Hello, World

Malika, Sarita’s newsletter editor and passionate follower of the Tantric path, found herself surprisingly turned onto life by a Saturday night out in Bristol!

Nine years ago, I got sick. Suddenly I had no energy, could hardly get out of bed and more than that, I felt dead inside. At the time, I was working as a journalist in London, going to the gym three times a week, and living a very busy social life. But I had ignored my inner world for too long, and this was the wake up call for me to redress the balance. I spent the next nine years retreating more and more inwards, looking more and more into my soul, my depth, my inner workings. I meditated deeply and gradually left the world behind, until at one point, I had no desire to be a part of it. All that mattered to me was connection to my inner space.

This came to a peak two and a half years ago. I came back from India and found myself homeless and jobless. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t get a job. One day, I laid down on the floor and wept because I just had no idea how I was going to take care of myself. It turned out that meditating all day wasn’t enough for me to live a happy life. I was going to have to connect with the world again. And this is what I’ve been doing ever since, but this time with soul, maintaining that connection to my inner self.

This process hit a high point for me in a most surprising way. I live in Bristol and every year in July there is a huge festival called the Harbour Festival. Around 200,000 attend over the course of a weekend. Despite living here for nearly four years, I’ve never made it to the festival before. Last year I thought about going but the idea of such a crowd felt totally overwhelming to me.

The throng of the Harbour Festival

One of the many music stages

This year, I went along on the Saturday morning, and was utterly thrilled by the throng of people, the energy, the life. There were several stages of music, dance and circus skills, so many delicious food stalls of every kind, people giving massage, workshops on spinning and communication among other things, face painting, beautiful clothes – in short, a celebration of life. It was so joyous to sit in the sun with hundreds of other people and listen to some great music, eat great food and feel the joy of being alive. The richness and diversity of the food, the music, the clothes, the joy of the people burst open my heart and my energy.

Out on the town for the first time since 2004!!

My friend Amala and I (pictured left) decided to go home, get properly dressed up (like I hadn’t done in years – false eyelashes and everything!) and check out what the evening had to offer. And again, walking through the crowds gathered around the bars I felt so alive and so in love with everyone there. Since I’d stopped going out and getting drunk, I’d had so much judgement and fear about crowds of drunken people. I looked down on such scenes as being beneath my now elevated state of consciousness, or felt too scared to go anywhere near it. Through my fear of losing myself again, I had held myself separate from the world. And now it seemed I had enough of myself to join in the party again!

Come join the party!

Walking past the bars, I felt nothing but joy and love for the people enjoying themselves in the way that feels good to them. I looked at couples together and felt moved by their love and togetherness. I saw women dressed in huge heels and knock out dresses and inwardly celebrated this display of female beauty. And I was turned on by nearly every man that I saw! I had tremendous fun flirting with many different shapes and sizes of men, allowing myself to be drawn by their energy and their attraction to me, and finding myself attracted to guys I wouldn’t have looked once at a few years ago. And being approached by men whom I wasn’t interested in no longer disgusted or scared me. I could appreciate their appreciation of me!

I realised how small my horizons had been, how narrow my view of life. I felt the truth of how everything in life, is life. Not just the natural world, or the meditators, but every human being and everything they are doing. Drunken Saturday nights out in Bristol are part of life, as much as the Himalayas, as much as the depths of the oceans. I realised the Tantric truth that it doesn’t matter what you do, that as long as you do it with awareness, anything can be transformed into ecstasy. Even a Saturday night out in Bristol becomes bliss. I felt like I was making love with the whole of life that night, and it was so, so beautiful.

We danced, we drank, we flirted, and came home tired but full of joy. With a wide-open heart full of acceptance, ecstasy is everywhere – if you know how to look for it.

Love Malika

Photos by Amala Bodhi

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