Tag Archives: Hinduism

A Tantric Viewpoint: Living Together vs Marriage

Someone recently asked me why should any man bother getting married? He said men risked being ruined financially by one bad woman. He was lamenting that he could get stuck paying alimony or child support. Why not just live with someone instead?

Let me begin by saying to live with someone is not the same as being married. Marriage is a sacrament where you accept the karma attached to another person. You are agreeing to help the other grow and evolve at an accelerated pace. It is the fastest way to have who you are and who you are not, reflected back at you. We may not like what we see in that process, but we become a better human being because of it.

Living with someone you are not married to does not share that sacrament. I’ve seen people who have lived together 20 years, get married, and are divorced within a year. The reason is because that spiritual agreement kicks in. I think people choose to live with someone instead of getting married because subconsciously they know they’re in a karmic relationship and the growth process is going to hurt.

People do not ruin our lives, our choices do. If you marry someone for their looks or position in society (a doctor, a model, coming from a wealthy family) it is going to be a painful ride. You are marrying them for what you will get from them, not what you want to give to them freely. Choosing a partner based on surface criteria will make you a victim of your emotions. In a spiritual union, emotions enter your consciousness without you having to act upon them.

When you meet someone who shares similar interests, makes you smile easily, really listens to you and you really want to listen back, it is special. A trust develops. They become a mirror of your inner male or inner female part of yourself. Finding someone who helps us develop this part of ourselves is richer and sweeter than we ever imagined. You will thrive in your career because your heart, body and mind are thriving. People will be drawn to that natural expansion. It is very attractive because it brings energy to a room.

I think it’s important to add here that people sometimes forget the source of that expansion when they stop being grateful for their partners. They lose it all when they have an affair with someone who’s confused their newly developed expansion for passion.

With that growth we become the people we were destined to be. Sometimes the person that helped us get there gets left in the dust and they get angry. The key is not to turn your partner into a full time housekeeper, babysitter, slave while you travel or have exciting things happening to you all of the time. The key is balance. Encouraging our partners to study, have time for their own interests, enjoy time with friends. Both people have to honor their own lives in order to bring something to the relationship.

Forcing marriage by pregnancy creates a fragile foundation for a relationship. Having children should be a conscious decision by two people who agree to accept the spiritual/karmic responsibility for another soul. It is a huge commitment but having children is not required in order to have a happy marriage.

I remember meeting an adult friend of my mothers when I was 9. She and her husband lived overseas and traveled all of the time. I asked her if she had any children? She said “no”. I asked, “why not?”

She said, “because we didn’t want any”.

This was mind blowing for me! I said, “you mean we have have a choice?” She laughed and said yes. She told me men and women could have any kind of marriage they wanted. I chose right there and then not to have children.

I knew at age 9 that there are too many children born to people who have them for the wrong reason. If I ever changed my mind, I would adopt. I told all of my girlfriends (to their astonishment) that we didn’t have to have children when we got married if we didn’t want to!

Not only did my interrogator fear a doomed marriage, he also did not want to take financial care of any children if he wasn’t married to the mother. Sadly, he is not alone. It is not uncommon for fathers to ghost out of their children’s lives after a divorce. I find it curious that anyone that makes a conscious decision to have children or adopt them, would choose not to care for them later?

Parents are karmically and financially responsible for the health and needs of children until they reach adulthood. If you do not want to pay child support, don’t marry a woman that wants children. In fact, why not man up and have a vasectomy?

If you truly believe getting married could result in your ruin, arrange to have a pre nuptual agreement drawn up. Make it for ten years. If you are still in love after ten years, renew your vows and tear it up.

Whether living together or considering marriage, beware of your own stinginess. I’ve never met a man that was stingy with money who also wasn’t stingy with his love and as a lover.

If we fear marriage, we need to to ask ourselves if this is really about control? Control is the opposite of love. In Sanskrit the word for God is Ishvara. It literally translates to “the force capable of doing what She wishes to do, capable of not doing what He does not wish to do, and capable of undoing whatever so far has been done.” I’ve always told friends, “the person who controls the most in a relationship loves the least.”

A Tantric Viewpoint - Living together vs Marriage
Marble detail by Giambologna | Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, Italy

Featured Image: Drawing by New York based artist, Maria Kreyn (b.1985, Russia) who often uses herself as a model.

A Tantric Viewpoint: Reconnecting To Our Lover’s Energy In A Disconnected World

A long time ago in a galaxy called the “Buddha-verse”, there existed a world where the Goddess ruled. This was the world of Tantra. The core of these teachings reveal that we are each a microcosm of the universe and everything mirrored in our reality is a macrocosm of what is going on within us. For this reason, tantric’s revere and nurture their emotional, spiritual, and physical bodies. Tantra is the yoga of the heart.

“We are each a microcosm of the universe and everything mirrored in our reality is a macrocosm of what is going on within us.”

