is existence. Kashmir Shaivism has provided me with many keys to unlock these mysteries and get a sense that there is indeed a ‘unique intelligence and wisdom’ behind the creation of the universe, a creator. 

At the same time the absence of full understanding is perplexing. Partial knowledge is indeed ignorance. I grasp an insight or have an aha moment then later on, I find it hard to recall. I feel elevated when I read the class notes then later on I try to recall the teachings and it takes me many repetitions to embed the knowledge. 

I perceive that Kashmir Shaivism blows my mind. Blows circuits in my brain. My attachment to thinking that life is one single earthly existence & I am here purely to enjoy the fruits of the earth. Having to unlearn before I am able to learn. Esoteric truth needing to be experienced by my awakened heart. 

I feel uplifted by the information about the Tattvas, the 12 Kalis, the Rasas. 

It is wonderful to see the harmony, the symmetry and the complexity of the building blocks of life and the unfoldment of life in time & space crossing the three realms. Again leading me to a sublime experience of myself in which my consciousness is expanded for brief moments & in which I feel connected to the energies of Siva & Shakti, to the earth, to the mysterious sounds and energies of the phonemes, to the moon and to the five fundamental Tattvas. I nurture gratitude in my heart for not ending this incarnation in ignorance. For having broken through. 

The Kanchukas, sometimes seem cruelly immovable being so habituated to feeling that I am my limitations in creativity, energy, knowledge, happiness; limited to the learning I can achieve in this one life. 

Aspiration, spiritual practice & seeing myself as a cosmic being connected to universal forces then becomes very important. 

The multiplicity of Shakti energy forms,  seeing her in so many different forms, experiencing her in the form of blissful nectar, in the multiplicity of the Nityas, the eternal creatives.  

The nature of the energy of the Logos and the connection with the unfoldment of all life, is intriguing and I don’t think I truly understand it. I struggled to see sound as subtle. I struggled to see the breath as subtle. I struggled to see the veil of Maya encasing us in a bubble made of space and energies. I struggled to feel I was the entire universe and that the entire universe was in me. 

How I perceive Kashmir Shaivism opens widely the door to my poetic self & the door to my heart and this is a place that I wish to expand from. There is no going back.” – Vivienne 

A statuette of the dancing Shiva . India, Udaipur

About Kashmir Shaivism for me learning this has made me really appreciate life as this infinite mysterious phenomenon full of magic and to appreciate the connection of everything and understand things like synchronicity to a much deeper level. It has really made the understanding of creation so much more magical. I feel taken to a dreamland whenever I am exposed to this topic. Thank you Eleni and Nikos, I love your class and how you teach.” – Danielle 

The main benefit from my time in the class has been discovering a rich tradition that helps give structure and meaning to my spiritual experiences including meditation and that gives me some solid ground where I feel held and can grow further. I also learnt to observe my mind and emotions as they arise, noticing what thoughts and feelings were coming up for me without attaching to them” – Matthew 

Had insights that I could connect together with the teachings from different traditions, seeing connection with parallel belief systems and experiencing the correlations not just spiritually but with the wider world” – Chris 

Learnt to trust intuition and validation of emotions during meditations, felt a certainty and connection with Shiva and a deeper knowing that I have been on this path before” – Enrica.  

I found a philosophical framework and a model of the universe that makes sense and correlates with my personal experience as well as all the other sources I’ve studied. Also, the meditations go deep and have helped me to embody and awaken my soul”, – Elias 

Gave me practical tools and a framework to navigate life in a way that I found powerful for all areas of my experience” – Cerys.  

Kashmir Shaivism goes much deeper into Laya Yoga.  Sometimes I arrive in the class with agitated mind and then get into the class and leave feeling happier. Feeling the essence of the information. Change perspective on life and the Universe” – Rob 

Knowledge is a highlight. Became more conscious of the steps of this path. Classes: each one is wonderful and exciting, active and different. Wonderful meditations. Classes are engaging. When initially came to the course, came looking for answers in personal life. Found the answers!” – Ana 

Kashmir Shaivism course inspired me to reveal the Self. Inspired me to read more like I Am That. Wonderful to understand the essence of the universe. Feel addicted to the discovery of the Universe and connection to the human life and experience. Aim to look from the higher perspective in daily life and continue to change my perception. Information absolutely related to who we are” – Jonathan 

Lord Shiva. Photo courtesy of PixaHive

Kashmir Shaivism is a complete path of initiation that provides everything needed to reach spiritual realisation. At the essence of this elevated path is Shiva. It offers you fundamental keys for awakening the soul, for understanding deeper and deeper who you truly are, until finally revealing the ultimate Self – in the here and now. Learn more about Kashmir Shaivism through our in-depth biweekly course in London.

09 August 2023

“The fog revealed the stones rising up from a shimmering blue light.” 

 

I had the special opportunity to attend the Solstice Sunrise Meditation which took place on the morning of the 21st June from 4:30 – 6 am. I had never been to Stonehenge before even though I had passed the site many times. I travelled from London after my evening yoga class at Tara. I usually come in to class from outside London but because of the long drive and needing to leave early in the morning, I stayed at a colleague’s house. We left around half past midnight, picking up another Tara participant on the way. We weren’t able to sleep the whole night as we were so excited and full of anticipation.  
 
