Each level of consciousness coincides with determinable human behaviors and perceptions about life and God. Each level represents a corresponding attractor field of varying strength that exists beyond our three-dimensional reality. There’s a critical point within each level from which its field gravitates (or entrains).Read More
By Jamie Beckman on SheKnows.com
To get to the heart of what tantric sex actually means, we caught up with Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson, authors of Great Sex Made Simple: Tantric Tips to Deepen Intimacy and Heighten Pleasure, who schooled us in the ways of the tantra — and how regular women (yep, that's you!) can get the most out of their sex lives using tantric techniques.
How Sting got it wrong
If you take away nothing else from this story, remember that the 5,000-year-old Eastern spiritual practice of tantric sex does not mean that you have to make love for hours. Instead, enlightenment and having a reverence for your partner that lasts beyond the length of any orgasm is at the core of the teachings, Michaels and Johnson say.
"It's funny that a comment Sting made over 20 years ago still has an enduring hold on the public's imagination," the couple says. "He's tried to explain it away or recant it in various ways. At one point, he said that he regretted making the statement and didn't really feel he could talk about the subject beyond saying that his wife, Trudy, is his church. That's much closer to what the spirit of tantric sex is all about."
"In the classical sexual ritual, the participants worship each other as embodiments of deities. We encourage people to bring an attitude of reverence into their lovemaking and to all their interactions. The tantric approach has far more to do with your mental approach than with technique. It's certainly got nothing to do with bragging about staying power."
But in tantric sex, you can feel pleasure longer...
"That said, prolonged lovemaking is part of the tradition," Michaels and Johnson say. "The tantrics of old recognized that orgasm can be a mystical experience, often the most readily accessible mystical experience of all. During orgasm, the mind goes quiet, and you may feel a sense of merger — be it with a partner or even with all that is.
For most of us, the transcendent potential in sex is something that's experienced only briefly, during the orgasm itself. If you extend arousal and focus on building it (this need not include genital intercourse), you may start to feel this sense of union well before you have an orgasm, and it is likely to last far longer than it would in more conventional lovemaking. So making it last is a means to an end, not an end in itself. If you can stay turned on for a half hour or so, you're likely to experience the altered state of consciousness we just described."
How to incorporate elements of tantric sex into your own bedroom: Header h3 with numbers to the side
Focus on your breathing and your (and your partner's) reaction to touch
"It's fairly common for people to check out during sex, to do things by rote and without a whole lot of reflection. Paying attention to what you're experiencing in your body, the way you are breathing and how your partner is responding are all very important," the couple says.
Give and receive — start with kisses
"To take this a step further, people tend to interact sexually based on a set of tacit understandings: Basically, I'll do you for a while, and then you can do me, and if we're lucky, we'll both have a good experience," Michaels and Johnson say.
"We encourage people to separate giving and receiving in a very methodical way. For example, it's great to experiment with giving and receiving kisses. Take a couple of minutes and allow your partner to kiss you and explore your mouth with his tongue. Then reverse roles. When you're kissing, see how fully you can give yourself over to the active role. When you're receiving, surrender to the experience completely."
Take 60 minutes and give each other a massage — but no sex yet!
"Set aside an hour or so to give and receive full body massages (culminating with genital stimulation but not intercourse). Do this on different days. As with the kissing exercise, the role of the giver is to give as fully as possible, and the role of the receiver is simply to receive. Taking this activity out of the realm of foreplay and keeping the roles clearly defined may help you discover new sources of pleasure, and may also give you new insights into the way you interact with your partner both in and out of bed."
Break a taboo by just talking about sex
"Many traditional tantric practices involved breaking cultural taboos, and there were many in medieval India," the couple says. "This was true both in the context of sexual ritual and more generally. In the simplest terms, the violation of these cultural norms had a liberating effect. Of course, we don't live in a society that has such clearly defined social rules, but we all have our own self-imposed limitations and our habitual ways of being, in lovemaking and more generally in life. If you can shed some of your inhibitions, you're likely to experience more pleasure. Talking frankly about sex is a big taboo for many, so for many, having frequent and explicit conversations about sex is a great first step."
Explore a personal sexual taboo together
"If you want to get a little bolder, you can identify a couple of personal taboos (you can also do this as a couple by identifying shared taboos), and then decide on one that you might be interested in breaking," Michaels and Johnson say. "Don't pick anything huge at first; it might just mean making love with the lights on or experimenting with light bondage, sensory deprivation or role-play. The purpose is to become more flexible and aware and to be less limited by preconceived ideas about yourself. Sometimes we deprive ourselves of a lot of pleasure by thinking, 'I'm not the kind of person who would enjoy that.'"
A superb article that will guide couples interested in the art of Tantric love-making.
(Originally posted on How Stuff Works)
Have you ever experienced a moment of sexual ecstasy? How did it make you feel? Exhilarated? Luminous? Deeply connected? Intense sexual experiences are one of our greatest sources of pleasure.
At the same time, sex is often regarded with an equal measure of fear and fascination. We may crave sexual intimacy to the core of our being, yet also take great pains to avoid it. We may wish to be touched with all of our heart, yet fear our own vulnerability. We may long to rekindle lost passion, but have forgotten how to light the fire.
The practice of Tantra shows us how to reclaim the sexual intimacy that is our birthright. And through this most ancient of arts, we may discover new joys of the erotic and expand mere moments of sexual ecstasy into a lifetime of sexual bliss. At a time when the stresses, fears and distractions of daily life threaten so many relationships, the age-old practice of Tantra shows us how to open our hearts, our emotions and our sexuality.
What Is Tantra?
Although Tantra has long been practiced in many eastern cultures, it is just beginning to flourish in the United States. Born in India more than 6,000 years ago, Tantra emerged as a rebellion against organized religion, which held that sexuality should be rejected in order to reach enlightenment.
Tantra challenged the acetic beliefs of that time, purporting that sexuality was a doorway to the divine, and that earthly pleasures, such as eating, dancing and creative expression were sacred acts.
The word Tantra means "to manifest, to expand, to show and to weave." In this context, sex is thought to expand consciousness and to weave together the polarities of male (represented by the Hindu god, Shiva), and female (embodied by the Hindu goddess, Shakti), into a harmonious whole.
Couples need not adopt the Tantric pantheon in order to benefit from the sexual wisdom of this ancient art. Tantric sexual practices teach us to prolong the act of making love and to utilize potent orgasmic energies more effectively.
Tantra is also health enhancing. "Sexual energy is one of our most powerful energies for creating health," says Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom."
"By using sexual energy consciously...we can tap into a true source of youth and vitality."
How Is Tantric Sex Unique?
In the West, we sometimes view sex as a source of recreation rather than a means of transformation. The goal may be to reach orgasm rather than to pleasure our lover or to connect with him or her more fully.
Beginning Tantric Sex Techniques
The usual kind of lovemaking, say sex experts, has a distinct beginning and ending, with a climax somewhere in between and an average duration of 10 to 15 minutes. Given that women can take about 20 minutes just to reach full arousal, this type of sexual experience can be deeply unsatisfying.
