Most of us are intent upon having a good time and reaping the benefits of pleasure. Tantra Yoga considers pleasure to be a central means towards emotional freedom and spiritual liberation. But pleasure, and its popular expression “bliss,” can be elusive. Many of us repeatedly seek for pleasure in all the wrong places.

     We spend our leisure time and money in pursuit of pleasure. We try to have fun, look as if we are having fun, or direct our mind towards thinking we are having fun. We even attempt to recapture a lost experience of fun by pretending. Yet behind the mask of gaiety lies an inability to have meaningful pleasure.

     Children play first and foremost to have fun. But they also use imaginative play and role-playing as a way to come to terms with the difficulties of life. They playfully act out made-up stories that help them negotiate feelings of overwhelm from contact with others.

     When children play they remain true to felt inner-reality. In all make-believe play the child remains aware of his or her feelings and in touch with his/ her body. Knowing when hunger sets in and injury strikes causes a child to stop playing. When a child plays they let their thoughts wander. Suspending external reality and letting the imagination roam free has a pleasurable effect. Yet, this only works when the child remains secure in his/her identity and rooted in the reality of the body.

     Creative make-believe and imagination, (two vital apsects of modern therapy (Freud, Jung) and ancient (shamanism, tantra) healing practices), depend on the ability to remain true to your inner reality. Awareness of the inner reality of your essential nature is what distinguishes fun as meaningful pleasure from fun as an escape from life. While escaping into an escapade, getting high or drunk, can have a valuable cathartic effect at times, escaping loneliness and boredom of life in this way never really works.

     Coming to terms with the mundane challenges of life and cultivating pleasure requires a corporeal knowledge that begins with, as D.H. Lawrence knew, at “the root of the belly.” When you check-in to the experience of your organs as the center of your consciousness, you renew the body’s habitation. You grow a sense of location, a feeling of belonging and potency. Here you are close to the bone of all healing and change. Here you find the sweet swift currents Blake called “the river of life.”

     The world-embracing practice of Tantra Yoga begins with going inward to “the root of the belly.” It takes you to your body, to the substance, the sub-stance, the way you proceed on the ground and in the world. This concept of body extends beyond the physical, beyond the experience of being a sac filled with bones. It includes the moral, social and imaginative realms of the person. This reality is a physical being with personal truth and personal choice, a corporality that is at the root of a holy life.

     Beneath every desire lies a deeper aspiration, the quest for fulfillment and the pleasure of wholeness of Being. Only if you transform the parts and reunify the whole as a body experience can you experience lasting pleasure. This experience of wholeness is not an event or a utopian condition that you must wait to enter. There is no final solution, apocalypse that you must endure, or escape into transcendence. It is through the quality of your acts, the “how” of living life, each gesture, word and thought, that you find the pleasure of wholeness.

     With Dr Zeb and Dakini Candance, you will grow a body awareness of your essential self. This will support you to find significant meaningful pleasure in how you live your life. Pleasure is the glue that bonds you to your body and your life. If you experience pleasure in daily life, you will have no desire to escape the reality of your life. The honey-like sensuality, sweet and soft, is palpable when you awaken to the natural condition of your essential nature as you relate to the different aspects your life: a communion with life itself.

© By Zeb Lancaster, PhD