Tantric Practice Beyond Sexual Techniques
Remember how everything is brighter when you first fall in love? Have you ever felt the special feeling of oneness during or after lovemaking? You are fully connected with your partner on the physical, emotional and spiritual plane. Nothing matters but the two of you, almost floating in the air with satisfaction and closeness. All worries and doubts have disappeared, and you are completely relaxed. Your body tingles with delight, and your heart is beating joyously and with love. You disappear into the eyes of your partner and everything you do, look at and touch suddenly has a special glow.
And let’s take a look at the other side, at our daily circumstances – a myriad of responsibilities, concerns about the future, dealing with the challenges of life. Our bodies respond with stress, and get ill. We connect with others using technical gadgets. Our hearts close and we shift into busy-ness overdrive. Sex becomes an itch that we scratch like an insect bite. We rush through the day on autopilot, not looking at anyone, and fall asleep like a zombie at the end of the day or take some medication to help us relax because we are so wound up. Undoubtedly, the state of being described at the beginning of this blog is better for long-lasting wellness, joy and a balanced life!
My husband Steve and I have been teaching Tantra workshops since 1999 when we founded the Ecstatic Living Institute. For us, Tantra is an all-encompassing spiritual path that includes many different forms of practices – meditations, sitting in the presence of a spiritual teacher, expanding our life force energy, and embodying the qualities of awakened consciousness. Creating equanimity and balance in the ups and downs of life. Being ecstatic on the peaks and in the valleys of living and loving. Opening our hearts open so that we may light others’ candles with our flame and help make the world a better place with our compassion and love.
Over the past 20 years, the term ‘Tantra’ has become equivalent with sex. But those who think Tantra equals sex may miss the point. While there are some advanced practices involving intercourse, Tantra is not an assortment of sexual techniques and positions designed to produce bigger, longer and better orgasms.
The point of tantric practice lies beyond the techniques and methods, when we are 100% present, our mind stops, our ego disappears, we become one with all, and enter into vast emptiness and stillness. Then we are absorbed in the blissful state of being. Some think that they can only get there in sex, that’s why there’s been such a focus on Tantra’s sexual practices. But the good news is that we can bring this ecstatic experience into all aspects of our life! That’s where tantric practice really begins.
A fun and simple way for us is to connect more with ourselves and others. As I drop my mail off at the post office, I look into the eyes of the clerk, smile and wish him a wonderful day. When Steve pays for the groceries at the local store, he compliments the lady at the checkout. The responses to these simple connections are usually uplifting – people are friendly, they smile back, and there is a thread of knowing each other just a little bit better. Consciously connecting with others, we rise above the automatic everyday interactions into being present and awake. As I leave the post office, there is a new spring in my step, and my heart feels lighter.
Throughout the day I open my senses as much and as often as I can. It only takes a moment to bring my awareness to it! I taste the food I am eating. I feel my fingers tapping away on the keyboard. When I wash my hands, I notice the temperature of the water, and the smell of the soap. And I listen to my breath. Tuning into my body helps me to arrive in the present moment, and forget about the past and future. Try it right now!
Steve and I are committed to infusing a sense of the sacred into every action. Even the most mundane task can become amazing when we do them with awareness. Looking at Steve – which I do a thousand times a day – I recognize the divine in him. He is so much more than the sum of his parts! As I transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, life becomes more colorful.
And last, but not least, I practice being orgasmic in everything I do. Being orgasmic is an adjective; it is a state of being, not a ten-second occurrence. Can I immerse myself totally as I write this article? Do I throw myself whole-heartedly into the waves of work, household, love, pleasure, tears, anger and joy? Am I holding myself back or am I fully alive?
This is what tantric practice is to us – a beacon of awareness and a practical and easily accessible way to live ecstatically every moment of our lives.