Stonehenge has been a sacred site for thousands of years and lies on important ley lines, ensuring that people have always gathered in this mysterious place. The drive took around two and a half hours, and we were pretty tired from not having slept. As we got closer to the site it was almost as if something changed, and you could feel a magical atmosphere in the air. It was foggy driving down the road adjacent to the site, so at first I couldn’t see anything. Then the fog revealed the stones rising from a shimmering blue light. It looked mysterious and wonderful, and I was very eager to walk among the stones, to feel the sacred energy. 

We queued for a while to get into the car park. There were easily seven thousand people there awaiting the rising of the sun on the longest day of the year. The walk from the car to the stones was around 20 minutes, and we joined the holy procession towards the stones, shapes and shadows getting lost and blending into the mist. We arrived a little late and we saw that our group was to the right past the security check point. I saw many of our colleagues but we didn’t have time to chat as Morgan and Bogdan were giving instructions on how we were going to form the spiral for the meditation. We had already downloaded the meditation track and had our phones charged and earphones at the ready.  

It was time to get into our zodiac lines, as we would be positioned in the spiral according to our zodiac signs – Aries man, Aries woman, Taurus man, Taurus woman etc. The first group went into the stone circle itself to start creating a space for our group to gradually expand into, forming a tight spiral. We were guided into the circle in groups to join the initial group, and to form the spiral. There were so many people there, singing, chanting, drumming, there were people sleeping around the main stones and of course ever that bright shining blue light from spotlights lighting up the stones.  

To get into the spiral we had to step over people and ask some to move. The space was tight, and the meditation was one and a half hours. At 4:30, our phones and headphones ready, we began the meditation. At first I did not feel anything, but after around 15 minutes a very warm and reassured feeling enveloped my body. The music and the atmosphere carried my body and mind towards bliss. There were another two groups meditating in Denmark and Italy along with us at Stonehenge, forming an equilateral triangle. I really felt this energy as if it was amplifying the effects of our technique, calling the sun and at the same time engaging in a beneficial transformation for the good of humanity. I called upon all the British and English ancestors to help us in this task, and as I am Romanian, I also called on our Dacian ancestors. 

When the sun rose, I could hear people chanting although my focus was mainly on meditating. For me was very quick, I do not honestly know where the time went. After the meditation I walked around the stones, touching them, trying to feel who built them and for what sacred purpose. In our situation it was clear, the stones were like a power plant, channeling the energy of the sun while at the same time being rooted in the ground and capturing the telluric energy. I felt inspired and did Bhujangasana while feeling the love and being at peace.  

I am not sure where the journey will take me in the future, but I am sure that that day we made history, and the Earth is on its way to getting rid of the malefic states and energies that have plagued it for thousands of years. 

by Cosmin


We hold this special spiral meditation in Stonehenge every solstice. To join us next time, keep an eye on our events listing or sign up to our newsletter to be notified when new events are announced! We look forward to seeing you there!

08 June 2023

Having enjoyed the Pilgrimage to Canterbury in April again this year, I was very excited to be embarking on the second Pilgrimage of the season to my hometown, and the ancient Roman city of St. Albans in Hertfordshire. I grew up there as a child and lived in the district of St. Albans for over 26 years, so I was eager to re-visit this unique and historical city with a new perspective, with a pair of fresh eyes, and also a yearning heart.

The starting point was the village of Radlett, about 7 miles south of our destination by foot, where we gathered at 9.30am and were guided by our expert leader Andrew, to a quiet enclosed woodland green area to prepare ourselves for the aspirational day ahead. Our Captain Andrew, who has himself gathered many years of experience as a dedicated pilgrim on his own journeys, shared with us the true benefits and insights we might expect to observe and behold during this tried and tested pilgrimage route. He guided the group through consecrating the pilgrimage, and gave space for the opening meditation where each individual heart looks carefully inward, and is able to solidify and set their own intentions for the journey ahead.

As we departed the sheltered green space at 10am, I looked up and noticed the first rays of sunshine breaking through a gap in the clouds, which gave rise to a glorious day ahead, and the skies soon opened up and continued to be filled with light, depth and warmth to accompany us on our trial along the pilgrims way. God had witnessed and heard all our deep longings and intentions, and so blessed us with his presence and watchful eye, with no clouds to mask or cover us during our special, sacred journey together. My own personal aspiration for the day was a very simple and yet powerful intention to become closer to God every day, as I move ahead on my own spiritual path. I kept this clear vision in my mind’s eye and very close to my heart, during each and every step we took towards our shared destination, but more importantly towards the final goal I had personally created for myself, within the wider group of moving and aspiring hearts.

