In this podcast we speak to the incomparable Bruce Lyon from The International School of Temple Arts about what he sees is beyond traditional monogamy or polyamory. We also speak about the great soul initiation that Bruce believes is happening on the planet right now. This is a podcast you simply have to share! Bruce can be found at BruceLyon.com
Full transcript below.
STEVE: Today we’ve got a guest on the other side of the world in New Zealand, Mr. Bruce Lyon, how are you doing?
BRUCE LYON: I’m great Steve, nice to be on your show.
STEVE: Yes, it’s a pleasure to have you on. So, Bruce is a teacher of sexuality, soul vision/purpose and tantra (amongst many other things may I add). I’ve known him from his work in the International School of Temple Arts (ISTA), which I did the level one program in December 2012 in Guatemala and it was a big shifting moment for me after that workshop. What I came away with in terms of learning about masculine-feminine dynamics, and learning about my own energy was very profound. It was like an initiation of sorts. So Bruce has been involved in ISTA for many years. I’ve bumped into him across the world but we’ve never got a chance to chat fully, so I’m looking forward to what we’re going to talk about. So, Bruce, before we start getting into the meat of the conversation, if you can give people a bit more of an understanding of what you are doing in the world.
BRUCE LYON: Okay, sure. It’s always a good question, what am I doing? The essence or bottom line for me is love. Which is a very mis-abused word. I think love to me is this awakening of energy on the planet and consciousness of humanity and that love and sexuality in relationships is kind of just an introduction into a world. It’s like a tease of the universe gives us that takes us into a much more expanded idea of what love is that includes the whole planet, that includes not just man and woman but it includes all life on earth and I feel like the planet itself is in this initiation around love and human relationship and sexuality is one of the most powerful doorways into that. So my work in the world has always been some version of that, some version of spiritual, sexual, relationship awakening that takes us into a greater dimension of what it is to be a human being.
STEVE: All very, very interesting things. And for the theme of this podcast, we picked it up beforehand, we’re going to run with what it’s going to be called is beyond monogamy and polyamory and this is a very interesting concept. You might be listening if you’ve tried monogamy or you’ve even tried polyamory (or both) or you’re even thinking about switching to another or trying another, we’re going to speak about today with Bruce about that. So Bruce, in your life what kind of learning have you come to about monogamy and polyamory. Did you start with one and lead to another—where did you start, because I know you have children, so were you monogamous through that period?
BRUCE LYON: I think I grew up in a normal western culture and monogamy was the dominant cultural theme. Always, deep down in the core of my being I never bought any particular model and always love and freedom were important inherent parts of my being. I’ve been married twice, both have been beautiful relationships. I had children in my first marriage. My second marriage was much more about the soul journey, what can a man and a woman do together in a way that genuinely brings them love and freedom. In my first marriage monogamy was the scene and in my second monogamy flowed into polyamory and then flowed beyond those into theogamy and now my second wife and I are basically lovers again. So I guess what I’ve learned is that love doesn’t like to be put in boxes and that any paradigm that people are following is eventually going to be broken open. And the paradigm of monogamy or polyamory are like rivers that people are trying to follow. But the rivers all come to the ocean and then when you’re in the ocean, it’s really hard to put a box or a paradigm around it. So I see them as like training wheels that people are experimenting with in order to get to the ocean of love.
And I would say that monogamy tends to be more—if you want to go masculine or feminine, monogamy tends to be more part of a feminine journey of the heart. I think every human being has a sense of wanting there to be one person that sees them so deeply and completely and can hold their light and their dark and love them, love them deeply and completely. So that journey is the monogamy journey at its best.
And the polyamory journey is more in the masculine side of the heart which is every individual meeting another individual has a unique and beautiful potential for connection. And polyamory honors the fact that no one person is ever going to meet fully or parts in dimensions of your being. So I see them as true complementary parts of the heart. One is to go deep (monogamy) and often the shadow of polyamory is that it stays shallow. People have lots of different relating that they don’t go deep. And the shadow of monogamy is that it limits the freedom of a human being to be a full dimensional being. So I don’t like getting caught up in monogamy versus polyamory debate. I think they are just two aspects of the ways humans are learning how to love.
STEVE: Yeah these are very, very interesting topics. Especially for myself and I imagine everyone listening, I’ve definitely contemplated which one I should be going down—should it be monogamy if I haven’t had children yet but if I do have children, isn’t it more practical to be monogamous, would you say? Or is it a matter of completely dropping these concepts altogether? Are there any benefits and practicalities to being monogamous when your partner is pregnant for example?
