Day 45- fire sutra

I wake up and make a half-hearted attempt at an asana practice, but am soon overcome by a stronger desire for an omelette. We head to breakfast at Café Ole and when we get back, my unrolled mat is still staring at me. Andrew wants to go get a car from Huatulco, which is about two hours away, so that we can check a wave at La Barra de la Cruz. I want to meditate and do some yoga. For a moment we come to head to head over this. Surfing vs Yoga. Essentially, we are each arguing for our own bliss. As we storm downstairs with the intention to make a tense journey to Huatulco, our dear one-legged neighbour, Larry, overhears us speaking to somebody else about our plan. “Y’all rentin’ a car? I got me one, I’ll cut ya a deal!” We briefly discuss this and then walk back upstairs, where we realise we were just saved most of the hassle and now we can both have our bliss. Still in the mood to go somewhere, we head into Zicatela beach to exchange some books. I spend some blissful time scanning the shelves of Café Babylon and sipping a rose and cinnamon tea. This is exactly my idea of a good day.

When we come back home I am flicking through the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra; The Radiance Sutras, translated by Lorin Roche. Essentially this tantric text is a dialogue between Devi and Bhairava in which Devi asks about the nature of life and how to enter into the spanda, the pulsation, of the universe. She is given a poetic yet practical answer. Through the verses, one hundred and twelve methods of meditation are described. Each one is like an instructional song on how to tune into the rhythms, the energy and the divine flow of life. Roche says, ‘All of these methods involve savouring the incredible intensity underlying the most common experiences. They work by activating the senses… the basics dynamics of life – breathing, falling asleep, waking up, walking, loving – are all used as gateways into alignment and enlightenment.’

I love this text and was a part of a workshop with Lorin and his wife, Camille, learning how to really explore the sutras and put them into practice. I considered spending four months out of this year working through each and every sutra, but I am not sure when I will have enough of a routine to do that this year, so I instead have turned to their pages for inspiration. Using it like an oracle, it is easy to just flip through and find one that resonates. Today I have picked my favourite. Sutra #30.


Imagine the entire world consumed by flame.

Stay steady, do not waver,

As fire transmutes form into light.

The Soul reveals itself

To itself as Radiance.


I go down to the beach for a swim and then sit on the solid earth. It is a hot day, with a hot wind so as I close my eyes, I find it easy to imagine the world around me engulfed in flames. The crash of waves sounds like the roar of a fire burning out of control. I imagine the water on fire, the sand, the buildings, the rocks, trees and cacti burning in bright flames. I imagine the people calmly burning brightly. For a moment, I feel my heart skip a beat. Stay steady, do not waver. I breathe deeply and see myself consumed by the fire that is changing everything into pure light energy. Radiance is revealed- the entire world, everything known, seen and felt is light. We are all just light. We are all made of stars. There is no fear in this. I see the radiant light of all that is; living and non-living connected by divine radiance.

After a while, I slowly close the meditation and return to the space. I open my eyes to the sparkle of the ocean, the sun is reflecting on the surface and dancing about like firecrackers. I get in the water to cool off and rinse the sand from me. As I look around it feels as though everything is radiating, like I can see the twinkle of firelight on everything. The hot sand below me is like sacred ash and the hot wind is blowing against my back.

Ignited by this fire energy, I shower and sit down on my neglected mat. Now I am ready for some asana. I burn through the practice and then feel myself burning from within. The previous frustration and anger from this morning are just melting away until I realise I don’t even really remember why I was so bothered! I have a renewed energy and I think the fire energy has even affected my digestion. When we go out to the Pig Roast and Chicken Shit Bingo (yes, it is exactly as it sounds- when the chicken shits on your numbers, you win!), I find it easier to eat chilli and harder to drink alcohol. Eventually I give up and eat a crème caramel and then enough bread and butter that I am almost too full for my chiles rellenos, stuffed chilli peppers. (I like to do dessert first sometimes.) Tonight I lay warmly in bed and sleep well.

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