In the Tantric model, the sexual experience is seen as a dance with no beginning or end. There is no goal, only the present moment of exquisite union. For this reason, lovemaking is meditative, expressive and intimate. Tantra teaches lovers how to extend the peak of their sexual ecstasy so that women and men can experience several orgasms in a single sexual encounter.
Leading teachers of Tantra suggest that even men who experience premature ejaculation can learn how to extend orgasm, and, with practice, to enjoy multiple orgasms. One of the most well known advocates of Tantra is the musician, Sting, who credits his fulfilling sex life to this ancient art. With ingredients such as love, trust and mutual respect, the magic of Tantra is available to couples of all ages and levels of sexual experience.
The following exercises will help you reconnect with your body and with your partner in a profound way. As you move through these steps, do not focus on intercourse as the ultimate goal. Instead, simply enjoy giving and receiving pleasure using gentle touch and loving words.
Communicate with your lover to discover what he or she finds most arousing. Try to spend several weeks practicing the Tantric Intimacy Exercises without necessarily engaging in intercourse. For many, experiencing these erotic exercises with no pressure to "go all the way" helps release sexual guilt, builds trust and reawakens sexual desire. Enjoy!
Make time for each other every week. Plan a sexual rendezvous at least once per week. Set aside an hour or more of uninterrupted time to be together. Although it may be difficult to find the time or to manage children, you won't be able to benefit from Tantra if your relationship is not a priority.
Create an inviting atmosphere. Whether you meet in your bedroom, living room or another space in your house, creating a sacred space for each other will help relax you and bring you into the moment. Candles, fresh flowers, erotic art, finger foods and tantalizing aromas can transform any room into a temple of sexual delight. Even something as simple as dimming the lights and playing erotic music will help create a welcoming environment.
Dress provocatively. Or, wear nothing at all. Experiment with clothing or accessories that make you feel sexy and excite your partner.
Tantric Intimacy Exercises
Use ritual to develop intimacy. Begin your journey with a ritual. This may be something as simple as feeding each other delicious foods or sharing a glass of wine in the nude. Some couples enjoy bathing together in order to attune to each other.
Take time to wash each other with loving care. Water relaxes the body and is a symbol of sexuality. Massaging each other is also an excellent way to fuse your energies. Or, read poetry to each other, dance, play, listen to music—work on developing new intimacy skills. Most importantly, use this time tocommunicate,sharing what you adore about each other. The idea is to help each partner feel loved and cherished.
In order to fully focus on each other (rather than on the goal of sex), some lovers experiment with various intimate rituals for several weeks before moving on to the next steps or engaging in intercourse. This is a wonderful way to strengthen the bonds of love and ignite passion.
"The only time we ever think about breathing is when we have trouble doing it, yet conscious breathing can be a powerful aid in sexual growth," according to sex therapist Marty Klein, Ph.D. of Palo Alto, California. Breathing exercises also quiet the mind and help you focus on each other.
Try this exercise: Sit quietly, cross-legged, facing each other. Rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing up. As you gaze into your partner's eyes, take soft, but deep breaths. Keep your eyes open, gazing beyond the eyes, into the soul. Although this may feel awkward at first, sustained eye contact is essential for building intimacy.
Now, pay attention to your breathing. Begin to breathe at the same pace, bringing air slowly in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Maintain eye contact while you breathe together. Practice this exercise until you can sustain eye contact and harmonized breathing for about 10 minutes. Then, you may move into the next exercise.
Experiment with erotic touch to fully appreciate your partner. This most pleasurable practice will help you become better lovers. Although you should continue to maintain eye contact, don't worry about keeping your breath synchronized. Breath will come back into play later. Guide your partner as you take turns stimulating each other. Describe exactly how you would like to be touched.
Share your desires in an encouraging way, making requests in a clear and loving manner. For example, ask your lover to caress your clitoris or penis (or any erogenous zone), encouraging him or her to apply more or less pressure, to stroke in a specific pattern, to use the tongue, etc. Thank your lover and let him or her know with words or sounds that you are enjoying this sensual touch.
Once you become comfortable with this process, you may wish to create a "pleasure chest." Include whatever excites you and your partner—a feather, vibrator, massage oil, blindfold, soft fabric, erotica and loving notes to each other are just a few ideas. As you pleasure each other, don't be shy about asking for something different. This is your time for appreciation, experimentation and for taking responsibility for your own fulfillment by asking for what you want.
From here, you may wish to embark on your own erotic journey. Create amorous adventures together, exploring new and creative ways to awaken each other's bodies and minds. Then, you will be ready for Tantric lovemaking.
WOW. THIS is powerful. I read this article and was immediately connected to what I've been attempting to convey to my guy. Yes, I can take care of myself. Yes, I know he loves me and is always there for me. But my experience is that of always being the one who takes care of everything that is not his work. - www.besomebody.co In other words, I feel as though I'm the one who's taking care of everything form groceries (and all other domestic responsibilities) to puppies to dinner dates to sexual satisfaction. Sometimes I need to hear these 3 words.
“I love you.” (nope)
“You look beautiful.” (nope)
“Let’s go shopping!” (depends how you say it, but still, no)
“How’s your mother?” (no, this will just make her suspicious of you)
Those are all nice to say, and many women want to hear them from their partner; they like to feel cherished. But none of those by themselves will necessarily have her soften all warm-putty-like into your hairy masculine arms.
The three sexiest words I’m referring to speak to primal forces within both men and women. An archetypal trip wire, these eight letters strung together can trigger a man’s spine to straighten and make a woman swoon.
I wish I could say I figured this one out by myself, but a lady friend had to point this out. Once she did, I looked back to my own intimate relationships and saw overwhelming evidence for her case everywhere.
We were having coffee when she started telling me about her new boyfriend. He was refined and kind, loving and intelligent. He was a creative artist, and an accomplished one at that. She felt him a good man and she was happy. Then she told me about the first morning they woke up together, and that’s when she really lit up during our conversation.
She has a dog. Normally the dog gets her up early to go pee outside when she’s still in comatose denial of an outside world. On this particular morning, when the dog woke her up as usual, her new beau opened his eyes, looked at her and with nary a hesitation, issued the most magical three-word spell she could recall ever hearing from a man. She said these words slid from his masculine mouth smooth as a river stone and strong as steel (that’s my interpretation of what she said). She swooned. She relaxed. Under his sudden spell she felt herself completely protected and cherished by this man’s love.
“I got this.”
That’s what he said.
Read the Full Article HERE It's the best thing I've read in a while.
I found this article rather scientific, if not common sense. I thought I'd share to see what you thought. What do you agree with? What do you think is bs? What's your take on the secrets to a happy marriage?
The secret to a happy marriage is kissing and saying 'I love you' 10 times a week and going on three dates a month, an American report has revealed.
The detailed study of 1,000 married Americans also found three surprise romantic gestures and 10 deep and meaningful conversations each month are key to a harmonious relationship.
