Monthly Archives: May 2016

What is fear about?

I was receiving healing this evening and I asked myself afterwards: What is fear about?

The answer came: Fear is about the idea (!) of not getting everything done.

Why be afraid of death? Illness? Anything else?

Was it really this simple?

Then, what is the cure?

Drop the idea of not getting everything done. God takes care of that, right? Fear is unnecessary.

Just pursue joy.

 

Anger as a tool to Increase our Capacity

Why do we have anger?

Because something crosses a boundary of ours and we do not believe we can fix it.

I was angry about everything.

Poverty. Starvation. War. My parents not understanding. The religion of my youth. The government. Big banks. Money. Politics…

Why?

Because I saw these as violations of my boundaries–what is allowed in my space and world. And because I felt powerless to stop or change most of them.

And then a reframe happened. In the shower. As most good reframes do.

The thing that I perceive as a boundary violation is an invitation for me to expand my perceived ability to act.

It wouldn’t bother me if I couldn’t fix it. This might seem esoteric.

At least, I have some power over it because it is in my reality.

It’s in my reality at the very least because I pay attention to it. I give it my focus. That is an act of power-taking. Maybe not the power I want, once considered consciously, but nonetheless.

Are we responsible for our reality?

The exact configuration of our reality is what it is because of thousands of things we do and don’t do. So, yes. Disregarding all mysticism, we have configured and created our reality. By changing any one thing, that reality will change. Starting with focus and attention.

In other words, all anger, I believe, is evidence of believing illusion. (Or as Marshall Rosenberg says, thinking that is disconnected from our needs.)

 

Redeeming Tantra

I remember going to AVN–the annual conference of the adult industry in Vegas and schmoozing with porn producers, and sex toy inventors and sellers.

One of them asked me what I did.

I said, “I teach tantra.”

From their reaction, I might as well have said, “I have ebola and am highly contagious.”

They stepped back. A look of disgust crossed their face.

What the hell?

I had done my training in sexuality Europe, where I had lived the past 15 years. And there, tantra is a curiosity and a movement.

However, in America, things look very different.

Here, due to a renegade few seeing something new they can cash in on, get laid with, and sometimes even abuse others with, there has arisen somewhat of a negative view around tantra.

Some people in the sex-positive world in the US see people using the word tantra as:

  • Having few boundaries, nor respecting others’ boundaries
  • Not teaching consent
  • Being predatory
  • Just a way to get sex

These are real problems.

I sometimes jokingly say, “A tantra workshop is where you go to learn a technique that has been handed down in reverence from guru to student for 5000 years after years of dedicated practice in a weekend from a guy who read a book on it two weeks ago.”

A famous sex educator in frustration told a group of tantric ‘teachers’: “I get to fix the people you people screw up.”

One of the most famous ‘tantra’ teachers in the US said, when asked how many women he had slept with, “I don’t know. Somewhere between one and two thousand, I think?”

All of these things contribute to people being wary of the word ‘tantra’ as taught and practiced in the United States.

Add that to the fact that numerous ‘tantric practitioners’ have been arrested and sometimes imprisoned on prostitution charges, and that ‘tantra’ is a cool word for an escort to write on her ad to drum up business, and it’s no wonder that it has a bad rap.

Indeed, even when I studied tantra, it was mostly about how to squeeze the most pleasure or healing out of every encounter. Little was said about what happens before that, in terms of negotiation, or after the experience, in terms of longer relationship dynamics.

And, many of the tantra teachers I know go from train wreck to train wreck of relationship. They enter someone’s life like an addictive drug, get them hooked, move on, and leave a trail of stilted lovers behind them.

To some degree, so did I when I first discovered this path.

So, with all of the crap that can go wrong and is bad with tantra, all of the abuses that can and do happen, why do I feel tantra is so important?

Tantra was life-changing for me. It was the first space in which my natural desires and skills regarding touch could be expressed freely, without guilt and shame.

It gave me clear ways to learn about both my body and my partner’s…and methods to maximize our pleasure together.

It became a non-denominational spiritual path for me. A way to discover my own divinity and that of my partner, and to connect in that devotional space as divinity–leaving outside whoever we thought we were before.

Tantra was my healing for guilt, shame, and fear. It became a doorway to loving and accepting my body.

