The Liberation Of Desire And The Evolution Of Tantra Maya
The Liberation Of Desire
excerpt from: Immortality
Sexuality is one of the least understood aspects of human life. All have this desire, but few people seem to find a healthy solution to sexual conflicts. There is so much suffering caused by blind sexuality. So many women are abandoned with children by men whose animal instincts soon pull them elsewhere after a little sensory gratification. The trail of trauma for the woman may continue as she must struggle to care for the child that have been abandoned. Or perhaps it was her unfulfilled or frustrated desires that caused the separtion to begin with. One thing is certain, and it is that there are fewer and fewer examples of harmonious co-existence in human sexual-emotional affairs. As a culture we have gone back into the stone age as regards to sexuality. Instead there is emerging a whole culture of permissiveness and even indulgence. In truth, this distortion of the sexual tendency leaves many with very little happiness remaining in marriage or interpersonal relationships. Conversely, I see very little hope in “free love” and open relationships as well. While some like the way it sounds in theory, I have always seen that somebody always ends up getting hurt. What we need is love. Sexuality doesn’t necessarily have to ruin this but it usually does if one or both people lack insight into what emotive factors are really driving them deep within. And it is only by going deep within and seeing these needs that one can find fulfillment in sexuality and relationships. Very few people can altogether transcend these needs. These people are very rare and very interesting.
I had a very normal sexual orientation in my youth. Nothing was too extreme, neither repression or expression. I had everything I needed to live a happy family life by the time I was finishing the university: a good companion, a good education, and strong adademic interests that inspired future plans. However, I discovered meditation and yoga in my second to last year,and then got initiated into a very serious tantric practice. The next thing I knew I was single, just barely graduated the university due to lack of interest, and was on my way to India to find more truth.
Contrary to the popular misconceptions, this tantric meditation system had no sexual practices other than upholding responsible and moral behavior towards sexuality. It was a system of very advanced meditation practices. It was surprising to see how my sexuality began to diminish as I cultivated these practices. I was still a normal heterosexual; everything still worked, only the fire had died down a little. The fire was now kindling the desire for deeper spiritual experience. In those days yoga was still a weird Asian or hippy thing, and not the popular practice that it has become today. I knew nothing of contemporary yoga. Fortunately, I learned from some very sincere and serious practitioners from India whom I met at the university. I was beginning to understand what these older yogis had told me: that with meditation there is deep insight and this deep insight into the mind and emotions helps one understand not just sex but all mental and biological tendencies. Tantra Yoga was for me a “libidinal economy,” a way of investing energy in other pursuits. If you put energy in place B, then it is no longer in place A, the original place. As a psychology student I was very well aware with the concepts of suppression and repression and the illnesses and neurosis that they cause. Transmutation was a different idea, however. I never studied this in school. Freud certainly didn’t grasp this idea. Perhaps Jung and the humanists did, however. What impressed me most about Tantra Yoga wasn’t elaborate, sophisticated theories, but the practical results of converting physical desire into mental desire. And sure enough, my intellectual capacity exploded the more I practiced yoga and meditation and put on the laungota, the yogis loincloth, the “Tarzan apparatus,” or “organic chastity belt.” My mind became so sharp, however I was no longer interested in intellectual pursuits. All that mattered was finding the source of what was summoning me to make all sorts of renunciations that I never thought possible. Maybe there was some difficulty in the beginning when I was still in the university surrounded by shapely co-eds. However, for the most part it was a very sweet renunciation with promises of something greater. I didn’t scorn sexuality. That would be a direct path to a repressive hell. I just knew that there was something greater. The awakening of the kundalini is more bliss than a thousand physical orgasms at once. And the lover in this tryst is Infinite.
The only problem that I had with my new life-style is that I began to become very sensitive to the environment around me. I began to feel people very deeply. For example, instead of noticing that somebody was sad by the tone of their voice or facial expression, I began to feel their state of mind. I would see somebody from far away on campus and get an impression about their state of mind. What was especially difficult was when I had to share a room with another person. I always dreamed of their inner life. I shared my dreams with them and they were really grateful for the insight into their issues. I once dreamed that I was in a love affair with a girl from Vermont. We met together in a barn and…. When I awoke I was perturbed because I hadn’t even thought of sex for several months. I asked myself “why Vermont? What do I have to do with Vermont? I remembered that my room-mate was from Vermont. I asked him if he had a lover there recently. He just snickered and said, “you caught me!” I was always very sociable. However this new energetic sensitivity began to isolate me a little. However, I had already decided that I wanted to be a monk and accepted this solitary yet blissful position in life.