BRUCE LYON: I think there are two components of that. One is the biological part of that being is really activated deeply during pregnancy and bringing up children and having safe containers, beautiful loving containers for those children to grow into is really important. And I do think on the planet we haven’t got to the point where we will get to in a time where group containers of deep mutual love will create spaces for children to flow into and grow up. And that means they don’t just have to rely on their parents for role modelling and for growth, but we’re still very much in a time between monogamous culture and what will come, which is more aquarian or group culture. So I think that depends on the individual and that depends on what kind of support network they’ve got around them.
And most people who have been following up polyamorous path and depth eventually have a triad of people that children could come into. But for the average person being in a monogamous relationship when they have children and when they start, sometimes is the best thing. And I would say also in all relationships monogamous period, where people are really deeply feeling what is true between just the two of them can be very useful.
STEVE: Yeah, some very good points there and I do also dream of a world where there are groups of individuals who are bringing up children together, generations living together, at the same time bring that wisdom to the children. I know you are one of your missions in life (if I’m getting it right, correct me if I’m wrong), is to bring back this temple wisdom and is that community culture part of that?
BRUCE LYON: Sure. In fact, where I am talking to you from is a place in New Zealand now, they’ve re-established as a modern mystery school and temple. That is a place for soul initiation for people who are deep in their soul journey. But also is a place of community where people are going to be able to work with that edge of a community where their erotic life and their spiritual life are all integrated and so that eventually this type of culture can be here.
And coming again of the temples — part of our work in the world is travelling the world and finding those people. It’s very hard to find them in your own neighbourhood. But if you go global there are so many people who have been on this path and they are on this path and they have got beyond the monogamy, polyamory, masculine-feminine and are deep in their own soul emergence and as those people meet each other and spend time with each other they can drop to levels of connection and intimacy that are impossible with people that are still earlier on their journey. So finding your community around the world is an important part of this emerging temple culture.
STEVE: Yeah, I would definitely agree with that sentiment. I haven’t done much movement myself for the last couple of years as I’ve been growing the magazine, but before that, I was touring and going to different workshops. I was meeting soul sisters, brothers around the world, in Guatemala at that retreat specifically on the International School of Temple Arts is the retreat you definitely meet those kindred souls. I know other hotspots in the world where that happens all the time, Bali being one of them, Costa Rica is one a lot of people are going to at the moment.
BRUCE LYON: It’s interesting that when you can know someone all your life and not really go deep with them, maybe a school friend and then you can meet somebody and immediately just open totally and a deep trust because of some deep soul connection. Other than the fact that they’ve done some of the work or whatever the reason is. And that can be really confusing for people too because it taps into the whole soul mate journey and story that all of a sudden attraction happens between people and hearts open and a depth of intimacy becomes possible that wasn’t a moment before. And that can be incredibly disruptive for people’s lives too if they’ve been living in normal security-based relationship model. And all of a sudden they get opened, they get opened by these soul connections. And for a while many people go into that journey of, well is this is a soul mate but then ultimately soul is just one, there is one soul operating through humanity and it’s trying to break us open to much deeper dimensions of love. And that becomes difficult because humans want security and love actually is not a tame cat that sits in your lap. It’s a roaring lion that will tear you apart and so love is trying to open us all of the time and our egos are trying to become more secure. So this dimension of love that is trying to connect us up with our soul tribe can be challenging. And it’s kind of ironic that everybody is looking for love but actually I don’t know that they really want it, because when love really arrives in your life, it means the end of safety.
STEVE: A few points there, first one, yes—this soul tribe thing, I think my soul is a romantic one and wants to believe that we were all in the temples (in past lives) the ones that we meet around the world and we’re coming back and awakening our ‘temple souls’ and things like that. Secondly, you said, that “there is one soul”, if you explain a little bit more about that because that might be the first time people have heard that and then yeah I very much agree with you on the lion’s roar. Teal Swan on our first podcast mentioned that love is that an alchemical tool that is intended to show you what love is not and that’s kind of what you’re saying with the lion. So yeah if you want to mention the one soul thing and what you mean by that, that will be awesome.
BRUCE LYON: Sure. I think it expands in people’s experience this way that all of a sudden they break into what you recall soul, but once they get behind masculine-feminine dynamics a little bit. The soul is just to mention of our being that’s maybe deeper than just birth to death earth walk—it is a deeper dimension of that consciousness. And then there is this idea of a group soul. In other words, there are those people that we are journeying within a much deeper way than just friends and family. And then the one soul is just the consciousness of humanity and is the transpersonal dimension and not just of humanity that everything has soul, everything has this inner wisdom and life that is behind their outer form. So that’s the dimension of the soul. What was the other question that you asked me?