Having three shared hobbies and interests and going on two vacations a year are also among the requirements for romantic bliss.
It also emerged many Americans believe the secret to a perfect marriage is accepting each other's faults, trust and, importantly, being able to say sorry.
Plenty of quality time, being best friends through thick and thin, and being able to have fun together are also on the list.
A spokesman for global market researchers OnePoll.com, which commissioned the research, said: 'Anyone can get married, but it takes a lot of commitment and effort to make your marriage a perfect one.
THE RECIPE FOR ROMANTIC BLISS
- Saying 'I love You' ten times a week
- Kissing 10 times a week
- 7 cuddles a week
- Sex three times a week
- 10 deep and meaningful conversations a month
- 3 Dinner or a date nights a month
- 2 drinks together a month
- 3 arguments a month
- 3 surprise romantic gestures a month
- 2 nights out on their own with friends each month
- Cuddle up in front of the TV together six times a month
- 2 vacations together each year
- 2 mini-vacations each year
- 3 shared hobbies and interests
'If you are not prepared to put the work in and take the rough with the smooth, you are going to struggle to find that ideal.
'Everyone wants to have a perfect marriage and it seems that the little things such as kissing and cuddling really are important.
'While they might seem insignificant, it's the little gestures which can help couples retain their closeness and intimacy.
'If you lose this, that's when your marriage can become stuck in a rut and lead to two unhappy or bored people.'
The study, carried out between January 30th and February 9th, polled Americans from across the country.
It found the perfect marriage will also see couples have sex three times a week, and enjoy around seven cuddles during that time.
Six nights spent cuddled up in front of the TV and two nights out with their own friends each month, along with two mini-vacations a year also make a successful marriage.
Even having three arguments a month was among the list of secrets.
It also emerged that more than half were friends before they actually became a couple, and waited an average of just over three years before walking down the aisle.
The study also found that Americans consider the biggest secret of a happy marriage to be simply accepting each other's faults.
Trust, honesty, respect and just supporting each other also featured in the top five.
Other 'secrets' to a perfect marriage include being kind to each other, compromising and also knowing when to give your partner some space.
Regular sex and kisses, ending an argument before going to bed and sharing the household and parenting duties are also on the list.
It also showed that 92 per cent of Americans consider themselves to be happily married.
But of those who are not, almost a quarter put it down to simply growing apart from their partner, while another 17 per cent blame financial problems.
Not having much in common, spending little time together and affairs are also among the reasons for not being happily married.
Everybody should know something about kundalini as it represents the coming consciousness of mankind. Kundalini is the name of a sleeping dormant potential force in the human organism and it is situated at the root of the spinal column. In the masculine body it is in the perineum, between the urinary and excretory organs. In the female body its location is at the root of the uterus, in the cervix. This center is known as mooladhara chakra and it is actually a physical structure. It is a small gland which you can even take out and press. However, kundalini is a dormant energy, and even if you press it, it will not explode like a bomb.
To awaken kundalini you must prepare yourself through yogic techniques. You must practise asanas, pranayanas, kriya yoga and meditation. Then, when you are able to force your prana into the seat of kundalini, the energy wakes up and makes its way through sushumna nadi, the central nervous canal, to the brain. As kundalini ascends, it passes through each of the chakras which are interconnected with the different silent areas of the brain. With the awakening of kundalini there is an explosion in the brain as the dormant or sleeping areas start blossoming like flowers. Therefore, kundalini can be equated with the awakening of the silent areas of the brain.
Although kundalini is said to reside in mooladhara chakra, we are all at different stages of evolution, and in some of us kundalini may have already reached swadhisthana, manipura or anahata chakra. If this is so, whatever sadhana you do now might start an awakening in anahata or some other chakra. However, awakening of kundalini in mooladhara chakra is one thing, and awakening in sahasrara, the highest center of the brain, is another.
Once the multipetalled lotus of sahasrara blossoms, a new consciousness dawns. Our present consciousness is not independent, as the mind depends on the information supplied by the senses. If you have no eyes, you can never see; if you are deaf, you will never hear. However, when the superconsciousness emerges, experience becomes completely independent and knowledge also becomes completely independent.
How man discovered Kundalini
Right from the beginning of creation, man witnessed many transcendental happenings. Sometimes he was able to read the thoughts of others, he witnessed somebody else’s predictions coming true, or he may even have seen his own dreams manifesting into realities. He pondered over the fact that some people could write inspiring poems or compose beautiful music whereas others couldn’t; one person could fight on the battlefield for days together and another person couldn’t even get up from his bed. So he wanted to discover why everybody seemed to be different.
In the course of his investigations, man came to understand that within every individual there is a special form of energy. He saw that in some people it was dormant, in others it was evolving and in a very small minority of people, it was actually awakened. Originally, man named this energy after gods, goddesses, angels or divinities. Then he discovered prana and called it prana shakti. In tantra they called it kundalini.
What the various names for Kundalini mean
In Sanskrit, Kundal means a coil, and so kundalini has been described as ‘that which is coiled’. This is the traditional belief; but it has been incorrectly understood. The word Kundalini actually comes from the word kunda, meaning ‘a deeper place, pit or cavity’. The fire used in the ceremony of initiation is kindled in a pit called kunda. Similarly, the place where a dead body is burned is kunda. If you dig a ditch or a hole it is called kunda. Kunda refers to the concave cavity in which the brain, resembling a coiled and sleeping serpent, nestles. (If you have the opportunity of examining a dissection of the human brain you will see that it is in the form of a coil or snake curled up upon itself.) This is the true meaning of kundalini.
The word kundalini refers to the shakti or power when it is in its dormant potential state, but when it is manifesting, you can call it Devi, Kali, Durga, Saraswati, Lakshmi or any other name according to the manifestation it is exhibiting before you.
In the Christian tradition, the terms ‘the Path of the Initiates’ and ‘the Stairway to Heaven’ used in the Bible, refer to kundalini’s ascent through sushumna nadi. The ascent of kundalini and ultimately, the descent of spiritual grace, are symbolized by the cross. This is why Christians make the sign of the cross at ajna, anahata and vishuddhi chakras, for ajna is the center where the ascending consciousness is transcended and anahata is where the descending grace is made manifest to the world.
Whatever happens in spiritual life, it is related to the awakening of kundalini. And the goal of every form of spiritual life, whether you call it samadhi, nirvana, moksha, communion, union, kaivalya, liberation or whatever, is in fact awakening of kundalini.
Kundalini, Kali and Durga
When kundalini has just awakened and you are not able to handle it, it is called Kali. When you can handle it and are able to use it for beneficial purposes and you become powerful on account of it, it is called Durga.
Kali is a female deity, naked, black or smoky in color, wearing a mala of 108 human skulls, representing the memories of different births. Kali’s lolling tongue of blood red color signifies the rajo guna whose circular movement gives impetus to all creative activities. By this specific gesture, she is exhorting the sadhakas to control their rajo guna. The sacrificial sword and the severed head, held by the left hand are the symbols of dissolution. Darkness and death are by no means the mere absence of light and life, rather, they are their origin. The sadhaka worships the cosmic power in its female form, for she represents the kinetic aspect, the masculine being the static which is activated only through her power.