By the time I graduated and arrived in India I was having very intense kundalini experiences. Nobody understood me except my mother and a few close friends. That soon changed when I arrived in India. I felt like I had arrived at a very special learining institution. One yogi administrated a university in the day and meditated all through the night. It was good to have a reference for work because I had only spiritual desires and didn’t want to do anything else. He was a very advanced meditator and passed through spiritual passions that lasted several years in which he did very little work on the physical plane. Instead, he was absorbed in the bliss of samadhi. It is not that he was useless in these times. Quite the contrary, his elevated vibration inspired many, but also made his little monastic brothers a little jealous of his spiritual achievements.
This monk had told me his secrets of transmuting sexual desire on one of our first encounters. He said that he never repressed anything. I could see that this was true as he was very outspoken. He openly criticized the crusty theocracy around him and told me with a hearty laugh that the order would probably end up killing their own saints some day. He was bold and always expressed himself openly, especially when stubborn or dogmatic people needed a little kick in the rear.
He expressed his ideas about sexuality in a similar manner. If a women’s breasts appeared in his mind during meditation, he just let it happen. He knew it was impermanent. He would struggle with the image in his mind, then let his mind enjoy the form. He still continued to do his meditation during these intrusive “fantasies.” Slowly his state of formless bliss would return. He said that eventually he would feel compassion for this person and felt that if this desire manifested he could really harm another person emotionally because he was so god-intoxicated. He knew that these were momentary inclinations and that for him to take a lover would be a disastrous existential manuever. This inspired him to embrace her within a radiant white light and to tell her she was dear to the divine and that he would never harm her. He said that in the end he always saw his “lover” merging into the pure light of the eternal Atman, and returned to his peaceful meditations.
What he told me weren’t some exact, specific techniques to make a desire disapper. Rather it is an attitude and way of life in general that works to transform the mind and body with their desires. Few people understand the deep reasons for spiritual discipline and what the yogi truly wants to achieve. This monk was a robust, intelligent, and even handsome person. He would have had no trouble impressing the ladies. He was a far cry from the creepy, repressed preist that negates himself through repression and thereby degenerates his libido into dark perversions. Perhaps he was closer to the “heroic” state of meditation in which there remain very few desires and one thereby begins to let go of all inhibitions. “All things come from god, how can anything harm me?” Althought this is the attitude of the “heroic” yogi, it is also the motto of the sensualist who loses his/herself in these very same tendencies. Very few people can really become detached from desire without butchering themselves up on the inside with repressions and distortions.
The following account will help give us perspective on what is actually successful transmutation of an instinct as compared to what is simply repression and distortion that only further exacerbates and excites an instinct.
I once heard a conversation in which a certain high-ranking member of the order, K., was speaking of how he was once an administrative boss of many monastics. He didn’t know what to do about their sexual repression. He said the only solution was to find hookers for them. He had a regular brothel going on. This was while he was in Hong Kong. Later, I also heard of rumors that he also had one of these establishments for the big turbans at the ashram. When I heard this I could not mentally process the information. I had been so close to many saintly monks and had such great respect for the order that I simply couldn’t register this new, dissonant information in my head. My ears heard it without a doubt, but my mind didn’t know what to do with the new information. It was clearly the strongest case of cognitive dissonance that I ever experienced. I probably would have suppressed this information, distorted it, or have made up an excuse if it had not been for my friend who spoke to me about this shock a few minutes later. He was present for the conversation too and was a little more mature in the ways of the world than I. He didn’t have any problem scoffing at this. I, on the other hand, was struggling to assimilate it all. Seeing all of those central monks coming to visit him every day gave me the greatest suspicions. “If he does this, then is everybody else doing it too? Are all of these high-ranking monks clients in his brothel? “Does this mean all of the order could all be a lie?” These were the voices inside of me that I didn’t want to hear. A month later was the famous Purulia Arms Drop in which the order monks tried to pull off an international arms deal. It failed miserably and I, because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, found myself imprisoned, then put under house arrest while our case was scheduled for the Indian Supreme Court.
Just after the arms drop K. kicked me out of the hostel where I was staying because I was under surveillance and didn’t want the police anywhere near him. He was terrified.
Chidghananda became my closest guide as well as best friend. He accepted me into the hostel he managed the night K. had booted me out. There was also a big commotion going on that night. The locals were beating on drums and the monks thought they were war drums. All of the monks were in a panic to escape to the train station. They thought there would be another massacre by the communists who gave money, alcohol and weapons to the locals to attack the ashram. Chidghananda just told me to lock the door and meditate all night. If I die I will go happy, he said with a sweet smile. It was his way of saying all will be fine. I had just met him before this incident. He went to jail voluntarily with me so as to protect me from the forces that had me trapped in a situation in which I had no understanding. He was concerned that we would be tortured like the monks who were tortured by the police on several earlier occasions. This was the best experience of my life, spending long hours meditating with this great yogi, in jail and later under 6 months of house arrest while our case was passing through the Indian Supreme Court. Although his mind was deeply connected with the Supreme Consciousness through his spiritual practice, he was always the most simple yet highly rational person.