The practice of walking in mauna is recommended to us at the beginning of such a journey, where we can each silently tune in to that special space within us, to help support and even magnify our personal journey and intentions. Some individuals ardently chose to maintain this deep inward and outward silence throughout the whole day and process, which I truly admired, and marvelled at their quiet commitment and no doubt more intensely felt effects received from the shared pilgrimage. For me, I took the opportunity beyond the first 15 – 20 minutes to engage and speak to my fellow Tara pilgrims who were also receptive, and we were able to outwardly share our experiences as we gently progressed along the nature-filled trail. This was headed by Andrew accompanied by the trusty four-legged Lalla, while Kieran and Eabha (completing the pair of divine dogs) walked at the back of the group, ensuring that no one strayed too far behind, and the group always progressed as one entire body, whilst different paces were also accommodated, along with the dedicated bare-foot walkers, and those members who could not help stopping to greet animals, or photograph key moments along the way.


The route we joined on the Pilgrim‘s way took us from the sleepy village of Radlett, passing by Hill Farm, Netherwylde Farm, Waterside Farm, the Moor Mill, and quietly past the villages of Frogmore, How Wood, and Park Street (where I grew up) before passing Sopwell House and Cottonmill Bridge, and delivering us at the foot of Holywell Hill (aptly named), before our final gentle ascent towards the open grounds of St. Albans Abbey. The tried and tested trail we adopted was primarily rural, with key marker points along the way, and having passed through the picturesque and peaceful lakes and ponds of Moor Mill Fishery, we more or less followed the River Ver (short for Verulam or Verulamium) all the way to the grand Cathedral, situated on a gentle hill at the edge of the city centre of St. Albans.

I personally found that the constantly changing and ever emerging surroundings allowed me to become aware of my direct connection with a variety of abundant nature, wildlife, and country pathways, which was not only refreshing and revitalising, but this kept me very rooted in my own personal goal. In doing so this naturally brought me closer with my own connection to God, as I was continuously able to observe, appreciate, admire and also transfigure the diverse natural world that accompanied and infused our Pilgrims walk. And this was a constant reminder to perceive and value the true source and creator of all things beautiful, natural, and alive, which we encountered on the journey. A very simple yet effective mind-set with every step I took.

Once we gathered in the gardens of the Cathedral, we walked around the outside of the magnificent Abbey in our own time either once or three times, to make this the centre-point and focus of our journey and destination. The Abbey itself was founded in the 8th century, and the present building is of both Norman and Romanesque architecture of the 11th century, along with Gothic and 19th- century additions, and at 85m long has the longest nave of any cathedral in England. St Albans Cathedral stands close to the site of Saint Alban’s death by the Romans – he was the first British Christian Martyr or Saint during the 3rd or 4th century. Afterwards we gathered again as a whole group to perform a final meditation, to help crystallise the gifts that this pilgrimage had offered to us, and we also heard some beautiful personal sharings from the group.

After enjoying some free time to explore the Abbey or venture into the historic city centre, we ended the day with the Evensong, a choral evening service of prayer and praise, accompanied by the Cathedral Choir, and using the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer. The sounds of the collective choral voices resonated through the very centre of the Abbey at the heart of the cross, and reverberated deep into the tall tower looming above us. I felt myself at such peace, and extremely blessed from the day’s events.

by Jonathan Freeman

11 October 2022

“Every visible thing in this world is put in the charge of an angel” ~ St Augustine

“To love for the sake of being loved is human, but to love for the sake of loving is angelic” ~ Alphonse Marie de Lamartine

Angels are beings of light, and they are described in many different religions and spiritual traditions as well as by ordinary people. They are described as being the guardians of man, messengers of God, facilitators of the Will of God, and supporters and protectors of the manifestation, of the entire world with their enormous power. Angels are beings of Truth, Purity, Love, Harmony, Perfection and Wisdom. They are beings of a higher vibration that inspire, protect and guide. They are the connection, or the bridge between Heaven and Earth.

The word angel comes from the Greek, άγγελος aggelos, meaning the one that brings the godly message to the human beings. 

Emanuel Swedenborg, an 18th century Swedish scientist, mystic and clairvoyant had extensive experiences with angels. He mentioned that there is an unaccountably vast number of angels, with their own cities, houses, clothes, language, qualities and attributes.

Different faiths, mythologies, spiritual traditions, philosophies and cultures refer to angels, and they are also described throughout history, from pre-dynastic or ancient Egypt to modern times. In the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, angels are called devas, or godly messengers. In the Islamic tradition angels are called Malaikah, and in Judaism they are known as Malachim.

Common to all traditions is that angels are the godly messengers that bring the word of God to human beings, and thus they connect us to the Divine. 

In the Christian tradition, The Celestial Hierarchies is ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite, who described the angelic hierarchies, also known as the spheres and choirs.

  • The first hierarchy is the closest to God and directly receives the light from the Source. It consists of the Seraphim, the angels of pure love, the Cherubim, the angels of wisdom, and the Thrones, the great supporters of the entire cosmos.
  • The second hierarchy protects the divine purpose. It comprises the Dominions, the celestial prefects and defenders against evil, the Virtues, the healers that make miracles happen, and the Powers, the Lords of Karma and the angels of birth and death, associated with the stars.
  • The third hierarchy cares for all created beings. It consists of the Principalities, who protect cities, nations, large corporations and any large structure of people, the Archangels, who lead bands of angels and oversee large projects with the light (the closest Archangels to earth are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel), and the Angels of Light.

