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About Tantra

Tantra has varieties practiced by Buddhist, Hindu and other traditions so is not exclusively allied to any particular religious label or bound by any particular philosophy. Traditionally, the word translates as the fabric of existence, the weaving of the threads of truth. These days, in common usage, it more generally means a practice, belief, tradition, pursuit or activity that in some way uses sexual energy with spiritual intent.

Among the huge variety of spiritual attitudes/approaches in the world, if we make an analogy to sports, Tantra is firmly in the extreme sports category. Other traditions have had quite a bit to say about the dangers of Tantra, and there is a general feeling that the tantrikas are somehow cheating … progressing with such rapidity that there must be something shallow, incomplete, or unwholesome to their understanding.

We tantrikas answer that our path is in no way a cheat. Sure, we move faster, covering the territory at a fierce rate, but we are not skipping over or avoiding anything. All obstacles are faced, every step of learning is taken. We just do it fast. No shortcuts, and no digressions into comfortable dead ends.

What distinguishes Tantra from most spiritual paths is that sexual aspects of human experience are not excluded from the pursuit of awareness.

Rather large areas of unconsciousness are often associated with sexuality. If you listen to Freud on the topic, you could get the idea that the entire subconscious is comprised of repressed sexual urges.

Most of the major spiritual teachings seem to recommend suppression of sexuality beyond the cultural norms. Examination of their historic origins, and the techniques of their earliest practitioners often reveal an ironically sexy past. When lineage is more honoured than individual attainment, this suppression of is inevitable.

There are dangers to Tantra. Sense-addiction, insanity/psychosis and abuse of power. At various points on the path, a Tantrika (seeker working with tantric teachings) may risk (be challenged, tempted or threatened by) one or all of these. Facing these temptations requires intelligence and a deep commitment to accepting experience "as it is" however that looks.

Schools and teachers can therefore be helpful. Seekers vary greatly in their sincerity, willingness, capability and spiritual development. Likewise, teachers vary in their objectives, their methods, their depth of understanding and their areas of expertise.

This particular school draws technique and method from the most extensive range of tantric and related teachings. At the school's core are a group of richly experienced tantrikas who are completely committed to this path in every aspect of their lives. Several of them now teach from this wealth of experience, encouraged by their own experience of the fruits of this path.

We particularly like the fact that with so many teachers, a kind of peer review is constantly happening. This keeps us individually clear in our work. The sharing of our experiences and discoveries within the school is also very important to us as it ensures the ongoing development and refinement of our teaching methods.

 

Tantra as it is – the variety of teaching styles and types of schools:

The following observations of the range of tantric and tantra-related practice are inspired by our collective experience, all of us having had significant experience of all sorts of teachers.

This attempt at classification is just commenting on differences of approach and style, which could suit different inclinations of seeker. This is certainly not a "hard" classification – no lines doing any dividing. Just a description of trends and tendencies. For example, a therapist of a big organisation may well have a close following with which she works more in the "crazy wisdom" mode. A psychotherapist, specialised in relationship issues may, on occasion, initiate a client into the very core of ancient Tantric Mysteries, quite by accident.

 

TANTRA INCORPORATED

The larger organisations at present are easily identifiable, with strong branding, ™'s and ©'s on everything they touch.

Their teaching typically focuses on what Wikipedia calls "Neo-Tantra" which originates with Osho and has been continued/extended by Margot Anand, Barry Long, Sw. Veresh and others. This work is useful to all seekers, not just Tantrikas and is about addressing unconscious psychological patterning in the subconscious, particularly around sexuality.

The best of them use powerful psychological techniques and therapies to address common areas of sexual repression and restriction. For many seekers, this is life changing work and clears up much of their culturally and parentally imposed restrictions on their life's energy.

This work can take one to a readiness for initiation into the practice of real or inner temple tantric meditation practice.

At this school, we know the Osho therapists best in this category. Most of us have done at least some work there. Their currently most featured Tantra group therapist/teacher is, naturally, a fellow South African.

