Tantra Blog

Monday, February 15, 2010

One partner or many partners? My view on relationship

There is a collective perception that Tantrikas support multiple partnership. In this blog article, I quote an eloquently phrased question on this theme that has recently come my way, and share with you my response.

The Question

"I have a question that came up; your group is emphasizing as it were having several partners...I'm curious about how woman deals with it, (having more than one partner at the same time) from my understanding is that woman can only give herself "fully" (& even this is rare...) to the "One" (in or via a male-body), when she has more than one lover she becomes divided & often confused - She is already the "Many" that's why she's looking for the One! ... can I ask you how was your process, development in this? & how do you see it now?"

My response

The number of partners a person has is not at all key to Tantric practice. As Tantrikas, we do not advocate or reject monogamy, polyamory, celibacy or any other form of relationship. In fact, our focus is not on relationship as such. Our focus is on awareness. We support whatever assists you in moving through illusion and closer to a true knowing of who you really are. Along the way, we support you in the gradual opening of the heart into unconditional love.This often means being taken into experiences where your heart contracts and has not been able to stay open.

Tantra is a practice of non-duality; Advaita. This means that we recognize the dualities or polarities that form and sustain our ego identities, and we find ways to help people break the gridlock that these fixed positions can create. I say "we" but more accurately my experience is that existence decides what experiences sincere seekers of truth will have. What makes us unique perhaps, is that we don't take sides in the game of "good" and "evil" in people's minds. We are as happy to guide people into the mud as into the stars. We smell the scent of truth and follow that in you.

Now on my personal experience. As my desire to live in truth grew, life presented me with potent opportunities to feel what I had suppressed in the areas of love, intimacy and sexuality. I have had to sit in the fire of my own ego's polarity patterns, which were deeply felt and embedded in the body. Some of these were:
trust - betrayal
acceptance - rejection
being special - being invisible
belonging - abandonment.

This is the theory. The practice looked like years of intense processing, crying, screaming, feeling physical and emotional pain beyond what I thought humanly possible, and often staying away from other people because I knew they would feel overwhelmed by the intensity of my experience. What was happening, in essence, was that the states that I had been suppressing all my life - trying not to feel - like the feelings associated with betrayal - had a chance to be deeply felt through my nervous system and emotional body.

As I allowed the feeling and processed the dualities, patterns would start to fall away of their own accord. It took hard work and commitment in the face of what appeared like total madness at times. But the patterns changed, and keep changing. The effect is that I am less trapped in webs of unconscious patterning, and more available to see and feel the real of what is here.

As a Tantrika, I understand (in my nervous system and in my bones) that my sexuality belongs to the Divine - existence - all that is. If there is going to be any possession or belonging involved in my sexuality, it is this: My sexuality belongs to the Tao, presence, the Self. It is a gateway to the Divine. It does not ring true for me to think of partnership with another person in possession terms. I know this statement gets read as a rejection of monogamy and marriage; it is not. It is perhaps an embracing of the core dream held in monogamy: Pure presence, commitment to what is, right now, total devotion to the One as embodied by the person I am with right now.

Yes, the feminine in me (and for sure in women I have worked with) delights in the one-pointed focus of Shiva lingam - the masculine principle - rising up in us. Yes we are looking for presence in the masculine. We feel in the masculine the potential to be the rock of pure presence, and we support that movement in the men in our lives. But in Tantric practice, this encounter with the masculine principle happens strongly within us as well.

Do I get confused when men in my world get interested in every woman who walks past? I do not get confused, because my sense of myself is not dependent on the feedback I get from men. If I see this pattern externally and I feel an emotional response, I will look in the mirror and ask: What is happening in my inner relationship that encourages my inner masculine to be flighty and lacking deep presence?

Having said that, there have been profound moments in my life where I have seen lovers move in attraction towards another woman or women. I have experienced partners move into a relating with someone else that I could feel was going to go very deep. I have felt all the feelings that have come up for me in the moment as this reality arose - strong sensations in the body, rapidly moving emotions. And I have experienced extraordinary turn-arounds in my experience, to where I could deeply share in and support the ecstasy that was now flowing between these two people. Isn't it strange how, in our conditioned idea of love and relationship, we vehemently resist other relatings that are clearly bringing our partners great joy and experience that will deepen their awareness?