In Hindu mythology, the awakening of Kali has been described in great detail When Kali rises in red anger, all the gods and demons are stunned and every body keeps quiet. They do not know what she is going to do. They ask Lord Shiva to pacify her, but Kali roars ferociously, throwing him down and standing on his chest with her mouth wide open, thirsty for flesh and blood. When the devas hold prayers to pacify Kali, she becomes calm and quiet.
Then there is the emergence of Durga, the higher, more refined and benign symbol of the unconscious. Durga is a beautiful goddess seated on a tiger. She has 8 hands representing the eightfold elements of man. Durga wears a mala of human heads to symbolize her wisdom and power. These heads are generally 52 in number, representing the 52 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, which are the outer manifestations of Shabda Brahma or Brahma in the form of sound. Durga is the remover of all evil consequences of life and the giver of power and peace that is released from mooladhara.
According to yoga philosophy, Kali, the first manifestation of the unconscious kundalini is a terrible power; it completely subdues the individual soul, represented by her standing on Lord Shiva.
It sometimes happens that by mental instability, some people get in contact with their unconscious body and see inauspicious, ferocious elements— ghosts, monsters, etc. When Kali, the unconscious power of man, is awakened she goes up to meet the further manifestation, being Durga, the superconscious, bestowing glory and beauty.
Symbolic representation of Kundalini
In the tantric texts, kundalini is conceived of as the primal power or energy. In terms of modern psychology, it can be called the unconscious in man. As we have just discussed, in Hindu mythology, kundalini corresponds with the concept of Kali. In the philosophy of Shaivism, the concept of kundalini is represented by the shivalingam, the oval-shaped stone or pillar with a snake coiled around it.
However, most commonly, kundalini is illustrated as a sleeping serpent coiled three and a half times. Of course there is no serpent residing in mooladhara, sahasrara or any other chakra, but the serpent has always been a symbol for efficient consciousness. In all the oldest mystic cults of the world you find the serpent, and if you have seen any pictures or images of Lord Shiva, you will have noticed serpents girdling his waist, neck and arms. Kali is also adorned with serpents and Lord Vishnu eternally reposes on a large coiled serpent.
This serpent power symbolizes the unconscious in man. In Scandinavian, European, Latin American and Middle Eastern countries and many different civilizations of the world, the concept of the serpent power is represented in monuments and ancient artifacts. This means kundalini was known to people from all parts of the world in the past.
However, we can conceive kundalini in any manner we like because actually, prana has no form or dimension, it is infinite.
In the traditional descriptions of kundaljni awakening, it is said that kundalini resides in mooladhara in the form of a coiled snake and when the snake awakens it uncoils and shoots up through sushumna (the psychic passage in the center of the spinal cord), opening the other chakras as it goes. (See Sir John Woodroffe’s The Serpent Power.)
Brahmachari Swami Vyasdev, in his book Science of the Soul, describes the awakening of kundalini in the following way:
“Sadhakas have seen the sushumna in the form of a luminous rod or pillar, a golden yellow snake, or sometimes as a shining black snake about ten inches long with blood red eyes like smouldering charcoal, the front part of the tongue vibrating and shining like lightning, ascending the spinal column.”
The meaning of the coils of the serpent is as follows: The 3 coils represent the 3 matras of Om, which relate to past, present and future; to the gunas: tamas, rajas and sattva; to the 3 states of consciousness: waking, sleeping and dreaming; and to the types of experience: subjective experience, sensual experience and absence of experience. The 1/2 coil represents the state of transcendence, where there is neither waking, sleeping nor dreaming. So, the 3 1/2 coils signify the total experience of the universe and the experience of transcendence.
Art by Teddy G | View full collection
Who can awaken Kundalini?
There are many people who have awakened their kundalini. Not only saints and sadhus, but poets, painters, warriors, writers, anyone can awaken their kundalini. With the awakening of kundalini, not only visions of God take place, there is dawning of creative intelligence and an awakening of supramental faculties. By activating kundalini you may become anything in life.
The energy of kundalini is one energy, but it expresses itself differently through the individual psychic centers or chakras— first in gross instinctive ways and then in progressively more subtle ways. Refining of the expression of this energy at higher and more subtle levels of vibration represents the ascent of human consciousness to its highest possibilities.
Kundalini is the creative energy; it is the energy of self-expression. Just as in reproduction a new life is created, in the same way, someone like Einstein uses that same energy in a different, more subtle realm, to create a theory like relativity. It is the same energy that is expressed when someone composes or plays beautiful music. It is the same energy which is expressed in all parts of life, whether it is building up a business, fulfilling the family duties or reaching whatever goal you aspire for. These are all expressions of the same creative energy.
Everybody, whether householder or sannyasin, must remember that awakening of kundalini is the prime purpose of human incarnation. All the pleasures of sensual life which we are enjoying now are intended only to enhance the awakening of kundalini amidst the adverse circumstances of man’s life.
A process of metamorphosis
With the awakening of kundalini, a transformation takes place in life. It has little to do with one’s moral, religious or ethical life. It has more to do with the quality of our experiences and perceptions. When kundalini wakes up your mind changes and your priorities and attachments also change. All your karmas undergo a process of integration.
It is very simple to understand. When you were a child you loved toys, but why don’t you love them now? Because your mind has changed and consequently, your attachments have also changed. So, with the awakening of kundalini, a metamorphosis takes place. There is even the possibility of restructuring the entire physical body. When kundalini awakens, the physical body actually undergoes many changes.
Generally they are positive, but if your guru is not cautious, they can be negative also. When the shakti wakes up, the cells in the body are completely charged and a process of rejuvenation also starts. The voice changes, the smell of the body changes and the hormonal secretions also change. In fact, the transformation of cells in the body and brain takes place at a much higher rate than normal. These are just a few observations. However, scientific researchers are still taking their first steps into this field.
Why awaken Kundalini?
If you want to take up the practice of kundalini yoga, the most important thing is that you have a reason or an aim. If you want to awaken kundalini for psychic powers, then please go ahead with your own destiny. But if you want to awaken kundalini in order to enjoy communion between Shiva and Shakti, the actual communion between the two great forces within you, and if you want to enter samadhi and experience the absolute in the cosmos, and if you want to understand the truth behind the appearance, and if the purpose of your pilgrimage is very great, then there is nothing that can come to you as an obstacle.
By means of kundalini awakening, you are compensating with the laws of nature and speeding up the pace of your physical, mental and spiritual evolution. Once the great shakti awakens, man is no longer a gross physical body operating with a lower mind and low voltage prana. Instead, every cell of his body is charged with the high voltage prana of kundalini. And when total awakening occurs, man becomes a junior god, an embodiment of divinity.”
