29 March 2019

Tantric Touch Work

Originally published in Mindchaotica.

Touch techniques in tantric work at two distinct levels, sometimes simultaneously. These techniques are simple and very powerful. There are a few techniques that I do not write about, reserving them for those who can benefit from them in the right timing, with the right support. There are whole categories that I have explored but never teach because they are ineffective, redundant, disproportionately addictive or outright dangerous.
They work at two distinct levels of capacity and awareness. Some techniques are identical in their “low” and “high” forms.
The low form is where everyone begins. Clearing the weeds to make way for the planting of a garden. Formatting the hard drive before installing a clean system.
Touch work at this level confronts your resistance to experience, to the energies of life itself that arise in you. It challenges you to open to what is happening in this moment, and all that this moment evokes for you.
Everything it evokes.
Feeling into sensation, and having that sensation get quite “loud” in order to help you to feel, is an experiential journey through the feelings associated with every judgement, every resistance, and every denial that you managed in your past – and every feeling that you have about having suppressed those feelings.
The T-shirt slogan is: You will feel every little thing.

Usually in my touch work sessions, I emphasize this from early on: You are here to feel and let go of whatever you found too much to handle at the time. You are here to clear the backlog of the past. You are not here to add to what you currently suppress, so I start with your feelings, whatever you would tend to repress, that is arising right now.
I ask you to stand up, close your eyes and feel your discomfort, nervousness, excitement, fear and whatever else there is to feel about attempting this journey.
I remind you of your normal behavior when in a situation in which you are naked – your usual tendency to suppress your discomfort. While you undress and lie down, naked, on my massage table, I encourage you to feel every little bit of that, including your feelings about whether I am watching you or not.
When you are lying down, I urge you to feel these things in fullness. I might bring your attention to the fact that we have not had candlelight dinners, that we have not complied with your usual conditions for intimate touch. I remind you to not avoid or suspend what feelings you have about that fact. I urge you to a deep, slow firm breath and encourage you to exhale through an open mouth, over open vocal chords. Any sound, tones, sighs, grunts, even words will do. One particularly poignant moment for me in a session was when the woman on my table was moaning the word “yuck” repeatedly for a while.

I too get noisy. I breathe with a tone, vocal chords open on the inhalation as well as the exhalation. Throughout the session, I use the sound I am making to draw energy from my body and to guide your body on subtle levels. Sometimes, my breath, or a rhythm in it matches your breath or your pulse. It may then lead that breath or pulse to a change of pace, or a deepening.
 At my first touch, open palms landing gently but firmly in the middle of your back, you might twitch into tension, relax deeply, escape into numbness … whatever feelings are evoked, I encourage them to be expressed through breath and sound. If I hear you choke up, go silent or gasp, I urge your attention to your exhalation – to making it as open and smooth as you can, letting the vocal chords carry your feelings.
I start at your feet, my touch varying from softly sensuous to deep-tissue-massage-firm. As strong feelings start arising in your body. I watch your breath and keep reminding you to feel and breathe.
Firmly massaging the calf muscles and thighs tend to release a lot of suppressed feelings from your past. Tears may flow, glimpses of childhood fears may occur. The buttocks in particular tend to hold memories and suppressed feelings from your childhood punishments, particularly if that involved spankings.
I help these feelings move up through your body. Using more or less conventional massage techniques, I seek and help the release of whatever tensions I find.
I massage your sacrum, spine and cranium firmly, alternating with a very sensuous touch that reaches from instep through back of knees, over thighs, reaching to your perineum.
My hands come to rest, one with its fingers together, pointing down between your legs, the thumb-side edge of the index finger pressing over anus, perineum and the lower opening of the yoni. My thumb is extended at 90% to the hand and touches the base of your spine. The other hand touches the center of the top of your head, fingers perhaps pulling gently at the hair.
I encourage you to feel your intrinsic vulnerability to life. I will likely point out to you that I am touching the physical centre of your vulnerability, and will encourage you to feel everything (every little or not so little thing) that is evoked by your vulnerability. I might remind you that we live always by the grace of existence, that we can die at any moment – that this is just a fact and that you have feelings about that fact. You might roar, you might sob, you might relax into the sensation of strong energy flowing through you. If you scream with tight vocal chords, I will encourage you to open your throat more, to let the energy through more totally, without the constriction and tension usual to a scream.

I may use patterns of rhythmic pressure over your anus and perineum. I might send the energy through your body gently and slowly, or I may send it through in powerful bursts. If your yoni opens and more or less grabs the tip of my index finger, I may slide it in along the lower wall, compressing the anus and giving it a gentle feeling similar to penetration – whatever it takes for your body feel its openness, its vulnerability, and for that to become allowed in you.
Before I ask you to turn over, I want to feel the energy between my hands flowing through you. I want to feel some of it getting through completely, even if it is not much – likely if this is your first touch-work session.
Now that you are open to feeling the sensations arising in your body, now that you can feel things more deeply, more acutely, the T-shirt slogan changes to: “How much Bliss can you stand?”
Starting again at your feet, I stroke a similar line from instep, through the back of the knees, lines meeting at the yoni. From there, the lines of touch divide again and continue up the body to the crown chakra (top of the head).
Most likely, I start by touching more or less straight from your feet, more or less straight over yoni, via nipples to your throat, ears and third-eye chakra to the crown. Sometimes I touch in a single movement, both hands in parallel. Sometimes, with both hands working together on on one side of your body and then the other. Sometimes one hand strokes from feet to yoni, the other from yoni to crown.
At some point, I am likely to gather energy and bump the heel of my hand gently into the second and solar plexus chakras. This shows me how severely these chakras are constricted. I might draw your attention to the kinds of restriction they each have, what will have to be allowed/released in your living for them to function as designed. I might use a fairly fancy technique which temporarily bypasses them and let you feel a taste of the sheer deliciousness that happens when strong energies reach to your higher chakras.

