Creating a Tantric Mandala

October 24, 2016

At a retreat this past summer, I facilitated a ninety-minute workshops called Creating a Tantric Mandala. Here s how I announced the workshop.

Tantra is a Sanskrit term meaning exposition or teaching. In the West it is often used to refer to Hindu and Buddhist practices that use sex as a path to enlightenment; but tantra embraces much more than this, including meditation and chanting. Mandala is a sanskrit term for wheel or circle, and usually refers to a circular design used as an object of meditation. In this workshop you will create your own mandala by using collage (cut and paste), colored pencils, and oil pastels. You will start with a period of meditation with a partner, move to selecting various elements for your mandala by drawing or cutting out portions of photographs. You will then arrange these in a circular design and finally use this mandala as a meditative aid. No prior art experience is needed. A portion of this workshop is ideally done without clothing.

Preparation

Before offering the workshop, I had to create a collection of pictures that could be cut up for collages. I already had a folder of .jpg files from the internet that I had used as reference photos for my own drawings and for a previous workshop, Drawing What You Love. Most of these were from a site called Deviant Art. To this I added some photos I’d taken during a photo-shoot I’d done with two friends – one of them modeling with me and one shooting with my iPhone. In many of these photos, I and my friend were in the maithuna position, which is a position often used when there is an image in the center of a tantric mandala.maithuna4web

When I had assembled a total of about seventy-five images. My next step was to print them on glossy photo paper. Usually I printed each image twice, flipping the image horizontally for the second printing. Thus I had two pictures that were mirror images of each other. Sometimes I combined two mirror images into one file before printing.

cocksflipped4web

Now, all that was left was to gather all the materials I needed and set up the space I would use.

The Procdure

When the men arrived, we formed pairs and I asked each man to place his right hand over his partner’s heart and then his left hand over his partners right hand – a position known as the mudra of the heart chakra. We held this position for three deep breaths, all the time looking into our partners’ eyes. Then we changed partners and repeated this until every participant had worked with every other participant.

I told the group that the next meditation was best done without clothing, and everyone stripped. I had each man lay down on his back next to a partner with his head next to his partner’s feet. Each person had his partner on his right. I asked them to reach across and gently place his right hand on his partner’s cock and balls. The focus of the meditation could be either on the sensation of ones own cock being touched or the sensation of touching another man’s cock. We held the meditation for about ten minutes.

Still naked, we sat down at the work tables and meditatively began looking at the pictures I had printed. I asked the men to select three to five images that called out to them. When they had selected images, they took scissors and cut out the figures in the photos – sometimes a whole figure and sometimes just the cock and balls.

Next I had each man use a draftsman’s compass to draw a seven-inch diameter circle on a piece of colored construction paper and then cut out that circle Then they arranged their cut-out figures on the circle to form a design that would be bounded by the circle. It was okay to have a portion of the figure go outside of the circle, but that part would be trimmed off later. I pointed out that where two images came together in an awkward way, a third image pasted over the juncture might resolve this. (You can see this in the first of the three mandalas shown below.)

When each man had found the positions for his images, the next task was to use a glue stick to paste them to the construction paper, pasting the ones that went directly on the paper first, and those that might be partially on another photo next. After the pasting, one man used oil pastels to put spirals on the figures. They looked something like tattoos. The final step was to trim off anything that went beyond the edges of the circle and then paste that circle on a piece of Bristol board (a light cardboard) or on another piece of colored construction paper.

Using the Mandala

At the end of the workshop, we all sat cross-legged on mats and held our mandalas in front of us. We let our eyes rest upon them for a few minutes and then closed our eyes. I explained that a good twenty-minute meditation would be to hold a mandal and gaze at it for ten minutes, and then to close the eyes and visualize that mandala. If attention wandered, one should open ones eyes and look at the mandala for three deep breaths, then close them again and continue visualizing the mandala. Because of the time constraints of the workshop, we couldn’t do this, but each person would take his mandala home to use there.

Here are two mandalas I made – the first in preparation for the workshop and the second during the workshop.

mandalatwo

mandalaone

If you follow these instructions and make your own mandala, it may be right to show it to others or you may want to reserve it for your own meditation.

From May through December of 2013, I posted a series of articles created using active imagination centered on the figure of an explorer. I have recently been led to return to this type of meditation. The following is another episode that I recorded in 2013. If you have not read the previous postings with this theme, or if you don’t remember them, I suggest checking out my page, “Fantasy/Fables/Fiction,” where you will find links to all the postings with the theme of the explorer in chronological order. You probably find the series more interesting if you read the posts in the order that I created them.

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I found it difficult to sleep that night. So much had happened. I felt very good, very positive; and yet there was so much that was confusing. Not the least of this was how the healer, Matta, knew so much about me. She seemed to know everything, and I wondered about things that she hadn’t said, seeing things that she hadn’t pointed out, she hadn’t dwelled upon.

Did she know my sexual orientation? Did she know my feelings toward other people, people I disliked. Somehow, I felt she did, but that that didn’t matter. I recalled a verse of Scripture where Jesus knew things about a woman that he met and she recognized that. Was Matta in some way another Jesus?

