As a practitioner of Tao Tantra, what interests me as I walk my life’s path is energy. What happens energetically in different situations? What am I doing with my energy in different expressions of my being? How does my energy affect others around me?
As I explored different types of Tantra I discovered in the more expressive forms (neo-tantra) that sometimes in class we are invited to express our flirty or seductive expressions. And what I discovered from that is that is can be really quite energising and activating, and often makes one feel kind of powerful.
Taoism teaches that power itself is neutral, but that how we use it can cause positive or negative effects in the world. Their rule of thumb is: if you keep an open heart then you will use your power to create love. But with a closed heart, sexual energy can be used in manipulative and harmful ways. (Hence Taoists always precede sexual energy practices with a heart meditation).
So expressing seduction made me feel powerful and alive, but I also noticed sometimes that excessive amounts of playing with seductive behaviour can make me feel confused and chaotic afterwards. I can remember doing a dance weekend that had a lot of seductive dancing in it with many different partners. It was a lot of fun, but by the end I felt a bit lost. Like I had lost my peace; lost my centre, lost myself.
I noticed after the weekend that I was attached to many of the people I had danced with and I wanted something more form some of them…a hug, a touch, some attention…basically I wanted some form of energy from them. This felt somewhat disempowering, and rather than hang around after the dance desperately hoping for some attention, I took myself off to my room to be alone and observe the effects within myself. It didn’t feel good to feel so needy!!!
Later on, I encountered the teachings of Agama, a classical tantra school. They teach that seduction is the action of the second chakra, svadistana (an energy centre above the pubic bone). They warn that if we are not careful with our energy then we can over-activate svadistana and become like a jellyfish- leaky with our energy. They warn that this creates delusion and false reality, unreal connections that fall apart quickly, as well as generating excessive emotional states.
Now this starts to sound as if it’s getting close the the Judeo-Christian teachings that seduction is the devil’s work, and in fact often targets women as the evil temptresses (starting with Eve temping Adam with that fateful apple). And Tantra certainly does not want to demonise sexuality, but it wants to bring it back to the sacred. So how do we navigate our way between the extremes of total judgement, shame and guilt on one hand and a leaky unconscious sexual expression on the other?
The answer, my friends, is most likely going to be “the middle way”.
One core principle of Tantra is uniting apparent opposites together. If we truly unite sexual energy and consciousness together, then we start to find the middle way. Neither suppression of sexual energy nor excessive leakage! If we are tuned in to our own energy as well as of those around us as we express it, then we can feel the vibration that it carries. Is this something fun and uplifting, or is it creating ripples or confusion or power games?
I once watched a superb video by the teacher and comedian J. P. Sears. In this he says there are two ways we might be using our sexual energy. One is to make ourselves feel better…to bolster a weak self-esteem and cover up all the places were we don’t truly love ourselves. In other words, we manipulate other people into giving us attention so that we can feel good about ourselves.
The other way, according to J.P., is to use sexual energy to create intimacy. To use sexual energy to get close to someone, to see more of who they are and reveal more of who we are. This kind of energy exchange feels nourishing and loving. I can think of many times at ecstatic dance when I have had these kinds of exchanges and I am always left with a warm heart.
Not to mention the joys of pouring one’s sexual energy towards a beloved (someone you are in relationship with), and flirting with them to bring them energy and aliveness and to share love. Somehow when you already have a consensual agreement to share sexual energy together (as you do in relationships), then seduction goes from being a manipulative game to being an act of love.
I myself began to find when I could play with energy without losing my centre (and qigong really helped me to gauge this)…and I could enjoy a tango-esque dance with someone, but keep the needy hooks out of it. Tantric sublimation methods also helped me to make sure that my sexual energy was rising up and not leaking out all over the place!
So, in conclusion, it’s not that seduction is a bad thing per se, but that it is definitely worth bringing some consciousness to it in order that we don’t misuse this powerful form of energy exchange. Oh, and I think it’s worth sharing the definition of ‘seduction” in wikipedia:
Seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person, to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; to corrupt, to persuade or induce to engage in sexual behaviour. The word seduction stems from Latin and means literally “to lead astray”.
Hmmm that’s a pretty strong definition! Possibly we need a new word for conscious energy sharing that has less negative connotations…
Anyway, whatever name we give it, seduction is a fascinating phenomenon that is definitely worth bringing our awareness too. I definitely don’t think that we should avoid playing with seduction altogether…one only has to think about tango and salsa to see the beauty and energy in it! Whether in a neo-tantra workshop, a salsa club or your own bedroom, here are a few basic tips that might help your exploration to tay conscious:
- Stay connected to what is happening within you,and not just focusing only on the other people or person you are interacting with. This is key!
- Sense into people as you interact with them…can you feel how they are receiving your energy? Are they receiving you well? Are they able to meet you? Are they in conscious connection with you? (Note that skilled dancers of couples’ dancing are actually learning to be sensitive to these things, and so learning such a dance could be a good way to become more conscious in your energy exchanges!)
- Feel into the vibration of the energy exchange. You can actually really feel a good vibe from a bad vibe if you look!
- Check is your heart relaxed and open? Do you feel a flow of love?
- If you feel overwhelmed in any interaction, lovingly remove yourself from the situation and go and meditate (even if that means sitting quietly at the side of a dance club with your eyes closed).
- After any situation in which you generate a lot of sexual energy, the tantric way is to then meditate. Sit upright, close your eyes and watch the energy within you, and if you are able you can try to guide the energy to flow up towards your crown. This is a classical tantric meditation called “sublimation”.
The last suggestion, to sublimate the energy, is what draws the line between a sexual experience and a tantric one. Tantra is actually a spiritual path; one that uses sexual energy to create higher states of consciousness. So it can really transform all of our experiences. If you are new to meditation and tantra then try to find a good teacher to learn this from.
So, I leave you to play with your own flirtatious nature and discover more about yourself, about energy, about connection and consciousness. Remember: it’s great to explore but take care never to harm another. Happy explorations!
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Up-Coming movie about one man’s journey into Tantra: Sex to Spirit. Stay connected!