I may, if it is very open and well lubricated, enter your yoni with a finger, touching and pressuring gently in the ridged region over the sacred/G/female-prostate spot. I hold a constant and very measured gentle pressure for a while, left hand at the top of your head.
During your first few sessions, a large range of feelings may happen in you – anything from a burning or a stabbing pain to a smooth flowing of orgasmic intensity.
If you are feeling pain or discomfort, I will tell you that I am doing nothing that is intrinsically painful and nothing that is at all damaging. I will tell you that this spot is where your feelings about men – particularly their pestering, their suppressed or explosive urges to enter, to invade – are held. I will encourage you to be brave and allow these feelings, accumulated since you were perhaps 12, to now be experienced and resolved/completed.
That “very measured” pressure is very measured. There is a pulse at this spot in the yoni. I hold firmly enough to feel it, but not hard enough to feel it strongly or stop it. Very measured.
Over a few sessions, as your capacity for sensation increases (usually dramatically), I turn up the volume. This can involve deeper and more pulsating sensations, higher intensities of touch to clitoris, anus and the lines from groin to nipples and powerful bursts of energy sent through previously restricted chakras.
We may dance sometimes over the border between the low and high forms of touch work. Especially when I am touching yoni and third eye, access to things usually unseen may open up. Vivid encounters with the spiritual forms called angels, guides and higher consciousness may occur.
Typically, I end a touch session with an exercise called the “draw”. You breathe in and hold the breath, simultaneously tensioning your PC/pubococcygeus muscles. You hold the tension of breath and PC muscles until you feel a significant – not extreme, just clear – urge to breathe. At that point, you release the withheld breath and the PC muscles suddenly, even explosively. Three or so of these breaths clears any residual energies, allowing your nervous system to return to something closer to what you might call “normal” before you drive home.

If you have been living a sexually constipated life, the permission you have given your body will probably extend to your mind. You may become much more aware of your erotic urges and impulses. You may be less inclined to automatically suppress these urges.
Most of what occurs to you, in terms of things you want to experience sexually, is likely to be met in your life. Some things may not, or you may want to experience them in the relative containment of a sessions context before trying them out in your relationship(s).
If this turns out to be the case, we may be diving deeply into some areas of your eroticism in your next session – but that is a whole other blog post.
If you would like to read more about touch work, check out Chapter 1 of The Rocky Horror Tantra Book

Tantric Yogas - Preparation for Tantra

Tantra, being tantra is, for better or worse, inseparable from reality "as such" and is therefore well beyond the range of what can be communicated by words or other symbolic representations of reality.
I have noticed arguments between people over traditional vs modern methods, southern vs northern and so on. Sometimes these seem to arise over misunderstandings of cultural context and sometimes, someone involved in one area of training gets into opposition with someone in an equally important, but different area. 
I am in favour of an inclusive approach - I have recieved many students who have been well prepared by a large range of useful practices.
Here's my non-exhaustive cheat-sheet on the Tantric Yogas - the trad preparatory work and its modern equivalents (or the things some students manage to get an equivalence out of).
In some of these areas, a teacher in this school may prescribe/suggest some practice to catch up. If a student seems close in some area, and needs mostly a reappraisal of something they have already lived, and perhaps some completion, more direct guidance/coaching may happen.
In general though, these are the archetypal precursors to a student's awakening to the path.
When this preparatory work is done, the more traditionally secret touch-work techniques and methods of completing the journey of eros are appropriate.
... and, if that goes well, Tantra worthy of the name can begin!


(studies providing essential preparation)

Body training to develop:

Uncommon levels of awareness of the physical processes, energies, senses, subtle awareness and capabilities of your own body.

Traditionally: practice with the advanced forms of what the West calls “yoga”.

Alternatively: Strong performance or competition oriented physical disciplines such as atheltic performance, dance, martial arts, massage training, mountain climbing, breath work (rebirthing/Wim Hof) or ‘extreme’ sports.

Mind training to develop:

Uncommon levels of awareness of your mind’s mechanics, habits, tendencies and deeper inclinations.

Traditionally: Meditations, imaginal exercises, deep inquiry and cultivation of insights/satori.
Alternatively: Some years of therapy, personal growth work, assisting on est/landmark/encounter/constellation/ACIM/motivational style trainings, journaling, playing Go, writing ‘beautiful’ code, studying physics, engineering/tech, history, (oriental) strategy, 

Higher Philosophy to develop:

Uncommon levels of awareness of the deepest truths of existence and the willingness to be guided by them.

Traditionally: Advaita Vedanta, Zen, Socratic and similar.

Alternatively: Deep, critical study of philosophy via a good reading list (G. Gurdjieff, A. Crowley, A Watts, maybe a bit of Tolle …) but also through the philosophical methods of discourse, discussion,dialectic and debate.

30 December 2018

Relationships and Tantra

Relationships and Tantra

Tantra Pose
In the East, one of the nicknames for a guru is “The Fire”. The meaning of this is that the guru burns away your assumptions, your attachments, your worldly and subtle possessions – everything that comprises your ego-mind. He burns away all that is non-essential – everything that is not your true essence.

Being burned in this way is scary and most seekers want the assurance that the fire is being applied by someone responsible and trustworthy. This is why gurus that want to teach the masses advertise themselves as “Fully Enlightened” and are careful not to make things too suddenly hot for their following.

Such teachers work with the “frog in a pot” principle. They create a separation between “worldly” and “spiritual” pursuits, applying the heat in the controlled, spiritual zone and encourage disassociation from the worldly. They confront the ego bit by bit, gently raising the heat as their students gain awareness. Seekers are included in “spiritual community”. They are given stories that comfort their minds, practices (chanting, permitted drugs, sacred movement, ecstatic dance, soothing meditations etc) which get them high. They encourage dependence on these things as a way of keeping the frog in the pot while they gradually turn the heat up.

Tantra, though, has no patience with this approach. The T-shirt is: “Enlightenment this lifetime or bust.” Tantrikas have no patience with “emperor’s new clothes” and do not want a safe-feeling and gradual warming. They do not appreciate putting their intelligence on hold or having it numbed. They want the truth – experiential, not intellectual – as soon as possible and with no sugar coating. For them, instant gratification is just not fast enough.

Tantrikas therefore involve their whole lives in the pursuit of awareness. They do not limit their acceptance of burning to Sundays, nor do they retreat into a spiritual community. They accept (and ideally welcome) the burning of their egos no matter the source of the heat. They seek fiery gurus who encourage them to accept the burning which comes from what they do to make a living, the judgement (and even intolerance) of their families, their conflicts with their enemies and the primal energies of their sexual relationships.

Tantra, Marriage, partnership and polyamory – the path of the householder.

For most people, a committed sexual relationship is a bubble of safety, a safe place of shared illusion in which they can recover from the harshness of the world, rebuilding and strengthening their egos. The commitment is a commitment to maintaining the illusion. They are supported in this by the culture in which, for example, genetic studies revealing the frequency of misattributed paternity (which can be as high as 30%) go unpublished.

Tantrikas use committed relationship as a crucible – as a container which enhances the heat. Breaking of the rules of relationship typically leads them to honest confession and the resultant ego-burning rather than the usual striving for plausible deniability and ego-protection. Keeping to the rules, especially when one is out of the beloved’s sight, is directly destructive (burning) of ego. Some discard the rules – experiencing their relating without the artificial and illusory safety net, willing to be challenged to their authenticity.

