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

16 August 2016

Tantra vs. Neo-Tantra and the Transformation of Desires by Maya Yonika


When we hear of the term Tantra in the west, we tend to conjure ideas of weekend workshops, Pujas, or sensual ‘Tantric massage.’ But eventually we may consider Tantra’s origins, and wonder how any of this relates to thousands of years of eastern traditional wisdom and practice recorded in the Vedas, or the rich symbolism found within their pantheon of Gods.
In order to help us clearly understand where sexuality communes with spiritual practice, let’s take a journey through our minds eye to the Tantric Temples of Khajuraho in the heart of India, Madhya Pradesh, famous for the erotic sculptures that circumscribe their exterior walls.
Dry Indian air brushes our faces in this dusty red sandstone environment and our step slows as we find ourselves standing before high ancient temple walls, and our gaze is magnetized to hundreds of beautifully intricate, sandstone carvings; shapely, bejeweled women dance, apply makeup, and strap and unstrap their girdles. Couples, groups and even animals play in an endless array of erotic positions and orgiastic enactments. One pair makes love while two maidens besides them press palms to their mouths in embarrassment. A woman strides atop her lover, who simultaneously stimulates the yonis of two women… one on each side of him. There’s even a man copulating with a horse amongst a lively orgiastic scene.
Our attention passes slowly from one scenario to the next. Through some observations we remain neutral, while others particularly catch our attention. Some depictions might delight, while others seem gross, shameful or absurd. We’re attracted or repulsed, stimulated or even turned on, or we may even feel embarrassed and turn our eyes away in discomfort.
The point of all of these carvings is to take note where we may experience any sensation, response or reaction; these are the signposts of our fears, judgments and desires. And it is within these places where we discover our personal inner work that remains to be faced, approached and ultimately brought to completion before we are prepared in mind, body and spirit to enter the inner Temple and participate in Tantra’s deeper meditative practices.
While Eastern devotees make their way around the outer temple and focus in contemplative meditation upon each scenario as their preparatory practice, neo-tantra is the closest thing to a western counterpart.
And because we are a material culture, what eastern symbols, methodologies and teachings reach us tend to be translated into the literal and physical. This is easily observed in average western yoga class, where yoga is understood as a practice consisting of physical postures, rather than postures being an aspect of the practice of yoga, if part of the practice at all. Tantra is treated much the same from the context of sex.
However, there is another reason that neo-tantra has been connected not only with the tantric name, but for it’s rather exaggerated focus upon sex; the methodologies introduced through Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh…otherwise known as Master Osho.
Osho was well aware of the necessity to introduce a direct and free approach to facing sexual desire in the west due to our Christian indoctrinations that correlate sex with sin. He knew that western psychology around sex was often deeply repressed; hidden within the subconscious and held taught through guilt and shame, creating psychological entrapments that result in distorted and destructive social manifestations. Accordingly, Osho sent out several western Sannyasin envoys to teach the ideologies and methods that have been incorporated into what is now Tantra of the west.
Osho was indeed Tantric and certainly understood that the methodologies he purported did not encompass the deepest essence of Tantra. He also knew that Tantra’s higher practices could not be comprehended nor reached by minds and bodies still bound by desire.

