Tantra is the roughest, rockiest and unquestionably the most horrible of spiritual paths.
It is not a journey for the faint-hearted, the weak-minded or the emotionally troubled.
It presents serious difficulties even to the heroic. It is as harsh as the Truths of Life themselves.
From the introduction to The Rocky Horror Tantra Book
The statement "Advaita" is an enlightened expression of the truth of the non-division, indivisibility and contiguity of existence in all its forms and expressions.
To get some idea of our teaching (this is not a small topic) check out our youtube channel, read The Rocky Horror Tantra Book, see Lalla the Buddha and take our Tantric Guidance course.
Rahasya has been teaching since he completed his own path in 2002. From the beginning, his emphasis was on supporting a few women of unusual capabilities and capacities to their flowering as Dakinis – women who can and do teach the mysteries of tantra directly and personally.
He and the other teachers of the school help people understand, question, explore and integrate their sexuality. They write books, make movies, write articles for old and new media, upload to youtube, participate in conferences.
Some, usually titled Dakas and Yogini Adepts (and other touch work practitioners trained by our touch-work school and schools who's work we know and like) help people recover, perceive and become conscious with their sexuality. This work encompasses de-armouring and addresses much of what sometimes gets labeled as dysfunctions. They prepare people for - and then help them access - the energies used in tantric meditations.
Groups and retreats
Students who go further in this journey often explore our groups, workshops and residential retreats. It is highly recommended that you take the Tantric Guidance course or have equivalent experience of this school's work before participating in some of our stronger work. Sometimes we call a particular workshop or retreat NSFB (Not Safe For Beginners) or Practitioner Level (which means that apart from your own work, there may be the opportunity to help others). Such work provokes great vulnerability and inevitably involves passing through some very strong emotional experiences.
Rahasya and Dakinis of the school guide students personally, holding an overview of their path. This work is inevitably intimate, personal and individual.
"To bring polarities to synthesis, bring your attention to the tension between them."
Advaita means Undivided and Indivisible. It is a statement of fact, perhaps the simplest fact.
The basics of Advaita, like the game Go, can be learned in a few minutes. Mastering it, finding its truths within your deepest knowing can, as in the game of Go, take a bit longer.
We work with the principles of Advaita at a viscerally experiential level in sessions, in our own lives and in the individual-communality of the school.
More about Advaita: the Highest Philosophy
First, an apology, once again, for the cavalier modus operandi of the English language, stealing words from other languages and redefining them as required. The word "Advaita" in particular is potentially contentious, so here is a link to an informative page on which the traditionalist and modern/English usages of the word are expressed, along with some thoughts on recent trends in modern Advaita teachings.
Advaita (non–dualism) is the "highest philosophy", always staying close to the ultimate truth of "all is one" and emphasizing the dissolution/integration of polarities. Traditionally, there is emphasis on deeply investigating what "one is", asking the question "who/what are you" is often the primary or only method.
Other schools that have encountered Advaitists in debate have had criticized them for having an "unassailable" philosophy. No fun at all to debate with. Disillusioning. Every position proposed gets integrated with its polar opposite …
Not endemic, but prevalent, is a tendency for Advaita teachings to be a bit rejecting, a bit remote from, a bit avoiding of "sensible reality", samsara, Maya, the world as it appears to us, instead seeming to prefer the spiritual, or "other worldly" zone of (non) involvement.
Advaita applied to Tantra is more rich. The division of existence into the worldly and other-worldly is unnecessary. If "all that is" is a manifestation of the ultimate oneness, then there's no sense in preferring one end of the polarity to the other. Truth will be abundantly available in both.
Tantra is all about methods: ways to increase awareness, evoke satori and ultimately, methods to become available to "spontaneous" awakening.
This appears contradictory, crazy, unhinged. The logic is clearly broken. That which is not, seeming to strive to become what it already is? … OK, it is a deep paradox. Deep. Handle it. Or rather, don't bother about it at all. Just get on clearing your angers, frustrations, hurts and fears. Working from where you are right now with what's available to you here and now is far more useful than striving to live in a remote philosophical abstraction, no matter how elegantly complete it may appear.