An additional intensity of ego-burning happens when a tantrika takes an attitude of devotion to the beloved. Devotion is the submission of one’s ego-desires to the will of the other, including their unreasonableness, fear-induced anger, abusiveness … or even their outright insanity. This can destroy ego every bit as effectively as the tantric path of bhakti – deep or absolute devotion to a guru.
Polyamory may seem to be an escape from constraint, but is really just a more sophisticated rule-set, extending the concept of ownership to include lend-lease agreements. The more complex rule set and restraint structure can evoke further areas of understanding and awareness.

Householding, which Zorba called “The full catastrophe” – marriage, children pets and property, presents excellent opportunities for awareness. As Betty White said: “Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.” The cyclical characteristic of the marriage archetype means that one is repeatedly challenged to face feelings and issues of the mind that one has avoided on previous occasions.
Child rearing makes repeated visitations of your own childhood available. When you extend a freedom to a child – a freedom that you were denied – you are released from whatever hard feelings you have about that particular parental intervention in your life.

Non-monogamy – the path of the celibate.

Once the lessons available through committed relating have been learned, some tantrikas choose non-monogamy as their preferred approach to love and sex. Celibacy in this context is non-marriage, non-ownership, It does not imply chastity.

This approach to the burning of the ego and its attachments has the advantage of unavoidable personal responsibility. It becomes very difficult to blame one’s relationship patterns and difficulties on your lovers if there is no agreement of monogamy in the pure or lend-lease formats. In this style of relating, you are more rapidly brought to the realization that the common factor in all your dysfunctional relationships is … you.

The downside, spiritually speaking, of non-monogamy is that it can be used to keep your relating shallow. It can become a device for avoiding the depths of emotional vulnerability.

The fires of relationship

There is no such thing as an ideal or best relationship format for tantrikas. Even the celibate approach of Opus Dei (a revival of hardcore old-school Catholicism) can be useful.

Every relationship type involves restraint. Restraint, though, does not of itself reduce opportunities for awareness. Restraint does not imply or automatically lead to repression.

The relevance of your relationships to tantra is that they burn you. The challenges to ego in relationship, especially sexual relationship are huge. Monogamy does not necessarily present less of a challenge, less of an opportunity for ego-burning than poly, the BDSM lifestyle or celibacy. Whatever the structure of your relationship(s), strong gains in awareness can be had.

The key to unlocking the spiritual lessons of relationship is an attitude of totality. The ego-burning possibilities of, for example, polyamory, are not intrinsically greater than those of monogamy, non-monogamy or even of chastity. What matters is not so much the style of your relationship as the intensity and willingness you bring to your living of it.

Probably the best way to pick your style of relating is to let your choice be guided by your eroticism – by what feels hottest to you. In this way, the ego-burning fires of relationship can be aligned with your eroticism, and the sexual healing which conscious erotic exploration evokes.

For more from me on relationships and tantra, see Chapter 3 of The Rocky Horror Tantra Book.

