Energy Healing

Sex, Money and the Tantric Spiritual Path: Teachings on The Four Goals of Life

Sex, Money and Spirituality: Past and Present

Sexual Shame and conflict block spirituality

Is “Sex a sin”? Were you told in subtle or not so subtle ways that “money is the root of all evil”? Can you be “sexual” and also “Spiritual”? Can you be wealthy and also Spiritual?

These messages, in various forms, have been a part of our culture for a long time. I have heard it suggested that these messages were intentional attempts by the Church to ensure that money would continue to come into the Churches. The concept of this argument is simple: convincing you that you are a “sinner” ensures that you will seek out the remedy which is the “church”, and attendance equals donations.

I tend to have a more optimistic view of these things. I do believe that the concept of needing to be saved from sin probably did improve church attendance. But, I also believe that the priests and religious leaders actually believed in the message and, for the most part, were simply serving the best they knew how. Sure, there has probably always been a little corruption here and there. But I think it may be more helpful to examine the concepts and understand why they came about to begin with.

It is easy to dismiss “sex is a sin” and “money is the root of all evil” as ridiculous statements. In their simplest essence, they are lies. And even as we know that, these concepts are so ingrained in our culture and our history, that they linger in the background of our collective subconscious minds creating inner conflicts.

And it can still be seen today, especially in Spiritual communities, that these types of debates continue. It doesn’t matter what religion, be it Christianity, Hinduism or any others. Even in spiritual communities connected to Yoga and Buddhism, you will find variations taught.

I know several yoga teachers and spiritual healers who are plagued by guilt, thinking that it is wrong to take money for what they see as a spiritual service. And I know plenty of Yoga teachers who will still tell you that the Yama of “Brahmacharya” declares that Yogis should be celibate.

These are modern examples of how these messages still interfere with our happiness and our pursuit of spiritual truth.

Rethinking the Past: A Shift in Perspective

If we are able to avoid the “knee-jerk reaction” of declaring these concepts “ridiculous” or accepting them at face value and look to what they are pointing to, then we can consider that the original intention of the advice was well meaning. That it actually points to principles of non-attachment. It reminds us that obsession with anything can send the mind into a downward spiral. We have all likely seen movies about the downfall of a greedy businessman, or the “bottoming out” of an alcoholic, or the destruction of marriage because of sex addiction.

And from the perspective of a Spiritual Path, becoming too obsessed or attached to wealth and pleasure will cause you to focus away from your Spiritual path. It’s kind of like a parent encouraging their child to focus on school studies and be responsible by asking them to be home by 10pm.

They were just warning us about these distractions from a deeper truth. They meant well. It’s just that over a period of time, people forgot WHY it was said, and began to take it as a “rule” that SHOULD be followed. The biggest problem is that these “rules” don’t match out own experiences of being human. Because most everyone will desire pleasure and enjoyment. Most everyone will have sexual desire. And we need money to provide for ourselves and our families.

And when we are being told that our very nature is wrong or that the thing that makes us happy is wrong, that creates a BIG problem. But I don’t think that is what was originally meant by these concepts. We SHOULD heed the warning of being aware of our attachments in general, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our lives, and our bodies and have some money too.

We really CAN have our cake, eat it too and wear a gold watch while eating it, and STILL be properly following a Spiritual Path. Its TRUE. I PROMISE! (Although, I don’t personally wear a watch.)

Clarity through The Four Goals of Life

Fortunately for us, there is a clear teaching around this in the Yogic Traditions. It is called the “4 Purusharthas”. This is a compound word combining “Purusha” and “Artha”. “Purusha” is a reference to the deeper Divine Spark which is your nature. Some would call it the “Soul”. And “Artha” is usually translated as “wealth”.

So the 4 Purusharthas are things that bring wealth and value to the Soul. In English, we commonly refer to this as “The Four Goals of Life”. They are the Four areas of life that are legitimate goals to pursue in order for the Individual Soul to find balance and happiness in life.

The Four Goal are as follows:

1. Dharma (Purpose, Truth)
2. Artha (Wealth, Material Possessions)
3. Kama (Pleasure, Enjoyment)
4. Moksha (Knowledge of Self, Spiritual Liberation)

You will notice that “Wealth” and “Pleasure” (including sex) are included within them. So, there is a clear Yogic teaching that says “It’s all good man…” But, don’t run off to the wild orgy on a money covered floor just yet! We still need to understand that context!

So how is it that there is this clear teaching telling us that wealth and pleasure of legitimate goals for the individual to pursuit, and yet what we have heard most is “Sex is a sin” and “money” is evil and opposed to authentic spirituality?

Well, as I said earlier. The warning was to find balance. And we must understand these Four Goals in balance also. So let’s examine each one separately.

Dharma

Dharma is usually thought of in connection to “career” in this context. But at its deepest level, it means that the work and the actions that we take in life should be aligned with a deeper sense of purpose and meaning. The individual will feel greater peace and happiness if what he or she does in the world feels like it is benefiting others or humanity, or is at least serving some purpose beyond “getting up, going to work, and then going to bed”.

Please note, that “dharma” doesn’t tell us WHAT we should be doing. There is no insistence that we all become monks, or that we all operate a charity, or anything like that. Because these rules understand that the diversity of Karma will create a wide variety of different “dharmas” for different people. It is perfectly fine if your dharma is to be an artist, run a business, serve the elderly, become a chef or anything else in the world. So long as what you are doing feels satisfying and provides YOU with a sense of purpose that truly feels good to you, then you are golden, no matter what anyone else thinks about it.

Artha

Having the Material resources that we need to feel safe, comfortable and happy is a worthwhile goal for the individual. But again, because of Karma, we can’t assume this means that everyone is supposed to be Millionaires. What it means instead, is that it is ok to have more than enough. For some that will be a small house, food and clothing. For others it will be a large house, a nice car and the latest iPhone. And for others, it will be millions or billions of dollars and a truly opulent lifestyle.