If there is going to be presence between two people, it will be there because it is there - not because they are following external rules or guidelines to keep them with each other.

The deepest commitment that I can offer you is to be totally present, right here, right now, with the fullness of who I am. Relationship is a space in which we can practice presence and all the challenges that that brings. If my attention is flitting about all over the show while I am with you, this is a sign that there is something happening in my inner life that is calling for attention - and I have been resisting. I would like to sit with this and become quiet with myself, giving myself time to feel and perceive what is being covered up by endless distractions.

You ask me how it is for me as a woman to have more than one partner, and what my experience has been around that. My honest response is that it is not important to me whether I have one, many or no sexual partners at any given time. What I am following all the time, is presence and truth. Remember that my sexuality belongs to the Divine. I follow the Divine as s/he manifests in this moment, as an energy formation that is receptive to presence, depth of presence. Often that means sitting in silence. I am single a lot of the time. Sometimes I have one partner, and sometimes several. I do not particularly keep track of the numbers and configurations; for me this would feel like the ocean counting the waves and measuring its reality by how many there are.

As I write this, I realize that my experience has perhaps got not so much to do with being a woman. I am man and woman, living with great delight in a female body. The processing I have done through relationship has been invaluable in supporting this inner marriage and in clearing layers of collective female unconscious patterning that would otherwise have directed my experience of this moment.

If you would like to join us in a workshopping of this theme, please join Stephen and myself next Monday night 22 February 7 - 10pm; cost R350. Bookings at shakti@shakti.co.za by Friday latest.


  • At February 16, 2010 at 11:36 PM , Blogger Naum Nurgle said...

    mmm interesting post Shakti; would be interested to hear the male perspective. I also wonder how much we buy into and hence need to escape from the western notion of patriarchy that commodify sexual interaction into possession. So the man is the hunter who seeks many and the women guards and chooses to accept few. I don't buy it, it seems like a garment we have worn for so long its just accepted.

    I think the masculine seeks out the feminine to find that inner space that he can become enveloped by, never truly understanding, never owning, and finding purpose guarding its boundaries out of love and not possession.

    I guess I am rejecting this notion that I must go out and 'sow wild oats'; rather I have felt and now accept that my truth lies more in a deeper relationship with the field in which I sow, and that the shared partnership to grow and nourish is the bliss I gain.

  • At February 16, 2010 at 11:45 PM , Blogger Shakti said...

    presence, awareness, deepening in love, in whatever way that comes to you - that is what we're after beloved. I love your image of being enveloped by the inner space of the feminine, and finding that always to remain a mystery... Sowing wild oats, an image that holds a biological metaphor: the procreative urge. This is where our first level of conditioning lies, and all conditioning shall have to be felt and brought to awareness if we are to move into unconditional loving.

  • At March 11, 2010 at 3:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Shakti chan! I was about to ask you about the male perspective on your blog, when i suddenly read Naum Nurgle's comment.
    I am very, very confused as my deep rooted feelings are coming to the surface.i have been alone now for 4 weeks while my beloved visits her family i Japan.I feel they are creating a massive strain for me in my deep relationship of 2 years with THE most divine Japanese woman.
    With her support i can be myself, and the same applies to her.As the relationship deepens, so the deep seated issues continue to rise, in excelsis!!i am very afraid that the only person to truly understand me will depart from my life.
    The only way is in.....
    I live in trust and tears.

  • At March 11, 2010 at 9:46 PM , Blogger Shakti said...

    A profound time you are in Atmo. Make the most of it: feel to the depths. You will discover gold by not resisting what is there.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 10:05 PM , Anonymous Rajguru Rajkumar Sharma said...

    Just want to add that awareness needs lot of practice which starts from the childhood. Until one clears the backlog of previous karmas which is the way of purifying to remain aware, one can anytime slip into attraction and can miss to feel the rael power of Tantra.Male should make himself like Shiva and Female must store the power like Devi parwati by doing Tapasya first, only than the intimacy help in releasing the power of Kundalini.


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