SENSUALITY AND PAIN

Sunday, September 2, 2018  

It began with the week-long treatment week program in Bangalore. I walked in with a problem statement which some might say is a ‘norm’ in today’s generation. To me, that ‘norm’ was a horror: I got cheated on and badly might I add. The way it happened was heartless and cold blooded in its very existence. For it to happen right under my nose was one disaster, for me to be an enabler of it was another disaster. Well, not me, my naivety. In theory this sounds like just something you could brush off, sulk for a few days, drink too much and get past it. To me, my existence collapsed. To wake up every morning and find the will to go on was as difficult as crossing the English Channel – breathless and tiring.  

 July 8th, 2018 (At the centre):  

On my 1st day when I was ‘summoned’ by Naveen to check my life force energy.  

He called me to the dias in his usual way “Alright! Come here”. I shivered because let’s face it, we all know how this ends when he starts to coach. Instead he lay down and asked me to do “circling”. Barely 30-40 seconds later he sat up. I knew I had messed something up.  

He looked up “Dammit! there is no life force left in you to fuel your femininity, you are wasted. Go back to your place and work on arousal”  The first half of the statement went straight to my ego – ‘how dare anyone!’ the subsequent thoughts that flowed were – ‘I am good for nothing”, “If this is my state then I don’t think I have done anything great in my life so far”, “I am not sure where I am headed and what will ever come out of me” and finally my favorite self-pity statement “Why me? What did I ever do wrong to anyone?”  

 But isn’t that what a guru is for – unveiling the mirror so you could come face to face with the truth.  

At the moment I am hiding the leftover of my so-called dignity through the above words. What landed on my head that day were harsh words of reality!  

 July 9th, 2018 (At the centre):  

In fact, I remember this one instance very clearly. I found a minute where he was standing alone, I ran up to him trying not to make it obvious but isn’t everything obvious to him.  

“Naveen! I don’t get it where exactly am I going wrong? How did I end up like this?” Me and my self-pity ring fenced him. I mean why not? I needed answers and I was going to get them.  

The answer however is something I would like to communicate to every woman out there. Every woman who has ever been wronged and every woman who ever imagined she could rule the world but couldn’t somehow come back home and make a marriage or a relationship work. And ladies, the answer was-  

“Understand one thing. You have lost the magnetic field a woman has which binds the man to respect her, and if you don’t have that energy and that magnetism which is essentially your sensuality then it’s game over for you.”  

“No man will ever stay in your life, you just don’t have what it takes to keep him around, in simple words.”  

I walked back and wondered where I had lost all of it and why I couldn’t “hold a man”. Probably the most hard-hitting statement that could be made to any woman. Questioning her very feminine existence, her purpose!  

I see so far you have perceived me as a girl who has achieved nothing and hasn’t got very far in life and that is fine. But I believe women across the globe are facing something very similar. Some of us put up with it in silence and suffer by holding our emotions in and thus giving birth to disease, distress and disorder. Some of us break free and think it is over and end up in the same cycle. And the rest who couldn’t make it through either probably jump off a 20 storied building. Speaking of stories, let me tell you mine.  

Highlighted part- “Understand one thing. You have lost the magnetic field a woman has which binds the man to respect her, and if you don’t have that energy and that magnetism which is essentially your sensuality then it’s game over for you.”  

June 10th, 2018 :   

Tutting my heel and strutting my feet, I walked down a wet road, little toads hopping in a puddle. Grasshoppers, some dead, some alive, on the murky pavement. The clouds were dark. An indication of the evening not being bright. The clouds seemed on the verge of a breakout, once again. I shivered as I ran my fingers through my hair.   

“It happened again!”  

They say the best is yet to come. With luck such as mine, my worsts are usually comparing notes by the end of the day. John Keats once said “Give me books, fruit, French wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors, played by someone I do not know. I admire lolling on a lawn by a water-lily pond to eat white currants and see goldfish: and go to the fair in the evening if I’m good. There is not hope for that –one is sure to get into some mess before evening”. In short – you never know when the bus is coming. But it is definitely coming for you. Just like Keats I too was quite caught up in my slackened afternoons of life. Books, fruit and French wine. Need I remind you of the weather? Life is as good as it gets. Now I may not have been spending my vacations in the Bahamas, but my locales were nothing short of them either. In between chasing sunsets, deciding on vacation 2020, picking the right cut of diamond, dressing perfectly for my brand-new shiny job, getting my workout right, craving for forehead kisses, arguing about drapes and philosophy in the same breath and enjoying ‘heartfelt’ relationships with friends, strangers and a lover (sadly that is singular). I didn’t see the bus coming! I was hit. “It happened again!”   

