Tenacious Magic ~ Chapter 19
Dancing through the sensations * Working with Shakti * Relief and power * Very cosmopolitan * A line is crossed * A new dynamic emerges * The Gospel of I AM * Nobody's perfect
Thank you for your patience. It’s taken me some time to get to a place where I feel this chapter is right. I hope you enjoy.
I don’t really have much more to say about process right now. I feel like I summed up my condition in the last installment/spacer. I do think we’re now over the hump. I wrote the hardest part.
How do I feel as I publish this? Vulnerable. Relieved. You’ll see that the theme of relief and release come up a bunch in this chapter. I think I do feel that now. Sharing this publicly has given me some release. I wonder how it feels to you, please do let me know in the comments. I love to read your experience. It feels supportive and communal in a way I need.
Note: If you are new to my Substack, Tenacious Magic is an emergent, serial novel I am writing about the teacher/student relationship, the masculine and feminine, Katherine Mansfield and Gurdjieff, power, sexuality, and time. I publish a chapter every Friday. Here is an introduction to the project. Here is Chapter 1. Here is the previous chapter 18. The chapters are free up to Chapter 7, at which point I put it behind the paywall. If you enjoy it, please subscribe and join the discussion. I incorporate reader comments and invite opinions and insights from readers to influence and inform where the story goes.
Now, back to the story…
“In principle, a Shakti does not offer herself to those who yearn for her, but rather comes, of her own will, to those who embody her spouse, Shiva’s, calm and stable nature.”
—Julius Evola, The Yoga of Power
“Spontaneous movements of the body are sacred gestures. Whether graceful, heroic, terrifying, compassionate, fierce, or peaceful, they are all without exception naturally perfected expressions of enlightened mind.”
—“Realization of Reality Through Its Bodily Expressions” Sahajayogini Cinta 765AD
“Even one continuous mistake is also the dharma.” —Dōgen Zenji
New York City, Summer 2011
“Don’t think of it as dance, think of it as a moving meditation. I learned that from the one guru I’ve ever had, the shadow of whom has always been present, though I never met him…Gurdjieff.”
I’ve heard our teacher, Gabrielle, talk about the Sufi influence in the 5 Rhythms, but never heard her mention G by name. I’m stunned…I look around the circle of sweaty dancers to see if anyone else has registered the reference. A continent and century away and I’ve been doing a version of The Movements for years now. The coincidence is almost too much to bear. I feel lightheaded.
“There’s always something new to learn at each stage of your dance. When you get really good,” she makes air quotes around the word good, “…you can dance right through sensations. You dance right over them. When you’re ‘good’ you have to work harder to feel what needs to be expressed or exorcised. You have to bring presence to every impulse…you have to consider what it is your body is saying with every gesture.” She glides across the floor as she talks, making her point through movement. She is like a raven, willowy, dressed in all black as usual, her black hair framing an angular face.
After her instruction, we dance another wave. As the music moves into chaos and the energy in the room swells, I dance wildly. Even through this much movement, I pay attention to the subtle cues of my body. I am called to the window. I look up Sixth Avenue at the steady stream of cabs moving northward and feel a strange experience of perception. Some presence in me is enjoying that they are yellow cabs and not black. Someone is looking through my eyes and is excited to be in New York City—here, now.
I dance with her. I am a dervish, breathless, when I notice a distinct sensation of heat moving like liquid fire from my belly up to my heart. The center of my chest is suddenly on fire. I think of Christ’s sacred heart.
I retreat to the corner of the room, moving to relieve some of the pressure and to find my breath, which has become shallow and labored. My focus is inward when I feel someone approach. It’s another dancer I’ve seen before, but never danced with. He comes closer and we begin to move together. In his presence, the feelings grow more intense and my heart feels like it might burst.
He catches my arm and says into my ear over the music, “Lean into me, it’s easier this way.” I fall into his chest and lay my heart against his. He holds me upright as we sway.