Groups at the Osho Multiversity in Pune, India are recommended for anyone with a sincere interest in Tantra. Most of the really fun ones require you to interview with the therapist before being allowed on. Be real, be honest, and if you're really stuck, try tears … that worked for one young lady, who is now a Dakini of this school.   

 

ANCIENT LINEAGES

Most ancient schools only admitted students who were from relatively unrepressed (sexually speaking) cultures. Their work focused largely on the use of sexual energy in meditative practices.

For many reasons, but mostly because of their difficulties in maintaining a womens' teaching in an increasingly patriarchal world, their extinction was more or less complete a long time back. The most common trap these schools fell into was emulating the enlightened condition. Jesus did not learn his capacity for suffering by whipping himself, physically or psychologically. Buddha did not strive for perfect non-attachment and compassion in his 20's. Suppression, even perfect suppression, is not equivalent to transcendence.

Some venerable traditions have managed to preserve technique and understanding that is still of use to a tantrika. Even though the old traditions themselves have mostly ended in ashes, here and there a hot coal can be found. Tantra is now just a baby phoenix being rekindled from the embers.

Buddhist tantra generally recommends that tantrikas should take the Bodhisattva vows of Mahayana Buddhism, and exchange the three jewels/submissions/refuges of a Buddhist for the Tantric alternative of Guru, Dakini and Goddess. Not as a rule-bound system, but as a living archetype, a structure to human relationships that supports awareness.

Hindu Tantra is notable for it's preservation of devotional art, dance forms and the highest philosophy, Advaita.

Some Ancient schools, from traditions as diverse as Sufi and Taoist preserve ways of enhancing libido and of working consciously with the resulting strong energies.

One ancient teaching is beautifully revisited by Osho in "The Book of Secrets", his commentary on the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, available at amazon and kalahari.

And of course, the strongest and most enduring of ancient tantric lineages is currently represented by the Dalai Lama.

 

MODERN ANCIENT LINEAGES

These re-creations and re-inventions of ancient tradition use old mantras, yantras and related techniques which were designed specifically for students from a very particular (and now extinct) culture.

This kind of work is unavoidably a bit inaccessible, although there's still power in some of these practices even after their having suffered reinvention. Most seekers will feel strangely energised and surprisingly well centred for a few weeks after, say, a weekend White Tantric Yoga® retreat.

For a few seekers, particularly those who have gone deep and far with neo-tantra work, these practices can be illuminating in the sweetest ways, even evoking flashes, past life memories, of ancient temple practice.

The best of these modern-ancient schools, have a strong emphasis on Neo-Tantra work, and that is their greatest value to modern seekers. The worst of them are mostly harmless and anyway a lot of fun.

 

CRAZY WISDOM SCHOOLS

The most lively area of what's called Tantra are the breakaways (often friendly) from the major schools, or teachers who've come to their teaching by unorthodox routes. These can hardly be categorised, some are possibly unsuitable, even dangerous to some seekers. An interesting book, Halfway up the Mountain (at amazon and kalahari) explores this topic to a worthwhile depth.

Most of these teachers are therefore pretty careful who they work with. All of them seem pretty much against labels, but use the word "Tantra" sometimes to describe their teaching. Why? .. well, you would have to ask them … and you would have a tough time doing that at Lee Lozowick's website. You can, however, read something gorgeous of his on the topic, here.

Informally, and in the new way of spiritual teaching (friendliness) these teachers use whatever techniques and practices they find useful. This gives their teaching it's unique (it's always unique) character. Many kinds of teachers … many kinds of students. One teacher's personal approach may suit you for your whole path, or you may be attracted to the teachings of a few, each addressing different areas of your consciousness at different times.

They don't generally make big media, and why should they … They are the appropriate teachers for just a small percentage of seekers. Only the most insistent, who have some feeling for what this is going to take. Probably around 2% of people on the planet are currently seekers. Strong, but very "niche" appeal.

