Whatever tantra practice you follow in terms of conscious sensuality, you will most likely be focusing on single practice for much of the time, and when you meet a partner to experience this with, your connection is based on the sum of both of your experiences. All of this is good, of course, but which elements are involved here? And are there any missing?
When you are on your own, your practice will likely focus on a level of introspection, self-care, meditation and getting to grips with certain practical aspects of sensuality. When you are with a partner, you’ll be focused on bringing what you’ve learned to your partner and – hopefully – be on the receiving end for your partner’s endeavours.
This brings with it an element of interaction between two individuals, switching between giving and receiving, and a need for communication on all available levels. Communication is usually a two-way street, but it doesn’t have to be. If you think of empathy as a way to ‘read’ what the other person feels, compassion works the other way around: it opens your mind to the idea of giving without a particular recipient.
Compassion is the act of giving in general, of meaning well without actively interacting with someone in particular. The act of being compassionate is a practice in itself that is firmly entrenched in Buddhist beliefs, but not limited to it. Giving money to charities, considering the pain a distant friend goes through, even doing your bit for saving the planet … all those are acts of compassion.
How is this relevant for tantra? It’s a mindset that is different from the rat race most of us find ourselves in on a regular day, and being mindful of the suffering of others, and giving that little bit of love to them can be part of your practice as much as the physical actions it involves.
make compassion the starting point and everything else will follow automatically
If you have ever tried your hand at workshops related to Eastern spirituality – be that yoga, tantra, meditation or others – you may have found the initial experience lacking in life-changing insights. In fact, only very few people will have a mind-blowing change happening the first time around, and that is often due to these people being more relaxed about the whole thing than those who expect miracles.
Let’s look at this from another angle: nobody has ever walked out of their first session in a gym with drastic results. It takes repetition and consistency to achieve results, right?
When it comes to awareness of self and our connection with other beings, nature and the universe at large and thereby discovering ourselves to a deeper level (which seems to me as being the main point of spirituality), you have to be clear about one thing: for most of us it’s a gradual process! There is a reason why yoga teachers talk about ‘yoga practice’ and why meditation tends to include repetitive steps. It takes practice to reach the understanding necessary to have breakthroughs to the next level, step by step.
Things look very similar when it comes to the tantric experience. Once the initial frisson of feeling naughty has worn off, tantra is no different from yoga in many respects. Obviously, the exercises are distinctly different, but the practice itself follows similar lines: a gradual growth of understanding will go hand in hand with increased results.
That being said, at first, the effects of those experiences will be limited in time, but the further you progress, the longer the sensations will last. Regular practice will help for those effects to return more quickly each time; they might even eventually stick with you all the time, ready to be called upon when required.
Tantra is a journey with exciting new vistas around every bend of the road
These are my own thoughts on aspects of my work I feel strongly about.