“Keep moving,” he says. “Dance through it.”
The room is in a frenzy, but we’re dancing slowly. I feel safe to let go and waves of grief wash through me. Tears fall down my face. He holds me tightly.
As the music changes and the rhythm slows, the room comes down from the high. He and I descend to the ground. He holds me in an embrace while I rest. I feel a light touch as he brushes my left side with his hand, as if clearing some unseen energy. My heart feels open now. My lungs are free. I can breathe. The relief is blissful. As a Tibetan chant begins, he releases me and moves gently about four feet away where he sits—giving me space, but maintaining a protective watchfulness.
I listen to the chant and wonder what they’re saying, these monks from another world. I wonder where I’m headed…who I am becoming. I wonder how I can manage this energy, this Shakti, and whether it will undo me. I listen and think this song holds the answer…these monks must know.
After class, the stranger approaches smiling shyly. He introduces himself. I feel a need to explain, “I’m going through a lot right now. What you did for me tonight was so beautiful. Thank you.”
He nods, “I’ve been there. If you ever need anything…let me know. It’s good to have friends who get it.” He turns to leave and I stop him.
“Wait…what happened here?” I indicate the space between our hearts.
“What did you feel?”
“I felt…boundaries dissolve.”
“I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to…” he looks distressed.
“Oh, no…I didn’t mean that. It was perfect—exactly what I needed. But there was something like...” I make a movement with my hands coming together, fingers interlaced, “I couldn't feel where you end and I begin. It was wonderful.”
He laughs, “That’s a relief. I thought you meant I crossed a line.” He looks at me, “I know what you mean—it feels really good to connect with someone?”
“Yes, that’s it. I’m realizing how often I feel isolated.”
He nods. We stand there looking at each other without words, completely at ease. He feels familiar, like I’ve known him before, “Do we know each other from somewhere else?”
He thinks about it for a minute and then shakes his head, “Maybe we’re old friends.”
The way he says it, I know he means from previous lifetimes. It feels true. He feels connected to the chant, “Or future friends?”
He considers, “Yes, that’s possible. Either way, it’s good to find you again.”
I feel found. I feel heat rising…desire. I nervously twist my wedding ring. He sees this and with surprise asks, “You’re married?”
I feel my face flush with shame. I nod.
“It’s ok. I just I didn’t think…” He laughs, “I guess I’m disappointed.”
“If it helps, I don’t feel married anymore.” But, the energy between us has quieted.
The DJ walks past us and he stops her, “Hey Tanya, that chant at the end…wow…what was that?”
Tanya smiles and nods. She pauses and looks at her phone, scrolling, “It’s called Hope for Enlightenment.”
I take a cold shower when I get home. It’s hot, the peak of summer and we have all the windows open. I lie on the bed in the baby’s room in the dim light. A warm breeze comes through the open window. Our apartment is on the back of the building and high enough that I can’t hear the sounds of the city, just the dull hum of electricity and voices somewhere on a nearby rooftop. I’ve been reading Katherine’s stories, but am drifting off; completely at ease in my body. The baby has been asleep for hours. For now, my work is done.
I lay the book lightly on my chest and close my eyes. A sensation wakes me from the half sleep: his hand lightly brushing my left side, lightly stimulating the feminine side of my being. I feel a delicious arousal and heat, a feeling of being attuned to. I move with the sensations—serpent-like, thinking of the stranger, who I now call the monk.
As I am falling back to sleep, I am startled by H’s voice in my head, “You need to find a way to get into this state on your own. It’s time.”
