04 December 2007

Does Tantra require guided lessons by a third party, or can a couple learn through reading , and maybe dvd’s?

A recent question, not answered in our FAQ:

Does Tantra require guided lessons by a third party, or can a couple learn through reading , and maybe dvd’s?

To answer the second part first: There’s for sure a lot to be learned throuh reading and DVD’s. Healthy, experimental, devotional and even meditative sexuality can be read about, techniques attempted and so on. Intellectual curiosity can maybe be satisfied and a lot of useful awareness can be gained. A couple that each have an interest in sacred, conscious or even just great sexuality can learn much and gain some very useful hints along the way from the literature, video and web resources these days.

Now back to the beginning .. “Does Tantra require guided lessons by a third party“

In the sense that some technique can be acquired, some understanding can be had .. no, not necessarily. That said, even at this level of interest, just dabbling, any guidance is definitely useful.

For those (couples and individuals) that are intent on Tantra as a path, that feel a need for a spirituality that is inclusive of their sexuality, contact with a teacher or teachers is pretty much indispensable. In my own experience, in a long marriage, there was a genuine desire, and significant intent to be or become each others’ teacher, each other’s support and fellow student. I think we did remarkably well with this, but I believe that the teachers we encountered taking groups, workshops and such were essential to us. There’s things that can be communicated in person that no amount of words or pictures can convey and a teacher can often point out blind spots, areas of unconscious avoidance. A teacher can also kick ass when necessary.

At a level of commitment to Tantra as a path, a teacher or fortuitous sequence of teachers becomes pretty much mandatory, essential and almost unavoidable. The old saying “When the student is ready, the master appears.” applies. What’s called synchronicity seems to come into play.

“Working” with a teacher can involve all sorts of things: Meditations, activities, suggestions in key areas of life and so on.

The most important aspect, with Tantra, and likely with other paths too is the teacher being a catalyst for what needs to happen in you. When you’re close to a teacher that’s appropriate for you, things in you that have been waiting to happen – just spontaneously start happening.

07 November 2007

Participants' Reflections on the October Tantric Awareness Retreat


“I'm battling to find words to describe (my experience of the retreat). It certainly was one of the most amazing experiences I've had in a long time. The main reason is I broke through so many of my limiting beliefs. I feel as a result so liberated… The tenderness, gentleness, acceptance, openness and purity of our sharing made it so exquisite and safe for me to explore territories I never knew existed. As a result I feel I have a more intimate connection to the Divine and my heart has opened to loving at greater depths.”

“My mind has been opened to new possibilities. I was so blissfully blessed, and wish to continue on this journey with Tantra.”

“It was a divine and blissful sharing of simple love energy and I’m hugely grateful for the journey of the weekend and for every individual who was there that contributed in many and varied ways to make it what it was. It was a deliciously blissful time and I hope to see you all again on the next one!”

“I can’t tell you how wonderful, blissful and full of energy I feel (after the retreat). I can’t remember when last I felt like this. I am so happy without blockages, I feel like a butterfly in the air. There is a sensation on my skin… it feels like I can move mountains.”

On making love after the retreat: “(I found myself) making love slowly and just ‘allowing’ sensation and sensuality to gradually saturate my body. Once saturated; waves and ripples of blissful lightness-energy moving throughout my entire body; Smaller ripples riding upon bigger waves; Bigger waves being interspersed with calm blissful silence, then resuming again and again; going on an on; never seems to exhaust itself or getting tired of blessing me; making me giggle like a little girl and laugh like a boy riding the rollercoaster for the first time.”

29 October 2007

Scurrying up the Mountain

On final analysis, in the turning the head back, the path suddenly looks easy and simple. Like the spot where I thought was a massive cliff overhanging where I gripped with my nails fearing for my very existence was only a small boulder. I simply had to walk up and over. Perhaps I am a little high now and lack appropriate memory, seriousness and fair judgement. Perhaps I am drunk on the beauty and all that came before can only seem small in comparison. It does not feel like an end more like a beginning. And I cannot claim what many have called awakening. I am simply in a place where I can see long distances and the vision isn’t easily interrupted.

