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Pointers for Sexual-Spiritual Practice - From The Way of the BodyPrayerPath

By: Barnaby Barratt Ph.D.

The Way of the Body/Prayer/PathFrom the book The Way of the BodyPrayerPath by Barnaby Barratt Ph.D.

Introduction

Although no teaching about this path can substitute for our immediate experience in its practice, there is a role for tantric facilitators, who are neither priests nor professors, but individuals who can share some “pointers” derived from the practices of their own enlightening. Drawing upon the wisdom of many tantric facilitators, here are thirteen interrelated pointers. They are all different ways of expressing the same three principles of method. May they be helpful for our mindfulness as we dance into our spiritual practice.

Remember that we are all addicts

Our egotism is addicted to itself, addicted to the promulgation and compulsive repetitiousness of its own judgementalism. We may also be addicted to substances, to power, to material gains, to “spiritual” chicanery, to moral superiority, or to the thrills of sexification. But our egotism is always addicted to its own ambitions and attachments – to its craving and clinging, to its insistence that it possesses reality, and to its identification with the productivity of thought, feeling, and action. For all of us, our sexual-spiritual path is a matter of stopping the practice of these addictions.

Cultivate our Compassionate Witness

The unique key to letting go our addiction to judgmentalism is to cultivate the Compassionate Witness within ourselves, and to devote ourselves to it as our Beloved. As we fall into the meditative attitude of awareness, we allow ourselves to become this Compassionate Witness that experiences and sees all our thoughts and feelings, as each one arises, but does not attach us to them, does not identify with them, and does not struggle to oppose or transform them. Rather, it witnesses them compassionately, appreciates them and graciously lets them go on by. In this process, our egotism ceases to score off the energies of our embodiment, and its force gradually crumbles. We discover that our Compassionate Witness is prana itself, and our entire bodymind becomes open to a renewed enjoyment of our erotic potential. Cultivating this Compassionate Witness is the only way to empower our sexual-spiritual growth, and is the key to tantric practice as the unblocking, weaving, or reweaving of our sacred energies.

Breathe into our Compassionate Witness

The preeminent way to fall into this meditative attitude of awareness is to invite our mind’s focus to rest gentle on Holy Spirit within us. We can do this at each and every moment of our daily lives. Instead of investing in all the business and busyness of our chattering mind, we invite ourselves to focus on the subtle movement of the lifeforce within. This is immediately manifest to us through the flow of our breathing. It also becomes manifest as the vibrations that sound themselves all around, within and through our being-in-the-world. This tantric meditation, and almost all of our everyday activities may be invited into it. To pursue this practice deliberately in a special time space of our lives, we may sit in meditation. This means we site quietly and comfortably upright, closing our eyes and ears, and we invite our focus to rest gently on the most subtle feature of our inbreath and our outbreath; then we watch when our chattering mind protests strenuously by persistently trying to distract us with impulses or fantasies; and compassionately, moment-by-moment, we thank it goodbye. This stills the chattering mind, divesting our egotism of its grip on us, and it brings us into awareness or mindfulness of the energies or our lifeforce. From a special period of daily meditation, we may extend our engagement with this meditative process throughout our everyday lives.

Dance, move and vibrate into our Compassionate Witness

It is also especially powerful to meditate while dancing wildly and spontaneously, while sounding out the vibrations of our embodiment, and shaking up our chakras, arousing them passionately and whole-heartedly. Moving our bodymind energetically calms the chattering mind, and engages our erotic potential. This is an important aspect of Osho’s wonderful contributions to our understanding of meditative practices, his so-called “active” or “dynamic” approaches to meditation. As we breathe, we move ecstatically, sound out our vibrations, and surrender into the flow of our erotic energies, we engage our bodymind’s sensuality fully, yet we are also mindful of its momentum. The wild momentum of our energies subverts the dominance of our egotism, and our Compassionate Witness is cultivated. We become, so to speak, fully “in” our body’s wisdom, yet we are not entirely “of” our bodymind. Our sourcing, our lifeforce, is discovered as our Compassionate Witness. As we surrender into our wildness, we awaken into the awareness of a profound stillness within ourselves. We come to embrace the erotic deathfulness that is the liveliness of the lifeforce – the rest and motion of Holy Spirit that is our ecstatic emptiness.

