Meeting in Tiruvannamalai
Report of my experience of meeting a woman in Tiruvannamalai, told to a man that I also met there. The meetings happened in January 2018.
(I’m way behind in telling stories).
I have a story to tell and choose you as my focus in mind.
(Me to you, the reader: this is not an order, he agreed to do so).
Some weeks ago I spoke to you about my still continuing porn consumption. During the conversation we had, I mentioned that I notice a strong resistance against fully stopping this habit.
Slowly slowly there has arisen awareness of something not seen before about this resisting. I mentioned that there is a feel of ‘verraad’ to it. A feeling of betraying something. As if something that has to be seen first has to surface before turning my back to the habit.
(This for the moment without going into the question if choice in this matter matters or counts or even is a possibility).
For now I feel like writing to you the report of an adventure that happened over the last weeks in Tiruvannamalai.
Apart from many other beautiful people that I see walking around all the time, there was one woman that I happened to see once in a while that caught my attention. For me, through my eyes, she was of a breathtaking beauty. The kind of beauty that I saw in almost all the girls when I was in the transition from child to boy.
There was a period in time that seeing pure beauty in girls clearly was coming from the boy/young man in the making. Yet, the attraction was for the beauty, seemed to originate in the beauty of them. And I would say now that in this phase there was a strong longing to look at girls for the sheer joy of it. It may have been hormone driven, yet it is what I call now non-sexual.
Somewhat later the urge to touch came into the game. I remember that I have tried several times to engage, during play (on the playground and around) to trick/tease girls into touching. What’s the word? In Dutch it is ‘stoeien’. Frolic? Wrestle?
By then there was clearly a stronger than me magnetic pull at work. And from the side of the girls, for sure towards me, the mechanism to keep boys on a distance had kicked in. I remember instances of having taken loads of angry stop-stop messages. And so I learned to back off. And to suppress to act on it. So longing came into my system. And I had no means, no knowledge of how, to just be with the longing, as we would say and do nowadays. Not knowing what to do but suppress it all, it (this longing) became fuelled by this very unconscious act. On top of it, this all happened in the context of the post second world war atmosphere where the citizens should learn to behave again. Plus the Protestant upbringing with its peculiar yet not at all understood ideas about us human beings that felt as huge condemnations of humanity. Of me. Of this young boy that I was. What a scary stuff, the very concepts of sin, doom and hell, combined with all the self fuelling longing stuff. And the most cancerous of the emotions that came along with it: the feeling of being guilty. And then of course the inevitable. Masturbation.
My very first spontaneous orgasm happened out of the blue while I was lying sick in bed, eleven or so years old. It was an overwhelming shocking experience. But, immediately there was also a kind of meta emotion happening. It felt as if I was being cursed by the Cosmos, if not by this Angry God Himself than by this man in black, shouting about in church on Sundays.
The boy, me, knew instantly that this was not to be talked about. There was total panic. How can I get rid of this sticky stuff without leaving a trace!
The description that came back to me then and there while I was talking to L. in this couch in restaurant The Dreaming Tree was ‘Want ik ben een naijverig God’.
Oddly enough I was feeling totally safe there, kind of absorbed, hidden, in the background music and the sound of a packed restaurant in India, the smell of smoke and barking dogs on a distance. Talking/walking myself and this woman through stories from my life from again a different angle.
I looked for the source of the God description that came up.
It is in the 5th Commandment: cause I am a jealous God, etcetera.
Sexality in general in those days was a difficult subject. Talking about it was either not at all, or covert and indirect. Often if not always loaded with judgements and fear.
I remember one instance, I was 16 and ‘had’ my first girlfriend. And the man for whom I worked on his land and flower greeneries in my after school hours once said just this: “Als je haar maar niet met jong douwt”, if only you don’t make her pregnant.
I still can feel the surprise when I noticed that I felt proud. Proud just by the idea that he thought it to be a possibility that I would be making love with her. In a strange way I felt accepted by this remark. At the same time this was my only explicit sexual education. Eight words.
Back to Tiru. Back to this woman that brought up my boyhood memories just by me seeing her walk. And also a few times our eyes met and my radiant smile was met with an even more radiant smile from her side. Not a trace of rejection there.
So, the process in me went on.
