Shri Kali was a very intense journey for many reasons. Previously, I had a chance to discover different lineages and a chance to stay in different ashrams. The experiences that I had were very interesting, yes, but some of them were painful, mentally and physically. This was leading others and me into forcing ourselves to go in a particular direction. Before Shri Kali and the Kaula system, I never had experienced a system that truly lead me to listen to myself; go deep inside and open myself to others and the universe around. My heightened awareness is what occurred in the ashram. This is sometimes difficult, because as you are birthed in to a new way of being, it can be shocking, and that’s what happened to me. Some of the things about myself were really difficult to accept and to face. However, the next question after I accepted who I was, was then to figure out what I was going to do with that. In my first six months at Shri Kali, I found the answers to these two questions. Ever since, I have been answering the second question, ‘what am I going to do with this person’ with absolute respect and no compromise. I am not a nun and I live in a busy city. There is a reality to that and now I focus on finding a good balance with my reality here in Paris; a balance between the life that one has to build and my will to live this system. I am still working on this but it has been a very nice journey.
I didn’t have the chance before Shri Kali to learn about my true self through listening and respecting, nor did I have a lot of love and compassion around this. As a journalist, I had the opportunity to interview a lot of people, like French Tantrikas and famous yogis who are very well known and write many books on the subject. Two of them spoke of something similar to the Kaula system and when I read their books and interviewed them, I knew that I wanted to know more. They were talking about non-duality, balance and boundaries. I was interested in getting to know the system by experiencing it, not reading it. As a journalist, I read a lot, but experiencing it is one of the most important things you can do.
When I discovered the website for Shri Kali, I was really surprised. I remembered four years before, looking for some ashram where you could learn about Tantra, and I remember even typing in Goa, as I also wanted a change from the North. I wanted to study for a long time, and I wanted to be by the sea for that. This time, when I typed in Goa and Tantra, it came right up, whereas four years ago, it did not. I suppose that was not my time and now it is.
The main thing that changed about me after Shri Kali was my ability to be decisive and trust what I wanted. Still, sometimes I am searching for the answer, but it is not like how I was before, where I would find one answer and then the next day have doubts again and have to look for something else. To reach a decision is very easy now. Even in a restaurant it used to be 10 minutes just to decide what I wanted. It was hard to make my mind up on just about anything. Obviously, that came from a lack of self-confidence, love and trust of self. I have done a lot of therapy and work on myself over the years but like this book that Bhagavan advises us to read, The Turning Point, like that, for me, Shri Kali has been a ‘Turning Point.’ I had others in my life but this one was profound. I found my true self. I found it within myself, through the āsana, the prāṇāyāma, the lectures and all the work that we did there. I found it in my bones, my true self, so I didn’t need to be scared anymore. I just naturally embraced who I was without fear and that was a major turning point! Even though my reality wasn’t something I could dream of, I was content with it. I was embracing what life was giving me at the present moment in the now. I will be endlessly grateful for this system.
Before I came my knowledge of Tantra was mostly what we call Neo-Tantra. However, I could never judge that, because it brought me to Shri Kali. As for yoga, I had done hatha yoga. I would stay for 6 months in this ashram and 6 months in that ashram but my experiences were usually painful because I was in to ‘no pain no gain.’. I was on that train for at least five years. I was in touch with people that talked about Tantra but it was so New Age that I wasn’t in tune with it. For 6 months I stayed in Pune, in Osho’s ashram and everybody was talking about Tantra but for me it didn’t vibrate in myself. I didn’t know anything about Tantra but I could feel that what the people were giving me, as far as information, was not what I was looking for, so whatever the name, I didn’t want to know more. I was looking for something deep and also something that was simple, where life is what it is about, in the now, and compassion and love are everywhere. I am not a flower power girl or a hippie. I didn’t want to live in this town in India where everyone lives together. I wasn’t looking for something crazy. I was looking for the truth, for the true self. It took a while because I have been searching since I was 20. It has been 15 years now. I don’t regret anything because without my prior journey, maybe I wouldn’t have been able to receive the Shri Kali information when I discovered it. To me, Tantra and Yoga are definitely the systems that drive my life, without rules. I didn’t decide to live by Tantra rules. In a sense, I was already living by Tantra before, without understanding it. I was living it and then when I met Bhagavan and Ma, I thought okay, that is what I am trying to live by myself. At the very beginning, I thought how easy this is to live without fears, but I was laughing when I was saying it because my life before that was the opposite. I was fearful and doubtful. To me, Tantra is my life; fearless, doubt-free and full of love.