The larger point is that it is fine to have money and material resources so that your needs are met. It acknowledges that the individual soul will feel more at peace if it feels materially and financially supported.

Kama

This Goal of life declares that the individual Soul will find greater peace if it is allowed to enjoy the pleasures of life. That enjoying the pleasures of the body, food, entertainment, time with friends and other experiences will actually bring greater happiness to the individual. And because of this, it is worth pursuing.

Again, it doesn’t define what the pleasure should be. There is no rule that says “in order to be happy, one must eat at least one dessert per day, and engage in sexual activity a minimum of 3 times per week”. It doesn’t state these rules, because again, it knows that the Karma of each individual is different. Instead it says “It’s ok to enjoy life and find pleasure in the world around you”. How each individual experiences that will be unique.

Moksha

Now we come to the Goal that is most commonly associated with Traditional Yoga. Moksha is the pursuit of Spiritual Liberation. The most valued form of this would be “Enlightenment”. But we could also say that Moksha is the seeking of greater knowledge and wisdom. And that seeking will eventually evolve into the search for Enlightenment.

But at the very least, the individual Soul thrives when it is evolving. When it is learning more about its nature and its relationship to life so that it can refine the choices that it makes and develop a more enlightened perspective on the whole experience.

While the final stage of Spiritual Enlightenment is fairly well defined, the goal of Moksha is still understood to be a different path for each individual because each Soul has different Karma, and therefore needs different lessons and experiences to evolve.

Are All 4 Goals of Life Equal?

According to the teachings on the Four Goals of life, it is made clear that the highest and most important goal is Moksha. And because of this, some people have dismissed the other goals and focused only on Moksha. That approach may work for an individual who is already very evolved. But it isn’t likely to help most people.

But the teaching still emphasizes that Moksha is the most important of these goals in the end, and encourages us to pursuit the first Three Goals with the intention of supporting the Soul’s pursuit of Moksha. This is a very Tantric approach to Spiritual evolution, in that we learn to embrace and enjoy life in the world and use it as a part of our spiritual practice.

There is a quote that is attributed to Buddha that states “You cannot teach a starving man to meditate.” The implication is that if the basic needs of life are not met, that the mind will be so restless and focused on meeting those needs, that it will be unable to find the focus and peace needed to attain a meditative state. In essence, it points to the need to create balance in our outer life first, before we can pursue Spirituality in a more balanced way.

The First Three Goals point to the remedy for this. By embracing that a sense of purpose, material resources and pleasure are needs of the Soul, we can remove the restlessness from the individual by ensuring that these needs are met. If you are doing something purposeful, that is aligned with the Soul’s desires, then you feel more content and happy with your pursuits in the world. You feel fulfilled with what you are doing, creating and/or contributing to your business or to the world.

From that deeper sense of fulfillment in your work, you are then invited to receive the financial rewards. This money, if respected and managed properly, will allow you to have a safe, comfortable place to live, to provide food and clothing for yourself and your family, and also to have enough money in savings so that when the unexpected happens you are able to handle that without worrying about where the money will come from.

With contentment of purpose, and adequate financial resources, you are then free to enjoy life. You are free to buy things that are enjoyable, and also give yourself pleasure through various activities.

When these three goals are embraced and brought into the experience of the Individual soul, then it is able to relax. Its needs are met. It isn’t worrying about where its next meal will come from, or how it is going to pay the bills. Instead, it is happy, peaceful, safe and supported. This removes much restlessness from the mind and from life, and allows a supportive and safe environment for the Individual to be able to pursuit a Spiritual Path.

Returning to Innocence around Love, Sex and Money brings higher spiritual awarenessSo, in this way, the pursuit of Purpose (Dharma), Wealth (Artha) and Pleasure (Kama) are understood to be secondary goals which actually support the pursuit of the Primary Goal of Spiritual Liberation (Moksha).

And the original “warnings” that have continued in our culture out of context serve to remind us to not become attached to Status, Money or Pleasure as a primary goal. They serve our evolution, but they are not the most important goals. And therefore they should be approached with a balanced perspective, keeping the Final Goal of Moksha in mind.

Tantra teaches us that everything in life can be used as a Spiritual Practice when properly understood. And we start by embracing the abundance and pleasures that life has to offer as we seek to align with our Soul’s purpose in the world. And from that place of joy, we can bridge our awareness into the deeper Joy of our Liberated Self.

Let me know your thoughts and questions below!

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Building Confidence and Inner Strength Through Tantra Yoga

Confidence

The Need for Change

In my early days of learning about healing and energy, I experienced many personal challenges. This makes sense, of course, because most people who find themselves exploring Healing and Spiritual avenues do so because they themselves are seeking a life which is more healthy, vibrant, balanced, joyful and peaceful.

I was not an exception in this regard. I knew something needed to change in my life, but I really couldn’t explain it.

See, I had a problem that is probably more common than you know. I frequently found myself caving into other people’s desires and needs. I found myself “going along” with others because I was afraid if I said “no”, or explained how I really felt, or what I really wanted, that they wouldn’t like me. Or they would get angry and then I would still end up caving in anyway.

I kept setting aside my own needs and happiness, because I somehow thought that “if I give them what they want, they will like me, and then I will be happy because they like me”.

Well… that didn’t work out so well. Because, what I was clearly failing to see was that MY OWN NEEDS MATTERED more to my happiness than simply having someone like me. And if having them “like me” meant that I had to set aside my own needs and personal values, well, ultimately it was just a formula for disappointment, failure and misery. And in the end, those people weren’t really interested in my happiness to begin with…

This same pattern showed up everywhere in my life really. At work with co-workers and bosses. In friendships. In family dynamics. And also in romantic relationships.