Chidghananda once told me the most incredible story. Several years earlier Anandmurti once was speaking about microvita and explained that only Taraka Brahma (the Supreme Consciounes acting as Liberator) can cause a sex to change without an operation or drugs. It is possible to change sex with the application of microvita, he explained. At the same time K. began to beg the guru to not turn him into a woman. He sat their crying and saying that he felt a change in his organs and that he was becoming a “lady.” “Baba, please don’t make me a lady!,” he cried. Was this spectacle a “jedi mind trick” of a humorous, loving guru giving a scolding his rascally, macho disciple, or the special powers of Taraka Brahma? Who really knows.
Chidghananda was too serious about such things to spread gossip. I think he was trying to tell us all something. It has a little something to do with the law of opposites, of Heraclitian enantiodromia drama. When one goes a little too far with any form of machismo, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, the opposite, repressed and distorted force finds a way to crack the surface of one’s near-psychotic, one-sided mind and forces a radical change. “Okay macho man, now try being a woman,” is what the law of karma wants to teach them. This may explain all of the bizzare sexual distortions with the monks nowadays. The cover of so many of these leaders has been blown. When younger monks lose respect for their elders, they lose faith in their own capacities as well. It is much easier to fall when one loses one’s confidence. Nature, or Prakrti, doesn’t let it slide, however. This kind of abuse causes very strong reactions. Sexuality is a very delicate energy and to damage it or cause distortions or harm has very intense consequences. These monks later have to live duplicitous lives and perhaps develop perversions and extreme indulgences because of this repression and distortion that escapes with a wild madness. It is much saner to live a normal, family life. It is difficult to straighten out these libido knots once they are established. One may not finish working them out in one life-time. One is perhaps reborn with all kinds of psychological complexes and/or sexual identification problems. I believe Anandamurti showed K. this law of opposites to try to get him to change course. He knew that if he continued with his machismo, then he would harm others and himself.
So often one thinks that desires are fixed instincts that one can do very little to manage except let them express themselves freely. However, many brilliant spiritual geniuses have found ways to make the energy of desire serve their spiritual purposes. The same energy that can be discharging unconscious emotions in a blind impulse can be used to study how and why desires arise in the mind. This refined, highly charged and conscious mind is capable of penetrating very deep levels of being that not many people understand how to access. A celibate respects sexuality and understands that the production of healthy semen requires good health and a lot of physical and mental energy. A celibate also understands that repression is even more dangerous than excessive expression and creates even more disturbances in the mind than expression. Therefore, it is better for most yogis to have spiritual partners. He had friends who were celibate monastics but who later decided to marry and have a spiritual marriage. Actually, there is little difference between a chaste head of family and a celibate. One does not have to be completely celibate to be chaste. Sexual relations once a week have no negative effect on the mind or body. In fact, it is a healthy practice in which the male body naturally produces an excess of seminal fluid and sexual activities once a week that only neutralizes this accumulation and reduce the tensions created by such accumulation. Fasting also balances the creation of excessive seminal fluid. Sexual intercourse more once a week they begin to reduce spiritual vitality. However, there are some people whose spiritual lives are so full that they can begin to transcend sexuality by taking vows of absolute celibacy. By not repressing or expressing this energy, it is available for other uses. Simply by seeing clearly the emotional complexes and their reactions and compensations, one can become a friend of desire and release the desire of a dark corner of the mind where it has been pushed and neglected. This is true of all desires, not just of sexual desire. All of them are gods of a certain type; sex, anger, fear, passion …. everyone of them wants something and have their place in existence as nature has given them such intensity. It is impossible to exist without some desire. Without desire, one leaves this world. While we are here, we just have to learn how to promote the desire for a more conscious level to know its true purpose. Like a focused laser, all mature desires are aligned in an exalted desire; a pure and unbreakable attraction towards the eternal blissful witness.
When speaking about the second, or svadhistana vortex, most people immediately think of sexuality. The six vrttis or vortexes of the svadhistana vortex are indifference, depression, compulsion, lack of confidence, paranoia, and resentment. These 6 tendencies have more to do with a lack of sound grounding in one’s person rather than sexuality. The sexual drive is rooted in the sensory mind, in the first vortex. The problem is that due to a lack of awareness of one’s emotional and physical needs, the sexual desire often gets confounded with these defense mechanisms.
