Mantak and Me – Part 12

8th February 2013  Back in Pattaya, spending our days learning about raising the sexual energy and our nights practicing.  No sex in class, to the disappointment of some and the relief of others, led to such a charged atmosphere it was surprising the whole place did not erupt in a mushroom shaped cloud of ecstasy.  I confess to being among the disappointed.  A perfunctory rub on the front of the trousers when Mantak instructed us to stimulate the energy was no substitute for some good stiff solo cultivation, and ‘imagining gods and goddesses making love’ a poor replacement for remembering the Cuban of the night before or anticipating the Swiss Miss of the night to come.

I had returned to Pattaya via the magical island of Koh Pha Ngan, where a trio of Israelis, two Catalans and Kerry, followers of a tantalisingly tempting tantric cult, had initiated me into the art of sexual ecstasy.  I later learned their Laden-lookalike leader was referred to by HH the DL as a ‘tantric fraud’ (a teeny bit of celibate envy perhaps?) but did freshly-divorced me care, when the table was new-laid for pleasure and I was getting laid on it? No no no noooo!  They were intrigued by Mantak’s stuff and I was very happy to trade initiations.

After Pattaya I returned to the Island with two of my friends excited at the prospect of plundering so many rich niches.  Mr Electric travelled with twentyseven pairs of socks and difficulty sustaining relationships due to his practice, at the point of no return, of adopting the Embracing the Tree posture to recycle his ejaculation leaving the squeeze of the moment both mystified and frustrated.  White Tiger ate crab every day and went on to teach a version of Mantak’s practice that gave his students headaches.  We all need a happy ending from time to time, including – oops, sorry, no gossip!  Not just yet, anyway.

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Next Time – Got Lucky 13

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Mantak and Me – Part 11

Winter 1992/Spring 1993 Back in London it didn’t take me long to realise that wanderlust or just lust had taken me a long way and I wanted to get back, but not to the dreary life in pursuit of profit I had left a year before.  I wanted to get back to Mantak and Maneewan, learn more secrets, make more friends, have more fun.  The marriage I thought I was returning to was over and the next one hadn’t started.

After a few frantic months camping on a friend’s sofa – incidentally and accidentally doing away with their pet hamster who stretched his neck over the edge of the cigar-box just as its lid snapped shut – running about as if my hair were on fire  selling my remaining turquoise, my boat and everything that might hold me back from newly-planned career as wandering Taoist to stroll through life supremely at leisure, with a lewd interlude in Amsterdam watching my basqued-and-suspendered tulip-plucker watch herself at solo cultivation in the looking-glass, and buying an identical hamster for my friend, I bought another round-the-world ticket and headed back to Pattaya.

Mantak was telling the Story of the Secret.  He heard of a Taoist master who kept a rare secret but would divulge it for the right price, being US$10,000 – including a month board and lodging at the Master’s apartment in a Hong Kong high-rise. Must be a very big secret! A few days into the visit Mantak asked when would the secret be revealed. ‘Tomorrow.’  And tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow. On the day he was due to fly home, he was given the secret.  It was one he had already learned, from another ‘Master.’

Would you like to know a secret?  Click here!

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Happy Birthday to Me Me Me

Yes, last week I passed the 76 mark – someone even thought I was born in 76!  So well done Me, for keeping myself alive and relatively well preserved since conception on or about Valentine’s Day 1940: a pure Golden Dragon, born and conceived in the same year.

And what prompts this splurge of self-glorification?  A quote on Faecbook, no less, from the man who was UK Prime Minister for the first few years of my life:

‘When you’re twenty you care what people think about you.  When you’re forty you stop caring what they think about you.  And when you’re sixty you realise nobody was thinking about you in the first place.’ Winston Churchill.

So let me reassure you, and me, that over 200 facebook friends, 190 of whom I have never met, thought about me on my birthday.  Thank you.  And to the remaining 1,750 friends, I thought about you, although I’ve never met you either.  Thought collectively, that is, not individually.