First published in Mindchaotica, 2013

Tantra Retreats and Workshops

Originally written for Mindchaotica (the sexual rebels of the internet) in 2014 
First, a reminder of the disclaimer that applies to all my writing at Mindchaotica: My perspective, as a teacher and the founder of a school is unavoidably individual and is not necessarily in tune with the majority of teachings and practices called “tantra”.
I write about my teaching because I don’t find it duplicated. I can’t just send people to read a generic tantra book or website and expect them to develop even a vaguely correct idea of what my teaching (or in my opinion, what tantra) looks like. This means that if you are in the habit of taking the majority opinion as the likely truth, you are likely to judge mine as likely wrong.
Some opinions/advice about beginner-groups and workshops: In general, the best are those run by Osho’s therapists. One part of Osho’s gift to the world was his development of teachers who, between them, cover a huge range of spiritual work. His tantra therapists were awesome, and nowadays, the group-work of the apprentices of their apprentices is still awesome. I confess to bias on account of Osho’s way having been most of, and the final steps of my own path.
In the wider world of tantra teachings, almost all beginner group work seems pretty good or at least, somewhat useful. Students of tantra typically get around a lot and sample many teachers, so there is a kind of informal peer-review in play. If you are trying to discern what’s useful to you, the guideline I recommend is: “Listen to the women.”
There are some silly and some unnecessary teachings which are often presented in a retreat context. Some tantra retreats structure what should probably be the after-party as part of the ‘everyone do this’ content. Some retreat teachers give some of their participants rather ambitious and overblown ideas about their sexual capacity. I have heard of a retreat that ‘qualifies’ a man as a “Tantra Master” when he can do … well, I’m not detailing the details. Let’s just say … nothing very impressive.
Others give out certified practitioner qualifications for attendance of a week-long retreat. Rushing too quickly into teaching / touch work practice is a bad idea for both the novice teacher and (to a lesser extent) her students. 
Even though almost all retreat work I have ever even just heard of is useful at least in the general sense of helping people coming to know more about themselves, some fairly common practices and attitudes can be counter-productive for some students. 
Techniques designed or used to manage feelings, perhaps surprisingly, can be a serious problem. This category of technique aims (or is misused) to release only the peak intensity of an emotional response, thereby enabling more comfortable suppression of deeper feelings in the short term – coping strategies. These can lead to cyclic patterns – whirl pooling around an issue interminably instead of passing through the centre of it.
Another thing that is often misused is motivation. My favourite teacher in that area, a human potential/coaching pioneer, said “If you want to see who someone isn’t … motivate him.” Motivating someone is the action of giving someone your (honest or synthesised, or honestly synthesised) urge – passing it on to them. When encouragement into participation is over-used by a therapist/trainer/facilitator, it can result in participants exceeding their true willingness – their actual emotional capacity. When this happens, the participant undergoes snap-back. They may revert to an even harder and more defended ego-structure than they had before the exercise. Paradoxically, in the short-term, they can feel stronger, even more capable, but it is a brittle strength and a pressured capacity.
So – advice: If a group starts with the strongly emphasised and ritualised – locking of doors, confidentiality promises between participants, sanctification of the place in the sense of it being separate from regular worldly experience – and so on, just take your own quiet pinch of salt. Look to be authentic, not motivated. Suspend disbelief and participate strongly, by all means, but don’t override your intelligence.
If a technique you have learned seems to be necessary on a regular basis, this is great as long as it continues to reveal new areas and new depths to you, and by new, I mean previously unknown. If it merely regurgitates the already-known, if it repeatedly brings you to a dropping of emotional pressure which keeps arising around the same focus … drop that method and consider looking for other ways.
You don’t have to remember this advice if you are taking a retreat with me. I will remind you – repeatedly, if it looks like you need to hear it repeatedly.
Usually, we have two or more teachers on a retreat and often we are helped by advanced students of the school. We prefer students who have taken an introductory retreat, or who have had some individual sessions work. We sometimes bill a workshop or retreat as introductoryinitiatory or beginner-friendly. This means that we are addressing the region between regular understanding and the understandings of awakening. Awakening means the point at which the path begins in earnest. When it changes from a dalliance or interest into a deep personal engagement or primary obsession.
When we bill a workshop or retreat as being NSFB (Not Safe For Beginners) we mean exactly that. Not really that it is not safe, in the normal sense of the word, just that some exercises or practices depend on capacities and capabilities one has to have already developed. We have, quite safely and successfully allowed literal tantra beginners on such workshops and retreats, but in all cases, notably brave beginners of good self-awareness.
Sometimes, we use the phrase practitioner level. What we mean by this is that we regard this work as mainly suitable for those already doing some form of body-work (in or out of our school) who are looking to gather and integrate our techniques into their practice. It means that, as well as being encouraged toward your own capacities, there will sometimes be the opportunity to support your fellow students with what you are learning. It means: Be here for yourself and be willing to help others where you can. We don’t insist that people taking such work be in dedicated practice or that they intend to work towards that – just, in some exercises, they may find themselves sometimes being more helpful than helped.
A retreat I taught with Dakini Wendy will, I hear, be at least partly documented in the sequel to No Mud, No Lotus by Maya Yonika , who’s snap-back from the flavor of teaching featured in the movie she starred in – Sex Magic – Manifesting Maya – is a legend of modern tantra. As it is likely that all sorts of traditionally secret things will be revealed in that book, I have decided to go with the flow and expose some of our previously secret sexy ways …
On an intensive retreat, we like to give our students, as far as they are able to receive it, worthwhile experiences covering a good range of our teaching. I like to start with a strong experience of touch-work. Typically, this means a roomful of naked people, some on plinths (massage tables) and some touching them. Touch-work is about evoking and exploring high intensities. States of arousal well beyond the intensities which people usually discharge in orgasm are common. Supervision improves constantly, but sometimes things can get a little out of hand. Mentioning no names, 3 students did manage to all get onto a plinth while teachers were busy, and buckle its legs, which dumped them nice and firmly on the floor, looking for all the world like a ball of snakes.
Next, the dark and difficult but so alluring region of eroticisms gets explored. The major exercises in this area aim for the central features of modern eroticism – that is which is most common, which is also that around which we are the most reactive and unconscious. I’ll describe two, which explore the eros of money and power respectively.
In the eros of money exercise, also known as the Red Light District exercise and as sell-a-bit tantra (just to tease the celibate schools) it is, of course, all about selling and buying. We establish a simple (but financially meaningless) economy, explore what people want to buy, what people want to sell and give everyone an opportunity to pitch their wares. After that, it is, like real life, a matter of willing seller, willing buyer. The teachers are available for advice, emotional support, adjudication of disagreements and so on, if that proves necessary. After facilitating several of these, nothing emerges as statistically typical. The range of exploration is as broad as the eroticisms of the participants.
On offer have been sensual food experiences, sensual foot experiences, golden showers, sensual bathing, anything-negotiables, venus butterflies, visual extravaganzas … on one workshop, two Dakas (male practitioners) got no time to buy anything at all for themselves on account of the queue for their combined offering, which they advertised as the Double-Daka-Delight, along with such wonders as Apocalypse Now (which was 10 minutes with one of them and no safe-word).
Exploring the eros of power is more tricky. When developing the idea of it, I discussed the main themes with Dakini Wendy. She raised some serious issues with my intended approach, which was to lean against the cultural tendency of keeping the aspects of power unconscious, and against the cultural tendency to put that power in male hands when it is conscious. The basic problem she raised was that, if one says to a group of women “Here are some men for you to dominate”, the women will say “OK, guys, how do you want us to dominate you?” So … when we explore power on the group, some (very careful) motivation is used at the beginning.
For most of the time for the exercise, the women have, as Charlie Manson said to Timmy Leary, “all the power”. What they do with it? … well, I generally get out of the place at that point, partly so that I do not have to witness the suffering of my brothers, and technically, so that I can be available for the support and recovery of anyone who safewords out. So far, I am glad to report, no one has, though, apparently, it has, here and there, been a close thing. I hear things though, afterwards, and sometimes (like when going to make myself a cup of tea) I have seen things. All sorts of things. Trust me, no modern erotic literature, no movie and no philosophy has ever shown even a hint of what women exploring their power really looks like. Nor has any even purely theoretical literature managed to even hint at the truth of how men respond to feminine power. Awesome, indescribable, and in the several of these that have happened, nothing can be called typical. The power of woman does not have an average. My favourite comment from a man after such work was “They did nothing that I thought I would have wanted, maybe nothing at all that I wanted … but It was strangely liberating.”
The intent of this work is not entertainment, though it is beyond entertaining. Neither is the intent healing, though the ending of dysfunctional obsessions and addictive sexualities does happen. The intent is to trigger/evoke all feelings around the eroticism and allow them to be felt in fullness with good support. In this way, that which is typically suppressed becomes conscious, the illusions it holds are destroyed and the student gets one large leap closer to the spiritual ideal of living in the moment. Living in the moment means responding to existence as it is, proportionately, as opposed to responding to existence on the basis of past hurts, unresolved dramas and habitual constraints.
Here follows a cautionary note for sexual educators, tantra teachers and conscious-sexuality facilitators. Normal people can skip the next three (indented) paragraphs:
At the risk of looking like I am on an ego-trip about my teaching, I would like to point out that, a few times now, I have written an article about an aspect of tantric work and have, within a few months, seen adaptations of it offered. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind. In fact, I am deliciously flattered and delighted to see the work of this school getting out there. Just, it would be surpassingly unwise to take the few hints I have given here and get a bunch of participants together to give it a try. It is not likely to go well.
It is not really workable for the facilitator/teacher to participate. This is not a way for a teacher to create or indulge in his or her fantasies. For that, dear tantra teacher, just talk to some friends and arrange to mutually explore whatever eroticism of yours may have been triggered by reading this article. To facilitate such work, you have to be completely finished with your own journey through the area of eros being explored. If you are not, you will either participate inappropriately, which will get you in trouble with your students, or you will suffer the extreme frustration of your own eros being triggered in a situation in which you have to be very conscious and abstemious.
With many techniques, practices and processes of teaching, particularly those derived from those developed by Osho’s therapists, beautiful things can result even from misusing them, misunderstanding them and presenting them badly – such is the power of the truth within them. These processes, by comparison are extremely delicate. Energies are extreme and have to be directed with knife-edge precision. I taught for years, and then took more years with advanced students wiling to play guinea-pig to develop these and related works. Seriously, if you want to work with these things, please consider coming here and learning, experiencing it yourself, before you attempt to try it out on your students.
After exploring touch – learning to feel sensation as it is, as opposed to being overwhelmed by what it evokes, and after addressing the sexuality of the brain, emptying it of erotic visions, enabling it to follow sexual energies consciously – sexuality can become meditation.
True tantra starts when reactivity and eroticism are finished. Over a week or two, if these areas are well addressed, there is enough space, sufficient release of mental/psychological pressure to enable a taste, and possibly more, of what sexuality becomes when it matures into meditation.

