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Conscious Tribes, Polyamory & The Erotic

A question I am often asked is whether Conscious Tribes are polyamorous... “Surely Polyamory is the obvious, natural, flowing way in which the members of a Conscious Tribe would relate to each other” people suggest, “after all, the idea is to co-create a new kind of family, isn´t it? And to be FULLY open to each other...”

Full Openness and Polyamory

Firstly let me say that, as I understand it, “to be fully open” to another person (another potentially-consenting adult, that is) doesn´t necessarily mean to be open to relate sexually to them.

I understand “to be fully open” to mean to be open to one´s own physical, emotional and energetic experience while in the presence of another person – to not hold oneself tightly or tensely in their presence, or be resistant to their impact upon you. And then - to express yourself fully, openly, respetfully, kindly - even if your words might be painful for them to hear. And that communication might well be “I don´t feel myself drawn towards you sexually”. In other words, I feel we can be fully open to each other, and deeply, lovingly bonded with each other, and be fully committed to the same Conscious Tribe - without wanting to engage sexually with each other.

So if by ´poly + amor´ we mean ´many + love´, then - yes, of course Conscious Tribes are Polyamorous. Or, at least, on the Path of Polyamory – on the path of learning to live in Universal Love together. But if by ´poly + amor´ we actually mean ´poly + sex´ - that is, that the norm of the Conscious Tribe is that everyone relates sexually to everyone else - then no, Conscious Tribes are not intrinsically polyamrous. Let me put it like this:

The foundation of the Conscious Tribe is being “fully open to each other”: being open to our own, unique experience of the sacred moment - and communicating that experience from our essence to the essence of others. Conscious Tribes are not founded on the principle of Polyamory. That said, on top of that foundation a Conscious Tribe might structure itself as a combination of monogamous couples and ´singles´; as an entirely polyamorous group; as a mixture of monogamous couples, polyamorous threesomes and foursomes, and some ´singles´; or in whatever way it chooses. That is up to each Conscious Tribe to decide for itself.

A Word of Warning & The Foundational Questions

But a word of warning... If we are not in love with our own, unique present moment, if we are not seeing everyone (whether we are sexually attracted to them or not) as beautiful, unique, sacred expressions of The Great Mystery - then our Polyamory will not be part of our co-creation of a new, alternative, conscious culture. It will be the perpetuation of the unconsciousness we say we seek to go beyond - a titillating, even thrilling unconsciousness perhaps - a liberation, perhaps; or a healing, even - but it will not, in any direct sense, be the co-creation of a new social structure (The Conscious Tribe), or a contribution towards the creation of a new, conscious culture.

So first things first... And the first thing is the foundation of learning to live together in openness – in a love that is not physical, a love that is not even emotional. This is an all-day-everyday learning – an existential enquiry that requires our full attention.

We need to be continually asking ourselves two foundational questions - which we could phrase like this: Question One: "am I feeling myself inside The Great Mystery in this moment?" No? Then what do I need to do to return to feeling the Beauty of my Belonging - to re-enter conscious, honouring relationship with my physical/emotional/energetic moment?

Question Two: and now, as I relate to this other person, “am I feeling the Mystery of their Uniqueness, and am I feeling my own?" No? Then what do I need to do to once again feel our mutual, sacred uniqueness - our difference and our oneness?

These are the foundational questions. These are the questions we need to focus on, if we want to co-create a qualitatively different culture. There is nothing ´wrong´ with Polyamory. But there is nothing ´right´ about it either. In and of itself it can be as conscious or unconscious as Monogamy. The issue is not with how many people we can or can´t relate sexually - but how consciously we relate with everyone - in whatever way we are relating.

To form a Conscious Tribe is a noble endeavour. It is a whole-hearted, all-in commitment to shaping a new culture for ourselves and our descendants. It is to truly walk our talk. And I offer my deepest respects to everyone who takes up the endeavour. Let us form Tribes - and meet regularly, and explore and practice all of this together. Then we can link Tribes and form communities. And then link communities and form a new Culture.

But we need to be humble, and recognise that we still stumble. We are still learning to live in openess to the moment, and to each other. We find it difficult to appreciate the sacred flow of existence because we are still addicted to repetitive thought, because we have been taught to objectify the world, and use it - as if matter was something mundane – and because we have been conditioned into Fear of the Unknown.

And we still often find it difficult to relate from Uniqueness to Uniqueness because we get triggered in our woundings, and contract into constricted identifications...

So there is a path to be walked - together. This is where we need to focus. Not on who has sex with whom. Let that be as it may. And if so-and-so and so-and-so want to commit ´to death us do part´ - let that be as it may too. Let´s not be controlled by reactivity to the restrictions of the past. As the global megacrisis intensifies, and the disastrous, self-destructive consequences of our unconsciousness become ever more evident, some of us need to be LIVING the co-creation of new, conscious social structures...

The Celebration of The Erotic

And I am not saying “forget about the erotic - first get present!” Presentness IS erotic! Presentness is delicious! Just as absence is dull and numb, presentness-to-the-moment is alive with a thousand flavours! Our return to the natural world, and a more natural way of life, is a return to physical connection with the sweatiness of summer, and the wind in our hair, and our fingers in the wet earth, and all of the smells the disinfected, dominant culture would repress...

As we move outside again, and don´t just look at the world through windows, and start to refuse the pornographic seduction of The Inside Life, and remember the contrasting sensations of generationally forgotten comforts and discomforts – we rediscover our Erotic relationship with the Earth. We find our bodies again. We plant and tend and harvest and cook our own food – and remember the taste of things.

As we start to feel the present moment again, we FEEL the sacredness of existence again – and it feels amazing! An energetic pleasure ripples through our bodies!

And meeting each other in presentness, our hearts break open with each other´s beauty – we see each other´s innocence and foolishness and kindness and pain – and the breaking of our hearts is a deliciousness beyond compare!

So I am not saying “no” to Polyamory. Nor am I saying “yes”. I am saying first things first. As we learn to live in our unique, subjective experience our bodies fill up with The Natural Eroticism Of Presentness. Then we don´t need sex from each other in order to relieve the dullness of absence. Then, feeling the deliciousness of our Belonging to Everything, we don´t need sex in order to relieve our loneliness.

Then we can decide whether our Tribe will be polyamorous or not, or to what extent it will be polyamorous – not from neediness, not from lack, but because we are seeking the best way to sustain our joy!

Mark the Mystic Activist, Aragon, Spain. Spring, 2024.

(This is an edited and expanded version of a previous article.)

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