It wasn’t isolated, even though at some points it seemed more intense in certain areas. For a while, like is so often the case, I simply thought that others were doing it to me. They were “overpowering me”. Or” being too demanding”. Or “being critical”. Or whatever it was.

And, in some cases, they probably were. But more importantly, I was allowing it to happen. I was the one who kept saying “yes”, when I really wanted to say “no”. I was the one who would be treated poorly, and still go back smiling knowing it would happen again.

I needed to find my own inner strength and confidence. But “life” kept throwing me off center, or so it felt.

The Turning Point

It was around 1999. I had been studying energy healing and metaphysics for about 9 years. And I had been a massage therapist and healing professional for about 2 or 3 years. This included plenty of study and training. And I finally found myself in “crisis”. I had learned a lot of “techniques” for healing others. Some for healing myself. But I knew that I couldn’t get myself out of this without some guidance. And at that time, I really didn’t even understand “what the problem was”.

I found myself going through a healing “process” with a woman named Lisa. Every 6 weeks for a period of 9 months, I would spend a weekend with Lisa and about 9 other people. Of the other nine, there was only 1 other man. So, it was two guys and 9 woman. And what I experienced during those 9 months radically changed my life and my understanding of myself for the better.

This Process was the turning point for me to find my Inner Strength and my Confidence. It was a Spiritual community that was focused on exploring the Divine Feminine, and the balance of Inner Masculine and Inner Feminine.

To explain everything I learned and experienced is not practical here. But I do want to share one of the most important principles to get started with. Without this principle, the rest really doesn’t work very well anyway.

So, let me start with an analogy

In order for someone to develop confidence and strength, one needs to be able to “stand firmly” in ones own values, beliefs and self-acceptance. Without “standing firmly”, then even the slightest force can “push you off center”. So, if I am standing on my “Truth” as far as values and needs, and something comes along and I stumble or fall, then I will land outside of my “Truth”.

In the extreme version of this, I would become like a “Tumbleweed”. Even the slightest breeze would have me going in whatever direction the wind was blowing.

And, in my earlier experiences, this is how I often felt. Someone else’s desires or needs were like the “wind”, and as their desire came into my experience, I was blown to where their Truth was. Off of my Truth and my center.

This same phenomenon, energetically, also prevents focus. Because the awareness and mind are easily pulled off course by the influences of what is around you.

So, lacking confidence, strength and focus, the world begins to toss you about. Your directions in life, and the directions of your mind are subject to the outer forces of life: your circumstances, the people you interact with, etc.

In order for you to develop Self-Confidence, Inner Strength and Focus in the outer world, you will necessarily need to find a way to “Anchor yourself” to the location of “Truth”. Once “anchored” and “centered” you will be able to stand firmly in your own Truth and Power, even when the “winds” of life are blowing about you.

Tantra Starts with The Life Force Energy

Tantra teaches that we are energetic beings. And in order to develop a Tantric practice where you access and direct the Life Force within you, you need to begin to think of yourself in Energetic terms.

When you are not “anchored to your truth”, your energy is unstable and scattered. It is easily blown off center, and easily influenced by outside vibrations.

Energetically, then, one of the first steps to take is to stabilize the energy that exists within you. Before you even concern yourself with any more advanced healing method, you just need to get your energy to stop being so easily influenced.

After all, if you can’t stabilize a Higher Vibration in your energy field, because the world around you keeps “blowing it” back to something lower, then you will keep going back to the old pattern.  Learning to Stabalize your own Life Force Energy is the First Step.

In energetic terms, we often refer to this “Stabilizing” process as “Grounding”. You want to Ground your Energy and your Energy Field.

Some of the symptoms of an Ungrounded Energy Field may include:

  1. Inability to focus
  2. Being easily influenced by the beliefs of others
  3. Being easily influenced by the emotions of others
  4. Life feeling chaotic or unstable
  5. Lack of confidence
  6. Difficulty handling the “unexpected” situations and events that life brings
  7. Depression, Fear and/or Anxiety
  8. Difficulty standing up for yourself
  9. Experiencing lots of “activity” with little actual accomplishment
  10. Difficulty expressing your own needs
  11. Difficulty saying “no”
  12. Feeling that you are always attending to others needs, with no time for your own needs
  13. Challenges making Positive Changes in your Life

The above are some examples. To be clear, lack of Grounding is likely a major factor in most of the above. But, there are also likely other Energetic layers of healing that would need to be addressed to fully restore balance.

But, you must start by Grounding your energy first. Some things resolve on their own just from learning to ground. And in other cases, grounding is the important first step to be able to affectively address other aspects of healing.

The Ecstatic Union® Approaches to “Grounding”

Self-Mastery of the Forces of Creation in Tantra YogaIn the Ecstatic Union® Vibrational Healing approach, I look to multiple layers of where an imbalance may be created, and therefore corrected. This provides multiple tools and healing methods to assess where the issue is originating, and also to be able to address it in the way that will best serve the individuals unique circumstances.

Here are a few of the approaches that the Ecstatic Union® System uses for “Grounding”.

Ecstatic Union® Energetic Maintenance approach to Grounding

This involves methods to understand and “retrain” how your energy is being directed. Two common grounding methods are listed below:

1) The “Roots” Grounding Method

  1. Standing up, imagine that roots (like tree roots) are growing out of your feet and into the Earth.
  2. Continue to take slow deep breaths, while visualizing, feeling and imagining them growing deeper and deeper.
  3. Then visualize, feel and imagine the stability of the Earth and how stable and grounded you feel as you are anchored in place.

2) The “Cord” Grounding Method

  1. Imagine dropping an energetic cord from inside your body, just below your naval deep into the earth.
  2. Continue to take slow deep breaths, while visualizing, feeling and imagining it anchoring deeper and deeper.
  3. Then visualize, feel and imagine the stability of the Earth and how stable and grounded you feel as you are anchored in place.