For events announcements, see the School Group on Facebook.

No Mud, No Lotus – Maya Yonika

Beloveds, I would like, if I may, to introduce you to Maya – Maya Papaya on Facebook, Maya Yonika on Twitter.
Maya is something of a celebrity in the little world of Tantra, the somewhat larger world of polyamory, and is perhaps threatened with greater exposure to the world at large – there are persistent rumors of a TV series in the making.
Maya stars in a controversial documentary style moviewhich features one of the temples of American tantra before it was assaulted – one of the targets in the “Operation Goddess Temple” defilements.
She has written a memoir of her journey through wild and scary areas of life, gathering the experiences and lessons that brought her to her spiritual path.
It is a great read on many levels: For Tantrikas, it is an archetypal tale of the tantric path to awakening. For explorers of sexuality, it provides comradeship and the sharing of bad decisions made, which, let’s face it, are most of the fun. For people seeking to live in picket-fence marital harmony, it is a thrilling cautionary tale. Even the prurient get to enjoy it because it gives them  some great scenarios involving sex, betrayal and non-standard relating to fuel their fevered dreams.
Throughout, Maya’s self-awareness brings a lightness and humour to even the darker aspects of her story. She provokes good inquiry into the dynamics of relating, cheating, sharing, owning and personal responsibility without getting at all lectury.
One strong theme that has provoked much discussion and controversy is her becoming a sexual healer, her questioning her guidance in awakening to her path. Some of this can be seen in that aforementioned movie. In the book though, her narrative explores themes which the movie barely hints at.
The archetype of the tantric path is significantly different from a seeker with an objective of self-improvement. Tantrikas are not content with slow and gentle improvement. They take risks in their living that others could not face. They learn at least as much from their participation in the worldly areas of life as much as they do in their formal practices and meditations. Their lives bring questions to areas of life that others leave unexplored. Harsh, for the one living the life … but stories of such lives are great to read.
Read it: No Mud, No Lotusa memoir of sex, betrayal and spiritual awakening
… and meet Maya – Maya Papaya on Facebook,  Maya Yonika on Twitter.

Originally published in Mindchaotica, Dec 2013.

16 September 2016

“Patriarchy Has No Gender” ~ Bell Hooks
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the term Patriarchy nowadays, and reasonable enough. After all, we’re in the midst of an intense societal transition where, Inevitably, many of our old definitions and understandings are falling away to be replaced by the circumstances and environments in which we now find ourselves as well as that which will be the upcoming societal phase.
Traditionally patriarchy has been defined as a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and decent is traced through the male line. Yet as woman have gained greater strength in the economic and political spheres, as well as where feminist movements have come to fruition, the defining lines of our social structure, at least in reference to gender, are clearly shifting. Yet patriarchy in essence still runs strong. Why? Stick with me as this will take a bit of explanation.
Over the past several decades of our social transitioning, Bell Hooks, a well-known feminist voice, used the term “Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy” in an effort to describe her recognition of patriarchy as a system which not only has controlled women through it’s structures, but is “the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation.”1
Hooks well understood that patriarchy is an authoritarian culture that controls men and women alike through structures of thought and methodology that have been handed down through thousands of years of conditioning. It is a state of mind in which we are raised from birth on that permeates throughout western society. For the most simple example, the proper roles for boys and girls; boys shouldn’t express feelings, violence is good (but only in appropriated contexts) and girls can express feelings (but rage and violence is always inappropriate). The problem with conditioning is it tends to manifest in forms that we rarely if ever even consider, because we believe such qualities are innate.
Many such things are indeed being addressed today within workshop culture, albeit even there deeply internalized patriarchal expressions are still being worked out. Some of the male practitioners of the neo-tantra movement for example, all good intentions aside, still maintained much of their unconscious sexual ego-male domination initiatives, and so lacked any real depth of concern or interest in recognition of the paradoxical complexities of women’s socialized sexual issues. This unfortunately led to unwise choices in a ‘healing’ context and the re-traumatization of many women, turning them away from what can otherwise be a healthy sex-movement. This also ultimately lead to the nasty internal fighting that has played out over the past decade, corresponding with the growth of the underground tantra scene. If you’d like to know more on the subject of Tantra vs. neo- tantra, see my blog, Tantra vs. Neo Tantra and the Transformation of Desires. 
Which brings us how Tantra plays an awesome role in eradicating patriarchy and creating social change.
Tantra is about creating union; balance between the feminine and masculine within ourselves- as represented by the eastern symbolic yab/yum figures- which innately brings us to a place of deep surrender.
samantabhadraTantra initially addresses patriarchy because it’s methodology is one of working to unravel the deepest and most ingrained of social biases; our learned beliefs that, say, maleness is innately violent or sexuality is only appropriate when regulated to certain contexts or our beliefs about the inferiority or superiority of certain races, or our beliefs about people within specific groups deemed ‘privileged’ or ‘unprivileged’ etc. In short, it is metaphorically about ego death.
For as long as such categories remain unconscious, they lock us into extremely troubling and even violent psychological arenas. They are dualistic processes of divisiveness and separation, both from our own innate essence as well as that of others. Our social biases and beliefs are one of our most efficient means of patriarchal control- a place of mental imbalance in which our patriarchal ideas based on fear, hierarchy and control drive our very thought process.
Consider for a moment, of all places, the ubiquitous new age spiritual movement that touts ‘love and light’ in a battle against ‘darkness’ or ‘evil.’ Here, the dualistic Christian view of good vs. evil has been passed down to us where love of course equates to good and darkness equates to evil. Yet the latter is confused in definition. Tantra recognizes darkness not as evil nor bad… but actually as immensely powerful, rich and beautiful. Darkness is the unknown, expansiveness, the limitless possibilities of Life, and the intuitive feeling inside of each and every one of us.
Darkness is the Feminine aspect.
As early Christianity transitioned into the androcentric religion portrayed in the bible, what was once the Goddess symbolism of the bull was transformed into the horned devil. And the serpent, another symbol of the Goddess became the evil seductress who tempts Eve to eat from the tree which creates the fall. Woman becomes spiritually inferior and something owned by man which is only of value if untouched by another. Hmmmnn…where did the slut idea come from?
Anyways, this divisive otherness- the battle against darkness- continues in the new age movement. It denies its own ‘darkness’ and projects it onto others, often with violence, the thing that shouldn’t be here and must be eradicated. It then attempts to express the ‘good spiritual person’ qualities and ultimately places onto a pedestal anyone who might portray said image really well. It equates to a lot of really fun sex scandal stuff in the big yoga/guru scenes that fascinatingly still shocks us when it happens.
But I digress.
In other words, Tantra is an awesomely effective route to deep, real, lasting social change. For as we unravel from patriarchal values and thinking, we begin to grasp a much greater overview and not only see our dualistic authoritarian social models more clearly within ourselves as they are brought into consciousness, but we innately lose interest in them. At least, this has been my experience.
We learn to surrender, and a healthy Masculine quality replaces the fear based, forceful and ego based aspects. We then offer room for our innate Feminine creativity, knowing, feeling, nurturing and intuitive qualities. A deeper love arises, one that no longer holds such deeply ingrained hurts or prejudices, understanding Life has been leading us all along and all of our divisive ideas are rather ludicrous, for truly all is One.
Which, by the way, does not mean we do not have discernment and speak into distortions or we don’t feel, floating around in a blissful state of Love and detachment. Rather, we simply don’t have a violent, triggered hateful response when we’ve had the experience of recognizing and bringing into consciousness said distortions in ourselves.
Final point; Just recently, I created a meme on my site and Facebook Page called ‘Beware of Dakinis- even the nice ones are mean!’- Dakini being a female Tantric guide. And I find myself continually amazed at the seemingly endless judgments and questions based upon the meme.
Who has deemed you a Dakini? – ie. It is absolutely essential that you come from a traditional patriarchal lineage model in order to have anything of real value under the name of Tantra to teach. Ironically, my Tantric mentor is indeed a man, but hardly hierarchal- quite the opposite, and wisely so.
Beware?? Why are you seeking to induce fear? – Does it truly? Do you actually feel afraid? Or… is that just another idea?
You are mean? Why do you want people to be afraid?? Attack attack…
The most intriguing thing is these questions have always come from women. Women who, as part of patriarchal thinking, want to control other women- and especially a woman who is in her power- ie. she who knows she has something valuable and beautiful to offer. This is as threatening to the patriarchal mind as it has always been. It’s completely unconscious, and as justified in one’s mind as believing ‘sluts’ are ‘bad’. This stuff runs very very deep. I know, because i’ve been and said and done all of these things. Tantra teaches us to dig in far….
Indeed. One must be able to move past at least a simple gateway such as this one with relative ease in order to even think about taking on Tantric teachings!

