Santa Cruz Mountains, August 20 2010: Back at the Tantra Certified Educator’s training, I have been wrecked upon the shoals of Scylla and Charybdis, and as Martha Stewart so often says … that’s a good thing.
Scylla and Charybdis, for inquiring minds that want to know, were the two navigation hazards for Greek ships, at least according to the stories. Charybdis was a female goddess, but also a sea monster with a huge mouth that swallowed vast amounts of water; in other words, a whirlpool. Across from Charybdis was another hazard, a huge rock (Scylla). Thus when a ship had to pass between them, it was “between a rock and a hard place,” as we said in Texas, where as everyone knows, navigating ancient sea vessels is a topic of constant discussion among the town folk.
So what does this have to do with the teacher’s training course in Tantra Yoga?
It’s that I’ve discovered that so much of what I thought I knew about how to learn things .. just doesn’t work here. Bummer. It’s like this ..
All my adult life, since my Scientology adventure, I’ve had this one skill — that I can learn pretty much anything, and that anything I know, I can teach or train in a way that’s easily comprehended. Pretty cool, huh?
But .. in Tantra Yoga .. there is a kind of healing. That’ s the core of this yoga. it’s a yoga, a discipline, a pathway, a method. In this method you activate the body’s fiery furnace, and with this fuel burning and igniting the energy system of your body, within that energetic state, you meditate.
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
As I wrote in a long-ago article for The Gnostic Times magazine (Llewellen Publications), the essential core of all meditation is to hold the mind still, and toward that end you choose a ‘fixative,’ something simple on which to hold the mind. When the mind wanders — chattering, dancing monkey — you simply bring it back. Simple? Sure. Easy? Just try it.
But it’s the most basic method of beginning to learn to operate the mind, instead of — as most of us do, pretty much all our life long — instead of letting the mind operate you, driving you this way and that, into suffering and sadness, into hurting others and losing your way, and all the other blunders we make when we navigate life using the mind as our compass.
IS MIND THE BEST COMPASS?
Oh, the mind is a good thing.
But heartless mind is a cold compass.
And mind without intuition is a calculation in a forgotten math book, lying dusty on a shelf, in a library long forgotten by the children.
And … my learning skills have been a mind skill.
It didn’t work here.
INVISIBLE FORCES, IMPOSSIBLE ACTIONS
A fellow named T.J. Bartell, a skillful daka (a Tantra Yoga practitioner), described some of the healing process this way to us students: “You basically tune into the flow of your partner’s body, and you then send the energy of your hands up from here into the heart chakra, by lengthening the energy from your fingers till they reach the heart.”
Oh. So *that’s* what we do.
Oh, gosh. My Scientology training, so many years ago, just didn’t prepare me for this. There were no courses back in college for Flow or Energy (‘Energetic Finger Extension 101’?). Ask me two years ago about Chakras? (Hearty har har har!) I’d have said they were bull-s**t. (A technical term.)
FEAR AND TERROR IN THE LIVING ROOM
And so it was that, on one particular evening, awaiting my practice partner for the evening, I found myself dithering in the living room of my rented condominium. I came within an ounce of simply packing my things and driving away from the course. I was so terrified. I knew in my heart I had no clue how to do the special massage that was the homework assignment.
Pack my car and leave? Hell, it seemed so desirable to run away, that I considered just driving away. The hell with my clothes and possessions!
Back and forth, stay or go, back and forth, run away or stick it out, back and forth.
And then in a moment of clarity, I had this thought —
I considered what the rest of my my life would be like if I ran away.
STICKING WITH IT, FAILURE AND SUCCESS
I stayed. I’m glad I stayed, though I don’t think I handled the homework assignment very well. The next assignment also seemed to go really poorly as well. And the morning after that second assignment I found myself in a kind of agony as I sat in class. Well, everybody else sat in class, lotus-position style on the floor. I was kind of rolling around on the floor, actually. But they were kind and simply left me alone.
