In the book, Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, psychotherapist Stephen Cope discusses our need for transformational environments, cocoons such as schools or ashrams that allow us to mature our rebirthing into wholeness. He outlines eight specific qualities that one should look for in an authentic transformational space.
A Tantra love relationship can be considered a powerful transformational space, a spiritual community of two that provides an effective and delightful way of opening to the fullness of our blissful human existence. Tantra is not just a sexual position or a breathing routine. It is a deliberate atmosphere in which profound change can take place. Each of the required qualities that Cope lists can be cultivated and expanded by a couple dedicated to a sincere tantric lovemaking practice in their relationship.
1) A transformational space creates a quality of refuge. Lovemaking within a committed relationship offers a safe haven, a place where we can drop our masks and be our own true selves. Where better to feel protected than in the arms of our Beloved? A tantric relationship is consciously nurturing and supportive, continually replenishing our supply of love. Outside of this relationship we may have work, family or health responsibilities that drain us. Within the relationship, highlighted by tantric lovemaking, we regain our resiliency, fortify ourselves with a healthy dose of love that strengthens our immune system and lightens our lives.
2) It creates safety through constancy in relationship. While newness may breed excitement, constant and reliable partnership provides us with a safe and dependable place to be ourselves. With a partner dedicated to our well-being, we blossom like a budding flower, our roots grow strong and deep, we are cherished and beloved. Constancy in relationship provides an assurance of safe sex and ongoing emotional engagement. The very heart of Tantra calls upon us to be constant and steadfast in our development, our evolution. Our commitment is not only to each other but to the spiritual practice of relationship itself.
3) It encourages creativity and experimentation. Openness and honesty about our sexuality encourages creativity and refinement. Couples who enter into Tantra are experimenting not only with the physical possibilities of expanded and multiple orgasm, but also with the subtle energies of qi, the internal life force, the vitality of breath and spirit. Tantra views all life as an experiment, a joyous opportunity for conscious awakening.
4) It is organized around “transitional objects” that are constant and reliable. In Tantra we use candles and incense to create a sacred space for our loving. We embellish our surroundings with meaningful items on an altar, or colorful cloths on a bed. Erotic or soulful music helps set the stage, keeps our focus on the practice. We bring our bodies to the rendezvous, our body parts, our genitals, our breasts, our healing and exploring hands. We consciously create ceremony through our attention to the environment and one another. Ceremony renews us, alters our perception of space and time, invites us into a rhythmic harmony of divine dimensions.
5) It does not deify these objects. Our devotion is to the consciousness of Love, not to the vehicles or ceremonies that take us there. Although we honor and take great delight in our bodies, what we glorify in our lovemaking is not our bodies but the energy within, the pulsation of love that moves through us, connecting us to one another and to the Source of life itself.
6) It provides us with a way of finding out who we are. Oh, the masks we wear. The way we protect ourselves, hide ourselves. Relationship is where we see our strengths and weaknesses. Our yin and yang tendencies are exposed and juxtaposed, inviting us to explore our habits, our dispositions. Lovemaking allows us to experiment with being the wild woman, the receptive man. We can use fantasy, bring out parts of ourselves that normally remain hidden. And when we allow our Beloved to look deeply into our eyes, we reveal our soul and discover our spiritual self.
7) It does not have to be perfect. Each lovemaking is unique and different. Like daily meditation, we do not pass judgment each time – it is the continued spiritual practice itself that matters, not the specific results of one day’s session. Sometimes there will be unbelievable explosive orgasms for both partners. Sometimes there will be cosmic stillness in which the soul is unveiled. Sometimes there may be disappointment and frustration. Sometimes there will be laughter, other times there may be tears. So many things can go awry. A new position may be found to be physically impossible. Company may arrive early, a family emergency may intrude, a bedframe may collapse! An edible oil may have an appalling taste! Rather than requiring that each session be perfect, resulting in an expected consummation, the goal instead is to be in the here and now, to be truly present with one another. Tantra provides an alternative to the linear message of “getting off” and asks that we play in the center of an ever widening circle of conscious awareness.
8) It is open to, and supports, other paths to development. While a loving and sacred sexual connection is a prime ingredient in our relationship, there are other spiritual sources that we embrace, both individually and as a couple. Our shared experience of the true essence of love allows us to welcome our relationships with others and to enjoy activities that bring fulfillment in all areas of our lives. And on another level, our loving actually expands and sustains the accessibility of love for all beings on the planet.
Tantra takes us out of our personal emotions and brings us to a heightened and sophisticated level of mindfulness, both in and out of the bedroom. We set aside our fearful illusions of separation and move courageously ahead into sacred territory, into the holy ground of our own beingness. And as we recognize and embody our Oneness, we are transformed. Making love, we find ourselves in the space where Love Itself is created. And so it is.