The Tantra Lectures
The Tantra Lectures
Tantra and the Body
The body is the most basic place to start: we've all got one, we all use it sexually and we all have delights, fears, incompletenesses, desires, wishes, wants, hopes and fantasies around sexuality. One of the delightful things about Tantra is that it mapped out how to move into expanded states of awareness through sexuality. It is, in a way, one of the oldest religions, but not a religion, because there's nothing to believe. It's a practical science. Tantra can show you the step by step ways of opening deeper into your own being, and sharing that with a partner. It is possible to do Tantra by yourself, but that's not my tradition. I spent five years with a yoga teacher who had been initiated into Tantra individually, but to do that she had to take a vow of celibacy for the rest of her life. She took her initiation in Tibet in the late forties-early fifties and has been celibate ever since. That's not my pathway. I have no desire to be celibate, I have much more delight in sharing my openings with my partner. So we'll begin with 'Tantra and the Body'. Next, we'll discuss 'Tantra and the Emotions', the healing fire of Kundalini, then, 'Tantra and Incarnation', incarnating new life on Earth, 'Tantra and the Heart', and finally, 'What the Tantra Books Don't Tell You, Practical Hints for Tantric Survival'. For those who want to read in the area, there are some books on Tantra that are good and a couple that are really fine, but even those don't tell you about what you need to deal with in your Tantric openings. Encounters with the repressed contents of the unconscious are what bring people undone. Many people are drawn to Tantra and the sales of Tantra books around the world are substantial, yet there are relatively few people in an ongoing Tantric relationship, because of what those books don't tell you. Additionally, there are relatively few Tantric teachers. There are now several in America, but very few in Australia. Until 1994 we were the only Australians teaching Tantra in Victoria.
Bodies and Memory
Our bodies contain amazing memories, right back to the beginning of this incarnation, that is, the memory of our conception, imprinted in the first cell. The circumstances, the psychology, the spiritual opening, or otherwise, of our parents, become a basic psychoemotional imprint mapped energetically into the first cell. That first cell then holographically and vibrationally imprints every other cell with that information. Our bodies also contain the memory of our gestation, and of our birth, as those of you who've worked with breath therapy and rebirthing already know. These things are experimentally validatable. If we do the experiments, we can recover the knowing for ourselves. So I don't regard this information as being in the area of belief. It can be validated as in any other science: if you do the experiment, you get the information. Sometimes you might do the experiment and it doesn't come out completely. So you check with other people who do the experiment, you do it again, and gradually you collate the whole area of information and knowledge that tells you that this is what is true. Through the years of our own work with people, we've cepening us, opening us. The catch is that in a sexually repressive culture, we have a challenge in front of us. We also have hidden in us those memories of when we were growing up, playing with ourselves, having a great time and someone said, "Don't do that, it's dirty." Or perhaps we were pissing out in the back yard, standing up, girls and boys together, and maybe we were told that we shouldn't play those games. People, when they're adults, go back and try to heal these incomplete stages. They gemething we all know. I have the temperament of my grandfather, my son has the temperament of his grandfather on his mother's side. These things are passed on through the cellular structure as part of the information within the cell. So our bodies contain an enormous amount of material.
Additionally, once we get through, complete and heal the birth trauma, we can recover the information of our past incarnations. One of the things that happens for me sometimes is that I start to talk about my last incarnation as a memory. I'll say, "I remember when I was in Bavaria and I did..". I catch myself as I have to remember that it wasn't actually this lifetime, but the memory is there just as clearly as a memory from when I was four or five years old and went to the beach, fell into the water and cut my knee. The memory has the same clarity, and at various times as I go deeper, I'll recover more. Why am I saying this? The reason is that in our lovemaking, in our opening into our deeper spaces together, this sort of information can start to surface. There are ways of making sure that it doesn't, and for much of my life I had ways of making sure that it didn't. Basically, I didn't open emotionally. I was scared of going into high energetic spaces, and if feelings moved through me, I chose not to feel them rather than explore what they were. Many of you may have had ways of not delving into those spaces as well. The body is fascinating in Tantric terms because on one hand it provides us with energy to open into those spaces, on the other, it also often contains the information that we open into. The interesting thing is that we can explore all this knowledge that the body contains, other than sexually. We can use past life regression, we can do deep primal work, we can do rebirthing, there are many ways, but all of those therapies are only needed because our Tantra isn't working.