Ecstatic Union® Ayurvedic Approach to Grounding

The “lack of focus” and “ungrounded” are seen as a Vata imbalance within the mind. Vata is the Ayurvedic principle of “Air” which, when unstable will blow around and be unfocused.

If you are a “Vata” constitution, you may have more tendency towards being ungrounded, but the reality is that any of the constitutions can experience this. Our culture is very “vata” stimulating for the mind, with many distractions and a common desire to be “entertained” with short attention spans.

Some general practical tips would be:

  1. Avoid stimulants, such as caffeine and coffee
  2. Create experiences that will allow you to “be in” your body, such as receiving Massages or taking a long warm bath
  3. Avoid “light” and “cold” foods, such as salads, raw vegetables, and chips (especially in the winter)
  4. Favor “warm” and “nurturing” foods such as cooked whole grains and cooked veggies along with using healthy oils (especially in winter)
  5. Establish a regular routine of sleeping, waking and eating whenever possible

The above are general recommendations that will benefit most people, but please note that a proper Ecstatic Union® Ayurvedic evaluation would be need to determine your current Energetic State and the unique imbalances and needs that you may have.

Ecstatic Union® Vedic Astrology Approach

Some ways that Lack of Grounding can be shown in the Astrology chart as a “tendencies” for you:

  1. The predominance of “Air signs” in the chart (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius)
  2. The strength and location of specific planets that could show a higher level of Air influence, especially on the Moon (which is the mind)
  3. Strong Saturn influences often show nervousness and fear tendencies.
  4. Strong Rahu (North Node) and Ketu (South Node) can show influences of scattered Vata like energy
  5. Different Planetary Periods and Transits can reveal periods which will be more or less ungrounded

Seeing the various factors in the chart allows you to better understand your “natural tendencies” as well as see other contributing factors around confidence and the tendencies that you have in relationships and career. The chart can also point the way towards remedies that can assist you in becoming more focused and grounded.

A proper Ecstatic Union® Vedic Astrology Consultation would be needed to properly assess your unique circumstances.

Once Grounded, You can Create Lasting Transformation

These are some of the ways that Ecstatic Union® offers to assist you to address and create better Grounding in your life. And once you begin to stabilize your Energy, then you can more easily Cultivate and Increase your Confidence, Inner Strength, Self-Acceptance and your personal Truth. From there, your vibrancy, joy and peace will also expand as you learn more tools and methods to Consciously create the life that you truly desire.

This “Grounding” step is really a Foundational Key to succeeding in Tantric practice. It is needed for more effective Self-Healing, for increasing and expanding Sexual energy, for developing Intuition, as well as creating higher Spiritual States. It is needed to help create the focus needed to succeed in Chakra healing and meditation as well.

Let me know your thoughts and questions below!

Make sure you SIGN UP for the E-mail Newsletter so you won’t miss the First Step on the Ecstatic Union® Tantric Path!

Ready to take your Tantric journey deeper?

Ecstatic Union® Tantric Counseling and Healing Appointments available by phone, Internet chat and in person.

Click here to schedule today!

Tantra: Self-Mastery of Life Force Energy and the Forces of Creation

Tantra is MysteriousEnerting the Mystery of Tantra Yoga

Tantra is steeped in deep mystery. The things that are known or heard about it in day to day life are often spoken of out of context, with little understanding of what the practice or philosophy is really designed to do.

Over hundreds and likely even thousands of years, Tantra has become associated with Black magic, sexual deviance, group sex, sensual indulgence, ecstasy, orgasmic bliss among other things. People speak of Kundalini, magical powers, chakras, spells being cast, and many other concepts and acts as being part of Tantra.

There are debates as to whether it is about sexuality or spirituality along with talk of White Tantra, Red Tantra, Pink Tantra, Left-handed Tantra, and Right-Handed Tantra. And the unfortunate modern confusion where some people think it is only for better orgasms, which creates further confusion for people who imagine that they “must have a sexual partner” to learn and benefit from Tantra. (Not true.)

Why Is Tantra So Controversial?

Tantra is one of the most controversial of Yogic practices, and much of that controversy comes purely from lack of understanding. The controversy and confusion is fueled by false imaginings, anecdotal stories and modern packaging designed to entice the “sex sells” culture that we live in. Additionally, there are modern Tantric teachers using sexually indulgent teachings for their own desires, celebrities talking about 7 hour “tantric” orgasms and even students of Tantra misunderstanding the process and speaking about it out of context.

Certainly, Tantric practitioners or those associated with Tantra have been involved in a variety of activities. Everything listed above has, I am sure, been experienced or practiced in the name of “Tantra”. And I am sure there has been a wide range of motivations for how to use Tantra. But for a moment let’s step outside of these “behaviors” and “reported experiences”, and take a broader perspective of what the Tantric Practitioner is really learning in order for these other things to happen.

How can someone “cast a spell” (for good or evil?), for instance. Or create high states of orgasmic bliss? Or awaken magical powers? Because quite frankly, these are not “ordinary” parts of most people’s lives. And many might even dismiss them as being superstition or fantasy… How would these things even be possible?

The Goal of Tantra and the Tantric Approach

First, let’s understand something clearly: The system of Tantra in it’s deepest understanding is a path towards Wholeness and a return to Divinity that teaches that the experience of Life is Sacred and SO ARE YOU. We could call the culmination of sustained Tantric Wholeness as “Enlightenment”, “Self-Realization”, or “Moksha”. THIS is what the FINAL goal of Tantra really is. (See The Tantric Path: A Simple Perspective that Every Tantric Student and Practitioner Needs to Know for more information)

And Tantra also knows that we must start right here in the world, right where we are with the life we are currently living. To support our life in the world, Tantra teaches us a spiritual path that allows us to use our daily life and responsiblities in the world as PART of the path itself. Thus, Tantric practices can cover any and every part of our experience, including sex, money, career, body, mind, spirit, health, etc. In Tantra, every moment is an opportunity to find greater peace and open to the Love that is all around us, and most especially, the Love that IS our True Nature.

