adventures of a fearless (mostly) globe trotting seeker...
wondering, wandering, barefoot, nomadess

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the other hand of life

tuesday, march 29

philadelphia, pennsylvania

her withering hand rests in my more fleshy one and from time time, it twitches. a hand that is bony, skeletal, fragile. the skin is so soft. i think, "how often have i worried about what i weigh?"

i hold the hand of you mother, not my own mother but the mother of my best friend. i feel the love between a mother and daughter. i feel the physical pain and fear of death. in her sick bed, in the room, there is a great feeling of suffering, but also of silence and light, a kind of holiness. who can say how each of us should face life and death? but remembering the ones we love helps.

i have come because your daughter asked me to sit with you, to meet you, and now i feel i know your daughters heart better having seen instead of only heard of you. you ask if you can meditate laying down i say yes, it is the same as praying or relaxing. focusing your awareness on the object of your choice bringing your mind back to concentration when it wanders. i teach you to inhale and let the pain expand, to surrender to what is. exhale send relief to your daughter, not to separate in the pain. your breathing becomes richer and a deepening silence fills the room. tears fall down my cheeks. i chant to krishna to keep your heart filled with love. i chant to kali the great mother for protection, courage and strength.

great mother we are all your children, help us to feel your love. as this mother loves her daughter, so you love all your children. may you feel peace in your heart knowing the strength of your daughter. i can tell you how beautiful in the world she is, and sometimes she worries about you, but her heart is filled with love and gladness when she thinks of you. all these moments string together our lives. your daughter says she feels guilty when she argues with you now because she is afraid she might not have much more time with you. and it reminds her of when you would leave her at college the two of you would always get in an argument because you didn't know how to say goodbye, and even the arguing is ok. like sometimes when she dances, she dances a little harder to express all the emotions inside her. may we all taste this life and each others love, may the great mother take care of us all, amen.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Whores and free women

who or what is a WHORE?

a woman in a workshop in cleveland last fall told me she belonged to a neo-pagan group called WHORES OF BABYLON and that the word WHORE used to mean a woman who owned her own property. perhaps related to the temple priestesses in ancient times who practiced sacred sexuality, doing rituals that were offerings to the gods and sexual in nature. because of their positions as priestesses, they were not married like most women in their societies and they earned income through the rituals that meant their survival did not depend on the marriage union to a male husband/ provider.

i like the idea that a whore is a woman owns her own property...OWNS HER OWN PUSSY...meaning a woman who has discovered how to enjoy sex for herself, and not just to lay down to be filled with babies, as is often the case of woman in repressive patriarchal societies.

i travel to india often, and many of the women there who i have talked to still don't expect to enjoy sex. they lay their bodies down as a wifely duty to their husband. this is so upside down from the natural way of things, in tantra it is the woman who has more sexual energy than the man. when women have not tapped into and opened their sexual power and pleasure, those are the times it seems the man has more sexual energy. in many societies, a woman who would claim to enjoy sexual pleasure would be labeled a whore, a bad wife, an unfit mother. the supression of the sexual energy is directly related to the supression of the women. why? because women are the energy of sex and desire. show me a culture where the men are covered in burkhas so they won't entice the women to sin. and the woman who is accused of enticing the man to sin is punished or shunned. eve ate the apple. the woman and her curiosity and desire fucked us all up.

i grew up in a household where my mother told me to keep covering up. she told me all men think about is sex, so we needed to protect ourselves. she would always be pointing at other women on the streets, saying how they were dressed like sluts, encouraging the men to act like dogs. i used to think that she was more obsessed with staring at the women's asses than the men. that's what repression does, leads to obsession.

my mother became a street preacher in her 40's. she began to run a sober living in her home. i had already moved out when i came to visit her one day, and she wouldn't let me in her house because she said i had too much sexual energy and would make the men sin and think of sex. i just remembered thinking that i couldn't help it, this is just the way i am. i am sex. and i was young and in my early twenties and probably was dressed inapropriatly testing out this new power i had, wanting to understand how it affected others and myself. i had always felt different, i never could swallow that sex was something that kept you from god, in it's naturalness, it always made me feel closer to god. when i found tantra, the worship of a mother god with practices to enjoy and empower through the sexual energy, i felt a completing. i was home.

