07 December 2008

Primacy of the feminine in Tantra

We are whole beings, divided into masculine and feminine aspects (and every other sort of division, but let's stay with this one).

Learning how love works with a man and a woman, doing "conventional" relationship, gives us the necessary insight, experience and EQ to start the inner love affair of our own masculine and feminine.

It is the feminine aspect which must be willing to want something (out of all the generalised wanting, a specific), consistently, reassuring the male aspect that his energy is appreciated and wanted … and to thank the male aspect when he delivers!

The revelations of this dynamic in relationship support the same cooperation in the individual. We all need to have a cooperation between our feminine, wide-angle view of what we want and our masculine one-pointed focus which enables achievement.

Being polarised to an exclusive masculinity or femininity is an unfortunate (but common) distortion.

Completely in the feminine = being immobilised from almost any action, because there is a fear of then not getting to do all the possible alternative actions. Also, the awareness that everything affects everything else, taken too far with no balance, results in fearful inaction.
The feminine aspect has to learn to "want". To select from the myriad possibilities by accepting the painful understanding that things must usually be achieved one thing and one step at a time. In the absence of a masculine aspect to take action, the feminine becomes slothful and destructively indulgent of "low" concerns. TV and pastries.

Completely in the masculine = Ploughing ahead with one pointed focus, oblivious to incidental and consequential factors.
The masculine aspect, particularly in the warrior archetype, has to learn to be directed, to take commands. The warrior needs a Goddess to serve. In the absence of the Goddess, the hunger of the warrior for command can lead him to take direction from even a masculine authority: royalty, a military command structure, a college fraternity, a corporation or some other form of gang.

Cooperation, which leads to integration looks much better:

The feminine selects a specific wanting from her range of wanting (this is the difficult bit), asks for it from the masculine, keeps an overview of the situation, continues to want the chosen specific (another difficult bit) and offers congratulations on completion (easy to overlook but surprisingly important) before setting the next objective.

The masculine takes the direction (this is the difficult bit) of the feminine, and does the one-pointed obsessive thing. Accepting correction/adjustment along the way, in response to the wider perception of the feminine is tricky, and praise on completion is of significant importance for future cooperation.

Finding this cooperation in relationship (where both often take turns over time playing out their masculine and feminine aspects) is a step towards applying this understanding to one's own inner m+f aspects. This approach can result in a fondness between these aspects and mutual appreciation for the strengths and usefulness of the other. This brings them into friendliness.

When inner masculine and feminine aspects are friendly, they can make love, unite and become one complete being, just as in the cultural soulmate myth.

The friendliness is essential. Techniques exist for inducing "inner lovemaking", but without some significant and sincere friendliness within first, things can get a bit ugly. This is the reason these techniques are seldom written down and are hidden (occluded) from students until there is clear readiness.

The overview and guidance of Tantric practice requires a feminine open awareness, sensitivity and responsiveness, well served. The depth, intensity and totality of Tantric practice requires strong masculine energy, well directed.

This is why in Tantra, the truth of the primacy of Feminine energy is respected, especially the wild/unreasonable/fierce/chthonic aspects expressed in Goddess form as Tara and Kali.

So, as a male founder of a school, I chose a nice simple primary directive for my one-pointed focus: Remind Dakinis of their vocation, support their flowering, and encourage them into the fullness of their teaching.
Existence has been bounteously supportive of my endeavors. Never before me has any teacher been so blessed with students of such readiness, aptitude, totality and sincerity!

Wendy, Shima and Shakti … encounter any of these teachers, and you'll find Tantra is as complete, healthy and as powerful and as challenging as ever it was. These women are Tantra.

24 October 2008

The Secret Teaching on judgement, resentment, blame

Disclaimer:
The following is traditionally, historically a secret teaching. The preserved written words need clarification and explanation to make them accessible. This explanation will be misunderstood and misapplied by a mind that is unready or unprepared. Also, a secret teaching is a teaching which, when followed, reveals secrets.

I feel ok to write it here, and not in my members-area notes, because the necessary preparation has been done by so many seekers of so many traditions and persuasions. Also, minds that could, in an unready condition, have trouble with this teaching are unlikely to misapply it any more than they do, unconsciously, anyway.

If you feel morally abused or mentally insulted by this piece, please understand that the fault is completely yours for getting sufficiently interested in Tantra to read this blog.

Required before you read on:
Some training in spiritual fundamentals a.k.a. "mind training".
That means some, just a good taste, of any of the following: freudian/jungian/encounter/TA/primal/art or even Dr. Phil style therapy, introspective meditation techniques, lgat's, corporate coaching, EQ work or even NLP, even in it's sillier varieties.



Secret teaching to transcend blame and judgment:

We blame. We judge. We know too that on any spiritual path, we are supposed to "release" this habit of the mind.
This post is my suggestion of a method I have found useful.

Each and every one of our judgments, when deeply examined, will reveal itself as nonsense … just some old and long forgotten association being misapplied to the current situation. But this approach, one eetsy beetsy "issue" at a time is laborious, slow (never-ending) and not much fun.

The journey to understanding of specific cases/situations in your life has been necessary for you to notice and admit the possibility: "I don't truly know, in a deep and meaningful way, ultimately, the truth of whatever Right and Wrong really are".

Another way of putting this is that you are ready to consider taking a stand against your Original Sin. The core error in your perception. That which causes you to miss the truth. The original sin is eating of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". This sin is a common one. The ego usurping the exclusive territory of the Divine. Claiming to be able to distinguish good and evil is undoubtedly a huge sin of ego/pride. Stupendous in scale and audacity.

So the "what to do". The method:

Atisha, as one of his seven points of mind training urges: "Drive all blames into one."

Pick ONE thing. One thought-construct. Blame it for EVERYTHING. Your mind is a brilliantly fast and clever associative computer. If you give it just a little creative thought, you will soon be able, in seconds, to see "why" this ONE thing is to blame. It's fun and it is kind of silly too.

The deep wisdom of this teaching is that the very silliness of this repeated discovery reworks and transforms the way the mind does it's blaming and judging.

You have a mind. It blames and judges. Transcendence of that fact does not lie in training the mind to "not judge". It lies in the mind discovering the inherent silliness of judgment and blame and getting them into appropriate perspective.

So, blame one thing. Perhaps you already know what, for you, is the root source of all that you find wrong in the world. One thing that is behind every unpleasant look someone gives you. Behind everything dangerous, dirty or disgusting in the world. Behind every kind of unpleasantness lies … [your choice here] … It really doesn't matter what you choose as this one ultimate scapegoat. For the purposes of the exercise, most anything will do.

