Tantra has become very popular in the West over the past few years as a method for improving our sex life. What many people don’t know is that Tantra is much more than that.
In Tibetan Buddhism, Tantra and its practices are considered the most accelerated path to spiritual enlightenment. Only the most accomplished students receive the transmission of these powerful and secret tools from their teacher. All of Tantra’s methods are concerned with spiritual advancement, and only a small part of them is devoted to practices involving sexuality. Tantra includes everything – the way you make love, the way you cook your meals, and the way you work becomes a sacred activity. Tantra is and has been a lifestyle as well as a spiritual practice.
So why is there so much emphasis on the sexual aspects of Tantra? Because we all want to be better lovers and have a great sex life. Sexual intimacy is one of the easiest ways to have a spiritual experience, to reach an altered state of consciousness. At the peak moment of sexual union, our minds disappear, we become truly one with each other, and enter into timelessness and divine union. Tantra teaches us how to reach those states again and again, and effortlessly, in our love life and our daily lives.
Tantrikas, those practicing Tantra, know that spirituality resides within the body and that the body’s gifts can be utilized to foster and attain spiritual clarity, ecstasy and fulfillment. Hence tantric wisdom traditionally was passed on from teacher to student, from master to disciple, experientially rather than intellectually, and this still continues to be the preferred and most effective method today.
So where do you start? Many great books and videos provide useful and practical information about Tantra, especially the sexual aspects of it. If you have a partner, tell her or him that you are interested in learning more about Tantra. Watch a video together or commit to practice exercises from a book that you both like. Hands-on practice is the fastest and most reliable way to learn.
Many books on Tantra also include practices which can be done by yourself, so you don’t actually have to have a partner to practice Tantra. In fact even if you have a partner, practicing the solo exercises can open the door to a “new you” and that in turn can be very valuable and enriching for your relationship as well as your lovelife.
By far the best way to deepen your understanding of Tantra and get an immediate “aha” is to participate in a seminar. A seminar is a forum for experiential learning, and the facilitators are there to guide you on this journey. There are also a variety of seminars and events; weekends, week-longs and longer trainings, for beginners and advanced Tantra practitioners, for single and couples.
Aside from experiencing what Tantra is, and practicing tools for your love life and daily life, you are also part of a tantric family during the event, and maybe afterwards, if you so choose. Immersing yourself into the tantric community, the sangha, of the seminar environment accelerates your learning process and deepens your experience. And when you go back home, life will not be the same, it will be even better!