Monday, February 28, 2011

The time has come...

...the Walrus said, to talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings.*

And Tantra, I would add, because as I thought of writing a blog about Tantra and what it means to me, the phrase that kept playing in my mind was, The time has come! To share one of the most meaningful, perhaps the most meaningful thing I have stumbled upon in my life, which in actuality is just another word and another way to describe the nature of existence, and the sacred opportunity in this existence for supreme enjoyment and the cessation of suffering.

Some people may think that Tantra is some weird New Age-y creeper excuse to fool around with anyone they want, or do weird sexual activities. Others denounce Tantra's manifestation in the West as 'cultural theft', reminding us that to truly practice Tantra we would be having a Kali Puja and making garlands along with making love. Still others say that Tantra isn't really about sex, but is about being present in the moment, aware of our connection to all of this. This last explanation sounds similar to many doctrines of various spiritual traditions.

So which is true? To me, Tantra is a couple of things. For one, its any kind of structured practice that can be done alone or with another person (or group of persons) that increases presence, bodily awareness, and energy moving through the body, often causing extremely enjoyable or at least interesting sensations. This could be anything from eye contact and breath-work to honest dialogue to meditating on your chakras while shaking your butt until golden light streams out the top of your head. In the SkyDancing Tantra tradition, such practices are usually done within Sacred Space, for which there is a specific ritual.

I highly value these Tantric practices as portals to the realm of consciousness that is the other way I think of Tantra-- the state of experiencing the divinity, the magnificence, the Godliness, in any seemingly "ordinary" thing, from a lover to a rose to a miniature pony-- or even a piece of paper in a book or journal. The thought occurs-- "Wow! How marvelous that this exists!"

Yet it isn't even a thought, for the thought simply points to the experience of amazement, or calm inner peace, or being silenced by the magnitude of it all, or all three at once. The association of Tantra with sex can be explained by the feelings of 'arousal' that often accompany such experience. Energy may flow up from your root chakra and through the center of your body, stopping at your heart, or head, or traveling all the way out, up into the cosmos. I speak from my experience, but I hypothesize that it is much the same for most people, and that we all ultimately have the potential to experience this. When we experience Oneness, it feels hot.

A simple explanation for this is that what we call sex energy is in actuality just life energy that we are interpreting in a certain way. When we feel a lot of it, such as that surge that occurs when your nose meets the rose, or your cheek passes across her petals, it reminds of us sex, because sex is one of the main activities we allow ourselves to do that invokes passion in this modern life. People with a particular active passion in life, such as bicycling or surfing, often experience this feeling while doing what they love.

Sex is also one of the few things we do that breaks down our sociology of Separation, enabling us to experience that Oneness. We can experience this tingling energy at any moment though, without any kind of structured practice (though I do believe the practices help), simply by breathing and relaxing into the moment, embracing whatever sensations we are experiencing. The cat's fur! The softness of a loved blanket! The mud between my toes! The keyboard under my fingers! All of them are making love to me, stimulating my sensory experience. Key in this is not having any expectation. Ecstasy and bliss are gifts of grace which cannot be forced.

Try it sometime. Imagine the whole world is making love to you. Become present. Look around and wonder at it all. Is the sycamore tree on the corner any less magical than a pig with wings? Is the car driving by any less absurd than the idea of the sea being boiling hot? Its all a Miracle--- All of It! (Even if we want to change some of it, like the cars!)

And if it feels to out of touch, or too chaotic, or you want to know how to use this aspect of existence to connect with a beloved, I recommend taking a workshop with Steve and Lokita Carter ( or reading anything by Margot Anand (I have The Art of Sexual Ecstasy, I hear The Art of EveryDay Ecstasy is good too). Their guidance can wrap a nice bubble of structure and safety around that Greatness. I'm open to discussion about this too, or sitting in meditation while the breeze kisses our faces and serenades us as it passes through the trees....

Thank you for reading my take on Tantra and the love of the world. I envision myself finding even clearer ways to articulate the subtle beauty of these experiences, and so offer them to the collective conscious here or elsewhere.

Remember to breathe _()_
It's happening NOW!

