One day at 14 years old, I looked into the bathroom mirror and was surprised to see the face looking back at me. Is that me? Who am I, really? Whose is this face looking back at me? My spiritual journey began in that moment. I realized then that I am not the body, and I am not the mind but that there is a third presence that is bigger than all that and omnipresent. I tell you, it was scary back then! About a year later I discovered that Osho calls this state of being, “the watcher on the hill”, or the witness consciousness. This set me on the path of Tantra.
When I formally became a disciple of Osho, he told me, “let your spiritual path be a love affair”. Easy, I said to myself, I will get to enjoy many love affairs! By then I knew that the word Tantra means ‘weaving’, and I was sure that Tantra was all about weaving together spirituality with sexuality. Yes, that is true, and there is so much more!
Initially this article was going to be about the importance of getting back into the body, since in Tantra we celebrate the body as the temple of our being. There is so much talk about amazing out-of-body experiences, but how often do we truly inhabit our body, and are connected with it? Being in touch with the body is certainly very important. The body gives us messages about our health through pain. The brain gets to take time off when we consciously connect with the body through exercise, dance, taking a walk, yoga, and pleasant activities such as taking the waters at Harbin Hot Springs or making love.
Brainstorming with my husband Steve, I came to the conclusion that getting into the body is all very well, but the most important thing to remember is that we are not the body, and we are not the brain. The body cannot exist without the brain, and vice versa. First and foremost, we must create the balance between the two, a cohesive collaboration of the body and brain to arrive at the place of witness consciousness that embraces all, the place of true equanimity.
There are moments in my life in which I am totally present but I am not connected to my body at all. For example when I work on an intense project on the computer, my entire focus is on the details of the project, and I forget my body entirely. I am immersed in the here and now, and my brain is super charged. These moments are a great high, and very productive. “Lokita” disappears and all there is left is pure intensity and focus. However, often I emerge from these phases physically exhausted and depleted.
This is where my personal challenge comes in – how to ride the wave of pure brain intensity and be connected to my body at the same time. After all, Tantra is about weaving together the seeming opposites of my life into a harmonious whole! To me, the key to a joyous and ecstatic life is to be connected to the body and at the same time be alert in the mind.
One of my favorite practices is to notice how many things I can hear and feel at the same time. For example, the other day a close friend had called to tell me that his father had just died. The conversation left me feeling heavy in my heart. I sat down on a garden bench, my feet planted on the grass below, my spine erect, noticing the different bird songs all around me. The rustling of the lavender when a lizard passed by; the warm breeze caressing my face; my heart beating steadily, breath coming in and out slowly and consciously. Then a sudden sensation of 3-dimensionality arose. The “sad” was no longer there, the ”me” was gone. It was an intense and immediate experience in which “I” was receiving all the sounds and life of nature. The mind was still and the body vibrant with life force energy, my heart open and fully connected with everything. I could literally feel the dimensions, the spaciousness around me – the sky, the earth and all around – true oneness.
Thing is that more often than not we cannot take the time to melt into existence the way I did then. Our lives are so busy and filled with a myriad of activities and commitments that we find it difficult to stay on top of our priorities. If that rings a bell for you, you might like to try what I call, “Meditating 1000 times a day”. The most mundane moments can become a practice to reconnect with the body and awaken awareness.
“Awareness is your nature.The body is your abode. The mind is your computer.Awareness is you, your very being.” ~Osho
As I work on the computer, I bring awareness to the feel of the keyboard. At the stop light, I take a conscious breath. In a heated conversation with my husband I take a moment to feel my feet on the ground, and consider before I open my mouth to speak. And yes, when I fold the laundry, I connect with my senses as I take in the fresh smell and enjoy the rough texture of line-dried towels. I feel invigorated, inspired and vibrant with a deep relaxation. Now anything is possible and life is enjoyable and full of light and mystery.
I invite you to investigate for yourself how to bring the body and the brain into balance and become the watcher on the hill. Make love more consciously. Look into people’s eyes that extra split second. Even working on a deadline, stay in touch with the body, with the now. Take a step back and create moments of spaciousness. Celebrate your body!
If you think you don’t have the time for all that, think again! The rewards are boundless – creativity will flow more freely, insight and intuition will increase, aha moments will become abundant, and the productivity and joy in all aspects of your life will be enhanced.
Above all, cultivating the body-mind connection gets us in touch with our own innate divinity. Osho said, “let your spiritual path be a love affair”, and to me, Tantra is that – a love affair with the divine.