Namaste Beloveds ~
See Maya's site at mayayonika.org

03 July 2016

Osho - The only man I ever called Master

OSHO - The only man I ever called "Master".

Every now and again, someone, probably ignorant of history or suffering neo-christian-tantra confusion, and certainly bedevilled by the evil disease called "Seriousness" gets all Osho-negative.
So that it doesn't get lost in a comment thread, I feel to make this a blog post to give some acknowledgement to the man that so many - ironically especially those who don't like him (missed him) - owe so much to. Also, so I can just post the link to it when I encounter Osho-bashing … by all means, feel free to do that too  ;) 

Two main areas of criticism are: The state of what passes for Tantra in the world, and what on earth were those 93 Rolls Royces all about … how can one take such a fellow seriously?

In response to those, and sillier criticisms too inane to bother with directly …

When some teachers of the Neo-Tantra work developed by Osho left him and claimed to teach an equivalent, full path, Osho gave a rather harsh discourse about how, without meditation, that work just becomes a 'sex club'.
History has proved him right. Western tantra (especially the business-empowerment yuppie flavour) is either about better sex for couples and hyper-fetishising the soul-mate myth, or a sex club … not that the world is not in need of these things, and not that modern tantrikas don't need to journey through those territories.
Some of those teachers didn't leave. From their group work, from following the many other lines of inquiry that Osho opened for his people, and from other teachers taking his hints about meditations, my generation had workable, if scrappy guidance, compared to what is now available. (There were no Dakinis fulfilling the archetype of the Dakini back then.)
As to taking Osho seriously … the idea would have horrified him. Sincerity, love, teaching and even enlightenment are not supported in any way by seriousness.
For those who still don't get the 93 RRoyces thing (and, if you haven't worked out why an enlightened teacher does that, you need a few rounds of "one hand klapping")
… Every teacher who carries a teaching to new lands has to show mastery of the Gods of that land if he is to make an impact. This is intrinsic and unavoidable in the archetype. The Buddhists did this, going to tibet. The Christians did this, going everywhere they could manage.
The GOD of America, the real SUPREME one is money, WEALTH!!! as evidenced by insane opulence and conspicuous consumption.
Get it?

… and then, there is another angle from which things arose simultaneously, as things do: Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance was popular, and the guys started 'rolls royce spanner meditations', and then more guys, and then things got a bit out of hand and they became the best customers RR ever had.
And they really did that meditation very well indeed …
A memo escaped from RR HQ. It said "The RR's at that place are kept in better condition than those on our own showroom floor".
I have great gratitude to Osho, the only man I ever called Master. His willingness to be chronically misunderstood by those who go by meme-bytes, and be truly heard only by the few who took his hints to deeper study, required absolute transcendence of seriousness.
For those who do take things (and hence don't want to take Osho) seriously:
Are you fucking kidding!
Jesus and Krishna, Masters with a dozen close ones, from whom their teachings had to spread … In his lifetime, Osho reached, activated (awakened) and guided numbers comparable only to G Buddha Himself. Those are the kind of stats that serious people are supposed to take seriously. He may well have achieved his stated objective of 100 complete with their path. Difficult to say, because they are so difficult to distinguish from the background of fakers and bullshitters that have mastered the enlightened laugh and the enlightened stare, though few can manage silent stillness as well as B Palace sentries.
Even if you don't like Osho, if you are a serious person, sorry, you're screwed. You HAVE to take him seriously, and by trying to be disparaging, you are revealing the fact you take him very seriously, as you should.
If that isn't getting through … consider this analogy. Many historians dislike Hitler, but they cannot regard him as not serious.
Take it.
Also, If not for Osho, the only significant spiritual advance by humanity in the last century would be claimed by the Scientologists! …… and wouldn't that be sad.

