Thursday 22 December 2011

2012 etc.

Welcome to the Winter Solstice.  My prediction is that at the end of 2011 there will be 2012 and after 2012 there will be 2013. The world will not end despite the beliefs of some fundamentalist religionists and some New Agers alike. The Mayan calendar -  all 3 Mayan calendars are less accurate than the old Roman calendar and don't predict the end of the world. The astronomical descriptions; such as the earth is crossing the centre line on the galaxy are rubbish (see 2012 apocalypse and  2012 hoax ) . Dates are simply numbers and astronomy and astrophysics are fairly well understood.

Things are changing faster and faster in the world in complicated and contradictory ways. I like the title of one talk a few years ago: "Things are getting better, things are getting worse and, things are and always have been perfect." In tantric terms this age is known as the Kali Yuga when people are furthest from Source, but the age is a very long one and transition out into another is a slow process not a sudden change.  Ancient texts suggest that tantra is the best practice in the Kali Yuga.

I have got predictions for next year. Here are a couple. Several countries will stop pricing commodities (perhaps including oil), in US dollars and the US will stop being able to print dollars to buy commodities and have to start living in the real world. It will realise that its economy has been totally unviable for years and people will begin wake up. The resulting civil  unrest will unleash the powers of the US State, which has been waging a sort of hidden war on much of the world for decades, and turn them against its own citizens. This is what the FEMA Camps are for (see You Tube Video ). In Britain, a report has called for rioters to be shot.

The best thing to do? Meditate and protest.  Protest when you can and support the Occupy movement. Talk to your neighbours and build local as well as global connections - remember the internet can be controlled or switched off.  Learn to grow vegetables. Globally, learn to speak Chinese as they are the major economy which is really growing thanks to isolation and a ruthlessly practical government. Practice meditation yoga and tantra. Make love. Be love. Mark the Solstice and have a good year. Namaste!

Monday 21 November 2011

Men's Day

Saturday was International Men's Day; did you miss it as well?? Its not the most widely publicised event and of course attracts the comment that every day is men's day from their profile in politics and the public agenda.This prevents the need to look at men and their vulnerabilities which their competitive capture of the public spaces hides. More men die of testicular and prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer but breast cancer and screening is well know. Too many men don't even know where their prostate is (its behind you!!!!) Three times as many men commit suicide as women and it is the biggest single killer of men aged 15 - 34 in Britain. In inner city areas, crime is the major cause of death amongst black men under 25. The dysfunction of men creates lots of young men who grow up without fathers or father-figures creating the next generation of lost men who remain as overgrown teenagers with no means of entry into true manhood. Sport and the celebrity culture don't provide many good role models. The most powerful and transgressive act today is to honour the functions of the masculine; power, authority, presence; all used to witness without judgement, create safety and hold space. In that held sacred space the feminine can heal and blossom and children can grow.       

Friday 7 October 2011

Everything Changes; everything returns.

There is one image which is never long out of the news media in the last twenty years. It is almost interchangeable from Bosnia to Libya to Afghanistan to Gazza. It is the image of young men with guns and armoured cars or battered cars; posing, shooting in the air, shooting at buildings, waiting to shoot or to be shot at. There is much heroism or recklessness or craziness or desperation and many touching scenes of intense emotion and also atrocities. After a while the big baddie in power like Gaddafi is kicked out and another or others replace him. A new era is proclaimed. We are all invited to cheer and be thankful. 

In the Middle East, much of the conflict is between men who were circumcised at birth (Jews) and the men who were circumcised  between the ages of three and eight (Arabs). Such genital mutilation causes massive trauma and the conflict is between those where the trauma can only exist as a body memory; very deeply repressed and those who may have it as a conscious traumatic memory. It is the earliest linking of sex and violence and as the body is mapped on to the penis, damages the point corresponding to the heart centre. Of course the conflict is also fed historically by earlier traumas; the echoes of the Holocaust and the memories of displacement and poverty. Only clearing the trauma will make a lasting major difference.