Halfway up the Mountain – when you're starting out, it's not a bad first objective!
There's a qualitative difference between satori and samadhi, which I write about in more detail elsewhere. Nonetheless, it's very excusable, understandable, that they can be confused. Satori, after all, are very impactful experiences, particularly early on the path. More than one Enlightened Teacher has later said "oops, not quite", and retired from teaching until fully done, or until they realise that there's nonetheless helpful teaching work they can still do.
Someone halfway up the mountain can be of great support, great use on your path. Often, more help and support than someone on the peak, though less inspiring, perhaps. Less satisfying to the ego than studying with someone that is "definitely fully enlightened". The reason they can often be more helpful than the fellow on top is that they are closer to you and more aware of what it's like to be where you are.
Even when learning from the Great Ones, the Rishees and other Spiritual Supermen, it is often through their disciples who have progressed somewhat that you will finds useful tips and techniques for handling what you, personally, have to face.
Osho used this fact to great effect, founding the Multiversity. This continues to be an oasis of learning and spiritual rejuvenation with many powerful and effective resident and guest teachers (South Africa, being already halfway to India is naturally very well represented). There is certainly no suggestion that the Multiversity's therapists and group teachers need to be enlightened in order to be of great support to their fellow seekers. Quite the contrary, there's a lot of caution and resistance around the idea of Sannyasins who have awakened being allowed to teach from that perspective.
Of course, where people see problems is with the halfway fellows who claim the full deal. The mad cult leader problem. The spiritual snake oil salesman. I believe these fellows are for the most part, just businessmen, enthusiastic about their product. As long as there's no harm, and people want to buy…
For non-seekers, or fashionable-seekers, the worst of Advaita-style teaching from someone of incomplete understanding or mixed motivations, is not as harmful as many alternatives. Seekers of any sincerity, any discernment, are usually pretty good at avoiding useless or limiting teachers. We tend to get the teachers we deserve and, generally, teachers get the students they deserve.
Halfway Down the Mountain – if the rope doesn't reach to you, it is not all that helpful.
Listening to most of the modern teachers of Advaita, one often hears expression and re-expression of Truth as follows:
There is no reality behind what your senses report.
Nothing is happening, and all appearance of things happening is illusory.
There's nowhere to go, nothing to attain.
Just a shift of perception, no effort, and you can be enlightened.
There's no awakening. All is anyway awake.
There is no enlightenment, no path, no guru and nothing to practice.
Existential Truth is immediately, currently and always available to you.
All you need do is realise what you already know.
There is no good or evil and nothing to be benefited or harmed.
Which is all, in the ultimate meaning of these words, true.
True, but, as far as it supports most seekers, for most of their journey, particularly the tough bits, these wise sayings are basically bullshit. Utterly useless.
Very clever, very Zen, of course, because these teachers generally don't claim that anything could possibly be of any use. their method can be basically summed up as: It happened to me, mysteriously, suddenly. It can happen to you. Maybe by hanging out with me, listening to me describe the incredibly deeply profound spaces of my non-me non-experiences, it could happen to you too.
Of course, this bare-bones, unfleshed kind of teaching does work for some. As is written in some old holy books, some seekers come to a teacher ready to slip into their own enlightenment on just a glimpse of a living example, or even upon just hearing that there is one, that such a phenomenon exists.
For someone very close, very well explored, already very close to Truth as such, a more or less traditional Satsang or Darshan can do the final "trick", can reveal the possibility of that last step of submission, of availability.
It is for seekers starting out, and seekers in progress i.e. most seekers, for most of their journey that these fellows at best provide a hint, an encouragement. Nothing more. At their worst, they encourage spiritual laziness. Indulgence and protection of ego with the idea that "there's nothing to do, no method, and enlightenment has already happened".