But how do they do it? Forget casting spells, orgasmic bliss, and magical powers, etc for a moment. That is not ultimately what a sincere Tantric Practitioner is really learning, even though any of those abilities or experiences are possible and might well be a part of the Tantric path. Much like the “Feed a man vs. teaching him how to fish” concept, the real learning isn’t in just being able to cast a “spell” for healing, or to have the orgasmic bliss. No. The real lesson is in understanding how it would be possible to do this at all.

What the Tantric Practitioner is REALLY learning

So what is the common THREAD among all these things? What is the ONE THING being learned that allows all of these things to be experienced and created? What a Tantric practitioner is REALLY learning is how to connect with, harness and direct the Life Force energy and the forces of Creation that exist within his or her own body and Consciousness, as well as the external world.

Self-Mastery of the Forces of Creation in Tantra YogaIf you learn how to cast a spell, well, you can cast a spell. But if you learn how to harness the Forces of Creation and the Life Force Energy, and to bridge that through your own body and consciousness… Well, now you have a whole toolbox to work with. You can do many things, including completely Transforming your entire experience of Self and Life towards greater joy, vibrancy and peace in order to reach Enlightenment.

But, for the wise Tantric Practitioner, each new ability or practice learned is an “Experiment” which creates an experience that leads towards a deeper understanding of what is possible and what the True Nature of Self really is. Learning how to master this Life Force Energy leads to understanding how it is possible to begin with. Which leads to “Who I AM” to be able to “Master it” at all.

Do Not Confuse Authentic Tantric Practice with Outer Appearances

Most of the stories that have popularize Tantra come about from experiences or practices of Practitioners who are “on the path” towards their goal. They are describing a place in their practice BEFORE reaching the Final Goal. Or perhaps they have lost sight of the most meaningful goal, and fallen into using the powers for selfish ends. Either way, when we take their behavior and their experiences and mistake them for “Tantra”, then we just wind up confused.

It would be a bit like hearing that doctors in training dissect human cadavers and drawing the conclusion that “Doctors cut up dead people” without any context for that statement. And then the rumor spreads “Oh no! Did you hear about the people called doctors? They CUT UP DEAD BODIES, MAN! That’s so wrong! (or so cool. I want to be a doctor too!!)”. Doctors in training dissect bodies to learn how the body functions so that can understand how to work with it for healing the sick. But the final goal of medicine is not just to “cut up dead bodies”. (Or live ones either)

In the same way, in Tantra the outer appearance of various practices do not really convey the Deeper motivation or lesson of the practice itself. To say that a Tantric practitioner practices magic, or engages in sex, or sits on dead bodies in the burial ground does NOT convey the purpose of their behavior. And without that understanding, society will place its own judgments upon it and fail to see what is really being learned or accomplished.

Tantric practitioners engage the Forces of Creation and the Life Force energy within Consciousness through a variety of “experiments” that we call “practices” so they can learn how these energies function. And this “training” is just a step along the way to ultimately bring about the greatest possible healing of Self through what is learned by direct experience: The Return to Wholeness.

Tantra as Self-Mastery of Life Force Energy and the Forces of Creation

There are Tantric practioners who have practiced black magic, I am sure. But Tantra is not about black magic. There are Tantric Practitioners who have investigated or even obsessed about the sexual energy in some pretty “outlandish” ways. But Tantra is not about sex. There are Tantric practitioners who have awakened magical ability and psychic powers. But Tantra is not about magical abilities and psychic powers.

At the core, Tantra is about learning to interface with the Powers of The Universe as a function of Pure Consciousness in order to Understand the Nature of Reality and Self. And in this process, we cultivate the Qualities of the True Self, which are Ecstatic Love, Joy, and Peace. To make it even simpler, Tantra is a path to re-discover who and what you really are.

Through Tantric practices, you harmonize and balance your life as a necessary part of the path. This can mean more loving relationships, greater self-acceptance, and freedom from shame. It can mean increased clarity around your soul’s purpose and greater passion operating in the world. It can mean greater connection to your own Intuition, inner Wisdom, and even perhaps psychic powers. And, yes, it can even mean more satisfaction and meaning in your sex life.

Perhaps you will even become motivated to use what you learn to assist in the healing of others, and not only yourself. All of these things are possible and most are likely. They are “gifts” along the path for doing the work towards wholeness. They are manifestations of the awakening Wholeness itself. And they are still not the “goal” of Tantra, but they are an interesting and enjoyable part of the journey. They are experiences that deepen your understanding of life force and Creation, and what is possible, and your relationship to The Universe. And it is all made possible by harnessing and directing the Forces of Creation and the Life Force energy within the practitioner.

How to Properly Learn Tantra Yoga

So what needs to happen to walk this Tantric Path? How can YOU begin to explore this for yourself and engage these fascinating practices? That’s where a Tantric Teacher comes in.

In addition to learning HOW to harness and direct the Forces of Creation and the Life Force energies within the body and consciousness, there needs to be guidance from a Tantric Teacher. There needs to be ethical training for how to use this wisdom and Power for your own maximum benefit while avoiding trouble for Self and others. There needs to be someone who can help you create the practices and experiences that will reveal what is possible and what the Nature of Reality really is.

There needs to be someone to help you navigate the challenges, frustrations and confusions that will arise on the path. Someone to assist you in destroying any obstacles that have limited your Wholeness in the past or that are causing resistance now. And there needs to be someone to remind you of the Truth and the Final Goal when you may get lost. These are just some of the ways that the Tantric Teacher offers support and enables you to accelerate your growth and practice. In the end, the Teacher’s primary role is to empower you to connect to your own Inner Wisdom and discover the Truth and Power of your own Self.

