AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Vivianne Nantel, author of “Becoming the Light”.
I had the chance to chat with Vivianne Nantel, the author of Becoming the Light: Realize Your True Enlightened Nature. The book is part memoir and part guidebook: within the riveting and richly told story of Nantel’s own spiritual journey are highly effective and profound lessons on traveling the path to enlightenment.
Becoming the Light is a tremendous book, filled with so many vivid scenes. It’s a sweeping story. What was the process of writing it like?
Since my late twenties, I had a deep inner knowing that I would write a book one day. This was prior to the severe depression I suffered, which almost took my life. Writing Becoming the Light has been a profound spiritual journey of self-introspection — but not to seek catharsis or release. While writing the book, I had to put my music and singing aside, which required an enormous sacrifice. Perhaps the hardest part was editing down the original draft (850 pages)without losing its true essence.
What do you think is the biggest source of pain for people today, and how can they escape from it?
Most of the time the mind is our worst enemy, and the cause of a lot of unnecessary suffering and pain. Most people don’t want to face their limitations and boundaries, and so have set themselves apart in tiny fabricated cages. Also too many people lead a life ruled by their compulsions. This book can become a gateway to the Divine. Starting to see things as they are with clarity is enough to get a person out of suffering and on the way to rediscovering their true natural bliss (satchitananda). Adopting a daily practice of mindfulness, profound meditation, and yogic practices is absolutely essential in today’s era of high stress, toxic environments, and modern illnesses. Embarking on the spiritual path with a satguru or spiritual teacher can be especially helpful as a person works to wash away their karmic structure and the psychological conditioning they’ve accumulated over the years. When we live from our ultimate nature, no matter what is happening, we will fly gracefully and beautifully.
Can you talk about the importance of feminine energy?
Our precious planet is in grave need of a renaissance of feminine energy! The great cosmic Divine Mother has been suppressed and oppressed throughout the centuries by many patriarchal religions and societies. History tells of the Dark Ages where thousands of women, high priestesses who were extremely evolved spiritually, worshiped the Divine feminine aspect, had many extraordinary siddhi (the spiritual powers and paranormal abilities ascribed to the Tantric masters), and were burned alive as witches. They were wrongly perceived as a major threat because of their spiritual powers.
For more than four thousand years, the masculine mindset has been destroying, oppressing, and exploiting Mother Earth, its animals, and many women and elders. This mindset is still evident today at a subtler level, unfortunately still ingrained in the psyche of too many men and women.
The feminine energy principle is characterized by many attributes — through nurturing, nourishing, loving, giving, healing, and creating, as well as being compassionate, intuitive, and benevolent. It can be powerful and fierce in a host of positive ways. Over the centuries, matriarchal societies (with a feminine principle mindset) flourished in peace, harmony, and reverence for Mother Earth and all living creatures.
There is an extremely urgent need to re-balance the masculine and feminine principles within ourselves, regardless of our gender. Shakti is the primordial creative energy of the Source of creation. In the Yoga tradition, Shakti is regarded as the Goddess Mother (Devi), especially prominent in Tantra Yoga when kundalini is awakening and arising. This dormant kundalini energy within is the most significant psycho-spiritual force of the subtle body; my being went through this intense phenomenal spiritual ascension, which I reveal in Becoming the Light.
We all have within our beings the masculine and the feminine energy aspects. To have hope for survival on our Mother Earth is to rekindle the feminine principle energy within and around us. Allowing the Divine feminine energy to flow transcends gender, sexual orientation, and all other forms of false identifications.
Shiva is the masculine principle counterpart, “That which that is not,” pure consciousness. The merging of Shiva/Shakti within us is the ultimate harmonious and necessary union, enabling each of us to experience our full human and divine potential. When they merge as One in the one-thousand-petal lotus chakra on top of our head, they are in perfect harmonic marriage. With this Divine marriage within us, we realize and experience our ultimate nature, Divinity — the supreme lover.
If we are going to survive, each one of us has to ascend, realize, and experience that we are all interconnected and interdependent through the same Source — an ever-expanding web of life.
How can people learn to fight illness or ill health with the power of spirit and yoga? How can yogic practices help people who suffer from depression and anxiety? What’s the first step someone should take?
I highly recommend embarking on the spiritual path. If you are already on it, then go deeper, with a more profound commitment.
Ancient yogic practices and meditation are extremely powerful and potent agents of healing at all levels, and can lead to enlightenment and liberation. They purify the conditioned mental formations and impressions (sankaras) at a deep cellular level. One of the greatest choices we human beings have is to contemplate existence, live mindfully, break free from our limitations and false views of ourselves, and to self-realize. No other animal has this inner power and great privilege. By grace and free will, you can heal and blossom.
Even power is an illusion. Our ultimate nature is naturally powerful because of its true essence. Our spirit is ultimately the commander in charge, so to speak, along with our subtle body energy. If we remain open, receptive, and in a total state of abandonment, our spirit knows how to use its power.
We are all unique waves manifesting from the Supreme ocean of love. When we realize we are the eternal ocean, not a separate wave, we realize we are infinitely powerful and can have the life we want.
Now that you’ve written this book, do you have plans for another?
I don’t know, since I remain open as an instrument of grace. For now I’m grateful for my music, singing, and chanting.
What was your experience working with the masters, like Sadhguru?
My being is still working with the ascended masters and Avatars, and always will be . . . Not a day goes by that I don’t shed a tear of gratitude. Certain sacred phenomena must remain unspoken. I bow down and remain humbly silent. :)
About Vivianne Nantel
Vivianne Nantel (“Devi”) is a modern-day mystic and the author of Becoming the Light: Realize Your True Enlightened Nature (Greenleaf, 2018). A devotee or disciple under such renowned masters as the Dalai Lama, Sadhguru, H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and Thich Naht Hanh, she has overcome grave life trials — an abusive childhood, major depression, advanced breast cancer, and several near-death experiences — and today is a celebrated yogini, spiritual guide, visionary, vocalist, and inspirational speaker.
Learn more at viviannenantel.com.