Excerpted from Flow: An Illuminated Training Manual- How to Thrive in Love, Work, and Play.
Quantum mechanics, the holographic nature of the universe, karma.
These doctrines are by no means simple, but they are fathomable. Love, on the other hand, is life’s great mystery. How many great men and women have been rendered powerless by the simple, ethereal gaze of their beloved? How many fortunes have been thrown away and vast empires toppled?
We rush into love and wonder what we’ve done. We finally get out and loneliness descends. It can be a frustrating escapade. And yet, coldly and calculatingly attempting to avoid love’s perils never works.
Suffering comes when we make the mistake of thinking that all of our love must emanate from and toward one being.
Love is all around us. Intimacy is all around us. So let’s narrow down the focus slightly for the moment. What we are speaking about here is sexual, soul bonded love.
Accepting love as the great mystery brings some peace, some solace. It may also bring some relief in the long run (though probably not in the moment) when we realize that the purpose of intimate relationships is not comfort or joy, but transformation and growth. Our soul mates bring us to new, higher vibrational levels of being. When we expect happiness, joy and ease, and those things are not delivered, chaos ensues. When we are open to what love brings, the suffering and the rapture, love can bring us ever more.
Sexual intimacy can be one of the climaxes of the human condition. It can also be a degrading, addictive energy leech.
When we clear our patterns from the past, it opens us up to choose lovers that empower us to fulfill greater and greater potential. What a thrill it is to share life with a kindred spirit!
Many of us perpetually recapitulate the relationships we had with our parents, or the relationship they had with each other.
I noticed in the past that my relationships began to look like my mother’s relationship to my father. Like clockwork, I would fall head over heels, become ecstatic, allow my partner to idealize me, and then imprison myself by orchestrating the whole situation so that I resided with them and was struggling financially. It was frustrating to both my partners and I.
Now that I have cleared that pattern, through various trauma release work, transformational bodywork, and simple awareness, I am free to love whom I choose, and much more open to receiving love.
Each body is different. Learning the anatomy of human beings in general, and of our partner specifically, allows us to pleasure one another in sacred ways.
Again, self love is the key to fulfilling relationships.
People who harbor an abundance of critical thoughts about the self will always look to another to fulfill them. In this place of poverty consciousness, it is difficult for love to flourish. It is like a flower growing out of the sidewalk, getting trampled every time it blooms again.
Sexual energy is some of the most powerful creative energy we have at our disposal. Ancient tantric practitioners learned to channel the natural desire for pleasure into their quest for spiritual actualization. Napoleon Hill, in 1937, wrote of using sexual energy to facilitate the pursuit of monetary wealth in his now famous Think and Grow Rich.
Inspiration enters our crown chakra at the top of our head and trickles down through our body for processing and manifestation. We can throw that energy away in various ways before the manifestation can occur. One way is through careless speech. If we continually speak about our plans or our alchemical journey, we lose our power as the inspiration, that source energy, leaks out of Vishuddha, our throat chakra.
Likewise, we can squander the energy by expelling it through Svadisthana, our 2nd or sacral chakra, by way of sex.
Semen is pure creative power and contains unlimited potential.
The miracle of life is that we are able to procreate and send other powerful little creators out into the world like dandelion spores to fulfill their destiny. When we throw our seed away carelessly, through masturbation and meaningless sex, not only do we lose life force and a finite vital essence that cannot be replaced, we also squander our creative abilities.
If we use sex in the hopes of bolstering self worth, we lose.
We continually throw away our life force toward anyone who will take it, or anyone who is somewhat appealing, in the hopes that they will make us feel more worthy of our own lives. The irony is that when we do this, we diminish a finite life essence and our integrity, which can lead to premature aging, depression, a lack of energy, etc. We also send a message to the universe that we will settle for less than we deserve.
It is said in Taoism that when a man has an orgasm externally, 1/3 of his energy the next day goes to replenishing his store of seeds.
So should we give up sex and become celibate? Not necessarily.
First, we can choose empowering partners; partners that help us grow and thrive. Keep your heart peeled for kindred spirits. The more interaction we have with our soul contracts, the more likely we are to fulfill our destiny. The more time we spend with others, the more convoluted our journey becomes and the less soul contracts we are able to fulfill.
Second, we can remain conscious through the whole ordeal, from the courtship to the point of orgasm to the separation. The moment of orgasm is the closest many of us ever come to the joy of pure being. We can learn tantric practices to expand on this potential. I like to take a deep abdominal breath at the point of orgasm. We often hold our breath when we sustain great pain. It is ironic that this conditioning trickles over into moments of intense pleasure.
