Founder, OneTaste Urban Retreat Center
Lecture given on 7.13.08 at OneTaste in San Francisco
So today we are going to talk about what happens when we embark on the journey of awakening, when we taste the possibility of Orgasm and head in its direction. One of the things that we need to understand is that engaging with Orgasm is going to activate our concentrations. It is going to activate the residual knots of energy that collect when we reject experience, leaving charged deposits along the banks of our interior. We must know what to do when we activate our concentrations, so that we don’t end up drowning in them, so that we don’t end up just increasing our charge pools, our anger, our sorrow, our unconscious, conditioned tendencies.
We all have ways of working with concentrations. Most of us take the path of locking them away, of repressing them, and hoping to never deal with them again. We find it too painful to face these parts of ourselves and aim to set up our lives so as to never confront them. If you choose this path, you must do so with the recognition that your consciousness isn’t ever going to have entire freedom. It just won’t, because you will never have the freedom to go into the terrain where your concentrations reside.
Another possibility is to slowly and deliberately engage with our concentrations, going in and pulling out one charge at a time. I would call this the path of slow practice. It is like behaviour modification therapy, where you slowly turn your mind away from its habitual tendencies. Instead of engaging in an fight, you choose something different, you take respsonsibility, you listen, you apologize.
And then there’s the flooding practice. In the flooding practice you consciously choose to activate your concentrations, those intensely unconscious parts of yourself, parts of yourself that you have no idea what to do with or how to handle. You go all they way in and flood them out with the force of orgasm. This is the flow practice.
At first, the challenge of the flow practice is to not collapse under the weight and intensity of the impulse to react unconsciously to your activated concentrations. The goal is to sit inside of the intense heat and motion and not react. To the extent that you don’t react, you gain freedom. To the extent that you don’t react, your mind’s consciousness floods out all of those tendencies. So when I say flood the concentrations, I actually mean flood them with consciousness, sit inside of them, feel them and don’t do what they tell you to. Usually we vacillate between wanting to shut them off and wanting to grab them and feed it. This is the middle line.
When my partner and I first met and I decided to really look at the field of obsession, there would be these times when the energy was rushing through me intensely and my concentrations were getting activated, and I would feel these unbearable feelings of love and I would want to make these proclamations of how deeply I loved him and how I wanted to be with him forever. And then I would feel this intense hatred, because that’s what’s on the other side; I would want to never see him again, and it was over, and I didn’t want to be at the mercy of anyone in this way. I was in complete reaction to my concentrations. I didn’t want to learn how to just be his friend; that simple, difficult place in the middle. This is why I now say friendship is the highest form of relationship.
There is one more thing, and it is no small thing. When I say do not react to your concentrations I do not mean do not respond. This is a higher order distinction. Because ultimately our practice is about response. Someone was asking me this morning, "What’s the difference between an unconscious reaction and a practiced response?" And I was saying that the difference is with an unconscious reaction, you feel this intense impulse to move in a particular direction. You do it to seek a kind of relief. And by reacting, you do get relief, but with decreasing returns, because there is no consciousness in your action. With a practiced response, you feel the impulse for relief and you engage with it with consciousness. You actively choose to let the flow take you and you go on its ride, with awareness. A response is hard or frustrating to confront because you cannot check out, but if you confront it, you get increasing returns. And the return that you get are expansion, freedom.
In the highest form of flow practice, we allow ourselves to fall in love with our concentrations. And by that, I mean open ourselves to be in full response to them. We allow ourselves to be absorbed by them. And by being at their mercy, we actually get to the seed of them. We no longer take the spiritual bypass where we say, "Oh wow, I really have a tendency towards obsession, I just won’t go near anyone I would get obsessed with". We actually go into our concentrations, let ourselves be obsessed, feel our obsessions, be fully in response to our conditioning, and then consciously crank up the energy, the Orgasm, so high, that we flood out that which we most wanted to cling to. We fully flush out the energy of obsession, not by avoiding it, but by going all the way into and through it. In this way there is no part of life that we have to fear or avoid. We can go anywhere, we can be with anything, trusting that in the end our systems will naturally calibrate and consciousness will liberate us.
As Ken Wilbur says, "Tantric sages insist on transcending life by living it. They insist on finding relief by engagement, finding nirvana in the middle of samsara, finding total liberation by complete immersion. They enter with awareness the nine rings of hell, for nowhere else are the nine heavens found. Nothing is alien to them because there is nothing that is not OneTaste."
Copyright 2008 Nicole Daedon & OneTaste Inc.