Karim left by train, and I was supposed to be on it too. He was off to Egypt for two weeks to take care of a looming pile of paperwork related to his visa and schooling. I was to go to Spain, but had realized some hours previous that Portugal was not yet done with me. I would instead borrow a bicycle from Manu and follow that voice that had been telling me to go to Tamera all along.
THE GARDEN - Part 4 - SEXUAL HEALING - TAMERA
Manu drew me a map, which I was less than adequate at following and I found myself inching up some steep, dusty road somewhere, nearing heat stroke and calling for help while two good-sized dogs howled and bit my legs. In retrospect, that's what Google Maps and early starts are for. When I arrived, beet-red and sweat-soaked, I was re-energized by enthusiastic reunions with the great connections that I had made a week prior, among them Sebastian and Sophie.
Now there was the curious question on the table of how exactly I was going to stay. As I mentioned earlier (in blog post "Here Today, Gone Tamera"), without being a part of one of the courses I had no business there, and the Thinking School course was halfway over. "But," Sebastian had an idea, "maybe if you study up and show them you're serious they won't be able to turn you away." Thankfully, if there is one thing that the American public school system is good for, it's learning to cram. Equipped with some texts written by the Tamera founders and enough coffee to kill a sick donkey, I studied up on some Tamerian philosophy.
Just follow the map
Tamera is a biotope - a self-sustaining habitat where humans, plants and animals co-exist symbiotically. So, the toilets are composting, water comes from the lakes, the food comes from the gardens where possible and vegan is the name of the game. While one lake is used for swimming and another for drinking, others are maintained as untouched habitats for wildlife.
Tamera was founded in 1995 by three Germans on a mission: psychoanalist and Ph.D. in sociology, Dr. Dieter Duhm (author of Terra Nova and The Sacred Matrix); physicist Rainer Ehrenpreis and theologian Sabine Lichtenfels. Tamera seeks to form a successful model for a future society free from war, defining itself as an ongoing research project over 30 years in the making. The root belief is that the current social paradigm on earth today propagates unhappiness because of some deeply ingrained social patterns, which can be studied and unlearned. They have created this living research center and community with the aim of understanding and eventually alleviating psychologically destructive human tendencies, like greed and jealously. Tamera's highest goal is to form a strategy for global peace.
Their method is first to create a strong community built on trust and communication. Members bring up anything and everything on their minds in regular community forums, so that any issue can be addressed by the whole. Everything from social politics to illness to latent sexual desire is solved collectively.
Yes, sexual desire. Sexuality is a major focus at Tamera. Our suppressed sexual desires cause a whole lot of madness, and the Tamerian goal is to use communication and the practice of free sexuality to untangle that madness. "Free sexuality" means destigmatizing sex so that people can be free of the shame and jealously that comes from supressing biological impulses. Sex is still considered sacred, just a sacred act that is shareable with more than one partner. One can have a spouse or life-long love and still express oneself sexually with another. Of course, everyone in the community may know about it by the next forum. And, in fact, intimate details of the rendezvous may be put on the table by one or both parties for the community to discuss with the aim of personal growth. So, just when you think that Tamera is an eco-friendly Las Vegas, you get smacked with psychoanalysis, social nakedness, and more deep self-reflection than you know what to do with.
Of course, you have the support of the entire group and most sexual encounters aren't worthy of forum discussion. But the enthusiastic emphasis on casual polyamory is a big challenge for many of the guests who come to take courses at Tamera. After all, it challenges a worldview that has been in place for thousands of years in the historical trajectory of what we call western society. The concept is a challenge for me too. But, it's always worth asking why - in this case, why is monogamy so strictly enforced by government, religion and our fellow people? Is it contributing to our growth as individuals and as a society?
A day in the life on Art Mountain
I got word that I was accepted into the tail-end of the Thinking School and spent the last few days on a retreat to Art Mountain, where we learned to untie psychological knots by way of various art therapies and group discussions. I got over my own painter's block and learned a good bit about myself in the process. This kind of support of personal growth is one thing that makes community-based life a compelling model for high-quality living.
Sex, but how?
As a guest who camps or stays in a group dorm with 20 other people, how does the frisky business work? Firstly, communication. You might let somebody know that you feel Eros - the human lust energy - for them, and ask if they'd like to set a date to visit a "love space." Love spaces are basically little cabins with a nice, well-maintained bed and the supplies two or more people need to be intimate.
The Tamerian philosophy and ideology goes MUCH deeper, diving into quantum physics with a dash of mysticism. To learn more:
Tamera's "Great Plan" for world peace (a video)
Check out offered courses and more
Lakes are man-made to combat deforestation and desertification
If you haven't tried meditating naked among the lilies while a snake kanoodles your gonads... boy let me tell ya.
This lily pond at Art Mountain is also an example of a biotope - snakes, frogs, dragonflies and flora co-exist with each other and the people who maintain it as a place of meditative bathing. The animals know that they are in no harm around people and let you brush by them. To immerse oneself is downright spiritual.
A happy way to wake
My first experience painting with live models
This is an Apotosaurus. The beautiful model was not.