“I guarantee you will meet your edge,” said Dan Brulé, failing to allay our fears over what to expect from the four-day breath work and tantra retreat held from 7-11 October at Bodhi Khaya. “When you learn to relax deeper than you ever have before, at some point you can expect the mind to rebel. Fear, grief, anything can come to the surface, and if you meet it with resistance you’re only setting yourself up for a rough ride.”
Brulé’s brand of spirituality is decidedly no-nonsense. His intuitive understanding of the breath – especially as a tool for delving into the unconscious – is truly impressive. There’s little structure, and not much theory, just a spontaneous engagement with the organic unfolding of the moment.
Having dedicated himself to breath mastery for over four decades, training top sports professionals and martial artists and working under such luminaries as Stanislav Grof, Dan is undoubtedly the real deal. So is his co-facilitator: the inimitable Shakti Malan. “Both breathwork and tantra pose this question: how much bliss can you stand?” Shakti explained during this first talk. “The more we open to whatever feelings and sensations are present in this moment – the more we become willing to dive deeply into what is here right now – the higher we can fly into the bliss of undivided presence.”
The retreat proceeded to take 12 of us to our edges, and if that meant falling apart, we felt assured that the container was safe enough to allow it, and strong enough to withstand the (imagined) fallout. Yet, by facing the darkness and moving into uncharted territory within a gentle, non-judgmental space, what we found collectively, beyond the dissolution and tears, was joy, laughter, delightful dancing and the deep opening of hearts. With a light touch and an approach that’s thoroughly inductive (as opposed to deductive and conceptual), we were allowed to relinquish much of the weight of our psycho-physical armour that binds so much of our natural energy into contraction. When the defences drop away, energy becomes available and new potentials are felt. An open heart is seen to be its own satisfaction. We are granted a lingering taste of an entirely different way of being. Above all, we slowly learn to abide the intensity of the present moment.
The particulars of such a retreat become almost irrelevant next to the inner journey, and the expanded vision we were able to take away with us. All I can say is that the facilitation was truly authentic, the work deep and accelerated, the food fantastic, and the gorgeous venue a true blessing.