So, let us now get on with the business of life today, remembering and celebrating Judas Maccabaeus recapturing Jerusalem, the Mayflower Compact signed by Pilgrims, Napoleon Bonaparte’s promotion to General, China banning the opium trade, and Thomas Edison announcing his new invention – the phonograph.

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Mantak and Me – Part 10

Pathwork Center August 1992  Mantak did gather interesting people – myself included, having at the age of 51 dropped my career, dispossessed myself of a property portfolio and all belongings apart from a few clothes, a narrowboat and a Moto Guzzi, picked up my rucksack and set off round the world making the most of the mid-life crisis.

Almost falling in love with astonishingly beautiful Marie S, a philosophy professor who, having decided six years before to have children, chose a lover she could be sure would leave her alone after the event, gave birth to a girl and a boy a year apart, saw no doctor or obstetrician, went to no classes, bore each child at home, in the squatting position with only a friend present in case anything went wrong. She cut the cord when it stopped pulsing, which was about an hour. She allows the children to eat what they like and sleep when they want for as long as they want, and taught them at home until they said they wanted to go to school (they’re 4 and 5 now) to be with other kids. From their photographs they look healthy and extremely beautiful. How unusual for someone to take their beliefs all the way!

I learn that actually everyone is interesting once you get past the BS!  But there does seem to be a lot of it about. Sitting at the back of the class with my friend Richard R, scion of a family whose business was supplying wine to royal households, who had dropped out to photograph animals and later found Gene Keys after an encounter with a man in a cave, we listen to the questions Mantak so patiently answers and come to the conclusion that they all have but one meaning: do you love me?!

We’re going into the third week, the second of Chi Nei Tsang and I’m getting more familiar with the politics of the Taoist Court.  A burly guy, big bushy beard, dark glasses and baseball cap, voice like a high-pitched chainsaw, talks in the third person, seems to have influence. Turns out a power broker who helps me with my own coup ten years later.

Meanwhile people are starting to head out, Michael M to Florida to open a scuba school, Gary to somewhere his pendant hovered over on a map of the US, me to New York and a dancer in Harlem.

Before I go, a last deal at Pathworks, trading a few pieces of my fake turquoise – yes, I told them what it was – at the Pathwork Gift Shop for $40 cash and $135 gifts to take home.  Thanks, Mantak – I took your advice and followed the money!

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Mantak and Me – Part 9 : Chi Nei Tsang

Pathwork Center July 1992  I wasn’t going to the afternoon classes and after a few days Mantak asks me why not.  ‘Not sure I’m ready for the Healing Love stuff,’ I answer, ‘we Brits are a bit inhibited.’  (Plus I don’t want to give up my uninhibited afternoon tulip-plucking but that’s my little secret.)

‘Oh,’ he says, ‘so what do you think we do?’  I admit I don’t know, not having attended.  He spreads his arms and grins, ‘So how can you learn?’  No sex in class, I discover, to the disappointment of some and the relief of others.  Handy work, no relief, but get into trouble a few years later introducing a bit of reality into my own classes – although it eventually pays off on reality TV.

I suspend my afternoons in the woods until revisiting suspenders in Amsterdam and instead start learning the secrets of stemming the squirt.  Takes me a while to get into it – in fact the full hundred days.  Meanwhile he introduces the Magic Elbow and I relearn how different from my own is his concept of pain.  In those days I needed Valium at the dentist: he said in Chiang Mai they didn’t even give injections!

Seventy-five of us are here for Chi Nei Tsang training: several doctors, a sprinkling of scientists and many body workers, acupuncturists, healers etc and Mantak is bursting with enthusiasm, declaring, ‘In five years this will be standard practice in every hospital!’

Alejandro, a former heart-surgeon who turned to acupuncture and now moving into Chi Nei Tsang is amused at our thirst for detail. ‘Relax,’ he tells us, ‘it’s not surgery.  There’s over four thousand precise moves in a heart transplant – not much room for creativity…’

Alejandro was just one of the interesting people hanging out with Mantak and me at the Pathwork Center.

