17 July 2010

Bullshit detectors, Emperor's new clothes and training wheels

I have heard…

Once is happenstance.
Twice is coincidence.
Three times is enemy action.

For the longest time, I did not realise that the "family sayings" I was raised on were mostly military in origin. Churchill to Atilla. Hitler to Gandhi.  I suppose if I had continued that cultural deformity, it would have been Regan to Thatcher … No. Not me. I overcame my father's ways and raised my children in mental freedom. From me, they got  the best bits of Sun Tzu, Miamoto, Bruce Lee, Morihei Ueshiba and Kurosawa's finest movie.

Parental evolution aside, and my ways long ago demilitarised, an old habit of paying attention the third time I hear something persists.

Three women recently, perhaps four … more or less doing what men call complaining, ranting and so on – what women call expressing themselves – what Dakas and Tantrikas call the fierce, fiery Dakini – what Dakinis call … well, you get the idea.

All on the same topic, more or less. That is why I notice it as three times.

The topic is their annoyance (not really the right word, but it will suffice) with  Neo, or American Tantra.

When I see something in this school happen three times, it is probably something that is spreading. 

A bit of google and facebook later, I saw other sources of similar annoyance.

So, I wish to try and explain what is happening. Call it a belated preemptive apology to those who will be scared, annoyed or justifiably righteous about tantrikas getting into tantra-bashing.

Osho's Neo Tantra was the root of most of what is now known as tantra in the West. The few tantrikas that distanced themselves from Osho's approach, stressing that they did not teach neo-tantra mostly used their own adaptations and remained relevant, or confused Oriental hygeine, exercise, mind training and diet with Tantra and became curiosities.

Neo Tantra, in the Osho community, is mostly still about clearing the effects of Western repression. Good work for any seeker of worthwhile intent. From this base of technique, Western teachers played mix-and-match, adapted and selected with various agendas. Polyamorists, sensualists, couples, fetishists, bdsm afictionados and sexual healers, pagans, wiccans, magicians, discordians, speed seduction trainers and many others incorporated lessons and techniques from  neo-tantra in their practice. The marketplace tested their accessibility, and some thrived.

For new seekers, this is a wonderful phenomenon. Never before have tantric teachings been so accessible. Better still, many teachers are mature in their techniques, and often have a significant range.

It is seekers that have already taken their first steps and are faced with many first-step teachers that have a rougher time of it. For a while, a tantrika will enjoy the range of teachings available, but will want the depths. Seeking out teachers that may have something further, something deeper than relationship therapy, better fucking and so on will work for a while, but will eventually take them into areas where a good bullshit detector and an immunity to Emperor's New Clothes are unwelcome.

It could look unfortunate that many teachers are making their lessons their lifestyles, but it serves existence and the increase of awareness hugely. When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems start to look like a nail, true … but, you do get very good at hammering. Techniques are training wheels. When you get the knack, understanding or ability the technique teaches, it is not personally useful to you to continue the technique. Making the technique the center of your life, interpolating and experimenting on ways to make it more effective and so on is not really useful to the teacher, but it makes the teacher very good at what they do. Very useful to many in their specialisation.

What were once spiritual expressions have become marketing slogans. What were once secret teachings, passed on with careful explanation in exquisite timing are now catch-phrases and sound-bytes. These things still have a taste, a flavour of the truths they represent. That flavour is very alluring to seekers. Disillusion follows.

Some take offense. Some feel cheated when they find that bliss means more and better orgasms, not the magical synthesis of all pleasures and all pains as one suchness. Some are disappointed to find enlightenment means learning enough EQ to not trigger their lover's lover's jealousy, and to set clear boundaries so they do not get triggered themselves.

The ones who get the most offended, the ones I most want to calm by pointing out the great usefulness of this huge availability are the ones who know something deeper. I want to convince them (maybe you) of taking a little care, not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.

Beloveds, the offense in you is strong, real and appropriate. Stay with the feeling of it, which probably manifests as an urge to dispense truth with some intensity. The intensity is the need for what you know to be communicated. Possibly at the moment, it seems more that the intensity is an objection to something. Feel your objection deeply, and use it to purge yourself of any nonsense you may have bought into along with your first steps.

And then, without scaring beginners more than necessary, beloveds, help those that need to see what you can show them.


  1. Jennifer Jardine8:34 am

    Good God! Thank you for writing this blog! How amazingly timely! I have recently been entertaining this very discussion with a close friend of mine!
    I've hit the usual American wall with Tantra. This wall appears to pop up when something good gets popularized here. Americans just have a very hard time with the depth of anything. Until it's sugar coated, watered down, tasteless and eventually able to be purchased at McDonald's, it's viewed as too far out! And this is what I see happening with Tantra! I am frustrated with teachers and schools that say they have and or teach, the depth of Tantra, the meaning of Tantra, the secrets of Tantra, but their actions are for self-gratification. Both sexual and financial, once they get their money and their students become orgasmic they go no deeper!
    This is why I desire to come to South Africa. Long before meeting anyone affiliated with Advait School I stumbled upon the website. I read every page and watched many of the videos. I found it quite sophicated, with very intelligent Dakas and Dakinis that are informative without the usual "we can make you cum for only $...." bullshit! I was also quite impressed with how the school seemed to offer a lot that went beyond what I had experienced so far. Only one problem, I thought at the time, it's in South Africa!
    It doesn't seem too far away to me now that it has become imperative to further my education so that, as you said, I can "help those that need to see what I can show them."
    I knew there was more and I know there are others like me who hunger to truly taste the ecstasy, deeply feel the bliss and honestly behold enlightenment!
    Many thanks and gratitude for keeping it real and deep!

  2. Thank you Jennifer!

    It is gratifying when our websites manage to be heard over the noise from the sexy commercial mainstream.

    And, sure, the World Cup thing made it pretty clear that this is a lovely country to visit.

    Namasté, Beloved.