It was an honor for me to meet Anaiya Sophia during my trip to Mt Shasta, California. She was present for my workshop and I attended hers, what a powerful experience it was! Please listen to my interview with her here: Journey on the Pilgrimage of Love to Your Beloved
by Anaiya Sophia
The postmodern revolution raised our expectations for love and intimacy—now many of us want to find a “soulmate”, not a mere spouse. The sexual revolution changed the context of commitment in relationships—a series of monogamous relationships is the new norm for many of us. And spiritual awakening changes the very definition of love—if you love everyone, how is your love for your beloved in any way “special”, and how does it meet his or her need to be adored and cherished? Human love dwells in the in-between zone of human paradox, yet it needs a spiritual and an evolutionary context. Love is not only about fulfillment; it is also about self-sacrifice and giving. So what are the five principles for navigating the post-conventional territory of love?
Welcome to Post Conventional Love. In this article we shall explore what on earth has happened to marriage and our intimate relationships. How can we learn to embrace love even if it attempts to shatter our values and is it even possible to love in an authentic way outside conventional ways of relationship? Tasty topics eh?
If you haven’t noticed, or been living inside a cave for the last twenty years, relationships especially romantic-love based ones are seriously changing. It was only one generation ago when it commonly accepted that love happened only within the confines of marriage – full stop. Love between others (well maybe family love was okay), was forbidden and generally did not happen and if it did – low and behold there was a price to pay!
But now, change is afoot. There is a growing buzz in the air, a waft of change emanating throughout the entire cosmos. We are falling in love with each other left, right and centre. But this time I mean love in the truest sense of the word, I am not talking about bed hopping, or wife swapping, I am talking about heart opening ecstatic realization that you LOVE, many many people outside your relationship. Something that first started within spiritual circles, AA meetings, self-help seminars and Be the Change groups is now spreading into mainstream society, and threatening to bust open the walls of marriage and old paradigm relationships. It’s becoming so widespread that soon everyone will love everyone – well almost!
We used to think that love could become part of our lives as long as it behaved itself (old paradigm), however the new paradigm that rings out across the land is that love has become life itself. Love has overtaken us, leading us by the hand into profound spiritual mysteries, placing demands upon our limited selves and opening possibilities within our lives that were one time closed down. Just take a look around the world. Yes there is destruction and mayhem, but take a look again. Notice the highly contagious energy of celebration that is being felt, this faith, and belief and knowing that we can create change, that we will create change because we are the change itself. This realization in itself has the power to create a physical sensation in the body that we call goose bumps. That rush of togethership, that sense of belonging, that when we join forces we can create anything…. Feeling that energy swell in you now? Of course you are! Ever questioned what that is? Shame on you if the answer is no….
You see the culprit of this great catalyzing force is love. This is what the spiritual circles in their great evolvement are finally realizing and turning towards and its being filtered out throughout our societies, systems and family units. This tsunami of potential freedom and openness swirls through our bodies when we are engaged with a group, coursing through our hearts when we are together at a workshop or retreat setting and then when we come home – we tend to then hit a brick wall.
Because Love just doesn’t fit into the old container.
Love is our spiritual force, our transforming energy, that which pours through our soul, and transforms the mundane into the celebratory. This is our soul energy and eternal light, a cosmic force, an unknowable and unfathomable mystery … that we then attempt to bring into our human world, by placing it in a container that we call a ‘relationship”. Which is natural – nothing wrong with relationships. But you see a relationship is a process and a place where we get to live out our emotional selves. Now how on earth can this great cosmic force be satisfied and honoured in our contained relationships? This is the very question that prays for an answer in this month’s article.
So let’s break it down into digestible parts:
1. Understanding that love is an energy (our core soul energy that moves through us)
2. The “container” is the relationship (which is undergoing so much current upheaval)
Traditionally as a culture we have set the framework that marriage is the historical picture that we are heading for. It is this structure that is deeply, and I do mean deeply embedded into our psyches, as this is what we are all heading for. So deeply internalized that you could even say it is engrained into our cells. And if we don’t get there, then something is very, very wrong with us? Right?… Wrong.