Sex is the seed
Love is the flower
Compassion is the fragrance

Rajneesh’s literal and direct approach has indeed had its effects, for the notion of sex as sin has indeed been transforming throughout the western paradigm… yet we still have a long way to go.
While Neo Tantra can be quite a fast and effective methodology through its power of direct embodied experience, offering both means and permission to uncover and face some of our previously withheld or repressed desires, it can, and often does, tie itself into quite a bind in its tendency to believe its promotion of ego gratification, pleasure seeking and sexualized identifications necessarily equates to freedom and higher consciousness. It doesn’t. And while great sex or manifestation of romantic partner/s may be great side effects of Tantric practice, their focus as a goal is in truth running in the opposite direction.
In Tantra, the goal is not about relationship counseling, orgasmic sex or manifesting your life’s dreams, desires or ambitions. Tantra is not a path of self-improvement, self-development or any form of self-aggrandizement. Rather, its means are often a process of negation and death. While Tantra recognizes the potential necessity of approaching our desires, ideals and attachments, the objective isultimately to move past them. And this is as true for any sexual or relational structure as a permanent and fixed identity as it is for any idealized lifestyle of purity or holiness. From the liberated state, we are no longer bound to social image or identities, nor are we run by our normalized fears, desires, insecurities, anxieties, drives and power plays.
And this is precisely why authenticity in Tantra is basically nonexistent in the west. For we are a society that literally runs the entirety of our lives around our symbolic ideals, identifications and desires…and there’s nothing wrong with that from the standpoint of societal norms. It’s the culture we live in and not everyone is archetypally built to enter the psychological battlefield and rip these structures apart. In fact, I strongly recommend against it.
Tantrikas are those for whom instant gratification just isn’t fast enough ~ Rahasya
To wrap this all together, the potential benefits and pitfalls of tantra in the west should by now be clear. Facing one’s sexual desires and taboos is metaphorical to the journey along the outside of the Temple walls; imperative steps along the path that cannot be skipped nor conceptually overridden. At the same time, we must be aware of the inevitable dangers when utilizing this direct and literal approach. In grasping at the shadow of repression while denying one’s own deepest pain, wounds and fears, the western practitioner easily becomes bound within endless cycles of desire and obsession.
Since I wrote my autobiography No Mud, No Lotus years ago that spoke into the neo-tantra issue quite vulnerably through my own experience, I have since noticed quite a shift occurring. More practitioners are becoming honest about their work, calling it sexual Shamanism, sacred sex, sacred prostitution and the like.
And we need to recognize that the continuation of such work is essential for our social evolution, and its practitioners necessitate honor, safety and respect. The more we are willing to lean towards our own fears and judgments around such work, the less its practitioners will feel the need to hide behind spiritualized terms or aggrandize what they offer, and the battles that continue to play out between the eastern and western schools can be seen for what they are and ultimately come to closure.

Maya is a teacher of the Warrior Path of Awakening. See her site, HERE 

Take Maya's FREE 30 Day Warrior Awakening and Empowerment Challenge!SHOW ME! 

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.
R

02 July 2013

Disproportionate Feelings


Disproportionate Feelings

 I over-reacted.


Every now and then for most of us, and pretty much all the time for tantrikas, life brings experiences that look scary and hard to face.

Some of these things are just that – scary. Hard to face.

Some of these things, though, perhaps most of them, are, when you take a broader look at them, a bit puzzling. They do not look as if they should be all that hard or scary, but the feelings that arise in response to them indicate great scariness. Crushing hardness …

For example, if i am dawdling across the road, paying deep attention to something happening on my smartphone, the pounding heart and sudden sweat that I feel after a car has hooted while swerving around me is more or less proportionate to the event.

If, however, I feel similar feelings when noticing who someone is dancing with my beloved, or find myself taking a game of go far, far too seriously … the feelings that arise in me could perhaps be said to be disproportionate to the situation.

The normal habit of normal people, of course, is to react to disproportionate feelings and the situations in which they occur in the normal way – disproportionately. The art of motivating people by the use of symbols and slogans which provoke disproportionate feelings is called "government". All perfectly good for normal people.

For tantrikas and others with a brave approach to living though, disproportionate feelings and the things that provoke them are worth deeper examination.

21 December 2012

The End of The World


The end of the world

It seems that the world has been about to end for a very long time.
So far, of course, it has not happened. The aftermath can be awkward for those who have maxed their borrowings and celebrated in style. It can require some clever explaining of the cancellation or postponement of the last days.

1666, 1844, 1977, and 1994 saw predictions from the Christian world come and go. Science had its turn with the Y2K non-event. For the last dozen years or so, almost every alternate spirituality has been looking to 2012.

Predictions for 2012 so far have ranged from devastating weather phenomena to food wars in the wake of a financial crisis. As 2012 approached, predictions got more esoteric and less physical. Less the Earth Changes scale of disaster and more the spiritual transcendence of all beings kind of consciousness shift.

29 November 2012

How to make love to a woman tantra style


Dakini Shima offers profound and unusual guidance on how to make love to a woman. Click on the youtube link. How to make love to a woman

23 September 2012

Dakinis, Yoginis, Touch and Tantra


In response to recent questions about our different kinds of sessions work:

Yoginis (touch work practitioners) work, at first, with the authority of the school, using techniques taught to them by Dakini Wendy, Yogini Annwen and me. In this structure, their own teaching arises. When they are teaching completely from their own authority, they have embodied the secrets of Tantra and we call them Dakinis.