From the traditional tantric view, the Goddess (often referred to the Divine Mother) 1, gives reverence to both male and female powers. Tantra affirms that God and Goddess go together, support each other, and should be worshiped together. The couple agrees to individually embody the archetypal energies of a male and female deity.

According to the tantric world view, we are all male/female by nature. In the womb our bodies are androgynous for a certain amount of time until the soul entering the body makes a choice as to which sex would serve it best.

Plato wrote there are three types of souls: Man, Woman, & Androgynies. Man is attracted to man and woman are attracted to women. Androgynies are what we would call heterosexuals in our current times. The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad describes androgyne as a male and female heterosexual but other scriptures and icons describe them as one bi-sexual body whose real power lay in their feminine attributes. 2

In Tantra, the cosmic consciousness is feminine and embodies feminine qualities. These include psycho-spiritual receptivity, compassion, and the energy of consciousness.

The masculine force is the manifestation of will, drive, and control. Tantra views the feminine as the embodiment of spiritual wisdom, with the male being the embodiment of physical wisdom.

Female energy holds the power to see through the illusions of the mind. It is the feminine energy that is the Shakti, or power-source. The Shakti is the direct access to the universe for her mate. (In Tantric practice you do not have to be a literal female to become the Shakti. It is understood there can be a female soul found within a male body and that a male soul is sometimes born in a female body).

This view is quite different from the distorted patriarchal Christian or Judaic perspective we live with now. I say distorted because there was a time when all religions honored the Goddess and believed that without Her blessings, they were powerless. In Tantra she was the Shakti, in Sufism she was the Fravashi. In the Middle East, Al Lat, the Goddess of the Moon, became Allah.1

According to The Book of Jasher, a nine foot ancient scroll intentionally left out of the Old Testament, the Jews worshipped the Goddess Asherah long before the had ever heard of Jehovah.3 Jesus called Mary Magdalene, “Apostle to the apostles”, “the Divine Mother that knew all”.4

Internationally acclaimed author and tantric scholar, Miranda Shaw, revealed some astonishing research with reference to the woman behind Shakyamuni Buddha. In her book, Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism, she states that he received his spiritual enlightenment during tantric sex with his wife in their palace. Only then did he renounce his kingdom and become a homeless wanderer in inspire people to take up the spiritual life.5

“(Buddha) received his spiritual enlightenment during tantric sex with his wife in their palace…only then did he renounce his kingdom…to inspire people to take up the spiritual life”

So when did this schism between the God and the Goddess occur? Apparently not until what the Hindus call the Kali Yuga (the current world age). It was written there would be a time when male energy would fall out of alignment with his female counterpart. Just as we are born of a woman’s body, the Gods and Goddesses confess they were also born of a feminine consciousness. The universe is the embodiment of the feminine principle…just as Mother Earth is. Feminine energy is creative, win-win, caring for future generations (using only the resources needed); that embodies an awareness that humans are not the only species on earth, nor a superior one.

A damaged male energy system is competitive and hoards resources. It is aggressive, entitled, and often demonstrates little empathy. Each of us has both the male and female energies within us. The kind of world we create for ourselves reflects the balance of these divine energies in our daily lives.

Why? Remember that whole microcosm/macrocosm belief system I mentioned above? We are living in two worlds right now. We have one foot in the old male energy systems and one foot in the new feminine energy that has awakened.

The old, male world is dying. It is fighting back like a bully child throwing its weight around. In the US we see it reflected in a government run by a misogynist that is using an office to benefit a gluttony of greed. We see it in the elimation of food for the poor and our old, not caring for the infirm with millions losing health care. We see it the theft of Social Security from the people who paid into it in good faith.

“The old, male world is dying. It is fighting back like a bully child throwing its weight around.”

This dying energy reveals itself in the attempted destruction of our National Parks, The National Endowment for the Arts, and Public Television. We see it in the assault on the EPA that protects our natural resources. Ending Planned Parenthood, an organization that gives affordable healthcare to millions, is not about abortion: it is about disempowering women. This energy endangers our entire planet and all her species, so that 1% of the world can control others. It is a vampiric energy, not a loving one.

Tantra clearly defines and honors the male and female energies. In American society, those roles have become muddled. So what can Tantra teach us about our masculine/feminine roles in today’s world?

The first step would be to honor the God/Goddess in ourselves. See our bodies as a temple for a visiting deity. What must we do to prepare this house for its sacred guest? Holding an image of the sacred within us sets a resonance for our life. Seeing that sacredness in others sets another resonance. When you treat all beings in your life as a visiting holy being, it brings out the very best in them. Treat the partner in your life this way and the results will be astonishing.

