from the book Sexual Energy Ecstasy
Tantra does embrace sexual energy as a vehicle for raising consciousness, that is only the beginning of the Tantric journey. Rather than fixating on its historical association with eroticism, Tantra is better defined as the art of transcending the socialized veneer to experience one's primal identity.
Just as Tibetan Buddhists today describe the absolute consciousness, with its openness and infinite ability to nourish, as feminine, so did the ancient Tantra turn to the metaphors of the Goddess and the Mother for its symbols of the authentic Self.
The implication of this is that one attains by becoming a lover, not a fighter. To fight with one's self, to struggle with and try to suppress the content of one's own mind, is basic to our culture. We become so familiar with fighting that it eventually seems natural. We then graduate to expecting and co-creating conflict on the outside with each other.
Life is a Touching Experience
The Tantric fascination with the Mother has another, more concrete, basis. In tribal and agrarian societies where Tantra originated thousands of years ago, the child stayed close to the mother. If she was not being held or carried with her genetic mother, she was in physical contact with another female member of the tribe, a grandmother perhaps (remember the Native American papoose?). Studies of tribes that have maintained this practice until today show an impressive lack of violence.
To enter the physical dimension is such a great shock that enormous care must be given to the being in the womb and to the infant. It is fear and isolation, the result of the usual break in contact, that creates most of our personal and social problems. We adults have plenty of catching up to do. We need tactile contact in order to remain sane, not just in the form of making love, but as massage, hugging, cuddling and tender caresses.
Sex is Nature's LSD
We tend to forget that when Tantra first became available thousands of years ago, its students were people raised in a non-violent, body-positive, mother-dominated society. So it is important for us to make an effort to set aside our Judeo-Christian, sex-negative 'head' and instead try to look at Tantra through entirely fresh eyes, through eyes that looked out in awe upon Nature in Her untouched glory, not at Her waning twilight. The "Mother" was then felt to be, not the biological person, but the source of life itself, the great nurturer - and destroyer.
If we can accept this point of view at least on a trial basis, then perhaps we can arrive a little closer to the spirit of Tantra. If you and your partner are about to make love, for instance, this means jettisoning much of the sociocultural flotsam that fills your skull and replacing it with this more "primitive" view. Our sexual "head" is all the thoughts about sex that we have acquired. In Zen, we would say chop off the head and then act.
Jeff and Marie used my Just Touch technique to accomplish this. Moving very slowly, they focused their attention totally on just the sensations they were feeling at the point of contact between their eager bodies. As Jeff explained it to me, "I was totally in the now, yet an eternity of ecstasy seemed to stretch out before me. When you explore your sensual communion without thought, boredom goes out the window no matter how long you've been lovers."
Goddess and God
Now that we have adjusted our views of Tantra, we can look at another great innovation from Tantra, the god-goddess model. In addition to our alienation from the Mother and from Nature, we are burdened by a dearth of paradigms for spiritual marriage.
The love of Romeo and Juliet was true, but it ended in tragedy. In contrast the Radha and Krishna of India are depicted as sporting in eternal, erotic dalliance. Enjoying a heaven on Earth, they celebrate each other with undivided devotion.
When one's partner is regarded as a goddess or god, this accomplishes a major positive adjustment in attitude. It facilitates surrender, engenders appreciation and encourages respect. For example, I regard my wife as an emanation of a certain Hindu goddess. To me, it is a literal fact.
To view each other as goddess and god is an intermediate step. From an absolute standpoint, no description is adequate. But to positively and consistently regard the other as Other, as god or goddess and not human per se, is to set the stage for a heaven on Earth. The typical angst about the partner is diluted. Perhaps they are a fallen goddess or god, but their root, their identity, is divine. And this much is closer to the truth. So to regard each other as goddess and god is a skillful, exciting concept that leaves lots of room for spontaneity and creativity while assuring a nourishing emotional tone.
Tantra works with the sex-emotion axis in our psyches. The full flowering of the Tantric way is colorful, ecstatic, artistic, musical, joyful, a celebration in, of and with every sense. Though just as complete a path as the one practiced by its austere cousins, the monks and nuns, Tantra explodes the colors, tones, shapes and energies of feeling. And feeling cannot be separated from sexuality, from sensual expression, from, in the broader sense, the energy of life.
Tantra does not want to suppress at all. For this reason, it is very good for our society. It is an antidote. We are victims of our own monsters, of our suppressed energies that have been reborn in twisted form. Violence, for example, is just a pathological form of our need to touch and be touched. The forces of life cannot be denied. That much is certain.
Sex is Nature's LSD. At the cellular level, we sense that an ecstasy of the whole body is possible. When it is ignored, this spontaneous urge for ecstasy expresses as materialistic accumulating, body weight problems, failing relationships, sex difficulties, superficial cravings. Tantra not only says you deserve ecstasy, the source of ecstasy lies within you, not just as sex but in a whole-body release that ultimately takes the form of melting into oneness.
Sex is the beginning, but it is not the end. When I started with Tantra, sex meant having intercourse with a partner. Now, sex means a feeling experience of the unified compassionate energy of the cosmos. I now view orgasm as a meditation and have learned how to achieve an orgasmic state quickly and easily without genital stimulation. Therefore, I have acquired a valuable degree of autonomy from my physical lover, and turn more and more to the great feminine ocean of beneficent energy as my ever-present Beloved.
Perhaps you are interest in this, so I will tell you how to do it. In a sitting position, take a few deep breaths. Focus in the sexual region. Recall a very pleasurable orgasmic or other erotic experience. Now relive this experience in your mind, attempting to feel it again in your body as if it is happening right now. As you do this, continue to breathe more deeply than usual. Roll your eyes up and put your attention at the center or top of your head. Encourage a feeling of yearning for intimacy and ecstasy. Yield. Surrender. Melt. It may help to sway side to side slightly or otherwise to loosen up the pelvis and back to that energy can flow freely. Eventually you will be able to have a mild orgasm most any time you like.
The application of this technique to partner practice is straightforward. Obviously, you don't have to remember an erotic experience - you are having one! As the energy builds up, send it to your partner. Benefits may include a new comfort with sexual issues, better meditations, an improved relationship or attracting a new Tantric partner.
Follow Your Bliss
This is Tantra - taste it, feel it, live it, be it. The successful, spiritual life feels good, and when you feel good, you are good to other people, too. To place a respectful twist on a familiar Bible phrase, "What you do unto yourself you will do unto others." There's no need to wait. Go ahead. Feel good now. You deserve it. Feeling good is a sign that cosmic intelligence is at work in your life.
There is much more to Tantra than this, but I think this is a good introduction. In institutional Tantra, as with the Buddhists, there are many rules and special meditations and traditions to be honored. But the spirit is still the same, which encourages us to do what is truly close to our hearts. The late mythologist Joseph Campbell, when asked to summarize his message, replied "Follow your bliss." Do what excites you, he elaborated, what makes you feel good.
We cannot leave meditation, the practice of being awake and aware, out of this for it is the cornerstone. But all too often we forget that meditation is about joy. Mindfulness, prayer, devotion, stillness, pilgrimage, respecting the teacher, these are all part of Tantra too. The heart of Tantra, though, is spontaneous and free, and no system will ever capture it. What is spontaneous is true.