STEVE: It was a question about being a lion rather than this tame pussy cat. And I think that what I was going to ask next was about soul initiation. If you choose love, is that when the soul initiation starts? Or am I talking about two different things?
BRUCE LYON: No, I think what love does is, it keeps putting pressure on everything that’s not love as you said and that in the world people soul has come into everybody’s consciousness to some degree. Most people have access to the wisdom traditions in the world and now very accessible. Whether it’s a book, or whether it’s new age philosophy or whether it’s your traditional religious or spiritual powers, most people have a reasonably enlightened mind. In other words, love has come into their consciousness. Many people have love in their heart, so in other words, that’s dropped to a dimension of their being which opens their hearts. But it’s very difficult for love to drop all of the way into the lower chapters into our sexuality, into our money, into our survival fears. So as love is initiating us, it’s also dropping us back into relationship with the earth and that’s dropping us back into our bodies and that’s forcing us to feel unresolved emotional issues, our wounded child issues, of lack of deep parenting by the soul, our sexual issues, our possessiveness, our materiality, our desire to own land and to own each other, and our fears of loss and it’s heading us into our financial issues. Where do we hold money in the world, where are they in equities so that love is not actually flowing and moving through our sharing of resources.
And then ultimately love challenges us around our mortality, about where in our life are we are driven by fear and where are we driven by love and that ultimately comes down to, can we face death? Can we be loving even in the face of our own death or fear of death? So that’s the soul initiation that’s sweeping the world and gradually opening us more and more deeply and it plays into the realm of sexuality and relationships because those are the places where we get challenged in love.
We might embark for example of polyamory or extending or opening our relationship and then all of a sudden we have to deal with someone that we love and we are attached to, being sexual, being in love with somebody else and does that threaten us and does that bring up stuff that we then have to deal with and have to face in our selves. So, that’s the initiatory part of the journey, there are lots of really juicy parts to the journey, but it’s also a journey of quite deep terror as we encounter bits in ourselves that we didn’t even know were there.
STEVE: So is it a soul initiation or is it just a love initiation? Is there actually any difference?
BRUCE LYON: Yeah, I think so. I think the soul is more the dimension of consciousness that love is operating through and then ultimately love is such a tricky word, but ultimately everything is love. And I think that’s one of the tragedies of the human condition, is that we are so busy trying to look for something that’s already here. It’s the spiritual search and it’s a sexual search and it’s the search for the experience of love, when really our body is love, our breath is love, the ocean is love, everything is already here, heaven is already on earth and yet because we don’t feel that, we go looking for it. So the soul is to me, is the dimension of depth that the consciousness can go to in its journey to find love.
STEVE: Very, very interesting points. And the whole truth that love is here, we don’t need to go anywhere or do anything is certainly true. Once we come to that realization in ourselves then yeah we don’t need to go chasing or it. But how does that journey from the beginning of the soul initiation is to that realization, is there anything on the other side of that realization or is it just about embodying that state as much as you possibly can day in day out until you pass on or the world changes?
BRUCE LYON: Well, that’s the mystery isn’t it? We don’t really know—we can know what we don’t know and while we’re at the certain stage of our journey, whatever our goals seem really important to us, but then once we break into a new dimension of our being than those goals are not so important anymore and something else takes over. So I feel like once people arrive at the realization both spiritually and sexually and in their hearts that they already are what they’re waiting for, that they are the love that they seek, that they are inherently free, then they begin to play a new game and that game is not the seeking game, the game is once you’ve arrived then what. And you can’t speak about that because you actually have to be in the experience, but I can say that it’s the unfoldment of the love that already is rather than the seeking for it. And that unfoldment comes—the life becomes anchored in a very different place. It’s an upwelling of love and freedom rather than an attempt to somehow obtain it or to corral it.
STEVE: How do you view the chaos in the world from that point?
BRUCE LYON: Well I think there are two beautiful dimensions of the seeing from that point, one is compassion. To really see what is driving most people is loneliness and fear. Or uncertainty dressed up in their desire for career or their desire for a relationship or what’s underneath the chasing is deep feelings of abandonment and pain and isolation and unworthiness and so the right response to that is incredible compassion no matter how it looks in the world. Even though people can be very destructive to themselves and others underneath that, is the same thing in each human being. And also when you look at the planet you look at what humans are doing to the natural world. One of the response is compassion.
