Could the wounded human love story be the tearing open of the bud to a truly Divine Romance?
Huge, hard, kinky, tantra, boots and whips and puppies. Ice creams, gags, wax and weird conjugations of the kundalini…. since when did sensuality form this venomous helix with suffering? And where, on our wounded Earth, is all this going to end?
Is it a secret to say that for so many of us those precious, early tones of longing for love got warped somewhere: on the dating scene, in marriage, in the loneliness of this modern three-way hi-way adventure in the bad, bad honeylands of craving? And if so, what next?
Out here in expat-land, on the frontiers of the new, ‘unshackled’ humanity, there’s plenty of talk about finding Love, but not much time for making it. Meanwhile, we bud into tribes of vegans, yogis, crusaders for animal rights, poets, ayahuasca junkies, singers and yes – ecstatic, sexy dancers.
The love-scene here’s as sad and demented as it is at your place. A hit and run sexuality spiced by fetish, lust and lonliness leaves its blue fingerprints on throats and hearts among us – just like everywhere else!
Tantra, Tinder, a wild imbalance of the genders, and this so-called ‘adult’ sex scene, which dabbles in the, errr… quixotic, leads to all manner of cringe.
There’s no topic more deeply poured over in Ubud, anyway, as love. Or the lack of. Except maybe sex – and the unreliability of.
Beyond the norms of our home towns, ex-patriots everywhere explore free-range landscapes for new ideas in relationship, food, sex, money, health and spirit. But love – where to look? And beyond the luscious orgies of superfoods and smoothies, body oil and massage – how to nourish our longing for sensuality?
If they are honest, the free-rangers can report that changes of scenery and of lovers do nothing, actually, for a humanity deep in the lairs of depression. Erotica, gluttony, porn, lust and tantra promise a ‘purer’ exchange of the ecstatic, but more often mix a bitter cocktail.
I’m all for erotica… I’m cautiously for Sex San Frontiers, but does that really mean cocks and racks and candle wax? Does it mean that blokes really marry bitches, and women need to date like a man, and that adultery, one night highs and the grotesque, deformed expression of sexuality portrayed today in advertising are actually even satisfying?
In the void of Love,it looks to me like delight and suffering have formed a most treacherous alliance.
On the churning seas of erotica, the lighthouse of sensuality is terribly eclipsed. Our boats of tenderness are adrift in a sea of chemistry and propaganda – so, where, oh where, is that safe harbour of the intimate?
Monogamy? Monogamy only recently received an exit visa from the wastelands of ‘old-fashioned’.
Marriage, of course, is recovering from a stab to the liver.
On this note, imagine if you will, marriage as the creation of a third living entity – a wedded ‘us’ as Joseph Campbell writes about. If this is so, then the recent destruction of so many unions through an orgy of divorce was one of the greatest recent acts of symbolic genocide on Earth. As we sought our individual power, and freedom from unholy unions, the sacred bond of marriage – laid open for refining in the 1960’s, was filleted by ‘progress’.
Marriage didn’t fail, it was hunted down at a delicate moment and slaughtered by economics, politics, Nestle, Ford and Unilever, who used it to enslave us all to suds and Saabs and sugar.
All this instilled a bitterness toward love that wept down three generations. And still, the casualties from millions of unions fear the fields of love are mined.
Yet we make this epic migration, beyond the golden band toward lasting human tenderness, don’t we? And perhaps this is our triumph.
Along the way, we find in casual liaisons a cortisone for longing.
We find in a bent erotics the claws to scratch our itch.
We discover, in our precarious courtships, that the seas of love are muddy.
Men blame women. Women blame men. We all blame social constructs and ‘stress and pressure’. Our confusion is irritated constantly as porn exploits this rift through fashion, ‘art’, music, cinema – everything!
Our own ideas of the erotic? Of sensuality? Of love? They are warped every day by a vile collage of images hurled out by a society deeply estranged from tenderness.
Romance? She hardly dares produce a single rose.
Sensuality, I’ve been told, is ‘needy’.
Intimacy, her clingy cousin.
Together they are accused of setting traps in the pleasurelands – traps which glitter magically when exposed to that special light given off by perceived attempts at ‘commitment’.
And while the notion of the beloved has come under deep suspicion, except in the most poetic terms, along that squinted eye a profound and lovely teardrop trembles.
Here in Ubud, and in so many places, men hunt women openly, and rack them up as ‘friends with benefits’, or friends whose benefits are in decline. People craving love, but suspicious of its demands instead stalk ‘encounters’ – leaving 52 shades of misery across the fields of our desire.
Women? Women crave to be chosen, to know they are chosen, and also to be craved. In these strange hunting grounds the rites of intimacy have shriveled into a mutual feast of predator and prey.
All of which, as we know, only sharpens the scythe of loneliness.
One balm for this, and evidence of our seeking, is the extraordinary new bond so many have found with animals.
There is en mass, across the world a deep wail issuing from all humanity about the suffering of animals. In them we have – at last – found a mirror for our souls, the true and living symbol of our grief, and our love and tenderness. In their stories we have found the call to scream our heartfelt Noooooo!
Animals are the excruciating image of the faces we dare not show. They are the image of our own innocence, loyalty, tenderness – of the love we had forgotten.
In pets we have found companionship beyond our hopes for marriage. And in the cruelty we do dogs, and elephants, whales and dolphins – even cattle, sheep and chickens, we see the reflection of our own wounds, and the urgent call to make amends.
And in so doing, we find in ourselves this deep and healing wail. This agony of guilt and sorrow and rage for all we have done in our conquering of Earth, to ourselves, and each other – through which we are crucified and raised up a level in awareness.
And right here – don’t miss it – there is a widening of compassion, a re-connection to nature, a chance for humanity, again, to feel the sentience of all souls. There is a magic beyond logic, beyond judgement – a truly holy eclipse of ‘I’.
Where we have lost each other, we may yet find a truly divine romance.