I have some thoughts that have been brewing for a while in regards to Tantric work, whether that be in a professional capacity, in facilitating groups or by being a practitioner in one’s life in general.
I’ve been hesitant to write, somehow waiting until it was really crystallised and clear, but that may never happen, so here goes, this is my attempt to articulate what I’m feeling and seeing in my own life.
Phew, where to start? What a journey?
So, my introduction to ‘sex’ came through the hands of my male caregiver when I was just 11 years old, a pre-pubescent young girl living mainly in imaginary worlds. From memory I hadn’t really awakened my sexual energy and desire yet, my mind and thoughts of boys were filled with romance. I remember I used to create elaborate stories in my diaries of meeting young men when I was out riding my horse, it was all about love, the story, the situation, the feelings in my heart, I don’t remember feeling sexual towards them, it was like that part of me was not awake yet.
This interference and interruption with my natural sexual awakening and being with a man who was playing the Father role in my life at that time obviously had an impact on how I relate to men, to love, to sex and to the Father energy.
For a long time, I was seriously angry at men, and at my Dad for not being there to protect me. For a long time I was very mixed up about sex, I saw it as a way to get love. I felt if I wasn’t having sex with the man I was interested in or connecting with then I wasn’t of value.
Sex was a currency, something to trade. I was missing the true purpose of what I believe sex is for and that is UNION in my opinion.
I’ve been studying a little Hebrew Mysticism recently and it has been helping me to define a few things, as I take this year to re-consolidate myself, my practice, my offerings in the field of Tantra and Conscious Sexuality.
What I am learning is about the true face of Eros, and what has happened in our psyche with regards to the Erotic and to Sexuality. Without going into too much detail, these are my findings:
We all have Erotic needs, but many people (myself included previously believe that EROS =SEX) However the Erotic is so much more than Sex.
If we are to immerse ourselves in THE TANTRIC PATH, if we wish to live this EROTIC life, we must expand EROS beyond sexuality.
To better understand EROS we can think of it like the SEA, it is LIFE-ENERGY, our living suchness, our individual self is part of this sea, but really we are the whole sea, vast, a never-ending sea.
We all have a pull within us that is driving us, consciously or unconsciously to merge with this reality once more. This desire to merge is I believe what fuels our relationships, like somehow knowing ourselves through another takes us closer towards knowing who we really are. This yearning to merge is also what drives us, beyond simply the biology of our body, to mate and merge with another ie to have SEX. Yes, we are a bunch of procreating hormones and chemicals, but we are also MORE than that!
When we try to meet all of our Erotic needs through SEX, but SEX alone cannot withstand the weight of this, and let’s face it most of us get distracted at the Temple gates and do not go through them to meet with our maker, and so unconsciously or consciously we come back to this yearning and so the story goes on.
Forgive me if this is rambling as I jump all over the show to get these thoughts and feelings down.
So why did I start this story with my sexual trauma? Because for me, there was a big unhooking from seeing sex as a transactional thing, something I did consciously or unconsciously to get something. Because of that wounding, sex has been tricky, why do you think I got into this world of crazy Tantra? Why I longed to empower myself and find a new way? It wasn’t because I had it all sorted: It is common to teach what you most need to learn.
So from what I have come to understand, and through the research in my own life, and through the teachings of others, there are four faces to EROS which lead us to what our Erotic needs actually are, these are:
1) To be inside the FACE of *GOD – that means to be so connected to the experience of life, whatever you are doing, that you have merged with it, there is no thinking about what you are doing, you are just in it, at One with it. We all get these moments when time falls away as if we enter the soul realms and the inside and outside become One, this is being on the INSIDE.
2) To remain PRESENT even in the face of emptiness. Our culture doesn’t help us to do this. If we want to learn to be more present even in the face of emptiness, we have to cultivate it. These times we are all about fulfilment, everything is aimed at heliping us to find fulfillment. How can we feel more filled up? seeking experiences, things that give us a sense of being filled, we do not want to feel emptiness, in fact, we do not want to feel emptiness so bad that we even created a word for it – A -VOID-DANCE ie: dancing around the VOID hahaha.
