Sarvaan’s plunge into Tantra…
There is a lot of bullshit in the Tantric world. No other pathway attracts so many narcissists, megalomaniacs and perverts, and is so riddled with wounded healers, charlatans, neurotics, and individuals who are in dire need of a good therapist. Do a quick search on Google and 90% of the hits will be promises to make you the world’s greatest lover, or offer only partially veiled prostitution (not that there is anything wrong with that). Another slice of the pie belongs to the airy fairy esoteric sexual magic workshops run by disciples of teachers who never had wisdom to impart in the first place.
Fortunately, there is a sliver under the Tantric (and sexual shamanic) umbrella which offers an authentic experience. It includes and transcends sex, but isn’t focused on it. It bridges the physical and metaphysical into a holistic union focused on love, not love making. I had to crawl through the Tantric muck for years to find it, searching for a path with heart and holism, giving up several times in frustration.
But then I met someone, and everything changed.
As always, the remarkable meeting came in a kismetic and serendipitous way. I was invited to cook at The Womb meditation center in Pai, a small rice farming village along the Banana Pancake trail in Northern Thailand. I arrived to find a beautiful plot of land along a lazy river with a center still very much in the construction phase. I busied myself with the difficult task of turning a tiny bamboo hut into a serviceable kitchen, capable of nourishing fifty people. I had only three weeks to prepare for the center’s very first workshop, which I soon learned would be a Tantra group led by a woman named Krishna Radha.
I didn’t immediately recognize the name, but after a quick internet search the ‘Aha!’ moment came. A year before I was researching Tantra and had come across her TantraLife website. I was with my beloved Prem Eva at the time and I commented to her – “I think this woman is going to be your Tantra teacher one day.”
Lo and behold, the Universe was bringing her to us.
I met her one week later, just a few days before the group started, and it was one of those meetings we all know well – the immediate recognition of a special connection, together with the intuition that a world of possibilities is about to open up.
But at that time I was still turned off to Tantra. A series of lukewarm meetings with various teachers and a distasteful end to a Tantra internship in Spain the year prior, had left me with many doubts about the existence of a teacher that was right for me, or even if Tantra was my path. So I tempered my excitement and patiently resolved to watch the week unfold.
What I experienced next was the arrival of forty-five well-to-do Chinese citizens with rather large chips on their shoulder and a you-owe-me-something attitude. And my sense was that many of them were not meditators and had no previous experience with Tantra. Most seemed to be there only for the novelty of it.
Internally, I was stressed to the hilt and questioning my ability to run a kitchen. Before that week, I had always been an assistant, never the lead cook. A tiny range top with no oven, and no supermarket within 200kms only added to my fears. An 18 hour work day, sparse sleep, language barriers, water shortages, equipment failures, and invasions of bees, insects and lizards didn’t help either.
The first two days were almost unbearable. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. The participants had very little respect for the staff and treated us like shit. Feeling equal parts indignant and frustrated, I sheepishly approached Radha with a plea for help. She just smiled and said “Don’t worry about thing, I’ll take care of it.”
Quickly everything changed. First the group went into a deep silence, followed by a respectful appreciation and then into full blown celebration. In five years of working as a cook in sannyasin centers, I had never seen such a dramatic transformation happen during a seven day group.
It was transformational for me as a cook as well. Even though the conditions were terrible at best, in the end we served a week’s worth of delicious meals, received two standing ovations and after the last meal the Chinese organizer pulled me aside and said, “Congratulations, you managed to make forty-five carnivorous Chinese forget about meat for a week.” It was exhausting, but also the most rewarding week of my life in the kitchen.
Just before it ended I was invited into the group room where I witnessed eight people take sannyas, watched everyone dance like maniacs and felt joy bouncing off the walls. When Radha left a few hours later, I knew it would not be the last time I saw her.
A year passed before I finally made it to one of her workshops in Tuscany, and it was the single most transformative week of my life. No bullshit, no frills, just endless injections of love, depth of being and living life fully. I experienced the entire pantheon of emotions – the jealousy, envy, lust, anger, sadness, fear, hope, trust, joy, wonder and togetherness. I felt energies I never knew possible and I witnessed how easily my mind could run away with the truth. Most importantly I took off the mask of personality and shared my naked truths with the group. It felt like a year of intense internal work squeezed into one week.
I spent half the time deeply suffering – uncontrolled weeping, tapping into my rage, getting lost in stories, facing paralyzing fears, feeling ashamed of my body and trying to find my stifled voice. The other half I playfully laughed, danced with abandon, expressed my truth, stood tall in my glorious body and sat in deep, peaceful silences. After seven days of constant digging I was rewarded with a beautiful gift- a cosmic orgasm that lasted three bliss-full yet vulnerable and shaky days. It was like discovering you can jump to the moon and attempting it before you learn how to land. The re-entry was exhilarating but scary as hell.
I subsequently did four more very different, but equally powerful workshops in Italy. In one group I found the courage to be myself and say no. In another I made contact with my inner child for the first time and faced (and healed) the burden of guilt which I have carried around like a black cloud since adolescence. In the last one I learned to follow my heart and stay present without getting lost in the fantasy, and to give what wants to be given and take what wants to be taken.
All of them proved to be life changing, mind altering and filled me so full of love and energy I could hardly handle it. Yet what stays with me the most is the deep silences I touched in myself, the connections I made with the others and the healing I experienced on so many levels. And the freedom. The beauty-full, grace-full breath of freedom.
Looking back, the years crawling through the Tantric muck were a necessary step, full of important lessons and useful experiences. Although it was at times strange and frustrating, it was well worth it, to be here now, flowing in the heart and radiating love.
Sarvaan, Osho News