RELATIONSHIPS AND SEXUAL INTIMACY: A TANTRIC PERSPECTIVE


Eastern mystic Osho once said: ‘Sex is just the beginning, not the end, but if you miss the beginning, you will miss the end also.” In order to have fulfilling relationships we need a fulfilling sexuality and, more so, we need the reconciliation of sexuality and spirituality.

The pressures of a busy and stressful modern life, the challenge of ongoing relationships and marriage, as well as bringing up children, even without full working lives, presents an enormous strain on individuals and couples. Intimacy is often reduced to having sex as a kind of sleeping pill at night, resulting in a quick release of tension and a general feeling of emptiness. The principles of our performance-orientated society have forced their way into the bedroom, resulting in more and more men and women experiencing sexual difficulties. Literature teaching sexual techniques and a variety of sexual positions or sexual diversions, do not in themselves seem to hold the key to sexual or relationship fulfilment. We seem to chase one thrill after the other, one orgasm after the other, or, for that matter, one sexual escapade after the other, without actually finding what we are looking for.

The result is ‘intimacy’ that is not uplifting and lacking in real joy or any form of spirituality and the fulfilment of our heart’s desire remains elusive. Over and above this, many adults are burdened with sexually repressive conditioning from childhood, education, religion and, in South Africa, we know too well that even politics can play a huge role in how we think and feel and with whom we engage sexually.

Whether we live in a relationship, alone or in varying relationships, our lives seem so often to be accompanied by loneliness and a lack of love. Most individuals seem to be longing for an affirmation of self in a partner, while yearning for vitality and a form of sexuality that affirms the unity of body and soul.

Despite the fact that Tantra is thousands of years old, it presents us with a very real possibility to transcend the difficulties arising from this very modern situation. Tantra cultivates, deepens and spiritualises human nature without presenting it as imperfect or repressing any aspect of it.

Tantric literature on the market today, however, is often in the form of sex manuals, promising bigger and better orgasms and more sexual satisfaction, whereas Tantra is actually so much more. Tantra is a non-dogmatic spiritual path, a teaching of non-judgmental, absolute and unconditional love. It teaches meditation in the most physical moments of human experience, positively encompassing and influencing all aspects of life and particularly relationships of all kinds.

An ever-expanding system that has matured through the ages, Tantra is an art, a method and a science, an outlook and a way of life that teaches us how to open our hearts, how to embrace our emotionality and sexuality, enabling us to celebrate the whole of life and, recognising the divine essence within all beings, Tantra is in effect an experimental path of transformation.

In contrast to traditional psychotherapy, esoteric and other healing modes, Tantra uses the body and its physical expression to work on blockages in the subconscious, embracing the sexual emotionally, physically and spiritually, thereby satisfying and amplifying the human soul. Most of us have forgotten how to connect and live from a place of being whole and perfect already. Tantra shows us the way back home.

Tantra trains the body to improve its capacity for the flow of life energy, giving the mind a higher ability to concentrate and the soul ease and lightness. Rather than concentrating on the heights of physical pleasure alone, Tantra details the mental states to be achieved during sexual activity, enabling us to ‘bridge the gap’ of sexuality and spirituality (assuming, that is, that there is one).

Each human being is understood as a reflection of the entire cosmos. By entering inside one’s own subjective being with a witnessing consciousness, all aspects of the body, mind and emotions are revealed in their refined potential. With the whole person being accepted as divine, each aspect of being human can become a door to expanded consciousness. Tantra teaches how to embrace our whole experience of human existence, including sexuality and, in so doing, experience something of who we really are and our relationship to the divine.

Central to Tantra is the understanding that sexual energy is our life force and that the Universe and humans, as individuals, are all filled with the same energy. Sexual energy is reclaimed as sacred, healing the split between body and spirit. Any repression of this energy leaves us unbalanced and damaged. Trauma, (grief, pain, embarrassment, physical or emotional abuse and so on) stored in our body as a body memory, results in blockages or limitations which can endure throughout our lives, reducing our emotional and physical wellbeing, inhibiting our flow of energy and limiting a full expression of life and sexuality. Tantra can be seen as a reconciliation of sexuality and spirituality.

In its very essence, Tantra is the Yoga of presence, of becoming aware, of consciousness, of ‘what is’ in the body at any given moment. This includes our emotions and thoughts as we learn to accept whatever is arising in the moment, without judgment.

The refined potential of every human being is divine and Tantra shows you how to experience this divineness in a busy life through a new understanding of how to cultivate male and female energy and use it to our best potential. The very basic and single most important aspect of Tantric sexuality and meditation is breath, which is fundamental to our very being. With the conscious use of breath during the sexual union it becomes the highest prayer, the closest humans can get to being and feeling divine. What is more, in the very moment of orgasm, something unique and profound occurs: We drop personal identity – all that we identify as ‘the me’ in our lives – and become, for some few moments, the divine essence that we truly are. Orgasm is the simplest way of dropping our egos – all it takes to experience this, is conscious awareness of that very moment. In this space, be it with a partner or alone, we merge with higher consciousness and experience bliss. Once this has been experienced, we no longer seek that great orgasm for the sake of it, we no longer seek perpetual sexual escapades that leave us empty. We seek only to ‘be’, in the moment, pure, simple, exactly who we really are.

Excerpts from Odyssey Magazine Volume 34, No. 4

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