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, essentially union with the divine Self.
Clearly, there’s a gap in the way we project socially and culturally about sex—and how we relate and experience it, personally and privately. 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 ourselves that 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 in our most private and intimate lives 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 deserves 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.
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 take a series of steps towards fulfillment:
1. Smarnaman: Allowing sexual urges as they arise and making time to honor them.
2. Kirtanam: Meditating on the different sexual possibilities presented in our urges.
3. Keli: Finding the company of a partner to experience our sexual desire with.
4. Prekshenam: Flirting, getting the energy of our sexual self joined with the sexual self of our chosen partner.
5. Guhya–bhashanam: Creating intimacy with our partner that has them give their total understanding and consensual agreement to be the sexual partner.
6. Samkapla: Creating physical contact between the two partners.
7. Adhyavasayam: Experiencing deeper sexual touch with one another.
8. Kriyanishpatti: Finally, enjoying full sexual union.
In treating our sexual desire in this way, we are transmitting the sexual urge into a spiritual realization of Self…hence, “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 engage with them in mutual awareness of the energy, we find meaning in our sexual longing—we find our own true Self.
There is no shame in this.
There is never any shame in the truth—and it is the truth of 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 urges at the moment that we experience them and make deliberate time to honor them in the overall scheme of our lives; if we meditate on our urges in the time we have set aside for its sacred exploration; if we find a conscious and willing partner for the expression and if we express our sexual urges through conscious touch, only then we will find that our sexual energy 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 say it is seva, an act of selfless service.
Making the time to honor this truth about ourselves can heal our own fragmented conditioning about sex and in turn, heal our experiences of it at the most private and intimate level with our partner.
Rajiv Parti, MD (aka Dr. Raj) is a world leading specialist in pain management with over 30 years practicing clinical experience. He was the Chief of Anesthesiology at Bakersfield Heart Hospital where he specialized in cardiac anesthesia for 15 years. Dr. Raj founded the Pain Management Institute of California and under his direction it has served thousands of patients for acute and chronic pain relief. In 2005, Dr. Raj personally encountered the first of a series of life threatening health challenges that led him to explore non-traditional evidence based complimentary and alternative medicine. He now specializes in promoting spiritual wellness and personal growth with various non-traditional healing modalities. His new book, The Soul of Wellness is being released by Select Books in October 2012. Visit him at: www.drraj.com.
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