After over 25 years on my own Path, I have integrated all of my studies and practices along with the needed guidance and support into a comprehensive approach to Tantric Practice that I call Ecstatic Union®. It brings everything needed together in one system and one path. And it addresses every stage of practice from beginner to advanced.

But like all journeys, it begins with the First Step: Look for Ecstatic Union® Foundational Training announcements beginning in January 2015!

Make sure you SIGN UP for the E-mail Newsletter so you won’t miss the First Step on the Ecstatic Union® Tantric Path!

Ready to take your Tantric journey deeper?

Ecstatic Union® Tantric Counseling and Healing Appointments available by phone, Internet chat and in person.

Click here to schedule today!

Beyond the Surface: The Deeper Healing Power of Massage and Conscious Touch

MassageCouple4Beyond the Surface: The Deeper Healing Power of Massage and Conscious Touch

Towards the beginning of my formal Massage Therapy training, one of the instructors made mention that in addition to learning how to be a massage therapist, that many students report feeling “changed” by the process. That giving and receiving that much nurturing touch on a regular basis over the course of 7 months created a healing and transformational effect.

To be clear, the massage training program I undertook in 1996 was focused on “therapeutic massage and neuromuscular therapy”. We were taught the foundations of Swedish massage for stress reduction and relaxation, along with an emphasis on clinical approaches to pain reduction and restored muscular functioning.

“How will this ‘change me’?”, I thought…

A Bit of History

6 Years prior to even a thought about Massage school, I had become quite fascinated with the concept of “Energy”. At that time, a roommate shared with me that he could see the “aura”, which is the energy field that surrounds the human body. Sparked by a deeper curiosity for “what was possible”, I began a ravenous self study of “all things metaphysical”: Psychic phenomenon, intuition, chakras, crystals, natural healing methods, and, above all, ENERGY as a means of healing.

I admit that, at the time, my entry into massage school had very little to do with interest in “pain reduction” or “massage”. I was a “closet energy healer”. I was interested in Energy healing, but I had never really met anyone who did it. I felt like an outcast, and was afraid that my “strange beliefs” would cause others to mock me. I thought “I can’t just tell people that it is possible to heal them with energy. They will think I am nuts.” I went to massage school because I thought it would be a “socially acceptable way” to touch people, so that I could further explore the possibilities and powers of energy healing.

How will this ‘change me’?

“How will this ‘change me’?”, I thought… How will someone pushing on my sore muscles and making the shoulders less tense “transform” me?

But it did. Through the course of that 7 months, without trying, I began to feel more focused and more joyful. I began to have greater clarity and motivation in my life.

My relationship to my body began to change. I became more interested in nurturing it through exercise and better food choices. The initial shyness of having my body “seen” and “judged” by others began to dissolve, and I found myself instead feeling that my body was “worthy” and “beautiful”. I became more comfortable “being me”.

I became more confident in life.

“HOW?” I began to wonder.

Certainly, it is fair to say that part of it was that I found something that I enjoyed and that I was good at. That explains some of it for sure. But it was also more than that.

Something was changing. Something was opening. And I had no clue what was coming.

A Reminder From the Universe

As I finished up massage school, I had developed an enthusiasm for massage. I imagined that I would “change the world” with neuromuscular therapy, and eradicate muscular pain patterns from everyone I touched.

It seemed promising. The fresh enthusiasm of a new direction. The positive feedback and support of clients and my teachers. I started out with a bang!

And then my client bookings went from 10 one week, to 5 the next week, and then to 2. And then nothing. I was baffled and confused.

And then I received a referral from a chiropractor that I barely knew. The new client was a young man who was having severe shoulder pain, and the chiropractor thought a neuromuscular approach would help. He was a good client. He was committed to getting better, and was willing to do whatever it would take.

I suggested a series of regular Neuromuscular therapy treatments. So he came once a week for 4 weeks. Each time I pulled out my greatest Neuromuscular methods, just as I was taught in school. Doing just what my instructors had praised me for being so effective using.

And after applying the “miracle pain relieving methods”, he would share his feedback: “Yeah, it feels a little better, but it still hurts a lot.”

Not the feedback I was hoping for.

It was then I became just desperate enough to “come out of the energy healer closet”.

I sheepishly began to explain “There is this energy healing stuff I have been playing with and teaching myself for the last 7 years, but I have never really used it on anyone. If you are open to this (read “if you don’t think I am crazy”), then I would be willing to offer you a complimentary session to see if that may help. I don’t even know if it will work or not…”

To my luck, he was already familiar with such concepts, and was open and willing to try it. He came for the session, and I did everything I had taught myself to do. From the outside perspective, I was just waving my hands around some, and putting my hands on him other times. But in my own inner experience I was shifting energy within his aura and in his body.

When we were done, I shyly asked him how he felt. And to my surprise and excitement, he told me that what I had just done with Energy alone had helped him more than all 4 of the previous Neuromuscular treatments combined. The pain was almost completely gone!

After he left, I felt excited. And I also remembered in that moment why I had gone to Massage School to begin with: I wanted to become an Energy Healer. And this experience forced me to reconnect to that deeper desire and re-sparked my quest to learn more about energy healing.

chakrasA New Understanding of Energy Evolves

Over the many years since, I have studied a broad range of Energy Healing methods, and experienced their power to transform and heal, and of course used them with my clients.

During that journey the “mystery” of the “strange impulse to go to massage school” and why it “transformed” me became apparent: There is no separation between “Energy” and “Body”. As a massage therapist, I am not just pushing on muscles and restoring muscular function. Yes, those things are happening. Those benefits exists. But I am also moving energy both as and within the body.

Tantra teaches that the body contains many energy channels and energy structures (chakras, nadis, marma points, etc), and they are being accessed on some level even during a “basic massage”. Stress and tensions in the body block the flow of energy. And sometimes the mental and emotional stresses that we are not wanting to feel get lodged in the muscles, causing the experience of stress, tension and pain in the body.