Express our passions mindfully

The quieting of our chattering mind does not imply a deadening of our passions, but their intensification. Our egotism, purporting to protect us from the pain and loss of life, actually deadens our experience of empathy as well as of our emotions – and, of course, ultimately this fails to protect us from anything, except temporarily from our egotism’s sense of its own vulnerability. Typically, the emotionality expressed by our chattering mind is somewhat inauthentic, founded in the anxieties of our egotism, dislocated from its bodily conditions. Usually, it is either masked or paraded exaggeratively. As the fearfulness and the force of our egotism recede, and as our meditative awareness is cultivated, intense feelings arise – feelings long forgotten, inhibited, suppressed or repressed, inscribed within the connective tissues of our embodiment. In this spiritual practice, neither pain nor pleasure is to be avoided, but welcomed as expressions of the liveliness of life itself. We become as welcoming of teas as of laughter, for both express the joy of our aliveness. The genuineness of our tears washes us emotionally clean, and celebrates our emphatic connectedness with all of life’s pain and loss. On our spiritual path, we invite the eruptive bursts of laughter that afford us a glimpse of the ecstatic emptiness that pervades all that is – as if glimpsed through a crack in our egotisms deluded systems of belief. So we invite laughter to burst forth riotously as we engage fully with the sweetness of life, relinquishing our identifications and our attachments to our human deludedness. And as we invite ourselves into the fullness and the authenticity of these emotional expressions, we become aware that we are “in” them but not entirely “of “ them. Our empathy and our emotionality become more mindful, as the cultivation of our Compassionate Witness frees us to celebrate the sanctity of our passions.

Lovemake openly, extravagantly and expansively

Our spiritual enlightening requires our erotic freedom. And anyway, why would we ever limit our lovemaking? Our sexuality is, after all, the process of aligning our erotic energies, and it is profoundly beneficial to all those touched by its momentum. However, it is profoundly threatening to the security of our egotism. Our chattering mind is content to have us “screw around” for, in such activities, “sexuality” is recruited to our egotism’s anxiety-based program of conquest and domination. Other than the hostile possessiveness of “getting off” and “screwing around,” the moralizing ideologies of our chattering mind permit us to share ourselves sensually only in closeted circumstances and only with those whom we supposedly “love.” This is because genuinely erotic expression is frightening for our egotism, which turns sexuality into an occasion for shame and guilt. Instead, our egotism offers us compulsive sexification in pursuit of its agenda of hostile control over the “other.” Even “at its best,” our egotism’s schemes of “love” are the prisonhouse of attachment and possessive relationship. Genuinely erotic freedom is the downfall of our egotism. For the relief of our suffering, for the relief of the suffering of the human community, and for the relief of the suffering of the planet, it is beneficial that we engage our potential for lovemaking as often as we are able, as fully as we are able, as passionately as we are able, and as whole-heartedly as we are able.

Lovemake exuberantly and abundantly

At each and every moment of our lives, our sexual expression is a blessing that we need to free from the conditions and constraints of our egotism. How we lovemake - whether by the gaze of our eyes, the caress of our voice, or the gentleness of tender touching, whether with kissing mouths and genitals, whether with or without the consortion of vulva-vaginas and penises, whether with anal stimulation or without, is irrelevant. What matters deeply is the spiritual momentum of these activities. Lovemaking – whether alone, with a stranger, with a partner we believe we know well, with a group, or with the trees, the skies, the mountains and the oceans – is always consensual, mutual, wholly present, ethical, and expressive of our one heart. Such tantric lovemaking, imbued with compassion, appreciation and grace – as well as the healing power of passion and the cooling power of solace in our aloneness – releases us from our chattering mind by intensifying and circulating the erotic energies that flow all around, within and through us. Because of this, even the slightest engagement in lovemaking contributes to the wellbeing of the entire universe. Lovemaking is what saves us from our egotism. Lovemaking is the essential sacred act of meditation. The awareness of free-flowing lovemaking is the essence of prayerfulness.

