ECSTATIC HEALING … “Eros” may not be what you think it is, it’s so much more.
What does ecstasy have to do with healing? Plenty! Healing is a process by which energy is created, restored or freed, a rekindling of life force and vital experience. Ecstasy is a feeling state in which that rich, full-bodied aliveness is being experienced. Both ecstasy and healing resound with Eros, the Life Principle. To experience healing is to lift the spirit and lighten the load, whether to a mild pleasant sensation or a whopping euphoria. And to experience pleasurable feelings along their vast continuum of possibilities, is to assure some measure of healing. As we breathe easier, the physical body is vitalized, the mind is opened to clarity and creativity, and emotional roller-coastering is steadied. Joyful feelings may follow. Both healing and ecstatic arts may restore our sense of inherent, essential connection to Life, to Mystery, to living Earth and to each other. And to Death as well, to our cyclical natures, to inevitable change.
Have you ever experienced the delicious pleasure that removing your constricting shoes at the beach gives, then walking through the sensuous sand? Or stepping on a meadow of thick green grass? The sensations of relief give way to a ‘lift’, a gentle high. You are probably experiencing tensions melting away, muscle knots disappearing from your shoulders, and a more carefree mental attitude. A simple, natural healing has just taken place. Or think about the last time you made love, were totally engaged, present for all the marvelous sensations from soft and sensuous to lusty and penetrating. Exploding with your partner, you relax into the golden afterglow, adrift on the seas of blissful union. Mind, body, heart are reunited, and the overall effect is rapturous. Again, stresses of the day are left far behind. We feel whole, complete. We are renewed, creative juices can flow, and activities can be resumed with vigor. The various methods, techniques or exercises we refer to as healing arts might also be seen as “ecstatic passageways,” because they have the potential to open us and free us to feel that awesomely well, aware and naturally high! This is especially obvious of those methods that purposely court Eros as the means for healing to take place. Many tantric and touch therapies fall into this realm, as well as various ‘meditative’ practices. An intimate relationship with Gaia, with Nature, is another universal route to ecstatic experience. Dance, song -the natural body languages of movement and sound- are also ecstacy-conjurers, and when engaged in with full commitment and abandon, allow our bodies, minds and spirits to soar, and our soulful depths to be plummeted. Remember the disco music of the 80’s that tolled the virtues of ‘getting hot’ and ‘getting high’ on the dance floor: “What a feeling!” Have you experienced the pure joy of unabashed singing? Ever had a headache disappear as you listened to an aria and sexually self-pleasured yourself into an orgasm? But the simpler and greater truth is that any moment fully engaged in might be an ecstatic one, and any activity might yield it. Ecstacy implies a feeling of freedom, energetic flow. And when energies are freed, any healing waiting to happen may naturally do so.
Another simple truth is that deeply pleasurable experiences and healing events are borne on the breath. As a full breath is taken, we free ourselves to drink in deeply the nectar of life, and to fully express ourselves, giving to the world, making a full circle or cycle. There is a completion felt, a harmonizing, a wholeness. We echo living and dying and being born again and again, creating, and being recreated. As ‘seekers,’ we may discover how to be more present for this cycling, to experience its truth. Somehow in embracing change, life and death, dark and light, male and female, paradox as our reality, we transcend the teeter totter effect of polarity and our hearts are flooded with the moment. Is bliss not the experience of fullness of Being, being contained within us? How could healing not take place in this Moment?
Along the continuum of how freely and generously we breathe, we also find our potentials for erotic, full-bodied aliveness, and simultaneously, any possible restoration. There’s no clear separation in the experience of freeing the breath, feeling more alive, and any opportune healing taking place. Healing, whether physical, emotional, sexual or psychological in nature, whether soulful or spiritual, attends us when we reclaim what is rightfully our own Divine Nature. Ecstasy and healing are products of spontaneous living and deep trust of ourselves and of Life. They result from a high level of commitment and integrity, which does not, by the way, necessarily involve the thinking mind! It is rather from a freer breath, an opening to the moment, a surrender to whatever might be.
So to maximize joy and to allow fuller healing, we must reclaim our ability to respond naturally, spontaneously. We must be connected to our instincts. In our American culture, this implies the challenge to reclaim virtually everything instinctual: our feelings, our natural, gut knowing, our compassion in the face of pain or woundedness and vulnerability , our sexual and sensual natures, our sixth senses, including our sense of Relation to all Life and to our Higher Selves. To seek ecstasy is for most of us, inherently to seek healing as well, to seek release from our deep sense of repression and alienation. We live as if fragmented from the natural order, leading to angst, addictiveness and violence. Perhaps the root of our despair is the tear in the fabric of our instinctual, heartfelt knowing, and permission to express it freely. Instead we’re left feeling trapped, fearful, lost, and in need of much healing.