Massage helps to open the flow of those channels, releasing not only muscular tension, but potentially the emotional and mental tension that was the source. This benefit is potentially  there even if someone isn’t conscious of the energy.

But, by becoming conscious of the energy, the process can become even more effective and more intentional. All these years later, I still use massage as a healing method. I am very good at it, and most of my clients report how great they feel both during and after the massage.

But I don’t think of myself as “pushing on muscles” anymore. I understand that I am interacting with energy on the levels of the client’s body, emotions, mind and spirit. I also understand that even during a massage, a large part of the healing power and benefit to the client is created through an energetic connection and flow from me to them. It is my ability to touch them at a deeper level than just “the body” that really maximized pleasure, relaxation and the other benefits they discover.

As I massage, I am also allowing energy to flow. This helps to wash away energetic stress at the emotional and mental levels as well. The massage experience is an invitation to become more present to what you are feeling at the level of emotion and body. This deeper awareness helps you to become more connected to your Self. It helps you to feel more deeply which allows you to process the thoughts and feelings (even unconsciously), which further encourage the energy channels to open and the tensions to melt from the body.

Additionally, there is the factor of the human connection. Tantra’s teaching around “relationships” are focused on cultivating connection and a deep reverence for the Sacredness of both Self and Other. When we are being touched consciously in this way, even through daily activities, our deeper essence feels honored and free.

Through the massage experience with an energetically aware practitioner, there is sustained conscious connection and honoring which allows every level of body, emotions, mind and spirit to receive and to open. Each of these levels is given the chance to feel accepted, loved and safe. Being allowed to enter that space brings us back to clarity and to center. We feel our “Self” more clearly as the tensions that normally distract us are removed. It becomes safe and affirming to “be me” again.

Tantra teaches us that the Deeper Healing takes place when we clear the energetic blockages out of these energy channels within the body, and activate increasing levels of energetic flow in the energy channels. This forms much of the benefits of a great massage experience. A chance to turn the mind off, tune into the present moment through sensation and breath, and make space for energy to open and flow freely in the energy channels as tensions melt away.

So, the benefits of “Massage” go beyond just the body. There is also the effect of energetic connection and nurturing, as well as the general clearing and opening of the energy channels.

These principles can be taken even deeper through more specific energetic healing methods. When this understanding is skillfully used in an Ecstatic Union® Energy Healing Session, we direct even more intention towards accessing and clearing the energetic blocks at the levels of emotions, mind and spirit. Whereas the massage creates a more general opening and flow that can be likened to the more gentle effect of water washing away “blocks”, during an Ecstatic Union® Energy Healing Session the methods used are more focused, like energetic surgery.

The often more gentle “energy washing” of the massage will create healing and changes over time with regular application. The more energetically focused work of Ecstatic Union® Energy Healing can create more specific healing and transformation at deeper levels in a shorter period of time.

They are, of course, also two different healing formats with two different overall intentions. The massage includes the benefits of relaxation and unwinding tensions in a more general way while also giving the body a sensual treat. The Ecstatic Union® Energy Healing approach is intended more specifically to transform self-defeating patterns that block us from experiencing out fullest potential in life.

Everything is Energy, and Through It Deeper Healing Take Place

It has been through my own personal journey that I have discovered the Deeper Healing that can be created through conscious energy awareness. As I reconnected with my deeper desire to be an Energy Healer, I learned through direct experience that massage was included in that model of energy healing and not something separate.  The Body is energy, and is energetically connected to the Whole of Being.

There is so much more to massage than what appears on the surface. Regular massages from an energetically aware massage therapist can create healing and transformation much deeper than just relaxation. It can remain a time of “self-pampering and nurturing” or it can evolve into a more conscious exploration of what is possible through the power of Energetic Healing. It can become a gateway into creating a life filled with greater joy and Vibrancy. A gateway into the power of Ecstatic Union® Healing, which brings transformation and growth at every level of your being, leading to an awakened experience of your fullest potential.

Ready to take your personal healing journey deeper?

Massage appointments available in Person.

Ecstatic Union® Healing Appointments available by phone, Internet chat and in person.

Click here to schedule today!

Is “One Powerful Healing technique” enough to be an Effective Energy Healer?

 

Is “One Powerful Healing technique” enough to be an Effective Energy Healer?

If you are going to do something, such as seek a method for A Healer in the Inner Realms of Power, Accessing the most effective healing methodspersonal healing, transformation and spiritual awakening, then you would want the best, most effective method, right?  And, the most effective method would be even more important if you were to step into the role of an Energy Healer or Healing practitioner of any kind, don’t you think?
 
After all, don’t you want the best and most effective ways to solve your own challenges and live a more Authentic and Joyful life?  And if you want to learn to be an energy healer, you want the best for your clients also!
 
During the past 24 years, I have explored every healing method I could come across.  If I haven’t already learned it, then I have probably learned something like it by a different name! Having been through all those many years of study, professional training, personal healing and transformation, trust me when I say that it can be confusing out there! And during my over 17 years of working professionally with clients as a healer and spiritual teacher, I have also been there to witness what works and what doesn’t when working with others.
 
Looking back from where I am now, there are such a wide range of techniques, that I can easily see that it would be hard to make sense of them all.  I know a big part of my journey was discovering them, working with them and directly experiencing the transformation, healing and awakening that they created within me.  But being on the other side of that phase of my journey, I also can see some things about the “experiences” that I wasn’t able to see while I was in them.

An Obstacle on the Path of Healing? 

The journey itself was fueled by a desire to learn to be a better Energy Healer, but also to overcome my own challenges and better understand my Self through what I was learning and practicing.  I ran across a bit of a “trap” that I didn’t see at the time, but now clearly appreciate.
 