Some otherwise sensible people are on the trip of trying to find a personal guru. Oops! These gurus are the fellows that churches, temples, mothers and fathers warn their young against, and rightly so. These teachers are what people of a sensible persuasion would generally avoid. To most people, crazy wisdom teaching just looks crazy. This should not happen …

I think it's because someone, in some drum circle mentioned that the fastest way, the lightning path of spiritual work is Guru Yoga: Taking an attitude of discipleship to someone who seems to have more or less attained whatever a guruji's supposed to have attained.

There have been attempts to define what a good guru is. Also some try to define what indicates a bad guru. Tricky issue indeed... no ISO standards certifications in the business. Even the Alltime Greats at some point or other will "fail" judgment in terms of someone's criteria. It is in general a pretty good idea to exercise a healthy, but not a chicken skepticism.

A Guru is not an everyone should have one kind of thing. Facing the possibility of that kind of surrender (or exposure to another consciousness) is a significant part of what makes this practice surpass all others. This is the inner-temple, inner-school initiation into the Heart of Tantra: Personal, uncompromising guidance. What takes years of gentle noodling in western medical psychotherapy is faced, and resolved within weeks (sometimes immediately) with the right kind of guidance. Over a shorter time, in other words, you go through the emotional experiences of years of deep Jungian, Freudian or Dr.Phil therapy. This is really not an easy everyone can do it kind of thing.

Fortunately for those in the guru game, there are many teachers at many levels of understanding and misunderstanding. Plenty of distractions for people with little or no discernment. Scoundrels and rascals abound. This operates from one viewpoint, as a filter, giving the insincere some knocks they probably deserve, and IQ testing prospective students while they shop around for a teaching or lineage. From another perspective, if you're a determined seeker with a gambler's spirit, asking the big questions, wanting the big answers … existence will give you hints and support your finding the right teachers in immaculate timing.

Though, of course, you could always try the comprehensive Sarlo's Guru Rating Service

Crazy wisdom or holy fool teaching is sometimes confused with god-madness. It is not a form of insanity! It is a sanity beyond the limitations of what everyone knows.

 

TAOIST TOUCH , TANTRIC MASSAGE, ENHANCED ORGASM AND SENSUALITY

These are the sexiest of tantrikas. They work directly, unambiguously with the sensuality of touch and the extension of consciousness, of awareness into sexual experience. Sometimes they start out as sex-therapists and massage-practitioners with a clinical reserve and businesslike manner. Over just a few years, love as such tends to come into their work as a direct consequence of doing the work. Their clients start getting more than they had bargained for … deeply moving emotionally rich experiences, ecstasy and tears, much like falling in love. Often their clients are chafing under the pressures and monotony of monogamy, and go to them first for some love, some human connection and deep sexual release (sometimes their main reason) , without technically having sex. These practitioners have the gift of converting good stable businessmen into meditators. Be warned: A tantric or taoist massage is not just sexy stuff. The techniques of these practitioners can affect you, quite literally, to the core of your being.

Good ones and bad ones … our suggestion is to be guided by personal recommendations and your intuition, how you feel about the practitioner.

At the Sexuality and Consciousness Conference, we met a wonderful practitioner in London. She is a student of Mantak Chia, teaching Taoist energy cultivation, massage, qi gong and the legendary jade egg exercises. Her own power and skill does massive credit to her teachers, and we recommend her work unreservedly. Uta of manawa.co.uk

 

SEXOLOGISTS AND SEXY PSYCHOLOGISTS

Kinsey's statistical understanding and acceptance of human sexuality as it is has merged with the understanding hinted at by Freud … that there are serious problems with the way the world does sex. Repressing it, and forcing non conformers into real perversity is not helpful. Therapies should be evolved.

This extension of psychotherapy into the sexual isn't what most tantrikas would call Tantra perhaps, but the work they do is helpful to many, is essential for some and is basically sex-positive and awareness-enhancing in it's outcomes, so we like it.