It is quite natural and healthy that the sex instinct of the sensory mind finds higher expressions in higher centers. In a balanced second vortex the sex drive hasn’t reached its full maturity but still is not a blind animal instinct. It has more to do with emotional security, which is the constant theme when discussing the svadhistana vortex. The problem is that this biological instinct gets tangled up in the distortions and insecurities of the svadhistana, self-conceptual mind. The ego begins to exploit this gratification for its unconscious necessities and there is always suffering and degeneration.
I have never taken the so-called “sexual tantra” seriously. Firstly, because the only people who I have ever known to practice such things were never really balanced. Sure, they spoke of awareness and love and transmutation and all of those nice things, but it was just all too obvious that they were just sex addicts propelled by unconscious emotions. They always left a trail of harm. It may be that there were once some more conscious practices that really didn’t trap people into their compulsions, but if they were in fact truthful, then would have to be based on yama and niyama, the ethical base for the practice of yoga. Most sexual relations ultimately lead one to suffering. It is a transgression of ahimsa, or no-violence, to project one’s selfish urges onto another. It is no wonder that in the 2 languages that I understand, the crude word for the sexual act can be synonymous with the words cheating, deceiving, or generally harming another.
The only functional sexual tantra that I have ever known is to first be responsible and never try to harm anyone while at the same time make the indefatigable effort to try and understand the propensities of the second vortex. The sexual distortions exploit these fundamental vrttis. The more suffering, separation, and insecurity that there is in the svadhistana level, the more likely that sexuality will try and compensate for these emotions. However, these necessities are valid and are so profound and fundamental to the personality that they really need to be understood. Perhaps the blind compulsions are due to an untimely withdrawal of a mother’s breast that left one sucking in nothingness. Or perhaps sexuality has aligned itself with an inner, unconscious resentment and lack of confidence that tries to outwardly seduce and dominate through sexual dominance, games, or manipulation.
I have come to think that when there is no suffering, there is no desire, and where there is no desire, there is no suffering. This is true for all desires, not just sex. Few people can really understand this. Ramakrishna once said that mundane pleasure is like a dog chewing a sharp bone and doesn’t realize the “satiation” of this desire comes from its own blood. It is fear and insecurity that keep us bound into the limitation of a separate self, and therefore bound to selfish desires. Sometimes, even very highly developed minds overlook these underlying reverberations in the shadows of the emotions. The pirates to our present state of bliss are often something unseen from our past. I have found that the study of the vrttis, especially those of the svadhistana, are paramount for finding the psychological balance that permits intuitive, spiritual development.
According to modern social scientific data, only 10% of the population have homosexual tendencies. Within this 10%, only a small percentage of people are completely homosexual (2 or 3% of the general population) while the remaining 7 or 8% only have homosexual tendencies to varying degrees.
If societies of humans have populations with more than 10% homosexuality, I believe we would be seeing an effect of increased homosexuality caused by social conditions instead of natural, innate tendencies. Perhaps some people are born homosexual, while in others homosexuality is socially conditioned. The distinctly high manifestations of homosexuality in one particular society would seem to suggest that certain psycho-social dynamics in that particular society somehow induce homosexual tendencies. Why is there more homosexuality in such a society that there isn’t in general society? What would be the personal and social-psychological conditions that cause such a high rate of homosexuality? The most obvious examples of “false homosexuality,” or homosexuality affecting heterosexuals, is in monastic orders and prisons, which sometimes are not so different. I had always heard such rumors about the clergy of the old Church, but I never knew any of these people or was familiar with Catholicism. My initial exposure to other forms of monasticism were really very pure regarding sexuality. There weren’t so many cases of perversion. Later, after great conflicts that effected the stability of the order, people started getting into scandals. There was no longer so much spiritual inspiration or existential security within the order and people started “falling” into their instincts.
In the beginning, before the fall of the monastic order, I could see how this life-style really functioned in a healthy manner. There were some older monks that never seemed to have any sexual tendencies. There were others who struggled but as long as they had a healthy spiritual environment, then they could continue with their efforts in a healthy way, without dangerous repression. And then there were the ones that had very little success in this endeavor. The monastic institution would be better off inspiring them to have family lives instead of trying to force monasticism. Otherwise, their natural, albeit repressed tendencies always lead them into trouble. Naturally, their scandals were heterosexual when they were heterosexuals and homosexual when they were homosexuals. However, there were very few homosexuals in this order when I first entered, probably not higher than the mean. The community didn’t seem to be a refuge for gays, as some skeptics might argue. However, as time passed and the social solidarity of the monastic society eroded there began to be more sexual scandals, and significantly more homosexual scandals. The middle group of those making a sincere and effective struggle began to slide down into the third group of those that just need to do something else and leave an unhealthy, repressed life-style. This happened in a monastic society based on the practice of tantra yoga. In the past few years I have taught meditation to Catholic priests who were very honest about this phenomenon in their own society. There is no spiritual vitality left in the church and most priests are really poorly adjusted people that don’t understand their natural impulses, they tell me. The Catholic church has suffered this phenomenon for nearly 2000 years.