The “trap” was this:  Each time I was introduced to a new healing methods, I would most often have a pretty powerful experience of it.  It would impact me in a very obvious and noticeable way that would give rise to the feeling that “I have finally found what I was seeking!!” I would then become a “big fan” of that method, and use it over and over on myself, getting benefit after benefit.  
 
And then something strange would begin to happen: After a period of time (sometimes long, sometimes short) it would stop feeling powerful.  It would start to feel as if almost nothing was happening from it and that I was just spinning my wheels.  At that point, I would seek out a new healing method to learn and explore, and the process would begin again.
 
Each time I discovered a new healing method that seemed effective, I would think “This is it!  This is what I have been looking for the whole time!”.  And then eventually, “the honeymoon” would end, and I would wonder what happened.  And I would move on to something else. (Rinse and Repeat)
 
What I couldn’t see at the time was this:  Each healing method I learned was very powerful for a specific type and level of healing.  In other words, it was an appropriate and effective tool for a specific area of healing, but it was not, as I falsely imagined, a “magic bullet” for all that ailed me.

The Healing Obstacle Leads to Insight and Wisdom

What I understand now was that each time I found a new “powerful” healing method, I was actually entering a new phase of my healing and development.  It wasn’t that the previous method had “stopped being effective”.  It was that I no longer needed it as a primary healing method.  It had done its job, and the next stage of my growth needed to be nurtured with a different method.
 
I came to understand after looking back that the process of healing is a journey.  It isn’t a “single event”.  I have had many powerful experiences of healing, for sure, that created new levels of wholeness and wisdom for me.  Those moments were life changing.  But from another perspective, they can also be seen as “another step” towards wholeness.
 
An important principles in “energy healing” and “Tantra” and “Yoga” and “alternative healing” is the understanding that we are “multidimensional” beings.  Our experience of life and Self is being created through the interaction between the energetic layers of Body, Emotions, Mind and Spirit.  And an effective Healing process must be able to honor, understand and evaluate each layer to see how it is contributing to either health or disease.  And of course, it should also provide a targeted healing method to address the source of the imbalance directly within the layer where it exists.
 
What was happening along my journey was that different steps, I was finding a powerful tool that addressed one Level of these experiential layers of Self.  For instance, I would find a powerful tool that was super powerful for creating Emotional healing.  Then another for Physical healing.  Then another for Mental Healing.  Then another for Spiritual Awakening. Then another for Life Force Energy activation, etc. My journey was giving me direct experience as both a “human” and a “seeker” to discover the importance of each of those layers, and also to show me the most affective methods for addressing healing at each of the layers.
 
And when the needed work was completed for a specific phase of my healing, then the focus on that particular healing method was done.

The Fruits of Deeper Awareness and Insight

I have come to understand the process of Healing and Spiritual awakening to be like that of building a house.  There must be a strong foundation.  Then a structure.  Then plumbing and electrical.  Then the walls are put in place.  Then the Roof.  The floor.  Then the finishing touches, etc.
 
And at each of those phases of “building the house” a different set of tools is needed.  You would not, for instance, make the mistake of trying to cut boards with a screw driver or installing sheet rock on the walls with a sledge hammer. Each tool serves a specific function and addresses a specific phase of the project.
 
It is like this with healing and spiritual awakening also.  Different healing methods and approaches serve specific levels of healing.  Different philosophies and practices are also needed at different steps along the journey.  And also, like in a house, once the primary structure is built, the various tools are sometimes needed for maintenance, such as needing to make an electrical repair or replace the roof.  But even then, they are only pulled out once in a while.  And some tools you may never need again.
 
Once I saw and understood this clearly, then the beauty of my own personal journey become obvious: I was moving through different stages towards Wholeness and Self-Realization, while also being given a variety of experiences and healing tools to allow me to assist others at various different stages of healing and awakening.
 

7 Things a Healer or Spiritual Teacher Must Have to Be Truly Effective

I also learned that someone needs more than just “techniques” if they truly want to learn to the best and most effective energy healer possible.  
 
To be a truly effective healer or spiritual teacher, one needs, at minimum, the following:
  1. Direct experience of the healing methods they are using with their clients
  2. Effective methods to dialog with and coach the clients they are serving
  3. Effective methods for assessing the different layers in need of healing for any given session with a client
  4. The ability to know and implement the best method for addressing the healing at the assessed level
  5. A deep, experiential understanding of the True Source of healing, and where the process of healing is actually leading
  6. Intuitive tools to access the deeper wisdom of the energy moving within Self, Client and the healing process. 
  7. The confidence and trust to allow the healing to unfold in a way that is natural and for the highest good of the client being served

The Culmination of the Journey Leads to the Ecstatic Union® Healing System

After 24 years of study, professional training and walking my own path of personal transformation and spiritual awakening, I have developed the Ecstatic Union® Healing System.  It takes the best healing methods available, and brings them together into a cohesive, integral system that addresses each level of body, emotions, mind and spirit while also keeping a clear single goal of awakening Wholeness and Direct Experience of the Deeper Nature of the Self.

 In future posts, I will discuss in depth the components of the Ecstatic Union® Healing System, as well as the benefits for someone seeking personal healing, transformation and spiritual awakening.
 
I will also more fully address the benefits it has for someone who is called to be a professional healer or spiritual teacher of any kind.  That with include a detailed look at the 7 Things a Healer or Spiritual Teacher Must Have to Be Truly Effective that are mentioned above.
 
Need to take your personal healing journey deeper?  Need Mentoring as a Healing Professional? 
Appointments available by phone, Internet chat and in person.  Click here to schedule today!



Latest CDs from Jeff Craft

Beginning Meditations: Expanding Peace by Jeff Craft

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Living with Awareness: Tantric Meditations for Expanded Conscious Living by Jeff Craft

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Expanding Consciousness (A Tantric Meditation to Awaken the Bliss of the Self) by Jeff Craft

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