Their advice can often be useful, and those accredited by the few core schools have at least 6 months training, which is probably long enough for a keen student to absorb absolutely everything that the medical profession and psychology knows about sex. More positively, a few years work with real people, and they, from their own experiences, develop a worthwhile understanding.

Be a little careful though. Some of them are still young in their craft, which is also young. Some of them think that glycerine lube is a workable substitute for a woman's lack of arousal. Others prescribe viagra for erectile problems, and prozac to further suppress the depression caused by suppressed desires. Maybe that's functional or even helpful for sick people in a benevolent farming kind of way, but for Tantrikas, retreating from awareness is not an option.

While I'm being critical, it's fair to mention that I heard a tantra.com podcast a while ago on which a couple, allegedly tantric experts, suggest that a woman purchase a larger vibrator from their online store to open her up more as she has tightness and pain when entered by the husband. Quite callous and rather nasty advice there, I thought. I am pretty sure that a sexologically qualified person would have managed a much more helpful and less harmful suggestion.

The very good news is that the University of Cape Town has recently created a post – the first in South Africa – for a sex educator.

Ronald Addinall has ably filled the position and is mentored by Clint Gould of the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Clint visits South Africa regularly from his San Francisco base. He loves South Africa very much, and we are very grateful for his and Ronald's efforts in this country.


 

 

Bad, wicked nasty tantra

Tantra has a dark side to its reputation. In India, the word "tantra" is more often associated with some form of magic than a transcendent practice.

The thuggees were no joke, and terrorised large territories for a long time. A group of them would join a group of travellers. On a pre-arranged signal, they would strangle the other members of the party, rob them and move on.

Most of these excesses were long ago, but there are a few really nasty ones out there. A student of ours did manage to stumble into one that used hypnosis and opiates to enable some quite extensive abuse.

Some teachers of "pick up", "instant dating" and so on teach tricks from tantra, to create sense-addiction in or possibly imprint the other. Ok, that's more just "naughty", not really "bad".

Then there are those that are just not much use. Who have had little or no practical learning, using techniques in unfortunate or misguided ways. Just from a lack of personal training and some kind of peer review. There are not many of them and they do little if any harm. Just, it is sometimes a good idea for seekers to exercise a little discernment.

 

 

So what to do?

Taste of all the flavours of Tantra you can find. Be a little careful, be intelligent but not chicken! Take the robust attitude of allowing yourself to experience strong feelings.

For most Tantrikas, some worthwhile taste of most of the above is a good idea, and one or two areas are likely to be matters for deep personal immersion/exploration. Some parts of the path seem very linear and easy to understand … a progression. Other parts are more like a jig-saw puzzle coming together. Here and there, it is blissful on the path. Sometimes it can seem to be endlessly torturous. The most common trap is the idea that you feel good when progressing well on your path, so must be doing badly when you feel challenged. It is in the challenging times that a robust attitude, and the emotional supports of the venerable Heart and Death Meditations are so very important.

Most importantly, keep asking yourself why you want this path. Be prepared, willing, to drop tantra to live an easier life, if that's really what appeals to you. Whatever you've learned up to that point may be exactly the awareness you need to get on with your living and learning in some other direction.

The path of a Tantrika is extremely intensive and close guidance is sometimes necessary. This toughest of paths generally involves non-monagamy, conscious (loving, intimate, yet un-romantic and de-fantasised) sexuality, and the willingness to support others where one can.

 

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 is all 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 behaviour 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.

Sometimes, perhaps, logical idiocy is involved. 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 the Initiate a great start if the objective is to overcome all sexual craving …

The problem is of course the ego-fascination with the outward appearance. The temptation to emulate and display the marks of enlightenment. Buddha was asked about these marks by Subodhi, a very advanced student of his. Buddha’s response: "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. Do guard a bit against that. This is not an excuse to keep your practice shallow.

This is also not an endorsement of the popular modern teaching that technique is all bullshit. 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 the technique teaches. Be sure to get the real lesson which the artificiality of the technique draws your attention to.

And then, yes, discard the technique.

