Our spring issue is out now! Our regular contributor and Tantra expert Dawn Cartwright shares her insights on awakening the senses to expand our capacity for beauty – Dive on in!
Awakening The Senses And Witnessing Beauty
Weaving Classical Tantra With Aspects Of Neotantra And The Balanced Wisdom Of Equanimity
By Dawn Cartwright
“When you shut down the human psyche and become an observer of beauty, you will immediately experience an overflow of a much truer vibration of love than perhaps you have ever had. You will realise love has no end to it because it is not a thing, it is an experience. It is an experience of witnessing beauty.”
Zach Bush, M.D.
Finches flitting through hedgerows, water rushing over stones, moss-draped trees, the scent of gorse in the spring, birdsong at dusk. City streets on Sundays, train whistles, jets climbing the sky, the smell of coffee, the grit of concrete. The slope of his shoulders, her hands holding a mug, footsteps on a staircase, eyes warm with acceptance, a moment’s pause. You, your openness, your dreams, the things you love, the beating of your heart. Beauty streams into our senses at a rate of over 11 million bits of information per second. That’s a lot of beauty. The world is beauty-filled. Life is beautiful. We are immersed in beauty. Meanwhile we, when we are most aware, most awake, and at our best, perceive approximately 50 bits out of the 11 million bits on offer – which means there are another, 10,999,950 bits of beauty out there just waiting to wow us – every second.
10,999,950 Bits of Beauty
Each morning, in every Tantric temple, beauty is welcomed into the world with offerings of sandalwood, mantras, incense, oil lamps and sweets. Beautiful themselves, each of these offerings has an important practical significance. Sandalwood awakens the sense of smell. Mantras awaken the sense of hearing. Incense awakens the sense of touch. Oil lamps awaken the sense of sight. Sweets awaken the sense of taste. Five offerings. Beauty enters the world through our senses. To expand our capacity for beauty, we must first expand our senses – and experience each as if for the very first time.
“To expand our capacity for beauty, we must first expand our senses
and experience each as if for the very first time.”
Awakening the Senses
This practice weaves together the depth of classical Tantra, the relationship aspects of NeoTantra and the balanced wisdom of equanimity. I invite you to stop what you’re doing and try this meditation now. You’ll be so happy you did. You may experience this meditation sitting alone with yourself, or you may wish to invite a friend or lover to join you.
Create a space that is comfortable, surrounded by things that awaken the five senses. Be sure you will not be disturbed. Allow 10-30 minutes for the meditation. Close your eyes. Expand your breath, slightly, so that you feel your body stretch with every inhale. Wake up the body with breath for at least 1-2 minutes. Feel free to move, sound, or be still as you connect with yourself. When you feel ready, before you open your eyes, tune in to the sensations in your body. What do you notice? What do you feel?
Slow down your thinking and expectations, let go of getting the meditation ‘right.’ Settle into the simple sensations already present inside you. Slowly begin to extend the inhale, until the sensations in your body intensify just slightly. With each inhale, feel the expansion of the lungs and ribcage – and soften into this expansion. Each breath creates a very gentle intensity while you intentionally soften, simultaneously. Take a very full breath now – and feel the intensity. At the peak of the intensity, soften the body, melt the edges of the fullness created by the inhale. What do you notice?
Relax the desire to make something happen and notice what’s here. Take another full breath. Feel the intensity. At the peak of intensity, soften just a little. Witness the beauty of your body. Witness the beauty of your breathing. Witness the beauty of softening. Slowly open your eyes, the smallest amount, just enough to let the light in. Soften your gaze and open your eyes a bit more. Notice what you see?
Relax the desire to make something happen and notice what’s here. Keep it simple. What do you see? Witness beauty. Beauty in the objects around you. Beauty in your own body. Allow the experience and every sensation to rise and fall without naming them. Without comparing your experience to any other experience you might have had or wish you’d had.
Witness this moment, just as it is, for the first and only time. You may wish to continue this meditation, exploring all the senses. Exploring yourself, the space around you, your friend or lover. Witnessing beauty. Continue for as long as you wish. When you feel complete, let go of the meditation. Rest and receive everything that appeared. Give yourself plenty of time to integrate and absorb. What did you discover?
The thing about beauty is it just keeps appearing. There is always more to witness. Once the senses are awake and we let go of making beauty a thing, the more alive it becomes. More expansive, far more than 11 million bits. More and more beauty to witness, infinite love to experience.
Dawn Cartwright is a NeoTantra visionary, sacred writer, world traveler, and innovator in authentic lovemaking and NeoTantra fusion.
Find out more and Dawn and her work here: dawncartwright.com