energy

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.

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Awaken the True Self and Opening to the True Source (Video)

Discover the interactions between Shiva and Shakti as they Create the Unfolding Universe, and how that understanding allows us to free our Self through Tantric practice.
 
Learn why attachments, fears and self judgments keep us limited, and the primary mindset needed to progress towards Self-Realization.
 
This is Part 5 of a 6 part video series on Tantra as a Spiritual Path.
 
 
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAak-O41SXQ

 

 

Synchronicities, Miracles, and Infinite Possibilities

Written October 6th, 2011

This morning, I set out from Mumbai by train to Nashik, which is the main city near the Ashram where I will be staying for my Yoga Therapy Program. My train, leaving at 8:20am, required me to be up and walking to the station around 7:10am. The previous evening when I checked in at my hotel, I asked the front desk to help me confirm my ticket and see if my seat had been assigned. They told me it was confirmed, but no seat was posted yet, and suggested I arrive a bit early in order to check my seat.

It is amazing to me how something so simple as checking for a seat number can become a potential challenge if you are not familiar with the way in which the locals do it. I found my way easily to the train station. I found the platform from which it was leaving. I even found the posted lists of passengers, but despite my confirmed status, there was no mention of my name or a seat number anywhere to be seen. Seeing my confusion, and overhearing a local man who didn’t speak english likely trying to tell me I was looking in the wrong place, a kind stranger offered to assist me.

He looked over my printed ticket and announced what I already knew: “You are confirmed but there is no seat number.” This is the same thing I know the non-english speaking man was telling me as well. Yes, I know, I thought. That is indeed my entire reason for staring at long lists of names.

The man assisting me then proceeded to reach into his pocket, pull out a mobile phone, load an app, plug in my confirmation number, and within 30 seconds had received a text message which stated my confirmation, along with seat number. He then pointed me to the correct end of the train, and voila, I was in my correct seat.

Moments like these always make me smile. Not only is it wonderful that technology exists, but situations like this remind me again and again that the flow of the universe is always moving towards something positive. It reminds me that a solution always exists to any given circumstance. It reminds me that in moments of confusion, grief, pain, frustration or fear, that if I can simply be still, be present and patient, that the moment will pass, flowing into a resolution.

This same principle applies to anything. The present moment, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant will always flow into another. The experience you are having will inevitably come to end. This principle teaches us to keep our awareness in the present moment, and to embrace and accept whatever is happening. Knowing that the experience will come to an end reveals that the true pain or suffering in the moment is resistance to it. Our pain comes not from what is happening, but from a desire for it to be different. An attachment to a different expectation.

There is an order to the universe. If we resist it, we suffer. If we let go, embrace what is, and find gratitude for each moment, then we learn to flow with the grace of the universe’s unfolding. We must learn to train our awareness to focus away from suffering, disappointment, pain and frustration, while at the same time accepting what it is, but looking beyond it.

Focusing our awareness into the infinite possibilities, and the deeper stillness and peace that are always beneath this moment’s experience. Learning to tap into the pulsing energy of Consciousness which permeates everything. These yogic and Tantric practices, assisted by various methods and techniques, help us to connect with a deeper intelligence and the grace of the Divine Universe. They help us learn to find a spiritually beneficial joy and detachment to outer experience and expectations, and help us to align our awareness with a deeper reality.

By connecting to these underlying energies and states of awareness, a natural freedom and joy arises, which is independent from and beyond any happiness based upon worldly fulfillment. It is moving closer into your true Nature, which Tantra declares to be Pure Consciousness, Being and Bliss Love. Or Satchitananda in Sanskrit.

This deeper awareness allows us to learn to trust the unfolding experience of life, and experience joy from our Inner Being, no matter whether the outer experience is seen as pain or joy.

When I finally made it to my seating area, after a few people shuffled around, a young woman from Japan joined me in my train berth which seated only 4 people. With a fairly certain and amused thought, I confirmed that she too was headed to the same Ashram. Small world as they say. After we talked for a few minutes, just as the train began to move, two other young women joined us. From Turkey, and both headed to the Ashram.

What are the chances? Yes. This is the final day to go to the Ashram. Yes. This is a likely train to take to get there. Yes, it is likely that we would be more inclined to book a train car with AC. But we all could have just as easily ended up in separate train berths, never knowing of each others existence until we got to the ashram.

Our “chance” meeting provided everyone a sense of safety and relief. Hearing of my previous positive experience at the Ashram, I could see a part of them relax. They were no longer alone to find a taxi to the station. Life once again found a resolution, with no effort on anyone’s part.

There was a time, maybe ten years ago, when I used to think of synchronistic moments like these as magical. That some how the universe was reaching out to me, showing my special relationship to the Divine.

Now I see them as ordinary proof that an intelligence beyond our individual capacity is operating behind the scenes of the unfolding universe. They remind me to surrender, that all is fine, and everything is as is should be. They remind me to continue to be grateful and flow with the Grace of the Divine as it moves through me and the life experience that I am witnessing.