The closest angels to human beings are Guardian Angels, who are with us all the time in their role as the gatekeepers of our souls. Our Guardian Angel is with us from the moment of our birth, and always watches over us. The Guardian Angel can call other angels to come into our life to help us, and so asking for the help of your Guardian Angel can bring help from an uncountable number of angels. Our Guardian Angel is always by our side, and ready to help us in any way, taking part in every little detail of our lives. Even though the only task of our Guardian Angel is to help and guide us, he or she cannot if we do not allow this help.

Common to all traditions is that angels are the godly messengers that bring the word of God to human beings, and thus they connect us to the Divine.

Angels cannot interfere in our lives uninvited, as they have an endless respect for our free will. In this respect, it is good to remember the message of the words of Jesus: “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened”. ~ Luke 11:9-10 NIV 

Angels are here to assist us and influence us in the most positive way, but always respecting our individual freedom. We only need to remember to ask for their assistance, guidance and protection.

In Angels in my Hair, Lorna Byrne says, “God is pouring these beautiful angels out on this world for us, and yet many of us ignore them”. She says that angels whisper advice in people’s ears but we often think it is a silly thought and we disregard what we are asked to do. To hear this whisper clearly, and to dare to follow it, we need to open our minds to the existence of angels and learn to listen to their voices in our hearts – the voices which are actually the voice of God.

In everyday life when we say someone is an angel or like an angel we speak about purity, inner beauty, or we describe a kind and loving person. One who manifests goodness, purity and selflessness. One that through his or her service or simply just by his or her presence makes a difference in the lives of others, and who makes life better. This is a person who, knowingly or not, is in contact with the world of angels, or as we say in yoga,  a person who is in resonance with the sphere of force of the angels.

Amplifying a connection with angels can be done through dreams, meditation, prayer, or simply by invoking them. Opening our heart and becoming more kind, giving and loving will enable us to enter in resonance with angels, as they are an expression of the pure love of God. The more we nourish a connection with angels, the more sensitive we will become to their presence and the more we will hear their voices speaking the language of godly love in our hearts.

We warmly invite you to Angels and Archangels week 2022, from 30th October to 6th November. During this angelic celebration we will bring the reality of the angels and archangels of light alive in our hearts through meditation, artistic expression, workshops and other activities. All activities related to the week are completely free, with donations welcome.

Find out more about Angels and Archangels Week 2022

16 August 2022

A Sacred Place Amongst the Hubbub

For centuries people had to undertake difficult and often dangerous journeys in search of monasteries and ashrams on distant mountain tops or on remote islands surrounded by treacherous seas. The spiritual devotee needed to remove themselves from the temptations of the world to dedicate themselves to the pursuit of perfection. Now you can hop on a bus to an Ashram, a sanctuary amongst all the buzz and busy-ness of the city.

So why would anyone choose to spend time in an Ashram? The answer is that it provides a sanctuary and a place to lay down burdens, and it provides a kind of ‘fortress’ for the spirit. Being in an ashram super-charges your spiritual energy using the challenges of daily life as rocket fuel to launch your spiritual practice and aspiration. You are embraced and held by the others who live there who share your values and principles, who join you in study and practice and they can also provide powerful iron-girder support so you may further transform without buckling under the pressure.

Being in an ashram super-charges your spiritual energy using the challenges of daily life as rocket fuel to launch your spiritual practice and aspiration.

The world can be a confusing place, with your attention pulled in so many directions, snippets of news, messages, posts, opinions, problems. You can be constantly distracted, uncertain. You can find yourself reacting through lack of attention, wasting your time, money, and energy. Society values the winners of the rat race – but who wants to be a rat?

Our ancestors knew a thing or two, and they created sanctuaries, monasteries and churches at ancient sacred sites. Sacredness in daily life may have been trampled by the march of progress, first with the industrial then the technological revolution, but sacredness can be brought back into everyday life by living in an Ashram. A gathering of spiritual people in one place will always create an accumulation of spiritual energy. In addition, it is not always easy alone, to bring consistency, discipline and rigour to your practice. The Ashram can be a place of safety where you can accelerate your growth with fellow practitioners and in the times, with heartfelt embraces. You can have a life and evolve spiritually at the same time.

What makes an Ashram a special place is the practice of Karma Yoga – the yoga of communion with God through action.

What also makes an Ashram a special place is the practice of Karma Yoga – the yoga of communion with the godly, through all the actions that you carry out in a perfectly detached way, realising that you are a channel of energy and not the author or the originator of the impulse to act.

The Ashram is intended to be a pressure cooker that creates spiritual intensity that forces the ego out of its hiding places. You learn to be relaxed while in the middle of any action, and not attached, including in situations in which in the past may have been excessively challenging. Fellow yogis in the Ashram are there to help you, and you to help them, not just because you are good people, but because you are linked to each other by your devotion to creating the highest possible spiritual outcomes in all life situations.

30 May 2022

Gemini is usually described as having a quick mind, communicative, versatile, curious with a thirst for knowledge… and high intelligence as their superpower. On the shadow side there is talking too much, getting dispersed, mentally hyperactive, gossiping and acting superficially. We spoke to two Tara students to find out more.
Meet Camelia and Howard

Camelia, Tantra 3 London
howard gemini of the month
Howard, Tantra & Shaivism year 3

What are you most passionate about, and makes your heart sing with joy?

