The inspiration for the Intimacy Journey for Couples I offer came from reflecting on the lessons learned and the teachings I have received over the past 10 years of walking the Tantric path in a committed relationship. Here I begin to describe the qualities that I believe a Tantric relationship embodies.
The two foundation qualities are love and consciousness,
and they are inseparable.
While you can have one without the other it is their combination that creates the Tantric foundation of relating. They are like 2 wings of a bird, both are needed! The Shiva Lingum (pictured here) depicts exactly this alchemy. Love is the container, like the yoni, the feminine quality (not female or woman), in which you can relax, let go, be nourished and expand. Consciousness is the center, the pillar (you can lean on), the lingum, the masculine quality (not male or man). And we all have both.
Love includes the qualities of acceptance and compassion. In order for a Tantric relationship to be able to thrive, there must be real love. It’s not romanticized love, Disney fairy tales have done a lot of damage to the psyche of generations. So what is real love? It is acceptance, it is unconditional. Therefor it is not based on form, because forms change. For example, it is not conditional on a person acting a certain way, or the relationship having to look a certain way. And it’s not based on the duality of reciprocation, approval, or a set of spoken or unspoken agreements. When we can trust that the river of love runs that deep, that it embodies full acceptance and is unconditional, we can feel safe. And that is the container any relationship needs: safety and love.
It is this intention to stay with love inside, and to not withdraw love externally, that reduces the power of our ego. It is this commitment to love that allows for deep healing, where I can feel safe to show the parts of me that even I cannot love yet, which I consider ugly or horrible, which I’m ashamed about, because I know love will not be withdrawn. That doesn’t mean I will stay through abuse or lies, etc, because self-love comes first. But when engaging from real love, I can use this self-love as a compass to support my authentic self to come through, not the impostor of love that maintains wounded parts unhealthy and undeveloped.
It is an opportunity to see what needs healing (which is another way of saying what needs love), in me, in my partner, in the relationship. Of course when jealousy comes, anger, fear, sadness, anything for that matter, these are felt even more intensely and are even more painful when they arise within a relationship. So it is a great opportunity to strengthen my own commitment to journeying deeper into love! It is this love that supports deep core wounds, yours and your partner’s, to rise to the surface (for example abandonment and “I’m not good enough”). Where there is unconditional love, whatever is not love, will feel safe enough to surface and be seen, be healed, and come back home… to love!
Consciousness means taking full responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings, words and actions. It means being ruthless, and not entertaining or feeding your own or your partner’s “stories” or “games”. Since intimate relationships is where we tend to get triggered the most, where our “stories” and unhealthy patterns and wounds tend to arise the strongest, it is particularly challenging to stay conscious in an intimate relationship. Which means being in a Tantric relationship is a great opportunity to really develop the capacity of staying conscious!
So what does the quality of consciousness look like in the everyday life of a Tantric relationship? It means calling yourself out, and calling your partner out by offering a mirror to him or her so they can see themselves. This ruthlessness does not mean attacking, and it cannot be applied in a healthy effective way if there is an emotional charge from the partner who is doing the calling out. Ruthlessness means you both commit to not letting yourself or each other slip through the cracks back into unconscious relating, into the automatic, the auto-pilot programming. The commitment is to consciousness! And this needs to be based on a longing, on a deep personal desire, to stay “awake”.
Love + Consciousness =
The Foundation of a Tantric Relationship
This commitment to love itself and to consciousness itself brings incredible amounts of healing, and quickly dissolves your ego. It strengthens your inner masculine and feminine. And it supports your relationship to blossom into its full potential. You are in it together, supporting each other, to stay with love and to stay awake. It is never one against the other, you are a team facing whatever is not love and the unconscious way of living, together. Are you perfect? No! Will you make mistakes? Yes! Will you waiver? Yes! And in those moments, your partner can come in with more love and more consciousness to support you to get back on your feet. Each one extends the hand out to the other, helping them back up, and continuing to walk the Tantric path.
It is much easier to walk the Tantric path without intimate relating. As Osho has said, it’s like walking a razor’s edge! It is intense and you are tested continuously. On the other hand, exactly for the same reasons, it can bring you to awakening quicker! Most Tantric lineages have advocated for Tantric meditations to be practiced among aspirants, not between lovers and partners. It is too messy, with the emotions, attachments and shadows it can bring up. And most masters have not wanted to deal with that themselves, seeing it as a distraction, and too much of a risk of failure.
Yet living this way means there is no room for projections to thrive in the relationship. This then results in greater presence with yourself, and each other, seeing each other for who you really are instead of the qualities and wounds most people project on to each other. So this way of relating is more real, because it is based on reality instead of a broken record or movie that continuously replays and results in moving away from love and consciousness. And this affects every relationship you have, including the one with yourself, the one with life, and with the Divine! My path to healing, expanding, finding true freedom and awakening has been accelerated by living this way, loving this way, relating this way.