There seems to be an unquestioned belief that what replaces the old is much better than before. But the same character structures are prevalent. They even came to power in a similar way. A character structure is the result of the natural life force in a person meeting an environment which doesn't respond lovingly and supportively. Natural impulses are suppressed and energies distorted. Traumatised rulers are replaced by more traumatised people with the same levels of consciousness. What is needed is therapy on a national scale; this to some degree happened in South Africa where the end of apartheid didn't result in mass bloodshed and revenge partly because of efforts of organisations like the Justice and Truth Commission.  What is also needed worldwide is a culture of acceptance of life energy and its embodiment in passion, sexuality, emotion and aliveness.

Saturday 27 August 2011

Inbetweeners & Tantra

This film is funny in a puerile sort of way. It is very well written and acted. It has the familiar lineup of very juvenile men and long-suffering and patient, mature women;  familiar from so many sitcoms and films from One Foot in the Grave, Men Behaving Badly, and any film with Hugh Grant in. However as these men really are quite young in Western terms; 18 and between leaving school and college/work/unemployment, being immature is more acceptable. In one sense it is a film about transitions but also, given the absence of real rites of passage for young men in our culture, it is about the distortions and blocks to real Shiva consciousness; the awareness of the Divine Masculine. Each of the four young men, who are the central characters, displays one particular block. One is intellectual and trapped in his head unable to relate; one is obsessing for a lost girlfriend and unable to relate; one is caught in the most superficial level of connection and unable to relate and one is self-obsessed and ....unable to relate. They can't see Shakti in front of them. All are numbed by alcohol.  In the end it works out alright and they get the women. Shiva and Shakti are united. It is a film about consciousness and unconsciousness; now not many reviewers will have said that!

Saturday 20 August 2011

Tantra & Tantric Festivals

The Sat Chandi Maha Yajna festival is a five day tantric festival held each year, presided over by Swami Satyananda the founder of the Bihar School of Yoga. I have just seen a film of it (Love & the Art of Giving by Simon Eugene .See You Tube Video). A central feature is prasad or giving of gifts from the divine and distributing them to the poor and also the work of preparation; a meditation of selfless giving in the days before the festival opens I have also just come back from a Tantra Festival in UK; the third I have attended. Of course the differences are absolutely enormous and their juxtaposition highlights the differences between tantra East and West.  There are similarities; the giving of the many before and during the event to make it all happen; the ending "thank you"s - an acknowledgement of bhakti yoga.

Some of the differences are cultural; in India the children are all proudly in uniform; people are happy to stand in lines; the individual is clearly small compared with the totality of the festival. In the West the Tantra Festival is a festival of individuals all doing their own thing,  there for their own needs. What they mostly get is music - often rather loud, lots of dance and lots of chances to meet others. For most, this is what they want; however it may not be what they need, and unfortunately it only hints at what tantra is really about; unless tantra is thought to be about personal development and sexual bravado.

What is missing is devotion to a anything beyond themselves, and the use of mantra and ritual as a way of getting there. Mantra is the most powerful method of accessing sublime states of consciousness. Ritual holds the focus on the Divine not the small self. Through both you can touch emptiness. Any workshop is a taster; and at a festival even more so. A taste of transcendence can lead to a hunger for it which can propel the seeker further. In the West, without any shared  framework we can only offer experiences and hope that enough of the power of Shiva to witness and reflect is present that they can explore more deeply. I just wish it was easier to impart some of this quality. Shiva is more subtle than the power of Shakti and the festival is mostly a "fairground" of Shakti - sound, movement, music, intensity, brightness.  Such intensity is rather addictive and leads to a search for the next high which is away from the settling in to ease and real presence which is where consciousness can be found.

Wednesday 10 August 2011


Its debatable whether the looters are any greedier or undisciplined than the bankers and "rogue traders" of casino capitalism over the last 25 years. Supermarkets and government policies have damaged our High Streets more than any rioters ever could; leaving many a line of boarded up shops, charity shops, mobile phone shops and inexplicably shoe shops (try buying good fresh fruit and vegetables on most high streets!). Of course what the State fears is not looting, which is shopping without money; an extension of the credit card culture which, to take a 70's marketing slogan for VISA "takes the waiting out of wanting". Looting mostly harms ordinary local business people and puts up insurance premiums for all.  It is a sort of  confirmation of consumer society with rioting provides the perfect excuse for even more money to be spent on the police and army and even more CCTV cameras.

