The phone rang. A man’s voice answered.
“I’m calling about the tantra workshop.”
“And?”, he gruffly replied.
“Well, what is it?”
“What do you think it is?”
Holy cow, this guy was rude!
I didn’t know whether it was because he was used to fielding calls from horny people or whether he was disappointed it was a man’s voice that called and he wanted more hot women to build his “local harem” with. In any case, the guy wasn’t happy to hear from me.
It was mid May, 2008. And I knew something had to change. I had left the Mormon church in 2003. My wife and I had agreed to separate a couple years later. The Church was the foundation of our relationship and, without that, we found we just had different paths we wanted to explore. So we shook hands and parted ways.
Add to that the fact we hadn’t had sex in a few years…our relationship was one of politeness, efficiency, but not passion.
I had always been attracted to many women. Since puberty at least and probably before. I hadn’t been encouraged to date before I turned 16 and even then I was told to not ‘go steady’—I had to prepare for my mission, after all. And it wouldn’t do for me to have some horrible sin like sex to repent of before I spent two years knocking on doors in Germany without being allowed to touch a woman with more than a handshake.
But I had toed the party line. I got married a virgin. We had a bunch of issues to resolve. And no idea where to go for support.
And so, we had just both kind of…given up.
I knew there must be something more.
After we parted, I learned about women and dating in the ‘real world’…one unmediated by men claiming to be the ‘voice of God’.
And I quickly learned that I didn’t know the first thing about sex. Not really. And I didn’t even know where to learn.
There were two events that weekend. One was ZEGG’s ‘Introduction to Open Relationships.’ The second was this Tantra workshop.
And I had to choose.
In the end, I went to the tantra workshop, (much to the chagrin of the gruff guy on the phone) because the marketing was so compelling, “This weekend only, internationally renowned tantric master from England John Hawken is coming to teach us his introductory workshop on tantra.”
He didn’t like competition, despite the open concepts about tantra.
I basically went because of some books I had seen at the bookstore (which I was far to shy to buy still) about tantra that looked like they were about better sex.
I wanted better sex. So this seemed like a great way to get it.
I ended up getting much more than I bargained for.
I ended up being the only one who had come from the online ad. Everyone else knew each other.
But, I was ok with trying strange things at this point, having visited a slew of new churches and even the local Hari Krisna group a few times. My spiritual search combined with a renewed intellectual curiosity and general fascination.
I likened leaving the Mormon church to taking off blinders. All the sudden there was this big, wide world to see. And I had seen about 2% of it. Because the rest was forbidden. It was evil. It was of the devil.
Tantra was another way to start.
At the front of the room was a plump, grandfatherly gentleman. He was English, and quite theatrical in his presentation. Sitting next to him was a blonde bombshell, probably young enough to be his granddaughter.
“Tantra says,” he began with much gravity, “that you are a point of consciousness and a flow of energy.”
The presentation and his presence held me spellbound.
“The entire universe represents that dance between energy, and consciousness.”
He continued, “I’m not here to convince you of anything. This is not a dogma. Not a system. Not a philosophy. It is experiential. I will offer you an experience, which you may take or leave, as you wish. There are no victims in tantra.
“I encourage you to have the experience without analyzing or evaluating it. [In fact, the experiences had so little context within normal life that the ‘analytical mind’ had little to grasp for analysis anyway.] And then you can decide for yourself what to think of it.”
I was home. I never knew that I had lost my home. I had no idea what ‘home’ even looked like, but this was home.
We danced, fingertip to fingertip. Then elbow to elbow. Then forehead to forehead We added more ‘energy’ until the connection broke. A couple people konked their heads together.
“Too much energy leads to chaos. Too much consciousness leads to death [stagnation]”, our venerated leader intoned.
We had just seen how this happens during the exercise.
“Thus there is a dance, and both are necessary.”
Energy was his feminine principle. Consciousness the masculine principle—that guided the energy into a ‘form’. Each of us had both within us.
As we did each exercise, I felt intuitively that I ‘knew’ how to do it. We ‘breathed’ energy in a circle through partners, staring into their eyes and focusing on the path of the energy.
We wandered through the room, stopping to gently stroke strangers’ faces. Then we pinched foreign bums and yelped and laughed.
After each one, we would return again to ‘gentle formlessness’.
We even yelled, “Fuck you!” at complete strangers. Some people could do that with a serious voice. I had to smile when I said it.
I went out during the break. I noticed that I started right into the eyes of the cashier. I felt so powerful, so self-assured. I was different.
During the rest of the workshop, the exercises got further and further from ‘normal life’. I found myself standing in a circle staring into the eyes of a sixty-year-old topless woman—and finding myself utterly enraptured.
I learned to see beyond the body. The ‘form’. I felt the energy. The essence of everyone I came into contact with there.
That first weekend changed my life. I vowed to follow this amazing man wherever he went and learn the secrets he possessed.
I also found that these workshops were a great way to find candidates for reigniting my dismal love life.