I get out of bed, light the candles on my altar and take a seat on my meditation cushion. I close my eyes and feel the energy moving through my lower body. I feel ecstatic, blissful, and relax into the warmth; allowing the energy to work through me, trusting it’s intelligence. Soon, two serpents are winding their way through the channels of my body, intertwined like the caduceus. As they rise, my whole body tenses agains the extraordinary force. I feel afraid as they cross through the roof of my mouth and enter my head. The force seems volcanic, like it could blow the top off. I allow the energy to expand as far as I can handle it and then release. This happens over and over again. I am trying to work out how to be in relation to this energy. I try to force it and find that feels dangerous. I try to let it move on its own and feel overwhelmed. For a few days I practice like this, trying to move the energy without bursting; responding to the force without forcing.
I begin to notice a rash under my wedding ring. At first, there is a mild itchiness. Then, one day I notice the redness. The irritation becomes more intense until I have to take the ring off altogether. The significance is clear to me. But, I am having a hard time facing what I have already come to know in my heart-of-hearts: our marriage is over.
I tell H about my dance and the heart opening I experienced. I tell him how I am trying to work with the Shakti, but it feels wild, untamable.
“You need to learn to find relief. From all of these states—from Schuyler, from Skye, from the priestess, from what feels bad, and even from what feels good. You have to learn to release this energy without it managing you or hijacking you.”
“How do I do this? I’m trying to understand how the energy works but I’m afraid I’m doing it all wrong. I’m afraid I might hurt myself…or someone else.”
“Focus on relief. The energy has the power, it doesn’t need you to move it. It will move on its own, but if you don’t find ways to release the tension, you will get into trouble. Do it at home. In privacy. Identify yourself with pure energy.”
“Do you mean sexual relief? I haven’t had sex in months.”
“Sexual or not. I don’t care. Do what you need to do—you’ll be in the privacy of your own home…Create. Paint or write. The energy will regenerate as long as you are creating…It’s like riding a bicycle—you’re learning. You make some progress and then you fall off. Get up and start again. Get back on the bike. Keep practicing.”
We sit in silence. I notice a small, wooden model of a hand on the bookshelf. It’s the kind artists can arrange in order to draw hands accurately. This one is arranged into a gesture I’ve seen him do a million times. It’s a left hand with the index finger pointing directly up at the sky. The middle finger is touching the thumb. I’ve never noticed it before.
“Tell me: what does the power feel like?”
My mind takes me to the dance floor, “Well, there are different kinds of power. Sometimes I can feel my own power which is soft, gentle, but persistent. The power I feel with the Shakti is wild, fierce. Like a lioness stalking her prey. Like the goddess, Kali.” The memory of the state floods my body and brings me to life. In my mind’s eye I see Kali with her garland of severed heads, her lolling tongue and her wild eyes, “In that state I feel natural and spontaneous. I feel like I could really destroy something.”
He is amused, “I’m sure you could. All that stops you from being in that state now is your insistence on being perfect. Stop trying to be perfect. It keeps you from being who you really are. This is what’s between you and all of your power. People want power but what they don't understand is that power comes with big responsibilities and big burdens. Many people who get power are not ready for it. Yes, there are privileges, too. But you have to be ready for it.”
“How do you deal with this power? Teach me how to work with it.”
The question is more personal than I usually venture with him. He thinks about it a moment and then looks at me with steely eyes, “Why do you always need to be told what to do? That’s a guru. That’s not what I do. If you want to be told what to do, go to the ashram.”
I’m taken aback; startled by his intensity. He sees this and says with more compassion, “We can do it once or twice here, but I don’t want to get into the habit. You have to practice on your own.”
We sit and he tries to help me work with the energy rising within me. It won’t come and I feel frustrated.
“So, it’s a little confusing right now. You just have to keep going.”
I dream that night…
I’m driving on a long road next to water, a river on the right. I am in a beautiful convertible and feeling free. Paul is in the passenger seat. We go the wrong way and I’m calmly turning the car around. Paul begins frantically looking at the map and complaining. He’s frustrated and short-tempered.
I try to ignore him. I realize the “error” has given me a chance to look around at our surroundings; the landscape is beautiful, lush. The more I look, the more it becomes an Eden. It’s a fertile place…alive…I see llamas swimming with their necks outstretched. I drive on and see a bunch of enormous black monkeys; one standing on his hind legs.