These fellows are not being intentionally nasty. There is no intention on their part to keep beginners in awe of the logically unattainable, and dissuade them from practice. Just, the surface of the message they put out goes far further than their closer teachings, and for most seekers does not support the urge to awareness.
As far as I can tell, this state of affairs has two roots.
One is the understandable hurry to teach. Eager Bodhisattvas. The other is teachers that lack the basic compassion required of a teacher. Who regard teaching as a business ideally suited to their understanding. Arahats.
A paradox of the path is that a total effort is required, and then a total dropping of all effort, all desire for the prize is utterly essential. This is not a strange, or unknowable phenomenon. It happens all the time. You are reading, which is a highly complex skill (congratulations) but happens more or less automatically once it's been learned. If you want to teach people to read, things won't go that well if you sit with them, read to them for five minutes, so they get the vibe, the feeling of "reading as such", then hand them your copy of War and Peace.
Of course, few would make that mistake with reading, having learned by slogging it out oneself, learning letter shapes, words, spelling and such. Enlightenment is a bit different from reading, though. It typically comes along in a space of accepted defeat, of giving up on all transcendent visions, accepting the utter futility of all effort that has been made. Hence it's a bit understandable that the freshly free can take a long time to catch on to the fact that, if teaching is going to be of use, what needs to be taught is mostly that which the Teacher has transcended and has no personal need for.
Eager teachers face another issue. If they've written, and pronounced loudly on the "nothing to attain no effort no method" at the start of their teaching, it can be difficult later to say later on that actually, there is something useful for the Beloved Students to do. To go from expressing "no method, no effort, no attainment" to encouraging use of methods can certainly look a bit strange.
Another factor is the understandable urge to express one's state of understanding, of perception of Truth. For many, it feels more real or more authentic perhaps, to stay in the high rarefied atmosphere of higher philosophy; glad to be out of the messier, murkier, less transcendent looking regions of existence. This gives us writers like J and UG Krishnamurti, Eckhart Tolle, Alan Watts. Absolutely beautiful expressions of Truth at it's highest. Absolutely useless until you are already enlightened and can therefore appreciate their eloquent attempts at describing the essentially indescribable, or unless you're so very close that, really, help may not have been needed at all.
Don't get me wrong here. I love these guys. Deeply. I've found all the above mentioned writers very useful with their explorations, explanations and elucidations of the enlightened condition, after the fact. Before that, they were interesting paradox and mind-game merchants. Fun, but not much use in any practical sense.
Bodhisattvas also have other outlets for their urge to help. Not all are inclined or suited to traditional forms of teaching, or taking on the Guru trip. Some become, or were already poets, artists, musicians, writers, entertainers … and support many with their "teaching" in an artistic context. John Lennon. Samuel Clemens. Bill Hicks.
arahats … Aha-rats
In some circles, these fellows are greatly looked down upon. At least one of the Great Masters have said "it is not a sin to kill an arahat". Strong words!
Arahats are of course perfectly OK with this. "go ahead, kill this body" they say. "It's purpose is anyway finished".
An arahat's basic attitude to teaching enlightenment can be characterised as "It happened to me. Nothing caused it, nothing prepared me for it, there's nothing I can do for you, there's no one here. Go get your own fewkin insights."
Where the Bodhisattva has an attitude of compassion and cultivates a desire after enlightenment to support all other beings to the same realisation and beyond, the arahat, on awakening, sticks to the immediate and apparent truth of "there's no attainment, no teaching and no path" and doesn't explore beyond that.
Sometimes, an arahat gathers a following, and finds the relationship to be symbiotic. Sometimes, this may convert the arahat into a Bodhisattva, if his students are able to push him a bit and thereby make him into the teacher they deserve.
There is nothing wrong with arahats. They are after all, enlightened! Everyone who jumps in the ocean gets equally wet. their attainment is as good, as deep, as real as anyone else's. This doesn't make everyone a diving instructor.
