Day 1 Lunch

Relationships and Tantra 

The conversation has been edited for clarity in reading. The meaning has not been changed and nothing has been deleted.

Chris: 

Back here in Venice, Italy, with Graham Reid Phoenix and Cheta having conversations about men, masculinity and relationships. 

I know I asked you a very pointed question at the end of the first interview and I’m going to save that question, because here we are now, it’s lunch time and that was a breakfast interview. I’m going to save that question for the next breakfast. 

I’d like to just start fresh and anew in our conversation. We’re in a busy café just having a conversation. That’s part of what we wanted to do with this, have the romance and the ambiance of Venice, as we’re having conversations with each other. 

One of the big issues that I’ve had, and we did talk about this in the last interview, was about a girl that’s been a girlfriend of mine, who I still care about very much. I don’t know that there’s a relationship there, but I do want to understand it more. She wants attention all the time, every moment. Cheta, you said something interesting to me, that attention doesn’t need to be there all the time if you’re really there when you’re there. Can we talk about that, the presence, what is it? What does that mean to really be there? 

Cheta: 

The man is really present when he’s centered and in his power. That’s very powerful for a woman to experience in a man. She also knows when it’s not there. She has a very strong perception of it being there or not. The testing we talked about earlier, that process of getting attention, is about drawing out that presence. She wants the man to be present for her whatever she’s feeling, whatever’s happening for her. 

You said “she wants attention all the time”. When the man shows up and gives her that presence, whenever she asks for it, she doesn’t have to keep on testing so often. You said she wants it all the time. If you’re not showing up as a man, she gets more frantic in actually trying to draw out that attention.

Chris:

See, that’s interesting to me. I’d read ‘The Way of the Superior Man’, and David Deida says that what’s important to the man is that he’s got the mission. When the man is focused on his mission, what attracts the woman is that the man is a provider. He has the ability to provide for her biologically hardwired into his system. She’s looking for somebody who can provide, that’s attractive to her. The fact that he’s putting his mission first because she knows that he’ll provide for her. I would use that as an excuse to become engulfed in my mission and not connect. Where’s the balance between that?

Graham:

That’s the issue. There’s a very important distinction between men and women. It’s the big joke that women can multitask and men can do one thing at one time. One of the greatest qualities of a man is his ability to focus. It’s really powerful for a woman to see a man’s focus. For a woman to see a man focused and on mission is fabulous. It shows a man who’s really in his strength. The problem comes, and this is what you’re talking about, is when he stays there. The issue is that a man’s ability to focus has got to be able to be directed to the woman as well. 

During the day, during a time when they’re at work, men really focus. They have dynamism. They’re directed in everything they do. Then there comes a point at which they need to turn that to the woman, because what they’re not able to do well is to focus on the mission and focus on the woman at the same time. 

Chris: 

Yeah. I can’t do that. That’s impossible. 

Graham: 

That’s what a woman sees. A woman sees the focus in a man and loves it. So many women start relationships with men who are on mission, who are directed, who are really strong. Then, they realise that’s all there is in the man’s life. 

Cheta and I will sit during the day, at home, across from each other at our work table and sit and work. For me, I’ll even forget she’s there. Then, a moment will come, say at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, we stop and have a cocktail. I stop, and everything I’m doing I let go of. I may talk about the work, but l’ll only talk about it if it’s of interest to Cheta, because my primary focus is on her, what she wants, what she’s doing, and she may want to talk about what I’ve been doing.

Chris:

Is that fine? I know that sometimes if I’m dealing with stresses and concerns, I don’t want to talk about it. I’ve done what I needed to do. Is that okay too?

Graham:

That’s okay. That’s something for a woman to understand, because that’s a whole different issue. There’s a comedian who coined the term the ‘nothing box.’ Men want to go in it sometimes, because they focus so hard, they want to go in to their ‘nothing box’. They want to sit and watch TV, flip channels, have a drink and say nothing. So, the converse of a man being totally present and focused on the woman, is when the woman recognising that the man just wants silence and doesn’t want to do anything.