I realize I’m creating the landscape—lucid dreaming. At first, things appear in a fuzzy way, but with a little focus I bring everything into high resolution. The dream is giving me the opportunity to exercise my creativity. I feel thrilled to be in the role of Creator, in the driver’s seat.
I try to share with Paul what I’m experiencing. But, he doesn’t look. He’s annoyed with me and with our situation. I get out of the car and walk around, trying to determine where in the world I am. I receive the answer: Montauk. It makes no sense given the landscape and the animals, but I know why I’ve brought us to Montauk…H is on vacation here right now.
One night, after our daughter is asleep, Paul and I find ourselves laughing and talking freely, having a glass of wine in our small kitchen. He’s in a good mood because of some success at work. I can feel he’s relaxed and his heart is open.
Responding to the softness, I broach the subject of our relationship, “Paul, can we talk about what’s happening between us? I might have an idea—a way forward.”
“Great. I’m all ears.”
“Well, you’ve been clear in therapy that the main problem for you is the lack of intimacy. You want to be having sex and you think I don’t.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“And you think if we can get through that hurdle, we’ll be back on track?”
“I’m not saying things would be perfect, but at least we’d have a marriage again, something to work with. Look, I know the birth was hard on your body. I’ve tried to give you space to recover, but it’s been eight months now. Come on.”
“Yes. I know. I feel bad. I don’t want to be holding out on you…but, it’s not just the birth. It’s everything that’s going on for me spiritually and the fact that we’re not even talking most of the time…we don’t look at each other or see each other. I feel your anger.”
“We’d be talking if we were having sex. I wouldn’t be angry if we were having sex.”
I feel that we’re both beginning to get activated. We’re on the verge of taking our usual confrontational positions. “I know this is the main problem for you.” I summon my courage, “You think I don’t want to have sex…that I’ve lost my sex drive?”
“Well, it’s not true. I do want to have sex.”
He looks at me in surprise.
“Just…not with you.”
I see my words land in him. I wait for him to explode in anger, but instead something clicks. He seems relieved to hear me say it out loud. He nods and considers, “What do you suggest?”
The space between us is full of light now. I know this is the right moment, “How about an open marriage? What if we stay together and remain close friends, but see other people for our physical needs?”
“That will never work…” he says this, but I can see the door is not closed. It’s slightly open. This gives me courage to press on.
“I think we can do it. We’re friends, Paul. We love each other like family, but not the way of a husband and wife. And it might be the best way to stay together while E is still young and needs us both.”
We talk for a few minutes about how this new arrangement might work, “I don’t have the answers, but we can talk to Jack about it. He’s counseled many couples through this decision. We’re certainly not the first.”
Jack is our therapist and Paul really likes him. He nods, “It’s very cosmopolitan. The French have been doing it forever…Why not?”
I sigh as I feel the stagnancy between us begin to shift. I feel us stepping together into a new phase…out of the lost place we’ve been in. We smile at each other and hug. It’s the first embrace we’ve shared in a long time.
The air conditioning hums in the window of H’s office, but the room is still sultry. We roll the cold water bottles over our foreheads and talk about the heat wave. H is just back from Montauk without his wife and children and I’ve just returned from a week on Fire Island with Paul’s family. The atmosphere between us is relaxed and full of potential. I tell him about progress I’ve made working with the Shakti and the opening with Paul. He listens attentively, as usual and I remember what it’s like to really be received.
We meditate together as usual at the end of the session and I feel a vast spaciousness that is both deep and timeless. Like a hall of mirrors extending back into infinity. We are entering a holy space together. I feel that my skill has improved, that I am meeting him somewhere I’ve not had access to before.
