By Dr. Raj
In the west, Tantra has come to be mistakenly largely associated with sex because of repeated misinterpretation of its sensory embracing paradigm.
Contrary to what many have come to believe in the west, Tantra doesn’t stand per se for sexual promiscuity, or permissiveness. In fact, for thousands of years in India, Tantra was a system of achieving yoga –union with the divine Self-.
Clearly there’s a gap in the way we project socially and culturally about sex and the way we personally, privately relate to it and experience it.
That gap, I believe, is between our desire for an experience and our conditioning surrounding what it means for us to desire it. It is our judgment of our self is what is holding us back from truly experiencing the sexual ecstasy and freedom that we outwardly project and long for.
We are living collectively with a split between desire and shame. Until we can heal our fragmented conditioning, our experience at our most private and intimate life will continue to be disappointing.
Tantra can help heal this fragmentation of self in relation to this powerfully charged area of being through its doctrine of radical acceptance: sexual desire is sacred desire and deserved to be treated as such.
The body is not a gross thing to be overcome in pursuit of a higher, more subtle and noble Self. The body is the Divine manifest, God incarnate – and therefore a sacred vessel in itself that deserves to be nourished, nurtured and satisfied.
The drive for sex is an innate human one – and therefore a Godly one. In fact Vedanta and Tantra teach that sexual energy is the creative force of the entire universe.
What we must do is recognize the divinity of our sexual energy, and honor it rather than feel ashamed of it.
We achieve this is by recognizing that a sexual urge is only the beginning of a longer sexual process that we are longing to experience, and by making time for longer sexual expression in its complete and divine fullness.
The Tantric texts say when we feel a sexual urge, we can do that by taking a series of steps towards fulfillment:
- Smarnaman: Allowing sexual urges as they arise, and making time to honor them
- Kirtanam: meditating on the different sexual possibilities presented in our urge
- Keli: finding the company of a partner to experience our sexual desire with
- Prekshenam: flirting, getting the energy of our sexual self joined with the sexual self of our chosen partner
- Guhya –bhashanam: creating intimacy with our partner that has them give their total understanding and consensual agreement to be the sexual partner
- Samkapla: creating physical contact between the two partners
- Adhyavasayam: experiencing deeper sexual touch with one another
- Kriyanishpatti: finally enjoying full sexual union
In treating our sexual desire in this way, we are transmuting the sexual urge in to a spiritual realization of Self. Hence the name “Transcendental Tantra.”
Delaying the impulse to act on our urges by meditating, then using deep breathing and gentle touch to connect with another, to seek permission of the other and to engage with them in mutual awareness of the energy between us- we find meaning in our sexual longing: we find out true Self.
There is no shame in this. There is never any shame in the truth – and it is the Truth of our Self that Tantra teaches us to experience through sex.
Sexual energy is sacred energy. Our attraction to the sexual impulse through the proliferation of adult content, adult venues or sexualized media in popular culture is not something to repress.
But it is something to contain.
If we contain our sexual urge at the moment we experience it, but make deliberate time to honor it in the overall scheme of our lives; if we meditate on it in time we have set aside for its sacred exploration; if we find a conscious and willing partner for its expression and if we express it through conscious touch – then we will find that our sexual urge is an outpouring of our most divine nature.
Tantra is transcending sex by making it an act of meditation, I would even go so far as to make it a “Seva” a act of selfless service.
Making time to honor this truth about our self can heal our own fragmented conditioning about sex, and heal our experience of it at the most private and intimate level with our partner.