Here begins my story, the tumultuous journey of my life. Filled with colors. Well if only grey and black were considered primary shades.   

I cringe as I forewarn you that my story is the hubris of the defeated, which I believe most tragic heroes in Greek, Russian or Shakespearean plays boast of having and flaunting with equal grace and pride. Well mine began with pride as well. Such was my life. I really did think I had everything it took to be a notch above others. Always adding the right spin to every conversation, always the subtle mind games that unnerved people and always the right kind of crazy; so that no one could tell whether I was a lunatic or an artist. Either way both acts are hot. If you are picturing a skimpily clad woman trying very hard to impress people, stop at once! She didn’t have to be skimpily clad all the time to let people know that they could take a shot at her. She could crack open the worst of the lot with a little head tilt and a popular folklore. But it all came crashing down because, “It happened again!”   

This relationship had grabbed my ever-fleeting attention. I decided to clean up my act for it, I put in all my effort, did everything by the book and made sure I was building a life that I deserved. It was almost as if I was running for POTUS. But my founding beliefs failed me miserably. They brought my act to a screeching halt because, “It happened again!”  

It was not the second time. By now it is a pattern every few months. Some known to me and some unknown.   

July 10th, 2018 (Back to the centre- A course in Meditation-The Cure, third day):  

Almost a month later after being cheated upon. I was working towards maintaining the arousal in my body to gain back life force. Something felt very different about it this time. Again, since I failed to understand how this was working, I wanted to get some insights into what this subtle difference I was feeling was. So, I go up to the man himself to get some clarity.  

“Something feels different. The good kind of different but somehow I have an image of a 6-month-old me being kicked around like a ball and that is breaking my heart!” 

He brushed his hair back, looked into the distance and quite nonchalantly said – “Yes! Your emotional body is stuck there. It is a baby girl who is looking for her father. This is why you chase men. You will get past it.”   

I could see he wasn’t done talking although the words had faded away. He leaned in, like it was a secret he was going to share and said – “This general energy that you have, the one you give out – is very…how do I say it…whorish.” He smiled and went back.    

I have tasted dirt before, but this wasn’t the same. As human beings we often strive for ontological experiences that fill us up. And such was my belief when I got there. That it would be nothing short of that. But what kind of an ontological experience tells you, there is something about you that makes people want to come up to you and take a cheap shot. Because your energy, how do I put it subtly, is very ‘trampy’. And when a father figure says it to you, it’s a nose-dive. 

I will give you time to dive all the way down. Let it crash, feel your head hitting the ground, tasting the dirt and smelling your own blood. Nothing made sense anymore. The lights were out! How does it feel? Ontological enough for you?  

A very transformative and life changing experience followed in the next one week. Through the process of circling a bright new world opened up to me. My first few exchanges of circling were just about expanding the tactile sensation as my body was closed off to anything good. I realized the path to my inner world started by tapping open my body which was frigid for ages. At first the sensation was only around my navel but when I got deeper into it, in the next few attempts my body moved with a flowing sensation. For a while it felt like making music – rhythmic and melodious. With every inch of expanding sensation, I started experiencing a new emotion. What do you do when you can’t reach out to grab someone’s head? You pull the ear – the head follows. Our journey to the inside always starts with the line demarcating it – Our physical body which holds all the secrets. We knock that door only to be welcomed by the soul’s butler – emotions. So, I knocked!  

The next day I was not only surprised to find the ‘butler’ open the door but also take me on the most lavish and breath-taking tour of the inner world. Eventually my body started experiencing sensuality. My senses ushered me into a dream like state when I started experiencing the outcome of such a simple process. Colors were brighter, and misery eluded me like never before. But since nothing is permanent and everything is vibrating in the universe, I needed to find a way to lock this in. The process is fairly simple in theory but needs to be done sincerely for this state to be more solid. Post circling and invoking sensuality in the body one needs to breathe it like any thought or experience to reach the full extent of it. And finally, through Yog Nidra one can absorb it into wisdom and realization.   

Within 2 days of going through this process the fairy tale had ended for me, no more attention was given to me. I was told to take this awakened sensuality into mediation to absorb bliss in each cell. I realized that all this while, I had chased man after man to seek what was actually locked in me. If I would have spent half of that time in taking an about turn and running in the right direction I wouldn’t have been as miserable as I was. But that is alright, at least now I know how hard I can chase something if I put my mind to it. Never a failure, always a lesson learnt.   