What governments fear is people discovering what they really are missing in life; not a larger flat screen TV but the satisfaction of real connection and real empowerment. Of course some decent "rites of passage" for young men into responsible manhood would help instead of  impromptu  rituals involving fire, broken glass and battles with the police.  Perhaps the current attack on psychotherapy  ("evidence-based" CBT is the only therapy) is the realisation that empowerment and consciously considered values are really threatening. When we  are in touch with ourselves, our true nature and the Earth;  when we connect with others, when we feel the power within us; then much of what passes for our modern sophisticated society will have to change radically. Perhaps this is happening anyway. It is clear that in many areas all governments and politicians are helpless. This is the difference to the belief of the previous generation who hoped that a different system with different ideologies and different personalities would really change things. Obama hasn't delivered; Cameron and a coalition won't; the only government which can save the world capitalist crisis is a "communist" one; China. The world is already turned upside down; more than a few burning cars and wrecked shops could every be.  And "No"; a magic date in 2012 or a second Coming isn't the explanation or the answer.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Summer Solstice

In most cultures the sun is a masculine symbol and the moon feminine. In the Taoist system this is early summer and the symbol is fire and the organ the heart. In  David Deida's ideas of the masculine and feminine essence, the feminine is radiance. The solar plexus chakra or energy centre, often considered yellow and wrongly located just below the ribcage,  is a positive masculine centre of power and will with a feminine side of playfulness. So, whatever you believe, enjoy the sun when it comes out; radiate love and warmth from your heart, celebrate life and remember (if you are old enough) one of my favourite Beatles numbers "Here comes the Sun...." .

Monday 23 May 2011


My first degree was in Physics and I have always retained a scientific interest particularly in the bridge between conventional science and alternative views.   As a therapist I am well aware of the human tendency to believe what we would like to believe rather then what has been established. The scientific method of slow testing and systematic observation has great value (and also some limitations) and the alternative healing world has too much sheer rubbish in it, where people believe what they want to believe (or sell!) So I loved this piece of research;  (Abstract at ; ) which demonstrates that trained observers can tell with over 80% accuracy from the way a woman walks if she is able to orgasm from vaginal sex rather than clitoral stimulation. The abstract says, "a gait that comprises fluidity, energy, sensuality, freedom, and absence of both flaccid and locked muscles"  indicates an ability to experience deeper vaginal orgasms because the lower back and pelvis are freer for energy to move in. Obvious really but nice when it comes from science. It is also true that for a number of women when they get more aroused then they tend to tense their lower back and thigh muscles - as well as their neck and jaw. So book a good tantric massage now ( to learn to really let orgasmic energy flow freely in your body! 

Bits and Pieces

We have had the Royal Wedding where the bride was in white and the groom, dressed like a toy soldier was all in red. A strange reversal of the traditional tantric colours where Shakti is usually associated with hot red, kundalini energy and Shiva with the cool white energy of awareness.  It seems strange to me to connect the celebration of a relationship with military power but the bottom line is always that the state will use whatever force it has to survive. They could have asked us to organise a tantric wedding instead!

Monday 21 March 2011


Last night was the Spring Equinox, the equal balance of day and night. We did a short fire ritual at sunset as the very full moon rose with the havan kund, the inverted copper pyramid with a fire of cow dung, ghee and small sticks.
We chanted 108 times the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra; Om, Tryambhakam Yajamahe, Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam Urvarukamiva  Bandhanan  Mrityor  Mukshiya  Maamritat, Swaha! and with each "Swaha"  offered some rice to the flames. A precise translation is;  Om. The three-eyed one / we worship. The fragrant / sustainer of this world. Like a cucumber / from its stem. From death / liberate / not from immortality.