Not as in throwing away the technique, though … just that you now live with the awareness the technique has given you. You now access what the technique teaches, but more directly, more immediately.

Think of techniques as the 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. Once the child is actually riding, however, the training wheels are no longer helpful and quickly become a hindrance. They need to come off. Real bicycle riding then happens.

When it comes to sexual technique, this warning goes double. There is an extra intensity that ego brings to matters sexual. More of a tenancy to hang on to achievements.

For example, a position and pressure that blocks the ejaculatory reflexes is great to explore, but an absolute dead-end if the technique is perfected.

 

Mistaking Satori for Samadhi

I apologise 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.

Here are 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, partial … incomplete.

An old story that illustrates this involves blind men encountering an elephant. One describes the elephant as being like a whip, another describes it as being like a tree, and so on. Each has encountered the elephant, has had a moment directly experiencing it, knows far more about the elephant than was known previously … but 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 is the holy grail of mystics, devotees, renunciants, disciples, seekers and king-makers. It's the indescribable experience – unending, unbeginning, that Lao Tzu, Nanuk, Jesus, Osho, both Krishnamurtis, Ouspensky, Eckhart Tolle and others write so beautifully around and about. The whole elephant.

Sometimes techniques derived from what seem to have been involved in the happening of Samadhi are useful for inducing Satori too. Samadhi, however, cannot be evoked or caused by any technique. It requires an openness, a submission, a yielding of unimaginable proportions. The egoic view is indeed 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 is 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 it 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 be quite powerful and may last a while, only fading in their qualities of presence and immediacy after some time.

As a rough guide, if you've had an illuminating experience, the implications of which imply great change for your life, that is satori. Get on with those changes. Do not 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 have 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 would not be reading this. If you are as described, and are reading this in spite of the probabilities involved, go right now, research Bodhisattva and arahat (alt spelling ahrat), then make up your no-mind.

 

Sense-addiction, imprinting

Sense-addiction is just something most tantrikas just have to get through. Regrettable, perhaps, especially as working through this can look unfortunately undisciplined at times.

Dakinis do have capabilities that can be extremely addictive and imprinting. Powerful psycho-surgical 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 beyond your understanding).

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 goes deeper and is 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 lawnmower, 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 from that moment forth.

There are human equivalents to imprinting. Not as hard-wired as in the baby croc, but pretty powerful nonetheless. Some aspects of our cultural training set people 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 lawnmower isn't the croc's mommy. What you are imprinted to is an illusion. The most fundamental commitment of a seeker is to truth. 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 to him in order for him to impress a large number of seekers … to 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, powers and other misnomers for these apparent abilities the better. Many teachers downplay these phenomena as much as possible, for good reasons.

There are basically two categories of Siddhis, though most fit into both categories to some degree.

Natural human abilities and senses, which are seldom activated :

Dowsing is a good example of this category. It's a real, verifiable 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, others exhibit 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 to but more eloquent than haiku). Skills that you're unlikely to develop on your own, without examples to learn from. There are linkages, connections of tendency, that Science is now starting to glimpse between specific behaviours in childhood and later skills potential.

An example: Some children are hurried through their crawling stage by spending lots of time upright in walking-rings. They walk sooner than babies that are free to crawl. This may be gratifying to parents who watch charts and graphs of normal development, very concerned that their child should be advanced. It is also likely to result in difficulties later on with learning reading and writing. Some therapists who work with children's dyslexia know this and use crawling as a therapy, with significant success.

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 and involuntary 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 an object's physical properties, levitation, tricks with time and space and other super-natural seeming phenomena seem to require a separate category because they are far enough from our own experience that they seem really, 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 surly border guards … there are many stories of these kinds of experiences.

In the culture's schools, however, 100+ year old western physics and chemistry is taught as fact. This results in some siddhis being regarded as more unbelievable and 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 the common understanding of reality.

Please note: Neither of these categories of Siddhis have anything to do with spiritual attainment.

All of them can be developed or faked, even though some require training that starts at age 3 or so and others require huge pain or physical trauma to activate them, then years to develop conscious control.

