It is the season of Beltane - or May Day - when the birds and the bees are doing their thing and thoughts turn to love and lust. With sex and relationships in mind, here is an excerpt from a new book about polyamory called Opening Love: Intentional Relationships and the Evolution of Consciousnessby spiritual counsellor Dr Anya.
The Many Loves Movement
Too often, we think of “spirituality” in limited and limiting ways. The spiritual is (supposedly) what we do on the yoga mat, not what we do with our lovers in the bedroom. The spiritual is (supposedly) silent meditation, not laughing or dancing with our friends. And the spiritual heroes we idolize are often unmarried, have taken vows of celibacy, or simply seem uninterested in anything romantic or erotic. Consequently, these heroes’ teachings often evade the question of sex entirely. Or, if sex does come up, it is presented in an austere or unrealistic way. Indeed, the term “spiritual” often evokes images of solitude: bearded gurus living alone in caves in the Himalayas, austere Catholic nuns in their tiny cells, or shamans living apart in their isolated hut. Having a lover or partner often does not fit into the picture we have in our minds of who a spiritual person ought to be.
Opening Lovequestions this common view, and presents insight into how romantic love, emotional intimacy, and even our sexuality can help us grow on our spiritual path. It offers the teaching that openness to love—in all its myriad and beautiful forms—can create other openings for a life that is filled with happiness. Further, we will explore how happiness and enjoyment are not selfish states one must be overly skeptical of or shun; rather, these states are very valuable in the evolution of human consciousness.
I will forewarn: What I’m offering in Opening Loveis not a currently popular point of view. In fact, most of my favorite spiritual teachers do not advocate what I advocate. However, the fact that this work is in print is a testament to the energy of a cultural movement that is no longer merely hiding
out on the fringes but is openly and rapidly growing daily, both in the United States, Canada, the UK, and across the globe. This is the polyamory movement.
The term polyamory comes from a combination of both Greek and Latin roots, and it means “many loves.” Polyamory (or poly, for short) is an approach to life where love is understood as abundant. People who think of themselves as poly reject the assumption that love is a finite resource. Poly people recognize love as an abundant, inexhaustible force.
The polyamory movement questions the idea that the only moral, ethical, or healthy way to be involved in a romantic, intimate, and/or sexual relationship is a relationship between two people. Just as the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer) movement questions the assumption that the only moral, ethical, or healthy way to form a romantic relationship is to partner up with someone of the opposite sex, the polyamory movement questions the cultural assumption about number.
Polyamorists ask the question: Why must we love only one?
A key tenet in the polyamory movement is the idea that it is possible to ethically and responsibly enjoy various degrees of emotional and/or physical intimacy with more than just one person. In truth, this general stance is already being adopted by many across the globe, with more and more people accepting the idea of divorce and remarriage, as well as remarriage after one partner dies. The idea of being intimate with a single mate for one’s entire lifetime is increasingly becoming obsolete. The difference with polyamory is that divorce or death is not necessary to build healthy, honest connections with multiple partners. In addition, the philosophy of polyamory emphasizes that a romantic partner or intimate friendship may or may not include a sexual aspect to the relationship. Poly practitioners continually emphasize the point that sexuality does not solely define relationships.
During a series of devastating illnesses, Heather Trahan discovered she could heal herself, and others, with her hands. This revelation set her on a mystical path of self-exploration. While finishing a doctoral degree in English, she began an eclectic training with Reiki Masters, sacred sexuality teachers, and healers of various traditions. She adopted the spiritual name Dr. Anya, which means "inexhaustibility" in Sanskrit, in dedication of her aim: to serve as an inexhaustible comfort for all beings, as they heal and evolve.
Opening Love - Intentional Relationships and the Evolution of Consciousness by Dr. Anya is published by Changemakers Books in May and can be ordered via Amazon