The other response is the fierce cutting through of it. So it’s like for the feminine response and it is compassion and love, everything is worthy of that. And the masculine response is to liberate. And liberate is fierce ruthless wisdom that cuts through to the heart and doesn’t buy into the illusion. So the dance of these two qualities together is really important. If I go to the end of my life and there has been no one who reached through inside me and opened the core of me through their seeing, I would be really angry at the people who were awake in the world. I’d be saying why didn’t you break me open? But if someone’s tried to break me open and they don’t have compassion for me then I’m going to protect. So the two ways to see the chaos from the place of peace are compassion for the human condition and a fierce determination to break open into truth and to help others break open.
STEVE: That breaking open process is all really down to the self-responsibility and self-awareness of that individual. How else, there is no other way is there?
BRUCE LYON: Yeah, I mean I think human free will is a beautiful thing and we have the right to deny love for as long as we want. However, there are things that are greater than each human’s choice. We’re starting to experience them now and that is the consequences to the environment and everybody’s individual life works the same in their soul path of awakening. If you refuse awakening then more and more pressure comes from the outside. Maybe your health falls apart, maybe your relationship fails, maybe you lose your job, all of these things the universe’s way of breaking in. And we get to choose whether we want the Mack truck or whether we want the compassionate spear of our brother or sister. So yeah sovereignty is really important, but there are much greater forces that work in the world and one way or another we’re going to be broken in to, much better to receive that from somebody who has compassion for us.
STEVE: Yeah, and it is really a choice, as you were saying we have a choice. On my second podcast I did with Keith, The Chocolate Shaman, you may be aware of him, he was in Guatemala and he talked about—how he was told by beings, that there will be a time in future and this was 1976 or something, that there will be clear choice people on this planet to decide who is it going to be and is becoming fear or love specifically or war or community and compassion and love. And it is becoming clearer day by day as on the outside world, as we see it through whatever eyes we go through online or through the media, that things are getting very much that choice, we may even be passed that choice now I’m not sure, but yeah choice is everything in this matter of choosing love to awaken us to our full potential or not and that full potential is already here. So we don’t need to go anywhere we don’t need to do anything as Bruce is saying. Anything to add on to that?
BRUCE LYON: Yeah only the thing of getting beyond the choice and because I think the world itself is in a developmental stage and underneath that we can still find that place that is beyond it. And in particular, I think it’s dangerous this choice between love and war as if they were opposites. And I do think that’s important that we get love back from the more I would say the more feminine side of the equation, which creates this dilemma in people between love being something little bit more soft and fluffy and if we have love we won’t have war. Where the reality is war seems to be an essential part of the human condition and war is not the opposite of love, it’s just a very inefficient way of expressing love. So in other words, if we create a polarity between love and war then we have to choose one over the other and then that’s war.
So it’s just an illusion and our love somehow has to be deep enough that embraces war as it is. Doesn’t reject the fact that we live on a planet where there is rape and murder and the intentional destruction of things. The love has to be big enough to embrace that, because if we refuse to accept that as loving then we have created a polarity between the world and ourselves. So for me, part of the deep shadow work of maturity is to somehow embrace the world as it is, which includes everything that’s going on. And then move from that place to change it, whereas if we are battling against it then it just becomes an ongoing battle.
STEVE: Okay, so the choice is to embrace the world as it is, or not?
BRUCE LYON: Yes. To start from that place.
STEVE: Is that the starting point? For someone who is perhaps has been listening to the last half an hour of us speaking and maybe it’s a bit over their heads and they haven’t perhaps started their own journey yet, is this somewhere they could start with themselves? Embracing the world as it is, is that a good practical place to start?
BRUCE LYON: Yeah. I think a good way that everybody can relate to that is, finding a place in their own lives whatever is going on in their own lives, is that they can be grateful for life itself, that just their breath and the fact that they are alive and the sun on their face and so on can take them into a place of peace and gratitude which sits at their core. Now that doesn’t mean that then when they encounter their day that there aren’t some things that they’re really going to want to change that they are unhappy with or some things that they really want, that they are coming and centered in the core of their being, that is already peaceful and that requires inner work, it requires the focus on their own being and on their own soul as well as on the outer world.
STEVE: Yeah those are very, very important things to contemplate for one’s self. Certainly when I first started the journey, the journey was inward with meditation and then it comes through intentionally as well, as I mentioned in the last podcast I did with Dr. Prana Ji, that it’s very important to declare your intention to the world to the universe and he told me that when you do speak that intention out loud and our words are very, very powerful, that changes the inner chemistry or balance of our own being our vibration, because we’ve spoken some truth to the world. For example, I would have said something like, “I’m ready to wake up.” I remember saying that out loud four years ago, “show me what I’m here to be doing in the universe in the world fully.” Things like that really shift things. Is that something you do, do you communicate out loud to the universe on your own? I guess we’re always communicating in any moment when we speak our vibration through our hearts and out loud.