I have not found convincing answers to what it is that produces an arahat or a Bodhisattva. Structured and unstructured schools have produced both. So have schools which impose "Bodhisattva Vows" and those who don't. In the spiritual wilds, spontaneous awakenings have resulted, again, in both flavours. Research continues …
The traditional view (even Osho's view) is that upon awakening, one is either an arahat or a Bodhisattva and there's no problem with it, nothing to do about it. From my personal experience, I have to argue with this. As with all polar phenomena, they are truly one. Just different expressions. Susceptible of integration, it seems to me.
Doing some research before writing this, I notice things are changing a little, here and there. One or two teachers, that years ago were one–method satsang–wallahas of note have now started to teach lessons from Tantra and other method–positive approaches. The "nothing to do, nothing to desire" attitude may be on the decline. It will never again be where it belonged, back in the Masters' bag of tricks, a secret teaching reserved for a specific moment of readiness in the student. No problem. There are plenty of other tricks in that bag.
So, dear seekers of truth, the bad news is that it is existentially true that one day you may regard all your effort as wasted, as utterly futile. Sorry about that. The good news is that with sincere effort on your part, a lot of living and perhaps some guidance along the way, you can become available and open the possibility of Samadhi, your oneness with the Divine.
After all … it happened to me, it could happen to you ;-)
On the pathless path of Tantra, some common pitfalls are:
Emulating the enlightened condition
In California, they master the enlightened laugh and the enlightened stare. Elsewhere in the West, it's about keeping the face as still and unmoving as a Buckingham Palace sentry, or as close as they can get. In the East, it's deeper, more substantial, but basically the same. Exercising to sit silent as the Buddha, forcing a compassionate attitude, a happy disposition, disciplining the mind into silence, re-conditioning sexuality into "enlightened" patterns of behavior and so on.
The Buddha was not born to a life of celibate silent contemplation, but had many years living in a thoroughly worldly way before even beginning his conscious seeking.
Training youngsters, or even young adults into parodies, pretences, performances of spiritual "looksgood" isn't really that helpful in terms of producing an enlightened humanity.
The movie Samsara makes this point, beautifully, and eloquently, even in subtitles.
There's real, logical idiocy too involved sometimes. Very logically, to initiate disciples into Renunciation with three sharp blows to the penis, severing all relevant nerves, and doing significant general tissue damage gives one a great start if the objective is to overcome sexual desire!
The problem is of course the ego-fascination with the outward appearance: The "marks" of enlightenment that prompted Buddha to say to Subodhi, a very advanced student of his: "The true mark of the Thatagata is the no-posession of no-marks". If that is tricky to understand, do not be at all embarrassed. Subodhi was a very advanced student indeed.
Addiction to technique: Keeping the training wheels on.
This is a slightly risky teaching. It can easily be misconstrued. The ego can use this legitimate warning to excuse all sorts of avoidance of useful practice. Guard a bit against that. This isn't a suggestion or excuse to keep your practice shallow.
Also, this isn't saying "technique is all bullshit", a common modern "teaching". Many techniques are valuable indeed, leading to valuable insights and supportive encouragements. It's worth working deeply with a technique, deep enough to get the "knack", the feeling for what it teaches. Be sure to get the real lesson that the artificiality of the technique draws your attention to.
And then, discard the technique!
Not as in throwing away the technique: Just that you now live with the awareness the technique gives you. You now access what the technique teaches, but more directly, more immediately.
Think of techniques as "training wheels" on a child's bicycle. They are a great help for the kid getting the feeling of riding, and taking a first ride or two. Then, once he's riding, the training wheels are no longer helpful and even become a hindrance. They need to come off. Bicycle riding, which looks similar with or without training wheels, still happens.
When it comes to sexual technique, this warning goes double. There's an extra intensity that ego brings to matters sexual.
For example, a position and pressure that blocks ejaculatory reflexes is great to explore, but an absolute dead-end if it's "perfected".
Mistaking Satori for Samadhi
Apologies to the Oriental cultures who's words I mismatch, brutalise and misuse. This is the way us users of the English language absorb words, changing the meaning as required. It's not going to stop.