Mobilize our erotic potential into orgasming

In the tantric practice of lovemaking – whether this is practiced solo or with partners – we invite our focus to rest intently and intensively on the sensual immediacy of our experience in every present moment. Our lovemaking becomes aware or mindful. It awakens and mobilizes the lifeforce within us. It becomes meditative and essentially prayerful. For example, if mouth and genital are playfully engaged, we invite our focus to rest completely and fully on the presence of these delicious sensations that we are experiencing. And as we become this sensuality, we compassionately witness any distracting thoughts or feelings that arise, understanding that these are our egotism’s efforts to distract us, to recapture our energies, and to convert sexuality into its own agenda, and we mindfully thank these distractions goodbye. Such tantric lovemaking is not just a physical engagement, it becomes a meditation that circulates our erotic energies and empowers the mindfulness of our Compassionate Witness. It is a spontaneous, free and playful engagement in which we surrender ourselves to the power of the lifeforce within, and let the productions of our chattering mind pass on by. Lovemaking quietens the chattering mind, and facilitates the mobilization of erotic energies throughout our embodiment. As our energies are mobilized, we may stoke their fire and, by coordinating our breathing, our moving, and our sounding out the vibrationality within, draw them through our “inner flut” or sushumna – our bodily container along the axis of the spinal column. We may stoke this fountain of fire until energies ripple and undulate from our root to our crown, exploding us into the ecstasy of orgasming. Even minor orgasmic rippling through any area of the bodymind has beneficial effects, melting our separateness and aligning us with the energies around us. But the kundalini fountain of fire that may burst up and down the sushumna is supremely powerful in its dissolution of our egotism. This momentum is the essence of mystical experience available to us all. Such orgasming casts us into experiencing the erotic deathfulness of our existence. It joyously carries us into the ecstatic emptiness of our bliss. It opens our being-in-the-world to the inherence of heaven-on-earth. It is our union with the Sacred Unity of the supreme flow of the universe, which is that of the truthfulness of Love.

Become mindful of our chattering mind

These sexual-spiritual practices are intolerable to our egotism, which will instigate any number of hindrances, resistances, obstructions and blockages to keep us from this path. The more we approach spiritual awareness, the more we invite our Compassionate Witness into our lives, the more we awaken our erotic energies, the more threatened our egotism will be and the more reasons it will concoct to deter us from our enlightening. Our enlightening is rarely a singular epiphany that forever after insulates us from the lures and blandishments of our frightened egotism. Rather, our serenity usually comes gradually as our practice deepens and takes hold of us more fully. Our chattering mind may persist in its assertions and distractions. It will preoccupy us with narratives of past and future that take us away from the presentness of our experience. It will insist that we need to subscribe to belief systems and moralizing ideologies that prevent us from the naturalness of our ethical path. And it will generally try to convince us that we cannot survive without an edifice of identifications, positions, and stories. But we can survive, and thrive. We can live life in Love. We can become the manifestation of holiness-in-process, as compassion, appreciation and grace flow freely throughout our existence and our experience. We can become orgasmically filled with joy, ecstasy and bliss. It is our egotism that cannot survive this process of being holiness-becoming-manifest. In this process, it is helpful to be aware that doing combat with our egotism actually derails us from our sexual-spiritual path. Our chattering mind actually enhances itself by the hostilities of struggle, and revels in judgmental deliberation. So to struggle against it – to argue with it, to praise it or to condemn it – is to enhance its control over us. Our egotism bloats itself as soon as we attempt to fight its influence. Opposition to our egotism is itself and act of egotism. So instead, our sexual-spiritual practice cultivates our Compassionate Witness and nurtures our erotic potential. And, by being invited to pass on by – without any fight – by failing to gain our attachment or identification with its productions, by being thanked goodbye, our egotism gradually withers. On this sexual-spiritual path, we mindfully practice – and practice – and practice, because our egotism is usually struggling sneakily to reestablish itself.