~Swami Satyananda Saraswati (Excerpt from Kundalini Tantra)
Kundalini : Ancient Technology for Modern Times - Gopi Krishna
L.O. V. E. My personal exploration of love has taken me to great depths and allows me to experience its many forms. This article offers us the words to describe the different kinds of love. I invite you to explore with me....
Looking for an antidote to modern culture's emphasis on romantic love? Perhaps we can learn from the diverse forms of emotional attachment prized by the ancient Greeks.
Today's coffee culture has an incredibly sophisticated vocabulary. Do you want a cappuccino, an espresso, a skinny latte, or maybe an iced caramel macchiato?
The ancient Greeks were just as sophisticated in the way they talked about love, recognizing six different varieties. They would have been shocked by our crudeness in using a single word both to whisper "l love you" over a candlelit meal and to casually sign an email "lots of love."
So what were the six loves known to the Greeks? And how can they inspire us to move beyond our current addiction to romantic love, which has 94 percent of young people hoping—but often failing—to find a unique soul mate who can satisfy all their emotional needs?
1. Eros, or sexual passion
The first kind of love was eros, named after the Greek god of fertility, and it represented the idea of sexual passion and desire. But the Greeks didn't always think of it as something positive, as we tend to do today. In fact, eros was viewed as a dangerous, fiery, and irrational form of love that could take hold of you and possess you—an attitude shared by many later spiritual thinkers, such as the Christian writer C.S. Lewis.
Eros involved a loss of control that frightened the Greeks. Which is odd, because losing control is precisely what many people now seek in a relationship. Don't we all hope to fall "madly" in love?
2. Philia, or deep friendship
The second variety of love was philia or friendship, which the Greeks valued far more than the base sexuality of eros. Philia concerned the deep comradely friendship that developed between brothers in arms who had fought side by side on the battlefield. It was about showing loyalty to your friends, sacrificing for them, as well as sharing your emotions with them. (Another kind of philia, sometimes called storge, embodied the love between parents and their children.)
We can all ask ourselves how much of this comradely philia we have in our lives. It's an important question in an age when we attempt to amass "friends" on Facebook or "followers" on Twitter—achievements that would have hardly impressed the Greeks.
3. Ludus, or playful love
This was the Greeks' idea of playful love, which referred to the affection between children or young lovers. We've all had a taste of it in the flirting and teasing in the early stages of a relationship. But we also live out our ludus when we sit around in a bar bantering and laughing with friends, or when we go out dancing.
Dancing with strangers may be the ultimate ludic activity, almost a playful substitute for sex itself. Social norms may frown on this kind of adult frivolity, but a little more ludus might be just what we need to spice up our love lives.
4. Agape, or love for everyone
The fourth love, and perhaps the most radical, was agape or selfless love. This was a love that you extended to all people, whether family members or distant strangers. Agape was later translated into Latin as caritas, which is the origin of our word "charity."
C.S. Lewis referred to it as "gift love," the highest form of Christian love. But it also appears in other religious traditions, such as the idea of mettā or "universal loving kindness" in Theravāda Buddhism.
There is growing evidence that agape is in a dangerous decline in many countries. Empathy levels in the U.S. have declined sharply over the past 40 years, with the steepest fall occurring in the past decade. We urgently need to revive our capacity to care about strangers.
5. Pragma, or longstanding love
Another Greek love was the mature love known as pragma. This was the deep understanding that developed between long-married couples.
Pragma was about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance.
The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said that we expend too much energy on "falling in love" and need to learn more how to "stand in love." Pragma is precisely about standing in love—making an effort to give love rather than just receive it. With about a third of first marriages in the U.S. ending through divorce or separation in the first 10 years, the Greeks would surely think we should bring a serious dose of pragma into our relationships.
6. Philautia, or love of the self
The Greek's sixth variety of love was philautia or self-love. And the clever Greeks realized there were two types. One was an unhealthy variety associated with narcissism, where you became self-obsessed and focused on personal fame and fortune. A healthier version enhanced your wider capacity to love.
The idea was that if you like yourself and feel secure in yourself, you will have plenty of love to give others (as is reflected in the Buddhist-inspired concept of "self-compassion"). Or, as Aristotle put it, "All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man's feelings for himself."
The ancient Greeks found diverse kinds of love in relationships with a wide range of people—friends, family, spouses, strangers, and even themselves. This contrasts with our typical focus on a single romantic relationship, where we hope to find all the different loves wrapped into a single person or soul mate. The message from the Greeks is to nurture the varieties of love and tap into its many sources. Don't just seek eros, but cultivate philiaby spending more time with old friends, or develop ludus by dancing the night away.
Moreover, we should abandon our obsession with perfection. Don't expect your partner to offer you all the varieties of love, all of the time (with the danger that you may toss aside a partner who fails to live up to your desires). Recognize that a relationship may begin with plenty of eros and ludus, then evolve toward embodying more pragma or agape.
The diverse Greek system of loves can also provide consolation. By mapping out the extent to which all six loves are present in your life, you might discover you've got a lot more love than you had ever imagined—even if you feel an absence of a physical lover.
It's time we introduced the six varieties of Greek love into our everyday way of speaking and thinking. If the art of coffee deserves its own sophisticated vocabulary, then why not the art of love?
Roman Krznaric is an Australian cultural thinker and cofounder of The School of Life in London. This article is based on his new book, How Should We Live? Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life (BlueBridge). His website is www.romankrznaric.com and he tweets @romankrznaric.
Stressed, burdened with life's difficult problems and fear that your health is declining? Then sex is the answer to happiness, longevity and a healthy body. You don't agree?
Well, here is a list of the health benefits of sex, so do it daily to experience complete pleasure. These are 16 reasons to have sex today!
1. De-stress Sex helps you reduce stress. When deep breathing exercises fail to de-stress you, sex will do the job. During sex your body produces dopamine, a substance that fights stress hormones, endorphins, aka "happiness hormones" and oxytocin, a desire-enhancing hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. In a study, published in the Public Library of Science journal, three neuroscience researchers conducted a test on male rats and found that the sexually active rats were less anxious than rats with no sexual activity.
2. Great Form of Exercise Making love is a form of physical activity. During intercourse, the physiological changes in your body are consistent with a workout. You must have noticed that the respiratory rate rises, which means you get tired. Hence, you burn calories. If you have sex three times a week for 15 minutes (but we know you can do better than that) you'll burn about 7500 calories in a year. That's the equivalent of jogging 75 miles! Heavy breathing raises the amount of oxygen in your cells, and the testosterone produced during sex keeps your bones and muscles strong.
3. Lowers High Blood Pressure Hugs and sex can improve your blood pressure. Sex reduces diastolic blood pressure, that is, the bottom number while reading blood pressure. Researchers with the University of Paisley conducted an experiment on the same. They concluded that sex improves blood pressure.
4. Builds Your Immunity Trying to fight the sniffles? Sex is the answer to fight cold and other health problems; sex can boost your immunity. Immunoglobulin A, an antigen that fights the flu increases when the frequency of sex increases.
