Aneesha incorporates Tantra in Pulsation
As it turns out, Reich and Osho are the passions of my life. When I arrived in Pune in 1976 I was a young and “green” practitioner of neo-Reichian emotional release and body work and spent most of the next 25 years facilitating groups, sessions, and trainings in various incarnations of the Osho Multiversity.
Reich: a modern Tantra master
In Mumbai, shortly before Osho returned to Pune after his world tour, he was asked the following question about Wilhelm Reich: (Sermons in Stones, #7)
The German psychologist, Wilhelm Reich, stumbled upon some inner secrets of bio-energy. He had also started practicing these on his patients but he was declared anti-social, was imprisoned, and pronounced mad. Osho, what is it that Reich was working on and where did he go wrong? What was he missing?
Osho had often spoken of Reich with love and appreciation, and I always listened right up when he did. In his response Osho described how Reich’s discoveries about life energy and his work with sexual energy challenged social, religious, moral, and political structures of his time.
“His work was strange, hard…and it was made more difficult by the society because they started immediately condemning him, saying he was in conspiracy with the devil—just like me!—saying that sex has to be renounced. And he was teaching people some strange exercises. Those strange exercises show his genius. He had no idea of Tantra; he had never been to the East. But the exercises he found are ten thousand years old.”
Reich was jailed like a criminal, his books were burned, and he died of a heart attack in prison.
“[Reich] shrank and died. And it is strange that after his death his work has remained where he left it. It has immense potentiality. It should be developed, and it should be developed in collaboration with Tantra.
I call Reich a modern Tantra master, although he was not aware of it. Perhaps in his past lives he may have known the secrets of Tantra—because his work contained the secrets of Tantra…
Wilhelm Reich will have a revival because what he was doing was absolutely scientific. No Christianity can prevent it, no government can prevent it. And perhaps…
I have so many sannyasins educated in psychology, in psychoanalysis, in analytical psychology and different schools—perhaps a few of my sannyasins will start working on Wilhelm Reich. He belongs to us! I give him posthumous sannyas!”
“That’s me,” I thought. “I’m going to do that!” I kind of took it as an assignment.
Tantric Pulsation evolved over the next years as a response to this assignment. I bring to this work forty-plus years’ experience as a Reichian therapist in the world of Osho, and my personal experience as a meditator. Tantric Pulsation is a group work which embraces the life-positive attitude taught by both Osho and Wilhelm Reich toward a deep acceptance and celebration of our sexual energy.
My interest in sex goes way back. I must have been about four when, taking a shower with my father, I noticed and remarked upon his penis. From that moment forward I was banished from showering with Dad. As a child I had no idea why that happened and felt hurt and rejected. As I learned much later, that was when my conditioning around love and sex began.
I had become acquainted with what I called “my funny feeling” that arose when I touched myself “down there.” My parents took great pains to socialize me away from that place—to no avail. Although I learned the rules of public behavior, I remained committed to my secret contact with that spring of pleasure within myself.
I remained technically a virgin until the age of 19, but my forbidden knowledge of childhood was never forgotten. Gradually I learned that the yearnings that swirled inside my body were excited by the presence of boys. But by the time I actually started going out with them as a teenager, there was a thick wall of prohibition around my sexual feelings. My conditioning had caught up with me.
I was 21 when I first heard of Wilhelm Reich, and started reading his book, The Sexual Revolution. I was thrilled by his ideas of sexual freedom. At this time I was involved in my first live-in relationship, and was very engaged in the unfolding of my own sexuality. I also became more aware of my sexual repressions and how I was limited by my sexual conditioning.
I was particularly interested in Reich’s life-long research on life energy, and the role it plays in our sexuality. He called it orgone energy. In truth, this energy, which has also been called prana, chi, élan vital, has been explored down the ages by mystics, yogis, and metaphysical philosophers. It can be experienced as physical vitality, sexual energy, power, love, creativity, and other, finer qualities and aspects of inner human energy and consciousness.
This fluid energy underlies the natural flow of feeling and sensing—of pleasure in the body, as well as emotional feelings. Reich gave tremendous importance to freely living one’s sexuality, and to enjoy the natural pleasure sex can bring. Parental and societal suppression of children’s natural aliveness, sensitivity, and expressiveness turns their positive life energy against itself, resulting in inner conflict, low self-esteem, violence, and anti-social behavior.
Character armor – muscular armor
Wilhelm Reich was perhaps the first modern thinker who so fully described the role of the body in psychotherapy. Reich asserted that repressed sexual and emotional energies could eventually form into a rigid, controlled, tense, or collapsed personality structure. This he called character armor. He also discovered the physical counterpart of character armor – chronic tension, rigidity, or collapse in the body’s musculature – and called it muscular armor. Reich’s insight was that these chronic patterns of tension in the body not only adversely affect organs and physical health, but they are at the roots of psychological disturbances as well.
