By Kerry and Diane Riley, directors of ASOT.
Copyright Spectra 2000 P/L 2005
Lovemaking as a spiritual experience.
It is written in the ancient texts of China and India that it was common for emperors, kings and noblemen trained in the art of lovemaking to be passionately making love in their nineties, with up to twenty consorts or lovers, all of whom they were keeping sexually satisfied. In the ruling class a man’s power and respect were judged by the number of consorts he could keep satisfied. A husband was respected more for keeping his wife sexually satisfied than for anything else. In the ancient cultures of Egypt, Arabia, India, Nepal, Tibet, China and Japan polygamy was common, so it was essential for a man to know the art of lovemaking.
The ancient sexual secrets of India are revealed in Sanskrit texts, where it is written that the emperor should make love to nine chosen consorts every night, progressing from the lower ranks to the higher. With retaining his semen by proficiency in the Art of Love, the Emperor concentrates powers within. Then, at the full moon, he bestows his seed on the Queen of Heaven.
A child born from such a ritual was supposed to have magical powers.
Most men these days ejaculate within the first fifteen minutes. They wouldn’t have commanded much respect in ancient China. This shows us how much our education and proficiency in the art of lovemaking is lacking. Yet every man has the ability to master these sexual skills.
Ancient texts from the East taught that sex was sacred, and this was one of the reasons I was attracted to these studies. I liked the idea of my lovemaking being sacred. I don’t use the term sacred here in the conventional religious sense of something existing above us somewhere. Such a view tends to split reality into two parts, a degraded earth below and a pure holy heaven on high. Things on this earthly plane can be sacred if we have the eyes to see the sacredness in them the sacred order of the earth and the sky, of life and death, of the mind and the heart and the body.
We can view human existence itself as sacred and, if we choose, we can see lovemaking as sacred.
Many people today are seeking spiritual growth. When I tell them that Diane and I use our sexual love as a way of becoming more spiritual they are quite shocked. This probably stems from the fact that many religions proclaim that if we want to become spiritual, we must deny ourselves any earthly pleasures. In Eastern and Western cultures, celibacy was often a requirement for those who sought a spiritual life.
As a child, I was taught, as I’m sure many people were, that the way to God was through prayer and going to church. However, these things never really gave me any profound experience of God. About twenty years ago I travelled through India where I was introduced to meditation as a practice for spiritual growth. When I practised meditation, it did give me an experience which I felt was spiritual. In the East this was called a mystical experience. A mystical or spiritual experience is foreign to most Westerners.
A mystical state itself is not easy to describe and yet anyone who has had the experience can recognise it. People describe certain common elements in such an experience things like a sense of tranquillity, of timelessness, of intense awareness that everything you see is vivid and everything you touch is very alive; a transcendence from the thoughts of daily life; an expansion of consciousness; a feeling of being connected with the cosmos or at unity with all things. Some say they have a tangible experience of God or actually experience the bliss of union with the divine. Some of these experiences can happen during lovemaking, and when they do, it is important to acknowledge this as a spiritual experience.
When you are in heightened orgasmic states, this is a spiritual experience.
Ancient spiritual systems such as Taoism and Tantra readily acknowledged this.
TANTRA AND TAOISM
Tantra is a spiritual science from ancient India and in its basic essence is very similar to Taoism from China. Both involve balancing the male and female energies to create harmony and both have an ultimate goal of spiritual unity with the universe or the source or God, (the God within, as opposed to God being separate from us).
The Tantric interplay of the male and female energies was represented in Hindu mythology with Shakti and Shiva, and represented in Taoism with yin and yang. Both Tantra and Taoism aimed to create union of body, mind and spirit. And in both, sexuality was seen and practised in a spiritual context.
One of the differences between Tantra and Taoism is that Tantra is filled with rituals and religious deities, gods and goddesses, whereas Taoism is more scientific in its approach. People who are more ‘right-brain’ oriented, (more intuitive), would probably be more attracted to Tantra, while those who are more ‘left-brain’ oriented, (more into the rational and logical), would be attracted to Taoism, although this is certainly not a rule.
In the seminars which Diane and I conduct, we find that women are more attracted to the Tantric approach and men more to the Taoist approach, at least initially. However, as the men open their heart centres more and become deeply connected with their women, they move forwards into the Tantric approach to sexuality.
It is said that Tantra is the oldest single source of knowledge concerning the energies of the mind, body and spirit. It is the origin and essence of today’s popular studies and practices of Eastern philosophies, including yoga, martial arts, tai chi and the grand philosophies of the Buddha, Confucius and Lau Tzu.
Tantra means to expand, to be free, to be liberated. If we are to be really free, our sexuality should not be repressed, it should be lived in its totality with joy and without any guilt. The more we suppress sex, the more we will be bound by it;
and the more it is repressed the more it wants to burst out. The sad thing is that it often bursts out in harmful ways. The current explosion in evidence of child sexual abuse is an example of what can happen as a result of suppression.
Tantra always emphasises the sacredness in sex; it teaches that there should be no repression or guilt attached to sex. It also teaches that when a man approaches his beloved, he should have a sacred feeling, as if he were going into a temple. Tantra claims that to know the truth about love, you need to accept the sacredness of sex.
Relics of Tantric rituals date back nearly five thousand years and Tantric texts began to appear within a few centuries of the beginning of the Christian era. It is speculated that Indian Tantra, which spread to Tibet, may have originated with ancient Taoists in China, then re-entered China hundreds of years later and revitalised Taoist sexual practices.