Dakinis work with addressing all obstacles to awareness and direct transmission of the experiential lessons of Tantra. Addressing all areas of life in which obstacles occur requires a mastery of physicality, mind training, strategy,erotic work, relationship patterns and meditation. Their sessions work is as varied as the needs (not wants!) of their students.


Dakinis also provide guidance, in the sense of holding an overview, of their more sincere students. They also guide those inclined to devotion. They refer these students to touch practitioners when appropriate, and students who do well with the lessons of touch work get referred to Dakinis and me by Yoginis if it looks like their Tantra is something they feel strongly about.

These divisions - descriptions and titles - we use are at best a rough guide to categorisation of our work. They describe the general tendencies, how it generally looks. Also, the general style of sessions.

19 September 2012

Operation Goddess Temple


Open letter to the Maricopa County Attorney

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Dear William Montgomery

In response to your “Operation Goddess Temple”.

In September 2011 Temples of Tantra in Phoenix and Sedona were defiled. Heavily armed storm troopers caused extensive damage to property and put many lives at risk. Several of the women arrested have told me of violent and sexually abusive conduct on the part of the militarily equipped fellows, the more normal-looking police men, court officials and prison authorities.

17 September 2012

Yes and No? :a Seeker's Story

A short story by a student of our school...


The path was easy, worn well and traveled straight from point to point. Along the way I met happy people, each focused on their own journey, moving forward. The Spring morning was crisp and at sunup carried a magic with it that most people on the path didn’t seem to notice. It was a friendly road, people chatting or greeting each other. It was a safe path, a beautiful day and an easy slope. We all traveled the same direction, some of them ran while others walked, but I dawdled for the grass and the trees were too green not to notice. Along the path, set back a bit, was a shady forest, thick and dark. It was the sort of place stories might be told of.

09 September 2012

Sexual Awakening for Women


Sexual Awakening for Women
a tantric workbook
By Shakti Mari Malan

Shakti is a truly remarkable woman. Before her initiation into tantra, she had a PhD in anthropology and her own successful consultancy in social sustainability.

By the time she met me, her spiritual life was every bit as well advanced as her career. She had been drawn to initiation in an African tradition and had already started her work of guiding women to a deeper understanding of themselves.

Shakti was one of my first initiates and rapidly gained the capacity, understanding and power that characterises a dakini truly worthy of the title.

Many men and many women have been initiated and guided by Shakti. She has visited much of the planet, meeting seekers in individual sessions and intensive residential retreats.

Her already immense contribution to complete-path tantra is now crowned by the release of “Sexual Awakening for Women”. A truly remarkable book.


Sexual Awakening for Women is available at advaittantra.com and shakti.co.za
Look inside the kindle edition at amazon.

13 May 2012

Heart Meditation


Master Atisha said: As you breathe in, take in and accept all the sadness, pain, and negativity of the whole world, including yourself, and absorb it into your heart. As you breathe out, pour out all your joy and bliss; bless the whole of existence.


This technique was taught a thousand years ago by Master Atisha, and the technique itself is possibly a lot older. It is perhaps the centre of the spiritual discipline known in Tibet as Loojong .

Master Atisha had a particular of spiritual intrest: Speed and efficiency. Atisha was all about the most effective methods, most supportive attitudes and spiritual totality in general.

That's why his so concise description of this technique, quoted above, expresses the totality of this technique. The starting point, and the method were taught person to person. The text served as a reminder of the practice and a concise distillation of the full teaching.

This meditation is a key method for growing your heart centre and using it consciously. The core work of this school is the re-development of the Dakini's arts and practices, in ways appropriate to the world as it is now. This practice is one that we treasure as a glowing ember among the ashes of Ancient Tantra, which has contributed greatly to this school's fire, to the heart of this phoenix.

So, don't be daunted by Atisha's words, the scale of the aim he urges. If you're even just tasting, dabbling with the idea of Tantra perhaps being your path, just taste this, dabble with this too. Particularly if you get some knocks along with life's caresses.

28 April 2012

Science vs Religion? Science is a religion.



Science is now a full fledged religion. Much of its proselytising has been based on its not being a 'religion' at all. Science claims to be a rational, logical approach to investigating existence.