I suggest you take some time to consider, not just what you think you will be able to blame so completely, but also what would be fun to blame. You are taking on, as an exercise, a "forced position", which you will (hopefully) drop when you have learned what the lesson reveals/enables in you. This exercise is the taking on of a deliberate and strong bias, a true excentricity in your thinking and it will unavoidably affect your behavior and expression. There is inherent humor in that, so pick something you will have fun and enjoy blaming as the Source Of All Wrong.

Gautanorangs, Lichtensteinians, Abbasiniyans, Zorastorians, animal rights activists … human groupings of any sort, or their leaders/figureheads are good possibilities. The more obscure, or generally unknown a nationality the better. Just to minimise the risk of encountering them in large groups when sharing your opinion of them. Also, you may have fun enrolling others in your chosen "cause". Your consciously chosen obsession. This is easier if the grouping is really obscure. Bill Hicks took quite a lot on with his choice, centering his judgement on the advertising industry. A successful student of Tantra, Bill was enlightened before his untimely death, and is remembered as a Saint in this school.

Looking deeply into this choice of "what to blame" may reveal other candidates. Geography is a huge factor in wars and famines. Maybe volcanoes are a good candidate. Other species are also worth consideration … A less ready student than Saint Bill, Stephen Colbert approached me years ago for this teaching, and decided on bears (godless killing machines). His meditation progresses, although slowly, on account of his distraction over secondary wrongs, like Democrats. Come on Steve. Democrats or bears. Pick ONE!

Intelligence can produce other possibilities. Perhaps butterflies cause more than hurricanes when they idly flap about, "innocently" unaware of the trouble they cause. Also, some species of butterfly have been a source of the dye on banknotes, possibly giving rise to the chaos called a "financial system".

Ballpoint pens, and lately sms, with they way they hurry communications and increase misunderstandings ... There are many candidates for your personal Prime Evil.

When you have made your choice, stick to it and be strong. Firm in your resolve. You (I hope) currently obey the regular laws of your land, which already restrain you from vengeful or dangerous actions … but you can feel. You can know. You can even have fun sharing your view, and canvassing for it.

In and of itself, this exercise, sincerely undertaken, can teach some important deep truths.

You will know when it is complete, and can then drop your issues with that "one thing" … or not, if you find it fun to keep.

If you want to borrow mine, the "thing" into which I put "all blame" when busy with this exercise… I'm not telling. It isn't a very well kept secret, but I'm doing my bit to keep it quiet.

And for how long?
I suggest, for as long as you find it fruitful. As long as it reveals truth to you and increases your awareness of your own mind's workings, it is worthwhile. After that, I suppose, for as long as you enjoy it. Personally, I found this exercise good for a couple of years, once I managed to get the focus mostly on THE ONE. Getting all blaming driven into one was the tough bit. No second and third options allowed.

The fruits?

Juicy indeed. Live them and experience them.

07 October 2008

Return to the Wild Woman: A retreat for women on the 24 - 26 October

A further word from Shakti:

Our aim with this retreat is to share with you the mysteries of Skydancing. Dakini literally means Skydancer. In Tantra, Skydancing is a term used to refer to the deep state of ecstasy and merging with the cosmos that can happen for a woman in lovemaking. While it is exquisite to share this with a partner, it is possible - and advisable - to open the pathways for this bliss in your own body to begin with. Our methods for this retreat will be
supporting you to dance yourself into your unique body ecstasy
teaching and sharing the mysteries of female sexuality through practical techniques
supporting each other as a sisterhood, a sacred tribe of courageous women

A further word from Shima:

Some of you have heard of the Dakinis. The word Dakini means Sky Dancer. When the Dakini is deep in the meditation of love making she dancers the sky, she dancers existence, with her beloved the masculine rock beneath her. The beloved holds the ground for her to dance upon.

This beauty of the love making meditation, of Sky Dancing has been been forgotten on our planet for thousands of years.

Now we evoke the Sky Dancing once again.

Women have been brought up to believe that most or all of their sexual expression is wrong and must only be presented in an acceptable way according to the culture. This is our prison, this is our suffering as we force ourselves into a tiny mind construct and refuse the flowering of our being.

The return of the Wild Woman invites a great unlearning. In this unlearning our true being begins to emerge and we dance again.

If you are experiencing fear or excitement this is often a sign on the path - a big flashing neon sign - saying this is exactly where your next learning will be.

So Shakti and I offer this workshop that it may call the spirit of woman back into the land. Aah sisters, come, dance again.

03 September 2008

My First Time

For the longest time I was wrapped in the cultural mind of what sex is and when sex is allowed, of what woman is and what of woman is allowed. I struggled for breath as I attempted some forms of the real of sex of the real of woman but I was lost in the dark.

So my search began. ....

This story today is not the whole story but a moment; the meeting of a Tantra master, Nityama.

He first appeared to me in a dream - a strong black man naked in a shower. I had been doing courses in sexuality in Harbin Hot Springs, California when I was told that this man, Nityama, may be of use.

He was not known then and offered me a meeting session for free. I stepped into his session’s room very aware that I was alone with a black man and I had come to him to learn more about sex - my South African white girl mind so perfectly set up in this moment. If I had the capacity to access my body deeper then I am certain I would have trembled with fear.

He first spoke to me. What I remember of the speaking was the explanation of the basic premise of the love relating between men and women. Men wish to please the Mama and women want to be daddy’s little princess and his favourite girl in the whole world. This sets up men and women in a cycle that is based on the unloved child’s view and not of beings that are in their fullness who relate and share from this fullness. It is a deeply unconscious space that perpetuates itself and for many people their awareness will never rise above it. In this place they cannot know the true of love. They can only know the demands and the fears of the child and live from there. Nityama explained that for this cycle to be broken the man must first say NO to the little girl in as much love as possible. But only in the no to the demand of the little girl can the woman be born. Then the woman in turn will guide the man to higher awareness and spirituality.

I felt the truth of these words. I saw them directly in my experience. This is what he needed to tell me. These words have remained as a backdrop deep into my journey.

We sat silently for a time, I cannot say how long, opposite each other. In this moment I felt as if the space around was alive and full and pulsating. I could feel the room moving. Perhaps in my understanding now I can say that his presence brought presence to me. He was a catalyst as the teachers of this school are catalysts.

He then cradled me in his arms and hummed. My mind along the way was making much noise especially when we moved to this physicality. My mother’s voice appeared “ All men want is sex”. My mind was making these noises but inside this holding I had a moment of sleep, so deeply he held me, and I was the infant completely held , held as she always wanted to be held. Still the mind noise in the midst of this beauty.

After, he left the room for something. I sneaked, ( am I really going to admit this..) a look at his appointment diary and it was empty. The conclusions I came to were ugly- in retrospect, who knows, maybe it was a brand new diary - what does it matter after what had been?

I did not have the capacity then ( 8 years ago ) to let myself in on the magnificence of this meeting. My mind simply wanted to escape. I left and did not return, until now.