And then, one day, I saw her in a group that I attended. Voice Yoga, by Jane Cecilia ( https://www.facebook.com/janea). For one hour we would do voice exercises, followed by some mantra singing.
This time we did an exercise in pairs and I ended up sitting opposite L.
The instruction was: sit close to each other, knees touching, keep eye contact if possible and sing along with the harmonium this three word mantra.
We did this for about ten minutes. And we did not lose eye contact for a single second. And so much happened for me in this meeting!
[For her too. She told me about this later].
This meeting in full acceptance and radiancy was a great surprise and set off even deeper layers of forgotten stuff.
One for me shocking event that I thought to have dealt with already long ago also came back into the mind: it was in highschool that I felt attracted to a girl and at some moment I gave in to the urge to approach her, stepped in and gave her a soft kiss on her cheek. She turned into lightning, stepped back and hit me full on in the face. I have to admit that I was fully shocked. Only in hindsight and with my current sense of humor can I imagine giving off the reaction kind of prescribed by my upbringing: turning the other cheek and humbly awaiting a second blow.
When we met again I told L. that a lot had happened for me. Please tell me, she said.
Not yet ready for that, I said. But if you really want to hear it, I will share with you. Almost a week went by and we met again in a restaurant. And after a few more attempts to postpone again, I told her my story, my stories, my thoughts, my musings, my hunches. As you can guess, this needed a few starts, a bit of stumbling around, a bit of stuttering and then, under the cover of the live restaurant music, my sharing started. And went on for quite a while. At the end, to make a quick jump forward in time, I asked if it had not been too much, too confusing or whatever.
Oh no, she said, your words are medicine for my soul.
A sharing like this is a very interactive process, even when the so called other is apparently just listening. All the visual and other feedback is noticed, taken in and reacted upon. The following is an attempt to get my side of it into words.
So, here I am, finally sitting cross legged with you again. How to start? I already had seen you a few times before we had this beautiful exchange at the Voice Yoga. And each and every time I was struck by your beauty and radiance. You are so fucking beautiful! Yes, I know, it is not so much done to say this like this. Yet it is a fact. For me it is a fact. And I also know that this being so beautiful has brought you quite some troubles. I have been in satsangs for over fifteen years and have heard many women share about this.
What happened for me was that your appearance brought all kinds of memories back. Old feelings of guilt. Guilt about feeling attracted, feeling the want to touch, feeling the want to be very close and just look, look, look. I already had noticed that, at first sight, you seem to be quite open and innocent in your reactions to being noticed. I also know, or better I guess, that it has been a hell of a job for you to regain this innocence.
Our meeting brought up many old memories, (as by now already mentioned above in the introduction to this report in a report, yes this text is, very much like the bible, written in various eras and by me in different circumstances and stages of getting, of finding out, what this is all about), and it also is making things fall in place about other things.
I will tell you about two stories that still have to be written in the state they are by now prepared in my head.
[Later, if the writing of this stories still will happen after already having been summarized in here, they will be in Dutch and the links given here: ……..].
This stories are the most recent ones telling about a series of experiences. They all have to do with sexuality.
Slowly slowly the astonishment that came along with those experiences seems to morph into the beginning of a new understanding. In general the experiences go like this: when I find myself in a training situation where sexuality is the subject and where the expectation is that I will go into arousal, (either this is the explicit instruction or it is happening all around me to all the others as by the offered opportunities or whatever), I find/found myself becoming totally quiet. And instead of allowing me this for me very special state of being, it raised out of proportion strong reactions in the respective trainers. Which each and every time shocked me.
The experiences stretch over several decades, so there is a good chance that my behaviour was touching something deep in our culture. Big words, but that is how it feels.
A spontaneous freestyle analysis would go like this: whenever I am in a context where sexuality is explicitly accepted, I go in a pre-sexual mode. It is as if my running sexuality gig (with watching porn for instance) is still and at least partially if not almost completely, being fuelled by the non-acceptance of it.
Two of those experiences are in blogs.
The most recent experiences that still have to be put into words were also in settings were sexuality was the subject.
In the Netherlands there is since last year a new thing going on by the name Massagedans. I don’t remember how it found me, but the description of the intentions and the supposed actions that were to happen spoke to me as such a good idea that it pulled me towards joining.