a woman who has come to understand, appreciate and look forward to the pleasures her body is capable of is called a WHORE. a woman who feels that having discovered the power and pleasure of her sexuality and expects to enjoy her body and becomes aware that she can choose her sexual partners is called a WHORE. sexual energy is FREEDOM energy, which can also be expressed as chaos. this energy is so powerful, it can move like a tsunami and leave the destruction of a lot of societal conformity in it's wake. so we repress it mostly. how many husbands pretend they are not sexually attracted to other women they see to appease their wives? and yet, don't we all know this can't possibly be true? so we tell each other half truths.

we tell half truths to "keep it all together". to keep our commitments. when the energy of freedom/chaos begins to stir, it threatens to tear our houses down, much like a natural disaster, a forest fire or tsunami. sometimes the destruction is a part of a new creation process we can't see the shape of yet.

i had a student new to tantra send me an email, saying that when she talked to people after class, they had all lost their jobs, marriages, houses, cars...etc. she said was this a necessary part of the tantric path. i laughed because in america, i find a lot of students looking for tantra are looking to add something to their lives. add a better sex life, find how to call in a soul mate, experience more pleasure. well, the mother of creation is everywhere and everything, so why do we feel so separate? getting back into bliss nature is less about what you add to your life and more about coming into awareness about the blockages you have and learning to let them go. everyone says they want to release their blockages, but it is scary to let go of what you know, even negative patterns.

do you need to lose everything to be on the path of tantra?
that depends on the agreements you have made. if you agreed to a marriage or job based on a set of security issues you outgrow, then the day might come as you feel your healthy ego more, that you outgrow those agreements. then you will have a decision to make.

working with sexual energy, SHAKTI is working with the DIVINE MOTHER, DESIRE, working to weave between the urges for both freedom and survival...FREEDOM & BONDAGE.

oh ye man and woman, tame your kundalini, bow to hladini...the energy of not hide from yourself your secret not live as a stranger to your own nature and mind.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tantric Jesus

corinthians 12:12 "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." .

corinthians 12:23 "And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness."

what members of the body might jesus be talking about?

if we take it at the level of a metaphore for all people representing different parts of one body, it is like the lakota prayer mitikuye all my relations. in this prayer all aspects of creation are considered relations, animals and the earth and the celestial beings of sun, moon and stars as well. some of our relations, those members of our body we treat less honourably are like the homeless people we turn away from looking at, the people suffering on the fringes of society who become the ugly side effect of our evolution. looking at this kind of suffering is like peeling off a scab, lifting a rock hiding all the monsters. looking at the pollution we are creating on the body of mother earth is also uncomfortable, like in the movie "an uncomfortable truth". sometimes it's easier to take the motto, "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow i may die". and if you take a more mystical perspective on time, we are already dead and never were born.

another way to look at this is a hidden tantric meaning...
"And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour"
in the ancient tantric lineage i carry, the nature based worship of the sun and moon, sacred masculine and sacred feminine, the symbols are of the genitals, the bringers of life.

there are rituals to honour the sacred energies and also, in the left hand path, vama marga the taboo path, we have rituals to honour these potent parts of the body as well. as above so below the tantriks say. this way of worship is older than any written, systematized religions. pre-vedic, pre-bible. when i practice tantric rituals, time disappears. separation disappears. i am back in the formlessness of the creatrix womb, where i can feel the dark materials stirring, i can feel the desire of the formless to birth itself into the world of time and form again.

the jesus i know spoke of the mystery and pointed to the nature underlying all things. sure, alot of people could spit scriptures of what jesus said that would contradict me, that would make jesus seem more dualistic. but i said the jesus i know. the jesus i know through direct personal experience. the highest form of spiritual experience is experience, it is called gnosis..."to know" through the laying on of spirit.

when i was a young girl growing up in a charismatic church, i would go into trance when we sang, i would feel the sweet heaviness of grace fill my body and i was raptured to a place that was just as real as this daily world, but which ran parallel, and seeemed to be invisible to many. it was a place i could go alone, or in the group energy, although it could never be shared with words later. and then i would come out of this state that is called "perfection" and have the bible thrown at me, telling me what god says. but i was just listening to what god was saying in my own body, mind and heart. and those words in that book are inspired but they still are not god, they can only point the way to god, they can only make you thirsty to have your own experience of truth. in tantra, that is also the teaching of the guru, the one who points the way, but still you must stumble along yourself on your path. the sufis say the teacher is the flame that sets the seeker to burning. and still we must find our way to the mystery on our own.

