by Shakti Padmini

The ‘bliss’ word appears in any title of a major Ipsalu workshop: Learning to Live in Blis, Bliss in Relationship, Bliss in Divine/Cosmic …Sounds lovely. But what does it mean?

What IS bliss? How do I know I am in bliss? Will I like living in bliss?…Many questions may come to the newcomer. When asked to describe bliss what do you say? How do you put in words that which is beyond words?

When we say ‘bliss’ different things come to mind to different people: Do you see yourself jumping up and down with joy? Or meditating on the top of the mountain in the perfect stillness? Or, perhaps eating the most delicious Belgian chocolate…or receiving heavenly pleasure, merging with your beloved during lovemaking? Or enjoying life in a full abandon? Dancing with boundless energy and excitement? Lying naked on a beach, your body being tickled by warm sun rays? …Or else? The list would be, most likely, inexhaustible.

At the same time, it would be rather difficult to imagine doing the same all the time: Jumping up and down all the time sounds a little too crazy, sitting in a perfect stillness all the time a little too boring, eating too much Belgian chocoloate all the time a bit too sickening, and lying in the sun all the time we may get a rather unpleasant, even life threatening sunburn! Making love all the time…wow, what a great concept! But probably not practical, for we also need to eat and sleep and make money and drive kids to school and do other myriad things we call living…But hold on: What about making love with life? Feeling the rush of orgasmic energy through our bodies, the sensation of heavenly pleasure in our being, the simple joy of being alive? Is THAt possible?

Throughout the years of being an Ipsalu Tantra practitioner I got to experience a variety of blissful states: Some very exalted ones, some very subtle. The meaning of ‘living in bliss’ has transformed itself over and over, shown many faces. The most important realization was that bliss is not something we strive to get ourselves into, but rather it is our natural state of being. The practices we do are simply ways of removing (mental and emotional) obstacles that lie in between us being able to perceive this state (when I say ‘removing obstacles’ I imagine lord Ganesh dancing around, swishing his mighty trunk, transforming stones into flowers…hi hi).

Living in bliss is not even attached to what we do, but how we feel underneath: We can run seemingly stressful errands or multitask like crazy with the perfect ease and grace and profound stillness within, or we can sit in perfect stillness feeling boundless energy and manifesting potential dancing within. I’ve also learned that living in bliss is not always smooth and easy, and life is certainly not sitting pretty on a cushion of rose petals, or living happily ever after. The more expansion in the awareness of our true being the more challenges we seem to be called to blissfully embrace – for it is love – our essence – that brings all chaos into perfect harmony, that transforms all suffering into beauty. There are truly times when we feel we are making love with all life: When orgasmic energy is pulsating, rushing wildly up the spine and tingling in every cell of the body, when the heart is overflowing with love and gratitude, when the I merges with all there is. Life is as wonderful as it can be!But being more open makes us inevitably feel the flip side of the coin: Pain, agony, suffering, darkness, sense of separation (I seem to experience both in every single day…) It’s been the most amazing discovery to realize that bliss does not go away even in those states – as long as we remain open.

Whether in the highs of divine ecstasy or the lows of human agony bliss remains. Like soft, fuzzy blanket you can always fall into, inviting you to taste the essence of your being, inviting you to love. To be love. To dance with God is to dance both with light and the darkness, for without shadow there cannot be light – at least here on Earth, where the shadow is essential to give definition to all the beautiful creation that would otherwise not be visible. Here comes the beauty of Tantra, inviting us to live fully on Earth by harnessing the very creative essence of matter: To feel sexual energy flowing through the body is to experience both light and dark, and realize shadow is not separation, but a mere key to more aliveness, more bliss. To me bliss is when my human self knows its divine core.

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