The way to get there was to participate in a so called open evening where the sketched out ritual was to be performed while fully dressed. There was one such night planned in my hometown Amsterdam.
That evening was a nice experience with all kinds of making contact exercises that contained nothing new for me but were fun to do (again).
As for me the undressed version was what was appealing to me, especially because of the described restrictions on the allowed behaviour.
Unfinished paragraph as it is now in my notes:
I will find and translate a key passage from their website later here.
Especially the mentioning of. …………. was key in this.
It was strange, but from the very beginning there were misunderstandings and resistances from their side. I just followed the suggested procedure as given on their website. Yet it became difficult. A strong goal oriented energy from my side led to my participating twice in the so called closed groups.
Also there I had the experience of becoming quiet and a neutral witness. From there I participated once in a while when there was the pull to do do. In my idea this fitted for the full 100 % in their announced freedom to stay out of the center, out of the heat, as long as you wanted or needed.
Those people from massagedans were in my experience open and honest.
Yet I am convinced thereof that their refusing me further participation was driven by by them not seen drives.
I have appreciated their well meant conversations with me about it, but there was no way to get this clear. And given their convictions, the only way out was to give up trying.
Resistance was futile.
[Sometimes resistance is fertile, so much I know, despite the opposite common sense about it. Once I saw a fantastic expression of this duality on resistance. I described it in a blog that is rather long. So better only a picture of the two modes of the artwork as I once saw it in Amsterdam. The art work is by Warren Neidich. Two texts in Neon on a roof, alternating in green and red: resistance is fertile. resistance is futile. https://www.digitalartarchive.at/fileadmin/user_upload/Virtualart/Images/wizard/375_25766.jpg
By the experiences in the closed groups, where people were in the end naked and oily, I became more aware of my desires that precede sexual feelings: touching and being touched as such. Without the sexual pollution, if I may say so.
That brings me to the second yet to be told story.
- Weekend Tantra for gay men.
Since three years now I am attending the 7 year Tao training with the Dutchman Reinoud Eleveld.
After about eighteen years of hanging out in satsangs, with as its main focus the ones by Isaac Shapiro, I found myself parting from there.
It happened by itself and also, again, from some not always yet so clear criticism.
And after I decided to minimize my going to Shapiro, out of the blue came the Tao training over the horizon.
It was a big relief to bump into a complete contrast: a trainer who says that he totally detests enlightenment. And he can explain what he means by that. (It took me quite a while before I understood what he meant).
I met this guy by going along with a friend to an introductory lecture and halfway through his story I realized that I had found myself a new trainer.
What I had not expected and only found out on the go, was that the whole from and down to earth approach meant that the focus of this training is on sexual energy and on how to deal with it.
Again, what a relief.
And, again, about some specifics a strong resistance came up.
The most specific being about inducing sexual arousal by and on yourself, in order to transform the sexual energy into clean life energy.
This time it led to a long open letter to Reinoud the trainer with the also for me surprising question: is sexual arousal relative? (Blogs here, in Dutch. My letter: https://www.hansvandergugten.nl/?p=4740 and his answer: https://www.hansvandergugten.nl/?p=4781).
I found myself rationalizing that watching porn is okay because apparently I have found a way to deal with it in a way that doesn’t cost me energy, it brings energy.
Yet, in this training we learn to tap this energy directly from the earth.
(Which again raises the question why the arousal?).
About watching porn, (which seems not to be just my habit, it is a billion dollar industry), which for me amongst other things seems to play the role of faking relativity (‘in the cinema you forget that it is a movie’), trainer says: yes, but you are always left with the indecency.
Enfin Bro, it is by now not so clear anymore to whom I am talking here.
To you, to L., to myself or to the rest of the world.
I give it up trying to make it clearer than it is. The text is writing itself. Kind of.
It is a mixture of threads. A smorgasbord of stories, links and associations. And questions of course. With in the background for me a few points that hopefully surface in the end either as a line or as a recognizable form. (Blabla).
I also told L. about my marriage: she undersexed, me oversexed. And about my expressing doubt about my at least partly being homosexual. And that my wife never ever showed a sign of recognition, a sign of knowing what I was talking about. And after our divorce she had for decades relations with women. I grew more and more insecure.