A lot of great work is being done under this umbrella. And people’s lives do change.

We have Christian priests and yoga gurus who have been embroiled in scandals and embarrassed themselves. This doesn’t mean that yoga nor Christianity are without value. It means we learn and move on.

However, tantra needs to be redeemed, even if it will always mean something different to each person who participates in it. Because some people have caused offense with it, it needs to be redeemed.

 

How I learned about Sex

After leaving the Mormon church, drenched in shame and body-negative messages, and not knowing where to turn, I decided I wanted to learn about sex and alternative relationships.

There were two places to do that: ZEGG, which was holding an intro weekend a couple hours from where I lived. I don’t remember how I heard of them.

The other was an ad I saw in the online classifieds in Dresden. “John Hawken, famous tantra teacher from the UK coming this one weekend only to Dresden.”

I was intrigued. I called the number on the ad and a gruff man answered. This was the convo.

“Hi! I saw your ad for a tantra workshop. What is that?

“What do you think it is?”

“Well, I think it’s about sex.”

“Uh huh.”

“Um, so can I register?”

“You can just show up, I guess.”

What I didn’t realize was that Stefan had placed the ad with the hope of bringing more hot women into the local tantra scene. I, as a man, was competition, so he did his best to gruffly dissuade me from coming.

In retrospect, he might have been wise to do that. In two months I was running the local group’s practice sessions and by the end of the summer I had spent *ahem* -time- with most the  female population of the local group.

When I arrived for the weekend, John began by paraphrasing Osho (but I didn’t know that).

“When you study an idea or a philosophy, you like it or you don’t. You accept it or you don’t. And, maybe later you find a different philosophy. Here, we don’t learn by memorization or rote or debate. Here we learn by experience.”

I was so tired of sitting in classrooms during childhood listening to teachers and religious leaders drone on–and I had been so betrayed by their ideas which hadn’t actually worked in my life, I immediately latched on to this new mode of learning.

I decided not to read anything else about this topic for the time being and learn experientially.

And why not? How do children learn about life? About their preferences? About what is dangerous?

Not conceptually, primarily. Experientially. They learn how to ask for a cookie and what that is because they want one, not because someone needs to drone on about how important cookies are for our economic growth.

John would give us an experience. We were randomly paired, men and women, and we danced elbow to elbow. Or we breathed and gazed into each other’s eyes. Or we wore blindfolds and embraced a stranger.

Each experience was about the experience. Not primarily our thoughts about what the experience would be like. Nor about our judgments or evaluations of it. What sensations did we experience internally and externally? What feelings were present? What were we thinking?

We became magnificently aware of the processes within us during each of these experiences. We noticed how the experience was dramatically different with a different person. Or the same person on a different day.

I had never felt so alive.

I remember during the break going to the local store and staring the cashier right in the eyes. I felt like I could conquer the world.

We did hear a little theory. But not to regurgitate or believe or reject. Simply to provide some context for our experience, if it were helpful.

“Religions argue about what you are. Are you just a body? Or a spirit in a body? According to tantra, there are two components. You are a point of point of consciousness, and a flow of energy. Energy is the feminine principle and consciousness is the masculine. The dance between these two creates the world and your life and your relationships.”

I will never forget those words. They clicked into place verifying to me an entire map of myself and my romances which I had always looked for but never found. My life from that point would be devoted to researching the experience of all the ways that dance could manifest in my life and how I could experience it with others.

Native Language is Touch

I began to cry in the workshop.

“My native language is touch and I have no one to speak it with.”

Imagine living in a world where no one speaks your language. That’s how I felt most of the time. I had never articulated it like this before, though. Hence the tears.

Part of my passion, my work, my self is simply to get beyond words. Words are symbols. They can be useful. They can call meaning forth. They do not convey it, which is why there is so much misunderstanding with words.

Touch can be misunderstood and misinterpreted as well.

But I enjoy the conversations more, wherever they go. It feels real, visceral, impactful.

“When I touch you, I know that you are real.”

I want to foster touch as communication courses and experiences from our youngest years. I think much pain in our society is around touch needs not getting met–despite English people. They had so little touch they had to go around conquering the world to get that much-needed contact.

I often wonder how bullets and bombs are substitutes for penetrating others in much less violent ways.