So there's two terms I use, incorrectly, and redefine more or less thus:
satori: A flash of light in the darkness. A moment of profound insight, deliberately, accidentally or fortuitously created. There are many flavours of satori. A building has many windows. Each provides a view, perhaps overwhelming in it's depth and implications but in a way, still partial, incomplete.
There's an old story told to illustrate this, involving blind men encountering an elephant. One describes it as a whip, another as a tree, and so on. Each has encountered the elephant, has had a moment's direct experience of it, knows far more about the elephant than was known previously, yet does not know the whole elephant.
Although they may be remembered long and their lessons are true, satori, in and of themselves, are brief. Life changes inspired by them, however, tend to be more permanent.
Samadhi: Literally "together with the Divine" means living in the deepest possible empathetic responsiveness to existence. Samadhi includes the noticing that this has always been the case, that "I" have been doing nothing at all and that which is Life Itself has always been the doing of the living that I call "me". Paradoxically, in a way, it seems I have been pretending that this is not the case. This applies to everyone, just they are pretending to not know, or are just not noticing. Samadhi is the indescribable. Literally beyond that which language can describe. It's the holy grail of mystics, devotees, renunciants, disciples, seekers and king-makers. It's the indescribable experience, unending, unbeginning, that Eckhart Tolle and others write so beautifully around and about. The whole elephant.
Sometimes techniques that seem to have been involved in Samadhi happening are useful for inducing Satori too. Samadhi, however, can't be evoked or caused by some technique. It requires an openness, a submission, a yielding of unimaginable proportions. The egoic view is transcended, but not by being "convinced" or argued into acceptance of an idea.
The point of satori , the glimpse out of a window, is that it shows you, beyond all argument and inner dialogue, some aspect of the Dharma, the "truth as it is". This can provide the necessary "urge" to get on with the path as such. Satori, in other words, exist to tempt us to the paradoxically impossible but vital attitude of non-seeking for Samadhi.
I don't think anyone's going to be agreeing anytime soon on what exactly defines and constitutes these levels of experience and moments of deep perception. As with everything apparent in existence, there are no true boundaries. Sometimes it seems Samadhi happens, then is lost after some months. A cluster of deep Satori are noticed as Satori, but in the Ashram's Buddha field, the general peacefulness, Samadhi may have happened, and slip by unnoticed for a while. Some Satori can been powerful and quite enduring, only fading in their qualities of presence and immediacy after some time. There are exceptions to the general patterns I describe.
As a rough guide, if you've had an illuminating experience, the implications of which imply great change for your life, that's satori. Get on with those changes. Don't announce yourself just yet as the Avatar of Existence's Core Essence and World Teacher, The One Essence of Beingness, The Centre of Suchness, JC2, etc. … not quite yet…
If you've had varieteous satori experiences, have purged (or had life exhaust, drain you of) your anger, have gone completely through the depths of your suffering and negativity, have felt and allowed within you many extreme emotions and sensations without closing up, without shutting down your awareness … and then you seem to have been in the feeling, the glow of satori for a while, some months, perhaps … then you probably wouldn't be reading this. If you are, go right now, research "Bodhisattva" and "arahat" (alt spelling ahrat), then make up your no-mind.
Sense-addiction is just something most Tantrikas just have to get through. Regrettable, perhaps, and working through this can even look unfortunately undisciplined at times.
Dakinis do have capabilities that can be extremely addictive and imprinting. Powerful psychosurgical instruments indeed, looked at one point of view. Essential leverage to move your stuck and settled ego-constructs, looked at from another.
Addicting others, for whatever conscious or unconscious reasons can be quite cruel. Being addicted can be a time and energy consuming trap.
As a student tantrika, it's therefore wise to approach the Dakini with caution until you can trust her intent (not that you can discern her intent, just that you trust it) and her capacity (just that it is apparent and unmeasurable).