Folsom Twins by Uriél Dana
The Folsom Twins, Uriél Dana, 2016, Oil On Canvas

Featured Image – Detail: Bond of Union by M.C. Escher, Dutch 1898–1972. Original lithograph in the National Gallery of Canada


Footnotes

1. Walker, Barbara G. The Secrets of the Tarot, Origins, History, and Symbolism. Harper San Francisco. 1984
2. O’Flaherty, Wendy Doniger. Hindu Myths. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books Ltd., 1975
3. From a lecture presented by Sir Laurence Garner, Kt St GM, KCD, author of Bloodline of the Holy Grail, at The Ranch, Yelm, Washington, 30 April 1997
4. Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels, New York:Random House, 1979,p.22
5. Interview with Craig Hamilton, What Is Enlightenment, Issue 13, Spring/Summer 1998


Parts of this article originally appeared in an article entitled:“A Tantrik Occasion” in the Dec. 1999 issue of GC Magazine in Dallas, Texas. ©1999–2017 Uriél Dana

Impotence and Tantra: How An Ancient Practice Can Shed New Light On A Modern Issue

Tantra is an ancient practice of breath and energy work that originated in Hinduism, and later migrated into Buddhism. The tantras are ancient texts that span from the the 5th to the 8th century. Each discourse represents a software for running the human body. Together they offer a kind of “stealth” spiritual technology that can help reconcile our spiritual and sexual natures.

Of the original 64 texts, only six refer to sexual practice. Due to a childhood sleeping disorder, I have been a practitioner of Tibetan Dream Yoga, another of the tantras, since age nine. When people learn I consider myself a devotional Tantric, they often plunge into questions not about dreams or breath work, but about sex.

A twenty eight year old man once confided a very private, yet common, sexual concern. He told me that although he thought about sex a lot, when it actually came to having sex, he no longer felt interested or excited. In the past he had many positive sexual encounters. Although he still continued to be aroused looking at sexy photos and film, he was concerned that he was becoming impotent.

Thinking about sex and looking at pornography are both mental activities. Notice that I said he told me he didn’t “feel” interested, or “feel” excited anymore. This is because his sexuality had moved into his “head”. Sex in Tantra transcends the mind; it is a synergetic act of the body, soul, & spirit. The mind is useful in your choice of potential partners and for preparing for love play (candles, condoms, or comforts), but in actual lovemaking it should be set aside.

Many people approach sex with the same attitude as going to the gym: mental, goal oriented. In tantric lovemaking however, our attitude will be more a kin to meditation and prayer. (Meditation being when we “listen” to God-Goddess, prayer being when we “talk to” God-Goddess). Lets talk about what these two approaches look like in our sexuality.

First of all, the mind holds fear. When we are in our “minds”, we are constantly judging, analyzing, and trying to control an outcome. We are thinking about our performance, or our partner’s performance, what we look like, or comparing our lover or ourselves to other lovers or even fantasy lovers. This means we are living in the past, or living in the future, and we are not being in our “present”. Nothing is less satisfying than being with a lover who does not “show up” energetically.

When we move our sexuality out of the mind it goes directly into the heart. It feels as different as a one-night stand versus being with someone we deeply love. In meditation we pay attention to our breathing. We breathe into total relaxation, we are present. That “presence” becomes our “present” to our lover. We are genuinely connecting with each other energetically; to our divinity.

The problem with approaching sex from the mind is it is also where we create stress and anxiety. Without meditation, these become tension in our bodies. When men experience tension, their blood pressure is affected and the valves that regulate the blood steam of their body’s arteries are also the valves that affect the lingam’s* ability to have an erection. As a rule, stress is the culprit behind impotence as it constricts the blood flow into the lingam.

When we stay in the present while lovemaking, from that place of one-ness with spirit, we are not attached to outcomes or performance. Each moment is sacred, a gift. Time slows down. Shame and guilt fall away as we fall into the divinity of our partner. We see ourselves in them. Touch them as we would want to be touched, kiss them as we would like to be kissed, hold them in the safety and light we feel when we surrender to spirit. It is surprisingly erotic to those who have never tried it.

Even though the most sexually dysfunctional man will have at least five erections during his sleep cycle lasting nearly half an hour, his waking mind, when filled with stress or tension, will create impotence. Meditation relaxes the body and is the secret of sexually empowered tantric men.

For those who may be put off by the idea of meditating, there are many forms that fit different lifestyles. One of its primary benefits is learning how to breathe correctly. Most people do not.

The way we naturally breathe as a baby or when we sleep is to expand our abdominal muscles when we inhale and contract them when we exhale. The air you breath in through your nose should go all the way down to your belly. An ancient proverb states: The nose is for breathing, the mouth is for eating”.

Controlling your breath will greatly help your heart not work as hard as well as help your immune system. During normal intercourse, the rhythm of breathing with sexual movements is synchronized spontaneously. Reversing or desynchronizing breathing during sex can help control the length and stamina of your experience.

If breathwork still seems a bit of a bother remember it could be worse. An East African Tutsi cure for impotence involves the man sleeping with his Mother.

Study for Prometheus
Study for Prometheus. 18th.century. Jean Grandjean Dutch 1752–1781. Charcoal on paper

*Lingam is the tantric word for Penis.


Featured Image: 18th Century Drawing by Francois Boucher, Ecole Nationale Supérieure Des Beaux-Arts, Paris