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SEX: The Final Consciousness Frontier

A colleague of mine reported that out of curiosity she'd gone online recently to find out about web sites on "sexuality." She was flabbergasted to find thousands of them right at her fingertips. Perhaps the rumors are true, then, that "sex" is the most popular, the most sought after experience on the web.

-And off. For those of us living in metropolitan Los Angeles, our weeklies sport hundreds of ads about sex: hot and heavy phone sex, breast or penis implants, viagra or viacreme, escort services and "full body" sensual massages.

But even if you are living in officially more conservative Orange or San Diego counties, and are part of a New Thought spiritual community, you've probably noticed a newcomer frequenting the SoCal sex scene: "Tantra." Growing numbers of its local advertisers offer to provide a sensual and/or sexual spiritual experience, readily available in conjunction with massage, or in the form of a "playshop."

One way to interpret the phenomenon is that New Thought communities are feeling a need to bring their bodies into conscious play, not just their minds -a very important shift. Yet, along with soulful embodiment of spirit comes the challenge of dealing with the deeply moving and powerful physical and emotional feelings that arise as "kundalini," - a Sanscrit word for the sacred serpent fires of sexual, creative, life force energies - is liberated.

From the proliferation of promising ads, it would appear that enlightened sexuality isn't hard to accomplish, but how are we really doing?

Working behind the scenes for 15 years in the intimacy arena, having served hundreds of clients requesting tantric-based healing sessions, I find that we New Agers have all the same difficulties as the rest of society: lack of education, dysfunctions, deep hurts and doubts, addictions and compulsions -and shame-based belies. And speaking with colleagues about their experiences corroborates my own: our own "conscious" spiritual communities are in as much denial about having issues as is the general population.

Fortunately, many of us have acquired relational tools and skills to help us with the hurt and anxiety that our relationships bring to the fore. More of us are embracing the path of "conscious relations." Yet because of the shame around sexual or sensual matters, we often fall short of using these tools and gaining the skills, even in our tantric communities. As a final frontier for consciousness, sexuality lies deep at the heart of our very sense of worth as men and women: it takes great courage to face, embrace and learn from our sexual shadows.

Walking our conscious talk in our love lives, means intending to be present for soulful connection, fully alive, harmless or loving in our interactions with others, and warriors for love and truth. When it comes to the potent facts about sexual energies and their intimate legacies, we must stay the course of the deep healing work needing to be done there as well. We can't afford to hide behind platitudes, or rush to find pleasure fixes - even "ecstatic" ones. Try as we may to grab onto ecstacy, joy or blissful love, we cannot hold onto it by creating intense pleasure sensations alone, momentary highs, trying to avoid the discomforts of the Unknown -avoiding what's known in personal growth circles as shadow or abyss work.

Going deep within and expanding out into unknown turf is necessary for the full breath of spirit to soar, necessary to heathy, viable relationships, and essential to sexual fulfillment as well. Part of this "unknown turf" is home to all the hurt we've suffered around our core identities as men and women -the part that we've learned to avoid for a myriad reasons. Our denial cuts deep into our potential experience of well being.

It is ironic that tantra, the bastion of ancient practices that woo the conscious merger of all things spiritually divine with all sentient life, including sexual, sensual and creative living, is seldom presented by its SoCal facilitators as requiring any passage through our "dark side." Ads tout benefits such as ecstatic experience, deep communion, cure for sexual wounding, enormous orgastic pleasures and all the lovers you desire. In a single weekend playshop all these things can be ours for the asking. Come have a great time, be "spiritual," find the God and Goddess within, leave your heartache or pain behind -perhaps forever!

While it is technically possible that you might have an epiphany over a weekend and be transported to a permanent heaven, it is unlikely. Further, although it is unpopular to mention in advertising that you must do spiritual workouts in tantric sex as well, and that work means facing what you most distrust in yourself, in life and in partnership, facing up is still a necessity. If a teacher doesn't include that fact in his or her work, there is much laboring-under- delusions instead, delusions that act to perpetuate the kinds of patterned hurts, angst, even physical illness that denial assures: the very stress and pain that may have sent you to a workshop or private session in the first place.

There must be a "new tantra." One that doesn't confuse sensation with love, intensity with spirituality, momentary deep connections with the whole of the work of creating and maintaining stalwart relations. A new tantra opens to trust that what we call shadow is not only the storehouse of what we fear from the hurts and disappointments life has bestowed, but the Divine Recognition we crave to remember about ourselves as well. What we might call "shadow dancing tantra" skills are essential to the whole experience.

Whether the word "sex" conjures up for you the possibility of a hot tryst, deep lovemaking, rescue from loneliness, erotic connection to Nature, learning g-spot massage to make your partner go crazy for you - or painful past invasions to your body and soul, please promise yourself to explore the "work" of healing and of truly celebrating your sexual and sensual nature. The urge for sexual expression reiterates the act of Creation itself, the ultimate passion to create, to bring into being, to Love.

Sexual wholeness is our final frontier in personal, spiritual growth, in order that we may truly emBody spirit. The future of "conscious relationships" with a new tantra in the forefront is a dance between light and shadow. It's the breath that flows through the play of our moments. Let's embrace this sacred challenge as a labor of Love. Namaste.