An Exploration in Tantric Relationship
We had taken to using the word ‘monogamish’ because nothing else seemed to fit. Our church friends wouldn’t call us monogamous, because our sexuality could sometimes include others. (Not that we told our church friends!) Perhaps most obviously, living in the vocation of tantric massage, sensual massage, and other work of the sacred intimate, it would be ludicrous to call our sexual energy exclusive.
We batted around some other labels: polyamory, ethical-non-monogamy, open, swingers, relationship anarchy. Nothing quite fit, nor captured the unique devotion we feel toward each other. The squish of monogamish seemed best.
Deepening in tantric spiritual practice and philosophy, I came to understand that there was another factor at play. Labels are normally thought to be the way we use words to describe or point to reality, but in the classical Tantric view, labels construct our conventional reality. Our conventional reality, of course, is not real at all. Conventional reality is a prison that we build around ourselves using the materials of everything that is ever said to us, and everything that happens to us. Our parents, teachers, and peers; movies, television, videos, books, and games; our own actions, our mistakes, our triumphs — all of this feeds into a mental ‘matrix’ that forms an illusionary reality that we think is real. Concepts beget assumptions; assumptions breed expectations; expectations become obligations. As humans, we all end up in service to our own unconscious collection of illusions.
Some of the hardest walls and toughest locks in this prison are made from ‘I am’ statements.
I am a Christian.
I am married.
I am a good person.
Once upon a time, these were statements of my identity. Each of these labels came with a mass of assumptions, unexamined expectations, and untested beliefs about what was allowed and what was forbidden, what was right and what was wrong.
In my conscious mind I held these beliefs about what kind of person I was, and more importantly, what kind of behaviors were expected of a person in this particular matrix.