Ultimately, the way Nature has given us to heal - to grow and to flower - is Tantra. It is Nature's way of healing us, deepening us, opening us. The catch is that in a sexually repressive culture, we have a challenge in front of us. We also have hidden in us those memories of when we were growing up, playing with ourselves, having a great time and someone said, "Don't do that, it's dirty." Or perhaps we were pissing out in the back yard, standing up, girls and boys together, and maybe we were told that we shouldn't play those games. People, when they're adults, go back and try to heal these incomplete stages. They get into what's advertised as 'Water Sports'. Basically you go along and someone pisses on you. People pay good money for 'Golden Showers'. What are they doing? They're acting out their incompleteness from two and three years old, when it's a natural stage for kids to do that. If the natural stage is complete, the next stage can unfold. If that stage isn't complete, then what grows on from that, what matures from that, becomes subtly held. In the same way, if giving ourselves pleasure doesn't mature and grow, that becomes subtly held. We could actually map all those myriad varieties of developmental stages, the little steps in the organism opening it's own delight, its own energy and its own pleasure, that we learn to hold against. We learn how to hold against them psychologically, we learn to hold against them physically. If we were doing something that displeased our parents and it had a slight or a major sexual connotation and we were spanked for that, the spank lives on in the body as a memory. One of the things I found in my work as a practitioner and also in teaching bodywork is that at times, working around the buttocks, particularly around the gluteal muscle, the parts that go from the hip bone back towards the anus, working very deeply there, sometimes handmarks will actually re-appear on the body as the body releases that memory, as the person goes through it again. Sometimes bruises will come out that are not actually caused by my work, but by the very, very deep imprint that has been put right into the tissue, sometimes down into the cellular memory.
The Unconscious is the Mind of the Body.
At this point I want to introduce a concept that for me is absolutely basic. In a lot of therapies, in a lot of psychologies, people talk about the unconscious. But what is the unconscious? My simple explanation is that what is commonly called 'the unconscious' is the intelligent mind of the body. It is the conglomerate intelligence of the cells, of the tissues and the organs, and when a memory goes into the unconscious, it actually goes down into the body and stays there. But it doesn't just stay there. This memory begins to cause havoc in the body's systems because bodies aren't designed to hold emotional memories. They generate emotions, and the emotions are there to be expressed, to be lived through, to be released. But where there are memories that we're not allowed to express, those emotions go back into the body. We hold them down in there and they then become the genesis of disease, dis-ease, of systems breaking down. So when I talk about the 'unconscious', I mean 'The Mind of the Body'. The classic way of talking to the mind of the body is hypnosis, that beautiful way in which we drop past the conscious mind and then we gently wheedle our way in, slowly, to the ongoing part of the body's mind. What your conscious mind understands of this now, is what your conscious mind understands, but I want your unconscious to understand it. Because that's where the living information resides in you, and I want you to get new living information coming in at a cellular level, if you're open to that possibility.
That's part of the healing power of Tantra because the new information is simply reminding you about the nature of your own organism. What is your own organism? Your own organism is a flower of godliness, seeking to open. What is your sadness? The sadness is that the bud has strictures around it that don't allow it to open. What is the way to open? To go back to what is natural and to allow Nature to unfold it's own nature.
So, when we come together with a partner, we each bring this amazing history of consciousness that resides in us cellularly. This is one of the reasons why at times, despite our best intentions, things don't work out the way we want because our best intentions, held at a conscious level, are very nonsubstantial. They are not embodied. That is, they're held at the level of ideas and are not in our body. What is in our body is what we get, whether it's the frustration or the anger or the incompleteness or the 'it's all over too soon', or whatever. These many levels of interaction, many layers of being, are what we bring when we share ourselves with someone, and of course, some of these layers are very close.
The layers of fear of: - saying what we really want, - showing who we really are, - opening the doors inside us marked 'Do Not Enter'.
