The subtle energies of the body, Polarity Therapy, Tantra and cultivating sexual energy |
Empirical science has yet to prove the existence of the subtle anatomies. Yet the mystical traditions have articulated them for millennium. The Sepherot of the Kaballistic Tree of Life, the meridians of the Chinese acupuncture system and the chakras of the Ayurvedic system are examples. They all convey the knowledge of a subtle energy which they assert is the link between the spiritual realms and life as we know it. Each uses their unique language and concepts to describe the precipitation of the mind of God into energy and into physical manifestation. The Chinese call this is energy ‘chi’, ‘ki’ by the Japanese and ‘prana’ by the Hindus. The Kahunas of Hawaii call it ‘mana’; Christ called it ‘light’.
The system of Ayurvedic medicine has evolved over the past 5,000 years. It is based on the Hindu scriptural Veda’s, which are the world’s oldest documented spiritual writings. Ayurveda offers a highly specific description of the subtle anatomy. It recognizes five sheaths, or layers of energy through the body. They are described from the most dense to the most subtle. The first and outer most layer is the bones, muscle and skin. The next, more, subtle sheath is respiration. Next in subtlety is the sheath of cognition, associated with the nervous system and the thinking mind. Next is the sheath of discretion, which relates to our moral choices and their consequences. Most subtle of all is the chakra system; the interface between the cosmic vibrations of creation and the grosser anatomical systems of the physical body.
Chakra, from the Sanskrit, means ‘wheel of spinning light.’ The ancients taught there are seven chakras in the body. They are located just in front of and along the spinal column. These generators and reservoirs of energy are also areas of consciousness. The first five chakras are associated with an element of nature (earth, water, fire, air, or ether) and with one of the senses (smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing). All of the chakras are associated with a tonal quality, a numerical and alphabetical value, and a color. When the chakras are in tune the body, mind and spirit experience harmony. Charles and Caroline Muir offer an analogy:
Consider the chakras as the strings of a guitar. Each string vibrates at a different frequency and gives off a different note. Over time the strings may resonate sharp or flat, and they require tuning. When they are in tune, the sound the guitar produces is harmonious. Similarly, when the chakras are in tune, one achieves harmony.
The Base chakra is found at the coccyx bone at the tip of the spine. It resonates with the earth element, the adrenal glands of the endocrine system and the sense of smell. It rules the organs of structure such as bones, muscles, and connective tissues as well as elimination. There is a correlation between the earth element and our need for structure and safety in the world. The second chakra is found at the sacrum. It resonates with the water element, the reproductive glands and the sense of taste. It rules the fluids of the body such as blood, lymph, sexual secretions and tears. It correlates to sexuality and all creative energies. There is an interesting link between the sense of taste and sexuality in this chakra. Mantak Chia, in his book Taoist Secrets of Love, states: Many people confuse the hunger for food and sex as being similar biological desires that are both necessary for survival. Clearly they are connected, as many people feeling sexual frustration turn to food for gratification. An imbalance in ching (sex) energy ranks as a major cause of obesity---when you are sexually frustrated, food is the easiest substitute.
The third chakra is found at the solar plexus. It resonates with the fire element, the Isle’s of Langerhan (which produce insulin in the pancreas) and the sense of sight. It rules the organs of digestion and metabolism. This chakra correlates to the assertion of and the abuse of power. The fourth chakra is found at the heart. This is the center for the Air element, the thymus gland and the sense of touch. The heart chakra rules respiration and immunity. With the arms it addresses how we bring the world to us and how we share ourselves with the world. It correlates to a sense of altruistic love in the world. The fifth chakra is found at the throat. It rules the Ether element, the thyroid and para-thyroid glands, the organs of speech and the sense of hearing. The throat chakra correlates to “speaking one’s truth” and to taking action based on that truth. The last two chakras transcend the denser elements and senses. These are the subtlest energetic harmonics.
