A couple of weeks ago I attended a retreat on Evolutionary Enlightenment with Andrew Cohen. A woman raised the topic of women’s liberation. She described, how many of us women are still concerned, first and foremost, with finding a – or the right kind of – man.

Andrew was impressed with her honesty and asked her, why that would be the case. “Do men make you that happy?” he asked. Every woman in the room burst into laughter, proof for how deeply we know that this is not the case.

Why do we live in such a contradiction?

The longing for and the desire for a man emerges from parts of ourselves buried deep within our biology and the history of our gender.

For one, and this is nothing new, the survival of our species depended on us being drawn to men, and them to us. In fact, this is, dare I say it, the prime reason we are drawn to each other, whether we intend to produce babies or not.

And related to that is the fact that for thousands of years, men acted as guarantors for the physical survival and security for women –even if they enslaved, abused or traded them, their power meant they were the source of any protection and safety.

It is sobering –to put it mildly – but also clarifying to look at these roots of our longing and ask the question anew: why are we still spending so much time and energy attracting Mr. Right, while knowing perfectly well, that our needs have changed and that we will not find lasting, profound happiness in any sexual relationship or romance?  (That does not mean that they cannot be beautiful or significant, but the fundamental approach to them would be different.) The current conclusion is that men should adapt to our changing needs – but does that make sense? Is that fair? And even possible?

I think it is a lot more exciting to look at exactly what it is at this point in our history and development that truly gives us fulfillment. In my experience this has to do with a higher creativity, self-realization in the biggest sense and deeper spiritual development – none of which men have the power to bestow upon us in the context of a sexual relationship. What is possible though is that our independence in these matters enables us to meet and come together in new, more satisfying and deeper ways.

Then our lives do no longer run contrary to our intelligence.

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The Goal Is Peace

March 28, 2010

I had a great conversation with a friend last night.  Both of us are students of  A. Cohen, and according to him, one of the highest achievements in sexual relationships is peace – being together without creating karma, which can be defined as creating pain and suffering for others out of ignorance or lack of care. When I first heard this, it seemed like a pretty modest goal – after all, I was used and conditioned to expect a lot from my partners: from ultimate fulfillment and ecstasy to merging with another and even enlightenment, the transcendence of personal self. So simply not creating karma seemed, to put it mildly, kind of lukewarm. But the longer I am living with and contemplating this goal, the bigger I realize it is. So often, simply because we spend a lot of time with someone, we begin to feel entitled to share the less palatable aspects of ourselves. We almost begin to make the other part of ourselves, our mind and all the garbage in it and stop holding ourselves to the standard, we set out with. In the beginning, the very best intentions are put into action almost naturally – you realize, how precious and delicate it actually is to have a man and a woman be together in peace, in respect, without clinging and dependence and in trust. Over time, old mind-patterns just come back and your perspective changes – unless there is a very strong commitment to stay awake. I read that there have been studies that people, when they are in love, temporarily can live at a higher level of contentment and happiness than they are used to on their own, but they always slide back to their regular ways. How familiar is that??? So in terms of the goal of creating a peaceful and karma-free space between you, it’s good to know that there is a part in each of us that is perfectly willing, at any moment, to destroy and attack and then to keep that part under wraps with all my might. To me, one of the real meanings of love in this context means to do that more and more.

Simply Sex? Part 1

March 22, 2010

For the first while of being newly back  in relationship, our bodies could not get enough of making love. R had been abstinent for eight years, and me for thirteen, so there was a lot to catch up on and we were literally on a non-stop high from the experience for several months. I later read that this is what does indeed happen, that there is some kind on internally introduced drugged-out-like state. Of course, it feels great, and it passes and that can be a pretty insecure time and also a fertile one for looking closely at how intricately sexuality is linked to our sense of self-worth, our need for affirmation, our sense of being alive and a whole lot more. It’s no suprise then, that everyone is concerned with extending their sexual activities way past the point at which it has any procreative relevance. We want to keep it up and I am actually beginning to wonder why.

Speaking about this with a friend the other day, we both felt that there is something in sex, the pure pleasure and single-pointed focus on sensations, that is a big relief from the complexity and often futile rumifications of our restless minds. It’s a mini-holiday all right. Everything becomes simple. And so it was no surprise to read, that the part of the brain that is most active before an orgasm is the one, that  is also called the ‘reptilian’ brain, a part that developed in much earlier stages of evolution than, say, reason. Surprise! But the implications are pretty big and I don’t think we, as very sophisticated and developed humans have really begun to grapple with them. I am including myself entirely – the reason for this blog in the first place.

Women’s love

March 7, 2010

I just returned from a beautiful get together with four of my women friends – utterly energizing and stimulating. We are all interested in consciously developing and have experienced a lot together throughout the years in our pursuit of evolutionary spirituality.

One of the discoveries we made for instance, was about just how challenging it is for women to trust each other and truly be close. At first glance, this statement might look absurd – women are best friends, get together to share intimate details of their lives, tell each other everything. But right under the surface, the picture looks a little less rosy. We had to learn to acknowledge, just how distrustful, competitive and even heartless we can be with each other. There are now more books being written and statistics published about how difficult women can make each others lives, at the office, at school, in the family.

How many women have told me over the years that they have nothing against other women, they just prefer to be friends with men.

So what looks warm and wooly on the surface often turns out to be just that – superficial.

My friends and I certainly never would have become aware of these issues, had we not worked, under the guidance of our teacher, on building a philosophical perspective between us that is free of these mechanisms and built on the understanding, that most of what we call ‘I’ is actually a culturally and psychologically conditioned construct, full of limiting ideas and assumptions.