“The emptiness is a superior state of mind. But, the mind fights the stillness and tries to convince you that feeling empty in the head is a bad thing. Be still. Observe. Submit to this state…”
I release more deeply into presence. I feel the familiar feeling of the goddess—warmth—and know it’s time to work with her. I share with him, “The energy is warming here,” pointing to my lower belly, “but, it’s so cold in my thighs.”
“That’s because there’s no energy there. Let them open. Open.”
At this command, the Shakti awakens; quickening in the pit of my belly, deep in my pelvis. The heat and the restless, undulating energy it arouses are distinctly sexual. My thighs are now icy hot.
“Good. Move how you feel to move.”
This simple instruction requires me to override my conditioning. I want to undulate and uncoil the snake-like energy in my lower body. I remember what he said before about finding relief and know that I have to do something. I begin to move; remaining in my chair. The energy is building, the pressure is mounting. I feel ecstasy on the edge of my experience, but the intensity is almost painful.
I have my eyes closed when I hear him say, “You’re suffering. Let’s take care of that.”
I open my eyes and look at him with confusion, but he is already halfway across the room. He takes my hand and lifts me out of my seat, using his other hand to carry my chair across the room where he puts it in front of his. We now sit inches from each other, our knees touching. I feel the intensity of his physical presence, so much energy contained beneath the skin. He puts his hands on my thighs and I feel emboldened. I put my hands on his. Feeling for the first time his strong legs and torso under his clothes.
Suddenly, I feel his desire…awkward, eager. He strikes me as vulnerable in a way I’ve never experienced him. This is both confusing and endearing. My heart is full as we are both overtaken by the energy we’ve been generating for months. I see immediately that I have more power than I knew. We are for the first time—equals.
Our first kiss is heavenly. The heat in my body intensifies and he has the key to it. The channel we create in our lips, our exploring hands, our knees pressed together, is a circuit. I am completely surrendered to what’s happening. All is in balance and all feels right in the world. I am relieved of the burden of Skye. I am now Shakti and he is Shiva.
“Of all the women in the world…” he murmurs in astonishment at what is happening. The words caress my soul. I feel for the first time, his adoration. I am finally the queen he’s been encouraging me to be. I am myself again after millennia, or so it feels. I don’t know it at the time, but that moment is the beginning of the end of our relationship as teacher and student.
We stay in the embrace for what feels like a long time. It’s all relatively innocent. No clothes are shed, the touching is desperate only in that it’s been coming for such a long time. We breathe and stare into each other’s eyes; eyes that have been my lifeline for years, are now inches away. I feel like I can see eternity in them. I murmur in awe, “You are the whole Universe.”
He smiles, “I like this role.”
“Can you live like this?”
He says to me in a voice that is more intimate than I’ve heard before…“I want you to have an incredible life. Not for me, for you. Keep setting goals and breaking through them higher and higher. Blow your own mind. Blow any small idea of what you can be.”
“I have so many questions,” I say.
“Good, because I don’t like to preach.”
We both laugh. It feels like it’s time for me to go. I pick up my things and walk out the door as I have done so many times before. I see myself reflected in the mirrored walls of the elevator. I am radiant.
My first dance after the kiss is different. I dance as his bride, his partner. I feel invincible. I stand in the center of the dance floor, bodies whirling in space around me, like dervishes. I am rooted—completely rooted—with my arms extended above my head, the shape of a vessel, a channel for light, surrendered to the Love that I am. His voice is in my head, “Surrender to the love. The people will feel it.”
I wonder if we have a future together. I dare not hope. I know I must take it one step at a time. But, it’s like I am in possession of a great secret. Like having a secret identity, being a superhero. I feel invincible. This cannot be bad, I tell myself.
Everything seems to be changing and coming together at the same time. Not just on the dance floor, but in my life. I am wild with pleasure and bliss. I have a visceral sensation of connectedness that is so big, so all-encompassing, so inclusive of every living thing. It’s as if the world is living within me; as if I am holding the whole world within me and even, bringing it forth moment by moment by moment.
Is this Tantra?
