Going Deeper and Beyond

The past two weeks I spent learning about tantric spirituality from morning till evening at Mahasidda Yoga, so there wasn’t much time or energy left for anything else than eating and sleeping. Sometimes I could find the motivation to wander around nearby neighbourhoods during the lunch break, but towards the end of the course I mostly went home to take a nap πŸ˜€

 

So what did I learn in that Tantra course?

Did I just “directly have sex with people”, as one friend phrased it some days ago?

Nope, not really. In fact, this course was much more theoretical than practical, with a focus on lectures about the tantric principles of resonance, transfiguration and polarity. On the third day, we also spoke about the concept of tantric sexuality, and on the fourth day, we spoke about love. After each theory block, there was a yoga practice and a group exercise, which mostly didn’t involve more touch than holding hands or a hug at the end of the practice.

One of the most important things to understand about Tantra is – from what I learned so far – the following:

The goal of a tantric is attaining spiritual enlightenment
through intense conscious experience
in every aspect of life.

While I don’t feel knowledgeable enough to go much into detail here, I want to point out the importance of polarity, called Shiva & Shakti in the tantric tradition – Shiva being the masculine, silence, stillness, centeredness, consciousness, and Shakti being the feminine, sound, motion, expression, intensity. They are described as a “divine couple”, as two oppsite parts of the same, one source. Everyone and everything has these two poles inside, and by balancing the two, one can become one with the universe and attain enlightenment.

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Two days into the course I could feel my frustration growing, but wasn’t really sure what I was missing or longing. I then realized that, in fact, I had expected something more intense, something more spectacular, orgasmic in a way. I had expected to dive in really deep from the start, like I did at the Art of Sex, where things just kept happening and I was constantly experiencing a feeling of ecstasy from all these intimate interactions I was having. This course was more about learning and understanding something (= shiva) rather than directly experiencing it (= shakti).

From this feeling of frustration I realized that even though I like to think of myself as very conscious, I in fact crave for intense experiences most of the time in order to somehow shake up my awareness. But it also works the other way round:

When increasing the awareness, the intensity follows.

So in this sense, I challenged myself once again, setting the intention to put consciousness and awareness first, and intensity second: to see myself more clearly, to become even more conscious of how I think, how I act, how I react, and how I feel.

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Sunset over Doi Suthep

This is why I decided to join the course for the second week as well and to observe myself even more closely. In that second week, I was much more comfortable in the group and time went by much faster than in the first week. It’s funny how these dynamics never really change: Everyone is anxious in the beginning and thinks that everyone is having a good time and already knows each other except oneself, and it takes time to overcome this fear and open up and just be natural around the others.

Because the group in the first course was so big (around 50 people), I was still getting to know new people in the second course, which was beautiful but also sad, because there never seemed to be enough time to really get to know anyone in the 15-minutes breaks or during lunch. But even though I probably won’t stay in contact with most of these people, they all inspired me and touched my heart in many ways, simply by being themselves πŸ™‚

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One of the few pictures I took during a women-only lunch πŸ˜€
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Alisa and me getting all excited about the best thing in the world ❀
So was there finally some sex in that one?

Nope, sorry πŸ˜€ In the second week’s course, we talked a lot about the steps of the spiritual path towards enlightenment – and this is when I got frustrated again.

First I didn’t exactly understand why, but then I saw the parallels to my experience during the Vipassana retreat: In the first few days I thought I was doing pretty well already, because many of the concepts sounded familiar and I thought I was already more or less living by the tantric principles anyway. But the more I learned about how serious this actually is – that the actual goal is enlightenment, and that there is an action plan of continuous practices to achieve it in the most efficient way – the more I realized that I actually wasn’t serious about this at all:

My meditation time and quality have significantly decreased over the last few months and I’ve been doing nothing but a few sun salutations every morning for the past year, even though I know very well about the benefits of these practices. Now that’s of course better than nothing, but honestly looking at myself I had to admit that I wasn’t really challenging myself anymore. Instead, I established a nice and cozy comfort zone and stay there 99% of the time. To realize such a thing is painful for the ego – thus the frustration.

On the last day, one of the teachers said:

Don’t stop growing because you feel okay.

This resonated with me a lot, especially after the realization above. After my first “awakening” and the experiences that followed, my life and how I look at it changed fundamentally. I was finally able to enjoy things and to love myself at least a little bit. For the first time since I can think, I felt okay – really okay, not just okay-okay.

So that’s where I stopped somehow now. But I want more. I want to challenge myself to go even deeper, to go beyond that which I already know, to go outside of my comfort zone again and again, in order to come closer to my true self and become free from all conditioning.

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So many beautiful beings!

Yet, as if it was planned, on the last day of the course I got a voice message from a friend whose opinion I hold in very high regard, warning me about not making the same mistakes as her. I knew she had been interested in Tantra as well some years ago, but had since distanced herself from it.

Now she told me why: Following the tantric principles, you are – among other things – not supposed to have explosive orgasms, because they drain you of your energy, and to do some special Asanas after sexual encounters to make the sexual energies flow into the heart shakra. (I’m still embarrassed to write about shakras :D) So because she was so into that whole tantric system, my friend told me that she would feel guilty when she didn’t follow these rules and that it took her forever to get rid of it again.

I already got very defensive in my head when I listened to the message, thinking that the course didn’t focus so much on the whole sexuality-and-orgasms-thing after all and that I was far away from feeling guilty for anything. I wanted to defend the school, wanted to say that obviously my friend had been involved with some “new age pseudo-tantric people”, but my teachers were serious and wise and not new age-y at all. Then I realized that actually I don’t have a clue whether that’s true or not, because I can’t really compare it to anything else.

The next day, I met a guy for dinner (…yes, there’s always a guy :D), who had been in the first week’s course, but didn’t attend very regularly. Talking to him about my friend’s voice message I realized that I indeed do have a tendency to become very deeply involved in whatever I’m involved in and that the risk of me sooner or later feeling guilty for my orgasms as well wasn’t actually as low as I thought in the beginning.

I realized that deep down in my subconscious, I am looking for a belief system that I can follow, that makes it easier for me to differentiate between good and bad, and a structure to hold me accountable for my actions with rewards and punishments. And what could be a bigger reward than enlightenment, which is what stands at the end of the tantric path? Very tempting…

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Huay Tao Tong Lake, where I spent one of my free days between the courses

So this is why this is not the airy-fairy text I imagined myself writing at the end of this course. As always, I did learn a lot –Β  about the actual contents of the course, by talking to others and by observing myself when interacting with others, and I’m super happy that I took this course. Yet I have noticed that my eating habits have become less healthy, that my digestion is making problems, that I have a hard time falling asleep and that I started biting on my nails again. These are indicators that something isn’t going so well inside me and I’m not quite sure what this is about.

Sharing these difficulties still makes me uncomfortable and I’d rather tell everyone how perfect everything is – but it’s not. It is how it is πŸ˜€ ❀

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