The early scientists, like the early christians before them were persecuted. Their teachings were demonised and their morality was considered suspect. Over time, the new way gradually replaced the old.

As was the case with early christianity many priests of the new religion hold a dual allegiance, practicing the old forms while being involved with the new. As the numbers and confidence of the new religion grows, allegiance becomes an issue. Peoples and their governments are under increasing pressured to choose.

Science has heroes now. Hitchslap (now deceased) and Dawkins have been aggressively challenging priests in debate.



Over time, Christian priests became part of culture and government. Science has done very well in these areas.

12 April 2012

Childhood Insights from Alia

Rahasya's daughter, Alia, shared this piece of writing with us last night.
It shows insight and she agreed to me sharing it here.


Sadistic Bastards

Why are children's story writers such sadistic bastards?

Wait, you doubt that statement?
Seriously? Have you never seen Bambi?
They make this beautiful fun world and just as you have completely fallen for it, want to live in it and be one of the characters in the story, they make disaster strike. They tear this new and beautiful world to shreds and are not satisfied until you cry. Then a few short happy moments later, just enough to stop the tears, and it's over.
But that happy ending isn't what lasts, it's the tragedy that sticks with you, especially at such a young age.

What do you learn from that? I don't know about you but it taught me that when there is joy, sorrow soon follows and shatters your world, then you have to rebuild it, and the cycle continues.
That is a pretty depressing outlook on the world.
Kids shouldn't have such things shoved down their throats; you only need to learn responsibility like that when you're a teenager.


I suppose the happy ending isn't as happy if there isn't some sorrow, but then put the sorrow near the beginning, like in the Lion King, before you have even met all the characters. That movie taught me that everything that happened in the past helped shape who I am now, and not to cling to or run from bad memories, but rather learn and grow from them. It also taught me that tragedies in life help you grow. If Mufasa hadn't died, Simba would never have met Timone and Pumba and never have become the lion that he did.

The point I'm trying to make is, rather teach children how to cope and grow from the potential troubles and tragedies in life, then tell them that tragedy is inevitable.

28 March 2012

Wanting


How much of what I think of as my love is my wanting? How much wanting have I done in the name of love?
M Scott Peck says: "Real love is wanting the other person's good. Romantic love is wanting the other person."    

For the last 2 or 3 years I have been deeply challenged in the realms of romantic rejection and watching the beloved love another.
Comparison, jealousy, feelings of deep deficiency and accompanying depression are well traversed territories in me. 

"God, I am so sick of this! I WANT to be WANTED, DAMMIT!!!" I bang my hand on the steering wheel while tearing around mountain pass corners in my little bakkie. My teachers sit squashed on the bench seat next to me on our way back from dinner, taking in my emotive outburst and boisterous driving style with equal equanimous grace. "So your wanting is for a theoretical state in another's mind?", one says. "Look carefully and see if you can find any dharma in that".

The jealousy and hunger for love (not any kind of love, mind you: Very specific love in specific ways from specific people... in what my teacher refers to as Mind Symbols) makes me feel wild, and desperate like some kind of caged creature that is starving to death... and there is that in me which is dying, because it is time for it to die now.
But it doesn't go down without a fight. This desperate place in my unconscious is the spawning ground for all my manipulation, for my clutching onto intimate relationships, my pushing, my forcing, these insistences that arise from my mind, rather than from my being. 

I am gradually learning to make space for the horrible states created by my thoughts- these deficient, heavy states. 
I give up trying to get my external to rescue me from them - all that manoeuvring I have done in the name of Love to try to get others, particularly the beloved, to convince me that it's not true: This horrible self image I have. And I let myself go... into this frightening feeling, these mucky, sticky, heavy, murky depths.  
Yes- I am worthless. 
Yes- I am so small. 
I lack.
I am so deeply deficient.
I am the loser.
I give up trying to fight these things.
My body becomes so heavy that I can't stay upright.
I slump down flat, sinking into the mud...

And then somehow in this surrender, this death, there is a calm. I find myself looking at the thoughts and the feelings with compassion... And find that I am not that.
In my heart there is value. I can see the value of my surrender, the value of that which has chosen this surrender. 

Today a shoot breaks through the surface of the mud... gradually it climbs through the dark muddy water towards the light...
Painting by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Thank you dear Wendy and Rahasya for your loving guidance last week during our tantra practitioner training.