As an adept, a Tantrika with some skill, it's wise to be careful (full of caring) when it seems appropriate to use powerful techniques. For all concerned.
Imprinting is deeper, more primal than addiction. Addiction is largely a matter of strongly reinforced habitual mental associations. Imprinting is more like what happens when the crocodile hatches, sees the lawn mower, and fixates on it as "mommy" from then on. Nature has set the body/mind of the baby croc up to imprint the image of the first object of suitable size and speed as "mommy", and to accept no substitutes.
There are human equivalents to imprinting. Not as hard wired as in the croc, but pretty powerful nonetheless. Some of a culture's training of their men and women set them up for imprinting type experiences. Most of our culture's romantic stories centre on a couple's mutual imprinting of each other. Psychopathically fixated, even into death, like the well known love-lemmings, Romeo and Juliet. Seekers, particularly Tantrikas do have to face and move through all illusion, even imprinted illusions. Note: The lawn mower isn't the croc's mommy. What you're "imprinted" to is an illusion. The basic commitment of a seeker is to what's true. On the path, a willingness to become completely dis-illusioned is implied, and required.
The temptations of Siddhis
There was once a Teacher once who found he could manifest intricate objects at will.
In his early days of teaching, it seemed to him that this unusual ability must have been given him in order for him to impress a large number of seeker. Dazzle them onto the path, under his loving direction.
It worked that way for a while, but, the more he exhibited this ability, the more it receded. Working intermittently, or only when the vibes were right. Complex objects became impossible, and he manifested dusty ashy stuff.
Later on, the Siddhi completely gone, so as not to disappoint, he would just fake the ash.
Really, the less said about the "sweeties", "gifts", and other misnomers for these apparent abilities the better. Many teachers downplay these phenomena as much as possible, for good reason.
There's basically two categories of Siddhis, and most fit both categories to a degree.
Natural human abilities and senses, which are seldom activated
Dowsing is a good example of this category. It's a real enough ability, yet very few people can do it and most people couldn't be taught to do it. Some healers and some martial artists display unusual perceptive abilities, and an ability to affect life energy in the body, helpfully, or harmfully, according to training and inclination.
These gifts are basically just the same as walking, or writing a limerick (refined western poetry form. somewhat similar, but superior to haiku). Skills that you're unlikely to develop on your own, without example to learn from. There's linkages, connections of tendency that Science is now starting to glimpse, between specific behaviors in childhood and later skills potential.
An example: Some children that are hurried through crawling by spending lots of time upright in walking-rings walk sooner. This may be gratifying to parents who watch charts, graphs of "normal" development, very concerned that their child should be "advanced". It's also likely to result in difficulties with reading and writing.
There are now therapists who work with children's dyslexia, using crawling as a therapy.
Some Tantric Practices switch on, enable,or sensitise generally unused modes of perception, others increase the capacity for (unresisted) sensation and some seem to rewire automatic, involuntary physical/neural reactions. Most of this work depends on the perceptive abilities and intent both student and Dakini.
Screwing with Newton or the world view attributed (unjustly) to the old fellow.
Manifesting, altering object's physical properties, levitation, tricks with time and space and other super-natural phenomena seem in a separate category because they are far enough from our own experience that they seem really unlikely.
Many meditators have stories of journeys that involve driving far beyond a vehicle's fuel range. Mountaineers have survived "physically impossible" situations more than once. People have won lotteries or other gambling endeavours on the encouragement of a dream, or a feeling for numbers. Smugglers of banned books have prayed to various deities for, and have received, mysterious protection from the scrutiny of eager border guards … there's lots of stories of these kinds of experiences.
In the culture's schools, however, 100+ year old western physics and chemistry is taught and generally accepted as "fact", so some Siddhis are culturally more unbelievable, more likely to be called unnatural, impossible, or miraculous. Western Science, unfortunately, has a long history of ignoring misfit (aka fortean) data, instead of analysing it, and getting on with their supposed thing of hypothesising, testing, theorising, experimenting …
Most of these weirder gifts probably, in truth, belong in the previous category. Just, they seem to defy our understanding, our view of reality, sometimes.
