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Tantra: an ecosexual revolution!

Ecosexual tiger on tantra4tigers

Ecosexual a brief history

Ecosexual was originally coined as a term to describe people who choose dates based on environmental and socially conscious values. From that origin it has grown into a whole movement, largely inspired by the efforts of sex educator, artist and activist Annie Sprinkle Ph.D.

At SexEcology we learn from her manifesto that to be an ecosexual is feel as passionately to the earth, as to our lover and soulmate. All actions then spring from this love, and our desire to honour, defend, serve…

Tantra: an ecosexual revolution

In this article I consider Tantra as a path in service to this ecosexual revolution. One that coincidentally addresses root causes of over consumption driving consumer society. As we seek to evolve new ways of being together, what part does Tantra have to play in developing sustainable community paradigms?

Sex sells, there is no doubt about this. From men’s shavers to women’s handbags, the displacement of sex into fetishized objects is ubiquitous in consumer society. “Buy me, I am sexy. Vicariously through me, you too will experience this sexiness” is a common message in television and display advertising. And yet I wonder whether collectively, do we really know our sex intimately? For sex remains in another sense a taboo topic, about which many are unable to converse either openly or truthfully.

Consumer society is largely founded upon the values and concerns of the ego. From cars to relationships and homes, the ego constructs its sense of self via identification with extraneous things. The ego exists through possession. Spiritual practice on the other hand draws our attention to inner contemplation, to exposing the false self running the show. Residing in no mind, sinking into the heart of the Self, surrendering to the will of God: these and similar intentions are common to most spiritual practice.

Through communities of practice, we open the way to new economies, which are no longer egocentric.

Why is it that sex sells? It is a peculiar facet of the ego that it works most vigorously to hide from itself and others, that about which it feels most insecure. One reason sex sells so very well, is because it is here we have become collectively most under educated. As a result of prohibitive taboos, we often hope our children will find their way to intimately relating adulthood, via a process of trial and error. That sex sells is further fuelled by the fact it is such a powerful motivating force. If the natural expressions of sex, love and intimacy feel frustrated – this can lead to a persistence of desire quite unlike anything else.

We will never drop into a deeper and more harmonious relationship with the natural world, whilst inwardly ignoring or warring with our own natural expression. We need collectively as a society, to come into alignment with the nature of our sex.

To come into alignment with the “Nature of our sex” has to be properly understood.

There is much we imagine to be natural in sex that is nostalgia, repressive idealism, naiveté or a manufactured imitation of naturalness. Dictates such as “wholesome sex in marriage only”, “always between a man and a woman” or “for procreation only” – these statements say nothing of what is natural to sex. An experience of our naturalness in sex occurs when we are deeply centred, living conscious and unconditioned choices, following (or simply acknowledging) our energy wherever it leads. Where the ego constructs from the outside in, the unconditioned self arises: the education needed is therefore also often an unlearning.

Neo-tantra specifically seeks out for unlearning root causes blocking naturalness in our whole being, with a focus on intimacy and sex.

It can be hard to identify in the market place today, exactly what Tantra is. And actually Tantra is more of an evolution than a static thing, meaning that it changes shape in different times and eras. A comparison might be how art has taken very different shapes and forms in different times, so that there is not always agreement about what exactly it is.

Following I outline the basis of my own neotantric practice and the ways in which it can help reunite us with the sacred of our sex …

And coincidently, how tantra may help unleash an eco-sexual revolution!

Energy and Consciousness
Tantra can be understood as teaching us the dance between energy and consciousness, as pointed to by archetypal lovers Shakti (energy) and Shiva (consciousness). Through this dance we enter into union with the whole.

Energy is all that is created and exists in the universe. Often understood as a mysterious force, energy is in fact no different to matter except by degree of density, or vibrational frequency. Consciousness is not simply whether we are literally asleep or awake, though many people are in fact sleeping when they are awake! Consciousness just is, and arises as a result of moment-by-moment awareness. It is source expressed, just as individual waves arise from the ocean.

Awakening consciousness is the intention of most meditation and spiritual practice. Energy however is more often seen as something dangerous to be restrained except in situations prescribed as ‘healthy’. Or otherwise to be strictly channelled through rigorous discipline, as in forms of yoga evolved to harness the sexual energy of young warriors! Paths that focus exclusively on the cultivation of stillness through consciousness tend to lead us to the masculine face of God.

Tantra practices open the way to an embracing and surrender through energy. Tantra encourages us to free up, expand and consciously follow our energy, as we manifest our unique dance with the universe. Tantra brings all that is created – in the form of energy and as experienced through the senses – to the heart of our spiritual practice. Paths that pulsate with life, movement and energy tend to lead us to the Goddess, to the feminine face of our divinity.

In coming home to the Goddess, we also come home to the sacred nature of all that is created and exists, as experienced through our senses.

Masculine and feminine
Tantra is by no means a unified church and has many flavours. For some Shiva and Shakti seem to remain firmly rooted in the physical masculine or feminine form of the practitioner: the man embodies Shiva, the woman embodies Shakti. Tantra teachers with a shamanic background will more likely not only embrace that we are all both masculine and feminine, but go further and shape shift to embody their opposite.

