Read on for insight into the life and musings of Tantrika’s Media Manager, Stuart Williams
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I’m not one for titles but I’m told I am the Media Manager. This kula is so amazing and they often send a variety of media through, so my role is half creation and half curation. I film and edit all the online courses for the learning portal and I ensure all other media, such as meditation and mantra recordings, satsangs and images all get some TI love. I also manage the content library, where we sort, categorize and store all the content. At the moment a large part of the role is extracting content from existing channels to make sure our kula has access to these when we launch the portal in a few months!
These teachings have had a profound impact on my life. They turned my life around. I went from decades of medication and heaviness to a curiosity, awe and wonder, almost overnight. This work doesn’t feel like a job – it feels effortless (and on the rare occasion that it doesn’t, it feels significant). I’m able to contribute in a way that is humbling and at times, unbelievable. I’m aware of the extraordinary privilege to be a part of this. If only one person was to benefit from this work, I’d feel content. Seeing as we have an enormous kula it’s safe to say this work is deeply fulfilling.
I eat a lot of cake. I talk about cake. I look at cake. I also think about cake. Right now I am thinking about cake.
I also love riding my bike and I love being out in nature. Growing up in South Africa with a family who loved the bush meant that I spent virtually every vacation on safari. I became a safari guide before I did my post-graduate degree and lived in the bush for a while. Nature is the quickest way for me to feel connected to spirit. I love bird watching and simply watching the trees. I also love music, I write music, play music and sing – almost exclusively kirtan but I have a habit of defaulting to Radiohead when the bhakti is low. I’ve also started to dance again – just a little, but it’s fun.
At the moment my practice fluctuates but for a long time I was really strict in terms of the amount of time I spent in formal practice. I sat morning and evening for around an hour at a time and focused exclusively on classical Tantrik techniques. Last year I spent a cumulative two and a half months in silent retreat. I also do a lot of kirtan, along with a physical yoga practice which is a mix of Shadow Yoga and Qi Gong (although this is the most erratic of all my practices and tends to fall away easily when I feel resistant).
Something that has always stuck and never fluctuated is walking, in nature or through the neighborhood. My most regular and profound practice is simply walking. I will often listen to one of Hareesh’s Spotify Goddess or Shiva playlists or a satsang with Adyashanti. An amazing awake human said that he walks without walking. It feels like this. I walk and contemplate, asking the question, what is this? Occasionally I’ll stop and sit, take a look around and simply be with what is.
My path into this whole spiritual world was abrupt and intense but my story has had an impact on some people. I sometimes share this story to give hope to those who’ve forgotten that things can change. I experienced 25 years of depression and existential crisis. It engulfed me – there was a lot of suffering and a lot of challenge. I had never heard a spiritual teaching and I had a lot of judgment toward yoga, hippies and anything remotely off the beaten path. But with my back against a wall, I gave meditation a try. I had a moment during my 2nd meditation and five months later I was off all medication and my life was unrecognizable. Sometimes people need to hear that no matter how deep the hole that they’re in, it can change.
I also love to share music. When I was living in Mexico at an ashram, I shared kirtan every Saturday evening. It was moving to witness hearts opening, to see a deeper love and to be willing to see each other with fresh eyes. I really loved that. I miss sharing kirtan regularly and look forward to it once we have our center fully open in Portugal!
Online – you could take a look at www.stuartwilliams.co for my photography and videography or yogaphile.com for some of my yoga related musings. There’s also my Soundcloud which has a abunhc of home recordings of my music – https://soundcloud.com/skipper-thomas. In person, I’m in Boulder, CO. I arrived here in November last year for the Immersion retreat and haven’t left. You’ll probably find me behind the laptop looking at Hareesh’s face. I’m excited about some additional teachers joining the faculty so it doesn’t always have to be the same face.
For me, there is the path of awakening and a deep longing to wake up! But for the rest of it, I simply want to be a kinder human being and that involves working on my stuff. I hope we can all aspire to that. If waking up feels distant, no worries, we can focus on being kinder.