I choose to share this moment because I see how sometimes people run from myself and the teachers of the school. I understand the running and I also know that if you truly wish truth and beauty as your living, you will return, if not to this school then to another, as I did.

As your capacity to allow the moment into your awareness grows, this itself is what draws you back to the work. When bliss hits, no matter how loud the mind objects, you will return. There is no substitute.

The return, is the journey to the truth of who you are and the full expression of that.

Namaste Nityama

Afternote

Nityama now travels the world teaching. For the initial bliss session for woman of 3 hours he charges $1000 around R8000. For men it is $1500. I suspect his diary may now be full.

http://www.nityama.com/blog/services.html

03 August 2008

The bliss of emptiness

You need not do anything
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
You need not even listen, just wait.
You need not even wait, just learn to be quiet, still and solitary
And the world will freely offer itself to you unmasked.
It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet
- Franz Kafka

21 July 2008

Heart Meditation: Audio CD released.

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 .

Loojong is, on the surface of it, all about developing a compassionate approach to existence as you meet it. A root spiritual attitude of Mahayana Buddhism.

This isn't all of the story, however. Atisha, who really got the Loojong thing going had a particular, personal area 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.

Tantrikas often deliberately and consciously do things and make choices that they know could bring them hurt and suffering as well as joy and bliss. We know that truth is to be found just as much in our tears as in our laughter. Living with this approach means that Tantrikas are in for Strong Feelings, often Mixed. Some of them quite destructive to the body if not handled.

Heart meditation is a way to handle current hurt, and grow the heart's capacity to handle more. With some diligent practice at times of pain, suffering, and particularly heart-soreness, your heart's capacity increases beyond the requirements of your own suffering. What used to literally be "killing you" becomes "Heart Food".

Atisha was all packed for his Mission to Tibet when someone told him what lovely, mannered, natural and thoroughly people the Tibetans were and how lucky he was to be going there.

This information didn't please him at all. Quite the contrary. He solved his problem by arranging that a thoroughly unpleasant, mean-spirited fellow he knew join his Mission. Just making sure that he would have at least some "fuel", some negative emotion available for his Loojong practice.


About the CD


On this CD, I guide you into this technique, supporting you to get the "knack" of it, to allow your opening to feeling your own hurt, and allowing your heart to transform your experience of that hurt. Sound Artist Gabriel added some smooth background tones, just to deepen the feeling of it. Yummie.


The practice of Heart Meditation doesn't require High Ideals, or a Great Spiritual Purpose. At a practical level, for most people, it's the most easing and supportive of practices for just getting through the tougher parts of life's journey. Good medicine. Just, it may carry the risk of you becoming a Seeker, maybe even a Tantrika … don't take that risk lightly.

More about heart meditation at meditate.co.za

Heart meditation CD available at CreateSpace (an Amazon Company)

18 July 2008

Launch of our first Audio CD: Death Meditation

This ancient technique is a deep exploration of an aspect of your being. It's a powerful technique to enable insights into the Truth of Death.

In this school, this technique has proved to be of great use for all of us at some time or another, and is a favourite regular practice.


It is an advanced technique, not easily accessible to beginner meditators. It certainly helps to have done some catharsis, some emotionally purging work like Osho's Dynamic Meditation, or long-distance running, bag-punching .... something to purge at least the surface mind-noise that goes on in most heads.

So, like cycling, there's, as Osho often said of meditation, a "knack" to it. The technique itself is helpful, but so is being in a suitable frame of mind, and some gentle guidance from someone who's got the knack already.

As soon as we think they might be ready, we teach Death Meditation to our Student Tantrikas, and it becomes a regular practice for them because it is necessary!

If you're going to be exploring even into the subconscious of your sexuality, going, in your awareness, where very few others on this planet go, you're pretty soon going to find that the way "everyone" thinks and operates seems shallow, insubstantial.

The "substance" behind ideas, thoughts, like friendship, connection, joy, sharing and even love comes to be questioned. Illusions around these ideas get destroyed. All great and necessary stuff, in pursuit of Truth, but... notice the problem?

Getting to the truth means dropping the false … the culturally ingrained ideas that pretty much everybody lives by. In doing this, you become the "most loved lost sheep" of the Essene parable, you break away from the mass-consciousness, and explore beyond it's boundaries. The bottom line, is you are going to be really lonely. Lonely in fact. For real.

This is tough. Loneliness is tough on anyone, and seekers are in for a bigger dose of it than most. Tantrikas are in for it, in classic Tantric fashion, the way the cat learned to swim. Rapid immersion, sink or swim, RIGHT NOW.

So, if you're a Tantrika, or pretty sure you're a seeker, and suspicious that Tantra may be your thing, this CD is the first substantial help we'd like to offer you. To prepare you for what's coming, and to support you in handling it adequately when it comes.

This, and our next CD, Heart meditation, are the core of a personal emotional survival kit that we very deliberately make available before publishing anything about the "sexy" side of Tantra, because, if you go there, it's going to be at least as tough emotionally as it'll be juicy and blissful. Prepare yourself. Think of it as getting your legs up to strength before taking on a skiing marathon. Or reducing your smoking before attempting to climb Everest.

This meditation is the most powerful technique we know (and it's plenty powerful enough) for working consciously with the feeling known as loneliness. Strong medicine, very effective.

For anyone experiencing profound loneliness, or becoming aware, wanting awareness into the thing we call "death", this meditation technique is also highly recommended. It's a very direct, uncluttered, clean penetration into that mystery, having no dependance on a particular belief system or spiritual attitude.

It's available at CreateSpace, an Amazon company. In a week or two, it'll be listed at Amazon too.

Hospice workers and other volunteers working with the dying are invited to contact us for free downloads of this CD.

And of course, members of the Virtual Inner Temple can download it.

22 May 2008

Beloved

I have immersed in Tantra for many years. I have worked consciously with jealousy and the fear of loss of love - both being related to each other. What I have found in my work-play with Tantra is that one can think about a thing all day all week all year but until one immerses the body and mind into the experience then there is no understanding or knowing.

This being said, I chose to face my jealousy body on – not by thinking about it but by allowing the experiences that would evoke the jealousy. I have engaged in lover relating without rules or agreements on exclusivity. I threw away the safety net!

I did this for 3 years with my Tantra teacher. I faced many personal “demons” especially the act of comparison with his other lovers and the insistent belief that I was less favoured.

These women, the other lovers, became my closest and dearest friends. This path remains new and always surprising. So it is when you choose to take the path never travelled before as opposed to those paths that have never been left. I have come to understand that boredom comes from this place – the constant repetition of the safe and known past as opposed to the embrace of the unknown, of the dangerous – the path never taken – yourself.

In this willingness one meets a presence and a fullness that cannot be described only lived.

