Why do more and more people want to learn how to practice Tantra? In the past 40 years there has been a huge surge in interest in Tantra in the West. Unfortunately, the version of Tantra that has become super-popular and the version you will read about on celebrity blog sites and in glossy magazines is a watered-down version of the authentic practice.
Tantra is a way of life. It is a life long spiritual path that is multifaceted, but in the West, it is often reduced to a series of sexual techniques. But authentic tantra is an approach to life that considers all aspects of the Universe to be Divine.
Tantra is controversial because its consideration of all aspects of the universe as divine, puts it in conflict with many religions which separate the material world (negative, dark, evil, profane, sullied) from the spiritual world (pure, untainted, wholesome, innocent). This is termed as asceticism or the ascetic approach.
Ascetic traditions insist that people disconnect from the material world, from their bodies, their emotions, and their minds, in order to reach the Divine. Tantra belongs to the ancient Indian tradition based in the Vedas. In Tantra it is believed that we are entirely composed of the Divine. With our bodies, emotions and minds all being manifestations of the Divine. It is the Tantric teaching that an individual can reach the Divine by going deeply into any aspect of the material world, any sensation, emotion or thought and this is where Tantra gets associated with sex…an association that gets misconstrued by many people.
Tantra – It’s not just about Sex
Because in Tantra, any experience in the material world can become a gateway to the Divine; it stands to logical reasoning that the more intense the experience, the greater its potential to become a gateway. Sex can be a very strong and intense experience, and Tantric sexuality includes many techniques for making sex even more intense with Tantric techniques being designed to use sexual energy to reach altered states of consciousness, although it must be noted that the purpose of Tantra is not simply to heighten sexual pleasure.
Indeed whilst many tantric techniques can enhance sexual feeling and heighten pleasure, it is important to understand that when we decide to commit to a tantric path we commit to living the whole of life as a spiritual practice. Tantra is not about self gratification, it is not about satisfying any physical, sexual or emotional needs and desires, instead it is being able to see life orgasmically; by this we mean to look beyond the ordinary and seek the Divine in our everyday experiences; for example drinking a cup of tea can suddenly become a Divine experience.
Absolutely any aspect of life becomes Tantric when we bring our full attention, our full presence, and we actively look for the Divine in every moment. So, whether you are eating an apple, cleaning the toilet or taking a shower these can all become tantric activities if you choose to approach them with intent and attention.
Sexual union symbolises the ultimate goal of Tantra –as it is the weaving together of or union of opposites. Within each of us we have opposite poles – yin vs. yang. In order to reach higher states of consciousness, we need to transcend these apparent opposites. We need to merge, or integrate, the apparent opposites, and understand that they are not actually in opposition to one another. Within each of us we have an inner man and an inner woman, and these inner beings represent all these opposing pairs. When our inner man and inner woman merge in an inner sexual union, this represents the merging and integrating of all these opposing pairs.
When we practice Tantric lovemaking with a partner, one partner represents the Divine Masculine, and the other represents the Divine Feminine. When we come together in sexual union with another person, we are representing the inner union of our inner man and inner woman. Sexual union with another person represents the inner integration of all the things that appear to be opposed to one another. It is for this reason that sexual union [whether actual or represented by symbolism] is a central theme within Tantra.
Whist the most famous form of the traditional Tantric ritual, the maithuna ritual, involves actual sexual union; sex is not the most important part of learning how to practice Tantra. It is important to remember that if you want to practice Tantric sex then the most important element is the spiritual context. Let go of any goals as in Tantra sexual union comes without expectations or goals.
To begin the practice of Tantric love-making you may want to follow some of these tips and hints:
- Clean the space and bathe before starting Tantric lovemaking
- Light incense and candles
- Fill the space with relaxing and pleasing aromatics such as essential oils or incense
- Play uplifting music in the background
- Begin by holding hands and meditating, to connect with each other and the Divine
- See your partner as the Divine (either Divine Masculine or Divine Feminine, whichever you both decide)
- Release any self-centered thoughts and feelings
- Create an intention to raise your consciousness through Tantric lovemaking
- Ask the Divine to be with you and act through you during the Tantric lovemaking
Once you have created a good environment for Tantric sexuality, you can make love in any way you both enjoy.
Ideally, when practicing Tantric sex, a man holds back from ejaculating. He will either not ejaculate at all, or he will wait until both partners have had at least half an hour of orgasmic consciousness before ejaculating. This allows the Tantric sex to raise the consciousness of both partners to higher states and will also give a man access to having non-ejaculatory full-body orgasms and to bring a woman to full body orgasm. In addition to this technique such as yoni massage can also allow the woman’s orgasmic wave to be longer, deeper and more fulfilling.
In tantra the purpose of the orgasm is not purely that of pleasure it is to get the sexual energy moving. Once the sexual energy is flowing it is key in tantra to move the sexual energy out of the groin area and up the spine. Ultimately, the goal is to move all the sexual energy into the crown chakra. When you have put enough energy into the crown chakra, it will “open”, altering the state of consciousness and revitalising every cell in every cell.
In our next blog we’ll be addressing techniques to withhold ejaculation and the principles of yoni massage.
If you would like to start your Tantric Journey, then please visit our website here to find out more.