I also know that had someone attempted to explain, as many did, this simplicity and ease I would not have and did not comprehend. I remember the agonies were some of the most beautiful part of the journey. At other places I am rolling on the floor inside my belly, as I recall myself clinging to the small boulder with the terror that this was my ultimate death.

And it has been said many times and as simply as it can be said. That what is seen external to the self is the mirror. That all the anger and the conflict and the wars and the pain and the separation are your inner space. That much of the self has been denied. There is an internal war of the many aspects attempting to regain territory with any means possible. An example of this may be when you are approaching something of juice perhaps a new lover and a thought moves through as quick as the wind spirits move through the trees. You cannot tell the direction from whence it came. And it says nay not you, you don’t have this or that and you feel yourself become small and contracted against the moment. And in that space a repressed aspect has had a victory and gained more ground. The conflict continues as you attempt to take that ground back.

It never occurs to one to perhaps make friends and recall the many aspects we refuse. It does not occur to you because as you look in the places where you have dumped these aspects you see only darkness, and badness and what some may even call evil kadevil. You see all the things that if you ever called them back no one would ever talk to you ever again ever ever. And so you rush towards the light, the light of what you know, and stay busy in what you know, and insist on it, and fight for it, and talk of beauty and light and goodness, all the while avoiding these places that hold the mystery the key to your being.

Until one day after the many journeys down the light paths, you turn forward, and say perhaps I forgot something in the places of darkness. Something vital, something that one must have to travel into the journey. And so you gather your courage and your candle, which immediately blows out as you enter and you stumble and crack against some edge that makes you bleed. Finally there is no turning back; perhaps you meet your death in these dark places; perhaps you remain forever lost wondering in the darkness but still you cannot go back.

In these places of darkness you meet the refused aspects and they have many guises. Often they are not pretty at first glance as you meet your long lost sexuality, your denied madness, your suppressed rage, your overlooked pain and the goddess so many eons refused. And I will not talk here how this place may appear, as this is your journey and cannot be shared much less repeated.

However, I can say that on the other side of through you will meet wholeness and inside of that the clamouring voices fall into silence that is not a hearing but a being. And you may look with accusation at this new space but it will simply meet your accusation with a raised eyebrow; I have been here all along.


17 June 2007

Tantric Awareness Retreat - Impressions

A while back, Shakti and I did a workshop thing, our first residential weekend experience, with a gorgeous, brave, sincere and lively group of seekers.

We talk about "healing" in our work. This can lead some to think we're "treating" problematic conditions of mind/body/spirit, that we work with people who are "sick" to help make them well. We use this word because it's the closest our culture has to describe what we do. The older the meaning taken, the more to the origins of this word one goes, the more truthful it becomes as an expression of this school's work.

Healing: To make Whole. Not that something's unwholesome! Just that we have many aspects to what we call our mind, our ego. To a large extent, the work of Tantra is to support the integration of these divided minds.

So no one on this retreat was sick, or being treated. Sure, some got in touch with depths they didn't know they had, some got more aware of the truth, the reality of their relationships, some explored experiences that they had wanted, but repressed, and some found the strength, the capacity to support others in this work.

I drew no line, created no artificial separation of the space we met in from what's called the "real" world. We did not retreat into the "other worldly" to escape the "worldly". Yes, we were in the middle of a forest, in a beautiful meditation retreat, where cellphones don't work too well, and everyone had taken some time off from their regular routine. There's nothing "other worldly" about a couple of days away from the hubbub of life, somewhere beautiful, in nature.

There was no suggestion that people "open themselves" or stretch their willingness on account of this being a "special" place or time, no agreements of confidentiality, no keeping of secrets about the ways in which we work, what "processes" we use. This is not to say that I'm against the participants respecting each other's privacy. These were real people that we shared something real with, in the real world, and it's real to respect that in a real way!