Recently during a challenging situation, I experienced the difference of how I respond now versus the old me. Before, my answer to the struggle would have been to maintain the anger I felt inside. I would have played the victim; that was my favorite profile of myself. It’s so easy to be a victim. With this instance though, it hasn’t been easy, of course, but I could observe myself react in a totally different way. I have learned a lot and just after my stay in the ashram, I was full of very powerful energy. Everything that happened was very intense. When I arrived back in France, I was in France and doing my thing. I was full of everything that I had left. I wasn’t in my past; I was in the present. The capacity to not worry about the past and wonder about the future came from Shri Kali. I remember that Bhagavan told me once, that when I was on my path, everything would be so easy, and it is. I am still working on things but it’s not an issue anymore. Life is really easy. I feel so grateful. Bhagavan told me the very first day that I arrived in Shri Kali, as I was asking a lot of questions and doubting all the things that were being said to us; he looked inside my eyes and said, “you said six months and in 6 months you will know; I promise you, you will know.” And he was right, I do know. I was asking a lot of questions about everything, how do you know this, and that, how can you be so sure about it; the researchers say that and you say this and you say the Tantra way and why, etc… But Bhagavan was right in the end, I no longer had any doubts, I had my answers and more.
I have read the books but I haven’t read them again. I used to be very in to books, but to me, the main thing was the personal experience. Before, a noun was a noun and everything had a word, you couldn’t mix it, you had to be precise. Now it is the opposite. A noun could be something else now and a word could be something else. It doesn’t have to be so precise anymore verbally. I found myself in this system through the prāṇāyāma, the āsana and the meditation. I found myself being peaceful and incredibly focused when I do śavāsana. I remember two years ago, I was in another ashram where this other guy was telling me that it is important to do śavāsana because it is like a nap. Now, for me, it is the most profound experience I have when I do my practice. I can see myself clearly and can relate to myself. I don’t do a lot of meditation or mantra but I feel that I meditate when I do śavāsana. At the end of my śavāsana, I can be in my backyard looking at my flowers, as I have a lot of plants, and I can feel myself in my śavāsana. So I don’t know if it’s Tantra, if it’s yoga or if it’s how one should describe the teachings but it is how I live.
To teach the āsanas and the walking massage, with no exception, led me to a feeling of security. Since there is no teaching with force my students also feel secure so that they can let go of fear. I had an experience with one woman in particular. She was trying to get pregnant and she couldn’t. She had not had her period for an entire year. She was stressed and had a lot of doubts about her husband. She was really tired. We started by doing some classes, which were each very intense. She once cried, and then in the next one, she was very angry and in the last one, she was happy and loving. After three or four days she had her period and was so excited. During a dinner party, she came to us and showed us that she had blood on her pants with so much joy. It’s a beautiful feeling and a beautiful experience to witness such benefits in my students as well. Teaching nourishes me and I feel very comfortable teaching this system, for as I said before, I have no doubts.
To experience this system, by itself, it’s complete. However, it is easy for us to receive it through other human beings but not a lot of us are able to receive it by ourselves. Bhagavan is a sincere and beautiful messenger and to me, he made the difference. I have met a lot of masters but Bhagavan has made my stay bigger and my being bigger.