I considered the famous quotation from Michael Jordan: “I have missed over 9000 shots in my career. I have lost over 300 games. And on 26 occasions when I was entrusted to take the game-winning shot I missed. I have failed over and over and over in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
But I didn’t need to trot out my excuses, and my agony. And, as it happens, in this class one is also free to set up extra-curricular sessions with other students in addition to the assigned ones. And in such a session with a (very weepy) fellow student, I discovered myself feeling confident, and handling the “energy” and the “flow” just fine, though with little idea of what I was doing.
And before the class, when I’d spent a couple of days with a new lady friend, things had gone just fine. So my ‘score’ was actually two and two. It was just that the learning seemed incomprehensible. It seemed like an impossible assignment: Use invisible energy and manipulate it so that your partner enters a meditative space where healing occurs.
BLISS AND SADNESS
This healing might be pleasurable. It could be orgasmic, or multiply-orgasmic, or mongo-bongo-wowsville-inexpressible-howdy-God orgasmic. Or it could be tears and fears and “I didn’t know these deep-seated things were still riding in my psyche.”
You see, as we grow and develop, our problems and pains and grief and sadness and rage and hurts are all stored somehow. Oh, some we simply throw off, shrug our shoulders, and move on. But others seem to stay with us … forever.
WHERE IS PAIN AND SADNESS STORED?
And where is pain and sadness stored?
I think it’s in the body. Only the body is here in present time, and yet we are still affected, often unconsciously by these long-ago tears. Even the cells in the body are all new, and yet, somehow in the structure of the body (or the body’s energy field) these traumas and pains are stored.
In my counseling practice, these things emerge, and we handle them (with Clearing, Focusing, and Emotional Freedom Techniques). But many of our sexual hurts are stored in the area of the genitals (second chakra in the old terminology), and many of our money and security hurts are stored in the area of our anus … for the rest of our lives. (It’s all the crap of life that we just can let go of.)
And when you have some stimulation in this general area, sometimes these things are triggered.
Guys, have you ever made love to a woman, and somewhere in the middle, she begins weeping sadly, and you ask her what’s going on, and she says she doesn’t know, that she just feels sad? Or things were going fine a moment ago, and suddenly she’s enraged at you, and didn’t do anything wrong?
Or you yourself, somebody was really turning you on, and suddenly you’re totally pissed? And you really have to search around to find out some reason why, and even then you’re not sure if that’s really it or maybe you just made it up to explain why you’re so angry?
That’s an example of something from the past, stored in the body, and triggered by energy flowing in that area where it was stored. Bummer.
MEANWHILE, BACK AT TANTRA SCHOOL …
I have, with more practice, begun learning how to ‘tune into the flow’ and to ‘extend the energy’, but it hasn’t come real easily. Still, it’s coming.
And is it all just hogwash?
I don’t think so. What’s led me to this conclusion are three things: (a) my intuition tells me on some level that it’s true; and (b) I’ve since seen the process, beneath my hands and gaze, working and bringing up both the pleasure and the buried emotions, and processing these things, seen my partner open and fluorish; and (c) there was the weird business of the cards …
IT’S IN THE CARDS
I decided that, anguish or not, the answer was in learning more, and the path to learning more was more practice. On the other hand, I felt like I was driving past my own internal speed limit, with one foot flooring the accelerator and the other stomping furiously on the brake. On the other hand, the pathway to more practice was setting up more extra curricular sessions, and practicing more, terrified or not.
So I chose two students to ask: We’ll call them Susan and Joanna, though these were not their names. I have changed their names to protect the innocent.
And I walked up to each of them that day, and asked them would they be willing to join me in a practice session at such-and-such a time. Susan said maybe, and she’d check her schedule to see if the time was free. Joanna said the same.
The next day we were to receive a homework assignment, and through a very complicated procedure which involves cards and communication, my partner was Susan. Ha! I reckon her schedule must have worked out!
And that day Joanna came up and said that she’d checked her schedule. “I don’t think it’s going to work out,” she said. She had to drive back and forth to her home, some few miles away, and there just wasn’t time for her to schedule an extra session beyond the assigned ones. Bummer.
And the next day, through the complicated procedure, we had another homework assignment. And the cards handed me … Joanna.
Well, I guess that scheduling thing was going to work out after all.
As I experience more, I discover some deep truth in this Tantra.
I reckon it’s in the cards.