So, Valentine’s Day is upon us again. Tired of cards, candy, overpriced dinners at overcrowded restaurants and just the effort of trying to do something that makes you seem like a good lover? I saw three mentions online recently of Tantric approaches to this make believe holiday.
Tantrism, which appears in both Buddhism and Hinduism, influenced many religious trends and movements from the 5th century ce, but some of it was meant for esoteric circles. Claiming to show in times of religious decadence a new way to the highest goal, Tantrism bases itself upon mystic speculations concerning divine creative energy and ritual means —in part magical and orgiastic— which are also supposed to achieve other supranormal goals.
Tantra in itself is neither a religion nor an ‘ism’. Tantra is a fundamental spiritual science.
Many westerners, if they have heard of it at all, have heard about tantric sex, an ancient sexual discipline inspired by Buddhist philosophy. As a general rule, tantric sex it is a much longer, slower, more conscious and more spiritual version of typical approaches to lovemaking.
Somehow, Buddhism in the bedroom sounds… wrong. In Introduction to Tantra : The Transformation of Desire it is explained what the spiritual foundations of tantric practice are and it addresses Buddhist theories on desire, purity and happiness. You learn that the practice began some 2,500 years ago. Tantra is both a transformation of human desire, and a direct route to enlightenment.
Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-First Century is more on the physical sex side and for those “in search of the great cosmic orgasm.” Learn to breathe properly, identify your chakras, cultivate resistance and work on your “firebreath” and “the clench and hold.”
And if you are somewhere in between physical and spiritual, you can try the mystical via The Tantra Experience: Evolution through Love. Spiritual teacher, Osho, examines tantra’s mystical side and the how the practice helps us to feel more present in our bodies and enables us to contact ultimate truths.
It seems like a lot to expect from sex. One of my favorite tantric anecdotes came from the singer Sting. He got some abuse after saying in an interview that his tantric lovemaking could last six hours. When pressed for details in a later interview, he said that he was including dinner and a movie. That seems like a reasonable East meets West approach.