BRUCE LYON: Absolutely. Yeah I used to have a saying in my youth that would just spontaneously arise in my life which was, “shatter my heart that I may love still more”, and every time I use them my life would fall apart and pull myself together again and now I don’t think I use the words shatter, more like “gently open please”.
STEVE: Yeah, that sounds very Shakespearian, Hamlet-esque or something.
BRUCE LYON: We all have a cry that emerges from our heart whether we give words to it or not. Every human soul has the unique call to the divine I think. And one of the reasons this is so important is that when people do get into monogamy, polyamory, and they don’t have an inner center, there is nowhere to sit when the world comes down. And it will come down because you see this in relationships. People start with the honeymoon and great longing and connection for each other and then often people end in divorce courts and haggling over custody and money and or they enter polyamory with a wonderful idea of opening their relationship and then all of a sudden they hit their abandonment and jealousy issues. So where do you go when love tests you? Because love will test you. And if you don’t have an inner center to sit in, if you don’t have a place that’s peaceful in the core of your being beyond what’s happening in the outside, then you don’t have a refuge and from that refuge, you can restore yourself. I think that people really like love when it comes offering them synchronicity and an amazing new relationship, but when love offers them the opportunity to deal with deep jealousy or to deal with a sense of being abandoned or to deal with failure then it’s only our inner resources that allow us to learn those lessons, otherwise we disintegrate and we have to repair ourselves again. So I think that the inner journey is an important part of living in the world. It’s not an escape from the world, it’s a way of opening the world up to its deeper dimensions.
STEVE: And finally, if we can offer some practical advice for people who have started this journey and they have called out to the universe they made their choice, they want to accept the world as it is, but like yourself who has been on these heart-shattering soul initiation journeys, what do we do when things are really, really hard and you’ve almost got no one there who understands you by your side. What do you recommend doing at these times? What are the types of things that you used to do or would still do if you are feeling challenged by the love lion throwing everything at you?
BRUCE LYON: I think the first thing is to realize that we have resources and inside us that are untapped. They are just waiting for those moments to reveal themselves. So the first thing is an attitude of realizing that, inside us is limitless, invincible resource. It may not feel that way, so it’s an act of trust to believe here I am, I have nothing left, I feel totally distraught, I’m alone, there is nobody who that I can reach to assist and support. Somewhere inside of us, there is part of us rejoicing, because this is an opportunity for some deeper dimension of our being to breakthrough. So part of the solution is an attitude of trust that we look in those places of despair we wait for the light that we know that there is something that can break us open from the inside. And when you’ve been there enough times, then there is a kind of aura of air of expectation, “oh my god I wonder how the miracle’s going to happen now!” I wonder how this deeper part of me is going to break through and reach me here because it looks like there is no way it can. So that’s an attitude.
And the other thing is to give ourselves permission to go deeply into despair and depression and the feeling of things not working. To release the feeling underneath it and we live in a world often where people are afraid to feel deeply. They’re afraid to feel their grief, they’re afraid to feel their rage and there are so many things to be grieving about and raging on the planet.
So the first is to expect the breaking through of awakening and the second is to not be afraid to feel deeply and to let the feelings flow. Because so many people hit that place of deep depression and then they don’t let themselves release the feelings and the depression just takes them.
So I would say those are two things. Trust and expect liberation and let yourself process the deep feelings of grief and alienation and abandonment and hurt that lives inside every human being.
STEVE: Yeah those were two extremely amazingly good foundations to live your life. Although you didn’t use the same words the first one you’re saying that you expect that the universe to be benevolent, that it is a good source and everything will be fine in the end, everything will be more than fine.
BRUCE LYON: Yes.
STEVE: It’s a belief system. And the emotional mastery side of things is something we do include in the University of Love and Sexuality and also I know Bruce’s workshops that something that you very much dives into.
BRUCE LYON: I recommend people if they are on their journey to try out during an ISTA training. It’s the training that’s designed for the things that we all should have got when we were young to teach us just the basics of how to enter into our sexuality, our emotional life, our spirituality in such a way that allows us to live a healthy life, rather than the lives that many people are living which are confused around these issues.
STEVE: Yeah it’s something that I fully one hundred per cent recommend going to. It’s one of the few—I mean I’ve been to about ten different workshops across the world and ISTA what Bruce is part of, is something that I highly recommend going to their level one to get started. ISTA do it all across the world. If people want to know more about ISTA or yourself where are the best places to go online?