It is not, perhaps, that it isn’t magical is some sense. But perhaps that which many define as magical is really more ordinary that most realize. It only seems magical because we expect life is a different, more limited, way. By opening to the infinite possibilities, by being willing to live in non-ordinary states of consciousness, all that previously seemed impossible becomes possible. Then “miracles” and “sychronicities” become the norm.

The world of miracles IS a part of our natural state. We do not need to do something to bring it about, but rather we need to cultivate a perspective on life which is free from expectations and open to all possibilities. Then the Divine consciousness that is the True Self can reveal Itself to you. Stop believing miracles are rare or even special, and stop believing you are disconnected from the Infinite Intelligence of the Divine. That Intelligence is flowing through you as your own True Self. Then smile into life, and watch as reality begins to reveal Itself.

If you stop and pay attention, what ways is the universe showing you a greater set of possibilities than you are currently experiencing? What ways does the universe try to teach you to trust the flow of life, to surrender and be grateful?

Kundalini, Tantra Yoga and Spiritual Development

There is a lot of talk these days about Kundalini. What is it?

Sometimes labeled “Sexual Energy”, Kundalini is in fact much more than this. Kundalini is the Full Creative power which resides within each one of us as Unlimited Potential. When awakened, it begins a new phase of transformation for the spiritual aspirant. The Tantric traditions declare that one cannot realize the final goal of Spiritual practice without the awakening of this Kundalini energy.

Prior to beginning any formal Tantric practices, for most people, the Kundalini remains dormant. It exists only as Potential, but not as direct experience.

Through the Tantric practices, one begins to prepare the body and nervous system for the Kundalini awakening. In the beginning, Tantric practitioners utilize the energy that is available to them, which is the Life Force, or Prana that is active within each living thing. There are even specific practices which seek to awaken and harness sexual energy.

The spiritual development and the awakening of Kundalini can be understood through an analogy of the development of the butterfly.

When the butterfly starts its life, it emerges in its larval stage as a caterpillar. It is destined to be a butterfly, but it does not yet know that. It lives its caterpillar life, eating leaves and searching to satiate its hunger. It goes through cycles of maturing, growing and shedding it’s cuticle or skin and moulting into a larger stage.

After many cycles of growth when the caterpillar is fully developed, hormones begin to be released, signifying the transformation is ready to begin. They go in search of a safe place and molt for the last time, creating a chrysalis as a hard protective layer made from its old body structure. Within the chrysalis, it begins to transform itself into a butterfly.

At the end of the transformation, it breaks out of its protective casing, and emerges as its fully developed potential: a butterfly. After a period of time to let the wings dry, it is ready to take flight and experience its new full expression and freedom.

The spiritual development of the human being is much like this. In our spiritual infancy, we are like the caterpillar. We roam about focused on fulfilling our innate desires, such as hunger, pleasure, and procreation. Through lifetimes of growth, change and development, we will even develop new desires and interests, desire for power and fame, addictions and aversions. All the while, we are destined to become a Spiritual “butterfly”, to fulfill our natural development, but we are not yet aware of it. We simply go from desire to desire, always seeking, completely identified with our experience of Spiritual infancy.

As we get to be more mature as a “caterpillar”, we may start to question the life we have been living, and wonder if there isn’t more to Who We Are. We begin to suspect there is a larger experience or greater potential to this experience, at which point, we may seek out some guidance. We start to learn a more conscious or spiritually aware way of living, thinking and experiencing. We begin to “shed” the old behaviors and beliefs that do not serve our further development.

It is during this phase that we will likely be drawn to various types of personal growth, healing work, and spiritual practices. They work in our growth to help release the limitations and prepare us for our final transformation. For Tantric development, this phase will also include consciously working with the Life Force or Prana energy. This includes the sexual energy, but is really more than that. It is all energy that is within us, and that energy is neutral in and of itself, yet very powerful.

As we work with the Tantric practices, we are making final preparations within the body, mind and awareness for the final transformation. We free up the energy from the places it had been previously limited or trapped. We develop the capacity of the energy channels in the body to flow freely, and to hold and circulate increasing amounts of Life Force energy. We begin to get glimpses and experiences which reveal the deeper truth of our True Nature. This is a necessary, and powerful time of development, but the truth is, even though major transformation happens, this is still the later phase of the “caterpillar”. The deeper transformation has not yet begun.

When the individual has developed enough maturity, the “spiritual hormones” are triggered, signaling the time to stop seeking and prepare for the upcoming metamorphosis. There is a different relationship with life. The adult caterpillar goes in search of a safe place to undergo the transformation, in the same way that the more matured spiritual seeker will now find “safety” within a spiritual teacher and/or a deep spiritual connection. This Teacher often appears in human form as someone who either is further along the Path or already knows their True Nature. In rare situations, the Teacher may not be in a physical body. This Spiritual energetic connection with this Teacher or Guide will provide the safe space for the final development to happen.

