Fantasies, shadows, "vibes" & spiritual development
Updated: Apr 28
I watched a podcast video earlier this week about sXual healing and pleasure featuring a tantrika who was sharing her insights into this topic with the podcast host and his partner. It was a long listen (almost 3 hours), but my Monday was light, and I finished it pretty much in one sitting.
I listened to it (in part) because I liked a lot of what the host Aubrey Marcus talked about in the beginning. Had he not made such a strong start about how he has learned to connect with himself, I am not sure I would have listened… The 1st impression hooked me to listen to the whole thing, but some of the conversation I found to be problematic...which got me thinking about how this is part of what keeps me from being able to connect with a lot of new age people, and why most of them feel like dogmatic cults.
I also think this prevents some people from seeing how one's spiritual journey can be forged and accessed through sex, and how repression and judgement don't come from just "Christian" or conservative folks - it can come from people claiming to want to empower sexuality too.
I tweeted about this a little bit, but I feel the need to make a stronger point, as well as balance out some of the judgment energy I put into one those tweets. I was a little harsh with some of my tone calling it "BS".
I really just don't agree with how these ideas often are often promoted, but others are certainly able to think differently, and/or agree with it, or strive to walk a similar path. It is not for me to say what path is right for anyone else.
That path is not the path *I* follow though, and I want to make sure people understand that.
Even though I engage in more esoteric forms of connection and spiritual development, it is important to understand there can be important philosophical differences between how people do that.
If you are on the journey of spiritual development, be that through the energy portals and lessons we can access through sXual pleasure or otherwise, remember to always listen to your own inner wisdom about what resonates with you (& what doesn't), and to honor that. Listening to your own inner voice may not always guide you in the ways you want, but it will help you develop discernment, and get better at understanding those messages.
Please keep in mind that if/when you are not following spiritual traditions as they are meant to be taught, it is important to acknowledge and be mindful of that. ie: using "tantra" as a general term for just a specific activity without a full understanding of the foundations, rituals and practices that might go along with specific activities could be seen as inappropriate, as well as cultural appropriation (which I have done in the past, and try to no longer use this term). I don't believe everyone has to follow past traditions exactly if they don't want, but how we respect (or not) the spiritual traditions and lineage of those teachings carries weight in our own practice.
For me, I find the idea of working towards the elimination of using fantasy during sexual intimacy and exploration a HUGE problem for honest spiritual development. I use "honest" here intentionally, as I feel that to see our fantasy as any sort of "barrier" to spiritual development is just FALSE. It is actually something I find *necessary* for the deep self-knowledge required on that path, and cannot be achieved without it.
Our fantasies, just like any other thought we hold and learn to observe, hold messages and understandings we cannot always access otherwise. This is one of many ways we can connect with the messages of the subconscious, and of the soul.
Our fantasies also show us where we hold specific patterns that may keep us stuck until we understand how to work with that specific energy more.
But even more important (IMO) is how fantasy helps connect us to our shadow side, or shadow self.
Our fantasies are often charged by what we perceive as "taboo", which is connected to our shadow self. Being able to explore my shadow side has been essential for my spiritual development, and is not something I ever expect to try and eliminate. Nor would I recommend it to others.
How can we truly know ourselves fully, and learn to find deep love and empathy for ourselves if we judge our shadows, or try to eradicate them? It feels self-destructive and unhealthy in my opinion, and sets us up for failure. We each have a shadow we cast, and it usually looks and operates differently in each of us.
Is it important to learn how to be completely present with our bodies, and be able to access a deeper somatic connection by observing and releasing thoughts, much as one might choose to do in meditation? OF COURSE! (not all mediation involves sitting, and silence! *wink*). It is an important skill and connection to cultivate…but just not the ONLY skill, or the ONLY way to connect with ourselves.
Nor will shutting off fantasy connect us with some sort of "spiritual superiority" the way it gets framed in that conversation… (Fantasy, role play, "wigs" and things are supposed to be manufacturing a false sense of presence I guess? But the host practicing power exchange with his partner is an acceptable path for spiritual presence and connection with partner…classic "my k!nk is better than your k!nk mentality.)
"Higher vibrations" is also one of those concepts that bothers me as well, as it seems to indicate one has achieved a superior spiritual development when they are "vibrating higher", and that it should always be the goal to be in those "higher vibrational" spaces.
Higher vibrations, for those wondering, is really about being able to access different planes of consciousness. The world we operate in most of the time is just a couple of dimensions, but there are others out there we can access and explore. Some people access other planes more easily than others, and some have to work at it harder...just like any other skillset we may or may not have in life.
The way this phrase/idea gets used is problematic for me because: 1. it suggest one not having life give them what they need or desire is some sort of spiritual failure (think Laws of Attraction type dogma) and 2. it gets people focused on trying to ascend, instead of understanding imbalance can happen *wherever* you get stuck in an energy pattern, including if you are stuck in higher vibrational states.
If we are in balance, we are constantly flowing through cycles of grounding & manifestation with ascension & spiritual enlightenment. The ascension is not the destination, but a repeated part of the journey. Coming home to grounding, and bringing the wisdom from past ascensions back down into our manifestations helps feed the next ascent, and new layers waiting to be unpeeled (which then returns home to ground and manifest…rinse & repeat). Those layers are endless, and the journey will continue to help us unpeel those layers for as long as we want to engage the cycle. The cycle is always working through karmic patterns, but if/when we are able to be more conscious of it can help create greater results.
Be careful if/when anyone promotes language or ideas that create hierarchies. I feel like it shuts down acknowledging that each of us are going to have different capabilities for what level of "vibration" we are able to reach, and set some up to feel inferior or fail.
IMO, what should count most is the journey, and supporting people doing the best they can…not setting them up to achieve what someone else is working towards. We each have the right to be exactly where we are, and respect that another person is going to have another truth, not make them feel like they should be doing it like everyone else… That type of mentality is what helps create cults IMO, not spiritual enlightenment.
But again, if that is what others seek…to try and disconnect from your shadow and ignore it…or focused on vibing higher…or following strict rules about how to acheive spiritual development…more power to you! I will be over hear vibrating up and down on (left and right…back and forth…) on my own path.