Art by Ines Hofe
“You see, ecstasy is the natural human state, and the obstacles we create to ecstasy are part of a dictatorial state our thought makes us live in. Ecstasy is simpler than suffering. It smells good. It is present throughout. It is with us always. There is nothing to do and nothing to look for. It’s enough to stay totally open and let things occur without worrying about changing their nature. By our being really present, continuously present, all reality becomes a source of joy and happiness.”
Devi in “Tantric Quest” by Daniel Odier
Many tantric teachers and texts tell us that ecstasy is our natural state, but that we have forgotten how to live that way.
In my own journey of sexual and spiritual awakening, I have come to know that truth and love it so much that reference to it became my tagline: Awakening Your Ecstatic Potential.
And as I've embodied that reality more and more, so too more people have come to me wanting to know "the secret".
It's not that I necessarily go around with a permanent grin on my face, heaving great orgasmic sighs (though that has been known ;-) ), it's more that there is a quality of radiance and spontaneous aliveness to my being that emits as a result of my open-hearted, open-bodied intimacy with life.
What I say to those who wish to embrace more of their own ecstatic potential, whether in tantric love-making or far more widely in authentic self-expression, is that it takes practice.
Not always the answer one wants to hear, but, for me, it's a case of regular, day by day immersion in practices of awareness, energy, breath and embodiment.
Sure, we can spend £100's on a weekend workshop and have a momentary high or mind-blowing insight, but then what?
To experience within ourselves the alchemical union of divine masculine (consciousness) and feminine (energy), and to gradually open our being to the experience of (ego) absence, through total presence requires that we bring these practices into our every-day life.
This is what I understand as, to borrow a phrase from Lorin Roche (my hero translator of The Radiance Sutras), full-bodied spirituality.
What I notice from the clients who come to me feeling lost or out of alignment, is that their awareness practice (be that yoga, tai chi, meditation or ecstatic dance, for example) tends to be a little haphazard or stop-start.
Once again, it's the blissicipline of a regular (ideally daily) practice, that can really make all the difference between a life lived in flow, pleasure and inner empowerment, and one that seems to yo-yo between extremes or never quite feel that head, heart and spirit are on the same page.
“Tantrism teaches that spiritual ecstasy is the germ of creation and that, with discipline and training, it can be unleashed in every experience and emotion.” Trebbe Johnson, from “The World is a Waiting Lover”
It's not that challenges aren't going to come or our moods won't fluctuate - especially as women - it's that we begin to cultivate the capacity to also witness our experience and, even when things are tough, have tools and techniques to return to neutral and shift our energy.
I's crazy isn't it, that even when we know these benefits come from regular practice and we really feel we want to commit or shift our lived experience into these ecstatic realms, we can find all kinds of reasons as to why not?!!
We're too busy right now, don't have enough money, are going on holiday, have an important project at work, our parent or child is ill, there's no space in the house to practice undisturbed, the dog needs to be walked... yada yada yada....
Yep, our ego is super good at resisting what the soul knows it wants !
And establishing a new habit - especially if it's going to awaken us, asks us to be both committed and disciplined.
Oh, and then there's the fear factor. Which is where the "daring" comes in.
Yes, we so want to move towards the promise of more aliveness, connection, bliss and pleasure, (our soul is singing at the very thought of it), but our ego is likely to be cringing at the knowing that, as a result:
we may start behaving in ways that don't "fit in" or "make sense"
we'll begin to feel long-suppressed emotions, not all of them easy
our rigid beliefs, certainties & identifications will be challenged
the people and relationships in our life may change
we'll begin to remember who we really are and step onto our soul's true path
we'll have to take responsibility
As one who's walked through this process repeatedly (in my mind, it's actually a growth spiral, rather than a straight line from A to B), I recognise all of this as an opening to greater authenticity and allowing of my divine nature, which, ultimately, is ecstatic.
To the uninitiated, it can be compelling for the soul, yet threatening to the ego. Which is why it can take courage to say a full YES to life and I applaud everyone, who is making that choice.
My passion lies in offering ways for you to reconnect with that divine spark of love, light and luscious life essence within,
Which is why I've been so excited to put together my Awakening Your Ecstatic Potential online courses, to bring you the practices, wisdom and support to step out and up on your path.
These courses bring together some of my favourite techniques and wisdom from 16 years' experience as a teacher of ecstatic dance, conscious movement, yoga, tantra and meditation.
Level 1 is now available for self-study, and a new live Level 2 is launching on Monday, October 30th.