I feel like a sorceress, a conductor…yes, a magician. The feeling of being full of magic is so powerful I fall to the floor in a great burst of laughter. I feel, “This is me. This is my natural state; joy, ecstasy, power. I allow the currents of this power to run freely through my arms, head, neck…even my hair feels electric. With this feeling I am no longer the small self, I am fearless and magnetic. I can have whatever I want.
I want to fly. I want to swim. I want to be free in this body.
As the energy rises in me on the second of our encounters, he asks: “What does it make you want to do?”
The question is provocative and I can sense his desire. Again, I feel something immature in him that I choose to ignore. I feel for the answer, which is precise, even raw: “Lie down on the floor and experience complete release.”
“Let your body do what it needs to do,” he says. I’m not sure if he means literally when he stands and goes to a cabinet behind me. He pulls out a large quilt and lays it on the rug between our chairs. I lay on the blanket, wondering why he has this blanket in his office.
The phone rings. We both know the doorman downstairs is calling. His next client has arrived.
“Someone is coming up” he says to me as if he’s just remembered where we are. He’s as lost in this as I am, I think. We stare at each other.
“Do you have to leave?”
I nod. The phone rings again. He picks it up and asks for a minute.
The blanket is quickly disposed of. He kisses me hard on the mouth, “You’ll never know what this has meant to me,” he says.
He calls out to them to come in and then opens the door before I’ve totally collected myself. I lean down and grab my bag as a stranger enters the space. I say hello to them in a daze as I leave.
In some ways, things continue as usual: we meet weekly; we talk about spiritual matters; he continues to coach me; we talk about working together and we meditate. Only now, we sometimes end up in each other’s arms.
After the ecstatic sessions, I leave his office on another plane and drift over to Central Park to enjoy my high in the bounty of nature. A magical place anyway, the park is alive with messages for me. The leaves on the trees are yellowing; a signal of the changing season and time’s passage. Dragonflies floating in hordes above the grass of Sheep’s Meadow remind me of ancient Sumer and the Euphrates River Valley. I lay down in the field and watch them flutter and swoop: they carry messages from the dead to the living and back. I try to listen to the past…the future is unclear.
Sometimes I sit on a bench and share my wide open heart with everyone and everything around me. I feel the goddess meet me here in the park. I need to be held in her loving embrace as I integrate the intensity of my meetings with H. Sometimes a siren breaks through or a lost soul comes through ranting. The ordinary world feels like an assault on my resonant senses. I wonder at the specific needs of the modern mystic—the need to carve out space for that rarest of practices: rest, silence, reflection. I build a cocoon there in the park for my own inner transformation.
I walk taller. The sexual adept in me has been fully initiated. In my imagination, we are now two magicians weaving spells in the temple, on top of the mountain, in the Caves of Elephanta, the Palais Royale, the alchemical lairs of Venice, back at the Prieuré.
The remembrance of this essential part of my nature brings with it a surge of creative energy. I begin writing with abandon. My Shakti has an outlet. I feel like I want to understand this path I’ve been on. I want to be able to help others feel this alive. What I feel called to write is the story of us—me and H—this story. And the writing feels like a healing process; not just for me, but for many. My open heart spills onto the pages. I re-read all the journals I’ve kept these years and I begin to write a book about my time with him.
When I tell H about this, he’s supportive. He can sense my inspiration and excitement. He encourages me.
“What is it called?"
“The Gospel of I AM.”
He considers, “Where did you get that title?”
“It just came to me.”
He nods approvingly, “It’s very good.”
The changing season brings a change of energy in his office—it’s colder now. What had felt so spontaneous and right is now feeling a little bit sordid, shameful. I’m being tormented by the secrecy. Paul and I agreed, with Jack’s help, to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but it’s not in my nature to lie. I’m losing my integrity.
I can tell that H feels uncomfortable with what is unfolding between us. I sense his reluctance, but also his inability to resist what is happening. This is unusual for a man otherwise so completely in control of his will—a master of himself, so I thought.