5. Makes You Look Younger Making love three times a week can make you look 10 years younger, claims a Scottish researcher. "It's good for you to have good sex," says David Weeks, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, whose study on the effects of sex on aging appears in his book, Secrets of the Superyoung.
6. Healthy Heart Sex helps you burn calories but it can also improve your heart. Sex will stave off stroke and heart attacks, you just have to enjoy the moment. Scientists with New England Research Institute examined the effect of sex on the heart. The study concluded that men are 45 percent less likely to experience cardiovascular diseases. But the study fails to study the effect of sex on a woman's heart. (Hmmmmm)
7. Pain Relief Pleasure is the measure to override the pain. Do you experience migraines and body pain? Well sex is the answer. But if you experience back pain, it is best to consult a doctor. Dr. George E. Erlich, an arthritis specialist from Philadelphia conducted a study on the link between arthritis and sex. He narrows down that patients who engaged in sex experienced less pain.
8. Builds Trust and Intimacy Love making spikes the hormone oxytocin; this hormone is responsible for your happiness and love. If your feel your relationship is falling out, there is trust or you're worried that your partner will stray away, then make love! and dispel these doubts. The hormone oxytocin builds trust and brings couples closer.
9. Reduces Risk of Cancer Regular ejaculation reduces your chances of developing prostate cancer. In an Australian study men who ejaculated 21 times a month were least likely to develop cancer. It is further supported by other researches that sexual intercourse reduces the risk of prostrate cancer.
10. Stronger Pelvic Muscles Sex involves the use of several muscles; hence regular sexual intercourse can help you develop stronger pelvic muscles. Further, since the act of sex involves a range of muscles, it also helps strengthen these muscles - for ex: quads, your core, and the upper back. Through regular sex, you can also maintain a strong bladder and bowel function. Strong muscles, calorie burner, improves heart health - sex seems to take care of you.
11. Prostate Protection Most of the fluid you ejaculate is secreted by the prostate gland. If you stop ejaculating, the fluid stays in the gland, which tends to swell, causing lots of problems. Regular ejaculation will wash those fluids out and ensure the well being of your prostate until old age. Problems may also occur when you suddenly change the frequency of ejaculations.
12. Induces Sleep After that great, lovely workout you are bound to get good sleep. But guess what? Sex works the same way as exercise. The increased heart rate leads to increased post-coital relaxation. Sex could be the next thing for insomniacs! So what really happens: - Sex can relax you, hence if you are already tired, the act of sex will induce sleep. - When men ejaculate they become lethargic, this can make them sleepy.
13. Regular Periods Apparently sex can improve your menstrual cycle. Sex regulates hormones, which in turn regulate the menstrual cycle. Sex reduces stress, which is one of the reasons women miss their periods. Sex seems like a better option than pills.
14. Prevents Erectile Dysfunctions Fifty per cent of men older than 40 suffer from erectile dysfunctions and all young men fear the moment when they won't be able to get it up any more. The best medicine against impotence is...sex. An erection keeps the blood flowing through your penile arteries, so the tissue stays healthy. Plus, doctors compare an erection to an athletic reflex: the more you train the more capable you are to perform.
15. Live Longer A healthy heart, stronger muscles, increased circulation of oxygen and happiness are some of the factors that add life to the years and as a result - years to your life. A study published in the British Medical Journal reveals that men who engaged in sex often live twice as those who rarely had any action.
16. Healthier Semen If you're trying to conceive, increasing the volume of semen through regular sex may be a good thing. Regular sex (or ejaculation) replaces old sperm in the testicles. If there is a long-term build up of sperm they can experience DNA damage.
Source: Prevent Disease
This article from Rebelle Society is for all my wonderful male clients and friends. I challenge you to read every last word and heed the advice to the letter...to make love stay.
1. Love her fiercely.
Connection is key, vulnerability is bravery, and an open heart breaks down closed souls. We only get one shot at this life, this moment, and this relationship. If you’re blessed enough to find yourself waking up next to the same love over and over and over again, please don’t think of it as blandness. Choose blessedness.
If you find yourself getting too used to the monotony of your daily existence or if the routine is becoming too obscene, change something. Mix it up. Add some spice. Run off and have an adventure, even if it’s just down the road. Go and see something you’ve never seen, even if it’s just across the street. Go and do something you’ve never done, even if it’s just under the sheets.
When you enter a room, let others notice that you notice her first. When you walk next to her, stop and kiss her neck for no good reason other than the fact that she is by your side. When she gets dressed in the morning, smile and appreciate that women are sexier getting dressed than they are getting undressed.
Respect her boundaries, but break down her walls. Crush her fears and free her mind. She’s yours, and it’s up to you to be hers. Be the hero she’s always wanted but never knew she needed.
Be a brazen inspiration. Be a bold revelation. Be a novel innovation. Earn her every day and appreciate her every night. Give her your heart and defend hers at all costs. Be a warrior for love armed with a quiver full of fervor, and love will forever follow you into the hunt.
“Love easily confuses us because it is always in flux between illusion and substance, between memory and wish, between contentment and need.” ~Tom Robbins
2. Make her feel beautiful.
This one is pretty simple: Girls want to feel beautiful. Unfortunately, as you probably already recognize, women are bombarded each and every day with images from TV, magazines, Facebook and everywhere else in our culture trying to show them and sell them beauty. “They should look good.” “They need to be put together.” “They must be presented well.”
That is total bullshit. Humans were not born to cover their faces in makeup, did not evolve to spend an hour straightening their hair with expensive machines, and did not arise solely to dress up in high heels, or expensive jewels, or an overpriced dress bought to attend that cocktail party that night with those people that we don’t really know and don’t even care about.
In our society, beauty most often relates to the exterior and although a variety of superficial modifications are now wildly popular, they are all, each of them, a small, dirty, and pathetic lie.
Diamond rings are not beautiful, an open heart is beautiful. New shoes are not beautiful, kindness is beautiful. Vulnerability is beautiful. Compassion, honesty, courage and confidence are the real beautiful things.
Besides, even with all of the makeup, accessories and clothes in the world, you cannot be beautiful if you do not feel beautiful. Similarly, if you feel beautiful, you are beautiful. It really is that simple.
So, take these powerful ideas and go about setting them free into the world. Make your girl feel beautiful. Compliment her soul. Look her in the eyes when you tell her you love her. Hold her hand. Melt her heart. Be her beacon. When she wakes up in the morning, tell her she looks great, and when she laughs or calls you crazy (and she will), mean it when you tell her that you mean it.
Stare into her eyes until she looks away first. Let her soar, and admire her in flight. Open her eyes, heart, hopes and dreams. Write her a note that says she makes you feel lucky, leave her a voicemail that says she makes you feel blessed and make her a card that says she makes you feel beautiful.
After all, beautiful things create beautiful things. So go ahead and be beautiful together, and love will stick around to watch.