So yes my willingness to face my jealousy with my teacher brought on many painful and difficult illusions I had about myself. As they fell, I met the void of disillusionment, and in this void the space for truth and love.

Yet certain aspects of my illusions were not confronted with my teacher. I came to realise he was not the usual man, in that, he would not develop some attachment to another woman and refuse me because of her conditions. I came to see this over the years and so my fear of loss of love softened and my subsequent jealousy too was not so engaged or invoked.

I may have even believed that I had begun to transcend jealousy, but for some nagging insistence within….

Last year, I found myself in a place of deep presence. The past was of no consequence, my name did not matter, I found it difficult to engage in the chatter of others and mostly did not. When I attempted conversation I was not particularly good at it and this was of no concern. I was unable to define the experience or myself in it. This also did not matter. I was simply available to each moment and whatever the moment held.

In this place I met a man.

We fell into a deep sweetness with one another. It was easy, light, yummy. He was willing to be with a woman who taught sacred sexuality and did not agree to monogamy.

When I began my Tantra journey I thought I would need to surrender having a partner in order for me to teach Tantra. I believed my path would be far too challenging for anyone to want to hop on the ride with me. It was a day of grief, sadness and immense loneliness when I decided that this would be my way.

Then he arrived.

I was intimate with another. He did not enjoy but he stayed. I have some students. Again he does not enjoy but he stays.

I encouraged him to his own juice and to follow his love and allow it as it moves. For some time there was no one else. Then this began to change. It began to change with my closest friends. They were not making love but certainly this intimacy was imminent.

I fell into such a deep rage I wanted to jump on the cat that was snuggling beside him. I felt to shatter the reality in a single blow such was the sword I held. I could shred it with a thought. I became rage. I was the essence of it. It was beautiful and powerful and devastating. I understood what it is to stand in the eye of the storm and be the storm. I was total.

My teacher spoke to me of the beauty and the totality of the rage but cautioned of learning to wield this new found sword in right timing. I understood and did not. I did not want to put the sword down such was its beauty.

In most instances my teacher allows me to come to some understanding in my own time but for this understanding he was relentless. He persevered; my mind defended every corner. And in this defence it became clear I was insisting on my mind’s view not on the dharma. I came to see the fight I was engaged in. I chose then to stop. I would no longer refuse this learning.

My beloved is not my property to direct. He can stay or he can leave. There is nothing I can do to change his dance with existence.

I notice during this time that I am feeling some indifference towards my lover. This scares me, the absence of the sweet flow of love that is our day-to-day relating. I see that the indifference is misplaced – outrageously so.

The indifference is rightly given when he chooses intimacy with another not when we are being intimate. When I realise this and act upon it I feel a deep freedom.

We are at a party with many delicious women. He is playing and I am indifferent. He comes to dance with me, hold me, whisper in my ear and the indifference is no longer.

For some this may sound as if I am simply doing what he wishes. It is not so. I allow the real. I allow indifference in right timing not when we are home in bed together and now I am going to be aloof and indifferent because he spoke to girls at the party. And at the party I felt longing and deep torturous love because he was chatting to the girls. No, rather feel the longing and the love when he is in bed next to me and I can nail him. Or else, all I have experienced is misery.

The real is; he loves women. I cannot and do not want to change that. Ask any woman who has loved a misogynist.

He loves women. They like him too. The energy will move between them. It will happen regardless of what I want. If I manage to somehow stop the flow of his juice then it will stop with me too. Our love will become an empty but very safe shell.

Indifference has a place – allow it - in its rightful place.

In these few weeks of deep learning and allowing some very large shifts and aspects, I became ill. My gall bladder and liver became sore and my system very tired. The gall bladder is the place of fear and courage. The feeling I had in the body was that I was severely beaten up. As if I had done big battle. I think existence won.

My understanding has deepened. At the beginning of my Tantra path I felt I would lose the love of a partner, but now I see I have only begun my loving because of this path.

I understand the insistence of non-monogamy. It is not about many lovers per se, many lovers can be helpful too, but that is another story. It is about a freedom beyond fucking a lot. The repressed western mind will always make it about someone wanting to fuck a lot and they better than that because they can avoid such temptations.

No, there is a freedom that is beyond any mind’s explanation that comes when your jealousy and fear of the loss of love are no longer your masters. Imagine what it is to be able to love someone completely without any fear. Not because you placed little safety rules between you, or because you have made up nice beliefs about the other, but simply because you are no longer afraid!

Can you imagine the freedom of this place?

You will only reach this place if you allow all the fear, jealousy, rage and pain. These come when you allow what is real. Your lover may be with another. Then you feel all, then you return to the core where the storm can no longer reach or ever did.

05 May 2008

Virtual Inner Temple

A few of us have wanted a "private" (to students and teachers) area of the website, where we can discuss Tantric practices and sexual techniques that we'd rather not publish openly. Not that we're prudish, just that we like to be a bit culturally sensitive, so we do a little self-censorship.

This websites exists to let seekers with an interest in Tantra can find us. It's of course unavoidable that 98% of people can therefore find us in web searches and such, so there's a few things we do to reduce judgemental or purient-interest visitors. This is why there's not much in the way of sexy pictures, or descriptions of advanced sexual techniques at tantraschool.co.za.

On a practical level too, if we turn up in google searches for things titillating, our little website hosting facility will be quite overwhelmed and it's costs would increase significantly. Also, a subscriber-only area of the site could help with our ongoing web hosting costs, which are likely to increase now that we have some decent video and audio recording kit (and good film technicians) in the school.

What's delayed things was having something of value to offer to our first subscribers. Sure, if there's a lot of subscribers, discussion boards, chat rooms, contact searches and other nice things become possible, but what to offer the first in, especially as there's really no guarantee that enough interested people will subscribe to make the social aspect worthwhile one day?

Now that we've made a start on publishing, a solution presents itself. We're on the point of releasing our first 3 CD's so we have something of value to offer. Hopefully a worthwhile incentive.

To begin then, the subscriber-only "members" area of the site will have these 3 CD's available for download. As we do more recordings on various topics around Tantra, they'll be free to download in the members area just a bit before they are reproduced, and available for sale on the site.

Anything we publish (eg. DVD's) that's just plain impractical to make available for download, we'll make the packaged discs available to members at a hefty discount.

There's some writing in the school which can be published in the members area. Students and teachers of the school occasionally write of some experience, and find that, because of the intimacy of the piece, or people it unavoidably identifies they've had to keep it to themselves.

So, soon, we'll have worked out what we think is fair to charge, how to receive payments and such things, but soon, very soon, come, beloveds, and join the Virtual Inner Temple.

19 February 2008

Dancing

I have danced at the fires of Rumi

I have made love in tents the colour of gold on the periphery of the great pyramids

I have celebrated in the ancient temples of Tantra

I have sacrificed to the old gods

And now….