Neither of these categories of Siddhis have anything to do with spiritual attainment.
All can be developed, even though some require training that starts at age 3 or so, and others require huge pain, or physical trauma to bring them to conscious awareness.
Some are just abilities you have, or can cultivate. Some come and go as one moves on one's path. Don't be concerned by them, don't get hung up on them, and especially note: It's spiritually rude to get others hung up on admiring your siddhis.
Jesus' healing Siddhi, for example, was clearly something he chose to use, on occasion, being a compassionate man, but he was always at pains to cover up a bit, encourage the fellow to attribute the healing to the Temple, and not mention it had anything to do with Jesus.
His disciples descendants, however, reported the incidents many years later, far from the supervision of anyone who had known the Master. Later on, Christian missionaries focused on these "miracle stories" in clear defiance of Jesus' expressed intent, as being a hot USP, an unarguable claim to spiritual superiority. This did not play well in spiritually mature cultures like India.
Tantra is known for Siddhis, and some schools made the acquisition and development of Siddhis their whole focus. The relics of that idiocy survive, and currently are being shown up in an Indian TV programme, "The Great Tantra Challenge.
Siddhis, both awakened "natural" abilities, and the more freaky, weird and inexplicable, sometimes frightening ones are just by-products of awareness growing. More or less accidental factors which can be beneficial, useful sometimes, perhaps. It's not useful to get hung up on them. Putting your energy into exhibition of them is not useful to anyone and pretty much brings your path to a grinding halt. Also, in this modern age, so many siddhis are almost pointless. Fro example, cellphones and camcorders work better than telepathy or clairvoyance ever did.
Entrancement, esoteric TV
There's all sorts of entrancing visions along the path. Enjoy, but don't misjudge their significance. Occasionally, insights from the "between here and the ultimate" spaces can be really helpful, but there's endless realms of nothing-particularly-relevant out there.
It's worth heeding a warning I had from Sw. Rasada: "Just because something can get itself channeled doesn't mean it's compassionate, benevolent, or even intelligent."
Even when visions, lucid dreams, astral traveling, akashic record perusing and such are relevant, their only value is that relevance … what they encourage you to, the difference you make in the real, inspired by that relevant vision.
Visions, psychic readings and such are sometimes pointers on the path. Sometimes, it gets really direct, literal, unmistakable.
A Dakini in this school recently passed through a time of confusion. In the midst of this, getting out of her car at the mall, she asked for "a sign". Directly in front of her, covering construction work, was indeed the requested sign: "Please be patient. Undergoing Transformation"
Just watch out that you don't get trapped, obsessive, or dependant on these things, particularly as a way of having "meaning" in your life. Living is more important than what it "means". TV, even esoteric TV is bad.
About the Advait Tantra School
This group of friends that share this work with me call us, collectively, a "School" because there's something of the quality of the old Mystery Schools going on here. We have a closeness, a camaraderie, because much of what we know is ... let's say ... somewhat unfamiliar ... to most people. It is nice to hang out, chat about our day, and not have to get into self-censorship to avoid people needing therapy afterwards. A "School" too, because the teachers I work with share an understanding of and a dedication to our work. Also "School" because we help seekers with their quest. We're not in the business of entertaining (although huge offers have been made for webcam access to our workshops) and we're especially not in the business of "healing" or "therapy" or "empowerment". Not that there's anything wrong with any of that (and sure, people find working with us empowering, therapeutic, healing and, once in a while, entertaining) just it's not our focus of intent. We are more interested to support you to the fullness of awareness available to you. No other objective.
How our teaching looks is, we do talks, workshops, groups and individual sessions work.
Talks don't need much explanation, and to keep brains up to speed I usually make chai.
Dakini Shakti in the Cape, and Dakinis Shima and Wendy in Johannesburg present workshops, generally one day, focusing on a particular aspect or practice of Tantra.
