what is Tantra?


Tantra, on philosophical level, gives equal weight to mind/spirit and body/physical/sensual, seeing them as partners. This is in contrast to some other philosophies that give priority to mind spirit. Some of those philosophies actually see the body/sensual as delusional and enemy to spiritual development. If you like, you could say it is a more passionate expression of the cooperative interactive nature of opposites in the principles of yin/yang but symbolized by the lovers – one a warrior (for conflict) one a lover (to symbolize harmony)… To this end Tantra uses love making as a symbol and a practice for spiritual development. This use can be also expressed as the interactivity of wisdom and power as in mindful sex as a path to self knowledge versus sex magic as another expression of complimentary paths.

Orgasm and trance – rhythm is the key

This research shows that orgasm leads to altered states of mind body. Something Tantra and paganism has known and taught the mechanisms of for centuries. It’s good to have added ways of knowing beyond tradition and word of mouth. http://www.iflscience.com/brain/having-an-orgasm-is-like-going-into-a-trance/


Testimonial for a weekend workshop

This is so poetic and gorgeous… I’m deeply honoured by how Ebeth and Ken’s participation in the two day workshop we shared… the biggest compliment was their return for a second workshop, that they trusted me as their guide again. Then for Ebeth to write this on behalf of both of them is humbling and inspiring…

Whoever thought eating a strawberry could be so fulfilling to the senses. I found my self so involved that my eyes were screwed firmly shut. One more sense I could not bear to use so heightened was touch, scent and flavour. The tang of the berry on my tongue, the crunch of the tiny seeds between my teeth, the heady scent, the coldness on my lips. The sensual experience of our senses brought to life with a simple fruit.

We had signed ourselves up to a second round of experiences with Christopher and again we were treated to a mixture of philosophy and experience. Formally the class was on Tantra and how to understand the languages of the senses spoken and using this to deepen our relationships.

In many ways that exploration during the weekend, was the exploration of the strawberry. How many senses can be used to explore something we usually thoughtlessly place into our mouths or turn into a smoothie? Sometimes the experience was almost too intense, the need to screw ones eyes up and focus almost overwhelming.

The weekend provided an explanation of the rituals of our individual worlds using the seven chakra’s along with the five senses for exploring. The base of fear, the second of desire, the third our body and resources, the fourth the passion and action of the heart, the fifth the communication with the world the ability to listen to our selves and our lovers, the sixth the understanding of ourselves as a part of our environment and the seventh our understanding of ourselves as a spiritual entity and the smallness of our humanity.

Was this a structured learning environment, where the lessons are set long before the class commences with no thought of the learners journey? Or following a path of set didactic principles? Nope.

At times it was playful, other times intense emotional sharing of stories, sometimes downright silly and other times embarrassingly real. All the time guided slowly towards a understanding not of perfection but of ourselves.

The ability to let go and be unstructured in ones learning formed as much of the class as the formal elements. The energy of life becomes not what you are taught but how you interrupt that teaching. And so it was in this workshop.

The strawberry finally gone just a lingering flavour in the mouth, much like the lessons of the weekend. The thoughts of the weekend will continue to slowly evolve in our minds over months and years to come.

Tantra for Singles

Preparing for that Magical Relationship

Tantra is about the duality of life and as such it uses sex both as a symbol and a practice. Also because that duality represents developing an understanding of how apparently conflicting opposites are complimentary it also talks about the presence and absence of sex as being part of each other. In the absence of sex or a romantic partner you have an opportunity for personal development, for understanding how to relate to your self, manage your desires and fears, your self-esteem, and get clear about who you are and what you really want. When you’re in relationship your feelings crystallise, your ideals are tested by the sharing of your vulnerabilities, including desires and fears, strengths and weaknesses, and explore the dynamics of shared power, mutual creation of destiny.

sacred sex is when your maturity, knowledge and experience come together into a profoundly shared experience that goes beyond the ordinary into the ecstatic mystical

Then there is sacred sex. This is when your maturity, knowledge and experience come together into a profoundly shared experience that goes beyond the ordinary into the ecstatic mystical. There are a lot of legends about what people experience when putting the techniques of Tantra into practice – hours of orgasm without ejaculation for men, free-flowing orgasm for women. They come out of the Eastern idea that we are capable of reaching much deeper into ourselves to places that in the West are considered reflexes which are natural and untouchable. Insight offers us a deep understanding of our emotions and body so that orgasm becomes an energy which integrates desires, emotions and physical reactions so that fear can be overcome in order to share deep intimacy.

The first steps towards these experiences are solo practices though they can be done together as a couple. You build awareness and control of the muscles and attitudes that are involved in sex and fulfilling any desire. The muscles are known as the pelvic floor muscles. For women these muscles are those inside the vagina. For men these are the more external muscles below the scrotum and above the anus that are involved in ejaculation. There are deeper muscles and experiences of the body for both sexes that are harder to talk about here. For both sexes exercising these of muscles are important for health helping to slow the aging process and enhancing the physical experience of sex. For women they are usually taught when they get pregnant but they should be taught to every girl by her grandmother, aunt or mother after her first period as part of personal self maintenance because of their long term affects on giving birth, on period pain (according to Tantra) and for what they do in helping women enjoy themselves when they final get to have sex. Their affect on enhancing their partner’s experience is an added bonus for both of you.