Breathe and feel the ecstasy.
Third, we men can learn to preserve our seed and universal creative energy. There are ways to redirect an orgasm inward, into a higher chakra. In this way, the epicurean pleasure of sex can still be enjoyed, and the life essence is not thrown away in the process. In fact, it is fortified. Lost life essence can create bitterness and pain when it becomes a power struggle. The man, overly drained, can become like a frightened tiger whose instincts take over.
Some women delight at seeing the seed spill out at the moment of climax, and some men delight in depositing it here or there. This is fine, but we can ask ourselves if this is love or the love of power? Do we love the other or are we merely conquering them? Conquer the self and allow the love to flow.
In precious moments we can follow our intuition and know playfulness, passion, ecstasy, when it stems from a place of respect and deep love.
In the realm of sacred intimacy, vulnerability is power. When we refuse to be vulnerable, we can never drink deeply of the nectar of love.
We are like hummingbirds, frantically flitting about, stealing a thimble’s worth of sweetness from every flower. When we actually slow down in the presence of one, and reach out with our whole being, trembling, we take a risk. We give up the other flowers in the field for the moment; we set them free. We have dared to dream the impossible dream of love, and the universe hears our dream and delights in it.
Love begins to rise up all around us, in the guise of miracles; but these aren’t “miracles” per se. Our eyes are just adjusting to the new world, as if to a blinding light. Mortals wrapped in love begin to appear in the street, on the subway, on the beach. There is nowhere we can hide where they will not find us, as we’ve summoned them by the thunderous power of our vulnerability.
Vulnerability is moving through fear to a frontier beyond our edge. Once we are there, we can breathe into the eyes of the other, merge with the other, love the other.
It is not whether we are afraid of vulnerability or not; we all are. That is what vulnerability means. It comes from the Latin, vulnerare, or wound, so it means “prone to being wounded.” Where’s the joy in that? Where’s the rapture? They are hiding where we’ve least suspected to look; at the heart of vulnerability.
It takes removing our armor for another to penetrate our essence. With moist eyes or a tremulous voice we say:
“My heart is yours. Yours to celebrate, worship, possess, cradle; yours to shatter, lock away, use, own. Your definition of love is yours, as is my heart.”
“And I would choose to be with you
If the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break.”
~ Billy Joel
1. Biodynamic Centering Practice
This practice trains us to feel the physical and emotional lure of another.
Sit or stand quietly for a moment, in front of a partner. Look into each others’ eyes for a moment. Take deep, abdominal breaths.
Notice their beauty, and where that beauty resonates in you. Notice their vulnerability, and where that makes you tremble. Notice where you may be projecting.
Again, call to your awareness the three spheres; the one in the head, the heart, and the navel. They are referred to as the three sisters: Nina, Wowa, and Lola, because using the sounds as mantras can activate those centers.
Remember to keep the three sisters in vertical alignment. With the eyes open, where do you feel the pull toward your partner? Instead of gazing into the soul of him, try pulling your attention back, and placing it midway between the two of you. Where do you feel it now?
Now close the eyes and breathe deeply. See if you can come back into your midline, or if there is still a pull. Just notice and be aware.
Ideally, we can maintain our midline and our selves even in the presence of another. When we feel a physical or energetic lean in the direction of another, we can back up and regain our composure. We are then free to pursue sacred intimacy, which is a direct gateway to self knowledge (Intimacy = into me I see).
2. White Tantric Gaze
A monk taught me this practice when I was having difficulty with a partner. He called it “White Tantric Yoga.”
Sit comfortably across from your partner, cross legged with the knees almost touching. Now, take one another’s hands gently, with the left hand always on top of the right, which helps scramble our dominant patterns.
Now gaze into the eyes of your partner. Take deep abdominal breaths. Notice what is going on in your body while you look into their eyes with love. Notice the voice, the aches, and the sensations. Just notice them as they arise and pass.
Move beyond the discomfort. We spend so much time speaking, fidgeting, moving, heeding our mind chatter, making love, leaping from task to task, day to day, and defending ourselves all along the way. This practice puts us back in touch with the essence of our partner. Continue for three to ten minutes, or until you both soften or until one of you surrenders.
This can be a valuable practice for maintaining a relationship, restructuring an ailing one, or beginning a new one in a powerful and compelling way. When we simply share the mystery and beauty of one another without judgment, love rises to the surface of our experience. We remember the reasons we chose this person. We regain clarity on what we need now, in this precious moment.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman