I ran the first Tantra group at Earthbeat for more than two years recently. The pandemic and running groups somehow didn’t mix very well !
Tantra is a term often misunderstood, not least because it has such a wide definition. The thought of opening our personal sexual world to strangers in a group or with a therapist can feel ominous, too exposing and uncomfortable for some. Yet Tantra here, this modern Tantra, certainly the way I run groups is far more a journey into self than anything overtly sexual.
Setting it up I reflected again how culturally closed most of us in England are to the exploration of intimacy in a group. And it reminds me how our culture has a massive effect on our development.
Many of us are comfortable sitting on a beach with hundreds of strangers with almost noting on if the occupation is swimming in the sea or getting a sun tan. Many of us are happy wearing highly revealing clothes and stretching our bodies with strangers, if we are in a yoga class. We can dance with free abandon if we go for a night out. Yet when the word Tantra or intimacy or sexuality is the subject to be explored and actually talked about then it’s too much for many. Unlike in Sweden or Holland, Germany or even France, the British seem to have a squeamishness that seems oversensitive, even represive.
Yet not exploring it doesn’t mean that it magically resolves itself or goes away. Yes, most people prefer to do that exploration with their partner/s or alone. Yet what is clear to me, is that on our own or even as a long term couple, we tend to repeat behaviours and compound our patterns. We become reactive to our intimate hurts and sensitivities picked up from our past.
I’m often intrigued when private clients work with me and reveal the depth of their deepest experiences, yet if they are British they shy away from looking at their current sexual life.
It’s very hard to step out of what we think we know about ourselves on our own and transform our ways of being.
The intimate journey is ultimately a vital part of being human. Without an ease in ourselves, good strong boundaries plus an openness to the new, many people find their lives mirror their patterns in their intimate world.
People who avoid their sexuality often find that they attach to avoidance in lots of other aspects of their lives. Those who have no boundaries around sex are often unconscious and hedonistic in other aspects of their lives.
Tantra might be illiciting fear just in the mention of the word when it’s perceived to be about sex. When really it’s about consciousness and empowerment. We slow everything down so we can notice our reactions. At that point of awareness we gain potential agency. Agency to make conscious choices with our bodies. As opposed to simply playing into old patterns of behaviour and avoiding hurt, because of what happened earlier in our lives. We get stuck, we can stop ourselves expanding into the new.
The exploration of our intimate growth as a human I’m reminded once again is central to our overall happiness and our health. Yet for interesting reasons it’s still largely taboo. It seems some people would rather go to their grave than explore their sexuality in the light.
My hope is that these groups are some small droplet in the wave of change that will see more openness about this oh so human part of ourselves. So that as a society we move towards more openness and less shame, embarrassment and inhibition. To meet ourselves more intimately in the future. Because there’s so much more our bodies would like to explore and experience, consciously.
CONTACT: Kendal Aitken: counsellor(Dip)/ psychotherapist( Cert) 07944883961 New groups at EARTHBEAT with FREEDOMBRIDGE.CO.UK