In working with couples who were on the point of splitting up, we'd ask them to remember a time when their relationship was good. OK, they'd remember a time when it was good. Now, "Remember a time when the lovemaking between you was really exceptional", and they'd remember it, and we'd say, "OK, what happened after that?", and then suddenly they'd see that after that time things started to go downhill, things started to not quite work for them. What happened was that they started to open into each other and then some of those layers that had previously not been available started to come up. They didn't have the tools for navigating those spaces, and the feelings, and they would project onto the partner because it was their partner who enabled that level of the body's mind to be touched, energetically. They were sharing those energies, opening together.
So then you start to blame, without awareness. You blame the other person for what they've done to you and away it goes, you've got banana-land. "You did na na na!", "You said na na na!", "And you know I don't like..", and away you go. You become lost in this pool, and what happens is that you don't go back into that same elevated space again because it's become too fearful for both of you to go back there.
Because you reached that point in your evolution as a couple and you haven't gone back there, you can't keep going, and if you're not continuing to grow, to expand, to open further into the glory that's available, the only place to go is downhill. So then you split, you connect with someone else, the opening happens again, and then gradually again it diminishes. What you can do of course is to displace your desire for that opening into something else - money, power, prestige, work, a hobby, motherhood, running marathons. You can even displace it into yoga - you know, how you can do the exercises and become fanatical about it. It's just the misplacement of that drive to keep opening your being. Our bodies, energetically, provide us with the fuel for the rockets of our consciousness. Put a lot of fuel in a rocket and you can go a lot further than if you put a small amount in. Usually in the initial stages of a relationship people spend a lot of time lying together, touching together, feeling the energy building up. As time goes on they spend less time putting fuel into the rocket and they want to go journeying quicker. It's more common for women to say "We want more time" than for men, and it's partly to do with the different energies that are involved there. Men often come from a Yang energetic space that wants immediacy, wants resolution, wants the explosion, wants the release. Women often come from a more Yin space. They want the nurturing, they want the opening, they want the unfolding, the surrender. What a man often doesn't realize is that if he can learn that way, waiting, dropping deeper, expanding, what will come to him in Yang energy will be far greater than if he follows the Yang energy immediately. But learning that takes a commitment to follow a pathway, it takes decisions to use processes, and preparedness to move into the unknown.
In our culture we don't school our young in the arts of lovemaking. We can teach them 'the facts of life', but they don't get taught ways of being together. Ours is a very non-touching culture so men don't find the ways of touching women, they don't know the ways of being open to the depth of touch. It's OK to touch if you just kicked a goal in footy, in certain sports touching's OK, but I listen to my stepson, to the ideas of masculinity he's picking up at his school, and it's basically, 'if you touch a guy, you're a bit suspect'. Even though he sees how I can be with men, that there can be some touching, a hug, or holding, it's as though that is in the weirdness basket as the culture unfolds another mythology for him. Sometimes our bodies aren't open to touch, even if we want touch a lot, because they are filled with fear. That fear can come from any of those levels that we've talked about. It could come from your birth, or from what happens in infancy, or from any past experience. I remember working with a woman once, working very deeply with the holdings in the tissue of the neck. It was very, very fearful work for her. She had never really allowed anyone to touch her neck, but she came to me because, she said, "I feel there's something in my neck". What did she recover? Her memory of being ten, riding along past a park, seeing a man crying, going home, but going back to where the man was crying, to talk to him, and he raped her. He held her down by the back of the neck and raped her from behind, and the memory was there as fear in the neck. That's a dramatic example and many of us have layers that are less dramatic than that.
If there's somewhere in your body where you don't like being touched, and you have a lover you trust, get your lover to touch you there and then explore it. The usual response is, "Look, I've told you not to touch me there, you know I don't like it. Why do you keep doing it?" The reason the person keeps doing it is that they're trying to help you towards your healing and they will keep going back to that spot, led by their body's intelligence, to keep touching you there so that you can find out what it is. You have the choice of keeping that old pattern, or of saying, "Look, it scares me when you touch me there. Just do it a little bit more until it becomes unbearable. I want to have a bit more of a look at it," and to breathe with it a little. Follow your breath and watch what happens... and don't project onto your partner, if you can manage that. Non-projection often takes quite a while.