Chris:
I interviewed Dr. John Gray, ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’, and he wrote in his latest book about the chemical changes that occur within a man versus a woman. If a man builds up cortisol in his system, if he’s got a lot of stress in his system, he needs to burn that off or let that go by de-contracting and by totally vegging out, going to that space, that ‘nothing box’ that you’re talking about. 

Whereas a woman, they really stress in an entirely different way. The man, according to Dr. John Gray, needs to replace his testosterone and that happens by vegging out and going to that place where there’s nothing happening. The women are able to bring the cortisol levels down by replenishing their oestrogen, by actually conversing with other women, talking. 

Cheta: 

Talking, yes. 

Graham: 

But you get the classic problem. More marriages break down over one issue. A man comes home from work, he’s been really focused and powerful. He comes home. He wants to go into his ‘nothing box’. The woman wants to blurt and vent and talk. If they both keep on that track, they’ll never come together. The woman gets angry. The man gets angry, and they grow farther apart. 

Chris: 

So, how do you deal with it? 

Graham: 

You have to get to a point where, between a man and the woman, you need to negotiate. You each start to recognise the need in the other. The man needs to recognise the need for silence and the woman needs to see that. The woman needs to recognize that she needs to talk and the man needs to see that. You then find ways of doing it. 

For me it starts with the man. My absolute central belief is that it starts with the man. The man is the one who has to make the first move, the first shift. I didn’t do this in my first marriage. I used to come home from work and my ex-wife would say, “How was work today?” I would just say, “Look I don’t want to talk about that. Yeah, I’m done with that.” What I later realised was that she didn’t want to know anything about what I did at work. That was just a conversation opener for me to go, “Oh, it was great, we did this and this,” so that was a test. She had my attention. 

Chris: 

She was looking for your presence and your attention rather than knowing about what you did at work. You could change the conversation at that point and say, “You know, let’s not talk about work. Let’s talk about…” 

Graham: 

I had a great day. I did this. How was your day? Tell me.” You know, “What were you doing today?” And then she can open up and talk. 

Chris: 

Let her open up. How? Let her do 80% of the talking. 

Graham: 

When she does that, do not do the thing that women hate, which is try and solve their problems. If a woman opens up, talks about her day, she would talk about stuff you’re just not interested in, the people she met, the children, what they were doing, who she had lunch with. Chris: 

And you’re supposed to listen to those details. 

Graham: 

Listen to them and not even comment, other than, “Oh, that’s great. Oh, and how is that?” If she says, “I had real problems with this and I felt very anxious about that,” you don’t start going, “Well look, but have you tried doing this, because that will make it easier?” You just empathise, you show compassion and interest. They don’t want it solved. They just want to talk. That’s so alien to a man. 

Chris: 

Cheta, let’s say the man comes home from work, you’re there, you say, “how is your day?“, because what you really want is attention or conversation. If the man then turns it around and doesn’t want to go in to that day because, for me, to go back and talk about my day can be stressful, so I wanna dump it. How do you feel if I turn it back around and say, “Well, tell me about your day?” Is that enough? 

Cheta: 

It depends on the tone and how it’s done, because if it’s like, “I don’t want to talk about it,” you know, like a ‘get-away-from-me’ energy, then obviously is not okay.

Chris: 

But the man doesn’t want to talk about his day. 

Cheta: 

But sometimes Graham just says, “Well, listen, I don’t really want to… I’m full. I don’t really want to talk about it. Let’s talk about something else. It’s not just where I’m right now.” That’s fine. 

Graham: 

But I’m happy to talk… about something. 

Cheta: 

I’m happy to talk about something. 

Chris: 

As long as you get that he’s happy to talk, that’s what really matters? 

Cheta: 

That’s what really matters. Also, sometimes, when I’m really needing something in myself, I say, “Listen, I’m not expecting you to solve this,” I express that, “I’m not expecting you to solve this, I just need to get it off my chest.” That makes it easier for him. He can just sit and listen. He doesn’t have to go like, “Oh, why is this or that…” because otherwise his mind is going, you know, “How can I solve this?” 

Chris: 

He’s going back in a work mode, too. It’s not where you want to be. 