Upon my Path where dancing dancers

I find this Thing

I see it on the horizon in the distance

It draws me closer ... a seduction … calling … promising

I beckon the Beloved, “ Come, let’s explore this Thing. It sings. Oh, it promises juice and joy and love and celebration. Bliss, it oaths, are just around its corners. Come Beloved!”

We draw closer

The Beloved, my Self and the Thing closer promising seducing

Bliss threatening in every breath

Then …

The Thing speaks of Payment

You can only love one other; you must compromise and negotiate a position of meeting; you will re-negotiate this often; the best way to hold the love is by grabbing fiercely and refusing any joy unless it is with each other; you must fight or even destroy anyone who threatens this position; you must strive to better your position; you must defend your position and separate from others so as not to allow for invasion; your level of fear and holding demonstrates devotion and honour; this devotion and honour demonstrates love; the depth that you are willing to demonstrate will lead you to the reward of true happiness

The Beloved and my Self believe the promises of the Thing

The Thing becomes our interaction. We strive to meet the Payments. After each Payment is met some new Payment is demanded.

We forget our dancing that was before the Thing.

We know only the Thing. Have we met the payments? Are we any closer to the final promise?

We put all our work and energy and fight into the Thing

A rage begins, hating begins .. for we are no closer to the final promise and yet there is so much work

It must be the fault of the other … of the Beloved

The Beloved, who I can no longer see

Only the Thing remains – It has become All

The Beloved gone

The dancing gone

The Thing remains

The yearning remains

The Beloved no more

The Thing still insisting … perhaps if I work harder … perhaps if I find another … a better partner who is more able to meet Payments

Many Things now appear on my Path

They have some different shapes and sounds and colours and demand of Payments

Still, never does any one Thing deliver the final promise

The Beloved is gone

A great Suffering fills me

I am weary of Things and I avoid them

I am alone and a deep pain embraces the edges of my resentful walking

I have thoughts of leaving the Path

Perhaps I can sell copiers and have holidays at Club Med

Perhaps the dancing was a dream and only my failure is real

Still the fierce yearning holds me to the Path

At times I hear a faint singing

The song of the Beloved…

I know I will not leave the Path

Then one day, deep inside the weariness, I see him in the distance

He is waving at me

He is pointing the way to me

The pointing leads to the edge of a cliff

I must jump

His eyes insist

Only my death lies at the end of this leap

I look back from where I came

There is nothing

I look into the eyes of the Beloved

I jump

And fall into love




After many sleeps, he explains

The Thing became so big that we both lost ourselves in it and no longer could see the other

I learnt the way of the Thing and realised there was no way over under or around

I must go through

This was the only way and the shortest way

I met much that I wished to turn away from

I knew if I turned back I would never find the way out of lost

In this moment I found the choice less choice

I met rage, pain, jealousy, loneliness, grabbing, running, refusing to move, running in all the wrong directions, seeing the way and not allowing myself to see.

I continued through

Darkness covered the way

Terror a signpost to where I must go next

Until I too met the cliff

And jumped



I waited for you

Watched you

Guided you in dreams and signs I was able to leave on your trail

But only you could find your way through the Thing

For the trick of the Thing, if I return into it, I will be lost again and be of no use to you at all



Does it have a name, the Thing?

Yes … Relationship



We walked away

We did not look back

For dancing dancers

Always

08 February 2008

Reflections on Tantra from my experience in India

This blog is a reflection on my experience of a month long visit to India from which I have just returned, and the ways in which it has been an exploration of Tantric principles for me.

Non-duality

A central tenet of Tantra as a path of awareness is that all duality is illusion. Only when the dualities in our consciousness get integrated or dissolved can we see and experience reality for what it really is – without filters. I have found India a magnificent challenge in this regard. Here the sacred and the profane mingle with apparently no contradiction.
  • Even the poorest in India have a primary focus on spiritual practice. In places there are more stalls with offerings to deities than there are food stalls, and I got the distinct impression that spending is balanced that way too. In these stalls with offerings, there are lovely flower bouquets, conch shells that make the sound of the god Shiva when blown, colourful sweets for the gods, tiny plates with rice and bananas and other foods, prayer beads of all shapes and colours, incense, and large trays of colourful powders for giving and receiving blessings on the brow.
  • Holy cow (shit): In India, the cow is Nandi, the animal of the great god Shiva. Cows are therefore sacred. They are also the source of milk, a primary food for many, and dung, which is used as fuel. Cows are everywhere, in the middle of India’s busiest roads, in between food stalls, in homes. They live off piles of waste that you can find anywhere, even around the most sacred living temples of India like the Jagannath temple that I visited.
  • Light and dark: India has both dark and light deities. Examples of the dark are Chamunga, a skeleton goddess who takes sacrifice as offering, and Kali, who carries a garland of skulls around her neck.
  • Sensory dualities: The sensory contrasts in India are overwhelming. Take smell. Air pollution in India is so intense that even locals put on gas masks if they get on to the road. Add to this the smell of waste collecting everywhere. And then in contrast, the finest and most exquisite jasmine oil and the finest sandalwood incense drifting through the midst of all this… Taste is another one. India is a feast of flavours – spicy green coriander sauce, vegetables cooked in 1000 spices, fish humming with the robust energy of the sea. But one needs to taste very carefully, because the food can so easily be off, and India’s stomach bugs are fierce demons.
  • The sacred and the sexual: The temple stone carvings depict an Indian consciousness that sees no divide between the sacred and the sexual. There is a seamless flow from representations of gods and Buddhas in meditation to nymphs, couples, threesomes and five-somes (human and non-human) in an abundance of erotic poses. In Tantric temples, where thousands of people still workshop daily, the sacred center almost invariably contains a lingham (stone carving of a phallus) resting in a yoni (a container with water shaped to symbolize the vagina).

Revering the Feminine Divine

  • India has a long and beautiful history of revering the feminine. Shaktism, for instance, is a large movement in India that is focused on devotion to Shakti, the feminine principle (I like this of course).
  • Opinions vary of whether devotion to the feminine declined or grew over the centuries. In support of the latter idea, there are post-matriarchal temple images such as the 7 Matrikas and 64 Dakinis. The 7 Matrikas are 7 images of the Goddess as Mother. They are magnificent, and formed a central pillar of Tantric practice in some temples. The 64 Dakinis are an elaboration of the Matrikas, and they are depictions of the Feminine Divine in both her Light and Dark side. These images, also, are magnificent and awe inspiring.
  • The many female erotic figures on Tantric temple walls have fascinating mythological connections. They are sometimes defined as apsarases, nymphs who are regarded as minor divinities who evoke, tempt and enchant with their erotic postures and movements. They protect mortal beings, but they also tempt ascetics away from their solitary practice. They love playing in water and are associated with all things natural. Sometimes these female erotic figures are called devadasis; servants of god. The devadasis were never married to the gods; rather, they served as their female partners in the sensuous enjoyment of the gods. Devadasis are dancers per excellence. It is said that they were dancing in the temples before the gods even arrived.
  • People often talk of India as Mother India, and if you ever visit, you will experience why. She welcomes all people and takes care of you in the most peculiar way. And also in her – in India – there is a pervading sense of the cosmos as mother, as home to us all.