Both Tantra and Taoism advocate exploring every aspect of life and consciousness, so obviously the study of sexuality was included; not only included, but revered. Through the centuries many mainstream religions have frowned on Tantra and Taoism because both systems use sexual union as a vehicle to enlightenment, as a way of experiencing a deep connection with God, or the cosmos, or the divine or the source of all existence, or whatever you call it according to your beliefs. Most religious systems make sex taboo, claiming it leads man away from God. This predominant religious approach created oppression which forced Tantric practices underground. Its practices and rituals have been kept secret for hundreds of years.
Only recently have Tantric and Taoist practices been interpreted, published and made available for Western study. This has been refreshing and enlightening for many of us because it has helped us to look at love and sex from a different perspective. We start to question our own attitudes and realise how deeply our consciousness has been conditioned by our Christian upbringing, which suggests that sexuality is somehow evil.
We are taught at school that the first sin in the Garden of Eden was committed by Eve making Adam eat the apple. But that’s not a sin. What is sinful is that some sexually insecure man invented a God who couldn’t rejoice in Adam and Eve’s sexual nature. It’s a tremendous mistake that the very act on which the procreation of life depends is depicted as a sin. We have been taught that we must be either spiritual or sexual, that we must not be drawn to ‘the Devil’ by bodily pleasures. Even though these days most people would see this as ridiculous, it still subconsciously affects our attitudes towards sex and we carry part of this negative conditioning into our lovemaking.
If we were brought up in a culture which revered sexuality, it would be much easier to have a healthy attitude towards sex. A Tantric attitude towards sex is that it is God’s greatest gift, that it is sacred, that to have pleasure from sex is a prayer to God, a way of showing gratitude for our existence. Tantra sees sexual union as a way of generating life-
force through the body that is healing, rejuvenating, energising;
it can be used as a meditation to reach mystical states of love and consciousness.
Because Tantra covers the full spectrum of life, it accepts and reveres sexual love and pleasure. It does not accept any kind of religious, cultural or tribal inhibitions. It’s about exploring the extraordinary in your love and your sexuality, with the only proviso being that it causes the other person or yourself no harm. Tantra teaches that we deserve all the love and sexual pleasure we can possibly receive; that sexual loving is a way to reach the mysteries of the heart, the soul, God and Goddess within each person. It also teaches that sex is a way of bonding with a lover physically, emotionally and spiritually to create feelings of ecstatic pleasure, deep intimacy and expanded consciousness. It’s a way of transcending daily life and the ego to become one with your beloved, one with all things, and create a tangible experience of God.
Taoists especially would say lovemaking is the way to longevity and that by applying certain techniques we can rejuvenate ourselves and awaken our intuitive centres. They also believe that we can use our lovemaking to heal ourselves and our partners because when we are in heightened states of sexual energy, our whole body is charged and the immune system strengthens.
SACRED SEX: THE DOOR TO ENLIGHTENMENT
Imagine how our lovemaking would affect us if we were educated in Tantric and Taoist techniques. They would give us a far more healthy attitude towards sex than most of us have been conditioned to have. It’s important to recognise that any judgements we have about sex reflect our inhibitions and demonstrate that we are not entirely free and accepting of our own sexuality.
What we need is a new man, a man who can bring back to sex its original sacredness, who is able to make love in such a way that it opens the door to enlightenment for his beloved and himself and fulfils his deepest yearnings for the meaning of life.
We need education in lovemaking because it will increase our choices and our knowledge. We don’t have to assume the attitudes handed down to us by society. We can adopt new attitudes which serve us better and help us to have a more fulfilling, happy, healthy love life.
Some aspects of Tantra and Taoism may seem a little strange at first, especially the link between sexuality and spirituality, but like anything in life, we need to consider all approaches, and then select what serves us. Of course sometimes when a new attitude is presented to us, we take it on immediately because it rings true for us. At other times we have to let it sit for a while; we put it on the shelf and perhaps use it in years to come. It’s important to experiment, play with the attitudes, with innocence and openness as a child plays with a new toy. Parents terrorise their children out of the delight of their sexual feelings, experimentation, play and openness. But we are not children any more. It’s time to choose new ways of exploring sex and love on physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
A HEALTHY ATTITUDE TOWARDS SEX
Having a healthy attitude towards lovemaking makes all the difference to the experience. You can be in exactly the same lovemaking position as someone else but ultimately it’s the mind that creates the experience. If the mind is saying: ‘I wish this would finish,’ you may have some sort of resistance to pleasure from past conditioning or experience. If the past was all positive then how could the most sensitive part of the body, with the most nerve endings, not be giving you pleasure? Have you ever thought about that? If however, your attitude is that to make love to reach high states of sexual pleasure is healing, then the experience will be totally different. Our experience of lovemaking is affected by our attitudes. A man who has been conditioned to believe that his lovemaking is a spiritual encounter will have a totally different experience to a man who sees it as an opportunity to get another notch in his belt.
Anything that happens in our lovemaking is interpreted through our attitudes and beliefs first. From these we derive our experience. One way to alter our experience is to change our attitudes and beliefs. Some people watching a high Tantric experience might see it merely as two people having good sex. Well, what’s the difference between Tantra and just having sex? One of the key differences is where the mind is. It’s the same in life. One’s experience of life depends on where the mind is. We are all living in the same world, but our experiences are determined by our perception.
Extract from “Sexual Secrets for Men, what every woman would want her man to know’
Copyright Spectra 2000 P/L 2005