Groups, the intensive residential weekend kind, and the once a week for a few hours kind are for those who are interested to work deeply with the lessons of tantra and have a willingness to support their fellow participants.
Individual sessions work is an opportunity to explore your awareness, privately, guided and supported by a widely experienced and deeply aware teacher. There's no guidelines to "what to expect in sessions" because it really is an absolutely individual thing. There's no "shopping list". You pay for the Dakini's willingness to support you as best she can, in accordance with her assessment, in whatever way her experience or intuition indicates to her. Sensual things happen from time to time in sessions, sometimes surpassing anything one could make a deal for and buy. Sessions can also consist of critically appraising your body, and suggesting ways of getting you into good enough physical shape to handle the work without suffering an otherwise unavoidable heart attack.
This shouldn't have to be statred, but it does: The Dakini is 100% in charge of the process.
Even if you don't understand the archetype of being a Dakini's petitioner, you at least extend the respect and regard that (in the old days) people had for doctors. In this way you avoid unnecessary suffering.
We are in South Africa. Visiting us isn't hard, or particularly expensive. We notice more and more international traffic at our websites, and some friends have urged that we relocate to somewhere more "first world", or more of a spiritual centre (I suspect they mean California) but we like it here at the Southern end of Africa. It is civilised enough: running water, cellphones, electricity (most of the time) and that kind of thing, but it's not entirely tame, and on paper at least, it's got the most freedom-supportive constitution on the planet.
At the core of this school are the Dakinis. Each of them is the finest Tantrika I've ever had the privilege to meet. Also the most adept, total and loving in their practice that I've ever even heard of. This is not hype. I'm not American .. this is just fact. … Ok, it's not understatement either. I'm not English.
Our major work is exploring ways to teach the ancient lessons in this dawning age's new way of "mastery" and "discipleship". This requires a very informal, apparently laissez-faire approach, much more friendly, but no less personally tough and confronting than the old "Stern Guru gives orders" way of things.
We tend to see the path of a student more as a paving, a jigsaw-puzzle than as a mountain climb. For example, the traditional Yogas of mind, then body, then higher philosophy training – all key stages of the path, unarguably – don't have to be addressed singly, each to completion before embarking upon the study of the next. Also, they don't need to be all studied from the same school, nor do they have to even look much like their traditional forms. For example, a competition-trained gymnast who's explored trance parties and Neo-Buddhism may have made significant progress in all three Yogas. So may a computer programmer with a long term interest in current physics and ballroom dancing, or a martial artist with a little scientology and a few months' Jungian therapy. All experiences in life, even retroactively, teach the Dharma. We pay attention to missing pieces of the jigsaw-puzzle, and the "fit" of what you already have.
In this school, internally in this school, we've been through a process of refinement, of distilling what we've found important on our paths to becoming teachers and what we've learned from the above areas of understanding.
For example, there is unfortunate confusion in spiritual and tantric circles over apparently conflicting teachings. Most of this misunderstanding arises from the fact that different teachings apply at different levels of understanding. There's good reason why some teachings are called "occult" or "hidden" … they need to be hidden from you until you're ready for them! Getting into them prematurely could be a major "snake", instead of the "ladder" they can be, given appropriate timing.
We're now busy with various projects, including this website, making what we've learned and know from our own experience available. Much of that will consist of articles on our blog.
There is an invisible sign over every Tantra Temple, every Mystery School: Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. It's for your ego to read. On this path and very much in this school, every polarised view that the mind/ego tries to hold is destroyed, or lovingly integrated, depending which of those polarities your ego-mind currently prefers.
Our invitation to you is to taste. Just sample what you find here. If some notion appeals, test it on the touchstone of your own experience. See if it's a "fit" with how you experience your world. If you'd like more, come to one of our talks, or get into the members area if getting to Africa is too geographically challenging.
Ultimately, you determine your level of involvement, or, to be more accurate, your level of involvement is determined by the Ultimate.