Tantra is a path of embodied spirituality. That means it is concerned with how we can live our True Nature? How can we embody Love? How can we be in alignment…all the way from sex to super-consciousness? How can we express our spirituality through our sexuality? How can Spirit move through us as we touch another?
Many people reach Spirit through methods such as meditation and yoga. But all too often the state of peace and bliss is left behind on the yoga mat, and once in everyday life it seems to disappear! Most especially in intimate relationships, where arguments, conflicts or just plain disinterest can creep in.
In Tantra, touch is a form of meditation. Touch is a magical modality that is usually not given enough attention! To touch another is the point at which the inner and outer worlds meet. The union of two. The meeting of beings. Touch can be an incredible meditation tool, for when we become aware of being touched, we are immediately drawn into this present moment. If the touch is captivating enough, it can have the power to draw our awareness away from thoughts and so into this moment that we enter the blissful state known as no-mind.
Most paths of meditation attempt to still the mind, using a variety of methods. Tantric practitioners worked out that touch could be a very effective method. Indeed in the ancient scripture known as Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (written around 8 AD), there are meditations such as “whilst being caressed, sweet princess” Shiva says to Devi “enter the caressing as everlasting life”.
So Tantric touch can led us into a state of meditation. However, before you reach for the phone and book a massage at your local spa, it is worth adding that not all touch has such an enlightening effect. In fact some touch can even be traumatic and harmful. So what is it that make a touch the “tantric touch of God”?
I recently had the great honour to study with tantric master Daniel Odier. He was initiated into tantra by a tatrika of the Kasmiri Shavism linage called Lalita Devi. He now teaches in the West, and leads his more advanced students into a massage techniques known as “Tandava”.
Tandava means “the dance of Shiva”. In Tantra Shiva is the Divine Consciousness, the seed of all existence. And thus Shiva’s dance is the divine creation. To dance the dance of Shiva is to create from Truth, rather than to create from personal distortions or desires.
To begin to understand touch as a medium of Truth, we need to start to become aware of the seed of our touch: the intention behind our touch. Are you touching to get something, take something or make something happen? Do you have a personal agenda? Are you trying to please? Trying to manipulate? If you look within and discover that your touch is full of distortions, the next question is: how can you begin to transform your touch into a divine touch?
Here are some tips that may guide you towards the divine touch:
- Before touching another, take time to connect to yourself. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Drop in to your deepest quietest place, and simply rest your awareness there for a while.
- If you like, you can offer yourself as a divine channel, and call on divine light or love to flow through you. This is called “consecration”.
- Open your eyes and make connection with the other. Make contact with their body in a resting place such as a hand on their belly or on their lower back.
- Simply rest there, breathing deeply and feeling their breath. You are not trying to change their breath, just observe. Also observe any energy, warmth or tingling sensations beneath your hand. Just watch.
- Wait until an impulse to move becomes very clear and strong. It may be very gentle such as a slow circular movement or a gentle rocking. But make sure as you start to move that you do not lose the sense of connection, the spark of the divine. It should feel as pleasurable to touch as to be touched.
- As you touch the other, you may like to imagine you are Shiva the Creator touching your own perfect creation, your beloved. The creator touching the creation with absolute love and reverence. Touching the most precious being on earth.
- Try to stay without a goal, just watching each movement give birth to the next. Watch your touch unfolding out of the present moment. Keep breathing. Deeply. You should feel as if you are in a soft trance as you touch the other and there is a sense of bliss. No separation.
- Another tip is to not try to give touch, but to let your hand “listen”. Open your sense and feel the other, and then the touch will flow from there.
- If you feel you lose the magic connection and fall into trying too hard, simply stop and rest your hand in stillness. Return your awareness to your breath and then to the point of connection. Just drop all tension that wants to try…drop into the now. Wait there for the impulse to move and let that guide you on.
- When you feel complete, hold your hands in stillness again and breathe. Lift your hands away so gently that the recipient doesn’t even know when you have gone. Give them plenty of time to come round, but stay at their side being present until they do.
A couple of months ago I also had the great honour and delight to meet Dr Lorin Roche. He is a tantric scholar who embodies the wisdom that he works with. He has made a delightful translation of the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, in which he tested but the effect of each possible translation on his wife and he girlfriends. The version that made them come most alive and radiant was the one that he used in the final publication. Hence: “The Radiance Sutras” was created. Truly it is poetry for the soul!
So a small excerpt that captures the essence of divine touch:
“Lovers know, each contact with another
is a spark of the divine.
Lovers move through this world
Awake to intimacy,
Each touch a revelation
Never to be repeated”
Grahya grahaka samvitta samanya sarva dehinam
Yoginam tu visesosti sambandha savadhanata
Vigyan Bhairav Tantra translation by Lorin Roche
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