I wondered what kind of religion she had. At least it was one that taught people to be loving; because, of all else, I felt Matta was really loving – and by that I mean accepting, allowing me to be who I was and who I was not, not wanting me to be something different. I felt that I should go and look at Scriptures – Christian Scriptures – read more about Jesus; and yet I had no interest in conventional religion, and somehow something was saying this is not about conventional religion; this is about a spiritual man, the medicine man, who gave me the drugs that eliminated the parasites after a bout of diarrhea and delirium and who knows what. How did he know I had the parasites? My guide had referred to them as evil spirits. There was something I wasn’t quite seeing, and I wasn’t sure what it was.

I wondered if Matta could see evil spirits, if she thought of disease in that way. So I waited. At one point I almost called the Healing Center to break my appointment, but I knew I could not do that. Somehow this was exactly what I needed.

I was spending a lot of time now, as I had promised myself I would. thinking about the direction of my life, where I was going, what I wanted to accomplish – something I knew I could not do in the jungle, in the highlands, anywhere outside of the big city. While I was exploring I couldn’t really keep my attention, my focus, on internal problems; and something said “you must be an explorer of your own mind and accept this without question.” But still wondering what it meant to be an explorer of my own mind. I could do that just as well in my hometown in California or in El Paso or even across the border in Mexico. I wondered if it changed that much in fifty years.

Drawing as Meditation

January 14, 2013

Several years ago I took a week-end drawing workshop with Frederick Franck.  He basically follows a drawing method outlined by Kimon Nicolaides in his book, The Natural Way to Draw.  The idea is to only draw while looking at the object, never while looking at your paper.  If you want to look at your paper, you must stop moving your pen.  Franck regards this as a kind of meditation, which he calls “Seeing-Drawing.”

My renewed interest in watercolors has led me to do more drawing,  Here are some of the drawings that I did as part of “seeing-drawing” meditation.  I pick ordinary objects whose shapes provide some challenges.

A shoe can provide a challenging subject

Drawing of horse

Drawn from a bronze figurine

Statue4webLily4web

I draw in India ink because i want to discipline of not beige able to erase a line.  I use a pen than can be refilled when the ink runs out.  Not every drawing accurately reflects what I’m seeing.

line drawing of leg

Here’s a drawing where the line for the back of the leg forms too sharp an angle at the ankle.  If I were drawing with pencil, I could erase and redraw the line.  While this would produce a ore accurate drawing, it would not be in keeping with seeing-drawing as mediation.

Seeing-drawing is just one of my meditation practices, so it isn’t done every day, but it has the advantage that it shows me how to do drawings that can be the basis of watercolor paintings.

Contemplating Scripture

November 23, 2012

Recently, I have begun to meditate by taking a phrase from Hebrew scripture, Christian scripture, or the scripture of one of the other world religions. I sit naked in my cabin contemplating the phrase and watching the thoughts that come to me. Often, at the end of my meditation, I write some of these thoughts in my journal.

One morning in meditation, the words of Mary as recored in the Gospel of Luke came to me:My soul doth magnify the Lord,”. This was immediately followed by a number of questions:

  • Does my soul truly “magnify the Lord”?
  • What does it mean to “magnify the Lord”?
  • How great must my soul be if it can “magnify the Lord”?

I sensed the wonder of life – for it was in experiencing the life of Jesus inside her – the life of a child yet to be born, that Mary uttered these words. How blessed a woman is to be able to feel unborn life!

My thoughts formed into a prayer. “Lord, let my soul truly magnify you.” When I pray this prayer, I hear an answer: “When your soul dwells in simplicity, when it radiates peace, when it commits to integrity, when it unites in community, when it finds equality, and when it knows the gratitude of being able to live a life of service – then your soul truly magnifies to Lord.”*

The colors of God’s light flowing through each of us create not a cacophony, but a magnificent rainbow. God’s light flows through you in a unique way, and if you do not let that light through, it will be forever lost to the world.

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*Simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and service are often sited as Quaker values, and are remembered with the acronym “SPICES.”

A Ritual of Blessing

June 27, 2011

In her new book, Activate Joy, AlixSandra Parness says “Blessing is a deliberate and focused act of unconditional love.”  Buddhists understood this when they created the metta (lovingkindness) meditation.  AlixSandra’s emphasis on blessing led me to post “A Meditation of Blessing” on May 9.

But I find myself dissatisfied with the printed word as a vehicle for communicating instruction for meditation and ritual.  I’ve therefore recorded instructions for a ritual of blessings, and expect that it will be the first of a number of guided rituals and meditations that I will be posting on the Spiritual Explorers’ Mystery School website.

This past weekend I was one of the facilitators for a retreat at Easton Mountain called Expressing Your Inner Self. Friday evening we had a session on poetry led by the published poet, Douglas Allen. At the end of the session I wrote the following:

If I walk a thousand miles, will I find illumination?

  • only if you look at what you are carrying rather than the land through which you are passing
  • only if you see what you are passing as something you are carrying and what you are carrying as something you are passing.

We also had two session devoted to drawing, and here is one of my drawings. The assignment was to use the human form in something which is not human.

