The Issue of Appearance

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For many people the biggest barrier to finding a partner is the appearance of the other person. It’s hard to be in this culture and not be brainwashed that only certain people are attractive.  In the mainstream mindset, only conventionally good-looking people get to be considered sexually appealing and therefore worthy of love.

I was lucky enough to have this pseudo-reality shattered in tantra groups and later on at the Human Awareness Institute. The first method used to challenge us was having us be naked all the time. It’s difficult at first, but you get used to being around what people really look like, which is quite different of course than the photoshopped images we’re taught to lust after. It’s a good practice to get comfortable being naked with other people (which you can do at spas or clothing-optional resorts) – you get to witness and be part of everyone’s vulnerable humanity.

What took it to another level of awareness for me, though, was the exercises we did naked and blindfolded where we would reach out and touch and stroke each other – maybe your arm, maybe your heart – and we would sense without being able to see: what is the nature of my attraction with this person? What kind of energy do the two of us have without the prejudice of sight? We would move on to touch somebody else asking, what is the actual nature of my attraction with this body? Is it a friendship? A sexual connection? A combination of that? Is it repellent because it reminds me of my parents? Or a soft, being, togetherness?

Not being able to see honed my ability to sense the differences in energies and the truth of my attraction. Those of us in the group found that we were turned on by people we never would have imagined, and we all fell in love with each other no matter what we looked like.

Looks is one thing we can’t control, along with age and bone structure. For me it’s actually become one of the least interesting things about a person, because it’s what they were born with and can’t do anything about. I’d much prefer to feel the actual nature of my attraction to this person versus what I’ve been conditioned to desire. We’ve been conditioned to eat junk food; we’ve been conditioned to want many things that are “toxic.” It’s the ego clinging to I, the great I, must have a person on my arm who makes me look even better.

Besides, who’s not good looking in Los Angeles? Have you been to other parts of the country? Look around this room: everyone in here is stunning.

© 2017 Catherine Auman  This article is an excerpt from Catherine’s book Tantric Dating: Bringing Love and Awareness to the Dating Process

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Catherine Auman is a Los Angeles psychotherapist specializing in transpersonal psychology, also known as spiritual psychology.

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