Cheta: 

No. 

Graham: 

There’s another little thing I’ve learned. I work at home and Cheta may have gone out for the day and I’m sitting at my computer typing away. She’ll come home, come in the room, I’ll get up straight away, go over and give her a hug and say, “Have you had a great day?” If I sit there working, expecting her to break in to my attention, I’ve lost, I’ve lost the high ground, if you like. 

Chris: 

So, you take charge the moment she gets in. 

Graham: 

I take charge, I get up, go and give her a hug. 

Chris: 

I see. She feels the presence automatically. So, you don’t have to wait to have her ask you about your day. You go in and you give her the attention she wants. 

Graham: 

The reason that women keep saying to men, “Do you love me?” is because the men don’t volunteer it first. They hate it when men then reply and say, “Of course, I love you.” That’s what they don’t want. They’re trying to say, “Look, next time I see you, don’t wait for me to ask, just tell me what you think.” 

Cheta: 

It’s okay if Graham then goes back to work. 

Chris: 

What if Graham wants to sit back, at what point does he get that relaxation?

Graham:

It’s the other aspect about a man, just wanting to sit and be alone. Maybe he’s dealing with something. 

Chris: 

That’s so important, that hibernation period where you can just go and be… I need that all that time. I need space. I need a silent place where nobody is talking, where I’m not expected to be ‘on’. I feel like I have to be ‘on’ if I’m catering to anybody or anything. 

Graham: 

But that’s fine. You see, if you give attention to a woman, you can then ask for the peace, the silence at other times. So, for example, there was an occasion a while ago when something was happening on the phone with somebody and I got angry. I was sitting there, getting angry. Cheta started saying, “Look, you don’t have to be…” She tried to smooth it, make it easy. I said, “Look…. will you just allow me to be angry.” Chris: 

Yeah, that doesn’t work very well. Ladies, that doesn’t work very well. 

Graham: 

Nothing to do with you, I just need to be angry.” She went, “Oh, I understand” and she went away.

Chris:

Now, I get that a lot. I’ve become angry about something and I get the exact same response from a woman, she’ll try to stop me from being in that space, and that does not work! 

Graham: 

I said, “Would you just allow me…..the space to be angry? It’ll be gone in 20 minutes. It’s nothing to do with you. I just… That’s me.” 

Chris: 

What’s that all about? Cheta, why is it that a woman would personalise that?

Cheta:

For me, I think, it has to do with smoothing out, I don’t like conflict. I just want to sort of smooth it out and just, you know, ease things out. Because conflict can be dangerous from the protective part. 

I need the certainty that he’s going to be there. I don’t know where his anger is going to go, and it could be pointed at me at some point, that’s just something that can happen. I think the smoothing out is just that you want to sort of keep everything at bay. If you look at conversations that women have, a lot of it is getting on the same level. 

Chris: 

This is almost one of those places where the negotiation and the communication is required upfront. So that both partners know that if this happens, this is how it needs to be dealt with because it doesn’t help the woman coming in and trying to smooth it over. 

Graham: 

I wrote an interesting article a little while ago for women, about how they can love a man and what they need to know about a man The point that got most reaction from women, one that they had not understood, is that men need time to be silent. When they sit, flip through the channels—that is an essential part of a man’s life, because the testosterone builds up. 

When I get angry, my head’s bursting, the blood’s pumping through my veins. I actually build up testosterone, adrenaline, I’m fired. It can take me twenty minutes to half an hour for that, chemically, to settle back. 

I can’t turn it off. Men can’t turn it off when they go there. It’s part of the fight or flight. We’re programmed to be able to respond to attack from animals or other people. The fight response builds all that up, and of course, women are programmed to smooth things out, and they want to calm us down. As Cheta says, “Please go away and leave the man. Come back half an hour later.” “Okay now?” And I’ll go, “Yup, I’m fine.

Chris:

Yeah, now I hear you.

Graham:

It requires negotiation. 

Cheta: 

It requires awareness. 

