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Neo-Tantra and Relationships

Subject: Neo-Tantra and Relationships


Dear Carol,

You write:

|What's the difference between a tantric monk and a tantric yogi?

That would depend on the meaning of your terms.  Traditionally there is
really no such thing as a 'tantric monk'.  Tantric yogis, on the other
hand, are quite common products of the great Hindu mystical tradition
supported by the Tantras, taught by many gurus, and composing a very
powerful and useful theoretical framework from which to approach
an immersion in the divine.

Tantric yogis typically engage very strict discipline, tend to be male,
and seem to be quite ascetic in their practices (and potentially anti-
worldly in their interests). 

As a tantric monk I am not part of a tradition.  I don't associate with
any religion.  I infiltrate and appreciate them all, attempting to weave
them into a global tradition.  It is the best meaning of the term 'catholic',
as I see it (i.e. 'universal').

I maintain that there are no practices which serve everyone and that we
can determine these for ourselves, including studying with gurus,
rabbis or sheikhs if we so choose.  Typically I assume that discipline
and enjoyment must be balanced within this practice, yet I don't believe
anything, so doctrine and theory are only byproducts (please, make more!)
of the tantric monastic path.

|Given that you have this beef with it, how are you then a tantric monk?  Do 
|you have your own version?

Indeed.  I'm studying the feminine, emotions and the world as a whole in
order to put forward a tradition and expression which supports the feminine
in every way.  This is my own dedication, yet my guess is that those who
would share this path would join me until they feel that there is more
support necessary for the masculine or for some other gender orientation.

I've been contemplating creating the exact material which seems to be 
missing from popular tantric yoga, and am only coming to understand
slowly what kinds of elements this might entail.

|I can see discipline with enjoyment - they don't seem mutually exclusive to 
|me, but I  don't know that I can see how one could reconcile nonattachment 
|and deep relationships.  Wouldn't having a deep relationship involve 

Deep relationship inspires attachment, yes.  Of course it would depend on
what you are meaning by 'attachment' here.  Taken as the basis for dukkha,
suffering/dissatisfaction, then developing of compassion through the
practice of deeply relating would inspire attachment and might involve
very deep pain unless it is countered with discipline (which inspires
DEtachment).  The discipline-centered practices may be in direct response
to the indulgence-centered culture in which they occur.

|Is the concept then, that strong emotions hinder the attainment of what ever 
|the 'higher' experience is??  It seems to me that the experiencing of that 
|high experience would be a strongly emotional thing!

Strong emotions are an indicator of deep experience!  Attainment can't
really be measured easily, and strong emotional expression for one may
indicate liberation where in another it would mean enslavement.  I tend
to associate 'high experience' with detachment, personally (note the
symbolic associations: Head, Clouds, Space and intellect, thoughts and
'objectivity'), though I know what you're getting at here.

My personal ideal is DIRECT experience.  That is, experience without
intervening filters which mask its beauty and fullness.  This might
mean feeling deep pain WHEN WE CHOOSE TO.  That is the central feature
of liberation - an ABILITY to be sensitive and objective simultaneously.
Some call this 'insight'.  Some claim it is the perfect mixture of
compassion and wisdom.  I think that the two are not really different.

|>This may be changing, judging by the trends in POPULAR (i.e. American,
|>unorthodox) tantric teaching, but I agree with you completely.
|So, maybe you'll write a book? :) I'll wait in line for a copy!

Well, I've written some essays already.  You can go to the following
web site:
	[ ]

|>I.e. the yogi's aren't liberated.  They're speaking from their programming
|>and/or promote that path as a means to liberation because it is all that
|>they know will work.  I disagree with them as you do, it seems, though I
|>might suggest that THEIR use of it might be liberating for them.
|Hmmmm. . . .  So what can one learn from Tantra, as a female?  How can I 
|take what's out there, and apply it in a positive way for us?

I think the most important thing is to see that 'tantra' isn't really
some THING from which one learns as much as a process which one may
engage.  Essentially it consists of experiencing things in one's
life as polar relations, complementary dynamics, and then working
within one's life to weave them into a tasty, lovely heaven/earth!

What can you do with the traditional information as it stands?  I use
it as an example and as a reminder.  There are a LOT of great disciplines
contained within tradition as it stands.  Breathwork (pranayama) and various
types of yoga (hatha, for example) are quite effective for bringing the
consciousness to the bodily state.  I experimented with these myself
for a few years and feel that I've benefited greatly from them.

|>Then again, teachings don't apply to everybody.  It is quite possible that
|>we are seeing teachings designed SPECIFICALLY for those who have an
|>extreme attachment to materiality and strong relationships.  I imagine
|>that Indian culture from which it derives may program such things.
|Are strong relationships necessarily bad?  From what you've said, the 
|traditional thought is that they are to be avoided.  Have you found this to 
|be true?

Oh no!  Strong relationships are VERY important, especially to tantric
adepts.  Note that some focus very intently in a yoga called 'bhakti'
on their relationship with 'shakti' the feminine power, and this is a
kind of 'abstract deep relationship'.

Personally I take that quite literally all the way down into the physical
world and revere the women all around me, considering them a manifestation
of this energy, this divinity.  There is no reason that such could not
be done by reversing the genders.  Indeed there are very large bhaktic
groups which worship shiva and krishna.  Why could we not take every
manifestation of male as shiva/krishna/whoever and female as shakti/etc.
and develop deep, lasting relationships with them.

Be sure you understand me here, however.  I'm not talking about a mere
'abstract love of all women' as you've mentioned it.  My Abyss (a title
which puns her relation to me as Abyss/Abbess) is quite central to my 
life at present, and we work many many things through with each other.
Our relationship is very very close, despite it being open and undefined.

And the gods will test us.  They will show us very painful parts of us
and challenge us to work on our compassion and wisdom in our lives.  As we
grow we can purify all our relationships with honest communication and
expressive openness, both setting an example of healthy relations and
making life in society a very beauteous thing to experience.

I have been trained, as a man, to avoid deep relationships.  After running
from a few, and from deep emotional expressions, I discovered that this
was not my path any longer.  I engaged a close relationship with a powerful
woman (my Abyss) whose emotional expression is sometimes so strong as to
inspire my deepest fears.  Gradually as I opened myself to her, SHOWED
her my feelings, and set firm boundaries in order to protect myself,
I began to see the wisdom in her anger, in her fear, in her despair, and
I learned to be with her, comfort her, without feeling trapped or wronged.

Now, in my best moments, I can learn from every emotion, every relationship,
every interaction.  Surely there are many times when this is quite
difficult, yet as I walk this way I feel it happening more and more.

Additional email welcomed.  You ask very marvelous questions.  I do not
know very many people who share the values which we seem to, Carol. :>

Tyagi Nagasiva

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