(Prologue: I’ve got first-hand experience that a real understanding of the laws of karma can substantially change our lives for the better. I created this weblog to share information and personal experience with others. May it be of benefit!)
“Passion is not unbridled desire or obsession, but natural playfulness and interest in the world.” – @SakyongMipham
In my last post <please click here to see last post> I described a dream around my relationship with Alex (“Dream Man”), and the identity crisis that the dream triggered.
Feb 03, 2012 – Alex and I are lying on a king-size bed together. We are in the middle of it. Fully clothed. I am propped up on my left arm facing Alex who is lying flat on his back. Our strong karmic connection with and affection for each other is obvious. Two other couples lie at each end of the bed, again fully clothed. I do not know who they are. They are lying still. But their affection for each other is obvious. Alex asks me “Why aren’t we together?” I reply “because I would never leave you.” He whispers “Oh God.” I lean down and kiss him. He does not move. He says nothing. Then I put my head on his chest and, simultaneously, I experience a feeling of sadness.
This crisis, not Alex, was the focus of that post.
In this post, Alex is the focus, or should I say, “Alex” in his incarnation as Cleopatra’s doctor.
Once upon a time there was a queen called Cleopatra (69 BC to 30 BC) who ruled over the land of Egypt. She had a doctor called Alexander (“Alex” in this lifetime) . They had a secret love affair. I don’t think it was secret because there was some edict that forbade a relationship between a doctor and his patient. At any rate, regardless of any “rules,” what queens want, queens get. But Cleopatra was married to Mark Antony! And Rome was presenting her to the Romans as a whore with whom Antony was besotted. She could hardly let another lover surface in public! Cleopatra’s relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony had political elements. But with her doctor, there was no politics. Just heart. And a deep and abiding love and trust. He was her confidant. Alexander kept a diary which has been used as a source of information about his queen and the times, including my personal favourite by Margaret George. At any rate, this secret affair created karma, both positive and negative\challenging, for both of them.
This post explores that karma.
To me, Cleopatra and perfume are inextricably linked. Plutarch’s writing about Cleopatra are the most famous historical record, and of course, he mentions her perfume. So does Shakespeare.
The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Burned on the water; the poop was beaten gold,
Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that
The winds were love-sick with them,
…………<source: Antony and Cleopatra>
In this lifetime, the symbol of their shared karma is perfume!
How to work with this karma so that it is purified? One of the ways could be to consider Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s advice in his poem The SUN, the MOON, the RIVER which I have reproduced at the end of this post.
The energy of his lover Cleopatra is all around Alex. It is affectionate and playful. But as long as he is wrapped up in what Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche calls “corrupt pride,” male stubborness, rigidity, arrogance and know-it-all attitude to hide his fears — which lead him to be critical, dismissive and subtly repressive of his significant others — he will not be able to work with his karma properly. If he clings to his fears he cannot “move as the winds tell you” (Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche).
It is up to “Alex” to decide in what form he wishes to relate to his version of Cleopatra that he carries with him from their life together two thousand years ago.
However, he does not have the choice of whether or not he wants to relate to her at all. He has to. She is in him. This was demonstrated when the energy of Cleopatra came through in the dream described in the previous post when she says “…I will never leave you.” In other words, her energy is in him. It cannot leave him because he carries it in him.
An analogy might be helpful here: Vajrayogini, a Buddhist deity, a fiery, passionate female, can be seen to be, on the inner level, a manifestation of Alex’s own personal Cleopatra. In this way, he can purify the emotions (kleshas) that underlie his karma from that lifetime as Cleopatra’s doctor and secret lover. But if he practices her sadhana without relating to what she exposes in us with integrity, he will simply be Vajrayogini’s Boy-Toy.
For those of you interested in astrology as a reflection of the karmic package one has brought into this lifetime, I have had a composite chart of “Alex” and Cleopatra, with whom he had a secret affair, drawn up. This composite chart describes their shared karma, both positive and negative.
Some readings for aspects [relationships betwen the planets in their composite chart], taken from the book Planets in Composite by Robert Hand, are offered below.
Composite Pluto Trine Composite Ascendent
The trine of Composite Pluto and Composite Ascendant indicates a very intense but constructive relationship. …Conssequently when things go wrong between you, the energies that are released are also very intense.
The two of you experience [basic goodness] as a way of [transforming] the everyday world [into enlightened society], which is the reason for your great intensity.
…This aspect [Composite Pluto trine Composite Ascendent] stimulates an interest in the mysteries of life, and you will see your relationship as one of those mysteries that must be comprehended.
The secrecy of the affair between Cleopatra and her doctor is now manifesting as being able to communicate with each other on subtle levels:
Composite Mercury Trine Composite Pluto
…..a deep and subtle understanding of what your relationship is all about….understanding even of the hidden psycholotical forces that are normally not accessible to people involved with each other.
Composite Jupiter Opposition Composite Saturn
…As a couple, your desire to go out into the world, to be more positive and assertive, is always at war with your sense of caution and a need to be careful.
Cleopatra’s relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony had political elements. But with her doctor, there was no politics. Just heart. And a deep and abiding love and trust. He was her confidant. They were friends as well as lovers. These aspects now manifest in this lifetime in the following way:
Composite Moon Trine Composite Mercury…When a situation arises that requires the two of you to sit down and discuss your problems,you can do so easily and with the proper belnd of objectivity and involvement. You understand that it can be dangerous to overintellectualize emotional matters….
The unconventionality of the relationship between the queen and her doctor is now manifesting in the following way:
Composite Sun Conjunct Composite Ascendent
…You are not likely to bow to social pressures…the most important point about this relationship is that it will have considerable integrity. You will be true to yourselves, and that will certainly help to win you the admiration of others……
Composite Jupiter Trine Composite Uranus
…your relationship will not follow any established patterns…This aspect signified new and creative ways of doing things…. A love relationship with this aspect will not follow the established script…
How to purify the karma
How to work with this karma so that it is purified? One of the ways could be to consider Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s advice in his poem.
The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche
Wales, June 2002, after seeing Antony & Cleopatra exhibition
A sharp moment is when someone
has told you the truth,
A dull moment is when you try to respond.
Being a lover — or trying to love —
is full of daydreaming.
When Cleopatra oozes her affection,
cuts it with her tempered wisdom,
And exclaims, “You are not worthy of love
That is the time that a thousand years of manhood,
A thousand years of history and foundation,
Come crumbling down.
Out of this rubble, arise with grace and integrity.
Don’t be bashful about your secret
and most hidden inhibitions,
For she is a woman and you are a man.
Power is with you — skill with her.
At this moment do not touch your wounded heart
or corrupt pride:
Put forth a face of gaiety and mirth.
Look at her — look at yourself,
For she sees you — now see her.
The Nile may be wide but parts are shallow —
Cross it when you can.
Don’t be foolish and drink this serpentine river,
For she will win, and you will lose.
Because change is her blood,
You must be like the desert and move
as the winds tell you.
This is a perpetual dance of mind and heart,
of soft and hard.
Don’t stand still:
The quicksand of discursive intention
Will make you sink.
Be the sun, brilliant and wise.
Let her be the moon, brilliant and clear.
Between the two, life can be interesting.
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