Chris: 

I’m hearing that presence is important at certain times, the ability to have space as a man is important at certain times as long as everybody feels they’re getting their needs filled. As a man sometimes it feels like she wants that presence all the time; but the reality is, it may just be because I wasn’t giving it fully at the times where I needed to. That’s something I’ve got to experiment with. Part of it was some of my own issues that I would bring to the table, in terms of intimacy, which I’ve been working through. 

I have a question for you guys. My friend Alison has a company where she teaches people about men and women in relationships and she has talked about, from the beginning, how we have certain things hardwired in. The men are traditionally the hunters and the women are the gatherers. 

What are your thoughts about that? The men are single-minded and they’re focused in hunting, they need to go kill the buffalo; whereas, the woman gathers the berries and is a little bit more diffused in her focus. Do you like those metaphors? 

Graham: 

I do, but we have to follow them with caution. Back in prehistory when the world was a very dangerous place those relationships were needed and, to a larger perspective, they were hardwired in to ensure the survival of the species. But nowadays, it’s very different, and this is where the problem comes. In us, we have this hardwiring. So, we generally, as men, are born with a masculine essence. A lot of people disagree with this, but we feel very strongly that men are born with an inbuilt masculine essence; women are born with an inbuilt feminine essence. 

Chris: 

Now, would you say that that’s true also in homosexual relationships? 

Graham: 

Oh yes, I strongly believe that homosexuals are born homosexual. There is a certain amount of social conditioning… 

Chris: 

But does one have more of a feminine energy than the other? You can still be attracted by the polarities, right? Masculine to feminine. Graham:
Oh yes. I have many homosexual friends in relationships and the only thing different is their physical sex, but, in terms of their gender or their inbuilt essence, they’re very clearly masculine and feminine. I have several lesbian friends in relationships with children, um, where one is… 

Chris: 

One is the masculine energy, one is the feminine. 

Graham: 

And the feminine ones are very feminine. Then comes social conditioning. 

Chris: 

Somebody could be female with a much higher masculine energy. Somebody could be male with much higher feminine energy. 

Graham: 

This causes great confusion. There are people who end up having operations. Transsexuals are trying to deal with being born with a feminine body and a masculine essence. Whatever they do, they can’t rid of it because it is part of them. Often they resort to surgery to deal with that. People often find it difficult to understand this. It can be separate from your sex. Nobody knows what causes it, but it is there. 

Chris: 

I know you deal with a lot of different people, whether it be one-on- one coaching or the group work. When you look at the way that you help people. Do you think that the work that you do is more useful for somebody that does not yet have a relationship, is in between relationships, or somebody that’s in a relationship? 

Graham: 

Oh, both. It really isn’t focused in either way, because many people who are in relationships are unhappy with the relationship, not necessarily with the other person. That’s the confusion they have. People who aren’t in a relationship are often not in one because they can’t get that relationship element right. The clear thing is that usually it is not about relationship issues. It’s about the person themself. That’s the key, the man himself, if he is not certain and strong in himself, is never going to build a good relationship. 

Chris: 

This comes right back to the concept that people have heard over and over and over again, that I’ve heard over and over again, that the relationships are always a reflection of your consciousness. You only attract that which you are. If we continue to attract relationships that aren’t working, with people that just aren’t right for us, they’re right for where we are at the time, they won’t work. If we’re damaged goods we’re going to attract damaged goods or people that are going to bring out the worst qualities in us. How does understanding masculine energy relate to healing ourselves and being able to attract really powerful supportive relationships that work? 

Graham: 

There’s a great concept that we work by. It’s a very simple one that Osho, that great spiritual master, has developed, and it’s called ‘aloneness’. That is the concept that in order to build a relationship, you have to be willing to be on your own. You have to be happy to not be in a relationship. Once you’re happy with yourself, you can live by yourself, you can live on your own; then, you’re capable of building a relationship. 

He talked about a flute player that loves playing the flute on his own and makes wonderful music and is really happy playing that music. If that flute player meets a tabla player, which is an Indian drum, they can make great harmony together. They love then being together and creating this harmony, but it’s only because each can individually play on their own. 