Two years after the marriage broke down I started to work on myself.
Through a weekend doing Osho’s meditations, i ended up,after another year only, doing rebirthing sessions. This did so much good to me that I made that somewhat later my new profession. The ego will never forget that one of my rebirthees once said: you are a man who gives birth to women. :—).
I had a great time. Radiant and enlightened. After some years I lost it, left disappointed the Rebirth Holland movement (criticism again), and then, as I called it, the light went out.
For a decade life was not a joy anymore.
Until satsang met me. Then the light switch went on again. And the long lasting and as far as I can see never ending clean up process took off again.
Last year Swami Atmananda in Rishikesh gave his description of The Dark Night of the Soul: it is a spiritual depression that people go through when they have seen the light and cannot get there anymore. I recognized immediately my dark decade as fitting this description.
[I have to mention it once out loud: ‘Going through the dark night of the soul’ is nowadays very much part of the spiri-ego-talk. I saw on facebook a woman sharing with the partner of a man who is giving satsangs that she had had recently a dark night of the soul. ‘Oh I know exactly what you went through’, this woman answered, ‘I also had one last weekend’].
Alors, my doubt during my marriage. I have for long described myself as heterosexual and homo-erotic. Whatever that means. At least it gave expression to the two sides being different.
This brings me finally to the second story, the weekend with two dozen gay men.
Although called tantra, it has been the least sexual weekend ever in this category that I have attended; very much focussed on subtleties, very much focussed on making contact and at the same time being aware of your internal processes.
In that sense I had a great weekend.
One of the trainers of this weekend is also attending this 7 year Tao training.
There, during a break, I heard him talk about him giving tantra trainings.
Partly because of my peculiar experiences with those trainings, partly because there is a strong interest in the subject and especially because the (7 year-) Taotrainer himself has a rather sceptical attitude towards the tantra trainings in general in the Western world. He is of the opinion that it was brought to us by Margot Anand by her famous book The Art of Sexual Ecstasy. And he says that originally a tantra student should do mono cultivation, meaning learning to deal with arousal and transformation of sexual energy on your own, for 16 years. Only then, maybe, one is ripe or ready to engage in tantric stuff with a partner. And he blames Anand for having left out this vital first part, which has led, according to him, to the current, let’s say, oversexed and sexualized tantra practices.
No wonder I got interested in talking to my fellow tao student about this.
And we did. And on his website I found to my surprise Margot Anand’s book as the number one on their literature list.
I signed up for a weekend with Gaytantra.nl and payed my fee.
My co student annex now also my gaytantra trainer phoned me and asked me a lot of questions. This much appreciated conversation was around my doubts.
With even: but what if one of a man comes to you from a strong desire?
It is undesirable that you then go in a strong rejection, cause that has already happened to them too often.
I pleaded for my case, my right to find or figure my own things out.
During the weekend, (I am making big jumps here), there was a guided meditation offered. It started with: Imagine that you are lion puppies. I turned, energetically, into a just born lion puppy. And then the invitation was to approach each other. Over twenty men lying on the floor, or standing on hands and knees began to move. And suddenly at least two third of them turned into wound up young dogs. I was shocked. And decided to retrieve to the side. And again I became a bright awake witness. (Much later, actually the following morning, quite some others shared about similarly shocked experiences. One even felt raped. [Although nothing fysical happened in that sense]).
Bro, by now it is another eight month later and I am editing this story and here it stopped.
Clearly not finished yet.
I will write soon a short afterword and make this into a blog.
Thanks for listening.
For me it is rather important to have this put into words, although having had the experiences was key.
Yet, on top of that I still do have a strong remainder of this old utopian ideal from my youth: “someday I will be able to explain it to my parents !!” (May they rest in peace).
What this experience brought and taught me will show up in a yet to write blog.
But first a few other also older stories have to be put in words.
PS. In relation to the mentioned porn consumption the following is worth mentioning: during the four month after coming back from India I went on my own through a intense process, resulting in unravelling and unmasking this habit. August 13 was the day that this proces was finished.
Since I have written a 14 page report. It is for now in Dutch, the title is Het Zwarte Masturbatievenster, and it will one of these days become a blog. I will make a English translation at some point in time.