*poem from Lewis Carroll

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Memories of Love

I'm sitting in a circle in the backyard of a friend's house on Pinto Lane. Its one of the shorter streets in the neighborhood, and the one I often had to run down to catch the ice cream truck. Its summer, so I might have just eaten one of those ice creams --my favorite was the strawberry shortcakes, but they were more expensive, so I usually settled for another favorite, fifty-fifty bars for only 50 cents.

In the circle around me are friends and acquaintances from the neighborhood, from my best friend to kids I barely talked to. Most of them were from two families who'd been fruitful and multiplied, as the saying goes. The gathering is inspired by the the visit of our friend Courtney (no relation to current Courtney's in my life, I've lost track of this one) who had lived on perpendicular Palomino Avenue and had moved away. And I believe it was she who initiated playing Truth or Dare.

It comes to be my turn, and Courtney asks the inevitable question: "Truth or dare?" I had seen what some of the other kids had to do when dared, so I thought I'd stick with the safe one. "Truth," I reply. Her next words will prove me oh-so-wrong.

"Do you have a crush on Matt?" she asks. My world collapses. I don't have space to exist, let alone breathe. My whole face tenses up as I try not to react. The world is ending.

"No," I say.

A small explosion of outcries bursts from the various parts of the circle.

"Yes you do Meagan, don't lie!"

"Its Truth or Dare, you have to tell the truth!"

"We all know you do, just say it!"

But I won't. To confess to my crush on Matt seems somehow like the worst thing I could possibly do. And I never wonder why. I just know I won't say it, can't say it, even though everyone truly does know. There was some small glimmer of telling the truth, but it quickly vanished. I ran home in shame.


Back. Back further, deeper in the recesses of my child mind. Four years earlier. I am five years old, riding in the car with my mom and her boyfriend's daughter, Tiffany. We are delivering presents to Nathan, my best friends older brother, for his birthday. Because you see, before there was Matt, there was Nathan. Before the sun rose and set on Matt -- which it did for many years -- Nathan had my love. He, also, could never know.(Do all small children crush this hard? I don't think so, but I also doubt that I am alone....)

We pull up in front of their house, and pull the presents out of the back. I'm apprehensive. Tiffany and I (for she has decided to have a crush on Nathan too) have enclosed small, short love notes with our presents. I am terrified. I wrote one because Tiffany did. At six years, she is bolder than me. More self-assured. And lives in the next town, meaning she doesn't have to see him often enough to be embarrassed. The note has fallen off my present in the car. This is exactly the excuse I need! Mine does not have to be delivered. I began to pout, pretending unconsciously that I am upset because Tiffany's note will be delivered and mine won't. Some part of me knows though, that I am pouting because I felt unworthy. Unworthy. I am unworthy to have a crush on this older boy, or any boy for that matter. I am ashamed of wanting him to like me back. Of wanting love.

The note is found though. My easy way out is blocked. I continue to pout though, and say, no, its too late now, never mind. It doesn't make any sense. I am just afraid to be seen for any attachment, any desire. I am not worthy.


This sense of unworthiness has not gone away, though I have acted in spite of it. For I did finally tell someone that I had a crush on him, when I was 14. And it led to a relationship of sorts (the junior high kind). It was one of the scariest things I've ever done. Since then I have expressed romantic feelings many times, but never without initial fear and awkwardness.


I passed a flower in the rose garden earlier this week, a white rose that smelled like vanilla. I wouldn't have noticed her among the dormant rose bushes had I not chosen to cut a corner through the garden rather than follow the right angles of the alternative path: a small gift from my choice to be present.

Today I walked by to discover that the roses have all been pruned back aggressively. Had I waited just one day or two later to cut through that path, I would have seen no roses, only stubs of thorny branches. I thought about picking the flower, but decided to let her live. Had I known she would be cut down soon anyway, I probably would have taken her. Its OK though, because then I might not have noticed the change.

I'm thinking of this rose as my Valentine's Day rose. Thank you flower. I honor you.

Maybe this story is my gift to the community for the season of love awareness (though in my spiritual tradition it is later in the Spring that we celebrate love). It is a sad story, but it is real. It comes from a distant time, a time of experiences and emotions as children know them, somehow deeper and more profound in their simplicity. Thank you for reading my story, for witnessing some of my memories of love.

Happy Valentine's Day.