If you bring this back to men, and you see men trying to seek answers to their problems in a relationship. They’ve already taken a step too far.

Chris: 

What do you recommend to somebody who’s in that place of loneliness and need and they’re driving forward and looking for somebody to fill the space? What does this person need to do? 

Graham: 

The person needs to start by going right back and developing awareness. This is the program that we’re going to talk about. This is the first thing they do, go back and develop their awareness of who they are, what their sexuality is, what their strengths are, what they are as a man, what have they got. 

Chris: 

This actually could apply to either sex, I think. I know your focus is on men. It’s the person discovering who they are and finding that they’re whole and complete.

Graham: 

It’s becoming aware of that and then accepting it. One of the key things is then accepting who you are as a man, that’s where my focus is. So, once you understand who you are, you then are willing to live with that. You’re willing to live with the good bits.

You need to accept who you are as a man. You need to accept what your view of masculinity is. You need to drop the mask, stop trying to get something that isn’t you. Stop trying to build a view of men that is not one that’s appropriate to you. 

Chris: 

Do a lot of people do that? 

Graham: 

Yes, they do. 

Chris: 

How so? 

Graham: 

Because of the media. A lot of our concepts of masculinity are created by the media, by expectations of family and friends. The expectation of men… 

Chris: 

Go out and get a lot of girls. 

Graham: 

Get a lot of girls, go drinking. 

Chris: 

Go drinking, go partying, be the lady’s man. 

Graham: 

Enjoy motor sport, football.

But you have to develop your own model. Too often, you try and be something that you think women want. For example, as a man, you think, what’s attractive to a woman is a man who dresses a certain way or has his hair long or short or whatever, and you try and focus on that. Actually, women couldn’t care less, often, what men look like. They care what men are inside. And they see through any kind of mask. It’s what a man is inside. Women can see when a man is happy with himself. 

Chris: 

But then, why do so many women fall for the wrong kind of guy, for the bad boy, for the person that isn’t going to be right for them? If being authentic, if being real is all this powerful, why do they go the other way? 

Graham: 

We all like excitement. The thing about the bad boy, the bad boys are usually very strong in themselves. The bad boys don’t turn around and make compromises for their women. They turn around and say, “I’m me, come and get me.” 

The women go, “That’s what I want.” Then they learn that’s a mask in itself and they fall away, because the man is not authentic. But the man first of all gives this feeling of… 

Chris: 

Wow! Power! 

Graham: 

…being himself…power, strength. If the woman sees that and then finds it’s consistent, she’ll stay. 

Chris: 

Interesting. So, it’s really the power that they’re going for. Cheta, do you agree with it? 

Cheta: 

Well, up to a point. I’d like to add that there are so many women out there that don’t live authentically either. How many women do you see actually be in their feminine? 

There’s this thing of power and that puts women in their feminine. But when you’re in that relationship, you don’t know how to deal with it as a woman, because you have no grounding. That sets off a whole process within the woman itself, is she willing to go there?

Graham:

But don’t you think that one of the reasons that a lot of women are not in their femininity is because they’re not with men who are in their masculinity and strong in themselves? I know we’ve found that the more I’ve become authentically myself, the more you’ve been able to just release yourself into being feminine, into being a woman. You don’t have to put on your mask. 

Cheta: 

But I had to go through a whole process of not being scared of that, because masculine energy in itself, for me was very scary. I wanted it very badly and at the same time I was very afraid of it because it’s uncontrollable, it just likes focus, mission. That’s very attractive. It is something I’ve been really so uncomfortable with, so I had to go through my own process. When you did step in your masculine energy, Graham, I felt like I was sent up in this black hole, spinning, because all my ways and my patterns really were all, I realised, were all geared towards pulling that out of a man. Now, being with a man who actually stayed there and was congruent with that, I didn’t know how to behave around that. 

So, I ran. I literally ran, got on a plane. I went away to Fiji, as far away as I could.

Chris:

What happened then? 

Cheta: 

And then… 

Chris: 

Because you came back. 

Cheta: 

I came back, yes. There was a lot of soul searching and getting into my authenticity and what do I really want. What I’ve learned in my journey is if I’m very afraid of something, that’s actually where I need to go. 

