Utne Reader Visionary: Margo Anand

We need a science of ecstasy

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This devotee of Tantra and transpersonal psychology published The Art of Sexual Ecstasy in 1989, spelling out a vision of happy, devoted, powerfully meditational sex that steers a blissful middle course between repression and meaningless indulgence. For Anand, good sex begins with careful inner work and self-love and culminates in a consciousness expanded far beyond the boundaries of any chemically altered state. Along the way, the lover learns to honor herself and the universe in her partner and to find a numinous sense of the sacred in the bedroom and everywhere else. Anand’s latest book, The Art of Sexual Magic, carries on from there, showing how fulfilled sexuality can lead to a spiritual life.

Of course, I believe that the world must have a science that will teach people that men and women can be equal co-creators of their ecstasy. This phrase sounds simple but it means, first of all, understanding that pleasure is a discipline—even a spiritual discipline—because it generates a tremendous amount of energy. This energy can be transmuted into spiritual enlightenment and deep, deep intimacy of the heart.

“This means that people must somehow get free of this incredible obsession—generated by governments and the economy and the guilt around sex and pleasure—that they must become workaholics. The workaholic fascination is an illusion and a trap that people fall into without even realizing it. What’s needed is more time for inner work, less time for television; detachment from all the myths we’re steeped in; and the discovery of a language that will create harmony between a man and a woman. This will translate into healthier interactions at home, and happier children who do better in school.

“If it were translated all the way up to the government, things would change. From the Tantric perspective, governments are mostly manned by politicians who are old, sick, who don’t know how to internalize their Kundalini. All that means is that they don’t know how to transmute their vital power into love, love into creativity, creativity into vision, vision into a way of the cosmos and the laws of nature. He who doesn’t know how to make these transmutations will externalize his energy as aggression, as competition, as the fear of being taken over.”