Apprenticeship to Love: Daily Meditation, Inspirations, and Practices for Authentic Relationships, August 27, 2023
- Today’s question: What is your practice, to feel your deepest self, and not be swept along by the habits of your life, but to allow this deepest self to understand itself anew, in this moment?
- Today's suggested practice: Day 26 of this month's practice, to practice for yourself, your wants, the things you yearn for (see my "Short Practice to Relieve Anxiety,” below)
- My practice: 5am: 60 minutes: Yogic postures, mantras, and Sat Kriya.
- My vulnerability practice: I am the polarity that resonates with Her gifts, the polarity that dares to feel how tender it is to receive...
- For Part 1 of this chapter, please see: https://v.gd/Uyj512. For Part 2, please see: https://v.gd/MZePjB
NOTE: Win Free Coaching! As the Fall/Winter seasons approach I am working with several colleagues to bring more of what I am learning in this Apprenticeship to Love into retreats, workshops, programs, etc. It's important to mention who I'm working with. These women are inspirations to me, always. They include Aumsong Troughton here on Vancouver Island, Fabiola Perez in Vancouver, and now Sarah Anderson in Golden (the Rockies). If you'd like to see some of what we're up to —and enter to win a monthly draw for a free 45-minute coaching session— please see http://sacredbodies.ca/comingsoon
~Rev. Hans Peter Meyer
The way yoga understands the body is as a container or vessel for the movement of energy. All matter, all sound, all that we experience is energy: subatomic particles vibrating, oscillating between polarities. Our sexual energy, an expression of energy. Our anger, an expression of energy. Our softness and our hardness, our stillness and our movement, an expression of energy.
Different parts of our body experience and receive and express energies in different ways. Typically, and for as long as we as a species can remember, and for millenia upon millenia before that, the energy of what yoga calls Svadhisthana or the Sacral Chakra, has been experienced as a drive to procreate. All of this powerful energy for one thing, to propogate the species.
What we know from at least two, perhaps three-plus, millenia of yogic practice, is that this is only one aspect of our "sexual" energy. And it is much more than pleasure. Simply put, it is about the penetration of experience and the receiving of experience in a most sensitive and vulnerable part of our bodies. And not limited to genital experience or expression.
We live in a culture with a powerful and overwhelming focus on our genital pleasure.
We live in a culture that understands sexuality as limited to procreation and/or pleasure. We have, for the most part, replaced the procreative mission with the mission of pleasure. But what if, as Victor Frankl warns, our persistence on pleasure merely shouts the poverty of meaning in this culture?
A woman recently came to me with this plea, Can you help us? We love each other, but we are not having sex anymore?
A man recently asked, I love my wife, but the sex we used to enjoy, it's hardly ever happening anymore. How can I change this?
What is the meaning of your life?
What is the meaning of my life?
And WTF does sex have to do with any of this, anyway?
Isn't it just easier to pleasure myself, and side-step these too-deep questions?
I don't know why this woman is in her marriage, or why this man is in his. I do know that they are on the threshold of something beautiful, but it doesn't feel that way. They are feeling death, and fear for themselves. They fear for their love. For their marriage. For the family they have, or wish to create. They —not surprisingly— are confused about how sex and love work (or are not working) in their lives.
They stand on the edge of heartbreak, and resist releasing themselves into its grip.
Do I work with this dynamic? Can what I teach, what I am learning and what I've learned, can it help? Yes. And yes. But...
But it takes practice.
What we do in this moment of our deepest penetration of life, and our allowing of the deepest penetration of ourselves, is experience a breaking open to something profoundly beautiful within ourselves: our capacity to grieve, to love.
Heartbreak, Stephen Jenkinson says, is a skill. Not something to be pushed away. Not something to be avoided or denied or drowned in the pursuit of pleasures.
Heartbreak is the skill that, learning it, we allow that deep energy from our Sacral Chakra, what we think of as the energy of pleasure and procreation, to flow beyond the narrow banks we've allowed it in our lives.
Heartbreak and yearning are deeply connected. We are, generally, not skilled at allowing either expression of this deep sexual energy to be felt. To animate our relationships —with not only our wives and husbands and lovers, but our friends and family, our children. If we are in the masculine polarity, we begin to experience how our still, deep presence penetrates and holds space for others to flow. If we are in our feminine, polarity, we begin to experience where it is safe and true, that we may blossom. Our idea of sexual energy is merely the vestige of animal needs. Beautiful in their own way. But rarely appropriate or helpful as we navigate the many exchanges and relationships we are capable of dancing.
But... to dance grief and heartbreak as portals to richer experiences in our lives requires practice. And we are —most of us, even those of us who know— we are reluctant to practice.