I love reading mystery fiction, I love teaching and guiding others to become their most empowered selves.

The Gemini air in me is definitely prominent as travel has always been a big part of my life (I worked in the industry for 8 years) and been to upwards of 60 countries (I want to get to 100!) exploring new places, the diversity of culture, meeting people and wonder at the natural beauty of planet earth. I find being in nature so centreing and at ease. Also being part of a community, sharing in activities, communal eating and I get energy from being around people. Companion comes from com pao (with bread) so it’s meant for sharing.
I’ve danced most of my life and can’t underestimate how good it is for the soul, connecting in the body to music and with the energy of others. It’s uplifting and I can find it very meditative and lose myself for hours in it

What attracted you to following a path of Spirituality and self-development?

I’ve always been drawn to spirituality since my early teens.

My path meandered in many ways for many years but really grew in this area over the past 10 years. In terms of self-development I embarked on Lifebook (a Mindvalley program) a few years back incorporating looking at a different area of your life for each month of the year (4 parts: beliefs, vision, purpose, and strategy). My spiritual path has particularly accelerated the past 3 years being part of Tara, on both Tantra and Shaivism courses.

Where do you feel you are most like a Gemini? Where do you feel you are the least like one?

I love connecting to people and expressing myself. I’m least Gemini in that I don’t change my mind once I set a goal.

Certainly, in terms of communication, my job is as an actor and I do training in business on it. Don’t get paranoid but I’ll be observing every nuance of tone of voice, body language etc…haha! Definitely resonate with versatility, not just in my work but I have a myriad of different interests, friend groups (though latterly I seek solitude a lot more and avoid the madness I used to love). I love learning new things and challenging myself but then on the downside, I often get bored when learning plateaus out and want a new toy so can spread myself too thinly. I can also be impulsive. Being on the cusp I definitely have some earthy Taurus traits..

What are you working on right now in terms of your spirituality or self-development?

I’m practicing Aparigraha – looking into all areas of my life where there is excess.

Certainly patience, equanimity, and looking to include more karma yoga.

What have you found most challenging on your spiritual journey?

Keeping long-term practice.

Whilst I know the theory it’s often hard in practice and can be disheartening at times when you don’t feel progress in some areas and when I don’t do as much practice as I’d like, though I try and tell myself small steps is still moving.

Geminis are known for their passion for reading and being eternal students. What book are you reading now if any, or subject you are studying and what book would you recommend others to read?

I’m reading Ikigai – highly recommend it.

I always have various reading materials on the go. Apart from reading scripts/learning lines each week and keeping up on Shaivism notes, I’m drawn to esoteric texts, currently: The Secret teachings of all ages (Manly P Hall), which I’d highly recommend and a book on geomancy. I read Jesus Christ Sun of God (David Fideler) last year which highlights elements of astrology in the bible as well as Greek gematria and sacred geometry hidden in the parables. A great read!

Also, Geminis are curious, with a thirst for knowledge, and love to use their high faculties of the mind to understand the world and reality…
–Tell us what things you tend to reflect, or explore or be curious about most, and if you can share with us one of the last epiphanies, deep understandings, or realisation you had recently?

The more you embrace all of who you are, the more easy it is to navigate the ups and downs of life

I’m always on the lookout for esoteric messaging hidden in art, literature, film, architecture etc. and I now see many things with fresh eyes, that previously went unnoticed. I’m also fascinated with the beauty of the natural world and happily while away time admiring the sheer wonder of fractals, spirals and vibrations playing out all around us.
One recent quote I saw struck a chord with me:
Nothing in Nature lives for itself, rivers don’t drink their own water, trees don’t eat their own fruit, the sun doesn’t shine for itself, a flower’s fragrance is not for itself. Living for each other is the rule of Nature.

What would you like to tell others about your feelings on being a Gemini sun?

Never ending curiosity, the thirst of knowing things, but not just knowing but really understanding them deeply, there’s that constant buzz almost like a mental activation…. but this comes from your soul, a sort of like hunger, desire for knowledge.

I guess with all signs, embrace the great aspects and the gifts it gives, be aware of the weaknesses, aim for balance with compatibility with others.

What is your life’s motto?

I don’t think is a life motto per se, but when I think I understand something I go and try look for the opposite and try to understand it as deeply as that one, I think that’s where the idea comes of the Gemini contradicting themselves, because we can see so many different angles and understand them and they can flip very easily in different perspectives. There’s always another angle, there’s always more to what I understand… maybe the motto would be what Socrates paradoxiacally said -” I know that I know nothing”

If you do only one thing in a day, meditate.
Smile and the world smiles with you.
You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing

17 May 2022

Dear treasured student,

Aspiration is a fundamental quality on the spiritual path. And while many of us begin our journey full of aspiration and enthusiasm, both can be dampened by the inevitability of spiritual tests and challenges. And, due to the very nature of the spiritual path, aspiration can come in waves. And while it is a constant necessity, sometimes we wish we had a little more.

