I recently picked up a copy of Wild Mercy by Mirabai Starr. I love this book! In fact, look for Wild Mercy to weave its way into a Shakti in the Mountains’ circle soon. It is that good.
Wild Mercy is an inspirational journey into the lives of women mystics from across time and traditions. Mirabai Starr invites the reader to explore the world’s wisdom traditions through the words and lives of women mystics: women like Teresa of Avila and Sufi poet Rabia who had the courage to step outside of traditional religious structures and follow the Divine.
While I am not far into the book, I already can feel its impact. I am currently sitting with Mirabai Starr’s declaration that the feminine is “all about incarnation and embodiment.” (p.15) This declaration feels so…right. I don’t know how else to describe the feeling in my body other than a big YES.
Sacredness never felt outside myself.
My most profound, spiritual moments always have felt like a swelling coming deep from within. These moments of enlightenment, or even peace, were because I was in my body and listening deeply, not because I left my body.
My experience, like many other women’s, does not support the non-duality theory which believes that “in a state of awakened consciousness all subject-object distinctions do not exist.” (p.15) Non-dualism supports the dissolution of one’s ego (formlessness) so that a devotional practice, like embodiment (the epitome of form), is no longer a vehicle for unity with the Divine.
So what does all this mean?
It means that a feminine spiritual practice is accessed through the body and that our biggest gift to the world is to fully step into our beingness (ain’t no one who can do you like you). A feminine spiritual practice recognizes that our soul longs to reunite with Absolute Love and seeks that reunification through a multi-sensory, intuitive practice.
Which isn’t to say that you can’t experience transcendence (formlessness) and have a feminine spiritual practice. Rather, a feminine spiritual practice advocates that transcendence can be achieved via the body. That we can celebrate our body’s needs and be spiritual. How radical is that? (Not what I heard in church as a child.)
I am reminded of a line from Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese:
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
I invite us to discover what the soft animal of our body loves and to honor it.
To treat our bodies with care and kindness. To value our body’s wisdom and to heed its call.
Let me know if you would be interested in exploring Mirabai Starr’s Wild Mercy book with me. I’d love to sit in circle with you.