I want to discuss today the role of desire in the path of yoga and tantra.
Traditionally, at least through patriarchal paradigms, desire is viewed as poisonous, which has led to many practices and modes of work which involve sublimation, suppression, or dismissal through viewing the world of phenomena as unreal.
With the liberating teachings of the tantra, desire itself is utilized as a powerful vehicle for movement and the creative force which can both liberate through the breaking of molded consensus as well as sculpt powerful shapes which aid, heal, nurture, and bring vast joy to the microcosmic and macrocosmic worlds.
The pasa is the noose. It is a weapon or instrument that is held in the hand of Lalitha Tripurasundari, a tantric representation of the primal Sakti, or power of God. In her upper right hand she holds the "noose of desire". A noose binds. Binding is a contractive power. What is contraction? Contraction can be seen as a force pull which unites or brings different streams together in a singularized way. This very power is needed to stabilize the currents of energy and mind which act to bring about the one pointed state in yoga we call ekagra.
Even Patanjali acknowledges in sutra 1.18 that the power of nirodha, the power that causes the mind to rest in its own basis, is dependent upon samskara, or a habituated contraction that acts to steady the mind energy currents.
Desire is no different. Desire is a feeling we have that draws us toward something, in effect "contracting" us towards a particular name/form appearance. How is desire felt? We feel a "pull". It is interesting to observe the inner pulls that desire creates in our life. Instead of observing the objects toward which we are pulled, can we study the feeling of the pull itself? When we observe this inner pull, we touch or unify ourselves with a certain magnetic power behind the pull. What is this inner magnetic force?
Bandha is no different. Bandha is that aspect of mudra which pulls. It gathers. It condenses. The same force which is felt at the heart of desire is felt also at the heart of bandha, a process central to the magnetic pull of mudra.
When we have a buildup in sex, prolonging the orgasm, we notice this buildup of magnetic force. The buildup involves a contraction, a gathering, a collecting of energy. Do we hurry to the outcome or can we notice the vibration in the pull/contraction/gathering itself? Can we allow it to build more? This is a conscious gathering of tension. Conscious tension through attention.
Something happens when we allow ourselves to become familiar with this conscious tension, this contractive state. We become friends with it and don't just seek to rid ourselves of it in favor of the outcome. It becomes stronger. The noose becomes tighter. We gain skill in utilizing that very noose. We can consciously engage with this power, this magnetism through what we can term Pasa Mudra.
Then, at the other side of contraction, there is a release of tension, what we think of in sex as the orgasm. There is a liberation of energy. Noticing what occurs at the exact timing of release is the secret of creation and magic. What do you discover here? Vijanabhairava Tantra tells us to observe this moment carefully. This leads us to the vast power of what is called Yoni Mudra. The other side of the noose.
There is much I'm saying here and much left unsaid. In some ways this path is secret, not because a student's worthiness must be questioned, but because it is highly individual and unique and prone to much misunderstanding.
When you truly investigate the nature of desire, you start to understand creation and destruction. Why destruction? Because everything has two sides. With the death of one thing comes the birth of another. Life is circular, and yet evolving.