But as everyone learns sooner or later the physical experience of sex follows the emotional and mental. Women naturally know this. They know that there are different qualities of sex that are not only about the physical actions but about the emotional textures. Our society’s attitudes mean that usually only older more experienced men know it is not just true for women but for themselves. Both women and men in our society don’t realise, no better don’t talk, about the fact that orgasm isn’t just orgasm for men. It has different qualities. It can be a tension relieving mechanical event that takes place somewhere in the lower part of the body or an all encompassing multi-peaked wave that may or may not include ejaculation that leaves you thoroughly exhausted.

Beyond these physical aspects to get to the sacred ecstasies of Tantra we need to gain insight into the emotional sources of desire, fear, grief and our attitudes to success (however you define it) sex, love and solitude. These are the roots of both intimacy and its blockages. For some people this may mean willingly spending some time alone because their self-esteem is pathologically attached to other people’s attitudes expressed as sex. For others it maybe some therapy that helps them get-over, around, manage anxieties that kick in when getting close to others or even when faced with a stranger.

Tantra believes that your senses are central to your inner life. How you talk to yourself internally. Not just what you say but the attitudes expressed in that inner dialogue including what senses predominate – visual, talking, and feeling. Details like the tones of voice you use to others and yourself when imagining conversations, the angle of view you look at things with, how big or small you feel. What are the attitudes expressed in your daydreams and fantasies? Daydreams and fantasies (especially those most intimate versions that play a part in masturbation) are rehearsals for the real deal whether we are talking about sex or anything else that puts you on the line like sport and work – anything that you attach your self esteem to. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) are both Western techniques that understand these ancient truths of Tantra.

Like the martial arts and other traditions, Tantra recognises the importance of integrating mind and body for achieving a full life. Its aim is to be a connoisseur of life. It is the way of the Lovers – lovers of life in all its joys and frustrations. This means being able to appreciate the differences between people, reading their emotionality as well as exploring their ideas, personalities and attitudes but most especially being able to be sensuously intimate in ways that lead to maturity in all its meanings, beyond the rather silly attitude that it’s just about getting old.

Christopher Michaels
Author of “The Way of the Lovers” which will be published later this Year or early next.

The Art of Consciousness

Consciousness flows… as it flows it has different qualities. Some might say that for the sake of communication and the needs of security we can use nouns like ‘states’ which let us put boundaries around groupings of qualities just as the rainbow has groupings of wavelengths that we experience and name as colours. An artist/designer trains themselves to be sensitive to, use and name many colours in ways that others have no reason to notice and use. Those of us fascinated by the beauty of experience, by the structure of the mind body system and how it perceives can become like artists are with colour. Hypnosis is part of such an artist’s palette.

The colours of consciousness can be drawn in many ways. Buddhism, Tantra, yoga and other mystery schools are fascinated by the structure of perception and its relationship with experience, its creation and qualities; how our relationships affect and effect our perceptions. It’s possible to say the colours of consciousness range from total unconsciousness in deep sleep to habit driven everyday flow to heighten sensual and/or internal awarenesses based on intense focus, not to mention drug states. Though I’ve heard another metaphor using computers talking about narrow bandwidth states (with high or low data compression) versus broad bandwidth.

Everyday consciousness varies greatly depending on the marriage of internal and external elements, including history and desires for the future, in each situation encountered. To a greater or lesser extent you manage that flow yourself and/or allow it to be moved by external factors. The spectrum of consciousness maybe measured so that some states are closer to sleep and dreaming, internally directed, others have heightened external focus.

Hypnosis and the trances associated with it in popular definitions can be said to be closer to the dreaming, sleeping end of the spectrum. It is an obvious time when individuals allow themselves to be open to suggestion. I disagree with those who say hypnosis is an internally focused state. They allow themselves experiences that alter perceptions in profound ways; because beliefs, expectations (whatever you like to call them) built by the social context and the fantasies participant share let the implausible become plausible, because in that state we are close to the world of dreams and so can have conscious experiences of the dream world.

There are other times/states when we maybe open to suggestion, (without being fully aware of it) though they maybe limited by what our beliefs allow to be plausible. Most people think communication is about ideas, concepts, definitions, maybe images, and sometimes it is, especially in modern academic attempts at so-called objectivity. But for communications to be powerful, to become actions then the communications are really about affecting the consciousness, the states of the participants. It doesn’t require trance as defined by the structure of the hypnosis ritual. Good poetry, storytelling, fine rhetoric, good movies and TV can be measured by how deeply they affect our states of being.

NLP, as a part of the rhetorical traditions (don’t tell NLPers they think they are original and new) that go back to Aristotle, can be very powerful parts of communicating in ways that affect your states of consciousness, without the rituals of trance transitions that are associated with hypnosis. The limits are what you believe are plausible. If you are a religious believer who accepts the plausibility of miracles then conversational hypnosis as part of sacred ritual could cause you to experience perceptual changes that are similar to those you can experience through hypnosis via trance like a guru making diamonds out of ash, or people with traumatic paralysis walking. Otherwise you may just buy a car you can’t afford because you believe it’s plausible for you to make the money need sometime soon.

The more you refine your sense of consciousness’ flow and it’s changing qualities then the more freedom you’ll have and can offer to others. The greater awareness you have of the reality of your responsibilities for the flow of your consciousness, of your pleasure and pain (or at least your relationship with it) the more freedom you have and can offer to others.