The popularity of sexual Tantra introduced the ideas of left-hand yoga to the West. Although the sexual emphasis misconstrues the meaning of Tantra, Margo Anand captured some essential features of the practice in The Art of Sexual Ecstasy. Added emphasis appears in red, and my reactions are enclosed in a box: (Note 75)

The Tantra vision accepts everything. There is nothing forbidden in Tantra. Everything that a person experiences, regardless of whether it is usually judged as good or bad, is an opportunity for learning. . . . What does it mean to you! When have you repeated this pattern of behavior in the past? Why are you tolerating the situation! What opportunities for change are available to you! Through this questioning you can develop a sense of how to make your life work better. . . .

In a later thread, I develop this theme as "romancing the shadow." As I brought myself into the moment, the witness noticed each action and reaction with an eye toward understanding what message The Intuitive Self offered to encourage me toward wholeness.

The Tantra vision is one of wholeness, of embracing everything, because every situation, whether pleasant or unpleasant, is an opportunity to become more aware about who you are and how you can expand your capacities. And this provides a great opportunity for integrating all aspects of yourself, including those parts that you may normally reject or hide. This vision also recognizes that within each adult human being there is a natural, unspoiled, childlike spirit who can openly and innocently explore unfamiliar territory. The innocence of this spirit remains intact and represents our natural capacity . . . .

In that same thread, I review subpersonalities that surfaced while looking at myself in the mirror of experience. Since each had a life of its own, their energy often cast a cloud over The Intuitive Self. However when they were synthesized into my larger self, they no longer stood between my outer persona and the core of my being.

Because Tantra believes in wholeness, it embraces opposites, seeing them not as contradictions but as complements. The concepts of male and female therefore are not set apart, forever divided by a gender gap, but are viewed as two polarities that meet and merge in every human being. Tantra recognizes that each human being, whether man or woman, has both masculine and feminine qualities. . . .

Sexual Tantra offered a safe haven where my feminine side was honored and nurtured. Finding this quality in physical action aligned me with female spiritual energy. Equal stature for feminine energy lay at the heart of Tantric practice where the interaction of Shiva and Shakti created physical reality. Without both, the universe did not exist. How could either masculine or feminine energy dominate? If either did, the universe was denied.

In Tantra, when the male and female polarities merge, a new dimension becomes available - the sense of the sacred. When the sacredness of sexual union is felt, it is possible to experience your connection to the life force itself, the source of creation. This connection lifts your consciousness beyond the physical plane into a field of power and energy much greater than your own. Then you feel linked, through your partner, to everything that lives and loves. You feel that you are a part of the great dance of existence; you feel one with it. . . .

Truly feeling the multidimensional physical sensations of sexual union was as close as I came to the pure energy of the universe. Is it any wonder that sex has such a grip on human interaction? My smaller selves reached out to connect with the larger Self. Two verses from my poem "God Hunger" revealed this truth:

What is this gnawing, empty feeling in the pit of my belly?
What is this praying for release that has no final resolution?
What is this crying out from the depths of passion's embrace?
"Give 'it' to me!" - "Give 'it' to me!" - "It?" - Yes - "It!"

I seek to know God first hand through my significant other.
Your god-goddess candle being beckons me to merge.
You are the image of my primal twin seeking reunion.
You are Shakti to my Shiva, I am Shiva to your Shakti.

That 'it' would never be found through sex was one of the great paradoxes I had to resolve on my hero's journey!

In Tantra you discover that by honoring the god or goddess in your partner, you can see beyond the limitations of personality and, by seeing the divine in the other person, perceive the same potential in yourself. The other person becomes a reflection of your own godlike nature. That is why Tantric partners greet each other by saying, "I honor you as an aspect of myself." This means, "You are one with me, and your consciousness is a reflection of mine." . . .

When I stepped back from the passion of engagement to see divinity in the experience, I discovered 'it,' the divine, was within, not without. Since I only saw a reflection from my partner, I had to turn inward to discover that divinity - The Intuitive Self - within myself.

It is said that the earliest Eastern mystics obtained their first glimpses of spiritual enlightenment at the moment of orgasm. Indeed, many people know that orgasm can temporarily transport them to a state of rapture. For a few seconds the mind becomes devoid of thought, the egocentric view of life disappears, and we step outside of time into the timeless "now" of bliss. So sex, to the early mystics, was the very source of the religious experience, as it can still be today, given the right attitude and conditions.

Intuitive moments are moments out of time. To connect with the source of intuition, especially intuition in the large, I must reach into the timeless holomovement from which all being flows. Tantric sexual bliss intimates the state where this connection flourishes.