On my Awakening Shakti Online Group Programme, we spend 9 months re-birthing ourselves into a deeper embodiment of the Divine Feminine.
Over these 9 months we focus on one theme per month, with a workbook, live zoom calls, video practices, weekly online yoga and more.
In the first month, we lay the foundations for all that is to follow, by exploring meditation as woman and establishing ourselves in a daily stillness practice.
In the tantric tradition, stillness, emptiness or presence are equated with Shiva - the Divine Masculine.
Similarly, in the Kundalini Yoga tradition, we consider the neutral mind - conscious awareness beyond judgement and duality - as an expression of the Divine Masculine polarity.
In contrast, movement, energy and manifestation are considered qualities of the Feminine.
Curious then, you might think, to begin a course on embodying the Divine Feminine with this attention to the masculine within us.
But here's the thing: in reality, these two polarities are not and can never be separate.
And as awakening women, we recognise that, ultimately, this path is about cultivating our sovereignty and wholeness, which means to be in union with the Divine Masculine principle within ourselves.
Every radiant Shakti can only be thus, because she is experiencing an inner love affair with Shiva.
And let me be clear: masculine does not equal male, just as feminine does not equal female: we ALL embody a unique combination of both principles.
Tantra and yoga invite us to the ultimate attainment, which is self-realisation through the INNER marriage of our Divine Masculine & Feminine aspects.
So why do I put this focus on stillness first in my course?
Think for a moment of a dancer, resplendent in her red dress, brimming with energy and passion, yet with no floor to dance upon.
That would be Shakti without Shiva.
She needs his presence in order to even show up and do what she does best. Without Him, She cannot take form, move, create, express and radiate Her magnificent light.
Cultivating stillness also enables us to witness, heal and soothe ourselves, as we delve into the shadows of our wounding and conditioning, so that we avoid projecting out our pain and grow in self-awareness.
Awakening our Shakti life-force energy is the most powerful personal growth process we can undertake. We need to be able to take a step back from total identification with experience when our shit rises and cultivate an inner sense of security, so that we don't keep casting outside ourselves - to men - for that which they can never give us.
As we keep on holding the mirror to our own reflection, our inner world becomes clearer and clearer. And this is where the neutral mind comes in so handy. And why we need to spend time cultivating our connection with it.
A strong masculine presence or witnessing consciousness is not born overnight. It takes time and daily commitment to some form of meditation practice: just like a muscle needs training before it's strong enough to lift weights.
All that said, the predominantly male defined forms and norms of meditation need to be questioned and played with for us as women.
Our needs and experiences may be distinctly different and shift through the stages of our menstrual and life-cycle.
The very last thing we want to do is judge or shame ourselves for not conforming or performing. There's already too much of that going on and it's just not loving or helpful.
Dance is meditation. Making love is meditation. Painting is meditation. Breathing consciously is meditation. Doing the washing up with awareness is meditation.
It doesn't have to be sitting stock still in lotus pose. In fact, given our natural tendency to embody energy, feel and emote, we often need to move our bodies to access the stillness that is always there.
Over time and with practice though, we come to experience more and more, that every nitty gritty facet of life can be the meeting ground for love and meditation.
With the foundations set in place during the first month of our Awakening Shakti journey, by the time we get to the 8th month and the theme of Meeting the Masculine, the exploration of our relationship with men and the qualities of the masculine will be all the richer for our by now deeper acquaintance with stillness.