In this mantra, Shiva is addressed as the three-eyed one. The deeper meaning of the term “Shiva”, that which is auspicious and benevolent. Shiva is not merely a specific deity among other deities, but is Absolute Consciousness or Godhead. The third eye is the eye of wisdom, which stands for spiritual vision and knowledge beyond the duality of past and future, knower and knowledge, subject and object. The third eye is not only associated with spiritual realization and meditative vision, but also stands for Shiva’s power to destroy evil. In Hindu mythology, Shiva is known to destroy evil with a mere glance from this third eye, especially when his righteous anger is aroused.

We didn't do another chant to Shakti as if to balance things up. Western tantra seems to have made Shiva and Shakti into a modern egalitarian couple (traditionally it was more likely to be Shiva and Parvarti). There is no easy equal symmetry here. At the deepest level Shiva and Shakti are One - like the wave and the ocean or water and wetness. Above that Shiva is absolute consciousness and therefore the base on which the whole world is created through Shakti. Enjoy Spring and the blossoming of all that is created, grown, and reborn.

Sunday 6 March 2011

What it is All About!

There is only emptiness – vast spaciousness like the infinite blue sky or like the deepest silence beyond all sound.

There is no “me” – all I perceive is not me; thoughts, feelings, sensations, images which are apparently inside me; and  phenomena, things, apparently in a place called the world which "I" observe. In reality, on my shoulders is just a blazing empty space; not separate from the vast spaciousness of all.

There is no "I" or "me" to be healed,  improved, or become enlightened. Enlightenment is not an experience – it is the demolition of all concepts; all that we think we are.  There is no path to truth – it just is; here and now.

Resting easily in the natural state, emptiness arises readily and is luminously clear. There is no perceiver of this emptiness. Not being separate from this empty, loose and natural space allows the experience of the inseparability of emptiness and the phenomena that arise in the emptiness; thoughts, feelings, insights, perceptions, experiences. All experiences and phenomena are empty and are not different to, or separate from emptiness they are like two sides of a coin. This emptiness is not an absence but a fullness, a spaciousness that contains all. The world is not an illusion; it is the viewer who is the illusion.

The tantric formulation of this is that everything is Shiva; universal consciousness. If we don’t have this as the root realisation then we either embark on a futile game of self-improvement;  trying to  become more spiritual or more whole; or we chase phenomena such as more powerful experiences, bigger orgasms, greater realisations.  All experiences and phenomena are empty and the experiencer, being not distinct from this spacious emptiness is also empty. Phenomena of all sorts are the manifestation of Shakti - the dynamic, creative power of the universe. Therefore if we only see and worship Shakti then we are tying ourselves into the manifest world. If we are rooted in the realisation that everything is consciousness (“I am Shiva”) then we can experience Oneness; the inseparability of form and emptiness, energy and consciousness Shakti and Shiva beyond all dualities. This is true advaita tantra. 

Deeply realising this either as a gradual dawning or as a sudden awakening puts much of what happens in tantra workshops into a different perspective. 

Monday 14 February 2011

Flowers of Emptiness

I have just come back from two weeks in Goa, India. It is a beautiful, warm simple life there; probably much like the Mediterranean fifty years ago before big hotels and package holidays started.  In all the many hours I spent sitting in cafes meeting many, many Europeans I only met one person who was there for their annual holiday for three weeks. Every other person I met was there for many weeks or months or sometimes years (with excursions out of the country to renew their visas). Some were "finding themselves"; some had hopelessly lost themselves; some had probably smoked far too much dope; some had put in many hours of meditation or yoga or spent years in spiritual practice, some just travelled and travelled. Some were in their early 20's others in their 60's.

I wondered what the hard-working Goan  fishermen made of these westerners practising their poi on the beach or drumming at sunset. It is hard not to judge. Spiritual growth requires awareness and relaxation into being; but paradoxically is forged in the activities of life. If we have not cultivated awareness then relaxation and lack of challenge usually leads to dullness and sleepiness. All spiritual teachers are trying to get us to wake up!

 I was reminded of Kahil Gibran's words in The Prophet that work is love made visible and that we work to keep pace with the world. Everyone's path is very mysterious ; usually to themselves and invariably to anyone else. The most powerful yoga is kriya yoga and "kriya" means action!