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POPULAR TANTRA: A Pair of Examples

Subject: POPULAR TANTRA: A Pair of Examples

Taken from 'Meditation' Magazine.

Divine Sexuality 
by David A. Ramsdale, M.A.

While it is true that 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 
socio-cultural 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.

Whole-Body Ecstasy

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.

Tantric Orgasm

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 techinique 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.


David A. Ramsdale, M.A., is coauthor of _Sexual Energy Ecstasy_, the new
video 'Tantra Love' and 6 audio tapes on Tantra.  He currently gives
workshops through The Learning Annex in San Diego, CA.  For more information,
call Peak Skill Publishing at (619) 222-0004 or The Learning Annex at
(619) 544-9700.

What is Tantra?
By Charles and Caroline Muir

Ancient Tantra is a spiritual system in which sexual love is a sacrament.
Modern Tantra has been developed based on tantric philosophical concepts
and techniques that are applicable to modern lifestyles.  It is a system
that can elevate a couple's relationship to the level of art.  We refer to
it as 'The Art of Conscious Loving.'

Tantra teaches important tools for today's couples who are searching
for a significantly different way of relating to each other and, as a by-
product, to heal the wounds of their past sexual traumas.  Tantra asserts
that negative imprints from sexual preconceptions and past experiences
make their home in the region of the second chakra, the sexual center in
the area of the genitals.

The first step toward healing our sexual scars is to shine the light of
our consciousness on our second chakras, so we can see what is creating
the block, fear, coldness, anger or just plain craziness.  Imagine the
second chakra as a doorway into a room filled with your personal
sexual belongings.  You must enter this rom with a lantern held high
against the darkness.  You must walk through the room, past everything
in it, in order to overcome your personal obstacles.  Each time you enter
with the light, you will eradicate a little bit of the darkness.

Western therapies require the individual to enter this room of 
preconceptions and past experiences alone.  One the other hand, Tantric 
Yoga exhorts the couple to make the journey together utilizing the 
techniques that Tantra teaches.  Their combined strength makes for an 
easier opening of those doors within themselves, thus helping them 
balance and heal each other.

In combination, the couple can nullify deficiencies by teaching one
another the secrets of their separate strengths.  They can use the art,
science, and ritual of Tantric lovemaking to achieve a powerful, healing
union.  This yoga can replace dark memories with a bright present, create
a new understanding of the meaning of sex and sexuality and partnership,
and banish jealousy, possessiveness, and other ghosts of the past in the
face of the absolute self-assurance the Tantric couple gains in the
practice of the art.


Charles and Caroline Muir are the authors of _Tantra: The Art of Conscious
Loving_ and hold seminars in Hawaii, California and Colarado.  For more
information, call (808) 572-8364.

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