This reminds me of an interesting conversation I had with Naveen while smoking. We sat outside during one of our breaks and he seemed to be in a better mood than his usual grumpy self which scares people off. His story was something like this-  

“A bunch of rishis were sitting and arguing about where they could find bliss. And one of the male rishis said – when you do the right karma and reach heaven you would find bliss there.”  

“Male rishi? Was there was a female rishi too?” by now you can tell that I am always a bit slow to catch up.   

“Yes, what the female rishi said was: bliss is within you. What will you do looking for it outside yourself? Everything that you seek is inside you. This is what no religion wants you to discover because if you find wisdom and bliss inside yourself, why would you visit a temple or a church. This is why women’s sensuality was suppressed for ages?” That day it made sense to me as to why the ‘female rishi’ said that.   

“Jannat toh tujh mein hai”   

I was suddenly aware of the most dreaded subject in Indian history – sexuality, and its subsequent companion – sensuality. We all want to discover sensuality. Blend it with our life, create life changing experiences and stay with the bliss of it all. If what you are seeking is within you, but you are seeking it everywhere other than where you must seek it, then no amount of cosmic experience can make you feel complete. No amount of philosophical comprehension would elevate you. With every passing day I started discovering my patterns around arousal. To my bewilderment my arousal wasn’t on the rocks. It always came with rejection; laced like salt on its rim. Now was the time to grow up, to move away from cheap tequila shots to single malts. Does anyone dare to have a single malt like a shot? I started savoring it. Swirling around words like love and spitting them out.   

Thus, unfolded a new layer of sensuality. A new way of expression. My darkness was no longer contained in murky thoughts and actions, but on a piece of paper that started shaping me.   

In fact, this was a result of a dress down I had received during our session once. I felt lost and unable to comprehend the reason behind why the pain wouldn’t leave me. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but he gave me exactly what I was looking for – “Don’t you fricking understand why the hell these things are happening with you?! How difficult is it for you to see?” For a second it felt like he would walk down from the dais and smack me in the face.   

I would have expected nothing less than that though. At one point in time, before I came for the workshop he had jokingly said – “This time you mess up, I will smack you. Go call your women empowerment group, I don’t care two hoots about it.” I was getting closer to my purpose.   

Every evening we would all sit out and have a drink and talk for a bit before we finally went to bed. I remember helping a friend at the centre to understand something about her anxiety. And she was quite overwhelmed by it. As Naveen Sir was leaving for the day she said, “Isn’t this girl so nice.”  

You should have seen his face. It was a step beyond his regular disdain for me. Something about it was a tad sad when he said, “This nice-ness of hers is what has taken her down in life and ruined her.”   

And for me to think I was doing the ‘oh-so-righteous’ thing by being so ‘benevolent’ was like walking over glass. But at least, the illusion of benevolence was shattered that night! I realized that I had made myself so available to people that I had taken my life and given them absolute control of it with a little greeting card attached, that read “Come, ruin me! And while you are at it do take complete advantage of it. I am here for you.” And so, they did.   

That night a few glasses of wine later, I didn’t want to socialize anymore. I have been writing for a while now. But like any good habit – I have only been frivolous and inconsistent with it all my life. Disregarded every word that flowed through the tip of my pen.   

I walked up, closed the door behind me, faked a call with my mother so I could get out of the social situation and sat in a corner. I started writing. My writings have been on the darker side for the most part. Guess what I wrote about in the darkest corner that night? ‘Light’  

What flowed through me after that was something I hadn’t experienced before. Hold on, because I neither saw God nor did I have a halo around my head and attain enlightenment, in case you expected anything extraordinary. It was the simplest and the most disliked of emotions – Pain. The naïve me couldn’t comprehend the flow of pain in my body. The pain wasn’t physical at that moment, but it felt alive inside me. Something clicked! And so, I started writing every night. Some of them darker than the others, but I wrote consistently. Some of his words would ring my ears while I tried channelizing my energy – “You do know you are a joker, right? You have been so available to people that you have made a joke out of yourself. Hence for people it is fun to use you.”  

I started experiencing my pain in its entirety while I did that. But then I am the girl who thinks ‘anything is possible when Naveen Sir has blessed the place.’  

 BUT, the real kick in the butt was after I left the centre. After I realized that I can’t go running back to him asking for advice, a hug or a smoke, is when I was baffled. Now, I was on my own – out in the big, bad world and everything came rushing back to me. A quick warning – nothing about this has been easy. My earlier notion of it was – it will be all champagne and roses, after all sensuality is one such thing. The advice I received before leaving the nest was – ‘be a container’.   

