16 September 2016

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

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

16 August 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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03 July 2016

Osho - The only man I ever called Master

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

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

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

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

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

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