Some are just abilities you can cultivate. Some come and go as one moves on one's path. Do not be concerned by them or get hung up on them. Note: It is considered spiritually immature and quite rude to get others hung up on admiring your siddhis.

Jesus' healing Siddhi, for example, was something he chose to use on occasion, being a compassionate man, but he was always at pains to cover up a bit and encourage the fellow to attribute his 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. Christian missionaries then focused on these miracle stories – in clear defiance of their master's 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 having a tough time with 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 your awareness increasing. They are more or less accidental side effects which can be beneficial and 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 anyway almost pointless. For example, cellphones and camcorders work better than telepathy or clairvoyance ever did.

Entrancement, esoteric TV

There are all sorts of entrancing visions along the path. Enjoy, but do not misjudge their significance. Occasionally insights from the between here and the ultimate spaces can be really helpful but there are endless realms of nothing-particularly-relevant out there.

It is worth heeding a warning I had from Sw. Rasada: "Just because something can get itself channeled doesn't mean it is 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 very useful pointers on the path. Sometimes they are really direct, literal, unmistakable …

A few years ago, a Dakini of this school passed through a time of confusion. In the midst of this confusion, getting out of her car at the mall, she asked for a sign. Looking 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 far more important than what living means. TV, even esoteric TV is bad.
  

This school's way:

The core of this school's teaching method is, as far as we know, unique: Teachers of this school engage their students in private sessions and teach the true mysteries of tantra directly, intimately … the only way they can really be taught.

This is the experiential basis that informs and shapes our other teaching modalities which are, on the surface, at least, similar to what everyone else does: Intensive residential retreats, introductory groups and workshops and tantric touch sessions and practitioner training.

Why I teach teachers.

During the years that I was a keen student of tantra, I enjoyed groups, workshops, and the writings of many teachers. Although my gratitude to these teachers is huge, they had definite limitations.

Sure, some of them had a lover or two, and quite possibly some good teaching and learning happened in that context, but few students could hope to work directly with the best teachers of the time.

Obviously, real tantra is taught person to person, intimately, and when appropriate, sexually. Tantra at that level of authenticity was simply not available to most seekers.

One reason for this history of partial tantra was surely the lack of students that were ready for this level of work. Most of us require a long, thorough and deep exploration of Neo-Tantra techniques and understanding before we can usefully approach tantra as such.

Another was the personal level of awareness and capacity of the teachers. Some had experienced an immersion in a foreign culture and suffered much confusion as to what practices were actually useful to Westerners. Others did great work with challenging the cultural mindset around sexuality and encouraged more natural, healthy alternatives. Great work, but not actually tantra as such.

The bottom line: There were no available teachers, complete with or sufficiently advanced on their own path, able and willing to help others with the necessarily intimate and sexual work.

I and my partner through those years had no option but to work on our tantra together. As we became adept, we improved as teachers to each other and advanced our understanding and practice significantly. We managed this while working through our own relationship dramas, developing our own sexual awareness , running a business and raising two children. A gorgeous journey indeed, but hardly efficient as a learning method.

My path was complete in 2002. What this means, among other things, is that my personal issues around sexuality were finished, as was my sexual hunger/craving. Before that, I had no idea of being or becoming a tantra teacher.

Since then, my personal spiritual mission has been to encourage a few women with the intelligence, emotional capacity and sexual power to their teaching as Dakinis – those who teach the mysteries and secrets of tantra directly.

These few women have become teachers who choose an approach to their work that requires a degree of willingness and capability significantly beyond that of any of the tantrikas I encountered on my path, or even heard rumours of.

It is a delight to me that seekers now have access to the teachers I wanted.

I am constantly in awe at their bravery, their compassionate intent and the difference they make in the lives of their students. I commend them to you as authentic and powerful teachers, the likes of which you will not currently find anywhere else on this planet.

They are the teachers that are needed now. I am their harbinger.

Rahasya
2010

 
 
 

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