Fortunately, each new breath carries an opportunity for awakening. Healing, then, may occur at any time as we breathe more fully into the moment. And in this way, so too might we trigger an ecstatic experience. Yet the truth is that such moments are rare indeed for most of us. Although the key is astoundingly simple, it is nonetheless paradoxically hard to use. The secret lies in the single act that delivers us into the welcoming lap of the world, the arms of the universe, into bliss; the act of “surrender.” Surrender is nothing short of jumping fully awake into the present, the abyss of the unknown. It’s the proverbial leap of faith, -faith in the Order of Things, -faith in one’s ability to survive the risk. It belies a profound trust in oneself. Surrender is the antithesis of the “control” we’ve taught to create and maintain, opposite the anxious attempt to manipulate outcomes, and is rather, a kind of giving of oneself over to be filled, or emptied now, in this moment. It is the act in which a whole, uncensored breath is taken, allowing a state of simultaneous expansion and deepening to occur, a state that might translate into rapture. In this state of Presence, healing comes about. The life-giving force of breath fills us, flows throughout, carrying away the tensions of indecisiveness, dissolving protective armoring. As we surrender, we stand naked before the light, exposed to the dark, the unknown. It is the fohat where vulnerability and power intersect, the place where paradox is embraced, dissolving the experience of oppositional conflict. Ecstasy itself might be construed as a state produced when the opposite poles of our existence, -male and female, positive and negative, yin and yang- are experienced as compliments, wholly related, interwoven, two sides or facets of a singular Essence. We Know ourselves, our lovers, Nature, all living things to be of One Breath, delicious expressions of Creator.
The question arises, how may we get about the business of holding such joy, containing such inspiration, receiving such healing? Ecstatic passageways and opportunities for healing abound. They exist wherever you genuinely seek and intend to “let go and let God.” However, it’s likely that each of us has certain ways more native to us. In sharing some of mine, I hope to trigger, motivate and inspire you to discover yours. And of course, contact me to work with you directly, through my website: http://www.lovearts.info
EXERCISE #1 HEART BREATHING
Sit or lie comfortably. Begin to scan your physical body for any sensations of discomfort, and as they come to your attention, softly verbalize them. This acknowledgment allows you to let go of these sensations more fully, so your attention can be elsewhere.
Begin to follow your breath, just allowing it to be however it is, whether slow, labored, or rapid, shallow or deep. Imagine now that you are breathing with and via your heart. Feel your physical heartbeat, imagining it pumping life through your veins. Now imagine your loving heart, expanding and deepening vital force throughout your being. Let your lungs be the wings of your heart. Let yourself soar! Likewise, allow yourself deep rest.
EXERCISE #2 THE HEALING HEART BREATH
You can use your heart breathing to affect positively any part of your physical body, simply by imagining it. You might first check within to discover if there are any inner conflicts about being well. When you have a relative “all clear”, proceed to imagine your loving attention and vital force flowing into the troubled area(s). You might visualize a door or window opening, fresh air flowing in, or some other image that feels freeing. Colors work well: Ask your body-self what color or color light or healing energy would feel/work best? Then breathe that color right in. You can imagine another color going out, especially if that color was the original one that matched the pained or uncomfortable condition.
If you are able to do “chakra” work, directly affecting your own energy or subtle body, breathe from your heart into those governing ‘wheels’, imaging them spinning in a balanced or otherwise strengthened manner. Use the rainbow of red, orange, yellow/gold, green, blue, indigo and violet/purple (or white) as you proceed from the root to crown. If you don’t know the chakras, simply imagine a rainbow spiraling around your spine, starting at the sacrum, and moving through your cervical spine all the way out the top of your head. Be creative! Any image or thought of ‘healing’ can work. You can use your inner voice to chant, or to affirm your wellness, or sing or make tones that feel right to you.
EXERCISE #3 ORGASTIC HEART BREATHING
This is a concept that can be utilized in a myriad ways. As you practice and feel at home (“at OM”) breathing love in and out and all through and around you, imagining the Beloved that you Are, you can extend this to the Beloved without. You may make love with the stars, the sun, a meadow under a blue satin sky. Let the wind spirits caress your body. Allow these wondrous sensations to carry you over, to restore and refresh you -heal you. If you are being intimate with a partner, breathe together as if you were becoming a single, unified breath. If either of you is feeling unwell, you may direct this One breath to parts of your own or your lover’s body -or your unified body at large. Allowing energy to flow more freely, and your body (bodies) to begin to revitalize. If you are in the midst of an orgasm, bring that orgasm into your heart with your intent and imagination. Feel yourself bursting open, free, orgasming there -or at any other center you choose! Let the erotic heat, or the glistening of afterglow bring healing to you, physically, mentally, emotionally. Ride the waves, and free yourself. A deep sense of wellbeing is imminent.
VARIATION-SEXUAL HEALING SPOON BREATHING (For Lovers and Other Partners)
Do you know “spoon” position? One partner lies on a side, and the other cozies up close with his/her front side to the partner’s back. If one of you is unwell or tired, take the inside “healee” position, letting your partner support you from behind. The healer/outside position partner may place a free hand specifically on the healee’s front side, on any place (or chakra zone) you can reach to give a hands-on healing. Healers, you’ll use your entire body and your heart to send currents to your partner via his/her backside/spine.
Get into spoon starting position. Begin to breathe fully and easily in sync -either both in an out together, or taking opposite breaths. Generating a sensual flowing feeling helps start the healing fires. Healer, use your charge, your ‘turn on’ to move towards an ecstatic high, sharing your treasured good feeling with your not-so-well-yet partner. You might also humm, sing, ‘tone’, or use other sounds to augment the healing. Sometimes a healer partner will reach ecstatic, orgastic states, carrying the other along in the stream. Relish the intimate closeness you’ve generated, lying quietly, or drifting blissfully.
(Published in Ecstasy Journal, 1993.)