Let’s start with this picture: I agree with the quote, but why (why?!?) do all Tantra dudes look like this? Cut your hair and stop taking yourself so seriously.
So, I’m exploring the whole ‘Sex as Spiritual Practice’ thing.
It’s the latest in a long road of practices I’ve either wanted to investigate and experiment with or things I was…um…directed to do by the Divine. (God is a funny lady, okay? She’s got a terrible sense of humor and lots of guidance!)
I started exploring the overlapping areas between spirituality and sexuality when I was going through a super-huge hormonal upswing (libido through the roof) and didn’t know what to make of it. Tantra immediately sprung to mind since Sting gave it all that press for the hours-long orgasms.
I’ve done some reading on Tantra (love Urban Tantra by Barbara Carellas) and have practiced some of the techniques in the books I’ve read. Mostly I love the Tantric concepts that the body is a temple and its orgasmic energy can aid the development of the soul and that we can make love with all of Life.
Really, the concept that we can make love with all of Life is what made me want to explore more. When I think about that concept, when I pull it into my heart, everything inside me opens up and gets all squishy and tingly and wild.
If a spiritual concept can do that to me, why wouldn’t I try it?
Don’t forget, they used to build temples dedicated to this stuff.
Using the Knowledge: Down and Dirty
Okay, so, I’ve read the books, tried some stuff, and experimented with Taking Life as my Lover (more posts on that in the future). In the last few months I’ve really been considering taking a class, though. I wanted to get some guidance and wisdom from someone who’s already been on the path awhile.
So I signed up for a week-long class where the focus was ‘Sex, Magic, and Manifestation.’ The core of the class is just to practice basic Tantric principles: building orgasmic energy, not climaxing before it’s time to, breathing techniques, and sending that lovely orgasmic energy to something we care about (or wanted to manifest).
Sounds good, yes?
It has been, but not in the way I expected.
First night out, I did as directed. I made a sacred space, kept it warm, and set my intention (what I wanted to manifest).
I did a little ‘pre-practice’ work with my love muscles (which is not a term I dig). The love muscles are the pubo-coxygeal muscles- they control your ability to stop yourself urinating – squeeze them and you stop pottying. Squeeze them at other times and you get an automatic orgasmic jump. (Try it, you’ll see!)
Then I started in with the practice. I began to ‘pleasure myself’ – which, if you’re over the age of 14 and not all religiously hung-up, you know exactly how to do.
And then I started adding in the breathing technique we were supposed to use. As I breathed in, I imagined energy coming up from the Earth, into the base of my spine and travelling up to my heart. As I exhaled, I was to imagine the energy going back down from my heart to the Earth.
If I felt like it, the instructor said I could add the tense/release practice with the ‘love muscles’ as well. So I added that to the mix.
And I held on to all three of those things for about 37 seconds before I broke into full-belly laughter. My mind could not take it.
Inside my brain during my first Tantra practice.
Combining everything did not feel sexy (or spiritual) at all!
And it didn’t feel spiritual or soulful. It felt like my brain was on fire, trying to manage all the different processes happening.
This was not working like I thought it would.
So I had a good laugh at my own expense.
And in the laughing and the crumbling of the practice and feeling a little frustrated and overwhelmed I realized: when I start out with a new practice, I need to keep it simple. There are Buddhist initiation rites that call for extensive preparation, symbolic decorating, and even testing of the initiate. But I sure as shootin’ wasn’t at that stage.
I am at the training wheels stage of Tantra.
I think this is the advanced practitioner.
If I practiced self-pleasuring and the breathing at the same time, that would have to be enough. I could be a beginner and not a perfectionist. The point, after all, was to connect with my soul – not to help my mind stay in control.
The other thing I noticed was the fact that I fell into a fit of laughter when the practice fell apart. That I was kind of blown-away by.
Any spiritual practice that makes you laugh when you’re feeling overloaded is a keeper.
I think the fact that I did laugh at that exact moment of feeling so mentally stretched shows the core principle and value of Tantra: experiencing the luscious juiciness that lives in your body. And how that body-fullness can provide a funny, voluptuous, and soft way of living in the world.
I didn’t want to ask forgiveness or sit still or flail myself to ‘correct’ what had happened. I just wanted to laugh it off and try again. I think this is the first time I’ve really had a practice that accepted and encouraged such a thing.
Yes, Tantra, we like you- but not in the way I thought we would.
And I definitely want to hang out with you some more.