When “celibate” priests begin to manifest a sexuality that they themselves consider taboo, then the probability for an inappropriate “scandal” is quite high. I saw that people that really were not gay were later getting involved in gay relationships, both monks and nuns. And because they were not supposed to be sexually active, their sexual activity isn’t natural and free, but often involved inappropriate, imposed and sometimes even perverse and criminal expressions. This is what I refer to as “Opus Gei,” a dark and dogmatic idea against sexuality that eventually paradoxically binds one deeper into sexuality in ways that are not natural to one’s being and that they really don’t seem happy with. Instead of being celibate, a heterosexual becomes gay; “Opus Gei.” This concept has nothing to do with homophobia, in fact this notion may even distinguish between more innate forms of homosexuality (people actually born with homosexual tendencies) and those manifestations of homosexuality that are simply caused by temporary confusion, weakness, psycho-social maladaptation, and social decay. Birds, fishes, and many species of mammals are known to develop homosexual relationships when they were unsuccessful with heterosexual procreation attempts. They tried to be heterosexual but homosexuality was the only option available for them and they settled with it. Is it any different for monks?
The Evolution of Tantra Maya
“Brahma alone is the guru.” This saying from the Upanishads represents a very universal conception of the deity. Brahma literally means that which is great and makes others great. In other words, Brahma is the Consciousness of the Macrocosm, of the entire universe. The guru is none other than the Supreme Consciousness and cannot be tainted by partiality nor prejudices nor any relative projection of a messiah or human guru. What is, simply is. If the Supreme Consciousness can create this entire universe, then surely there is an unmediated, direct way to communicate with me, a little microcosm in this Macrocosm. “Am I a secluded figure, in the vast, a little ameagre? No no no no I am not alone, the great is with me.”
And one could imagine that such a Macrocosmic deity is not a petty god of a certain country or class or society of exclusive human beings that deserve his mercy. The tiny little human microcosmic mind with its prejudices and attachments finally understands that “god” is not to be found through any finite form, material nor mental. The sacred books and messiahs and Buddhas were just approximations of a an inner, mystical truth. Only those who dare question the root of their being free of these appendages could possibly find the root of their being free of all relative conditioning. Non-dualism, or Advaita, is the idea that ultimately the consciousness of the individual microcosm and the Macrocosm are fundamentally the same. This is not to say that my consciousness has become the consciousness of the universe, that the ego becomes god. Rather, my consciousness has been taken into, accepted, transformed, digested, and finally assimilated into the living, working consciousness of the Macrocosm or Brahma. The microcosm is no longer a separate entity creating negative reactions and contaminating the world while fleeing from one empty dream to the next. The illumined microcosm is a mental cell unified with other mental cells that form a Macrocosm, a collective body of minds. Here, one can’t bring attachments, prejudices, nor any other petty ego control issue. The moment they arise, the Macrocosm knocks you off of your feet. It takes much time and evolution and trial and error to find a flow of unity into the Macrocosm. One must unlearn the socially-conditioned and indoctrinated ego along with all of its hereditary mental and biological instincts in order to learn the ways of Brahma.
Only those born with developed intuitive faculties can understand these truths without following teachers or paths. Life just somehow teaches these inner lessons. I suspect that these minds are “primed” with this knowledge from birth and that it was probably learned earlier. Plato saw all knowledge as something that has already been learned. What we experience here in the finite world are recollections of truths already known. Genius, according to this view, is nothing more than having at one’s disposal what has already been learned. Spiritual orientation is innately developed in some just as art or music or mathematics is innately developed in others.
The idea of a human guru or a spiritual teacher is to help one understand these fundamental cardinal truths of non-dualism, or advaita. A guru is one who has walked that path and is capable of showing it to others. However, most of the time, a concept of guru is but an opiate for a desperate personality separated from the life of the universe due to its ignorance and egoism. Belief is mostly desperate compulsion and the idea of a guru is often a 2-edged sword. Normally, when people speak to you about gurus they want to sell you on some idea. They often want others to bandy together with them under some omnipotent messiah, guru, and their religion or institution. They don’t really want to have their own experiences but prefer just to adopt the ideas and traditions of others to find security and refuge. The more absolute the idea, the more effective is the opiate and the more placated is the compulsion of the fearful and separate little ego to grasp on to some form of meaning
If one works through these limited ideas of a guru, then perhaps one can really understand something of another human being that is wise and compassionate and only has your well-being in mind.