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Next week – Interesting people.

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Mantak and Me – Part 8: Conspiracy

Pathwork Center July 1992. We’re a rowdy bunch, we Young Taoists, full of fun and belly-laughs, too noisy for some in this strange and beautiful place nestled in a steep valley covered in woods, a stream running through the middle, different buildings for admin, meditation, lectures, eating, accommodation, shared by different groups.  I hear chanting here, music there – a cello from heaven – shouting and crying, singing and laughing, and the wind in the trees.  I find the Sanctuary, a septagonal building in a secret glade where I pass pleasant afternoons in dalliance with the saucy hollandaise.

Having spent the first morning under Mantak’s guidance energy-cleansing our lecture hall following its use by an anger-management group we are enjoying a boisterous lunch when a pious looking fellow of gentle demeanour approaches our table.  ‘Say,’ he pleads, ‘can you guys be quiet,’ indicating a nearby table of glums, ‘we’re having a silent retreat here.’ Quick as a flash, one of the Michaels retorts, ‘So! Then why are you speaking?’

Evenings we gather around Mantak on the deck as he shares stories of the past and his vision of the future.  Friendly, approachable, and always witty, ‘Laugh and learn,’ he would say. I love the atmosphere in those evenings after the scheduled training, like-minded people drawn together by a common bond, Mantak a great teacher, Maneewan at his side.  And yet, as I get to know the more senior people, I hear disquieting rumors.  Everything on the surface looks serene, but there is a move afoot, a conspiracy some call it, to force a change at the top.  Was the Taoist Double-Master tradition to be broken?

Meanwhile I have other things on my mind: my then and soon-to-be-ex wife, no longer languishing for my return to London, celebrates our tenth anniversary by scarpering off to foreign parts with a redundant coal-miner.  But who am I, sampling the delights of the house of orange, to point a finger?

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Next week – Chi Nei Tsang

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Mantak and Me – Part 7: America!

Now I had to find the money to pay for the training.  I already had my round-the-world ticket and arrived in Los Angeles to find it smoking.  The airport people advised us not to go downtown because of riots over the killing of Rodney King.  I took the next shuttle, watching from the window as smiling people ran out of stores carrying new tv sets and other goodies.  Outside the Greyhound station the whole street was lined with menace.  A huge guy put a heavy hand on my shoulder, growled, ‘Man a’m hongry and you gonna buy me a burger!’

Following Mantak’s advice to make friends with money energy I headed south to Mexico, catching the last bus out of LA before they put the whole place on lockdown.  My plan had not included visits to the dentist in Mexico City but I used the time between drillings to haggle with the gypsies in the Zocala and stock up with turquoise beads I strung into bracelets and necklaces to sell back in the States.  Plus the exchange rate was going my way.

I got the money!  Tao friends I’d met in Pattaya put me up as I hitched east, bought my turquoise, and enthusiastically helped me sell it in bars along the way.  But I got a shock in Memphis: the friend there was a jeweller who told me my stones were fake!  ‘Yeah, man, those gypsies conned you!  Look,’ he shows me, ‘rub it on nail-varnish-remover on paper,’ and there it was, undeniable dye.

On Monday July 27th 1992, after many adventures hitching and hiking across America (arrested for ‘stepping on the highway’ but released because the sheriff didn’t want the paperwork), I arrive at the Phoenicia Pathwork Centre in upstate New York.  Encountering a pack of people running barking through the woods, I kind of get an idea of what the place is about.  I thought Healing Tao a bit far out, but nothing in comparison with some of the stuff going on here. Or so I thought.

It’s good to see Mantak and Maneewan again and to reconnect with the Michaels.  Most of the group are American, with a quota of Swiss and Germans, a couple of French, two other English and a saucy Hollandaise.  I make a new friend in the nether lands, learn strange new (to me!) practices, but  gain a disturbing insight into the inner court.

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Next week – Conspiracy!

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