Ironically, now H and I feel stuck. We don’t talk about what’s happening. I try to be in the moment, but keep wondering where it’s all headed. Questions arise in me—practicalities, a desire to know the truth—but the passion overrides them. And anyway, I’d never ask him outright. He’s made it clear for years that he doesn’t appreciate personal questions.
He says to me at the height of passion one day, “I’m not going to make love to you,” meaning intercourse. And we never do. But, several more times we meet in his office and enjoy mutual ecstasy through touch and kiss. We find release. Sometimes I think we might reach enlightenment together—as we did in my dream, the initiation, when we first met. Indeed, I think maybe this is what we’re aiming for, what he’s teaching me. Maybe this is Tantra? Why won’t he say. Sometimes, I wonder if I’ve been hypnotized.
I dream I am at a very elegant dinner party or event in honor of H. There are some familiar faces. Everyone is dressed to the nines and a table is set for a lavish meal. Candles light the white and crystal space.
I am trying on a dress for the occasion. It’s all white with sequins. It’s a wedding dress. I look radiant, amazing in it. I am about to leave the dressing room when Ilan comes in and stops me. He is trying to convince me to change clothes, telling me I am overdressed and then telling me I have the wrong night. He is trying to stop me from entering the room looking like this, stop me from taking my place at H’s side. I am torn. I want so badly for H to receive me as his bride, but I trust Ilan and I can see he is trying to help me.
Ilan convinces me to put on a t-shirt and sweatpants. He seems relieved when I make the change and he leaves me. I look in the mirror and feel disappointed at how ordinary I look again, not special, not the bride. I try feverishly to put the sequin dress back on and it doesn’t fit. I keep thinking, “I must look the part.”
I am distressed when I wake.
“Why do you come here now?” H asks me out of the blue.
I consider the question, “You’re my teacher.”
“Are you sure you’re not coming for…this?” He says it with disgust. He means our physical relating. I am offended, hurt by the insinuation.
“What do you think is happening here between us?” he asked pointedly. This is not the first time with H that I’ve felt on the spot. Now at least, he isn’t holding all the cards. Whatever it is, we’re in it together.
“I don’t know,” I answer honestly. “It feels like…an awakening of something in me that was asleep.” This is true. My desire is back. My inspiration is on fire. I am once again a thriving, embodied, sensual being.
“You understand that this is not a part of the work? This has nothing to do with the spiritual path. This is between you and me.” He says it with such authority, but I am confused. Suddenly, I see that I have been having a spiritual experience, one I believed could lead us to God, and he’s been having an affair.
“I disagree,” I say firmly. “This is us. This is our work together. This is Tantra. Didn’t you teach me even the mistakes are the path for a true mystic? It may not have been a part of your plan as my teacher, but it is absolutely part of our path.” I am full of clarity. I’ve never felt so sure, “Yes, it needs to stop. I think we both know that, but you can’t tell me it isn’t part of the lesson we’re meant to learn together.”
“What is the lesson?”
“I don’t know yet,” I say. Tears are hot in my eyes now, “But I will.”
As I leave that day, I promise myself that I will never hand my will over to another like that again. Naively or sublimely, I had surrendered myself to be shaped by a man I saw as a god in human form. In the Tantric sense, I had achieved much: I saw the Divine in my lover. When we touched I was being touched by that Divine presence. When I gave, I was giving of myself to the Divine. But, his doubt and guilt and my confusion and shame are potent reminders that we are only human.
Later he texts:
H: Thank you.
Me: For what?
H: For being courageous and honest.
Me: By the way, I come to you for many reasons: friendship, collaboration, learning, understanding, growth. These are some of the big ones.
H: I know…I am sorry if I said something wrong.
Me: Nobody’s perfect.
H: I am the first to admit it.
H: My dear friend…thank you again for being there and for helping me in so many ways. Talk soon.