When I first arrived at the Indian ashram I met a yogi who told me some very useful secrets. He immediately took me into his confidence. He looked at me intensely and I felt like I was being scanned. The first thing he told me was a tip on how to transmute sexual energies. I had never heard a monk talk about things so openly, yet with such intelligence and purity. Far from being perverse or hypocritical fantasies of a celibate monk, it was the most practical insight into desire that I had heard of in my life. As a young single man I greatly appreciated his insights. The second important thing he told me is that some day the order will probably end up killing their own saints. He laughed heartily but he was serious. It was inconceivable to me at the time. Furthermore, it seemed like heresy because everybody else was only talking how great the order was and how the guru left all of his power and grace in this organization! Now, 20 years later, I see what he meant.
Later, on another visit, he told me how yogis can leave their bodies and travel through the inner dimensions of time and space. He said it was another reality in which there exist not these relative factors of time and space. It was a Dreamland that was even more real than physical reality, a kind of astral repository of all human experience and memory-past, present and future. He said that you could know whatever you needed to know and meet whoever you needed to meet on this plane of reality. I was eager to visit this Hall of the Immortals. He told me how to leave my body and at what time of night I could do it. I left the conversation with a desire to see if I could somehow know something of the teacher of these great men that I was meeting and was inspired by. Later that night I followed the prescribed technique. Nothing happened at that moment. Later I slept and then it started to work. I awoke completely with a holy jolt of spiritual lightning in my spine. I could feel the kundalini rising. I could feel it swishing through the cerebral spinal fluid that was concentrating inside the brain. When it entered inside the head there was only light and sound, every color was within white and every sound within Om. All through the night there was a whirling vortex of energy moving around the crown of my head. It had no form, just sound and color. I was entirely awake but the more the kundalini rose the more I entered into a very conscious state of trance. It was more real than anything I had ever experienced. Rather than a world with forms and mass, all was very fine and soothing vibration. I understood how the crown chakra and the pineal gland were the microcosmic receptor and channel to enter into the formless, infinite Macrocosm. Everything made sense as pure idea. There was no fear or uncertainty of this unknown reality. All was bliss and I felt quite free and pure. I realized that my body was lying on my bed in a trance but that my consciousness was very clearly in the Present without names and forms. Every once in a while I would see the form of the guru and the whole vibrational scene would turn into something more like a dream, only much more real and lucid. I thought “this is a dream”, but I knew it was a very special sort of dream. I still to this day recall it just as clear as a “waking” state of consciousness.
I wrote about such experiences not to teach them but to affirm that these phenomenon are real and that there are human systems of practice that can teach methods to attain such experiences. People have asked me how they can have such experiences. I would never want the responsibility of teaching such extremely advanced techniques to others and risk dangerous errors. However, they could do what I did just before I was taught the technique mentioned in the essay. I believe that there are certain prerequisites for such experiences and they do not come haphazardly. And to show that Tantra is an intuitive science and that these experiences are replicable, I must say a little of how it can be done.
One must first understand Yama and Niyama and then take tantric initiation. After much practice one may awaken the kundalini above the Manipura chakra (the navel) into the Anahata ( the spiritual heart). I am not speaking of a one-time experience or an experience induced by the power plants. One must sustain the kundalini at anahata during meditation every day for one month. You will be constantly hungry and nothing will fill your appetite. Your mind will be mad with divine intoxication and eating will be painful but necessary in order to continue the transmutation. You will most likely become very lean and burn almost all fat from your body. All memories both good and bad of your previous existence will be purified in the fire of kundalini.
The guru will come to you regularly in dreams. He will show you the shadow of your existence so that you may let go of it. Not for punishment but for purgation will your guru come as divine terror. Once again, after that first experience mentioned in the essay, my consciousness again left my body and I went into Dreamland. He came to me with a hooded executioner and ordered him to run a sword through my navel. He did. It was more real than a dream. I was terrified until I felt there was no fear, only bliss. I could no longer feel the navel of my subtle body nor the astral world of name and form. There was no longer a guru to chase after. There was only light. I was in the cosmic “air” element of pure idea. I remained there even out of this mysterious sleep.