I began to practice yoga because the pain in back meant I had to something. Not just visit the doctor or chiropractor every few weeks.
I began to meditate and re-commit myself to a deeper spiritual yogic practice, not because I was smart, but because I'd finally recognised that I was destroying the relationiships (marital, friendship, parental) that were the only really important things in my life. That recognition came at the expense of loss. I felt grief. Heartbreak. I wanted to avoid it.
But, perhaps, I was smarter than I give myself credit for: it only took about two years of a wise friend suggesting meditation and slowing down for me to, finally, take that step. Cross that threshold. Begin to grieve. To mourn. To love. To accept the broken heart in my body. To know how deeply I'd misstepped, how I'd sought pleasure instead of meaning. And now, finally, letting myself ask myself: WTF are you doing with this life?
What is your practice? How do you re-kindle your marriage? Your family relationships? Your friendships? Your relationship with yourself?
From a yogic perspective, these are all nourished by the energy flowing from and through your Sacral Chakra. Not as sexual desire (though that too, when I'm aware of my beloved). But as an energy that animates all of my engagements with the world. Penetrating Her. Receiving Her.
My practice is to get up early every morning during the "ambrosial hours" of the Amrit Vela and exercise my body, regulate my breath, feel the vibration of sound, still my mind in meditation.
But I also practice tango. There is no other practice that, in my experience, engages my Sacral Chakra, to such a depth. And so I use it to teach others, and especially couples, how to feel their own bodies, and each others' bodies. Not as "sexual bodies," but as sacred bodies flowing with, knowing with deeper awareness and beauty.
Much of the current mania around tantra (sexual yoga) is about increasing pleasure and quality of sensual experience. Because so many teachers are young and in the flower of an early blossoming of genitally-focused energy, it often seems as if the teaching is simply, More and better (genital) sex. And that the practices are sensual (often genitally-focused). As a very thoughtful teacher recently said, Sex-positivity is generally a good thing, to break out of the limitations of this culture's various sexual prohibitions. But it's just a stage. There is so much more. And we risk getting stuck here, making "sex" the goal.
I would add, speaking to the woman and the man who asked me the questions I began with (and they represent almost every man and woman I've had the honour to work with), you cannot re-make the sexual energy of your first attractions, aka "honeymoon." And you definitely cannot revive this honeymoon by "doing more sex." You can, however, cross the threshold to a deeper experience of your own sexuality, and that of your lover/beloved, your husband/wife by practicing other "sexual" practices. On your own. With your wife/husband, lover/beloved.
What is your practice? How are you cultivating the energies of your Sacral Chakra? How are you bringing the depth of your masculine awareness into the service of holding the world and allowing and enjoying Her unfolding? How are you bringing the fullness of your feminine flow into the service of nourishing the awareness that sees you, feels you, knows you, penetrates you? How?
🌀 The Conscious Warrior practices the cultivation of wonder and awe. (John Wineland, Precept 7)
🌀[Water] solves every situation that it's assigned to, and for this reason, it's known as a solution . . . there’s no moment it can't solve.
…Our prayer is that you provide an example of this stability [Earth] and solution [Water] for everyone you connect with; that you produce this from simply being who you are . . . mostly water (your solutions) and shaped and contained by earth (your stability). You be you, and the world will respond and succeed. (Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀 Sex becomes sacred when our desires are sacrificed on the altar of love.
We do not cling to our desires. But place them into the crucible to be consumed by the flames of passion.
Who we are is not what we desire.
Desires come and go. We do not.
Through sacred sex, desires are consumed like fuel in a flame. And we rise from the ashes, freer than we were before.
Desires, once dark, that appear as something less than love are alchemized and return to their original state—as love itself. (Justin Patrick Pierce)
🌀I am beginning to trust “no expectations.” (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED PRACTICE
Day 26 of this month's practice: Please read through first, then ... Today, set a time —at least three minutes, perhaps 11 (recommended)— when you can be alone and in stillness. - Stand or sit or lie, with a beautiful and straight spine, firm but relaxed, feeling your feet or your sit bones or hips heavy and connected to the earth;
- Close your eyes;
- Inhale deeply into your belly, letting it become soft and round;
- Exhale by gently and slowly, much more slowly than your inhale, pressing your navel to your spine,
- And listen to my guidance on this month's practice:
- When you’re done, stand or sit or lie for another minute and breathe gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself: What is your practice, to feel your deepest self, and not be swept along by the habits of your life, but to allow this deepest self to understand itself anew, in this moment?
Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed. And whether you notice a change or not, be content with yourself, exactly as you are in this moment. Continue with your day, open to the gifts it brings.