Tonight, over green tea and butter-brittle chocolate-lemon scones we were again reaching for the objectivity, clarity and freedom of the understanding, that we all are expressions of one process of developing human consciousness. It takes a lot of effort and attention to really listen to each other when we speak about this, to be open to hear something new, to not want to trump the others point and to hold our own, each others and our collective development as the goal. And without fail, through that effort, a larger and more objective perspective emerges that unites us deeply.

I was left thinking that this  kind of meeting between women is at least as fulfilling and thrilling and important as any intimacy with a man. I’d love to hear what you think.

Being the Perfect Mate

March 4, 2010

Eva Schuster NextPaintings.com

Suddenly, this topic is everywhere! This is a great piece, about the Star Trek Episode of the same title. http://champagneb4breakfast.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/perfect-mate/

Check out what he says about the  female alien, who is an “empathic metamorph – an extremely rare and valuable genetic mutation with the ability to perceive the desires of the men around her and adapt her persona to be their perfect mate.”

Does that sound familiar, not very far fetched, close to home, even? It seems built into the female DNA to try to be such a woman. Regardless of my feminist, spiritual or otherwise progressive inclinations, this is how I lived instinctively for a very long time (yes, even post 1960s and being a teenage feminist) and if I am not consciously choosing differently will act out of that same ‘talent’ in a heart beat – this ability to please and change and mold myself to what I think my mate wants me to be. It seems to be one of the building blocks of women’ psyches and involves using sexual power.  It’s nobody’s fault, but to be a real partner is something altogether different. And in order to be that it’s important to let in how deeply I, woman, am conditioned by programs like these.

What is Woman, Part One

February 15, 2010

Here is a paragraph of an article that will appear in the German magazine info3 next month. It explains in very few words who Barry Long was, what his teaching was about and my own experience with it. I have been thinking about his concept of making love as a spiritual path, and his view of what woman is. I want to go into that more in the next entry. So here is the paragraph:

My second spiritual teacher, Barry Long, who called himself a western Tantric Master taught something altogether different (than Osho Rajneesh) A defining aspect of his own awakening was, as he described it, the direct experience of the divine in woman. He devoted his work and teaching to the potential of physical love to bring God to earth. The unhappiness in the world, he often said, was the result of men and women having forgotten how to properly make love with each other. Women were one hundred percent love, he explained, and men ninety percent, with ‘ten percent something to do’. This they should use to love woman rather than build a world suffocating in superficiality and materialism. Women were called to transcend their emotionality, to become uncompromising guardians of love and be true only to her.

Even though much of Barry’s thinking remained elusive to me, he helped me to discover, under all the fears and desires I usually identify with, a deeper center, still and always fulfilled: the fullness of Self, the happiness of wanting nothing but the silence and the inner pulse of Being. For the first time I experienced self-respect as a woman, at least as long as I listened to Barry and followed his instructions. This I did part time. The other part of my life was taken up by my love affair with a fiery, charismatic, marihuana-addicted Chilean friend, the first man to ever make me come, and thus, surely, had to be the man of my life. To please him, I broke, though hesitatingly, with one feminist principle after the other, wore make-up, high heels and tight mini-dresses and did just about everything else he wanted. His loyalty and above all the sex were worth it. It, I was quite certain of that, was tantric – whether meditative and quiet or wild and loud, our bodies seemed to be made for each other. We listened to Barry together as well, but my friend, even more than I, got cold feet at the thought of sacrificing our lust to the non-personal and un-emotional love that Barry taught. It was nobody’s business what he was doing in bed, M kept saying, thank you very much.

Barry teaching was rigorous, and rightly so. It is no easy task to truly dislodge love and sex from all the desires, inertia, emotions and all its other less attractive and less enlightened side effects. It demanded serious renunciation and discipline and a deeper motivation than just to enjoy a satisfying two-some. It was more than I was ready to give at the time, the fear of losing my boyfriend and of being alone, even if alone with the divine, prevailed. The result was an exhausting back and forth full of drama and tears, between the impulse to develop our relationship and give it a deeper significance and the desire to simply do what we wanted. But I kept listening to Barry and admired and absorbed the beauty, clarity and truth in his teaching.

In the next entry I will explore Barry’s view of women and their role and look at them in the light of some recent insights into why us women have such trouble getting a foothold in the world and really changing it.

Being alone together..

February 7, 2010

 Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of listening to spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen give a teaching on relationship. The occasion was a ceremony for six of his students, who had decided to enter into committed relationships. I wish I could recount the whole teaching here, but will focus on one particular aspect of it for now, which also relates to what Khin brought out in one of her responses, see previous post. Just to remember that the context here is a teaching of conscious evolution, or evolutionary spirituality which interprets relationships differently from, say, a psychological or traditional spiritual context. First of all,

here  is a five minute clip of the teaching.

So Khin said, that she is recognizing, that we are not together to fulfill each other. And Andrew, in this teaching, explained this as the ability to leave each other alone. He said we cannot assume to know the others interior, i.e. what it is that is going on in their heads, their hearts and their souls. This is a big point, because once you share a bed and a kitchen sink, you usually assume that you do. And so hearing him say that was like a breath of fresh air. I am very aware of how easy it is to start reading all kinds of things into my partners responses, silence or acts. Most of the time they are fearful projections or arrogant conclusions and I cringe at the thought of how often I used to simply throw them out there, forcing him or others to deal with them. Now, 9 out of 10 times, I am surprised to discover, that there was no need to worry, that he was dealing with whatever he had to deal with while I just had to deal with keeping quiet. It does mean leaving alone this constant need to ‘feel’ connected, to have affirmed that we really, truly, undoubtedly are, when, in actuality, we already are.