Everybody will consider you mad and it is likely that the remnants of your ego will be crushed and utterly humiliated. “Are you a family man with children? Are you ready to go through hell?” Moving slowly but surely is not always such a bad thing. First love the world and everybody in it while purifying the mind and the body. Let your Atman be a witness to a fully-lived life and complete human purpose. Any remaining suffering burns the seeds of samskara and allows the entrance of more bliss into your mind. Suffering blossoms into divine love through serving others. One abandons even oneself in perfect sweetness. It is only in this pure devotion that one should try to launch from this world and into the next. It is only in this state that one gets the grace necessary for this.
To this day I am still trying to realize the significance of these detailed conversations with the guru apparition. Perhaps it wasn’t absolutely necessary for him to appear as a human to another human in a state of lucid dream, but it was a very personal and affective touch from something or someone very sublime. As the years pass by these revelations become even clearer and life makes more sense. There was only so much I could understand as a little spiritual fledgling in my early twenties. They were experiences that by their very nature need a full life-time to be realized. Although I have never preached or tried to convince others about the divinity of the guru, I have never ever doubted this influence in my life. For so many years I didn’t even speak of him. It was a subtle struggle of reconciling form with formlessness, and the idea that the guru archetype may actually appear with a human form. I always considered the latter as a relative possibility and never wanted my experiences to be some kind of “proof” for the ego to make fixed ideas about the infinite. This is a subtle error that causes great damage to an otherwise pure ideology, whether it is one’s personal set of ideas or the ideology of a spiritual society. If mystery, subtlety, and free speculationare substituted by concreteness and conformity, then only dogma will remain. Human beings armed with exclusive ideas always end up creating trouble for themselves and others. I always try to refer to the guru’s philosophical ideas that the Supreme Consciousness is infinite and formless. With those who tried to impose the absolute form of the guru, I only saw religion in the making and soon learned that there was no sense arguing these matters. Over the years I have taught formless meditation with an entirely different system to others without referring to the guru yet many of my students continue to have similar profound experiences and dreams of the guru. It is something that only continues to grow silently inside of me and others. The guru himself only said that he was, is, and will remain a mystery. However, the philosophy he left is very clear, rational and lucid. I hope others find something special in his works that I am sharing. They were compiled as books, but all of them are based on talks that he gave over several decades to thousands of people.
The tantric meditation techniques were very effective in awakening the kundalini, the latent, divine energy that resides in the base of the spinal column. It is awakened through mental and spiritual concentration. As it ascends the spinal column the subtle funcion of the glands and organs is developed and the mind gradually tunes itself into finer states of spiritual consciousness. The result of this subtle bio-psychological development is the state of samadhi– union with the infinite consciousness. In samadhi the breath stops, the heart becomes very slow, thoughts cease, and the mind experiences a state of blissful realization about one’s inner life and purpose in this universe.
I began to enter the breathless state of samadhi very regularly after my visit to the ashram. Although very intense, the practices gave the mind and body the maximum amount of transformation biologically, psychologically, and spiritually possible. However, nobody ever effectively taught me how to bring the kundalini back down. For years I was like a machine working at accelerated capacity. Sometimes I would go into trances while driving and my friend would have to grab the wheel. I would sometimes swoon and fall down while in a spiritual mood. My body once leaped 2 feet into the air when the kundalini abruptly awakened while I was sitting in the lotus posture. I cannot jump anywhere near that high in lotus if I try with my best effort and even when using my knees to bounce. This constant rising of the kundalini in me effected others as well, mostly for the good, but also negatively as well.
I was immediately rejected by many monastics within the order after people knew I was having these experiences. I was told on several occasions by several monastics that I wanted those high samadhi states of realization, then I was in the wrong organization. At first I thought this was absurd. I had only done the practices that they had taught me. Samadhi, spiritual trance, is supposed to happen when the kundalini awakens after sincere practice. It would probably have been alright with them if they had had these experiences. Many talked about my experiences much more than I ever did within their gossip circles. They finally admitted my experiences were real, but said that I would die before age 40 because of their intensity.
I left the shelter of a spiritual society without knowing how to bring the kundalini back down, or at least to not be so intense and to remember that this process will probably kill me if it doesn’t calm down. My renunciation of this society was a great blessing, afterall. I realized that people liked me again, despite that I had these strange phenomenon occurring within me. I always felt liked and accepted for most of my existence and I feel that this social acceptance gave me the confidence to be okay with myself and begin to explore new territories of inner being. I now feel more at home in a hardware store than in a closed-minded spiritual society.
My meditation experiences came back with even more intensity and originality. I gradually developed my own system of practice. Throughout these years I never stopped having dreams of the guru in which he always told me very interesting clues. He never gave anything away, but rather just guided me towards the understanding of spiritual practice. I realized that I didn’t even need to meditate anymore but that the guru continued to give me experiences that would deepen my understanding of meditation. It has been a great adventure.
