All posts tagged John Friend

Tantra Yoga: What’s Sex Got To Do With It? – Part 4: Funky Sex and Multiple Orgasms

(Continued from The Catch: Tantra’s Sex Appeal and the Need for a Guru) A branch of Tantrics, known as the Left Hand Path, supported, encouraged and condoned the use of sexual rituals as a means to cultivate spiritual enlightenment, whereas the majority of Tantrics, known as the Right Hand Path, frowned upon such, casting out the beliefs of the other group as erroneous, even dangerous. The Right Hand Path instead promoted celibacy as a means to mastery over desire and wanting, in order to merge with the Divine while in form. Saying Tantra is about sex is like saying that Muslims are about terrorism. Nothing could be further than the truth. The vast majority of Muslims are a faith-loving, good people who promote wise and compassionate action. An extreme sect promotes the use of terrorism. The same could be said for Christianity and Buddhism and other world religions, where small sects seem to paint a general picture over the tendency of that belief system. Perhaps because we lack cultural and spiritual maturity as a people, we allow the flavour of one grape to affect the entire batch of wine. I have always had a natural connection to the unseen realms, ever since I was a child. As such, my yoga and meditation practices and studies naturally…

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Tantra Yoga: What’s Sex Got To Do With It? – Part 3: The Catch: Tantra’s Sex Appeal and The Need For A Guru

(Continued from Hatha Yoga, Sex Rituals and Tantra’s Shadow)   “Wow,” you may be thinking. “A spiritual path where sex is seen as a path to the divine! Sign me up!” But here’s the catch. Firstly, Tantra as a whole does not support the actual practice of sexual rituals. Only one offshoot branch of Tantra does, and that is a branch not generally condoned as a viable path by Tantrism as a whole due to its inherent spiritual dangers. These dangers are part of the second catch.   Secondly, when a spiritual aspirant begins to look at matter and the body as vehicles for spiritual evolution and personal transformation, he begins to walk the razor’s edge journey to spiritual enlightenment. He must learn to discern between the ego’s tricky wanting and expansive evolution. He must learn to balance the relationship between Nature’s involutionary tendency, that is, the rootedness of being in form, and the evolutionary cosmic play as it unfolds spiritually.   A Tantric aspirant can easily either become overly mired in the pleasures of the physical and lose spiritual expansion, or he can become overly lofty, detached and ungrounded by the spiritual and lose the presence of the physical. Like a gracious balancing act, the Tantric yogi walks an extremely potent path that is both…

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Tantra Yoga: What’s Sex Got To Do With It? – Part 2: Hatha Yoga, Sex Rituals and Tantra’s Shadow

(Continued from Hatha and Tantra Yoga)   I love the descriptions of Tantra by the widely respected yogic scholar Georg Feuerstein who penned one of my favorite books, “Yoga: The Technology of Ecstasy”. For those of you who have seen me perform my song “Yoga In the Nightclub” in my current show “Natamba” (and if you have not yet, please come out!) you know that I use elements of the following quote from Dr. Feuerstein in my extended version of the house music track:   “What Tantric masters aspired to was to create a transubstantiated body, which they called adamantine (vajra) or divine (daiva) – a body not made of flesh but of immortal substance, of Light. Instead of regarding the body as a meat tube doomed to fall prey to sickness and death, they viewed it as a dwelling-place of the Divine and as the caldron for accomplishing spiritual perfection. For them, enlightenment was a whole body event.”   As such, the body is more akin to place of alchemy, a caldron to transform the base metals of crude desires into the gold of spiritual perfection. Tantra was not an endorsement of bestiality and debauchery, but a highly ritualized practice that keenly witnessed the nature of desire and a fiercely confronted it at its root…

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Tantra Yoga: What’s Sex Got To Do With It? – Part 1: Hatha and Tantra Yoga

“Yoga teachers and how-to books seldom mention that the discipline began as a sex cult — an omission that leaves many practitioners open to libidinal surprise.” Before reading the above comment by William J. Broad in a recent New York Times article, I thought of the Times as a resourceful newspaper with trustworthy articles that were well researched. That quickly changed, and I reminded myself that reporters are mere mortals who do make mistakes. I wrote about Tantra in a previous blog entry, as it is a long-standing interest and integrated part of my life. I felt called to share a bit more on the topic in response to the article linked above. Quantum physics tells us that the “I” we hold onto so dearly is just an illusion. It tells us that in reality, everything is interconnected, not separate as we perceive it to be. It says that our life is more like a creative projection than hard, factual truth. These thoughts are not the propriety of modern science, but are at the root of mystical traditions world wide, and at the heart of Tantra, a spiritual tradition that, not unlike its offshoot Hatha Yoga, is greatly misunderstood today. Tantrism, which made its appearance around the middle of the first millennium AD, pioneered the view,…

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Yoga Scandals, Light Chasers and Shadow Boxers – Part 1: Duality and Denial

Hello friends, This week I feel the need to express some thoughts about recent press regarding scandals in the yoga community, in particular, regarding John Friend. The details of the scandals are not important to me, but the general reaction to them in the press more so. We are all flawed and beautiful as we walk this Earth together. “Yoga and “scandal” seem to walk hand-in-hand these days. It’s a “union of opposites” that’s growing more comfortable with time.” – Stewart Lawrence, Huffington Post It saddens me to see a beautiful life art-form and science-of-life misunderstood and misinterpreted. But I guess that is what we humans tend to do. If we are a people that can crucify a holy man, we can also easily throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. Scandals in the yoga scene are nothing new. We could cite here pages of stories depicted in ancient yogic texts such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana that illustrate the twisted acts of human folly while on a spiritual path. Yet the media, spearheaded by journalists that are clearly not impartial reporters doing thorough research, seems to proudly point fingers at seeming rot at the root of the sacred, while conveniently ignoring the fact that scandals are created by imperfect humans, not the eternal divine.…

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