Temple

Take a few minutes to meditate on this picture. If you have privacy, take off your clothes. Read the rest of this paragraph and then close your eyes. Visualize the figures in this temple made of polished wood. What do you see yourself doing in this temple? What ritual might you perform. When you’ve meditated for about five minutes, open your eyes.

Reflect on how the drawing you see and the image in your mind are one – how they are both something you are passing and something you are carrying.

Present Time

May 23, 2011

Present time is the only time I have – or is it? Past time has fled. Future time has not yet come. Only that fleeting moment called the present remains. Yet I have another kind of time – in my imagination. Pleasant events from the past fuel it, and future events come from it. It is through imagination that I create my world.

Gay Spirit Camp will by held at Easton Mountain August 8-14. Moss Tidd will be one of the facilitators, and I recall with pleasure the numerous times he has led sessions of body painting (as he says, to have fun smearing paint on a friend’s body). I acknowledge that a future body-painting session is in my imagination. The schedule for the camp has not been created. It may not include body painting. I may need to do be doing something else when it is scheduled. By acknowledging these possibilities, I can still say I look forward to body painting.

Man with Body Paint

Sometimes it's more than just smearing paint

Torso being apinted

Sometimes there's a lot of detail.

Rear view of man covered with body paint

Sometimes one color covers a large area of skin.

At previous camps, I’ve led meditation sessions, and I look forward to doing that again. But there may be no time for me to do these sessions. I acknowledge this as something that’s right now in my imagination. When I do this I live with the future as a golden sunrise of possibilities – accepting and enjoying whatever that new day will bring.

Each morning as I sit, naked, in meditation – I breathe in, blessing my hands. I breathe out blessing the day that is starting. The energy of blessing fills my life with peace and a certainty that I can accept whatever the future brings.

My friend and teacher, AlixSanra Parness, is offering a class – May 20-22 in Madison, WI – called “The Art of Intentional Blessing.” She says, “Blessings are intentions of well-being that are the underpinnings of life itself.”

As I’ve worked with AlixSandra for a long time, I’ve learned to create my own rituals and meditations using the principles that she is teaching

This meditation may be done sitting, standing, or in some cases lying down. If you have privacy, remove your clothes.

Set an electric timer for the length of time you want to meditate. I do this for twenty minutes in the morning, sitting cross-legged on a cushion; or I do it for only ten minutes followed by ten minutes of Vipassana. At night, while lying in bed, I do this without timing, continuing until I feel that I’m about to fall asleep.

The procedure: Bring your hands together in prayer position with your thumbs touching your chest. Inhale, blessing your hands. Feel the energy of blessing coming into your hands. Exhale, feeling this energy flow out to your whole body, blessing your body.

As you repeat this, you will come into alignment with the being you were meant to be. You will become, as AlixSandra says, “a blessed being reawakening to the power of your ability to intentionally and deliberately create Joy is all areas of your life.”

If, at any time, you feel out of alignment bring your hands together in prayer position with your thumbs touching your chest through your clothing. Take three deep breaths; on each inhalation feeling the energy of blessing come into your hands and on each exhalation feeling it flow from your hands to your whole body.

On October 11, I announced that I would be offering a teleseminar at 8:00 p.m. EST, on Sunday, November 14.  Some of you have requested more information, so here’s a list of topics that will be covered during the seminar.

  1.  Why self knowledge is not just the first step on the spiritual path – it may be the whole path.
  2.  A caution to all spiritual explorers found in the first sentence of The Book of The Tao.
  3.  The three characteristics necessary for any explorer – and especially the spiritual explorer.
  4.  Paths to self knowledge — some of them may surprise you.
  5.  A guided meditation revealing the next step on your spiritual path.
  6.  The next step for the Spiritual Explorers’ Mystery School.

Click here to register for this seminar.

In previous postings, I’ve written about my experiences with classes held is Las Vegas, NV. Part of my work has been the study of how to manifest the consciousness we want. As a healer, I know that the highest state I can manifest is that of Christ consciousness or Buddha consciousness. Even to resonate at a lower frequency in harmony with Christ consciousness raises my consciousness level.

Yesterday morning in meditation I was given a symbol of this consciousness, a beam of light coming from above and slightly to my right, the light forming a circle on the ground. I felt myself seated not in the center of that circle, but to one side, facing center. At times, I saw other symbols in space. I looked at them and let them go without judgement. Thoughts came and went, but I always returned to the visualization of the light and my place in it. After the meditation I made a rough drawing to help me remember what I had experienced.

Beam of Light

Image for Christ Consciousness Meditation

If it seems good to you, try meditating using this visualization or create your own symbol for Christ consciousness and meditate on it. Avoid symbols that connect you with anything in religion that you find oppressive. You might simply write the words “Christ consciousness” and then feel yourself attuning to the vibration of these words.

Other techniques include:

  • Being naked
  • Listening to music as led by your Higher Self
  • Dancing to this music
  • Raising erotic energy with or without sending it into the world through ejaculation or a big draw
  • Doing yoga asanas – asking your Higher Self to show you which ones are right
  • Other practices from your Higher Self

If you choose, share with me any insights you get from this meditation.

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