Two years ago I didn’t know anything about Tantra. My curiosity was awakened when a friend of mine told me about a Tantra Festival she had joined and how liberating it was for her. Some weeks later I googled ‘Gay’ + ‘Tantra’ and found a link to the first Tantra-4-Gay-Men-Festival 2013 that had just been held in Wales. The description and the wonderful feedback from the participants touched me directly. I thought that it was too good to be true. But what if …
A week later my husband and I decided to book the 2014 Festival … without knowing anyone, without knowing anything. A bit crazy. I had some email conversations with Jason and Ingo but I have to say that I still had doubts even minutes before we arrived in Wales and thought it might all be a bluff and that we wouldn’t find anything out there in the countryside!
What we found out there was more than I ever could have dreamed about.
Fifty gay men – holding hands, smiling, hugging, eye gazing, a bit nervous but only in the beginning; a wonderful diversity of body shape and body hair, age, cock size, background, geography; open and warm hearted meetings and a variety of exciting workshops, exercises and rituals.
For the first time in my life I felt loved unconditionally. Lots of tears. Lots of hugs. Lots of love and intimacy.
I felt alive and changed inside after these five days of male bonding and brotherhood. It was the beginning of my own journey of transformation. After the festival in 2014 I participated in a workshop in London and even in this year’s festival, but most importantly in the first Tantra Diploma week, which totally improved my live in several ways. Let me tell you about some of my discoveries, experiences and challenges of the last twelve months.
Back to Basics
What really counts in life? Material things, career, success, perfect trained body, a lot of sex? Whether you strive for these or already have them in your life, my experience has always been that these external things will never fill my longing or inner world.
But can it be as easy as breathing, touching, feeling, eye gazing, meeting each other with respect and loving intentions? Can an inner peace settle by training in these things at workshops and in every day life? My experience is yes! My insight through Tantra is that all I really long for is already inside me and that it is through the simple, basic things that I can reach that place and not by looking and searching outside myself, which I have done for a long time.
I grew up in a dysfunctional family. I was not planned and actually never felt really loved but more of a burden. I did not get much appreciation or encouragement, had no close friends. I was a lonely wolf and a survivor for many years.
In an environment like the festival where a huge group of men act and meet each other from an intention of love, miracles happen. They happen when there is an effort to try to see beyond the first impression, the façade, and discover the human being beyond all conditioning, fear, shame, guilt and life experiences; maybe see the little child in the other person that has the same longing for love, acceptance, joy and happiness as I have deep inside.
I have experienced it and seen it at every T4GM workshop: grown men shaking, crying and laughing because they met unconditional love, often for the first time in their lives. When others meet you in a generous, loving, accepting way, giving you hugs without wanting something in exchange, looking intensely at you like no one did before, a giant burden just falls off your shoulders and heart. You can stop playing games, take off your mask and just be yourself as you are here and now!
There are body ideals in commercials, in movies, in mainstream thinking. As a hairy guy without a six-pack but more with a belly, big nose but rather a smaller cock I had shame about my body since I was a teenager. From my early twenties I quit going to the beach or to the swimming hall because of shame. I trained up my self-esteem a bit by going to the sauna but a real breakthrough came for me at the Tantra Festival and Diploma. It was so liberating to see, meet, and practise exercises together with, men of all varieties, sizes and body shapes and to realize that we are all human: loveable as we are!
Shame, guilt and judgement
These three phenomena often stand between us and the way we want to live, be and act. They hold us back from flourishing and developing. They bind our energy and destroy our relations. Being merciful and lovable to ourselves, accepting ourselves and others as we are right now and letting the past go and trying to live in this very moment are ways to overcome shame, guilt and judgement. Even to be naked physically and emotionally in front of others and allowing myself to be loved by others has been healing for me in many ways.
‘Other people are our mirrors’, Jason often says. They show us our beautiful and dark sides, the sides we are proud of and the sides we are consciously or unconsciously hiding. I learnt in Tantra to look deep inside myself when having judgements, feeling anger or similar strong emotions against others. Often it is not about the other person, but more about myself. Maybe something that I don’t like or that I haven’t accepted in me. When I become aware of that, I have a choice to stop projecting my issues on others, and instead to work on my own development. That’s much harder than blaming others, but the only way to reach change and inner freedom.
Body, spirit and soul – a holistic perspective
Sexuality and spirituality has been very strong and important parts of my life even from childhood. Deep inside me they have never been opposites, but became so through judgements from others. In faith communities, to which I belonged for a huge part of my life, sexuality was covered with shame. In the gay community, spirituality and belief were seen as stupid. I became a stranger in both communities. In Tantra I finally found a connection between these two important parts of my life – without needing to deny one or the other. I still train myself in letting sexuality and spirituality become integral and interacting parts of my life. That’s not always easy because they have been held apart for so many years.