Graham: 

There’s also an interesting thing that when I created that situation where you ran, that only happened when I actually gave up any attachment to having a relationship with you. Up to then, I’d been trying to make it work. I’d been showing myself as weak by doing that. I’d been showing myself as needing – as needing to have this relationship. When I, in my mind, gave up the idea of having a relationship, I just started to be me. The only thing I did was to see how I could be the kind of man that Cheta wanted to be with. So, it wasn’t that I needed anything. Was I the kind of man she wants to be with? 

Chris: 

So, that non-attachment is an important part to it. 

Graham: 

Absolutely crucial. 

Chris: 

I know that I get so wrapped up sometimes. This has been my habit in the past that I’ve now become aware of. They say awareness is the first step to change. But the habit has been to get so wrapped up in a single person and get too attached to the point of obsessiveness, of thinking, thinking about that person. And then, as a result, I have chased that person away on many different occasions. 

What gives that non-attachment? Is it the understanding that you have to be pretty grounded in yourself to stay non-attached. 

Graham: 

You’ve got to be totally grounded. You’ve got to be happy. We will spend time apart and the one thing we know is the other person is going to have a great time. I’m here in Venice with you, and Cheta has come with me. She could’ve easily not come, and gone and done her own thing. That’s happened. Last year she went on your Billionaire Adventure Club, I wasn’t there and it was great. I didn’t feel challenged by that. I wasn’t challenged by who she might meet or talk to or what she might do. I was doing my own thing. I was in Boulder, Colorado, doing something else. We knew that each other was enjoying themselves and having a great time. But what’s great is that when you get back together there’s no need. We so totally love being together that it’s very intense. 

It’s difficult to get to the point that that intensity comes not from need but through pleasure. Osho calls it a luxury. Two people being together is a luxury – a luxury that comes on top of two people being able to be themselves individually.

Chris:

Now, I’m going to be brutally honest here, that would be hard for me to do. The reason why that would be hard for me to do, to be in that space is because I worked for Club Med for six years. I grew up in a hotel resort environment and I would see on a regular basis people coming on holiday by themselves and they would want the whirlwind romance while they were there. I saw it with people that were married, I saw it with people that were in relationships. I have to say that 80% of the people that said they were in relationships were off courting other people. It became, for me, very disillusioning and it scarred me, I think, a little bit. 

Graham: 

Absolutely. But they have to ask themselves why they’re doing that, what’s the state of their relationship, what needs are not being met in the relationship. It goes back to, usually, that in themselves they’re trying to find and fulfil something. Holiday romances are a classic way of men and women having an instant fulfilment of some desire. 

Chris: 

So, a need. 

Graham: 

Of some need, whether it’s for excitement or sex or whatever it is—a need that isn’t being fulfilled elsewhere. It’s not being filled in their relationship, but crucially it’s not being filled in themselves. Often a desire for excitement or sex is a lack of role models in your life. 

Chris: 

So, when I look at that, the only reason I brought it up is because I felt like it was necessary to go there in order to get the full value of what we’re talking about here. If I hold back a little bit of myself in the process of asking the questions, then people aren’t going to hear the most hard hitting thing. We’re here to learn. I’m here to learn. They’re here to learn. So, let’s go the depth that we need to go to. I like that response, because it stands to reason that 80% to 90% of the relationships that are out there are screwed up because you’ve got two incomplete people coming together trying to complete each other. 

If that’s the case, that’s why the statistics, my own statistics, my own kind of thing would be so high in terms of what I saw that people were coming out there to do. So, we’re saying that, yes, it is the reality; but, yes, it can also be different. 

Graham: 

It could be different. Because, you’re not seeking to fill a void. 

Chris: 

I got fear that comes up for me when I think of that. 

Graham: 

We practice tantra from time to time. We do it with other people, we do it in groups, and the main issue there is emotional. Doing tantric meditations, you get very close to another person emotionally. We’ve now got to the point where we can do that without thinking or being concerned about what emotional connections the other person is making, because we’re so certain of our own emotions and therefore our emotional connection together, we don’t fear what’s going to happen. 

