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The Bow:
After Lovemaking, A Closing Ceremony
by Diana Daffner

When ritual and ceremony are added to lovemaking, the lovemaking itself becomes sacred. In the words of a Native American medicine man, Sun Bear,

When People participate in ceremony, they enter a sacred space,
Everything outside of that space fades in importance.
Time takes on a different dimension,
Emotions flow more freely,
The bodies of participants become filled with the energy of life,
And this energy reaches out and blesses the creation around them.
All is made new
Everything becomes sacred.

A ceremonial feature of eastern cultures, one that is easy to add to your love relationship, is the bow. A bow acknowledges respect and honor, provides a moment of centering in the here-and-now, and can be used before and/or after a lovemaking session.

Martial arts practitioners bow before getting on or off the mat, bow to the teacher and to their partners before and after training together. In Zen Buddhism, a meditator bows to their cushion before sitting and again when leaving, and joins in bowing when another meditator prepares to sit next to them.

In Tantric lovemaking, a practice gleaned from ancient spiritual teachings of India, we bow to our Beloved with respect, honor and joyous devotion. We use the form of a heart salutation – hands in prayer position, thumbs held against the center of our chest, our heart center. Before we bow, we make eye contact, and we maintain the eye contact as we slowly incline the upper part of our bodies toward one another.

A bow, a heart salutation, is a powerful communication. It says I honor you, I am grateful that you are in my life, that you are here with me right now. I am grateful for your love. We are One. Our love is sacred. Namaste, a Sanskrit greeting often associated with this bow, means the divinity in me greets and recognizes the divinity in you. Or, as spiritual guide Ram Dass explains, "When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only One of us."

The heart salutation is particularly meaningful as a closing ceremony after a lovemaking session. Sexual sharing is the most physically intimate activity that two adult human beings experience. Yet most people simply separate, roll over and fall asleep, get up and get a snack or otherwise casually reorient themselves back into the temporal world. It is almost as if nothing has happened, that the miracle of two people exchanging energy and even bodily fluids was inconsequential in the larger order of things. The truth is that such an exchange is extraordinarily meaningful, even if you have been with the same partner many times before.

A heart salutation can transform mediocre, routine and even abruptly ended sexual activity into a profound celebration of divine union. All too often, sex play ends when the male partner ejaculates. Although it may be challenging for him to rouse himself for this ceremony, it is well worth the effort! It is an opportunity to come back together, to re-unite, to experience one another as Beloveds.

Try this – within moments after the sex activity – whatever form it has taken - has ended, sit up and face one another. Separate yourselves, so you are no longer touching, no longer embracing. Settle and center into your own body, then give each other a bow, a heart salutation, with eyes open. A simple ceremony, this ritual can add deep joy and continuing contentment to your relationship.

And this sacred loving energy will indeed ‘reach out and bless the creation around you.’

© Copyright 2003 Diana Daffner.  All Rights Reserved. 

Dianna Daffner
Diana Daffner, with her husband Richard, leads "Intimacy Retreats" for couples and provides coaching in sexual intimacy as a spiritual path. The Daffners originated the Tantra Tai Chi™ program, a partnered movement practice to enhance intimacy in body, heart and soul. For a schedule of workshops, visit www.IntimacyRetreats.com or call 1-877-282-4244 (tollfree). Email: tantra@IntimacyRetreats.com.




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