“The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being.” ~ Tom Robbins
3. Make her feel safe.
Girls like being held. They like having arms wrapped around them, simultaneously holding them close and pushing the world away. They enjoy walking with someone that can connect with them, confiding in someone who cares for them and loving someone who adores them. Girls like knowing that they are enough for us, that we are not looking elsewhere for replacements.
Girls want to matter, so let her feel comfortable speaking her heart. When she does, listen. When you listen, understand (not just what is being said, but why).
When you understand, relate and remember. Become fluent in the language she speaks. Encourage her to be the best her possible, even if that means exposing the hard truths that she tries to avoid, the facts that she can no longer ignore.
It’s up to you to make her see that, ultimately, no one else will make her happy but her. It’s up to you to help her help herself. Earn her trust and then keep making deposits, because helping a woman feel safe empowers her to do the things that her heart tells her they need to be done.
When she is not worried about you or her or us, she is free, an uncaged bird, and freedom is a wondrous feeling. Freedom means safety, safety is liberating, and liberation leads to fearlessness.
Without fear, we can focus on the things that matter, the things that set our hearts alight, the dreams that only arise when we are awake.
Catalyzed by safety, dormant ideas awaken, embolden and enliven our life. Compassion, courage and honesty, love’s three younger sisters, will stop by to visit, helping to ensure that our women are as safe and as strong as possible. Why is this important? Because strong women make men strong. And strong men can make love stay.
“When two people meet and fall in love, there’s a sudden rush of magic. Magic is just naturally present then. We tend to feed on that gratuitous magic without striving to make any more. One day we wake up and find that the magic is gone. We hustle to get it back, but by then it’s usually too late, we’ve used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start. It’s hard work, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay.” ~ Tom Robbins
4. Make her feel important.
There’s a lot going on in the world and we are always on alert. We have to deal with jobs, laundry, stress, temptation, money, family, friends and the future.
Distractions pervade. Opportunities proliferate. Obstacles present themselves. We have the internet in our pockets, a gleam in our eyes and no time on our hands. We’re often busy, occasionally stressed, and sometimes overwhelmed. We have much on our minds and to us, normal is nuts.
We have dreams and adventures ahead of us and sorrow and sacrifice behind and yet, through all of the drama and strife, the pains and the panics, the days and nights, love remains. She is there, next to you, urging you on, smiling, and wanting nothing but the best for you because she loves you, she cares about you, and she wants you to be happy.
She is a best friend, mentor and biggest fan all in one. Your life would be worse without her in it. You would miss her if she were gone. She is the best thing in your world. Don’t you ever fucking lose sight of that, and love will have no chance to escape.
Love is addicted to appreciation and awareness. Keep both in abundant supply and love will always be near.
“My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.” ~Tom Robbins
5. Fuck her good.
Here’s the thing: Women love sex and they think about it all the time. Although they would probably never admit it, women love getting down and dirty between the sheets, fast and furious on the bathroom floor, and slow and comfortable up against a wall.
If you’re a woman, you’re probably smiling as you read this. I’m sorry, girls, but the secret is out. We know that you talk about sex with your friends, fantasize about foreplay when you’re alone, and dream about the dirty when you are bored at work. And that’s okay. It’s more than okay, in fact.
Sex is important and good sex is a universal human right. So, do your best to be your best, not only in life but also in bed. However, don’t forget that it’s far more than just the physical that matters: the most important sex organ is the brain.
Be giving, with words and touch. Be intimate, with emotions and experience. Be thoughtful, with deeds and desires. Seduce her away from her distractions. Excite her.
Good loving is a necessity and if your girl is not getting it from you, she’ll start looking elsewhere for greener pastures to fertilize. However, if you can make her shake like a freight train, she’ll stick around like a memory. And that’s what it is all about – making love stay.
“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.” ~ Tom Robbins
6. Make her laugh.
Cyndi Lauper was right: Girls just want to have fun.
Have you ever seen a bunch of girls going absolutely buck wild on a dance floor? It’s a sensation, and fun is the feeling. Have you ever witnessed a group of girls laughing so hard that they’re snorting and crying and madly screeching right up close into each others faces? It’s a sanctuary, and fun is the preacher.
Life is hard, and that’s a fact. We all know that sadness comes by to play hide and seek, sorrow randomly stops by for a drink, and occasionally, we get overwhelmed, annoyed, or infuriated. It happens. It’s unavoidable. It’s not her fault.
Being down does not make her a bad person, or a bad partner, or a pain in the ass. Being down does not make her heart any smaller or her beauty any less noticeable. Rather, being down is part of lifting up.
Help lift her up. Help make her see. Teach yourself the powerful and noble truth that here is nothing more beautiful than a smiling soul staring at you with love-filled eyes. Make her smile. Warm her heart. Be silly.
Life is far too serious to take seriously and sometimes the bravest thing you can do is laugh.
So do it, and do it often. Goof around. Be playful. Have fun. Locate your inner child and give him a high five. Find some grass and do some somersaults. Enjoy the ride and love will sit next to you, its head on your shoulder, smiling all the while, for where there is laughter, there is love.
“But do we know how to make love stay? I can’t even think about it. The best I can do is play it day by day.” ~ Tom Robbins
Did we miss anything? Do you have an idea of your own? Let us know. We demand answers, we crave knowledge and we are addicted to realizations.
Serve it up hot and let’s dig in: How do you make love stay?
About the author:
About Long Distance Love Bombs: Hi, I’m Jeremy, a kindhearted marine biologist with a punk rock spirit and an urge to live the shit out of my life. I am also trying to make kindness cool and the world better than it was yesterday. Join me at Long Distance Love Bombs, on Facebook, on Etsy, and on Pinterest. You can also send some love via email.
A friend of mine recently shared an article written by his mentor, John Howard, a psychotherapist, educator and spiritual teacher based in Austin, TX. I look forward to meeting John and having engaging conversations, but in the meantime, I feel his article is supremely well written and that everyone can benefit from it. So do yourself a solid and read the following paragraphs. (#6 strongly resonates with me/my work. Notice the parallel message?) You might begin to ask yourself, "What would be possible if I were in a conversation about my relationship?". To find out, reach out to John Howard HERE. Or if you prefer the coaching method, set up a free consultation call with me HERE.
Relationships are mysterious. We fall in love only to realize that life together is difficult and presents unique challenges. How do we merge with another person yet remain independent? Forge a close emotional bond yet stay attracted and excited romantically? Here are 10 lesser-known facts about relationship that will help you build a more fun and fulfilling life together! -- John Howard, M.A.
1) It’s About Skills, Not Knowledge
We watch TV shows and movies about relationship, read books and talk to our friends. Yet being good at relationship is not about knowledge, it’s about skills. Relationships are stressful. Under stress, higher cortical areas of the brain responsible for calculated thought go offline. What we’re left with is more automatic reactions, often driven by previous experiences with others. Our knowledge about healthy relationship is not as available to us then. What we need are skills that are practiced and woven into our emotional and muscle memory–so automatic that we don’t have to think too much to use them. Even couples therapy models are updating their techniques to help partners build this kind of implicit skill rather than instructing partners on good and bad behavior. What we know doesn’t help us as much as what we can do, especially in moments when we’re running more on animal instinct.