29 July 2014

Advaita, Vedanta, Non-Dualism and Transcendence

Advaita, Advaita-Vedanta, Non-Dualism and Transcendence

To put it in language as normal as I can, a strange thing happened to me a dozen or so years ago.

I have seldom referred to the experience directly, and when I do, I haven’t called it “enlightenment”, “transcendence” or “God-consciousness”.
I have called it my “weirdness”, I sometimes say “since my normal life ended”. I call it a “big satori”, which in the language of this school means an experience-affecting insight that happens to be lasting unusually long, but could end at any moment. Sometimes, just to help those around me to not take it (and therefore me) too seriously, I call it my “brain tumour”.

The most direct I have been in talks and my writing is saying that I have reached a point of my tantra at which I am no longer driven by eroticism.

The most direct telling of my experience is in The Rocky Horror Tantra Book, chapter 9. 

It has now been a dozen years that I have had the constant tingle of satori, and that nothing I have done to end it (and I have tried) seems to have reduced it appreciably. Certainly fever, persistent pain, lack of food and shortage of sleep affect the mechanics, the functioning of my body and mind, but the change that occurred in me is, if anything, strengthened at such times.

When this strange thing happened, I was glad of the preparation I had, little though it was. 

Although, to my very bones, I could feel the completeness of it and suspected its irreversibility, strong spiritual/meditational experiences and insights had been an almost daily occurrence for over a year, so it was awesome and shattering, but not entirely unfamiliar.

My own learning had often been from people who had had the strong insight of satori – they had glimpsed an aspect of truth. Communicating that insight was the whole of their true and useful teaching. When they interpolated from their understanding, the usefulness of their teaching declined dramatically. Not knowing how long my satori would last, I did not explode into expression of it. I kept it very much to myself, and went into the world as what I had been: Swami Advait-Rahasya, a sannyasin (disciple) of my last Master, and the only one I actually submitted to in any worthwhile sense of the word, Osho, previously called Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

Osho was a truly remarkable teacher. His discourses pointed to valuable spiritual practices and knowledge. He opened areas of enquiry and exploration – he did not provide “answers”. He questioned answers rather than answering questions. 

Some of his discourses revealed the territory beyond enlightenment. The Indian world is old enough that enlightenment is not as strange a phenomena there as elsewhere. It has been studied much, and some guidelines around mature spiritual expression exist. Fortunately, I had been listening. 

So, I knew that even if this experience had some duration, even permanence, that the common wisdom was that it could easily take 10 years just to get used to the new way of being and its implications.

I also knew that, even though I now had an unusual capability or two, showing these off to interest people in the path is generally counter-productive (because those who are enthralled by such tricks make truly terrible students).

I resolved to simply get on with living, meeting what life presents me with …

And life presented me with students. The students learned and came into their expression as teachers in their own right – and not just any teachers. They matured into Dakinis. Dakinis are women in the fullness of their spiritual and sexual powers who can and do use their capabilities to guide and teach others the lessons of Tantra. They are extremely rare and are generally very hard to find indeed. Before these, I had just once met just one, in India. She was retired from teaching and had no idea whatsoever about where or how to find another.

Strictly speaking, the disciplines, practices and approaches of Tantra with a big “T” can only be taught to those thoroughly prepared through the Yogas (study and practice) of the body, the mind and of higher (as in ultimately true, not just useful) philosophy.

These Dakinis appreciated the historic tendency to secrecy – they had experienced the judgements of culture and family – but altogether were of the attitude that this teaching can be more available and less secret.

Since then, they and I have been involved in the chaotic melee of tantra as practiced and taught in the world. 

A Dakini wrote a book which was described by another Dakini as “The first four years with Rahasya”, I wrote The Rocky Horror Tantra Book, to fill in the things other tantra books don’t mention and to make it clear that this is a tough path for seekers of intent, not a gentle, friendly path for happy bliss-bunnies.

We have poked fun at the more indulgent and silly teachers, we have participated in several international conferences …

… and, above all we have taught – in the formats of individual sessions, groups, workshops and residential retreats.

Over time, we have taken on the biggest challenge of such teaching: “How far down the mountain can you go?”

Many teachers, particularly those in the non-dual/advaita territory, make no attempt to reach people where they are. They sit atop their highest understanding and basically tell you that, if you could think as they do you would experience what they experience. They are useful to those who are truly ready for pinnacle-understandings and are not much use to those who need learning and preparation.

Likewise, at the beginning, I was only available to teach those few who had already developed the capacity, capability and will for the meditations of tantra and the rigours of philosophy.

They, likewise, were at first only available to students of good development. We sent people to other teachers when it looked like they needed particular lessons of physicality, mind-training or philosophical development as preparation for their tantra.

Step by step, we took on the challenge. One major step was developing and teaching our touch-work. One Dakini volunteered to be the headmistress (yes, she does not like me calling her that) of our touch school. 

Not an easy step, that. On the one hand, because a few aspects of touch work are pretty much all that is called “tantra” out there, we had been reflexively referring anyone looking for such work to other practitioners. We had to loose the snooty “That is not the work of a Dakini” attitude, even though, yes, it is not the work of a Dakini.

The decision to “go down the mountain” to the territory of touch work was, for me motivated by what it can teach the practitioner (Yogini-adept). Sure, it is useful, even healing, work, and I do care for those who need that … but I care much more for the women I work with, and, for them, doing touch-work is a rapid learning/discovery of their mastery of masculine energy (a vital part of their journey).

The next step was into the tricky territory of erotic work, which is about getting over the tendency of the mind to overlay (particularly sexual) experiences with fantasy. Most people use the lover as a prop to enhance, confirm or develop a fantasy … not optimal for making your sexuality your meditation.

It is time now for another step, this into the territory of mind-training, which, when it comes to Tantra, means the study of the highest of philosophies: Advaita. 

Advaita means “not two” in literal translation. Synonyms are: undivided, indivisible, non-dual.

It starts, like all philosophies, with its axioms – that which it takes to be true, from which careful interpolation is hoped to remain true. To minimise the axioms and keep things really clear, Advaita has just one axiom:

All which appears as opposites are polar expressions of an indivisible thing.

Let’s break that down to terms and get accurate.
“All which appears as …”

Pat Grove, a generally unacknowledged pioneer in the motivational/personal growth/coaching arena was my first teacher in these things. He told me:

"What is, is and what isn’t, isn’t."

We do not need to discuss that which does not appear, “appear” meaning that which we perceive and that which we theoretically could perceive – everything that affects or could ever affect us or anything we observe in even the slightest way.

Hence, in Advaita, we do not, cannot and won’t discuss that which isn’t … because it isn’t. 