During this time, I became friends with Pluma Blanca, a Mayan yogi from Campeche. On our first meetings he shared his insights about the Tree Tantra. He always sat in meditation under the ceiba tree. It reminded me of how the guru said that it is good to meditate under the neem tree. Also, recall how the Buddha attained nirvana under the Bodhi tree.
One takes the tree as a symbol for meditation while at the same time taking actual shelter under the tree and participating with its shield of electromagnetic energy while meditating. According to Mayan mystics “nothing evil can happen while under the ceiba.” The upward force growing out of the earth helps awaken the kundalini while the downward force of converting air into mass and developing deep roots into the earth helps bring the kundalini back down. Mind must fly upward toward the spirit but also must return to the earth, at least for as long as one is on this earth. Just like the Indian Yogis, Pluma Blanca said that a yogi completes his spiritual practice by bringing the kundalini back down, from the crown and back down into the spiritual heart. This gives a base for the mind mid-way along the spinal column. One can be joyfully engaged in existence here and remain in a subtle state of being while at the same time keep oneself grounded and in the body. Like the great ceiba tree, one extends high into the heavens while also rooting oneself deep into the earth. Unchecked kundalini force will eventually liberate you but it can kill your body if not careful. One gets attached to spiritual bliss and experiences but must know how to balance them out. It is better to save that intensity for when it is really time to leave all work and thereby the physical body, and never before then. Like the Upanishad says, “Desire to live 100 years while working in joyful unity with Brahma.”
I have come to such conclusions not through comfortable living, but through austerity, not through faith, but through experience. I have never had much in this life and the more I live, the less I seem to have. Whatever I haven’t renounced willingly ends up being taken from me anyhow. Such is the path of contemplation. This is happiness and freedom.
Tantra Maya, like Tantra and Taoism, was developed by people who possessed almost nothing and lived in the forests or mountains. I continually find this as a source of inspiration and hope that others can see that there is a great potential to find practical forms of spirituality that aren’t products of the historical dialectic, that weren’t created for the convenience of empire, or for the comfort of the ruling class, or, in modern times, the pseudo-spiritual market. I don’t ask that we all become ascetics like the yogis and taoists, but if they can find bliss with almost nothing, then perhaps those of us who are more “comfortable” can begin to understand what these mystics are speaking about.
Tantra Maya is a synthesis between the ancient spiritual practices of the Maya and the classical tantric meditation system of India. Tantra is derived from 2 Sanskrit words, “ta”, which means dullness, and “tra”, which signifies expansion. Tantra is therefore “expansion from dullness.” It is the rational and ethical spiritual practice of using yoga and meditation to expand one’s spiritual potential. “Tantra Maya” has a dual meaning. One may interpret “maya” as the spiritual practices of the Mayan people. These practices have been transmitted through mayan lineages for centuries. While writing about Tantra Maya, I interpret “maya” according to the Sanskrit definition: the divine mystery of how the infinite being hides itself in the finite realm through each and every being only to eventually desire a return to a state of essential oneness with the infinite consciousness. Tantra Maya is therefore the advanced and experimental study of Tantra as a universal intuitive science as well as a system of Mayan meditation. Over the years I have developed some basic practices of meditation and yoga as a synthesis of these two lineages. In my books I have tried to explain the depths of these tantric philosophies in terms of modern, humanistic psychology.
The Tantra Maya healing and meditation practices are remarkably similar to the oriental practices of Tantra Yoga. Like Tantra Yoga of India, Tantra Maya was developed in the jungle by Mayan mystics and healers who lived close to nature. Many of the exercises and meditation postures are named after animals. Both systems are practical sciences in that the practitioner follow certain disciplines and meditate to understand and verify the theoretical knowledge offered by these systems.
The practice of Tantra Maya also involves healing, herbology, and astronomy. They were all one science integrated science. I learned some meditation techniques necessary to merely begin to understand mayan astronomy, which is an intuitive science that requires direct, mystical experience. This requires one to unify one’s little microcosmic existence into the Macrocosm, the universe as a whole. This type of mystical experience was very different than what I had previously understood as mysticism. I suppose my ideas were more classical. I always liked the Upanishads, Toaism, and contemplatives like Meister Eckhart, Plotinus and Ramana Maharshi. They represented the peak spiritual knowledge in my opinion. Tantra Maya is a very elevated form of nature mysticism. Its purpose is to understand the pure subjectivity of the inner self, like in classical mysticism, yet at the same time develop a deep connection with the natural creation. One contemplates the with spirit within for self-realization while one connects to the subtle realms of nature to work with and serve the living, vibrant Macrocosm.
excerpt from: Immortalityauthor profile of William Enckhausen