I was introduced to this by witnessing two of my teachers – John Hawken and Baba Dez – shape shift into the feminine, powerfully reflecting back my own Goddess nature. These teachings were a gift, assisting me to release even deeper levels of unconscious ego identification. For what more powerful identification is there, than with our own gender? When this identification is breached, through stepping into our gender opposite, our energy may open to a multitude of expressions formerly closed to us, because we were conditioned by society not to identify with them.

In sessions when teaching men, I sometimes embody masculine warrior energy. Clients come along often to meet the Goddess. But to really meet her, they may need first to learn how to step fully into their own conscious masculine. I remember my teacher Baba Dez saying to me that Dakini* practitioners are often embodying and mirroring back to men the masculine. It took me some time to first understand this, to see it happening in my sessions, and then consciously embrace it as a process. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with me – as “brothers in arms” (using a dynamic mediation process for this purpose) – can awaken a warrior’s courage.

Returning to our eco-sexual revolution, it is my understanding that a reclaiming the conscious masculine warrior – and Goddess warrior archetypes too – is one facet of the shift to new paradigms occurring now in our world. As every conscious warrior knows, this is not about seeking victory through fight. It is about finding a celebratory clarity, momentum and energy in our daily tasks. It is about the warrior’s ability to instinctively act in organic unity with others, at times when the going may be tough.

And at the core of every warrior is humility… the certainty that with every step, we are in service.

*Female tantra practitioners often adopt the role of “Dakini” in their teaching.

Sex, belly, senses and heart truths
Mostly we are conditioned in the west to make decisions with our minds. Especially anything relating to practical business affairs. Tantra teaches us a subtlety of awareness permeating our whole being – including (but not limited to) our senses, heart, belly, and sex.

Mind centred living often represses or sublimates different choices we would make if living from another centre. These unheard expressions will usually surface in underhand ways such as passive aggression; cheating and lying in relationship; depression; illness or even explosive rage leading to murder or suicide. In surrendering to a consciousness that radiates through every pore of our being, Tantra helps us let go of mind identification, and our deciding can emerge from an organically unified whole.

I remember one particularly vivid tantra practice in which I transformed into a feminine warrior archetype of Jaguar. I tasted how magical it is to experience simultaneously through every sense and sinew: to feel ones absolute synchronicity with the whole. This occurred at the close of a meditation in which I had vividly awakened all senses through a lengthy pleasuring ritual with a partner.

I leave it to the imagination of the reader, to picture a community of individuals, living this consciously free and expansive through their whole being. If the suggestion arouses resistance – judgements such as “this is not a practicable foundation for civilization” – further investigation of the fear fuelling the resistance may be fruitful!

Immanence, transcendence and totality
I don’t pretend to understand in depth or know well, the centuries of philosophical discussion on immanence, and transcendence. What I do experience in tantra practice though, is phenomena that offer a sense of recognition – an “I have touched this” – when reading what others have written on these topics. On the other hand one might read hundreds of texts for a whole lifetime, and never come to know in any way experientially what they speak of.

Earlier I emphasised how tantra cultivates both energy, and consciousness in the practitioner. I have wondered from my own practice, whether tantra also brings us to an experience of both immanence and transcendence. Whether the embrace of energy and consciousness, opens us to an experience of things that have the appearance of being contrary doctrine to the philosophical mind (though I understand there are also theologians who state transcendence and immanence are not at all mutually exclusive).

There are many facets to the experiencing of tantra, one of which is the conscious cultivation of pleasure, senses and sex. Through sacred union, we simultaneously experience the within and beyondness of God. Immanence comes from the Latin “in manere – to remain in”. When deeply awakening the senses, consciousness – or God – pulsates within every cell of our body! And yet at the same time we often expand beyond what we experience as our usual frame, beyond a materially bound finiteness. As the “I end here, and over there, you begin” dissolves – we may even be totally overwhelmed by an expansiveness of being.

Tantra is not a series of concepts, thoughts or ideas – but something deeply lived and experienced. And so tantra will tend to transform the way that we express ourselves in life. Tantra radiates through our very being. Returning to our consumer society, paradoxically by diving deeply into our pleasure, superfluous and insatiable desires fuelling over consumption tend to fall away.

Tantra dances deeply with our desires. Consciously following energy with libratory intent, conditioned identifications fall away, releasing us each moment into the naturalness of the unconditioned Self.

Comments

  1. Hi Cathryn
    I have just read your beautiful and inspirational article Tantra:An Ecosexual Revolution.
    Reassuringly passionate and life opening
    Thank you
    I met you very briefly over the dinner table at Beltaine in Hazel Hill
    Tim

    • Cathryn Jiggens says:

      Dear Tim,

      Many thanks for your feedback, glad that you enjoyed the article and hopefully see you out in the woods again sometime!

      Warm regards,
      Cathryn

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