Working with Shakti on this was a special experience indeed. Her insight, her skill with using dance and movement, allowing seekers to experience what can't be taught in words, her loving availability to work with what's required for awareness, however it looks, and her energy and skill in putting the whole logistical mission of the thing together.

My take on the experience was "I've never taken a Tantra, or any kind of group like that, anywhere along my path .. but I'd have liked to!", so, as the NLP guys say, it worked for me.

There was much appreciation expressed all round. My thanks is to all who came and played a bit of the game of life with me. In varying degrees for all of us there was fun, there was pain, there was delight, there was suffering, but most of all there was awareness and love worth calling Love. May your flowering continue...

Planning for a return to the forest is happening. Looks like October 2007 will be right. Watch the events page for it's announcement.

01 April 2007

Maitreya: The new Guru game.

2500ish years ago, it's said Buddha predicted the next world teacher. Maitreya is said to be the name, and many look for a particular fellow to fulfill the role. There's never been a shortage of volunteers.

My take on this is that the name more describes a mode of teaching, it indicates the approach of teachers, the way of spiritual teaching 2500 years after Gautama. That he was describing a characteristic of the enlightened teacher in the future, a considerable contrast indeed to the autocratic way he, Jesus, Mohamed, Mahavira, Nanuk had to do things, even up to the days of George Gurdjieff. Maitreya means "gentle and friendly".

If there has to be "one" Maitreya, my vote's for Osho. His teaching made the transition from the authoritarian way to the gentle, friendly way. As he said, there was always something basically undignified, insulting in the Master–Disciple relationship. He really made the transition and modeled a new way of spiritual learning in the world.

I love the new "Maitreya" way. It's a delight to not have to send the beloved sannyasin to the burning ghats for three months to gain an awareness that for sure, the body will die. I just know they have or will soon be having an experience that provides that awareness. This and other archetypal steps of the path used to appear to be a matter of the Guru's control, his orders. I never have to order anything. Just, I sometimes hint for a beloved to be ready for something coming, or indicate the "old school" equivalent for what they are currently going through.

Probably the main reason I'm necessary to the path of those who work/play with me is that I can suggest practice and approach that's currently appropriate. There's a huge spiritual practice database now in the world, and teachings designed to be useful at various specific levels of awareness have gotten badly mixed up. Things that were once "inner circle secrets" for adepts only are now common knowledge among beginners and initiates. They need to be encouraged to back off a little and approach those "higher" truths appropriately. With adepts, that is advanced students, because they heard those "secrets" long ago when it was not yet appropriate to their path, it's just the other way around. They need extra encouragement to absorb those teachings at the appropriate time, when they really are ready. The "been there done that" attitude has to accommodate that maybe it wasn't appropriate then, but it's worth seeing if it's appropriate now.

Zsa Zen and Vipassana silent siting meditations are an example of this. If they are taught forcibly to a busy mind, and with a busy mind there, they can only be forced, they are at best a sedative and at worst, they create a physical and attitudinal rigidity. Taught in their appropriate timing, when other techniques have cleared the bulk of the mind-noise, silent sitting is not at all forced. One likes it then, as in the sentence "I like to breathe".

17 March 2007

In search of a Tantra master: the becoming of a Tantrika

The wind dives over the plains dragging the reluctant wild grasses in the wake of the yawning sky. Red soils crack under noon day fire and riverbeds dream of long forgotten cool waters. These ancient lands held by the watchers and gatherers of time and form, mountains becoming and dissolving over eons of form grokking itself.

And in this place of relentless breath stands a man, savage and full, deep lines etch his living across the expanse of face and seeing, his body a meeting of life and will. Here he stands in full waiting and readiness to all movings that may bump against his way. His presence that of life diving deep and deeper still unto herself.

This waiting that stood along side the journey of the ancient mountains, this waiting that this day finds her dreamless sleep.

A woman comes, long and weary, dancing the horizon, one step in front of where eye cannot see. This woman dancing, wild and still, across expanding vastness of light and dark, dancing in her blood and in her water and in her laughter, dancing across bridges which hold breath and source of breath, dancing under oceans and over cliffs, dancing until only dancing remains.