Chakra and whole body orgasm
A totally new and exciting experience for me was to discover my chakras. Even in the first festival my body shivered and vibrated lightly the whole night while lying in bed - a very pleasant feeling. With a little more exercise I today can imagine the seven energy fields in my body and even guide the energy through my body from the root chakra behind my balls up to the crown chakra around my head. I can also feel waves of energy and vibration in my body that can be described as whole body orgasm - often without even erection or ejaculation. Intense, wonderful and energy giving. A new quality in my sexuality.
Tantra and relationship
My husband and I have shared life for over 17 years. Knowing each other very well, we thought that the Tantra festival could give our relation an injection. I am not sure we would have had the courage to join the festival when we had just met. Jealousy and other issues maybe would have been more in the way. But now I have also seen a very new couple doing an amazing journey together.
Despite our intuitive feeling that it will be good for us, there still were some of these traditional and moralising warnings in my mind: ‘Don’t play with fire!’, ‘You have problems in your relationship when looking for intimacy with others!’, ‘It could be the beginning of the end of your marriage!’.
Deep inside I knew that this is bullshit. What both of us then realized was that our love does not decrease when shared with others but instead grows. The more we hugged, touched and were intimate with other guys, the more our love for each other grew. This year of Tantra has really enriched our relationship and has given it totally new dimensions.
I also met a wonderful man in T4GM and we became deep friends and lovers in a way I have not really experienced before. We are both living in long term relationships and both our partners know about and agree to this special form of intimate friendship. This is a beautiful sign of trust in each other and has strengthened all four of us and our relationships with our partners. I think the most important thing needed to make that work is a very open conversation and a huge respect for our partnerships. For us it’s not a sex affair. It’s about friendship, love and intimacy.
Communication – Ask and you will get
You can read it in every lifestyle magazine, you can hear it from therapists – communication is everything both in relationships and in sex.
But when it comes to sex and intimacy, to body and emotions, it is not always so easy. There can be feelings of rejection, there can be shame and there can be expectations or experiences that makes it difficult to be totally open in your communication.
I think my husband and I have a good communication in our relationship and that we, to a greater or lesser extent, figure out challenges and problems. But in 17 years a lot of stuff collects; everyday life becomes routine, sex included.
At the Tantra Diploma I really got aware of my own stuff in some of our issues and how, time after time, I projected my own frustration onto my husband. That was a very hard and painful discovery. Yeah, Tantra is not only nice rituals and meditation – it is a sometimes difficult way of self-awareness and transformation.
What I learnt in the diploma and since then, which has eased both my private and work lives, is clear communication.
For this it is crucial to first know and formulate for myself what I want and feel without judging myself. If I am clear about my own wishes and feelings I maybe need to ask someone to support me. There is the question of who best could support me. Last but not least I have to formulate a question to this other person. That is tricky because it could be that this person says no.
My experience of the last months is that almost everyone says yes because I am so clear about what I want and need. I think it is a huge relief for others when I express what I want. Otherwise they have to guess what I want which, especially in sexual situations, can be very frustrating for everyone.
So my advice is: Ask and you will get!
A mission – Heal the world make it a better place
Jason sometimes talks about a mission – it’s not about a new religion, a sect, a model or new ritual that shall preach to the world. It’s about becoming and being love. For me – coming from a Christian background and having been a monk 25 years ago – that is actually nothing special or new. For me, love is the essence of Christianity as of most religions. The problem is that the church or other religious authority often has more focus on power, control and exclusivity than on love. Tantra shows a way to live and learn empowerment, unconditional love and inclusiveness. For me, and if I have understood Jason well, Tantra is not only a way for my individual transformation and healing but also a way to transform our human relations and the world; to overcome the alienation and to celebrate the wholeness and oneness of everything in the universe.
Tantra and everyday life
Besides festivals, workshops, meditations and sexual rituals, Tantra is the challenging and sometimes difficult way to live everyday life differently from the mainstream. To overcome shame, guilt and judging – to increase openness, forgiveness and diversity in every single situation: at work, in the street or the supermarket, at home and in all our relations. That, I can tell, is hard work! But it is beautiful when life changes, when understanding grows, and when trust and kindness is created inside me, and between me and the people around me. We can change the world! Not by competition but by hugs!
Some difficulties? Yes, of course!
One challenge for me is that I can feel a bit alone sometimes. Most of the lovely Tantra men I met the last year live in UK. I miss the physical closeness, the hugs, kisses, intimacy and cuddling in everyday life. There are no Gay Tantra activities here in Scandinavia. Therefore I come to London and Wales several times a year to meet other likeminded soulmates. The workshops, diploma and festival are intense times for practice as well as for celebrating all the beauty we create together. These meetings strengthen me, encourage me and inspire me to fill my day-to-day life in Sweden with as much love as is possible for me to create and spread.
And who knows, someday the world maybe will be a better hugging place – for you and for me and the entire human race – and the whole universe.
From Sweden with Love, Christoph