To celebrate this wonderful quality and engine of transformation, and to bring aspiration back into awareness for the summer, Tara is offering a free place at this year’s summer camp*, June-July 2022, to one student who can demonstrate meaningful aspiration on the spiritual path. We are asking students to submit their entry based on one of the following:

  • Something that illustrates the importance of aspiration for you on the spiritual path
  • Something that demonstrates your aspiration on the spiritual path
  • Something that illustrates the importance of spiritual community and fraternity for you on the spiritual path

The submission can be in any format you choose; a letter, a video, a poem or whatever creative endeavour you come up with. The entries will be judged by a panel of Tara teachers, and based on who they believe demonstrated the most aspiration, desire to be part of a spiritual community and general enthusiasm for the spiritual path.

The competition is open to all Tara members only, including those who have already signed up to join the retreat. And while it would be wonderful if the prize goes to someone who really needs it, the focus of this task is not only the prize!

This task is also a very good opportunity to look at your aspiration on the path – both the highs, the lows, the great things that you have experienced. And also a moment to take stock and see where you aspiration is right now.

From this perspective, this exercise of self-reflection is truly worthwhile, even if you do not need the prize or cannot anyway come to the retreat.

Details:

  • Entries accepted from 16th May – 5th June
  • Please send entries to: kieran@tarayogacentre.co.uk
  • The winner will be announced on 6th June
  • One entry per student
  • You are free to choose the format of your entry – article, video, testimony, poem, etc. However, if it is something complex please check with kieran@tarayogacentre.co.uk before completing it to be sure it can be accepted.

* The prize is for a free camping place. If you wish to upgrade to house accommodation you can do so for just £100. All meals and retreat activities are included.

The are 2 forms of knowledge – knowing information about something and knowing where to find information about something.

British Library, Euston, London
16 May 2022

“When oil poured from one vessel to another flows in an unbroken stream, so too, when the mind in an unbroken flow thinks ceaselessly of the Lord, we have what is called para-Bhakti, or supreme love.”  ~ The Yogas and other works, Vivekananda

In this article you can discover:

  • What the path of Bhakti yogi is
  • Famous Bhakti yogis who walked this path
  • How you can prepare for the path of Bhakti Yoga
  • The importance of love and devotion in spirituality

The paths of Yoga

The path of devotion and love, Bhakti yoga, is one of a number of ‘paths of yoga’, with other notable paths being Karma Yoga, Jnana yoga, Raja yoga and Tantra yoga. The literal translation of ‘yoga’ in english is union. Therefore all these paths of yoga strive for the same goal – the union of Atman with ParaAtman, or the union of the individual with the universal, essentially uniting the aspirant with God.  

The different paths of yoga are thus alternative routes to reach the same destination. These different paths accommodate the different inherent qualities, desires, karma and predispositions of the various aspirants who wish to reach this destination of union with the divine. Bhakti Yoga is the path of love and devotion, which is how the aspirants walk this path to achieve this state of union.

 Bhakti Yoga is often cited as the easiest path of yoga because it requires ‘only’ devotion, which is accessible to almost all beings. However, though it may be simple in its nature, it is not always an easy path, especially as it requires an opening of the heart or awakening of the soul to begin.

Continous and exalted remembering

The opening quote above cites the ‘unbroken flow of thoughts’ to the divine. This is a continuous and exalted remembering. All of us will have moments when we remember the divine, the absolute, God; when we pray, meditate, see a beautiful sunrise or sunset, fall in love… These moments come and go and are often triggered by outer stimuli. For the Bhakti Yogi however, this remembering is his permanent state of being. He constantly remembers the divine in each and every moment. He sees God in every being, every animal, every flower. There is nothing in manifestation that does not remind him of God and in no thing or moment can he fail to find God.

“When the soul succeeds in enjoying the bliss of his supreme love, it also begins to see him in everything. Our hearts thus become an eternal fountain of love.”

Vivekananada

On the path of Bhakti Yoga the aspirant devotes himself entirely to God, the divine, or the absolute reality. In its highest form, this devotion is pure and uninterrupted. The aspirant sees God in everything, and they see everything in God. They realise that the entire Universe is nothing but love – “Love is God and God is love.” This quote, or truth, revealed in the Gospel of John, shows the universality of this path and of the energy of love. Not restricted to the Hindu tradition, this path is found in all genuine spiritual traditions – Christianity, Islam and so on. It is this love that supports the entire manifestation. It is also the ‘obsession’ and vehicle of the Bhakti yogi.

Unconditional Love

Because the entire manifestation is God, and if he is to love God unconditionally, the Bhakti yogi must love everything in the manifestation, equally and unconditionally. And by loving everything in the manifestation, the Bhakti Yogi likewise loves God. This is a very high level of love that is difficult for the human mind to even comprehend, let alone manifest. But just as the tiny acorn would find it hard to believe that one day it could become a giant oak tree spreading its branches majestically and producing thousands of acorns of its own, so too can the aspirant with a tiny seed of devotion and love within his being nourish and foster that love, until it too grows into mighty branches of unconditional love. Not only sustaining itself but inspiring and nourishing the seeds within others to also grow and become.

