One that doesn’t work


In search for Tantra meditations for couples we found this from Madhuri – but…

Drawing by Madhuri

Do not interfere with another person’s love and prayer. Drop the idea that you know the way to love or pray. Simply respect other people that howsoever they are loving or praying is perfect for them.

– a wiseperson

Over the years from time to time someone will mention a certain Tantra meditation and ask if I’ve done it: Nadabrahma. It’s an adaptation of a solo meditation we did frequently in the big open marble-floored hall in the Commune: Sitting, eyes closed, for thirty minutes you hum with a sensitively droney sort of music. Then for fifteen minutes you move your hands, palms up, first away from your navel in a slow circle; then, palms down, back towards the navel in a circle again. Then you lie down for fifteen minutes. In the couples’ version I did in a group in Poona in about 1990, with my boyfriend Aksel, a man and woman sat facing each other with a thin sheet covering them and held hands as they hummed. The rest of the meditation was as for singles.

Now, I basically don’t like Nadabrahma very much; though I’ve sometimes had a good time with it. I don’t like sitting down for so long – I’d rather have some body movement for part of the meditation – and I don’t like humming. In general I’m intolerant of voicing anything someone else has designed to be voiced. Free-form catharsis is different, it’s all my own – but a prescribed sound, like humming or chanting, insults the extremely individual Genius-to-Freak channel in my Design. I have several planets in the gates which define this channel. That’s why I couldn’t ever be an actress, even if I wanted to; I don’t like to speak someone else’s script.

I hadn’t yet accepted this about myself so thoroughly, and anyway an experiment is all in good fun. And my experience was, like, pretty miserable! We sat under those sheets getting sweatier and sweatier, and Aksel said afterwards that it was really awful for him, he got so swelteringly hot. So when I think to try it here with N. I immediately drop the idea of a covering sheet! I’m not sure exactly why I think to do this technique with N. – oh yes, because somebody, I forget now who, suggested it.

My friend Binky when she was moving back to Texas gave me all kinds of things, clothes and housewares, and among them were some lengths of beautiful fabric, silky and deeply dyed in turquoise and under-sea blue. I take these and a great quantity of large safety pins and rig up a bower in the empty Tantra room. In its loose confines I put the two humongous pillows I also got from Binky. The safety-pinning is kind of gimcracky but I think it’ll work for an hour. Anyway it looks impressive when you walk in, kind of like a giant bower-bird had hung his offering from the ceiling fan and painted it with chewed blueberries. Mildly Arabian, which is neither here nor there.

So we meet for our meditation, and I fiddle with the tape player and then sit opposite him and he tries to get his footballer-style self into the silken bubble without pulling it down from its moorings. His legs don’t bend up all portable like mine do so his feet stick out at my sides, pulling at the ends of the silk, straining the pinned places. I explain the method and he says “Okay,” rather doubtfully.

After we’ve been humming for maybe ten minutes—and I can feel him fidgeting, rearranging himself, and so on—he hisses in a loud whisper, “How much longer is this supposed to go on? I don’t think I can do this for thirty minutes!” And I just crack up—what else can I do? And laugh at my discomfort with his discomfort, and at how he actually talked during a meditation, and how somehow howlingly funny it is that this square guy is in here doing his best in this silken prison of closed-eyed obligatory noise-making! Somehow we limp through the rest of the meditation – I tell him he doesn’t have to hum if he doesn’t want to—and I wonder how I could ever have thought he’d like it?

Maybe this is an American thing—or is it intelligent, or is it cowardly? I don’t know nor do I feel it’s my business to find out – that he doesn’t like to be uncomfortable, and doesn’t really see suffering as being possibly productive. I mean, he’d likely not put up with Dynamic Meditation at all, no matter how good it is for a person—simply because it’s grueling! I’m unwilling to think I know what’s good for him, unwilling to bother him. After this I just design things that he’ll naturally fall into well, will appreciate. I’m not his therapist, thank god. And there are so very many things to do that are lovely and fun and peaceful. And these things do their work deeply, and with ease, and he loves them. Why should I care if comfort is where his affinity lies? I can do Dynamic on my own.

Summer ‘05 – From Love at Dancing Leaves: A Tantra Memoir by M.K. MacCrae (Madhuri)
Illustration by the author
Instructions for Nadabrahma for Couples can also be found here:


Madhuri is a healer, artist, poet and author of several books, Mistakes on the Path being her latest memoir.

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