An excerpt from Daniel Odier’s Tantric Quest.
Q. Why do we lose our capacity for wonder?
A. Education, society, sick love, hate, desire, jealousy, ambition, mental and material quests – all these things make us strangers to ourselves. We think only of copying, imitating, achieving new states, and whether or not our desires are fulfilled, we lose the happiness within us. Then we come to imagine heaven and hell separate from ourselves. This is a great subterfuge, which allows our consciousness to function outside of ecstasy. If man knew that he himself was God and heaven and hell, no illusions would have a hold on him; nothing could limit his consciousness.
Placing heaven outside self allows suffering to become an institution maintained by society’s dream at such a high level that we can no longer escape from it. Whatever our fortune starting out in life, a day comes when we decide to limit our consciousness, to dry it up.
As for the mythical crisis of adolescence, the great revolts that make us doubt the path indicated by others, one day we step back and decide to pay our imaginary debts to society. We accept the death of our true selves. And the great fraud is that this death troubles no one. To the contrary, it is watched for, welcomed, and rewarded. As soon as the price of this spiritual death is accepted, it becomes extremely hard to follow another route. That can happen only at the cost of immense effort and very great courage. Those who have accepted their own deaths have only one possibility: to become followers of a religion or group that places the divine outside the self. Thus, everything is subsumed by society’s order and interest, aligned to those of the churches and sects, which operate from the same common base: the death of divine consciousness. The driving forces are guilt, fear, obedience. The results are rigidity, distance from sensory objects, obsession, Puritanism, violence, moral codes, exclusion. In India, America, China, the Mideast, Europe – that is the mode of operation we see at work throughout.
Q. Are there many successive awakenings before the Great Awakening?
A. If you think that a Great Awakening exists, you’re caught in a formidable trap, which will make you confuse an awakening with that final state. You’ll remain blocked by mistaking it for what it’s not. The basis of Tantric Sadhana is always to wait for a new veil to be torn away without your spiritual qualities hardening. In nature, nothing ceases to evolve, to be infinitely transformed. To look for a stable state is to cut yourself off from reality. Everything is based on respiration. Can you breathe in for three hours? No. You breathe in and breathe out. We follow the movement of the universe, going in and out, opening and closing, expanding and contracting. All activity takes place in these two modes, and it is their perfect comprehension, their perfect integration into our practice, that allows consciousness to breathe. Never forget that consciousness breathes.
Q. You spoke of our fortunes starting out in life. What was it you wanted to say?
A. To be conceived through love is good fortune. To be born to a loving woman is good fortune. To be born to a yogini is good fortune. To live in a harmonious family, to meet a friend, then a spiritual master is good fortune. To have self-confidence is good fortune. To have the strength to revolt is good fortune. To cling to nothing, no philosophy, no belief, no dogma is good fortune. To remember an instance of awakening and return to this source is good fortune. To know any single one of these things is good fortune.
– Daniel Odier, from Tantric Quest.