On The Path by Bob Czimbal
"...this would serve as a symbolic gesture of our interdependence and the need to nurture and be nurtured."
The first time I wrote the phrase Erotic Spiritual Play, I won-dered why I had never seen these words together before. Now they were almost touching each other, separated by just one space on the page. While their proximity suggested blasphemy, I imagined a world with an abundance of sensuality, sexuality, joy and spirit. These qualities evoked a desire for physical, spiritual and emotional intimacy—with myself and my Kindred Spirits.
For fun, I decided to dramatize the themes of Erotic Spiritual Play by sketching out an improvisational play entitled "The Temple of Ecstasy." It was very intense asking our friends if they wanted to play a part in a bold, live theater production. The vast majority responded with "Yes, how can I help?," but a few declined gracefully. The artful invitation stated "come with an open heart and an untamed imagination." The goal was to create an environment where passion coexisted with consciousness.
After a month of preparation, the cosmic stage was set for the premiere. The cast ascended a lighted stairway and entered the inner sanctum through a curtain of sheer fabric. Their eyes were met by the beauty of the temple, accented by hundreds of candles, flowers, lush carpet and pillows.
The divine parade of costumes revealed the diversity of tastes of the cast members: floor-length velvet capes; long silk tunics of different colors; belly dancing outfits with billowing harem pants and jingling jewelry; sarongs and saris; sexy form-fitting evening gowns; a stunning Japanese kimono with obi sash; and a Hawaiian shirt adorned with an orchid lei.
In the opening scene, we thanked all for their willingness and courage to participate. Each person shared intentions, wishes, hopes or fears with the group. A shrine was assembled with significant items like gongs, statues honoring various spiritual traditions, toys, natural artifacts and erotic artwork.
The next scene featured all of us as temple dancers. We created free flowing movements to earthy drums, sexy vocals, powerful rock beats, heart-opening lyrics, and slow, cosmic rhythms. This scene provided the dancers the opportunity to explore conscious connections and levels of mutuality with each partner. The dancing raised the energy and celebrated the body as the sacred temple of our spirit. Dance has always been a pathway to access the erotic, spiritual and playful within us.
A set change found us in the dining room for the feast. We circled a gorgeous banquet table overflowing with painstakingly prepared hors d'oeuvres and treats. The silent blessing was interrupted by the collective gurgling of our stomachs and intermittent giggles. The directions were simple: we could only be fed by another. This would serve as a symbolic gesture of our interdependence and the need to nurture and be nurtured. The level of messiness escalated till there were peals of laughter—major healing of food taboos occurred there.
Following a short intermission, the second act featured time for each performer to be center-stage. Each would have a turn as the lead in a scene of his or her own design. Just figuring out what to ask for was an experience in itself! The requests were beautiful and simple. One person asked us all to chant her name while being lifted overhead and paraded around. Another wished to lie below the skylight with the full moon as a spotlight and be the center of the universe. A man requested having his karma cleaned with feathers and furs. My request was to be part of a pod of dolphins dancing in the water. Several requested massage from the entire cast. Imagine the deep healing generated by ten minutes of loving attention by twenty supporting actors!
During the closing scene we marveled at the living work of art we had co-created. We bowed to each other in appreciation for our awesome performances. Everybody spoke of the sense of trust and connection that resulted from sharing like this. One man revealed, "This evening has changed my life, like a landslide that alters the course of a river. The abundance of love and laughter possible is far greater than I ever imagined."
Feedback from the cast was unanimous—all wanted parts in future performances of "The Temple of Ecstasy." That feeling of "blasphemy," about combining eros, spirituality and play, isn't the truth-it's like an old habit passed down to us from fear-based forebears. Passion, spirit and joy are paths to higher consciousness.
Bob is co-author of "Kindred Spirits: The Quest for Deep Intimacy," and many other articles. You can reach him at The Abundance Company (c)2000, 503/232-3522 www.A-Bun-Dance.com