This Teacher, in whatever form He or She appears, will reveal to the seeker the deeper truth of their True Nature. “You have thought you were a caterpillar, but you are really a butterfly. Now I will help you awaken the butterfly nature that has always been in you.”

This begins the Chrysalis phase of spiritual development. A spiritually protected and inwardly directed phase of transformation. It is at some point during this phase, anywhere from beginning to end, that the Kundalini energy is finally awakened. Up until this point, all of the transformation and energetic experience has been Prana or Life force energy. Not until the full preparation and development is complete can the Kundalini be awakened.

Kundalini is awakened by the Grace of the Teacher, or the Grace of God. It is not accomplished through the individual will of the student. It cannot be imagined or “visualized” into awakening. It is through Grace and Surrender alone. The Kundalini, once awakened, begins a relatively rapid transformation of the individual, removing all notions of being a “caterpillar”, and awakening the Being into its Full Potential as a “butterfly”.

The caterpillar, not knowing it, has had tiny little “wing discs” just under the surface of its skin the whole time. These “wing discs” are like the dormant Kundalini which resides in each one of us at the base of the spine. They are potentially “wings”, but have not yet begun to develop, just as the dormant Kundalini is our Spiritual potential, yet to be awakened and developed.

Inside the Chrysalis, at the direction of the awakened Kundalini, the “wings” begin to develop. All old structures are transformed and released, and the fully developed “butterfly” takes form under the Spiritually protected watch of the Teacher or Inner Spiritual Connection.

As the butterfly reaches full development, it prepares to break through the protective casing, which now serves as a final limitation to be released. The butterfly frees itself, and then stabilizes itself as the wings dry. Once the wings are dried, the Butterfly is ready for its freedom of flight. It has awakened to its full potential and discovered its Truest Expression.

In the case of the “Spiritual butterfly”, or the human being, this True Self is Pure Consciousness with the nature of Unconditional Love, freed from all limitations. Enlightenment, or Self-Realization, as discovering your own True Self, is not so much a “becoming” of something, but is instead the letting go of all you are not. You do not become something different, but instead discover what you were all along. You were always the “butterfly”, you just didn’t realize it because you thought of yourself as a “caterpillar”.

You are not the “caterpillar”, not the limited human form you now experience and think yourself to be. You are the “butterfly”, the unconditioned Self, free of all form and limitation. Your very nature is Freedom, Joy, Bliss and Love. This is the Nature of the Self.

Each of these phases can potentially take lifetimes, although the final phases of spiritual development are usually relatively quick, compared to the many lifetimes spent in the “caterpillar” stage. It is important to note that the true Transformation or metamorphosis actually begins to take place from birth. There is a total cycle of development that starts from the first lifetime and ends in Spiritual Awakening. Even those that only think they are a “caterpillar”, with no thoughts of anything else, are in fact growing and transforming. Once day, when they are mature enough, they too will undergo a deeper transformation and realize their True Self.

With this in mind, it is important to understand that each individual is at the stage of development where they are. Just as a caterpillar cannot become a butterfly on day 2 of life, neither can we rush our development. We must honor the process and be patient, and understand that it will happen in its own organic time. We cannot “awaken Kundalini” before the pre-destined time in our own natural developmental cycle, so before that phase of development, we must learn to be content in whatever phase we are in. This could be the use of Life Force energy and the various healing and Tantric Practices that help prepare the body, mind and awareness for the final Transformation, or it could be a little before or after that.

Each phase of development has its own mystery, power and beauty. The more present and accepting of the phase of development you are actually in, the easier and smoother the process will become. Honor where you are on the Path, and continue to savor the experiences and awareness that are available to you in the Here and Now. This will do much more for you than wishing you were more advanced. Embrace this moment and it will gently lead you into your True Nature.

As they say “When the student is ready, the Teacher will appear.” This is true of ALL phases of development. We will encounter the teacher(s), healer(s), healing methods and spiritual lessons that we need at each phase of our development. Be present to what you are experiencing and learning now, and set the intention to continue to grow and awaken. Set your goal to awaken to your True Self, if that feels like a genuine desire within you. And then keep taking one step at a time, and see what shows up, what changes, and what direction the Path takes you.

When the time is right, the conditions for Kundalini awakening will be ripe, and you will find yourself under the watchful guidance of a Teacher who can assist you in the final phases of awakening. Be mindful of false teachers. Be patient, and keep your eye on your personal spiritual Goal. Desire to be the “spiritual butterfly”, the Awakened Self. Be determined to know your True Self, and then keep taking one step at a time until your transformation is complete.

And above all, Trust that you will one day awaken. Whether it is this lifetime or a future one, you cannot help but to discover your deepest Truth eventually, just as the butterfly cannot stop its own transformation. You already are the Highest Self. You just can’t see it yet. And the Path of Tantra Yoga helps you discover Who You Really Are.




Latest CDs from Jeff Craft

Beginning Meditations: Expanding Peace 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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