Monday, July 21, 2014

Tantra and Sexual Life

In my last post, I introduced the five M's of Tantra. In this post, I want to take a closer look at the fifth M: maithuna (sexual intercourse), or sexual life in general as I often receive questions on this subject. I will use Swami Satyananda's article on the subject as my reference.

Sexual life has always been a problem for mankind. From the beginning of history, the primal energy has been misunderstood. Religious teachers and moralists have denounced it. But still sexual life has continued, not because man respects it, but because he wants it. He may give it up, but he cannot remove it from his mind, for this is one of his most powerful urges.

I refer to this as a sexual craving. Some call it libido or sex drive, while others call it lust. So as I mentioned in my previous post, most spiritual paths would have you abstain from sex, meat, wine, etc., which in my opinion, only serves to intensify your cravings and distract you from your spiritual practice. The exact opposite of what abstaining was intended to achieve. In my experience it is much better to continue to satisfy your cravings, but when doing so, simply turn the mind inward and be aware.

The process is exactly the same as I had described in my post about food, since food cravings or sexual cravings or any other type of craving is all the same: slavery. By turning the mind inward and being aware you can transform your slavery into mastery, and when done during sex you will find your attention drawn to the experience of orgasm, as orgasm is a spiritual experience.

The natural event that takes place between man and woman is considered as the explosion of the energy centre. In every speck of life, it is the union between the positive and negative poles that is responsible for creation. At the same time, union between positive and negative poles is also responsible for enlightenment, and the experience which takes place at the time of union is a glimpse of the higher experience.

For most people the experience of orgasm lasts for less than a minute and they assume the best way to maximize the experience is to simply have sex often. The spiritual seeker on the other hand, realizing the connection to enlightenment, begins to wonder if the experience of orgasm can be extended to last for a longer period of time, or perhaps expanded to fill the whole body. Wikipedia even has an entry for the Expanded Orgasm:

Expanded orgasm, or a full body orgasm, is any sexual experience more intense and extensive than what can be described as, or included in the definition of, an ordinary orgasm. It includes a range of sensations that include orgasms that are full-bodied, and orgasms that last from a few minutes to many hours.

Again, most people are completely unaware that an orgasm can be made to last for many hours. Swami Satyananda also agrees that an expanded and extended orgasm is the goal for the spiritual seeker:

The energy waves that are created during the mutual union are not as important as the process of directing that energy to the higher centres. Everybody knows how this energy is to be created, but nobody knows how to direct it to the higher centres. In fact, very few people have a full and positive understanding of this natural event which almost everybody in this world experiences. If the conjugal experience, which is generally very transitory, could be extended for a period of time, then the experience of enlightenment would take place.

Swami Satyananda then goes on to describe what techniques can be practiced for achieving this. For men, the first step is to learn how to achieve an orgasm without ejaculating. Here he explains why this is important.

Ejaculation brings down the temperature of the body and at the same time, the nervous system undergoes depression. When the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems undergo depression, it affects the brain. That is why many people have mental problems. When you are able to retain the semen without ejaculating at all, the energy in the nervous system and the temperature in the whole body are maintained. At the same time, you are free from the sense of loss, depression, frustration and guilt. Retention will also help to increase the sexual frequency, and that is better for both partners. The sexual act does not have to create weakness or dissipate the energy, on the contrary, it can become a means of exploding the energy. Therefore, the value of retaining the bindu should not be underestimated.

Holding back the ejaculation is achieved by contracting the urinary muscles, also known as vajroli mudra. This is then combined with moola bandha (contracting the perineum) for concentrating the energy. Then as the orgasm continues and the energy is maintained (rather than being dissipated) the concentration is moved up the spine and the energy flows with it to the higher chakras.

So while women don't experience ejaculation like men do, they do experience the same nervous system depression. Transforming that experience involves the same contraction of the urinary muscles, or sahajoli mudra, which is combined with moola bandha (contracting the vagina up to the cervix) for concentrating the energy. Then as the orgasm continues and the energy is maintained the concentration is moved up the spine.

The difference you will experience when you apply these techniques is quite profound. Even if you are only partially successful in your initial attempts, the difference in energy level is immediately recognizable. Some part of that orgasmic pleasure (or bliss) stays with you, and as your proficiency continues to increase you will notice a smaller and smaller difference between the peak of orgasm and your normal state of being.