The woman bows down to ground at the feet of the man. The wind lays down beside her and a rain opens under the sky as she closes her eyes and remembers her name.


01 February 2007

Last year in the media - thanks, errors and apologies

We thank Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Longevity magazines for their generally informative articles on Tantra in 2006, and there's much appreciation indeed from those who found this school through them.

This year, it looks like there's more media attention happening and unless the interest seems outright sensationalist, we'll be playing along.

It's a tricky thing, someone without particular expertise in a field, writing an article after just a couple of hours talking to me and/or other teachers of the school. Some little things are bound to go a bit wrong. This is unavoidable, and shouldn't generally be of any harm. This will happen.

One of those magazine articles had a little slip, an incorrect and unfortunate juxtaposition of two ideas ... a very understandable misunderstanding. No one was supposed to get slapped on the dick.

The ideas were:

1) If there's a numbness, an insensitivity, a lack of feeling in the body (a symptom of deep repression and restraint) one technique which can help the restoration of sensation is to slap, with intent to sting slightly. not as a surprise, or as a shock, just to activate, to wake up the nerves, get them reporting to the brain, and get their reporting of sensation noticed. Used appropriately, this technique is quite useful. Something like what Swedes do in the sauna, switching each other with birch twigs. Tingly, even kind of nice. Definitely nice when the caress that follows the slap is really felt, sensitivity restored.

2) Immediately following ejaculation, it's common for many men to feel hyper sensitive around the head of the penis which makes continuing coition or other stimulation uncomfortable, almost painful. This is the same sensitivity a woman experiences in early stimulation of the clitoris, especially when she's young, and the tongue is a little firm. Yielding to this stimulation allows men to access an orgasm flavour that's equivalent to the clitoral orgasm of the woman. Also, if he can find this flavour of orgasm before the ejaculatory one, he becomes multi orgasmic, which is kinda nice.

It's not hard to see how these ideas got mixed. The reason nothing about this has been published before is that everyone here was laughing so much about these men catching a slap on the sensitivities to make them come to the party with another round of hot passion. None of us wanted to stop it from happening. If this is anti-social, we apologise (between chuckles).

So there's no expectation that the media attention is always going to express things as we'd like them to. Also, we won't be falling all over ourselves to correct every little misunderstanding. Basically, we hope those that need us will find us and get some right ideas, and if a few dicks get slapped along the way, well, that's just what's called collateral damage these days.

Sorry guys.

Tantra School Audio - interviewing each other

The tantraschool.co.za site construction is going well.

This site has audio clips of school members and friends interviewing each other about their experiences, learning and teaching, posted as .mp3 files which you can download, or just listen to.

It's still under construction, no video there yet, or our links page. Work progresses on both.

What's posted there will, I sincerely hope, be of use to seekers. We're keeping the interviews mostly close and personal. Of course, some of these interviews get very, very personal indeed, and so go into our own archives, or get deleted if they are too personal for even that.

My intent with all my writing and public talking on tantra is to support awareness in my beloved fellow beings. I see it as helpful, of use, to make this information publicly available because around 2% (my guess) or so of people have the capacity, the capability of working with tantra. To reach these, it's unavoidable that the other 98% will have access to what I say.

This is why I don't make my websites look like XXX porn sites, and I don't make a big deal of enhanced/extended orgasm or the other "yummies" of the path. Not that the path isn't yummy beyond belief, just it also requires depth, sincerity, and a burning thirst for the true, the real. Hence, it's really not for everyone. Also, I'd prefer that our (horribly expensive) web hosting bandwidth allowances not be used up by porn-hunters.

There's a lot of what we have to say that's more appropriate for the ears of people a bit attuned to this work, so not everything we record will be openly accessible on the site. For example, you can hear parts 1 and 2 of Jacqueline interviewing Shakti, but not part 3.

The next major project at tantraschool.co.za will therefore be a members only password protected area where we can, so to speak, really let our hair down.