Being present in the now/ loving what is
  • India has given me excellent opportunity to practice being present in the moment, regardless of that that feels (or smells) like. India is a spiritual/meditative culture, but with very little concern for creating favourable environmental conditions. Inner silence in India happens in the presence of constant sound – loud conversations any time of the night or day, and no matter whether you stay in a luxury hotel or in a slum; wedding brass bands and fire crackers every day, the call of the Imam at 6 am, chanting over loud speakers from 7am, the blasting and roaring of bikes and rikshaws hooting and revving; trains blowing hauntingly echoing trumpets sounds; flushing toilets, loud spitting and gargling… it’s all there to meet you.

Serenity and neediness
  • India has both. Silent women draped in breathtaking colours carry the still presence of dedication to their households as a meditative practice. Sometimes, unexpectedly, I was met by soft hands that hold compassion and timeless presence. India’s infinite tolerance for whatever new force comes along adds to her serenity. India’s simplicity touched me with a delightful serenity too. In a country where so many millions around you are so obviously living on the bread line, I ate only when I was hungry, and became quite grateful for a metal bucket of hot water to wash with.
  • In contrast with its serenity, India is awash with the childlike neediness of people focused on the game of survival. This means staying on your toes all the time not do be done in with the price of anything, while being told long stories about the seller’s little children back home who depend on this sale. “Madam! Madam!” they call, and hands reach out pleadingly. Sometimes this was exasperating for me – lying on a bed in the middle of an Ayurvedic massage while the practitioner is trying to convince me to buy him a bicycle – and sometimes just plain funny – a priest getting almost aggressive with me when I refuse to come with him, until he explains the reason for his urgency (“Madam, madam – Pollock! Pollock!) India is as cricket mad as South Africa, and the players are revered much like gods.

The dance of spirit and body

India’s mythology and culture has a rich understanding of the dance between spirit and body. Dance in Indian traditional culture is an exploration of the divine. It is fascinating to see how Bollywood dancing has taken on this mechanism into an exploration of new ‘gods’ that we in the West are more familiar with (the idealized lover/fame/money being some of these gods).

There is deep reverence for Shakti as the kinetic (movement) force of existence, alongside the powerful stillness of Shiva, her partner. Shakti is awareness in the ever-changing moving form – which implies that meditation happens not only in silent sitting away from the world (the practice of Shiva) but in the continuing rolling of the wheel of life. In participating in the dance, while watching it with awareness.

I have found in India so many beautiful images of the dancing divine:
  • Lord Nataraj, the many-armed dancing Shiva standing gracefully on one leg, adorns many Tantric temples
  • The devadasi’s and their modern counterparts in Indian classical dance (particularly in Odissi dancing) follow an intense discipline in elaborate handwork, footwork, body sculpting, control over facial muscles that results in exquisite elaboration on the erotic figures on the temple walls.
  • The gotipua dancers of India are young dancing boys from villages dressed up as girls and performing dances similar to those of the devadasi, but outside the temple walls. Their dances are highly acrobatic and angular. I visited dance routs, an exciting dance company that is training these young boys, when they grow too old to be traditional gotipuas, to become magnificent male dancers in their own right
  • From the Muslim mystical tradition comes sufi whirling, which for me was one of the most ecstatic experiences of the whole journey.
  • Dance as celebration and devotion happens everywhere in India – in ashrams, through wedding bands on the streets, through the many, many religious festivals of India, through trance and house and any variation of Indo-European mix of music you may be looking for on the beaches of Goa.

The inner guru

  • India is a land of guru’s. In its ancient wisdom, India has known for many thousands of years that seekers need guidance along the way. In my journey in India this year, I met stated and unstated gurus and priests with profound wisdom and compassion, and many that are blatantly corrupt.
  • The latter I see as a gift, for it helps us to discard with the idea of the guru as somewhere celestial and beyond. It is said that the Buddha of our time would be Matreya, Buddha as the friend. A friend is someone who walks alongside you, helping you to access your own wisdom, and to follow your unique dharma.
  • I have such gratitude for my teacher Rahasya. He guides me with the lightest of touches and with ever-mirthful friendship. He helps me never to take life too seriously, and especially not him. He has developed a unique way of using modern iconography and experience to evoke authentically the wisdom of Tantra in each individual who arrives at the school.
  • And beyond that, the message is abundantly clear: the truth is not fully realized until I deeply accept that the guru is inside.
Tantric practice in India today

India is one of the main centers from which Tantra developed over the centuries. One aim of my journey there was to go experience for myself some of the history and current practice of Tantra in India. Here are some of my observations, filtered through my own experience and limited time in India.

