The aura of romance captivates even the most stoic.
Struck by the prospect of love, we faithfully follow, some times in the face of tremendous adversities, even betraying better judgments.
âRomance is not just a sentimental game we play today, it is a profound cultural and spiritual inheritance that needs to be handled with skill and intelligence.â ~Â John Lamb Lash
Yet, while we chase the initial fulfillment of our hearts, the fire of passion often wanes with time.
Long-term partnerships begin to face increasing challenges roughly around the two-year mark that threaten the affectionate bond formerly so strong and seemingly invincible.
How can we skillfully navigate the perilous adventures of loving partnership to assure longstanding harmony?
Is monogamy even pragmatic or make sense?
What is love?
In the wake of such torrential wonderings, we find the blessedness of our times—there is wisdom to draw from to help us revise and reclaim visions and experiences of romance and skillful resonance—withÂ lasting effect.
And, we can also choose to dance with desire, recreate and even pioneer new expressions of love.
But not as mere rambunctious, sexual explorers, for through ecstatic practices, each body will become like a cosmos and we will be devotionally embodied, pilgrims of universal love, paradise found in each other.
âHere is harmony too sweet for violence, osmosis of soul within soul, rhythmically blending, inflowing, outflowing;Â singing without words; silent music of divine instrument.âÂ
~ J. William Lloyd, The Karezza Method
Our cultural, romantic conditioning is dished out by Hollywood and pop culture. Romantic movies often depict the early honeymoon phase, when lovers meet through magical synchronicities, captivating passions and overcome significant odds to cheerfully consummate their love.
But, the story ends at this early glory: we rarely glimpse farther in time when deeper adversity sets in to test the bonds of love.
We are the ones who can continue to write the story and gloriously so, by the empowering knowledge of sacred sexuality traditions. These are practices which fuse sex with spiritual arts, such as meditation, mindfulness, energetic exchanges, altered and ecstatic states of consciousness, remedying deep and powerful healing of the mind-body-soul.
Thereâs abundant potential to infuse lovemaking with skills—expand sexual pleasure to truly blossom as a natural love and panacea, beaming in the secret powers of the heart that is now laid open.
It isÂ love revealed that sings harmony into partnership and makes lives radiant with sensual truths.
Conventional sex—sex that always pursues orgasm as the goal—actually does harm to the inner-workings of our being; on our nervous systems, hormonal balances, neuro-chemistries and more.
Frequent orgasm itself has been shown in recent scientific studies, in both men and women, to set off unstable conditions in the body, such as desensitization to the chemicals which allow us to feel pleasure (predominantly dopamine).
On the other hand, sex that is focused on awareness of connection, the expansion of relaxation into âecstatic meltingâ and the regulation of the frequency ofÂ orgasm or the altogether evasion of it can lead to the cultivation of a boon of benefits, including the cessation of addictions, increased longevity and spiritual mastery.
Karezza is a modern-evolved sacred sexuality tradition that arose in the 1800s and gives us this:
âThe technique is not based on control. (During intercourse) you are not seeking to avoid orgasm or to manipulate your bodily energies; you are merely closing your eyes, feeling those energies stream into your heart, head and genitals and those of your lover, and allowing them to circulate…You are always relaxing, relaxing, falling back into the heart. Effortless awareness is the key. All your energies will be drawn upward, diffused throughout your body…As this takes place, lustful tendencies will be transmuted into feelings of love and the need for conventional orgasm will lessen.â
~ James N. Powell, Energy & Eros: Teachings on the Art of Love
The âKarezza Methodâ was put forth popularly by Alice B. Stockholm in the 1800s and later J. William Lloydâs beautiful book on the subject published in 1931.
Karezza focuses on gentle, slow lovemaking which evades orgasm to create a more “orgasmic” state which can linger for hours.
An orgasm, while a genital affair, has been also discovered as a neurochemical explosion in the brain that can cause intense disharmonies. One study discovered that the male brain, during ejaculatory orgasm, operatedÂ the same as when taking heroin!
Furthermore, the disarray that can be caused by orgasm can take two weeks to return to equilibrium.
Within that time, we are in a state of pleasure deficit because of imbalances within. However, because of lack of awareness of our inner-selves, we tend to blame external circumstances (such as believing our lover is not enough to satisfy us), becoming vulnerable to mood swings and even addictive and compulsive behaviour.
âEventually a man can develop feelings of indifference or hate for his sexual partner because he subconsciously realizes that when he touches her, he loses those higher energies that could make him a truly happy man.â ~ Mantak Chia
In reality, this is not new information. An immense amount of knowledge passed down from ancient sources affirms sex that is excessively passionate with the goal of orgasms is deleterious to the health of body-mind-soul:
âTibetan Buddhists refer to orgasm as the killing of the inner-buddhaâ (Cupidâs Poisoned Arrow).