The sixth chakra, often called the 3rd eye, is found between the eye brows. It relates to the 6th sense of psychic and paranormal experience. It is associated with the pituitary gland of the endocrine system and is the source of spiritual vision. The Crown Chakra is found at the top of the head and it relates to the pineal gland. This is the seat of mystical experience. It is the place where the mind releases all boundaries and concepts and experiences life in its full unity. There are a number of energy therapy systems such as Reiki and Therapeutic Touch. In my own journey I have found Polarity Therapy to be the most effective way to effect the chakra energy system. Polarity Therapy is the life’s work and teachings of Dr. Randolph Stone. Dr. Stone was a doctor of osteopathy, a doctor of naturopathy and a chiropractor. He would treat clients for symptoms and then notice that they returned with the same chronic pains and illnesses. As well trained as he was he felt he was missing something. His curiosity led him to study mystical healing modalities across the world. Richard Gordon describes Dr. Stone’s search: In China and France he studied acupuncture and herbology. In the orient, he learned reflexology and other eastern massage techniques. In the course of his work, he stumbled across the ancient Spagyric art of healing as taught by the great Doctor Paracelsus von Hohenheim, who had studied in Arabia. This provided Dr. Stone with essential knowledge of subtle electromagnetic fields of the body. Over the course of sixty years, Dr. Stone integrated this wealth of knowledge into a system he named Polarity Therapy.
Dr. Stone realized that successful healing must take place on the energetic fields as well as the physical level. That’s why chronic pain and illness often return when treatments just address the physical symptoms. Polarity utilizes gentle touch, rocking and deep pressure point work to release blocked energy in the energy fields. Dr. Robert K. Hall, MD teaches it this way: the work calls forth the spirit found at the very core of an individual. The essence of that core is Love. To experience true healing all the trauma and fear that is layered over that core of love must come out. That’s what we at the Lomi School call ‘working through the body.’ Many therapeutic models do their work ‘on’ a body, or something you ‘do’ to people. Working through the body calls forth the very essence of spirit.
Cultivating sexual energy
The Eastern traditions recognize that sexual energy can be a potent source of spiritual energy. The Kaballist’s have their ‘Sex Magic,’ the Taoists have their erotic rituals and the East Indians and Tibetans have Tantra. Tantra is the art and science of cultivating sexual energy and directing it to spiritual transformation. Deepak Chopra says,
“Tantra is the closest you can get to magic or alchemy or transmutation. Tantric rituals are basically spiritual disciplines that allow you to trap and transform power. When properly understood, tantra is one of the most dynamic and consistent paths to enlightenment. Of course, sexuality is a component of it. Tantra acknowledges that sexual energy is the most powerful energy in the universe because it is the creative energy in the universe.”
I think exploring the concepts and practices of Erotic rituals are important for westerners. We have a deep sexual wounding from our Judeo-Christian heritage. Our sexual natures were first denied when Adam and Eve “saw their nakedness” as they were evicted from the Garden of Eden. The teaching of original sin is a body centered, sexual one. Erotic rituals teach us to hold our bodies as sacred. To experience sexual energy as the cosmic creative gift that it is.
A primary key in Tantra is an ability to be present with your partner; to focus with eye-contact, to match the rhythms of the breath, or meditate together. Tantra also teaches the importance of mastering the orgasm. Women have four levels of orgasm: the clitoral orgasm, the vaginal orgasm, multiple orgasms and the amrita, or divine nectar. Men are taught to master ejaculation. Rather than lose their sexual energy out through the penis the orgasmic energy is directed up the chakras. Thus men become capable of multiple orgasms.
Tantric rituals are most effective in committed long-term relationships. The defenses and barriers of our personality are healed in the safety, intensity and intimacy of our primary relationships. My friend Sean Michael used to say, “Intimacy means In-To-Me- See.” Keith Hennessy defines intimacy as, “An un-armed encounter between two individuals.” Both of these describe the expression of a self without the armor of defenses, a vulnerability of just being with another person. Commitment is needed to create the container that allows all the personality defenses to present themselves. Safety and vulnerability come as those defenses are consciously healed. Mastering erotic energy has two primary results. As the art of love making it creates ecstatic satisfaction. It also generates intense energy for healing on all levels of body, mind and spirit.
As a teacher and a professional body-worker, I think it wise to add: a spiritual and body-centered transformation can be a personal journey and/or work with a teacher or professional. The practices that involve a teacher, a therapist or facilitator are not to be used for cultivating sexual energy. Healthy, consensual sex is defined as sex between two individuals who share an equal balance of power. This excludes professional relationships such as Doctor/Psychotherapist and patients, Lawyer/Massage therapist and clients, or teachers and students. Sex between a client and professional is abusive. Erotic rituals invoke powerful energetic experiences. Utilized unconsciously they negatively effect relationships and spiritual evolution.