Love in all its forms is happening outside marriage, in groups, friendships, sexual relationships, strangers, blind daters and across the Internet without even meeting.
It seems to me that the old paradigm of marriage needs to be either dissolved completely or radically updated. How many times have you heard the words “No matter, what we have to save the marriage?” Well, what if the two people involved are miserably unhappy, what if they are making one another’s lives hell? Do we still hang in there trying to make the ‘marriage’ work or do we ask, “What happened to love?” “Do I still love this person, can I find the way to love this person, and can love be re-kindled?” If the answer is NO…. then surely we are sophisticated and authentic enough to leave, to seek, a true, intimate and wholesome sharing of love with another?
Surely the meaning of life is about loving one another, right?
The problem we have been experiencing is that marriage has become more important and has taken precedence over love – amazing.
Yet we can all understand why this happens. We are creatures of comfort and sticking with the familiar and unchanging. But something more is being asked of us now, we have come as far as we can with these ideas and systems. Things need to change and reflect the copious changes that are happening everything. (Btw relationship has been the last thing to change in the world so far).
I am not suggesting that we abolish the institution of marriage in a reactionary impulse, instead I vote that we fully honour what marriage once meant to us as a species, to humbly bow for what it once stood for, whilst shattering the illusion of marriage, as we turn back to worship the first and foremost the Goddess (or rather Goodness) of Love.
I wonder what would happen if couples asked themselves “How can we use our marriage/relationship as the vessel of love?” Could there be such a thing as Enlightened Marriage? No, don’t laugh, it could be possible.
I have tried both, marriage (one year) and serial monogamy. I don’t know about you but serial monogamy seems to work rather well for me, and there are a growing number of us out there. Those who do not opt into marriage, rather surrender to the pulse of love, and remain in service to its voice. Committing to an authentic relationship, that values integrity and communication and devotion to one another, however if the values of evolution and growth should diminish then one is free to leave and continue the path of the soul with another. Leaving in love (yes that is possible I have done that many times).
So how do you move your current relationships into post conventional territory?
First of all, go slowly. Before you do anything you need to know where you are and what is actually real and happening around you. Let’s be really honest and begin with a ruthless reality check. Here are some insightful questions that will get right to the heart of the matter to find out what is actually real, or not.
A Reality Check for your Relationships
1. Does your movement towards love come from your brokenness or your wholeness? What about your partner?
2. Are you both seeking to evolve in the most profound sense?
3. In the larger context, how does this love serve everyone involved?
4. Are the feelings of hurt and pain in the relationship only coming from a purifying, evolving place (growing pains) or are they indulging, purposefully hurtful and narcissist?
5. Would you be willing to give up this great love, if you found out that it was in fact holding you back?
6. What is love asking YOU (not your relationship) to do?
7. What is your personal evolutionary journey? Does your relationship create the nourishment and space for that to happen?
That is what I mean by a reality check. I would say that about 9/10 people asking these questions will hit what I referred to earlier as “the brick wall”….
My advice for when you hit the brick wall, to spend long periods of time contemplating how you can evolve, how you can turn your attention back to love as you ask how to become courageous enough to birth change. Also to take comfort in the truth that we now all face these questions, that deep inside we know we can’t live like this a moment longer. Become a team as you ask these questions together. If your relationship is worth saving, join forces and feel into this new territory.
This building tsunami is threatening to bull doze into our lives, crashing into our value systems and rigid beliefs that could be hundreds maybe thousands) of years old (ooops forgot to check). We can move through these painful places, if we go slowly and stay in honest communication with one another.
When love beckons its hallmarks of authenticity guide you to ask profound questions of a conscious nature that searches for a greater meaning of your existence. By its very nature, its expose to us will ignite us to grow in capacity and capability towards a greater experience of love. So you could say that love, generates even more love…. If you are not experiencing that.. Then what can I tell you?
It’s either love, or it isn’t. It’s that simple.