Become warily aware of our egotism’s allure

Our egotism is extraordinarily tricky and deceitful, luring us back into our imprisonment and perpetuating our misery in the name of its impossible pursuit of a life without hardship, pain, and loss – a life without decay and death. It is beneficial to be mindful of this. For example, our chattering mind will tell us that the “point” of life is to master the world, by which it means forcefully dominate the other – to be a success by “achieving our potential,” to gain influence and accumulate wealth. It will tell us that the “point” is to gain dominion over ourselves, by which it means our egotism’s dominion over us. It will tell us that the “point” is to refine our judgmentalism, to parade our knowledge, or to preen our moralizing ideologies and religious observances. It will tell us that the “point” is not to release ourselves from belief systems, but to formulate “better” beliefs. It will tell us that the “point” is to “think positively,” even though this attaches us even more tightly to the productions of our chattering. It will tell us that the “point” is to improve the transactional effectiveness of our relationships, or even to be able to “love better,” by which it means to possess and control the other more effectively. And perhaps the sneakiest snares our chattering mind sets for us are that it will tell us it “knows” what spirituality is, all the while distracting us from experiencing our Holy Spirit; and that it sells us the cheap thrills of sexification, all the while deterring us from experiencing our sacred erotic potential. We need to be mindful of these entrapments. Spiritual experience is not to be found in the judgementalism of beliefs, in moralizing conduct, in articles of faith and impressive ceremonies, in superstitious divinations, or in magical mumbo jumbo. Remember: spiritual life releases us from the chattering mind, casting us immediately into the erotic experience of our Holy Spirit within. Sexual experience is ultimately not to be found in the commodities of sexification, which either reinscribe shame, guilt, and anxiety, over our erotic potential by parading our egotism’s production of sexiness, or suborn sexual expression to our egotism’s agenda of hostility and domination. Remember: sexuality is always free-flowing, always mutual, always an aligning of energies within the universe touched by it, and always an opening of ourselves to Holy Spirit that circulates all around us, within us and through us. On our sexual-spiritual path, it is well to be mindful of how our egotism will insist that it knows the way, and will by this means defeat us from its own demolition.

Go Wild

The sexual-spiritual path liberates us from the preoccupations of our egotism and from the conditioning of our sociocultural circumstances. Celebrate Holy Spirit! Go wild! Celebrate life reverently! Be naked. Move into the spontaneous dancing of our embodiment. Touch everyone and everything with generous abandon. Sink into the eyes of the other. Connect at the heart. Worship the genitals, for they are the altars for spiritual practice. Honor the relatedness of all things while refusing the lure of relationships. Respect the belongingness of things, while avoiding possessiveness. Be passionate, experiencing pleasure and pain as opportunities for the enjoyment of life itself. Experience the sanctity of our passions. Speak truthfulness without hesitation, and without fear of the forces of deludedness. Nurture the temple of the bodymind. Become yogic, understanding that yoga derives from tantric practice. Gently unsettle all egotism and let it pass. Cultivate the Compassionate Witness and invite our erotic energies to flow freely. Embrace the deathfulness of the ecstatic emptiness that pervades all being and nonbeing, understanding that this is the universal energy of Love. Releasing ourselves to our Holy Spirit, releasing ourselves from all our shame, guilt, anxiety, and conflict, emancipating ourselves from the burdensome preoccupation with past and future, and emancipating ourselves from the judgementalism of beliefs and ideologies – freeing ourselves on this sexual-spiritual path may well cause reactions against us, for we live in socio-cultural circumstances where the free are often persecuted, jailed, tortured and killed. We can, however, always access our joy, ecstasy, and bliss.

Celebrate the ethicality of our existence

As we move ourselves onto the sexual-spiritual path, we release ourselves from the shame and guilt of moralizing judgementalism, and we find ourselves naturally following the ethicality of our erotic energies. Rather than living in the edifice of our egotism with its commitment to suffering, we find ourselves living happily in compassion, appreciation and grace. As we release ourselves from our chattering mind with its incessant judgementalism – by which it deludes us into believing that life’s hardship, pain, and loss, can be, and is to be, avoided – we embrace the deathfulness of life itself. In this embrace, we experience our existence fully, finding our erotic enjoyment in the liveliness of life itself.

Live life as a sexual-spiritual adventure

On the tantric path, we practice, and practice, and practice. We practice living. We practice letting go our deludedness, coming into the reality of life’s magnificence. Here-and-now, in every present moment, we experience the divinity of existence. We find that heaven and earth are one and the same. Sexual-spiritual practice is adventure – the most adventurous adventure that humans can ever know. It requires that we constantly take ourselves to “our edge.” This edge is that timespace to push further than which is to force change – which is just what our chattering mind wants, since any forcefulness validates our egotism. Yet it is also that timespace from which to hang back is to avoid growth – which is just what our chattering mind wants, since any avoidance upholds the egotism’s sense of security. This is the “middle way” of which Gautama Buddha spoke, for it declines all the extremes by which our egotism becomes yet more fearful and yet more resistant to its own delusion. Living “at our edge” is an adventure that takes us into aliveness, into an experience of the full vibrancy of existence. This sexual-spiritual adventure takes us into the timespace of the deepest innermost silence, the eternal emptiness that is the supreme flow of the universe, the truthfulness of the Sacred Unity that is Love.

From the book The Way of the BodyPrayerPath by Barnaby Barratt Ph.D.