 We had just concluded the final mediation of the healing week. We broke out of our meditation and Naveen was giving his closing comments on the way forward for everyone. He had covered everybody in the room. I was last. He looked at me and said – “Sunn meri baat.” Everyone turned around and looked at me. I cringed. These lines are usually an indication of the fact that he will now give you a bitter pill.   

 As I absorbed the deafening silence of the room, he said   

 You are loose, frivolous and do not have a regulator. Regulate yourself. Do not talk about yourself anymore. I am great, I am a goddess, I am heaven sent. Bullshit! DO NOT do it. Conserve and be a container. If you have an outburst, let it happen. Lead a life of Sadhana for a bit”  

Now, what the hell was that? Who the hell is a container? Of course, how would I know? I have only been used to wasting my energy on people. What would I know about conserving it or channelizing it?   

My old lifestyle – Wake up, get ready for work, leave a mess around my room, rush to work – always late, always! Inevitably pick up an argument at work because, ‘Hey! I know it all and I am going to tell you how it’s done!’ Finish my first lap of work (okay, ego statement here – I am good at what I do, in case you were starting to wonder. I will circle back to this in a while again). Go down for a smoke break. Listen to everybody’s life story. ‘Advise’ them, ‘Guide’ them, be a ‘great’ friend! Not knowing how much damage I was doing to myself. Come back up. Work some more. Lunch. Conversations over lunch – equally intense. Finish work and by evening I would find another energy sucker and I would either go out for drinks or coffee or whatever. Come back home late. Regret and complain about how my life wasn’t headed where I wanted it to. Sulk and go through self-pity. Pick up a fight with my boyfriend or mother (whichever one was faster). Netflix and 3, 2, 1…system crash! Hell! What did I do to myself? The injustice to a human body, to the beautiful mind and sparkling soul that we are all endowed with. The sheer injustice. Believe me, I am sparing you all the gory details here. Now this frivolous and unregulated toddler was asked to be a container. ‘Sadhana’ was the path.   

Yes, no one has the time, the patience, bla bla bla! We have all given ourselves these excuses. I say get over yourself! Enough! ENOUGH! I had had enough of myself!  

So, I started out slowly and steadily. The first 2 days after coming back, I didn’t feel like talking to anyone. I had just experienced the beauty of the inner world and I was quiet, and I was enjoying it. The writing had stopped for those 2 days; it was just some basic journaling. Eventually, it was Monday. Reality opened its gates of misery and welcomed me back with open arms. I leaned in to hug her and caught a glance of the well shielded dagger of upcoming anguish. I knew what I was up against.   

So, I switched up my routine accordingly. Wake up, get ready for work, clean up the mess in my room. Enjoy the slow process of manually folding the clothes, dusting the headboard, straightening the surroundings. Try to make it in time for work – almost! After I reach work, I would usually take my own sweet time to set my energy and throw out unimportant papers, while my ‘smoking gang’ was already downstairs. “Can’t make it, too much work” was starting to become my standard excuse. Some days they would come up to my desk and drag me down. I would go. They would talk about their life/work tragedies and everyday happenings, while I would sit there and smile or find a caterpillar to play with. Detachment.   

My biggest challenge was to maintain a very fine line between a people friendly attitude vs a detached energy. The intent of holding in vs giving out so freely flowing. I manage learning and development in my organization. Hence, my job requires me to give professional advice, build rapport and network a lot. I am not a coder who can hide behind a screen. I am in the people business. To me this was the equivalent of climbing Everest. The paradox of the situation was beyond astounding. It was painful, yet so beautifully written, as a lesson in my life.   

Evenings were harder though! To follow a routine equivalent to ‘sadhana’. Phew! Initially, I would usually go home and try cooking or helping out at home. Eat, work on myself and start writing. This process of writing was my only outlet. I haven’t spoken to the best of my friends in over a month now. They get it. The ones who don’t get it, have left me and I am okay with it. I look at it as a filtering process. As part of the process, I stopped bragging about myself. I stopped telling people what they should or shouldn’t do. No personal advice was given out during this time. I started drawing out clearer and boldly defined lines.   

But ‘detachment’ was the key. Eventually with a few passing weeks I was having professional, generic, social conversations. But this was my biggest learning. I was finally within and without. I was there, and I wasn’t. I was talking but not speaking. Since I had no one to discuss my inner thoughts with, my writing picked up. Some days it was intensely dark, other days there was some light. In this journey I have slipped and gone back to my old ways and messed it up.    

For instance, I remember this one conversation, amusing as always, that I had. I was struggling to make a decision. I definitely was in two minds about the fate of my relationship. That was the case during the treatment week as well and I had once asked him “How do I make the right decision?”  

His response was very clear – “You don’t make the decision. The decision will come to you.”  

