Steeping in Presence

photo 1by Laura Madsen 2014

Taking the time to steep ourselves in Divine Presence has always been an essential ingredient to realizing our authentic Spiritual Nature. In Bhakti (devotional) paths, the Sanskrit word “Rasa,” describes the emergence of God’s flavour, or juice, that can be found within the steeping. When we commit ourselves to exploring the still depth of Divine Yearning, we are following the ancient art of steeping in Presence. Historically, Presence has been given many names. Much more important than the name, is our willingness to steep again and again in It.

The dictionary defines the action of steeping as “extracting flavour” and “softening.” Steeping in Presence is like steeping tea.  In order to extract its flavour, we need to experience the heat (of Divine relationship) and give ourselves time to steep. Through our willingness, we soften into fresh ways of discovering Authentic Relationship to Life. The longer and more frequently we steep, the less relevant life’s abstractions become.

Without the recognition and experience of our inner Beauty, Truth, and Goodness, conscious or unconscious (fear-based) conditioning becomes our only recourse in relationship. And as Einstein so wisely said, we cannot solve a problem from the same thinking that created it. If we continue to respond to life from habits of the already-known, nothing substantial changes. Without steeping ourselves in the Presence of the not-already-known, we fail to “soften” into the recognition of the web of Unfathomable Inter-Connectivity that our life is an expression of.

In the Hindu tradition, it is Shakti who embodies Creation’s form, through the Divine Feminine. Shiva holds the formless nature of God, and delights in seeing the ever-evolving expressions of Life, through Shakti. In the direct experience of her Abundance, we enter a spiritual portal. We are now in the realm of the Mystic, having landed on the “inside” of an intimate encounter with Divine energy or Rasa.

220px-Manasa_DeviParvati as one of 50+ representations of Shakti

Twentieth century English Mystic, Evelyn Underhill stated: “In mysticism that love of truth which we saw as the beginning of all philosophy leaves the merely intellectual sphere, and takes on the assured aspect of a personal passion. Where the philosopher guesses and argues, the mystic lives and looks; and speaks, consequently, the disconcerting language of first-hand experience.”

When we have not experienced Presence, the authority and directness of someone speaking from Presence can be difficult to take. Jesus and Paul are both examples in the Christian tradition. Their speech appeared arrogant and assuming to many. When in fact — to this day — it remains truthful, straightforward, and liberating for those willing to hear.

The style of communication, and how we understand others, changes as we “steep together.”  It is vital to find “sangha,” or groups of people willing “to steep” in something beyond the (known) of egoic paradigms and socialized communication. Typically, relationships willing to steep in the vulnerability of  the “not-yet-known,” discover new flavours of Presence together. Mystic and theologian, Martin Buber wrote: “When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.” This is the essential expression of Silence Practice for the twenty-first century.

The unselfconscious depth of “steeped relationships,” have their hallmark in attributes of profound Trust and Good-Will. Unburdened by cultural and personal expectations — that usually reinforce the predictability of the known — these relationships experience freedom from hardened habits of fear and judgement. As the separative lens of perception softens, a dynamic abundance emerges in the space between us. Shakti comes alive in the essential creativity of Divine Relationship. An unmistakable flavour of freedom and joy abounds, as we learn to steep ourselves in a Presence much bigger than anything we’ve known. For me, this is nothing less than a living  expression of heaven on earth, and the embodied expression of our Faith in God.

Please do not “think twice” about commenting below!

Namaste, Laura