All of this was fascinating and exciting to me, and also quite relevant to what was happening in my life. Just living with a boyfriend for the first time brought up all my unresolved issues from the past about intimacy, trust, emotional pain, my body image, my rage, mistrust, and on and on. I was lucky enough to find a teacher, a student of Reich, Charles Kelley, director of the Radix Institute in California. In training with him I deeply explored my emotional nature—well, as deep as a 23-year-old me could go at the time—and learned the required skills to become a practitioner of neo-Reichian body work.
During my years of training I had many life-changing experiences, but two of them connected with sex have lasted since I discovered them. My capacity to remain present with my partner while making love deepened and expanded, with fewer mental spaces of memory, fantasy, or thinking, which had previously prevented me remaining present in the here-and-now experience.
I also experienced an expanded capacity to sense energy flow in my own body and feel the connection with my partner’s energy in that flow.
I then went on to live and work at Esalen Institute, a prominent growth center in California, where I first heard about Osho. That same year, while co-leading a training with Charles Kelley in London, I had my first chance to try the Dynamic and Kundalini meditations with Poonam at Kalptaru, one of Osho’s centers in London. I realized fairly quickly, through experiencing Osho’s meditations, that he was my spiritual master, the right master to teach me what I needed to know to expand in my work and to go deeper in myself. I went to India to meet him and never looked back.
Through the many experiences during the Pune One years, including my experiences leading Reichian groups there, Osho helped deepen my understanding of early life conditioning and the importance of accepting and living our life energies rather than repressing them. The young people who came to Osho in the seventies were looking for exactly this kind of permission to break free from personal and social barriers. This was a collective zeitgeist, a mission of the times, and Osho’s sannyasins jumped in wholeheartedly, with all the totality that he encouraged.
Because Osho’s meditations contain active phases that engage and involve the physical body and, they naturally and gradually release and relax the muscular armoring in the body. Then, in the softer, more silent phases we can touch into stillness, resting inside, non-doing, just being present, here, in this moment. The mind can relax, the psyche can open, and energy can flow freely again.
Delicate quality of energy
All the catharsis and expression, and the living out of our energies that we practiced with fervor through Osho’s meditations and therapy groups, seems in retrospect to be a preparation for a new energy space that was far more delicate than emotional catharsis, pounding pillows, and screaming out our “No.” There was a phase of Osho’s work in Pune One—the energy darshans—which gave me a first-hand experience of another quality of energy, a new height, and a new depth of energy, pure energy without mental content, ecstatic beyond reason.
When Osho touched my third eye during energy darshans, my awareness was pulled there like a magnet. I was overtaken by a powerful, uncontrollable upward rush of energy. This up-rush seemed to flush out any mental contents like a strong wind. It left me for many long minutes in a state of absolute no-mind, supine at the back of the hall where I had been deposited by a helpful “lifter”—one of the swamis who helped “zapped” sannyasins get up afterward! Sometimes this state was with me for the whole next day.
I became more aware of my chakras, the energy centers inside the body which regulate energetic and physical functions inside each one of us. I began to understand that each chakra, and the part of the body surrounding it, carries a different vibration or quality of human energy. It always helped me to think of chakras like a rainbow—each color from red to violet, with faster, finer vibrations.
All the colors are needed to make a rainbow, and all the qualities of human energy that we contain, and can feel and express, are needed to be whole and integrated within. This, as I understand it, is one of the basic attitudes of Tantra: to accept all the energies that are natural within us—animal, human, and divine. It is our birthright to enjoy the pleasures of the body, mind, and spirit.
I created Tantric Pulsation in direct response to Osho’s suggestion that the work of Wilhelm Reich should be developed in conjunction with Tantra. Using breathing and movement to feel the body more deeply, we discover a new sensitivity to the subtle energies that flow through our bodies. We grow in our capacities to be rooted in the body through a felt sense experience.
The tantric meditation techniques found in Osho’s Vigyan Bhairav Tantra form the basis for our exploration, so that we begin to bring the quality of meditation to our intimate meetings with the other.
Aneesha has been a disciple of Osho since 1976, and has mostly worked as a therapist in his Multiversity, as well as teaching Pulsation neo-Reichian body work around the world. Tantric Pulsation developed in response to Osho’s suggestion that the work of Reich should be developed in collaboration with Tantra. Aneesha’s book ‘Tantric Pulsation: The journey of human energy from it’s animal roots to it’s spiritual flowering’ describes this collaboration, and is available at Amazon. oshopulsation.com
Aneesha is offering her first experiential training in Tantric Pulsation, introducing the concepts underlying this method, exploring Tantric meditation through body awareness, at Osho Miasto in August, 2015.
Images in this article:
Painting of Wilhelm Reich by M. David Bailey – drawing of Osho by Vinit
Sun, painting by Wilhelm Reich