In the East there are many examples of well-known Bhati Yogis. Ma Anandamayi, Paramahansa Yogananda, Rumi, and Kadir to name but a few. The culture and history of India provides a highly conducive foundation to this path of devotion. It is something almost inherent in the people there.

St Francis – a genuine Bhakti Yogi

But the path of devotion and love crosses all borders and all time frames. A prominent example in the West is Saint Francis of Assisi. Born into a relatively wealthy family, Francis had all the comforts of the time, and was set for a life of material success and prosperity. But in his early 20s St Francis began to experience visions, and to hear a voice that would alter his life dramatically. He renounced his inheritance, disowned his father and took up a vow of poverty. He devoted his life to God and to spreading the teachings of Jesus. Many devote themselves to God and/or sacrifice material wealth in pursuit of union. But what is often cited about St Francis however is his unconditional love for all beings.

Considered outcasts, even by the Church, St Francis would show lepers the same love and affection as he would a bishop. He bathed and fed them often, and prayed both with and for them. He showed no envy, anonymity, jealously or hostility towards his fellow man. Whenever he encountered hostility towards him his response was always one of love. He even crossed the enemy lines of the Christians into the Muslim camp in Egypt during a bloody war. And while there is no account of what happened there, he returned voluntarily and unharmed, which shows he must have been recognised as a man of love by the Sultan. Otherwise his fate would have been vastly different.

St Francis’s love did not stop at humanity. He is the patron saint of animals and is often depicted surrounded by animals. He saw other creatures as a part of God, and filled with God, and he afforded them the same love and devotion that he did his fellow brothers.

One story describes how St Francis stopped some Friars who were digging up flowers to plant food for the monks. The monks objected, saying that the crops were badly needed to feed the growing monastery. St Francis simply replied, “Let the flowers be, for they are part of God’s creation. The Lord will provide everything we need for us.” Such a faith in God is not possible without unconditional love and devotion. For St Francis all was God and God was all. The sum total of all love is God and therefore we should love all equally and unconditionally.

Walking the path of Bhakti Yoga

Some are born ready for the path of Bhakti Yoga, while others have potential, but efforts are needed before the devotion can truly take hold and effortlessly unfold in the aspirant. The ancient texts thus describe two levels of Bhakti Yoga. The first is Gauni, or the preparatory stages, and the second level is Para, or superior devotion.

The purpose of Gauni is mainly for the preparation of the aspirant for Bhakti Yoga. The supreme love, para-Bhakti, is inaccessible to those who remain impure, and so a process of purification is required. The Vedanta Sutras state, “The attaining of Bhakti comes through discrimination, controlling the passions, practice, sacrifice, purity, strength and the suppression of excessive joy.” Here, comparisons can be drawn with the namas and niyamas described in Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga. While the outer application of these ideals is usually focused on nowadays, the inner application is far more important. Purifying the body through bathing is useful, but purifying the mind through awareness is far superior.

“Religious realisation, or para-Bhakti, is possible only when the mind is in a steady, peaceful condition of harmonious equilibrium. It is through this that one may begin to learn how to love the Lord.”

There is also a preparatory stage when entering para-Bhakti, the stage of supreme love. This preparation centres around ‘renunciation’. All paths of yoga include this aspect, albeit in different manifestations. The Karma Yogi must renounce the fruits of his actions while the Jnana Yogi must renounce the entire manifestation as an illusion. For the Bhakti Yogi, he must renounce all that is insignificant in favour of God. This is only a phase or process the yogi must go through, because as we saw above, all is God, even the apparently insignificant.

But until the Bhakti Yogi has truly experienced this realisation within his being, he must constantly renounce that which is lower for that which is higher, or that which is limited for something closer to infinity. For example, on the path of Bhakti Yoga, selfishness would be seen as a form of love – excessive love of ones self, and a very limited and restricted manifestation of love.

The Bhakti Yogi should renounce selfish love and instead embrace a more expanded love, such as love for another human being or a family. This expanded love should include the initial ‘object’, in this case the self, the person. In this way the Yogi truly expands rather than just moving his love.

This renunciation is not a ‘killing’ of something or a struggle. It is actually seen as the most gentle and natural of all the various forms of renunciation. While renunciation may appear to be a sacrifice, what we actually sacrifice is the limitations and chains that restrict the soul, so that it can become free, free to love, free to expand towards infinity and towards God. The only condition is that each sacrifice takes us closer and closer to God.

“The bhakti-yogi should not suppress any single one of his emotions; he only strives to intensify them and direct them to God.”

Once the aspirant succeeds with renunciation in the higher stage of Bhakti Yogi, his efforts then become effortless. He then understands the universal truth – God is love and love is God. But not merely as a mental or intellectual understanding. Rather he feels it deep in his heart as the ultimate truth of the universe. Everywhere he looks he sees nothing but the divine. Every word he hears, comes as if from the divine. Everything he touches is infused with the divine. This is his permanent reality in every moment. And through this universal energy of love that continuously springs from his heart, he is united, he is in yoga with all things and finally, united with God.


Summer Retreat: The paths of Yoga

If you wish to find out more about Bhakti Yoga, consider joining our summer retreat this June. It explores 5 paths of yoga, including Bhakti Yogi. In this way it’s an ideal opportunity to discover which path of yoga is most suitable for you. Details below.

