Transfiguration is something I’ve been doing ever since I discovered Tantra. It’s sometimes known as both the practice and the goal for Tantrics. Essentially it means to “shine forth”. What it often means in reality is a practice of eye gazing- but that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg.
I was in a workshop at a festival recently where we had to do a short Transfiguration with the person sat next to us. There were many people in the room who’d never done it before. Loads of people were having giggling fits and struggling to stay composed. Others dropped into something profound. Many were crying, just from 2 minutes of looking into the eye of their friend or a complete stranger. It’s amazing how confronting and intimate this is for many of us.
When you look into someone’s eyes and truly see, what’s going on? It’s said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and it definitely feels that way. The personality, name and even physical form of that person in front of you gently drops away. Things get fuzzy. What do you see then? When I look with what my teacher Sahajananda calls “open attention” I see this spark of something sacred.
When I look into someone’s eyes, and they look into mine, how can I stay caught up in petty relationship niggles such as who left the toilet seat up? There’s a recognition that if I’m seeing this sacred spark in this person, then they’re seeing it in me too. When you’re seeing something radiant in someone, they reflect that right back at you. Which means I’m also sacred. We’re both sacred. That actually, we’re kind of one.
Warning- Transfiguration can take you into higher states of consciousness. Eye gazing for 3-5 minutes releases a lovely internal cocktail in our brains of oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”), serotonin and dopamine. It can make you feel expanded and high (once you get over the discomfort and the giggling). If you can take this feeling out into the world, and see everyone in this light, powerful, magical stuff happens.
So now I transfigure all the time. Here are 5 ways it can make life more awesome:
1. Transfigure at work. OK, so if you’re working in an office, your co-workers might not be up for starting the day with intimate eye gazing! But you can still transfigure even the idea of being there (every day is helping you get closer to a financial goal), or you can transfigure a problem as a challenge to be solved. I start every intimate client session with a short eye gaze- it grounds us and helps form a trusted connection between us before I start any bodywork.
2. Transfiguration as a social activity. There may be Transfiguration rituals running in your local area- they’re a great way to meet likeminded people and connect without alcohol or drugs. I sit and transfigure with friends, often for really long periods of time. These sessions are phenomenal, they take me completely out of my own head and ego and help me taste something truly Divine. If you have a willing (preferably slightly wonderfully crazy) friend, try it- the longer you go, the deeper it gets (it can actually get really trippy).
3. Transfiguration in the bedroom. Transfiguring with lovers before making love is nothing short of AWESOME – it drops us into a really special state before things get physical. It’s such a beautiful part of Tantric lovemaking and helps us to taste the Divinity in ourselves and each other. It puts both partners into a mindset of reverence, worship and adoration (which is the mindset I definitely want from someone intending to enter my “temple”). In fact, most of my relationships in recent years have started with a transfiguration (it’s a great way to feel into someone and build non-physical intimacy before jumping into bed with them!)
4. Transfigure everyone and everything. In Tantra we see everything as Divine. I even tried to transfigure with my cat today. He’s pretty good, we lasted around a minute before he got distracted and ran off (which is better than some humans I could mention!). Transfigure a bad situation into an opportunity to learn and grow.
5. Transfigure yourself. I saved the most important for the end (even more important than my cat, but please don’t tell him). If you really want to make your life more awesome, if you want to increase your self-love and confidence – transfigure yourself all the goddamn time. In the mirror or walking down the street. Take your inner God or Goddess out for a stroll. Transfigure that bad hair day- and watch the world around you respond.
I’ll find any excuse to practice transfiguration! I love it so much that I’m co-hosting Melbourne’s Shiva Shakti Transfiguration Circles alongside the Yoga of Gazing’s Chris Stewart. If you’re in Melbourne come and join us in this beautiful ritual: https://www.facebook.com/events/240508509624263/
If you’re based elsewhere, see if your local Tantra community is running an event- if not, why not start your own? And in the meantime, have a go at transfiguring everyone and see how the world looks when you view it through an open heart.
Mangala Holland is a Tantra teacher and therapist & Tantric hatha yoga teacher. She teaches worldwide, primarily in Australia, Thailand, India, Mexico and the USA. Find more of her work at http://www.mysticsex.com/