Radiance is a collective phenomenon
Radiance is a property of both the Many and the One. It is how we experience and reflect the life force. Being radiant is an act of love and creation. It is a collective phenomenon, in that if there were no Other, there would be no reason to be radiant.
When we witness and reflect back the radiance of others, we amplify it. Amplifying the radiance in the world augments the life force in the Kosmos. So if we want to live in a world that is ever more vibrant and alive, we can start by reflecting back the radiance of others.
One of the themes that showed up in our check-in on the first day of the most recent gathering of Women Moving the Edge (10) was Indra’s net:
” Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out indefinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel at the net’s every node, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that the process of reflection is infinite”
The Avatamsaka Sutra
I find that this metaphor illuminates again and again the things I am learning about radiance…
Our inquiry at the most recent gathering of the Women Moving the Edge (10) has shed light for me on some of the practices which can contribute to increasing the radiance in the kosmos.
Collective practices that augment radiance
Any disturbance is an invitation to embrace more of the whole. I am always astonished by the richness of collective sensing that is possible in a strongly held circle with a ‘critical mass’ of experienced practitioners. We are able to hold the complexity of what is going on within and among us at many different levels. Not only can we grapple with the content of the issues, we can also stay present to the ways in which we are triggered by it, and the way in which we reflect and hold each other in the inquiry to unravel the knots (Indra’s Net again). Once the disturbance has been truly integrated, more radiance is unleashed.
Create safety – Invite vulnerability
There is a continual dance going on beneath the surface between the individual and the collective. Time and time again, I witness how the individual provides the gift of vulnerability which opens a gateway for the collective to step through. And yet, of course, if it hadn’t been for the collective in the first place the vulnerability wouldn’t have been there. A safe space is required – and yet it is the courage of the indivual unveiling their vulnerability that creates the space of safety by allowing the safety to be revealed to the group. When people feel safe and step into their vulnerability, more radiance is unleashed.
Adopt the assumption that life is holographic
Is it mine, or is it ours? When sitting together in collective inquiry and something comes up to trigger uncomfortable feelings in us, it is often hard for us as individuals to distinguish between what we are sensing from the field/subtle realms and messages from our own wounding. Again, the constant reflection back to each of us from the others in the circle is the key. Whether what we are sensing is systemic or individual, when it is witnessed and held by the collective, more radiance is unleashed.
Practice radical generosity – hold nothing back
Our vulnerability adds to our radiance. In a collective field, when the individual holds back – out of fear of being vulnerable – it holds back the whole field.
Holding back is a subtle phenomenon of the feminine shadow (notice I say ‘feminine’, not ‘female’ – men can be just as prone to holding back as women). We discover again and again, in our women’s gatherings, how our we hold taboos in our bodies – things about ourselves that we are so unable to express (usually because of very early experiences of it not being OK to express parts of who we are) that they become unavailable to our own conscious minds, and are stored in our bodies as pain.
Because our own holding back is in a blind spot, we need the circle to reflect back to us when we’re holding back. When we come to a space where we can slow down enough to sense, in a circle where we feel safe enough to dare feel our own depths, we can access these unconscious prohibitions through our bodies. And we can release them through the body too.
I am speaking here of a life-long practice. It is one thing to become conscious of our personality patterns, it is another to act, freely and flexibly, authentically in the moment, holding back nothing of who we are. That is where true radiance lies, and every small reflex of holding back that we can release adds to our radiance. But it cannot be done alone – it is a collective practice, because we need the reflections from the circle to illuminate what lies in our blind spot, and it is the witnessing and holding of the circle that allows the healing to occur and the scarring to be undone.
Surrender to the whole – relinquish control
There is a huge liberation and potential in not seeking to control the outcome of whatever we are engaged in, but instead waiting to see what will transpire of its own accord. Life unfolds as self-organising living systems – the less we seek to control our environment, the more we open up to diversity, the more we allow this diversity to converge around its essential purpose, and the more we engage in open and flowing relationship with ever more parts of the system, the greater will be the radiance that will be unleashed.