Cultivating safety in sexuality workshops

Since the tsunami of #metoo hit our cultural and social consciousness, we have seen wave after wave of statements of abuse by people in power. No area of life has been untouched by these outings– from government to charities, church to corporations. In the spiritual community every field from yoga to meditation has been shaken and stirred. In this sense the Tantra world is no different from any other sphere of life. However, what makes it particularly chilling is that many people entered the field of sacred sexuality seeking healing, and instead found themselves being further traumatised by what they encountered.

In Tantric work it is not uncommon for difficult emotions and suppressed memories to surface. Sometimes people experience catharsis and tears as old patterns and stories fall away. In the moment this is held with presence and compassion, and supported in moving through the body. What is essential is that the person is able to process their experience as fully as they can in that moment. It is only in a space of safety and security that we can really allow ourselves to open into the fullness of experiences. Softness and sensitivity are our guides.

What is problematic is when people have been pushed beyond what they are able to process – all in the name of breaking through sexual shame, cultural taboos, or “smashing the Ego”. Rather than being supported to explore and honour their boundaries and needs, folks have been pressurised to break through their “resistance” to the detriment of their physical and mental wellbeing.

What is shown time and time again through these revelations is how challenging it is for many people – in particular women – to feel empowered to honour the wisdom and knowing of their own being. We have been brought up with the message that we must entrust power over to authority figures whether teachers or doctors. We have been conditioned to disconnect from our bodies and override the subtle cues that something is not right for us. We have been taught to ignore our intuition and suppress our emotions. And we are so longing for connection and community that we give up our individual needs in order to fit in and belong.

So, how do we reclaim our sovereignty whilst surrendering into our spirituality? How can you stay safe when igniting such potentially explosive material as sexuality? What could be the ways forward for us all?

There are three principles which can support you on your journey…

Awareness

Tantra is founded on the twin principles of Energy (Shakti) and Awareness (Shiva). Much neo-Tantric teaching has focused on the cultivation of high energetic states, orgasm and ecstasy. However, this is only one dimension. We also need to cultivate the quality of awareness; witnessing ourselves in the experience.

Awareness is not the small self that shows up as self-consciousness; not able to fully engage for fear of “what other will people think”. Rather this is the big “Self” of consciousness that it always present within us. Awareness keeps us anchored in the present moment, able to notice and witness our experience as the “one who is experiencing” rather than floating off into realms of fantasy or disassociation, which are mechanisms of escape from reality.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity begins with your capacity to feel yourself first, before even starting to think about feeling another. How open are you to the environment around you? How keenly do you experience each moment of aliveness? Many people have had sensitivity drummed out of them from an early age. Or life feels so overwhelming that we numb ourselves out in order to survive.

In life there is a flow between giving and receiving, activity and receptivity. However, many people get stuck in one mode – usually the one associated with outward action and doing. When we are constantly pushing or reaching out into the world, the quality of sensitivity in noticing what is coming back towards us is diminished. We are reaching out for an experience but not attuned to what is actually coming back our way.

Sensitivity begins with feeling life moving through us as it is – without agenda or expectation. Once we have experienced this force of life, we realise that it is a part of us. We do not need to reach out to another to provide it to us. We are in a place where we can share what is moving through as an overflowing of our being. We touch the other as if touching ourselves and are responsive to the feedback that flows between us in the aliveness of the moment.

Slowing Down

Our world is increasingly fast-paced and performance driven. We want it all and we want it now. We have lost a sense of appreciation for the time it takes to truly learn and master a new skill. We are a culture of over-stimulated intensity junkies focused on quick wins and fast results.

Tantra is not a journey than can be fast-tracked; it requires continuous and consistent commitment to your practise and personal growth. Whilst powerful breakthroughs and exciting energetic shifts can be experienced in the moment, it is only by giving space for integration and honouring the movement of the experience beyond the workshop and into our lives that we can truly move glimpse the potential of the Tantric path.

Awareness, sensitivity and slowing down are all skills that can be cultivated. They require time and space to open into more subtle experience. Are you ready to awaken to a new way of being?