The ancient mystical roots of Tantra in India as a path of totality have become obscured in adaptations and imitations of the initial intent. This had much to do with political happenings, as I shall further explain.
  1. In the 7th to 9th century, Tantra became popular practice with the masses, with the result that Hindu and Buddhist leaders began vying for ownership of the practices.
  2. Tantric temples and practices have traditionally been financially supported by the ruling king. When Muslim rulers took over, this support ended. The devadasi, temple priestesses and dancers that played a central role in Tantric temple practice, now had to seek patronage outside the temple to survive.
  3. On this followed British colonial rule. Because the devadasi now relied on patronage outside the temples, the British regarded the them as prostitutes and outlawed them in the early 20th century. This was the end of a function that had formally secured the continuity of Tantric practice in India. Some devadasi continued their practice underground, but the last of them are ending their years now.
  4. With Indian Independence, the Indian state reinvented the dances of the devadasi but now purely as a showcase of Indian culture. The result was Odissi dancing, a highly complex and beautiful dance form. For some artists and practitioners, the dance is still a spiritual practice of centering and devotion, but it has been cleaned of overtly sexual content. Many of the postures in Odissi dancing are based on the poses of the nymphs in erotic sculptures, but the game of seduction in the dance is always only to show devotion to the masculine divine (Krishna) the way that a wife (Radha – Krishna’s consort) is devoted to her husband.
  5. India has taken on British morality in its reinterpretation of Tantric traditions. Thus I find official guides in my tours of the Tantric temples telling me things such as that the erotic sculptures on the walls were ways in which the old masters wanted to warn people of the dangers of free sexuality. And that a woman touching herself is a depiction of feminine madness.
  6. It was fascinating to follow the process through which guides and priests interpreted the images on ancient Tantric temples. Apart from the influence of contemporary Indian morality (that sees all erotic images as “sexy” or just classifies them as “Karma Sutra” – whatever that means), the processes that guides follow to give meaning to what they see are as wide and diverse as the ocean. One guide that happened to be particularly useful told me, upon my inquiry, that he had received most of his understanding of the temples (of which he was the main priest) through books that an Italian academic had introduced him to!
  7. Sexual regulation in India is further impacting on modern India’s relationship with Tantra. The system of arrange marriages has left men in India with intense curiosity about all things sexual, and an almost na├»ve groping for opportunities. This makes it hard work to travel on your own as a woman in India.
  8. Tantra yoga is an interpretation of Tantra that is active today. This concerns disciplines of body and mind such as:
  • Yoga asanas or postures
  • Hand mudras or finger positions that create certain states of awareness
  • Yantras or geometric shapes that focus awareness
  • Mantras and chants using seed sounds and Sanskrit phrases to create a meditative state of mind.
  • All these practices can be very useful, and have been for me on my path. But if they become the path – if the disciplines become the aim – they become an obstacle.
9. Left hand path cults: From speaking to Indians, I gather that the current popular understanding of Tantra in India is that it is a cult practice aimed at manipulating power. There are cults that use magical rites involving the breaking of taboos and performing magical rites to develop ‘supernatural’ powers and to get land and patronage. This approach to Tantra has become known as the left hand path of Tantra – an approach focused on the ‘dark’ as much as the ‘light’. As with any field of power, Tantra lends itself to abuse and misinterpretation. Ironically, these cults are not that far from the truth. Moving through duality does require a willingness to bring awareness into the dark as much as into the light. However, if the aim becomes personal or tribal power and gain, that will be the limits of its potential for awareness.

10. Imitating the enlightened condition: Seekers in India have seen Tantric masters portray certain traits, such as that they do not get aroused (i.e. do not get an erection) when seeing anything erotic. Ignoring the fact that this response is a result of total integration (the master has fully lived his desires and his fears in this arena, and is thus completely neutral), the followers have devised complex rites of imitation. These include hanging a brick on the lingham (penis) to break the joints and to ensure that the lingham cannot get erect again. Such austerity practices continue today in the Shiva tradition. This may seem ludicrous for us as westerners, but watch closely for the many ways in which we do the same

10. Neo-Tantra: I visited the Ashram of Osho, one of the Tantra teachers of the last century. His interpretation of Tantra, influenced by a wide range of Western and Eastern traditions, is called Neo-Tantra. While he left his body more than a decade ago, his Ashram is now the largest of its kind in the world. It is expensive and highly regulated. Some of Osho’s techniques of awareness that pervade the daily active meditations are:
  • Celebration: Osho created the figure of Zorba the Buddha – the person who can be totally immersed in meditation while being totally immersed in the pleasure of life. In the centre of the Ashram is a beautiful swimming pool with lazy chairs, and dancing happens continuously in a most celebratory way on large marble platforms under trees.
  • Totality of experience: The active meditations are designed to get you totally in the moment. When you are fully immersed in experience, the mind stops, and meditation can begin. And example is whirling. I did an hour of whirling meditation at the Ashram – spinning around my own axis for that amount of time, surrendering to the bliss of it – I melted into all that is, and my heart blew wide open.
  • Surprise and shock: Osho uses Zen methods of unexpected shocks, such as the loud ringing of a gong in the middle of silence, to bring your mind instantly into the moment. Many Zen students have woken up just from being overwhelmed such shocks!
  • I did a workshop on the Book of Secrets, Osho’s interpretation of an ancient Tantric text that describes 112 key meditation practices. This was an exquisite experience, and deeply fulfilling for me. The basic content was the practice of various meditations with a partner. There can be few things more blissful than the state of meditation shared intimately with another, through breath, through touch, through presence in the senses.

Conclusions

I am most grateful to Mother India for the experiences she has taken me through – profound journeys physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have discovered more of the depth and range of experience that is possible for a human being. I have found new edges, sat in new fires, and had moments of ecstasy, rapture and boundless immersion into the moment.

India as a grandmother of the Tantra tradition offers symbols, wisdom and pathways like pearls that have washed up on the beach. But we have to string them ourselves – there is no existing necklace. This moment at the end of what in India is known as the Kali Yuga (age of darkness where materialism would get strong) asks of us to be the creators – the authentic creators – of our own pathways of awareness. And for those who are involved in Tantra like myself, it asks of me to trust my own impulse and insight, and to keep forging a new creation out of the old.

The inspiration of Tantra for me is clear: it is a path of totality, a fast path of awakening. It works so strongly because it is an immersion in what is, denying or suppressing nothing, neither fears nor desires – exploring them fully – contemplating and adoring them like the sculptors did with their erotic carvings on the temple walls. In so doing, we get intimately acquainted with the Leela, the play of illusion of this world – we get to see reality for what it is – to celebrate it – and to live the truth of who we are: one with the oceans of existence.

08 January 2008

Warped Passages

I’ve long been interested in contemporary and recent physics, part of my curiosity about how existence does it’s thing.

I read a book of Heisenberg’s which left me uncertain but principled. Various commentators and elucidators of Einstein made the uncertainty and the principles relative (this does not mean they had anything to do with my cousin). String Theory lost me in a strange entanglement, and M-theory seemed to require more branes.

Warped Passages was far better. Lisa Randall's overview of the last 100 years' research and the major features of the Standard Model is the clearest, most accessible writing I've found on the subject. Of course, all reviewers are likely to say that, to give the impression that they understand this stuff.

Of course, "stuff" is what it's all about, or more accurately, what and how is the space in which stuff occurs formed, and the possibility that the structure of space itself gives rise to the particles of the Standard Model. Lisa describes her own experience as a "model builder", suggesting ways things might be, how dimensions may be arranged in ways that would be consistent with what's observed in high energy experiments.

Some aspects of these models have implications for experiments using the Large Hadron Collider, the start of which has been delayed. Some aspects of these models of the nature of dimensions will be tested.

What I'm most grateful for, and what made this book, for me, significantly superior to anything else I've read on the topic, is Lisa Randall's honesty.

Most of what I've read presents information about the Standard Model, String Theory and other scientific theories as if theories are "facts" and the elegant and frightening mathematics involved is something accurate, nice solid numbers that agree with what's measurable.

There's a 13-digit fudge required for the Standard Model to work. Theories of 11 dimensions have to roll dimensions up or warp them so as to explain their apparent absence in the 3D world of our regular experience. The accuracy with which we can measure the very very small is, at a certain size, very limited indeed. Projected experiments are likely to support some models (Lisa's personal speciality is Model Building) and refute, or require revision of others. There's also not necessarily any absolute certainty about what exactly "dimensions" are, or "where" they are when there's more of them than we're familiar with.