2) We Don’t Teach Partnership Even Though it’s Probably the Most Important Subject
Think about it. What is more important than knowing how to form a solid adult bond with another person? Sure, we could live life alone, but few enjoy that as much as sharing it with someone else. We are social creatures, accustomed to having family and connections with others. But we’re so poorly trained for intimate relationships! I used to wonder why we spent so much time in school on subjects few of us would use and so little time on things like love and caring for one another. Maybe teaching relationship is the domain of families, right? Well, many families don’t model great intimate relationship, so it can be difficult to find role models and training that fits the bill. Knowing how to be close with a person different from ourselves is important not just for our own well-being and happiness, but for that of our kids as well. Kids thrive in secure environments. So, no offense to the engineers out there, but teaching close partnership alongside Algebra II could change the world.
3) Relationship Determines our Self-Esteem More than our Own Thoughts about Ourselves
We live in a self-reliant, independent culture, right? Even our ‘new-age’ spirituality can promote the idea of self-sufficiency. We’re supposed to be confident, brave, and forge ahead with our true purpose regardless of what others think. How many times do we hear the phrase, “I am responsible for my own happiness,” or “what others think shouldn’t affect me“? Well, it does.Neuroscience continues to confirm that our sense of self is built in the close relationships with our early caregivers. We don’t know who we are except in the eyes of others. If we are treated well and supported, we assume we are good and internalize a sense of confidence. If we are not treated well, we can lose confidence, develop low self-esteem, guilt, shame, and other limiting feelings. As adults, we hope to develop high self-esteem and sometimes try to find it in individual personal growth pursuits. The science suggests it is more efficient to surround yourself with loving people who believe in and support you, thereby reconstructing a relational path for the brain to develop a positive self-image.
4) Relationship Makes us Smarter
It’s true. Relationship asks the brain to perform tasks that challenge it in helpful ways. For example, to be fair to our partner, we must learn to hold two differing opinions as equal, otherwise our conversations result in a winner and a loser, not a good ‘walk-away’ feeling in relationship. This skill develops a marker of intelligence: The ability to simultaneously hold opposite views as equally valid. If only our politicians were good at that!Relationships make us more mentally flexible. An example of flexibility is the ability to switch from an intellectual to an emotionally-focused conversation. In his groundbreaking book Social Intelligence (2006), acclaimed author Dan Goleman described how relationships require that we be aware of ourselves and another in real time, promoting growth in the social-relational system, which helps integrate the brain’s hemispheres.
5) We Don’t Have the Same Memory of Things so Quit Trying!
Memory is state-dependent, meaning that we encode things into memory through a filter that changes based on stress and emotion. Memory is also formed based on previous experience. Early family experiences, in particular, shape how we perceive and remember events. Many partners still attempt to agree on what was said, or done, in a heated moment. Stop trying. It’s not important to figure it out much of the time anyways. It’s more important to make up, care for each other’s feelings, and move forward. Partners have trouble agreeing on facts because their perception of the same event is actually different in terms of how the brain encodes experience. Research shows that memory is unreliable under stress, such as during family arguments. So next time, don’t try to agree on what happened, just take care of each others’ resulting feelings and remember that memory is subjective anyways!
6) Money, Sex, Time, Mess & Kids Are Not the Real Issues
Couples researcher Dr. Stan Tatkin has found that the real issues couples argue about are issues having to do with closeness, connection, security and understanding. Because we’re not typically trained or practiced at speaking about those core needs we all have, we use the dishes, the bedroom and the schedule to try to resolve them. The problem with that approach? Those more superficial conversations can’t resolve the deeper need for connection. Very often, when partners feel connected, understood and in love, their annoyance with detail issues seems to vanish. We can tolerate differences if we feel connected. So the next time you find yourself wanting to argue about how clean the house is or a particular philosophical difference, ask yourself, “what am I really wanting to feel with my partner?”
7) Many People Think They Made a Mistake Choosing Their Partner When They Chose Well
OK, so there really are bad choices when it comes to partners. But you’d be surprised how sophisticated and extensive our mate selection process is! Much of it happens unconsciously and is driven by biology and instinct. Subtle chemical signals and familiarities with our family of origin all go into the mix. What often happens, however, is that lacking the skills to take our relationships beyond early phases, we start to think we made a bad choice.It takes some work and practice to make it through the annoyance and reality stages of partnership in which two partners can feel incompatible. But once you do, you realize what a good choice your partner was to begin with. Often the differences that draw us together help us be more complete people, but that takes some growing pains. And due to similarities with early parental relationships, there is tremendous healing potential in later stages of partnership. Those same familiarities, however, can also trigger deep-seated fears along the way. Learn to distinguish real incompatibilities from being stuck in early phases of relationship, and move through those stages to get to the gold of being together!
8) Arguing is not a Sign of a Bad Relationship, Not Making Up Quickly Is
According to relationship scientist Dr. John Gottman, healthy couples argue as a normal part of being together. It’s not arguing per se that indicates a problem in relationship, it’s how we argue and how quickly and effectively we make up. Arguing can actually be an opportunity to deepen your relationship. It exposes differences, releases pent up emotions, and brings more honesty to the conversation. Couples should be careful to not be too hostile in arguments. In fact, secure partners tend to look out for one another even in difficult moments. And more important than whether you have had an argument or not is how well you repair the damage. Strive to make-up, apologize and understand your partner as soon as possible. The longer you feel disconnected, the more negative feelings travel into long-term memory. When arguments are repaired well, we tend to remember the reaching out and re-connection more than the argument.
9) Creating Positive Moments Outweighs Processing Negative Ones
Dr. Gottman also found that couples recover more quickly and build their relationship better by creating positive memories than by spending a lot of time processing negative experiences. Partners can go around and around trying to repair and understand a difference that causes real disconnection.The truth is, most of the issues couples argue about are unresolvable, and don’t need to be resolved. At some point, quit banging your head against the wall and take each other out for a fun day or night out. Go bowling, do something silly together, take an acting class, or one of those partner yoga classes. Make each other laugh, or have your funny bone tickled together by a good comedy show. The shared positive experience and memory goes a long way toward canceling out negative feelings!
10) We Talk Too Much
OK, I know, some people like to talk. And talking can be a way we feel closer.But, when it comes to knowing how we really stack up with our partner, the brain likes it plain and simple. The part of our brain responsible for feeling safe and secure has trouble negotiating meaning out of complex sentences. It prefers short and sweet. To the point. When you really want to convey what your partner means to you and how crazy you are about them, choose powerful words that say what you mean concisely and directly. Gaze into your partner’s eyes as you speak for maximum effect. Some partners can get overwhelmed by too many words at once. Try saying, “I need you,” and “You are the most important thing to me” without any extra words and watch the deepest part of your partner respond!