In mathematical language, this means that we completely discard the notion of zero as an actual (worth putting in a calculation) number instead of what it originally was created to be – a marker of a blank space in numbers that exceed the base used. (More about this and other implications of Advaita for mathematics will be linked here when written.)

So, the statement of Advaita only applies to “what is”, in other words, absolutely everything.

Absolutely everything? … Well … almost absolutely. The one thing that Advaita cannot shine any light on is itself – why it should be so, and what the nature of the “one” from which all arises actually is.

On to the next term:
" … opposites are polar expressions …"

Our senses report, for example warmth and coolness. They feel different, we have different names for them and less of one generally seems to be equivalent to more of the other. A measure, a quantity of one thing (in this case energy) is what is being experienced. In other words, heat and cold are actually one thing, which we call, for now, "temperature", but which is, more accurately, speed. One phenomenon, two experiences/expressions/polarities that we classify as opposite.

A corollary which traditional (and again, except for really, really traditional) teaching tends to miss is that a thing, once expressed, can never become or be experienced entirely as one of those expressions alone. There will always, in mathematical language, be a minima of one polar expression within a maxima of the other. Absolute cold and absolute heat will always be unattainable. There will always be a minima of heat within a Maxima of cold – and – a minima of cold within even Maximal heat.

This is hopefully clarified by the end of the statement we are examining:
"… of an indivisible thing."

An indivisible thing, expressed/experienced as two things can never be completely expressed as either. If it could do so, it would no longer be what it originally was. It would have become entirely one end of itself, just one end of a polarity.

What is, is and what is persists. Once expressed as a polarity, a (the) thing cannot express as either polarity exclusively or entirely.

This is similar to the ideas Science has around the persistence/conservation of matter, energy and more recently, information (persistence of the potentially knowable/measurable/discoverable). It also echoes the old magical rule of that which has been created being impossible to un-create.

The Philosopher's TOEs

All philosophies are “Theories Of Everything”. Ideas describing just a “something” are not philosophies, they are theories or notions.

Advaita is perhaps the ultimate Theory of Everything. More correctly, it is a Theory of (Everything-1). The one thing it cannot describe is itself, the indivisible and undivided oneness.  No theory could explain absolutely everything and no cockamamie notion is absolutely incorrect in absolutely every situation. 

All explanations of the world need a miraculous starting point. The Abrahamic religions require an anthropomorphic God in the sky, managing every little thing personally and getting grumpy with people who don’t proclaim their adoration for Him regularly. Modern physics requires an undefinable singularity, operating by laws we see paralleled nowhere in nature, giving us all the complex features of existence in what, at its time was mockingly called a “big bang”.  (More about this and other implications of Advaita for big and small physics will be linked here when written.)

The irreducible mystery that Advaita cannot describe, what we have to take for granted, is as minimal as possible. The mystery is that there is anything at all in the first place. The fact that we experience, and that there is something to be experienced – that there is indeed an “is” – is all that Advaita requires us to take, so to speak, on faith.

The proof of Advaita is the same as the proof for any philosophy or TOE – how well it describes our actual experience, experimentation, and knowledge that we are pretty certain of. Proof is of course not absolute, though the ongoing process of revelation/testing over time refines it.

So, I find myself in an unusual situation. On account of my weirdness (or brain tumour) Advaita, for me does not require proof.

Because it is the core of my experience, it is self-evident in my every moment. I find it filling in the gaps which appear between the currently fragmented parts of what was once called Natural Philosophy.  I find it applicable to any area of life I care to examine, from the fine structure of the universe to the mathematics of banking and the mystery of death. This does not require effort, just the willingness on my part to let “it” do the explaining.

I don’t like duplicating the work of others. When someone teaches something to my satisfaction in a particular area, I far prefer to refer to their teaching than to reinvent wheels. That said, I am not very satisfied with some of the current expressions of Advaita in the world, nor do I find the old-school “Advaita Vedanta” styles of teaching very applicable or useful in the way they are currently taught.

So this is not going to be “connect to my essence in silence while I immerse myself in my intrinsic blissfulness and occasionally mutter profundities about how profound my experience is”. For that, I recommend John de Ruiter.

Neither is it going to be “think as I think, accept these ideas and be freed from your worldly pains and concerns”. For that, see Tolle.

I am also not going to be exploring the philosophy in the mode of: “Your happiness and unhappiness are one phenomena. The difference is the choice you make, so you can choose to rather be happy, doesn’t that make you happy now?” For that, with awesome cool and a great Jamaican accent, see Mooji.

Finally, I am not going to recommend repeated inquiry into the question “Who or what am I?”. I can’t recommend a teacher for that approach. The last great one I know of died recently. 

Don’t get me wrong. I do not dislike these expressions and teachings. Silence is the ultimate honesty, right-thinking is very useful, Mooji’s expression of Advaita is gorgeous and the quest for our true nature is the very essence of the path. Just … this is not going to be an exercise in duplication or reframing those teachings.

My silence is for those who choose to be close enough to share it. My expression of Advaita is going to be in a non-traditional (unless you count really, really old tradition) mode of applying the philosophy to questions and puzzles of the “world of phenomena” – in regular language, the world that lies behind our individual experiences of it.

I have been writing and researching mightily for the last couple of months. It looks like humanity has a pretty near complete understanding of the components of existence. Just, like a jigsaw, some pieces of knowledge need a little wiggling to make them fit and, like making a patchwork quilt, some areas of understanding need stitching together. 

For the next few months, I will be using Advaita and related understandings to explore several aspects of existence on this blog. Pencilled are: Advaita and perception; Advaita, the quantum and relativity; Advaita and information theory; Advaita as a personal philosophy, Advaita and emotional experience …

I have (thanks, like everything I have, to the generosity of a beloved student) an awesome laptop with camera. I also have, thanks to having pioneered the field, some skills with illustration. I will be doing drawings and shooting video clips as I go along. Whatever gets too deep for blog articles (and some of it is far too deep) I will assemble into an online course for those who want to approach the madness that has always been associated with (effective) studies of the ultimate.

For some of you, this is going to be weird because it is going to involve much science, some informative (and not necessarily pretty) graphics, some mathematics and references to technology (which is the actually proven to work end of science). For others, and especially for those who might find their way here on account of the maths and physics, it is going to be weird because I will be referring to some very ancient ideas, quoting sainted philosophers and may even use pretty images of sacred geometry. I can promise you all though, that there will be no unicorns. Rainbows … maybe.

I think it is going to be fun, and do feel free to suggest topics you would like to see Advaita applied to – in comments here or at the school Facebook group.

Love, as always, however it looks.