A Sensuous, Instinctive Approach

By Camille Maurine

The Kali Guide: Directory of Resources for Women, Spring 2002

What helps women to thrive in meditation, and in life? What kinds of meditation nourish the female body and soul, so that we can meet the world with renewed energy, clarity, and love? Why do so many women quit, often feeling bad about themselves because they "can’t" meditate?

These questions inspired the writing of
Meditation Secrets for Women, the first book that offers a female-centered approach to meditation. Meditating can be the best form of self-care when it supports and empowers a woman’s way of being in the world. Though this should be obvious, until now women’s needs and strengths have simply not been addressed in the meditation teachings of the world. For millennia, the techniques have been created and practiced almost entirely by men in austere monastic traditions that subtly denigrate the body, sensuality, emotion, and desire – the very stuff and passion of life. Lorin and I have found that this repressive attitude is not healthy for women, especially contemporary women, who often end up devitalized and even depressed. We don’t want that to happen to you.

For women to thrive we must honor our instinctive wisdom, body rhythms, and emotional truth, not suppress them to fit into some abstract ideal. Women’s nervous systems are highly sensitive to life around us; we tend to be naturally spiritual and compassionate and don’t need rigid practices to make us so. What we need is sanctuary to process this sensitivity and
pleasurable techniques that help us to connect with our essence, inner authority, and feminine power.

Everyone has a style of meditating that is natural to her but this innate style usually goes unrecognized and unvalued. The ability to meditate is instinctive, a survival skill built in to the nervous system. You have had many moments of spontaneous meditation – holding a baby in your arms, walking in nature, gazing at a sunset or the stars – when you have known your connection to the universe. When you build on your natural style, you want to meditate and it feels effortless because you are “just being yourself.” Most people have a hard time believing that’s enough, that their own self is enough, so they try harder, make it complicated and strain, which keeps them from letting go and receiving the most healthful benefits.

The twelve Secrets show you how to value your experience and use whatever is going on emotionally or physically as a way to tap into your core. You don’t have to change yourself in any way, be good or pure, all-loving or calm; in fact, your wild, rebellious, naughty, or grumpy self may be just what frees you to go deep. Every woman should have a handful of meditations – not just one-size-fits-all – to meet the changing needs of her daily life. Depending on your mood, energy level, hormonal state, and relationship, family, or work concerns, you can choose from a variety of techniques – movement meditations in addition to sensuous breath, sound, and imagery – that foster profound regenerative states. When given this chance, your body and psyche come into balance, leading you into the vitality, wisdom, and ecstasy that are your birthright as well as your gift to share with others.

The way that women’s bodies and psyches differ from men’s should be celebrated, not shamed or feared. So instead of the old, dried out image of meditation, be tender and luscious with yourself. Consider basking in a sense of pleasure – the deep organismic pleasure that takes you into the roots of your being and allows your individual essence to bloom in glorious, vibrant color. For some women, this sensuality can feel like a great taboo, almost sinful, hedonistic, or frivolous. Break those fallacious taboos and set yourself free. Deep pleasure nourishes every cell of your body and aligns you with the creative forces of life. I can’t tell you how important this principle is for women. Well, actually I can, and do in our book! May you discover those sensuous ways to meditate and to enjoy your full being, shamelessly.

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Camille Maurine is the author of MEDITATION SECRETS FOR WOMEN: Discovering Your Passion, Pleasure, and Inner Peace (HarperSanFrancisco, 2001), and MEDITATION 24/7, written with her husband, Dr. Lorin Roche. She also teaches movement, dance yoga, and improvisational theater, and creates one-woman shows. To contact Camille and for more information about her workshops and performances: Contact Camille.

Copyright 2002 Camille Maurine