SPIRITUALITY TOOK ME BY SURPRISE (Part 2): learning through tantra
In part 1 I discussed how I struggled with the concept of spirituality until I encountered tantra. Tantra made me realise that I could experience intense pleasure while edging, pacing my breathing and being massaged for hours, to the point that I felt I was stepping in a world of ecstasy and excitement that I had never encountered before.
The experience was mind blowing and I wanted to repeat it. I started reading books such The Multiorgasmic man. I wanted to master this kind of ‘sexual Kung fu’ to be a stud in bed. The edging was fun, however I seemed not to be able to get the right flow either with myself or with partners.
I considered myself a ‘happy’ chap
Almost 20 years since my first tantric experience tantra was ‘parked’ on the side. I had been in an honest and supportive open relationship for 10 years with my partner. Beautiful relationship and at the same time with plenty of sex on the side with some regular and passing lovers. What else could I want? I had the best of both worlds: a lovely partner and also sex on the side with whoever I wanted to.
I used to recall the memories of that first tantra experience and what it did to me. On that day I was massaged for an hour and a half by two men that I did not even see. I was blindfolded. All my body was tingling. I was jumping on top of the table with the fingers in my hands in total spasm begging for somebody to massage them. The film score for the movie The Mission was playing and I truly felt I was having and ‘out of the body’ experience
The truth is that I never had felt something similar again. I had great sex with boyfriends, with incredibly sexy lovers, whole days of steamy sex with a holiday romance, orgies and anonymous sex… however nothing came even near to that ‘ecstatic’ experience of my first tantra experience in NYC in 2000. What was missing?.
THE QUALITIES OF THAT FIRST ‘PEAK’ EXPERIENCE
That first ecstatic experience took me by surprise. I had never felt something like it. In total honesty I had actually never repeated it again with the same degree of intensity. My brain had never encountered something like it. It spoke for itself and I had no language to explain what I had gone through in a way that made sense.
Unfortunately I was living in the UK and continuing doing tantra in the US was not an option. At the same time my partners appeared not to be interested in tantra. I was convinced this practice was so powerful that I had to do it with the man that I loved. Time passed and I abandoned it. The memories remained and from time to time they hunted me with the ‘wow, will I ever experience that again?’.
If I had to describe the qualities of that first experience: I felt weightless, the body was totally on fire, purely electric. I was tingling everywhere. Every single part of my skin was over sensitive. I felt ‘possessed’. I am not sure I was able to think beyond what I was just experiencing. I was simply ‘ecstatic’ and I wanted to be ‘taken over’ by whatever that was in me.
It took me a while to ‘come down’ but afterwards I was so calm, I felt so free, I felt so much love, I only could feel love for all the men around me. I was exhausted. I was so much ‘at peace’ with everything: with myself, with everybody around me, with the world, with my life. Nothing mattered. Just wonderful. That estate may have lasted for a couple of hours and then it slowly vanished.
20 years later
Almost 20 years later I could still remember that experience. I am now in my mid 40s. I felt ready to revisit tantra even if my partner was not interested. He had no problems with me trying it out. I had come across this tantra school in the UK called T4GM and it seemed it could work. I tried a weekend course and I loved it. I felt lots of the qualities of that first experience from 20 years ago, even that I could not feel all of the intensity of that initial peak experience.
They said that they ran a diploma course in tantra. I decided to sign. I thought I was going to learn milion of wanking techniques. Some of the men coming to the course (a whole week) seemed hot too. In my head I made myself ready for a whole week orgy. I couldn’t wait.
So much happened
There was lots of sexual energy in that week, but nothing remotely similar to the way I have encountered sex before. What I expected to be a never ending orgy with 15 men in the countryside turned into the most intense self-exploratory practice about who I was, what I wanted in life and why I wanted it.
There was a lot of fun, but also I learnt so much about myself. Playing with sexual energies forced me to explore issues like: the nature of my desire, jealousy, wanting and needing vs enjoying, what I hid from others, the fear to be found out who I really was, how can you love somebody who you don’t find physically attractive, and I could go on and on.
My potential week of orgiastic sex turned into an exploration of who I really was. I uncovered layers of ‘shame’, ‘anger’, ‘frustration’, ‘unfulfilled desire’. These were layers that I was not even aware that I had. Stuff that I discovered was getting in the way of being able to enjoy the true pleasure of everything around me.
This is coming from somebody who felt that I already had a great partner, good sex with others, enough money to life comfortably, a job that I love and a caring family. I felt I also had done the work over the years: several periods of psychotherapy, lots of physical training and plenty of education.
However, I was still suffering: suffering if a guy I fancied said ‘no’ to have sex with me. Suffering if I felt I could have done better at work. Suffering if I could not ‘impress’ when I was hosting a dinner party. Suffering when a lover told me that he had great fun with somebody else. Suffering when a work colleague excelled at something.
I would pretend to be cool with the guy who I fancied said ‘no’ to have sex with me. I pretended to be cool when I could not get the praise for my food that I expected. I pretended to be happy for my lover if I heard great stories about another man he was having sex with. I pretended to be happy with my colleague for his achievements, even if I felt this was making me feel less good than him.
There was so much suffering and that suffering was also so unnecessary and stupid, but how could I get rid off it?
TANTRA POINTED TOWARDS THE ‘TRUTH’
The truth was that in reality none of that mattered. All that suffering was a manifestation of a ‘bruised ego’. An ego that had to put up with bullying at school, with feelings of not being ‘good enough’, with fantasies of being able to be the best lover in the world even i felt inadequate. Tantra made it clear. The work was about looking beyond that ‘ego’. There is only so many ‘self help’ books so much psychotherapy that one can get to ‘patch’ the bruises. However there was a deeper layer of pain that was always there, even that nobody could see it. Even that it took me a while to know it was there.
I realised that the answer was to look beyond the ego. This is what took me into spirituality.