I’ve been bursting to write to share my recent tantra experience, but I wanted to let my life settle back fully into it’s regular routine so I could judge how much of an impact it has actually made on me.
After four weeks I can tell you that learning a little about tantra has truly influenced my life for the better. I realise the weekend workshop I attended recently only glanced the surface of what tantra is and how it can become an intrinsic part of your life. I had just a small taste, but what a sweet taste it was.Embed from Getty Images
With my limited experience, this is my understanding of tantra…
The underlying belief centres on the conservation of sexual energy in order to prolong youthful vitality. This is achieved by retaining the essence that is usually lost during ejaculation for men and menstruation for women. I think you would need a deep understanding and commitment to the practice of tantra to follow the path of virtually ceasing ejaculation/menstruation, but there is so much to be learnt from tantra without following that particular path.
To me tantra represents a shared and mutual awareness and respect of your own and your partners pleasure and needs – in relation to sex and in life.
The most significant insight for me was to realise that the difference between average sex and good sex is mindfulness. Often in long term relationships making love is rushed or has become an afterthought – a means for sexual satisfaction and release. It can become a shallow experience. By giving sex priority at the time you and your partner are truly together and at your most vulnerable (turn the TV off/don’t think about what you need to do when you’re finished or how busy your schedule is tomorrow) and focusing on what gives pleasure in that moment without thinking of the end game, orgasm, sex can become a communion between two people, a kind of meditation. Making love is not another task to be achieved in your day, it is a sensual experience, a joy to be savoured.
This awareness and generosity also spills over into other aspects of a couple’s relationship and into your relationship with yourself.
And couldn’t the same principle of being present and mindful during love-making be applied to life? Experiences had while on auto-pilot are not rich in sensual detail. Without the memories of smell, sound and touch (ie. atmospheric conditions of wind and temperature) an experience becomes forgettable, disposable. They do not enrich your life and make it memorable.
The taste I have had of tantra has awakened for me a deeper sensuality and respect for life. But what I really took away was how important it is to be present and live in the moment – whether you are making love, eating a meal or taking a walk on the beach.Embed from Getty Images
This mindfulness is the focus of Margot Anand’s The Art of Everyday Ecstacy. the idea of living a full, rich and pleasurable life. I would recommend anyone who yearns for inner tranquillity and purpose read it.
Her writing opened up for me a whole new attitude towards the true pleasure.
“…life is not about having more and better orgasms, but about being orgasmic in every moment.
When our senses are awake, pleasure is available in everyday moments. You can be orgasmic by choosing to surround yourself with what you value as beautiful and sacred; by wearing clothes (or not wearing clothes) that add to your beauty; by cooking and eating with erotic awareness; by allowing music to flow through your ears and vibrate in your entire body; by speaking and reading and writing words that are poetic, powerful, and inspiring to your soul; by singing your joy.”
Margot has other books that focus more on tantric lovemaking which I am looking forward to reading next.
I’ve found an amazing web page that gives a detailed explanation of the how’s and why’s of tantra and a different perspective on men’s health. I’ve included some of the author’s explanations here:
“There are three very basic teachings that seem to be most impactful for Western couples. First is for men to learn to not ejaculate every time, which results in a tremendous turn-around in their vital energy in daily living. Second is for both partners to learn to breathe together and circulate their energy together, as one energetic whole. And third is to view lovemaking as a shared meditative experience, letting go of any goal or performance orientation.
While westerners tend to associate the term ‘tantra’ with exotic lovemaking practices taught in the Orient, its more accurate meaning is simply the ‘transformation of energy.’
The essence of these teachings is that when lovemaking is not goal-directed (as in seeking to achieve orgasm or other pleasures), but rather takes on a more calm, relaxed, meditative quality, there is a subtle building of a charge of energy in the body. The Eastern tantric traditions teach that when this powerful energy is then drawn upward to our higher energy centres with the guidance of our conscious intention and visualization, it can unite us with Spirit as well as with our beloved. Another use of this energy is to direct it into specific organs or parts of the body for healing purposes. Thus, a loving partnership can directly contribute to both our spiritual unfoldment and our physical health.
In taoist energy theory, sex can serve to either enhance or deplete our vital energy, and sexual vitality is also considered a good indicator of overall health and immunity to disease. There are two aspects to our vital energy: congenital chi, also called jing, and acquired chi. We are born with a limited reservoir of congenital chi or jing which cannot be replaced.
In addition to the general wearing down of our reserves through life, there are two specific means through which we lose jing. Women lose it through menstruation, and men through ejaculation. These two experiences are analogous in terms of the felt impact on one’s energy, although for men, ejaculation brings a more acute and instantaneous experience of loss, compared to the more drawn out experience of menstruation.
The male orgasm involves an outward explosion and release of jing whereas the female orgasm is an inward explosion. When a man ejaculates he is releasing vital essence or energy which is carried out of his body by the ejaculatory fluids.
Men who use tantric sexual practices that involve semen retention — that is, intercourse without ejaculation — do not experience this depletion of vital essence, and in fact feel more energized afterward. It is like having their batteries recharged or receiving an infusion of vital energy, rather than the feeling of depletion. Plus, they are able to have intercourse more often, for longer periods, and enjoy more potency in the process.
…as our average life span has lengthened and our culture has become less preoccupied with the demands of physical survival in daily life, there have been more opportunities for sexual expression over a lifetime than prior generations. Since our culture is obsessed with the notion that orgasm and ejaculation are the ‘logical’ outcome of every sexual encounter, it is possible that Western men living at the end of the twentieth century have ‘burned out’ or depleted their vital essence more than their forebears, weakening the prostate in the process.”