By Steve and Lokita Carter - The Institute for Ecstatic Living
In the bedroom, most of us have (some more, some less) experienced the
great moments when timeand space disappear, and merely the togetherness of two lovers remains. At the moment of marginingthe
bodies and souls together into the orgasmic flow, our gates open to a new dimension and wereach a state of altered consciousness.
For Steve and me, this is a spiritual experience.Thus I have found Tantra with my partner the easiest, the hardest and the
most sacred formof spiritual practice. Ultimately, Tantric practices give me the opportunity for more love,better sex and
Tantra mythology suggests that union is achieved
by merging our male and female principles- pure consciousness and pure energy. Energy is represented by the female divine
power,known as Shakti. Consciousness is represented by the male divine power known as Shiva.The marriage of Shiva and Shakti
is considered to be Divine Union, a fundamental concept of Tantra.
of us possesses innate male and female aspects.These are manifested and expressed in various ways throughout our lives.Sometimes
the man is receptive and feeling, at other times strong and dominant.Sometimes the woman is assertive and directive, at other
times soft and yielding.Divine Union can be thought of as the perfect balance of male and femalewithin each of us, as individuals.
The Divine Union applies equally well to lovers.
Tantric teachings embrace
the concept that everyone has an intrinsic potential,realizable through the experience of tantric practices. In the Eastern
religiousthought, Tantra is a pathway to spiritual attainment. In the Western mind, we canconsider it a doorway to achieving
our ultimate potential - a joyful life,sharing love, celebrating everything. The Divine Union is a powerful tool tohelp us
Sharing the Divine Union with a partner can as easy as energy
flowing onthe path of least resistance, and it is immensely entertaining.But make no mistake; it can also be the hardest thing
you ever had to face!It all depends on who the lovers are, and what consciousnessand intention each brings to the moment of
With conscious intention, my partner and I use our relationship
as a laboratory for spiritual practice. What better mirror can we look intothan the soul of our beloved? How can I learn more
about myself than inthose intimate moments I share with my lover? What gives me more insightinto who I am than the responses
I receive from my partner?Together, we are inspired to new delights by practicing skills suchas conscious communication, creating
a sacred space, and exploring theinterplay of our male and female sides. Practicing giving andreceiving pleasure, and honoring
each other as representationsof the god and goddess opens us to profound learning.We become infused with ever more consciousness
and playfulness -and those old cobwebs that build up in long-term committed relationshipsjust get blown away. Such are the
practices and benefits of Tantra.
There are many forms of Tantric experience.
For instance, manytantric practices can be explored alone, and if the practitioner attainsthe balance of Shiva and Shakti
within, the main understanding of Tantrais accomplished. Self-pleasuring can teach us a lot about our responsesto physical
pleasure and how we can become more ecstatic in sex andexpand our pleasure. However, practicing Tantra alone can be a difficultundertaking,
and a blind path altogether.
Another approach is Tantric sex with a casual
lover.Such a union can take us to immense momentary heights that may havenever been reached with a long-term partner. But
here again,the path is fraught with attendant challenges, among them trust and safety in intimacy.
In my experience, the trust, love, intimacy and familiarity thatexist between two lovers in a committed long-term
relationship builda sacred and safe container for exploring the true depth of Tantra.We can reflect each other, experiment
together intimately and learnhow the practices and the insights we gain from such intimacy canenrich our relationship, our
personal growth as individuals,and our life at large. A basic precept of the tantric relationshipis that first we love ourselves,
then we love each other, and finallywe rise in love with life itself.
Tantra as a spiritual practice into life with apartner can be as simple as beginning your day by sharing a sacredembrace with
your beloved before getting out of bed, and makingtime for a special kiss after a long day away from each other.Add more and
more of these rituals to your day. I have found thatthe cumulative effects of such small moments of conscious intentionand
awareness expand into all aspects of my life. In this way,my Tantric relationship has become a path to ecstatic living.