In Taoist literature from the ancient Orient we find this sobering resolve:
âA personâs approach to sexuality is a sign of their level of evolution. Unevolved persons practice ordinary sexual intercourse. Placing all emphasis upon the sexual organs, they neglect the bodyâs other organs and systems. Whatever physical energy is accumulated is summarily discharged, and the subtle energies are similarly dissipated and disordered. It is a great backward leap.â (from the Hua Hu Ching).
Yet, the adage rise by what you fall brings theÂ resolve that sex, when used skillfully, can be a âsymphony of sex of nerve, heart, thought, and soul in touch, at-one-ingâ ~ J. William Lloyd, The Karezza Method
Instead of shooting toward climax, the destination is altogether thrown away and the journey of devotional embodiment sets in, sex becoming a meditation, a metaphysical exploration and incantationââfinding the kingdom of heaven in your own heartsâ ~ Alice B. Stockholm, Karezza–Ethics of Marriage
Instead of a solitary peak, waves of pleasure roll on and on and on into bastions of bliss and multi-dimensional connectivity, with not just self and lover but with infinite, cosmic energy. Using subtle techniques of awareness (such as the âinner-body awarenessâ depicted by Eckhart Tolle), the body can become much more sensitive to sensations, allowing for the sexual feelings to soar far beyond what “normal conventions” allow.
The Taoists referred to this kind of sex as âangelic intercourse.”
âIf you wish to unite with her heart and mind, you must integrate yin and yang within and refine their fire upward. Then you have the power to merge with the whole being of the Mysterious Mother. This is what is known as true evolution.â ~Â Hua Hu Ching
Lovers who live by these techniques perpetually discover their entire concept of loveÂ changes, becoming more beautiful and dynamic than they could have ever believed, redefined with awe:
âAbsolute peace, realized heaven, the joy that never disappoints, that exceeds imagination, that cannot be described.â ~ J. William, Lloyd, The Karezza Method
Aside from the practical considerations of sacred sexuality, there are also salving, philosophical ones. One of the most empowering consideration is the notion of agape which means love of the divine or even the divineâs love for us. Here, the primary romance becomes the adventure to reclaim a connection to the source of All. Mystical teachings affirm this separation and attest that one of the major themes of existence is to reunite with the divine through the adventure of physical incarnation.
One of the most powerful and beautiful ways we can experience âbecoming totalâ is in romantic relationship and the robust cultivations of love sourced from the sexual unions therein. Our âsoul-blending embracesâ can become a means to express and experience reconnection in the deepest ways possible.
Human love is divine love.
âContemplation of the Reality without formal support is not possible…Since, therefore, some form of support is necessary, the best and most perfect kind is the contemplation of God in woman. The greatest union is between man and woman.â ~Â Ibn al-âArabi
We aim our love to the highest principle.
We place our partnerships in bigger contexts, in The Big LoveÂ and beautyÂ we are healed and uplifted.
Our love trickles down to bestow blessings on the world. To have this relationship with the divine as our primary relation guarantees our self-reliance in mastering ourselves and nullifies vulnerabilities to co-dependency. We are fulfilled. The Taoists call this skill of love-making âdual cultivationâ and have some pretty awesome things to say about it:
âThrough dual cultivation it is possible to unravel the net, soften the rigidity, dismantle the trap. Dissolving your yin energy into the source of universal life, attracting the yang energy from that same source, you leave behind individuality and your life becomes pure nature. Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth.â ~ Hua Hu Ching
When we take on the ardent endeavouring to transform our ways of love, partnership and sexuality, we become love revolutionaries.
We become ultimate activists for what is good and true by our nature, by the benediction that is the body.
We save the world by letting it save us, naturally, over and over and over again; making love, no time for war or being bored, but only the wow of now; the big love.
We fight for the freedom to love, more creatively, more wildly, more skillfully, more powerfully, more.
We honour the open heartâs daring truths before stringent social formalities, called and captivated to evolve, push against self-imposed limitations, sometimes knocking them over, sometimes erecting new ones (more artfully), expanding the great galaxy of our love.
We create and destroy but by the desires of love, no longer hatred, grievance nor pain. Religions of pleasure wash over the Earth; the Goddess, being kissed, caressed and blessed everyday by Godâs rapturous rays…
The lover is the artist in touch. ~ J. William Lloyd
Love elephant and want to go steady?
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Author: Darren Austin Hall
Photos: diviantart,Â SimplyAbbey via Flickr
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