“We all begin with love for ourselves, and the unfair claims of the little self make even love selfish. At last, however, comes the full blaze of light, in which this little self is seen to have become one with the Infinite. Man himself is transfigured in the presence of this light of love, and he realises at the last the beautiful and inspiring truth that love, the lover and the Beloved are one.”

Vivekananda
08 May 2022

Stages of Spiritual perfection, in and through love

by Nicolae Catrina

This book could rightly be called a handbook rather than a book. It is a very practical book written by one of the teachers in the Atman Federation. The core of the book is a journey through the 7 stages of love.

These are taken from the ancient Greek language, which has over 40 different words for “love”. In this book, Nicolae describes the 7 stage, some of which we can easily recognise. He also elborates on how we can achieve spiritual perfection using these stages and encouragingly, how we can reach God through any single stage.

It is a great resource for those interested in relationships and looking to transform through love and relationships. It is quite practical and the author gives readers intuitive examples to easily relate to while also providing practical suggestions and ideas couples or individuals can easily implement.

The book is available in the shop in our London centre but there are limited copies available. Grab it while you can….. 🙂

The spiritual guide is the catalyst of practical understandings. He or she mysteriously awakens a superior, supramental and perfect vision in our being.

08 May 2022


Last Saturday (30th of April) saw the inaugural Pilgrimage of the Tara outdoor spirituality group. An initiative formed as part of the aspiration to grow and nurture our spiritual community, the outdoor spiritual group aims to merge the great outdoors with meaningful spiritual experiences. Saturday was the first event and he we have a review of the day from Alberto, a Tantra and Shaivism student who was also one of the organisers.

27 hearts on fire departed from Chartham at 10am, each heart carrying their own longing, their own intimate intention, their challenges and their offerings. We were led by our captain Andrew, who set the tone and shared the wisdom accumulated over years as an ardent pilgrim himself.


The sky was overcast but vigilant. As soon as the sky saw us consecrating the pilgrimage, He started to clear the clouds away. The group walked in mauna, silently tuning into the secret space of our hearts and the egregor of all those pilgrims who had walked the North Downs Way before us.


After our first stop, some maintained the inner and outer silence, while others used the opportunity to get to know one another.


The Sun was now shining in all its glory, and he stayed with us for the rest of the pilgrimage, warming our hearts and granting us the privilege of a tan by the end of the day!

Captain Andrew


Equipped with a compass and map, our Captain Andrew and his loyal Lalla walked at the front of the group, setting the pace and guiding us on our way to Canterbury. Kieran and Eabha walked in the middle of the group, and I was at the back, like a shepherd whose task is to make sure no sheep goes astray. But orchestrating a group of 27 people is not easy! Some enjoy walking fast and some slow.

And some like stopping and admiring every little thing along the way, even if that means separating from the group. They stop to worship every flower, independently of their size and colour, most of the trees, and even seemingly ordinary things that stop being ordinary in such a state of wonder. This special group of transfiguring wanderers was composed of Lia, Howard, Francesca, Jonathan and Cintia, and I was at the back.


As it was supposed to be, we found ourselves separated from the bulk of the group. I was told not to let that happen, but what could I do? How to tell someone to stop admiring a flower and keep up with the others?


Eventually, the group reunited and never split up again. It was time to have some lunch, restore some energies and enjoy the sun.


In a glorious speech, Kieran reminded us of the importance of the spiritual community, or Sangha, as one of the three main pillars of the spiritual path. Yoga practice goes beyond practising on the yoga mat. We are mirrors of one another and each one of us is an example of a unique spiritual practitioner. Sangha helps us overcome the challenges of the spiritual path and keeps the fire of our aspiration high.

We restarted our journey along the picturesque countryside of the Pilgrims Way that links Winchester to Canterbury.

It’s part of the pilgrims tradition to pause at every church encountered in the path, to connect inside again, withdraw in prayer and to remember the purpose of the walk, and so we did in St. Dunstan’s Church, who welcomed us as we entered Canterbury. The city of Canterbury was alive. We resisted the temptation to jump on a boat cruise around the city or to buy anything along the pedestrian shopping street, and made our way straight to the gothic Cathedral before 16:00.

Following the customs, we walked clockwise around the magnificent Cathedral before gathering again to meditate and crystallise the gifts that this pilgrimage offered to us.

The day ended with the evensong, an evening service of prayer and praise, sung by the Cathedral Choir, using the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer.

“It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.

The secret of unfolding flowers
is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
When in my hands they fade and die.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I think I have wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?

So I’ll trust in Him for His leading
Each moment of every day.
I will look to Him for His guidance
Each step of the pilgrim way.

The pathway that lies before me,
Only my Heavenly Father knows.
I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose. 🌹”

Amazing day and experience. Lots of gratitude for organizing and holding the space for this spiritual journey! Have a great week ahead everyone’

Huge gratitude to organisers for such an amazing day

John

Fantastic day! Beautiful souls!
Amazing experience! ❤️
Thank you Andrew for organisation and thank you everyone for your presence!

Ion

Thank you all, it was a great day!

Frank