Chris: 

That’s a pretty bold place to get. But then you hear about all the people that have open marriages and the statistics are staggering in terms of how many of them fall apart. 

Graham: 

If you’re happy on your own and if eventually the relationship comes apart, because there isn’t a compatibility, actually, you’re happier because you’re so interested in the other person that you want them to have a great relationship. If it ends up not being with you, it’s going to be with someone else. Now that’s a really, really a difficult place to get to. 

Chris: 

I’m going to challenge this a little bit because when I look at it, if you look at the Hollywood relationships that don’t work and you see the people that end up having relationships with their co-stars, for me, that’s hypnosis. When they’re in a place where they’re imagining and pretending, full on, that they love somebody else, they go through that process. It’s suspended disbelief where they have to step into that and that anchors them to the experience of the other person. 

I would think that a tantric experience with multiple people would have the same effect. I don’t know. 

Graham: 

Yes, it does in some sense. What you explore is different emotional aspects. We all have our own emotional architecture. Whatever we are is not everything that’s possible to be. In all our relationships with other people, whether they’re business relationships or relationships with friends or emotional relationships, we’re exploring different parts of ourselves in other people. 

I know that there are people that Cheta has relationships with that I don’t, that fulfil a different aspect of her. One of her closest friends is a man that she’s been close to for years. It’s not an intimate relationship, but it’s a relationship of friendship that what I have with her does not supersede. Once you see that in different areas of life and you can see that that helps Cheta, in this case, to develop her full personality, then you can accept it.

Chris:

Now, in the context of tantra, when you practice tantra, do you go to places emotionally by connecting with another person that have nothing to do with sex? Is that what I understand?

Graham:

Yes.

Chris:

Okay. How valuable has tantra been to you? I hear about it and I’ve started to practice a little bit and I think that’s a cool place to go, to open up the doorways for intimacy and actually connecting with another person.

Graham:

Oh, very valuable. In the 40 day challenge that I am producing, one of the challenges that I give men is to go and spend an evening with their partner, to lie down, hug them, hold them close, just in silence, and do that all evening. To not go to sex, not to take it to any other further point, not go into conversation, just to be with that person energetically. That’s it. Not try and do anything. You know, when I put it online, I got a number of responses from men who said, “Wow, I have never done that. I’m a man who’s been married 20 years.” One said, “I’ve never done that with my wife. It’s always moved to sex,” because that’s… 

Chris: 

That’s what you do. Yeah. 

Graham: 

That’s what you do.
He said the revelation was amazing—the revelation of being totally intimate, doing nothing. That’s the kind of emotional connection and energetic connection that we discover. It starts to expose you when you do that. There’s no mask. There’s no sex. There’s no conversation. There’s no trying to impress someone or do something. You are open. 

Chris: 

When you’re in that place, I would’ve assumed a lot of problems that men have with erectile dysfunction, with impotence, those types of things that could oftentimes be performance-based fears. It seems to me that that would give a space for those types of problems to disappear. 

Graham: 

Yes. Those problems are, in most cases, psychological, emotional and they come from trying to do or achieve something. It’s performance. Trying to perform is the worst thing you can do as a man.

Chris: 

That’s an unconscious drive a lot of times, I get it. When you let go of that outcome, once again, you let go of the attachment and you practice authentically being there. That issue can literally disappear for somebody. 

Graham: 

It has for me. Literally, for me. I have dealt with that problem through that method. 

Chris: 

I’m going to say the same thing, that I’ve had that issue, and as I practice tantra, which I’ve just started doing recently, that disappeared for me as well. It’s a very powerful thing. 

Let me ask you this, when you’re learning the process, and tantra is just one of the many different tools that you spend time on, and I know you do a lot of different work, especially your 40 day challenge we’ve talked about, when you begin to learn about tantra, is it important that you practice with many people, even people that aren’t just your partner? 

And I’m going to save the answer for the next time we talk. 

Is it important, if you’re practicing it with other people and that you bring out those other aspects, because I know that strikes fear into the heart of many. 

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