Now, this is a Tantrika's blog article, not a physics book review, and I'm coming to (hopefully) some sort of useful point. From here on in, I'll mix my (mis)understandings of Ms Randall's ideas with a few of my own and will probably commit other intellectual crimes as well.

The more we know, the more we realise there may be more to know. Sure, Einstein's version of how space, time and gravity work is fundamentally different from Newton's. They also apply, and both give accurate predictions of real , measureable consequences for the range of regular human experience. Newton's mathematical analogy is a good enough fit to "what is" that it can calculate all necessary energies involved in getting to the moon. Einstein's approach, however, is required for the accuracy of GPS. String theory, and Lisa Randall's models of branes are analogies which may apply to the extreme energies of coming experiments.

I'm suggesting that no theories or models of the nature of what we call "reality" are, or ever will be "factual". Not that they are lies, just that they are always going to be analogies, descriptions that apply (can be tested) to various scenarios and scales.

An example from alchemy:
Mixing the essence of speed (the dried sweat of a horse) with an element typical of hell (brimstone) and the essence of fire (chimney soot) makes a fast burning powder, which explodes violently if strongly contained. This description of gunpowder manufacture works fine, is understandable, and was once therefore, useful.

A chemist 100 years back would have used a different analogy, one of oxygen being freed from the potassium nitrate (horse sweat) and reacting violently with the sulphur (brimstone) and carbon (soot). The chemist's analogy, or story of how things seem to work, would likely be more useful, particularly when extending the idea to predict other reactions, or determining the ideal proportions for the most powerful reaction, or at least a tight range within which to experiment.

This investigation into reality, stuff, substance – that which stands beneath, and gives rise to the universe of phenomena that we perceive – is a very old one, and has been the subject of much human thought and investigation for at least as long as there have been humans on this planet.

The investigatory tools, approaches, starting premises and paradigms of Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Sufi, Jain, Baul and other mystics have been very different from those used by modern physicsts, but their analogies, their stories of how existence works, are often applicable to experience.

There's been historic crossover between these apparently unconnected disciplines, Science and Mysticism-Philosophy. The genius Nikola Tesla, who had no peers qualified to review his work, and no language which adequately expressed his understanding – even to himself – found useful language in the Hindu Vedas, which contain, along with "spiritual" descriptions of the world, accurate instructions for making electric batteries.

More recently, Gary Zukav more than hinted at a possible convergence of ancient Eastern and modern Western ideas on the nature of reality. There's also been the (bad science, worse mysticism) "What the Bleep" movie, which has been surprisingly helpful to many people, giving them new "stories of how it is" to try out, or just freeing them from the righteousness of the rigid world-view they'd been educated into.

My opinion is that these areas of understanding, seeker and scientist, are related by the fact that both are, in essence, concerned with the search for Truth.

Seekers have historically used their own awareness, their own consciousness as their laboratory, and have always therefore been intimately, subjectively involved in the processes they've studied. There's a definite awareness that the practices of the path change the practitioner's consciousness. Truth can be hinted at, can be revealed, can be accepted (in the sense of a deep and total submission) and can be experienced. It can't, in any direct way, at least, be usefully described.

Scientists have been concerned to be remote, of no influence on the "reality" they study. Their laboratories have been arranged and equipped to see what happens objectively, without any interference from or dependence on the consciousness or awareness of the observer. Truth is known in the form of theories, which are regarded as "fact" until "disproved" and replaced by peer reviewed and approved new theory, which is then "fact".

Interestingly, from such an apparently different approach, scientists are now saying similar things to the mystics. Things are never absolute. They depend (on large scales) on the relative situations of things, and (on very small scales) on the energy and vibratory frequency, and what one chooses to observe it as being.

We're getting pretty close to Bill Hicks' Positive LSD story: "Today, a young man on acid, realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves... here's Tom with the weather."

When the Large Hadron Collider does it's thing, existence may retain an inscrutability, or may reveal some startling surprises. Matter and energy may be revealed as an appearance, due to dimensionality itself, with no substance worthy of the name. What I'd call Maya. Super-symmetry, I'd call Advaita.

My view, from my own absolutely subjective experience is that there is something to this idea of additional dimensions. I believe too that science is going to have to in some way include consciousness in it's models. Osho took a scientific approach to meditation and the "problems" of the human condition. The spiritual world was thereby revitalised. The new science is looking rather mystical lately, with elegant models of warped multi-dimensional branes that are mathematically described by, yet can't be imagined by their authors.

When it comes to this game of suggesting and testing theories, analogies, stories-of-how-it-is, the mystics, philosophers, shamans and gurus have far more experience than scientists. It's nice to see science approaching some of our key realisations:

  • The ultimate Truth is unknowable to mind, on account of it's very nature. This is expressed in the saying "Those who know speak not of it, and those that speak of it do not know". From a teacher's perspective, this is a bit "Fucked if you do, fucked if you don't.", but no matter. The value of this idea is that no matter how much you may enjoy the knowledge, the stories of how things work, no matter how much understanding you have of some things, how deeply held your wishing (be-lief), how deep your devotion to your notion of the divine, or how vivid and lucid your dreams and visions are... none of these things is, or even really hints at Ultimate Truth (in Physicist language: The True TOE)
  • Nonetheless, there are many things that help in the search. Many obstacles to knowing which can be removed, or at least loosened if the right hints and suggestions are given. In recognising that any theory is just an analogy, a story which fits existence's appearance over a limited range, one can drop the concern that theories should agree in all cases, at all scales. They won't. The story of the Higgs' Bosun in Warped Passages really delighted me. Such inventiveness! A theory which mathematically describes the transition from the domain of one theory (of the extremely small) to the domain of another (of the far tinier).
  • The most valuable help one has on the path is one's own faith and trust. Faith is an acceptance of truth as it reveals, not an insistence on a point of view, or belief (wish). Trust as an acceptance of what is, past one's anger, through the underlying fear, beneath the denial of what's happened. The willingness to experience this moment as it is, unclouded by how it "should be" and what it "means for the future". For scientists, this means being willing to countenance Fortean data, and to accept that theories aren't descriptions of "how it is". Also, they aren't political positions requiring a purging of every little datum that disagrees.


There may be a clue in the characteristic shape of the human brain. The image below is the result of fancy software drawing a sphere in four dimensions, with a moderate adjustment to one of the dimensional parameters and displaying the result as a 3-dimensional surface. OK, that's just jargon, but there's something mathematical, fractal and dimensional to it...




Good luck, Beloved Physicsts, and when you've managed to include consciousness, the next step will be to work on the Great Truth .. Love!