the jesus i know speaks of tantra and the joining of the bodies and the reunion of flesh and spirit there. the bride, the bride groom and the bridal chamber as the gnostics say. one of the early teachers was marcus the magicians, they practiced worship of divine feminine, and what we might call the sex magic.

and if what i am saying sounds like heresy to you, i would kindly put in the request not to be burned this lifetime. let me meet my maker myself and be judged, if you believe in such a thing.

what is tantra?

i got this question today via email:

hey psalm, what is tantra anyways... It can't just be a bunch of sex positions - there's gotta be something more to it than that right?!

tantra is life
and sex
and death
tantra is existential philosophy
tantra is worship and devotion to the mystery
tantra is punk rock to main stream spirituality
a bloody steak to a vegan
a carrot to a carnivore
tantra is the sweet love of the dark mother

sex is part of life
it's how we got here, so tantra looks at sex too
how can we try to figure out where we are going if we can't even look where we are coming from? how are you going to contemplate eternity when you are blind to everything below your belly button?
make an ally of desire

the disciples asked jesus,
"what will happen in the end?"
and jesus said,
"do you already know the beginning that you seek to know the end? seek to know the beginning and you will know all things."
sex is the beginning
god/goddess is abwoom the sacred father/mother god
the fertilizes seed at the center of creation
that is the architecture of sacred geometry, inside every manifestation, our human bodies
the fertilized egg, the central point of you and me
our whole bodies are a mandala of whirling arms and legs unfurling around that central seed
father/mother god, sacred abwoom

jesus also said, "there was a day when one became two. on the day two become one what will you do?"
sex is the joining of two bodies, but so much more than that
the physical body is only one layer covering the soul
what is the purpose of the body? it is a covering of the soul
we have 5 bodies
multiply by 2 people= 10 bodies, 10 mergings of the coverings of the soul
divide by 10 and you have zero= we are all one, coming from one source
the 0 is the sacred geometry for the yoni, the womb

big bellied, dark eyed one
the whole universe is her costume

on the day when 2 become one again, what will you do?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

on my knees

god has no bodies but our own,
we are the body of god
think about it
how are we treating god?

thursday, march 24
mentor, ohio

i left pinkie standing in the rubble of the street, of the red light district of kolkata. people come to collect the dirt from these streets, because although prostitution is shamed, they also believe there is great power here from kali, the fierce mother goddess. pinkie's dark face was illuminated by the orange neon street lights, her growing smaller and smaller in then rear window as my cab drove away for the airport. her still waving goodbye until she disappeared.


i am humbled to my knees, to this earth

i just got back from kolkata, india to teach the women's empowerment program
to sex workers there
it was brutal and beautiful
i went to bed at night crying a lot, does anything make a difference?
it is really something to teach a class knowing these women are gonna have to suck a dick
to get food for dinner
(was that too crude? shall i find a way to make it less uncomfortable?)
that their body will be penetrated for commerce, for survival
and it's a trip cuz i'm still teaching the same yoga to them, to you
what do you do when you leave class?

i thought about the reflection of the womens empowerment circle
in kauai that i taught right before kolkata,
what i did in kolkata was share the empowerment practices,
but then to witness these sisters stories
to witness to the bare root of things
i gotta tell you, in kolkata, i was hearing stories that made me cringe
and somehow the stories are so much the same,
from the island paradise of kauai to the bombed out rubble of the red light district of kolkata
histories of abuse, hardship
the ferocity to survive, the dream to thrive

and one kolkata sister told me a story of growing up with a mom
who didn't believe her when she said her stepdad was molesting her,
so she ran away
but she didn't get far and so she came back
and fought her stepdad
and later her mom sent her away to school and there she heard people whisper
her mom was a sex worker
and the children shamed her and her mom drank poison to escape a cruel life

and this woman telling me the story, pinkie
her story didn't stop then. no it didn't stop when i was ready to be done,
when i flinched and wanted to look away.
she told of leaving the school, living in the terror of her stepdad again and running to an uncle who offered her money for sex, and when she said no, he said, "why not,your mom did" (how do we escape the stories of our ancestors, how do we change the lines of lineage?) . and she told a story of running to the police, a group of men who tried to molest her and how she hid in a burlap sack that almost caught fire and she had to run again.