Love is complex, simple, paradoxical and unconventional and it’s coming to a city near you, soon.
About Anaiya Sophia
Name: Anaiya Sophia
Address: C/O 71 Craven Road, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5NL,
Telephone: 0044 (0)7975 557 299
Website: Pilgrimage of Love
Date of Birth: 22nd December 1969
Vision and Passion:
Anaiya’s heart’s desire has always been the opportunity of “being used by Love” to bring about a powerful transformative opening to the often stubborn blocks that we cling onto imagining that we have been wronged by another in relationship. Her passion and expertise lies within inspiring the humility of love to profoundly awaken within others, transporting them directly to their natural open state of effortless Being. Her intoxicating and dedicated passion pours over into her writing, speaking, teaching, art and wholehearted beingness.
Her quest to know about Love started when she was seven years old after ‘meeting’ an Angel on the steps of Sacre Coeur in Paris. After 12 years of teaching Kundalini Yoga, the powerful practice that awakens once dormant sexual and creative energies to be used for further spiritual growth and freedom, her passion to directly experience and guide others to this freedom led her to become a Teacher Trainer. It was during this period that she was given a clear transmission into the ancient knowledge and direct experience of the energetic system and the deep understanding of the human experience and its blind spots.
“If you chose to be with me, you must risk finding yourself”….
Anaiya is the author of Pilgrimage to Love: A Tale of Romance, Heartbreak and Meeting The One and the creator of Sacred Reunion, Pathway of the Beloved, Awakening Soulful Sexuality, three 40-Day transformative processes based on her own experiences of stepping ever closer to the Beloved, retrieving Lost Will and healing sexuality. She is also a qualified Kundalini Yoga Teacher, public speaker and the co-author of Womb Wisdom: Awakening the Forgotten and Creative Powers of the Feminine and Open your Heart with Kundalini Yoga.
Her work is dedicated to the longing you feel within you to love without measure, and to experience that Divine yearning with your partner(s). To take this Sacred Mystery and to embody its rapture with your everyday lives. Her desire is to experience and to know what Rumi and Shams lived, and to then share and support you all to do the same. “I know that this Love is not the privilege of the Saints, Sufi’s and Mystical Beloveds bound by text and legend. This Love is waiting for us all to say “Yes” and to mean it with our every breath as we lay down our lives at its feet…”
Anaiya gives directly from her feminine heart centred presence, allied with her playful, infectious enthusiasm to inspire and arouse others to surrender their lives to live as love, no matter what it takes. Since the age of twelve she has walked the Path of the Beloved. Fueled by the Power of Love to seek ‘the Beloved’ everywhere. To love even in the darkest of places. Barry Long once quoted “For a tantric teacher is made by God. Tantra is the love of God to the point of self-destruction – the complete obliteration of the self – until all that is left is the love of God”.
It is by these words that Anaiya lives.
And so her prayer’s were answered through the presence of great teachers who prepared her for her Pilgrimage of Love.
“Anaiya is such a ray of bright light! I feel so truly grateful for having met her and for everything she shared with me. She truly embodies her teachings and radiates that she is living them all day, every day.
I so love her honesty, integrity, humility and passion for life!
It is so refreshing to meet a spiritual teacher who is not afraid to show her imperfections and to honestly talk about her dark side, which as we know resides in us all. She is fun and yet truly real, practical as well as spiritual, deep and brilliantly humorous, wise and profoundly playful yet constantly centered in her loving heart.
I recommend every single one of her workshops and retreats, as she powerfully and authentically creates a deep resonant space that is both loving, nurturing and safe”.
Open Your Heart with Kundalini Yoga
(Harper Collins Autumn 02)
Mini Size Me – The Raw Revolution
Self published Summer 2006
Inner Traditions Spring 2011
Pilgrimage of Love
Simon and Shuster Summer 2011
She is also a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers such as Kindred Spirit, Yoga Journal, Spirit and Destiny, The Mail on Sunday, The Guardian, The Telegraph amongst others.