I was livid that day. I thought to myself “Did I come all the way here to listen to THIS. I needed answers and you can’t just give me one straight answer. A yes or a no!” Needless to say, I disliked him in the moment.  

 Because in my head, the ‘nice’ me wanted to salvage the relationship and ‘save’ this man from his misery (must have had some serious issues to do something like this). The other half said “women empowerment”, who needs this one? I will find someone better and get my revenge.  

 Like I said – I slipped sometimes. It becomes easy to dilute the learnings when the old self takes over.  

I was in need of guidance. I reached out to Naveen Sir.  

“What did you mean by – ‘The decision will come to you’”?  

His response – “Tulika, Post on the forum. WhatsApp is strictly for emergencies and for key updates of life.”  

Yeah, thanks for helping me make life decisions on Facebook. The dislike persisted. However, his next statement was the silver lining. He promptly texted back saying “Also consider going for certification program if you are sincerely progressing so far.”   

After that statement ‘the decision’ didn’t matter anymore. That thought didn’t consume me anymore. What filled me up was 2 strikes in one conversation with him. One- he fully named me. He never does. It’s usually a bunch of ‘nicknames’ (insert profanity as necessary) or just to the point instructions, as if it were coming out of a computer. I knew that meant something.   

Two- and this was the big one. I got an ‘approval’ from someone who is a father-figure. This father figure had now said ‘You are good to go for bigger things. You can do this. You have a future. You are good. I consider accepting you. I (might) believe in you.’  

Ah! The sweet mind games. A simple sentence so insanely deconstructed in my head.   

I promptly responded with a – “Yes I will take this under consideration. Please share dates and cost everything or guide me where I should get details from”. In my head it was a four-year-old child jumping through hula-hoops and saying ‘Papa, look I did it. Clap for me.’ Hence, I was filled with joy and I didn’t know what to do with it.   

It won’t be much of a surprise what the mystic said to me next “Thoda pyar se bol do tere ko… Chipak jati hai…” (translation for my non-Hindi speaking seekers – if I say something with a little love, you get stuck on to me).  

My bluff was called. Such was the uphill battle and the nosedive of understanding the nitty-gritties of ‘being a container’.  But while I have been through my highs and lows in this journey, I have also become increasingly aware about how certain thoughts trigger me and how I can keep a check on them. I still have moments where I wish I could ‘help’ people or just be ‘available’ to people but now I want to do it the right way. I don’t want to pour from an empty cup anymore.   

I understand that society wants women to be a certain way. We are defined by standards that are unlivable and we constantly strive to achieve them.   

“She isn’t sexy enough”, “She isn’t mellow enough”, “She is too much to handle”, “She is trying to overpower me.” Don’t worry your pretty little head over any of those things. Remember who you are in your essence, a woman. An embodiment of feminine energy. We don’t have a point to prove or any expectation to live up to. Let us first do justice to nature itself and then worry about the definitions created by mere mortals (or don’t).  

Through my journey – which is still ongoing, and I believe I have a long way to go – I am trying to find the balance between madness and method. Between the within and the without. ‘Being a container’ has been a beautiful experience. A few days back I jokingly called myself ‘The Tolerant Bigot’, and like everything beautiful the most inevitable of all emotions will creep in – Pain! I have been trying to find inspiration in a lot of places, the reason being that I wanted to bring it through writing. But with every instance I have witnessed, I am profoundly haunted by the impermanence of life and by the impermanence of inspiration. Inspiration is a profoundly fleeting and profoundly lonely experience. And I think the goal of any artist whether it be in paint or in music or in cinema, is an attempt to put people in one’s head. To invite us to smash our sense of separation.  To say, “This is how the dots connect inside of my consciousness and this is how I bring my Pain home.”  

Which brought me to my theory- There is extreme pain involved in turning sensual. To experience sensuality in its most raw and breath-taking form, I discovered that it comes with a certain amount of heaviness. There is the thought that everything beautiful is ultimately a tear-jerker. Beauty in its rawest form, will always make you ecstatic and yet, leave you teary eyed!  

 As Mr. Varshneya once wrote “Femininity is like a road, procreative energy is like a car, and emotions are like a driver. No matter how skillful a driver you are, if the road has potholes, you are bound to experience a bumpy ride. No matter how good the road is, if your car is not functioning well, it will be a struggle throughout the journey.”   

 Chase femininity, beauty and sensuality in the right direction – Inward 

Highlighted part- Which brought me to my theory- There is extreme pain involved in turning sensual. To experience sensuality in its most raw and breath-taking form, I discovered that it comes with a certain amount of heaviness.  

 

 

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