When it comes to Tantra, most people instantly associate it with the free love movement of the 1960s. However, history records that the ancient system was merely appropriated by the popular culture of that era. Its true purpose was obscured in the process.
The origins of Tantra were born over 7000 years ago. The word Tantra has two parts—Tan, meaning expansion, and Tra, meaning liberation. The lineages of Tibetan and Zen Buddhism originated from Tantra.
The heart of Tantra is about the expansion and liberation of consciousness—from ‘I’ consciousness to infinite consciousness, which means ‘to merge with’. We begin dissolving the illusion that we are all separate from each other and slowly learn that we are all connected. When you hurt someone else you hurt yourself, and vice versa. If nothing else, COVID has demonstrated just how connected we all are.
Find inner healing
Bella Maree Lane, a former cosmetic company executive turned Tantra expert, knows that what Tantra offers is far more profound than a fleeting sexual thrill. In her experience, Tantra healed deep-seated emotional wounds left by traumatic experiences early in life: “When heart wounds are left untreated, they create unconscious, destructive life patterns. The inner work to heal these wounds is the key to creating a life of joy, purpose, passion, freedom, and love.”
Connect with yourself
Whilst Tantra has developed over the centuries, it is, at heart, about liberation. You learn how to connect with your own energy, becoming self-aware and free of inhibitions. You can also extend that to grow a deeper connection with your partner. Far from being abstract and archaic, much of the advice offered by Tantra is practical and easy to implement. If you are interested in incorporating some of the principles, there are a few you and your partner can try.
One of the simplest Tantric exercises a couple can commit to is creating a sacred space. This is a place probably in your home, designed and created for the specific purpose of intimate connection. It is not merely for physical connection, but rather a safe space for emotional, spiritual, and physical connection.
It needs to be a space designed from your heart where each partner brings whatever items help them feel safe, connected, and open. It could be as simple as a blanket and two cushions; let your imaginations run wild and include music, chocolate, crystals, feathers—whatever your heart desires.
The idea behind sacred space is that it encourages you to focus on, and connect with, your partner in a deeper way. By fully engaging your senses, this process is designed to create a stronger bond. In normal life, our attention is often drawn in different directions.
The ping of a phone, interruption from a work colleague, or knocking on the door, can redirect our focus and energy. By creating ‘sacred space’ in your relationship, you’re demonstrating to your partner that you value and honor them.
Closely related to this technique is the five-minute check-in. The idea is you connect with your feelings, thoughts, and emotions whilst in front of your partner. This is not an opportunity to bring out a list of complaints, criticisms, and grievances but rather an opportunity to deeply connect with what is currently going on inside of you.
By identifying your internal state, and simultaneously sharing it with your partner, you create transparency. You are quite literally showing that you have nothing to hide—no hidden angles or desires that can often derail relationships.
Share your hidden feelings
Tantra strongly encourages couples to challenge anything that threatens to overshadow their relationship. One simple, but often avoided, the principle is to discuss uncomfortable, negative feelings, happening within the relationship. The idea is to share in a way that doesn’t alienate or offend the other person.
Airing one’s feelings can sometimes lead to arguments and ill-feeling, but the tantric approach is to bring hidden things to the surface and then reach mutual understanding. This requires conscious communication skills and the ability to resist the urge to be overly defensive.
Escape the shadows of your past
Lane emphasizes that it’s vital we all deal with our own issues before we can engage with others. She helps many achieve emotional freedom through therapy and counseling.
“We’ve all been scarred by some of our experiences. Those ‘shadows’ we carry with us will stay with us throughout the rest of our lives unless we make amends with ourselves and allow ourselves to heal.”
She explains that ultimately, “We can break the chain; we can alter the pattern. We need to take action and responsibility to be able to forgive ourselves and build a trusting, caring, loving relationship with the person in the mirror.”