and finally she was given some chance, though meager. and she is living in the sex workers co-op building even though she says she is not a sex worker herself, even though it is hard to turn down the money. but she says she can't repeat her mothers life. she realized that when she put a bottle of poison to her mouth, wanting to end it all, seeing no escape. but something in her rose up, and she said, "i won't let them say her mother did it and she did it" and some function of survival or pride drove her forward. and that's how i met pinkie. who is a beautiful young woman living in calcutta going to business school, who says everyday is still a struggle but her smile lights up the room and she speaks very good english.

and i came to witness but at some point in her story i made her stop. it was time to move forward. yes we must be honest about our wounds, we clean the wounds by telling our stories, but we are not confined to those stories. that is why this practice is so strong. we move forward. the power of the breathing changes lives, flips a switch and we are not those dim selves anymore, we are not trapped by the stories anymore.

and i asked pinkie if she wanted to keep teaching the classes
after i left,
and she said yes.
and things do change.
they do change one seed at a time, and the seed is the most potent,
because it contains all the information of the life sleeping inside it.

and pinkie is still teaching that class now for the sex workers on a dusty concrete floor, under a tin rooftop in kolkata.
i left her standing in the rubble of the street, her dark face illuminated by the orange neon street lights, her growing smaller and smaller in then rear window as my cab drove away for the airport. her still waving goodbye until she disappeared. and i leave you pinkie, i have to board another plane. and i leave you pinkie, with my prayers, my hope and my blessing. how can you be so small and fragile? i leave you to make your own story of your life. you are my sister. when you spoke of your abuse and your stubborness not to become your mother, i was you.
the wheel turns, the snake eats it's own tail.

and i thought that it makes a big difference the opportunities we are given in this world.

the sisters in kauai, some of them were abused too, but we ended up in the fertile lap of kauai. pinkie is on the mean streets of calcutta. and still, we share the seeds and we rise.

god has no bodies but our own,
we are the body of god.

i say amen, thanks for sharing this life with me, thank you for sharing your stories with me.

flying home, i got sick on the plane, i vomited in the tiny cubicle
of the airplane bathroom
sometime's you gotta let go


Saturday, March 5, 2011

hopeful and heartbroken in the city of joy

day 2 women's empowerment mission calcutta

hopeful and heartbroken in the city of joy

i am teaching yoga and kundalini tantra to sex workers in calcutta the city of joy and the city of much suffering
why? because these practices transformed my life from feeling like there was so much suffering in myself and the world that i didn't want to go on living, to having the strength to turn the poison of suffering into medicine for myself and then share that medicine with others to turn into into gold, the gold of human compassion

jesus it is amazing here
but i tell you this shit will break your heart
this one woman in the class today, she came and sat right in front of me, so intense she was to learn, to ask questions- they have a translator for me in bengali- and she with big black eyes that would get shiny on the verge of tears, she told me how she had to become a sex worker because her husband died and now her daughter can't live with her because of what she does to earn money to support her and her eyes get glassy when she tells me she lives alone. but then she laughs because she is so damn strong. i tell you life is not fair for these women, no they are living hard. and still that's not the question or answer is it? the fairness is not the question or the answer to struggle with. that has been a blind alley and i have raged against god, shaking a fist at the sky for many years. we must accept to progress.

practicing on a dusty concrete floor with a tin roof overhead the women made me promise to come back in august, i gave my word today because we are forming a bond here. and i have full faith the money and means will be provided for.
i want to bring a small group and i want to train others to do this outreach. in calcutta alone, there is a great hunger.

sometimes, so much raw suffering brings me to my knees and my guru said it is those times we must keep the faith. this faith is more than beautiful words. i am awake while the director of the documentary who flew in this morning and hit the ground filming sleeps and our guide sleeps and i am crying. that woman in class today she breaks my heart. and she invited me to her house for dinner next tuesday night and i know god put her in my life and do you know how many people just want someone to look them in the eyes and bear witness to their suffering? i don't have enough money to help all these women but i do have my yoga to share. and i am sitting there with my gold jewelry talking to them and you know, what the fuck man? i would sell it all to hand over the money but the difference has to come from then feeling their own power inside.

god grant me the strength, the courage, the wisdom
loka samasta sukhino bhavantu
may we all be happy and free from suffering
mitakuye all my relations

though this world is not fair
i love you i love you i love you