Saturday, March 2, 2013

Being Present, Tantric Life and Erotic Intelligence

There is nothing special you need. No special training. No magic insight, invitation, auspicious or formal entrée. We each and every one of us have the essential and innate capacity for beingness.

It is only the perpetuated illusion of separation that creates the experience of duality; of self and other. In this separation is rooted the unfolding self-narrative and body consciousness that distorts our perception that the world is happening to us, apart from us. But as the great Sufi poet Rumi reminds us, "You are not a mere drop in the ocean. You are the mighty ocean in a single drop."

So what does 'tantra,' the root principle of Tantric Buddhism teach us about our subjective connection with reality. First, it expresses the traditional buddhist doctrine of "two truths," which is the notion that there is the conditional truth or conventional awareness (consensual reality) and the absolute truth (enlightened mind/heart). Simply put, tantra denotes a commitment to path that leads us to knowing the divine, or connecting with Godhead, through ritual practices that bring to fruition the inherent buddha-mind awareness within each of us.

In the West, our truncated and simplified association with Tantra is via tantric sex practices. Tantra in this regard is far from trivial, as far as one sees it as a path to unification of one's sexual aspects, one's masculine and feminine energies, and most importantly, with the quality of full imminence and presence in the moment as a way of contacting reality in all of its sensual and phenomenological richness.

The latter is truly the heart of the matter, as it relates to being fully open to the 'juiciness' of life in an erotic manner. Eros is a concept derived from the ancient Greek such as to conventionally denote 'intimate' or 'romantic' love. Plato, however, suggested that eros can be cultivated and idealized intellectually to a higher, more realized form--one that expresses love for the quality of a person, an idea or life itself, hence "platonic" love. Taken further, as Carl Jung suggested, eros embodies a yearning for sustaining life energy itself, the desire for wholeness, interconnectedness and "psychic relatedness." There is a whole side discussion here towards other goals of buddhist practice, i.e. towards developing a sense of interdependency, equanimity, compassion and empathy. However, for the time being the focus here is on viewing eros and tantra as portals to connecting with the full passion of life.

This is what is meant by 'erotic intelligence.' It is not simply the sexual drive to merge with another in desire and fantasy, but the impulse to creatively engage with the passion of life itself. To be fully alive, to develop the capacity to have emotional and sensual fluidity through our connection with experience, with ideas, with the unbridled energy of the universe--whether through sexual passion or 'platonic' tenderness--refreshes us and vitalizes our relationship with the world. Erotic intelligence, apart from emotional intelligence--which is the capacity with which we are aware of our social interactions, the the emotional currency and dynamics of relationship--allows us to explore, define, and cultivate for ourselves the texture, contours, sensual openness, surrender, yearning and desire of our passionate life. It charges up our expressiveness and our receptiveness as sensual beings, whether it be through aesthetic, spiritual, sexual/physical, intellectual, platonic or tactile engagement with reality.

No comments:

Post a Comment