The VOID is the place that we MUST connect to in order to fully thrive!
and it’s not the ZEN Buddhist meditational emptiness that I’m only talking about here, sometimes emptiness is hard, it’s lonely, it’s stuff we don’t wanna feel, so we distract ourselves (me included I’m guilty of this too guys, but I’m clocking it, and just like you I’m on a path to living a more EROTIC life – a TANTRIC life) we pick up our phones, we eat chocolate, we go shopping, we have sex, anything to avoid this feeling of emptiness and we kid ourselves each time we do that.
Come on guys admit it, you know when you are doing these things from a good place inside, and also when you are trying not to feel something and you do them. I’m not the only one here that does that am I?
Let us stretch into this some more with regards to SEX. How many times have you had sex rather than being true to what you are feeling?
How many times have you distracted yourself with sex?
Or even …how many times did you have sex because you thought that is what should happen next, rather than being with something uncomfortable, or numb, or empty or lacking in EROS?
How many times did you cultivate something that wasn’t really there? Stimulate generate energy, talk your body into it? Rather than be in the emptiness and see what wished to emerge from this place?
I feel this is SO key for us to really align our sexuality back with its true purpose! Of connection, Union with the ‘One’
Gawd I feel I have so much to say on this topic, maybe it’s more for a Facebook live, than through this medium, but I’ll try to be concise here and continue.
the next one is:
3) TO PARTICIPATE IN THE YEARNING FORCE OF BEING: So what’s that? We all have desires, in fact, desires run us much of the time. Much of what moves us in life comes from the desire body. But many of these desires are the superficial kind, you know, I feel like a walk down the beach, a chocolate muffin, I need that dress, I want a coffee, etc etc. But how often do we allow ourselves to feel into this YEARNING FORCE WITHIN, what is underneath of our superficial desires? What are you longing for? What is really calling you? Do you take the time to stop, to really feel and then to act, to participate in this yearning?
And last but by no means least!
4) TO REALIZE OUR INTERCONNECTEDNESS – TO SEE OTHER AS SELF. This one is the biggest mind fuck of all of them in my opinion. There are many spiritual teachings that tell us of this reality. But how many of us get to experience this? To see /feel glimpses of it, enough to make us change our perception and let go of feeling separate? Peak experiences are great and I’m lucky to have had my share of them where I have merged with all that is, which was incredible!! … BUT…. There are many small, everyday practices we can do throughout our day that help us to feel this interconnectedness.
The most powerful one I have been exploring lately is to METAPHORICALLY HOLD HANDS WITH STRANGERS. To see the humanity in them, that just like you they suffer, they feel stuff, they have fears, worries etc and so to reach out and go that little extra bit further whether its a smile or making conversation or stopping longer than needed to chat with a friend in need. Gosh I sound like I am preaching I’m not really comfortable with this, but I’m sharing because it is making a massive difference to how I am feeling in the world, and its just so simple. Coming from a background of reserved, quiet and socially awkward British culture I was trained to slightly ignore strangers. Probably because the UK is so overcrowded we are trying to forget how many people are around us! But….What I didn’t realise was how isolating this is! We must hold hand with strangers we are communal creatures we need connection, and this helps us to feel our interconnectedness.
Another way that we lose our interconnectedness is to reaffirm our separate nature by gossipping judging or constantly talking about others.It is common to get together with a friend or associate or whatever and sit and talk about other people all night, right?
This is an example of non-erotic conversation there is no EROS in a conversation like this.
We are usually ( yes I’ll own up to this too) creating some kind of separateness with the person whom we are discussing, a boundary between us and them, but it is a fake boundary there is no us and them. And actually when we spend the whole time with others talking about other people its because there is no life between us, or we are disconnected from what is truly there and its more real, more hopeful and more useful to notice that, be honest with that and bring ourselves back to the EROTIC – which is life, which is energy, which is being on the inside, and is being able to be with the emptiness, to remain present in the face of it, even if its dull, boring, and lacking in something, to stay present in that, that is our key and the doorway to living a tantric life.
Next, I’ll discuss why sex captivates us so, and how sex can fulfil each of these four faces which is why we try to get our erotic needs met through it, I’ll discuss what happens to sex when we do that and why we need to expand EROS beyond SEXUALITY.
YES SEX and EROS is related of course but EROS is so much bigger than SEX and when we make the EROTIC only about sex we actually also limit sexuality.
*replace with a word that makes sense to you, ie:creator, source energy, the universe etc
Artwork by Tayla Joy
Special acknowledgement and reference to teachings from
Mark Gafni – The Erotic and the Holy
Brene Brown – Braving the Wilderness