Tantra: Tips for a Healthy, Honest Relationship
What are you doing this Valentine’s Day? Maybe you’ve bought a card, you’ve booked dinner or perhaps you’re jamming your fingers in your ears and are determined to spend February 14th just like any other Saturday? While flowers and lavish meals are all very well, Tantra offers an entrance into something deeper – the opportunity to expand your vision of yourself and/or your partner.
It invites you to love yourself more and show your partner you really care.
1) Have fresh eyes
We live in a world where we often only feel at ease once something has been labeled and defined. This includes how we view our relationships and how we see ourselves. Tantra asks us to put these labels aside and instead see life as if for the first time. Osho, the Tantric mystic referred to this when he said that the person we fall asleep with is not the same person that we wake up with. The challenge Tantra presents to us is this: can we accept the mystery of not only who our partner is, but who we are?
Tantra Tip: Although it may feel unnerving to say to the person you feel so close to: “You are a mystery to me,” try it. Acceptance of the unknown could just be the greatest gift you give your partner this Valentine’s.
2. Laugh with each other
A sense of humour is vital to Tantra; although not many of the books say this! The ability to laugh is so important because it is a sign that you and your partner can relax with each another. And the more relaxed you are, the more courageous you become in sharing truths with each other; such as how much your partner means to you. In the rush of life we often fail to voice these simple truths.
Tantra Tip: When you are tense, or your partner is cross, it can feel quite intimidating, or even impossible to find that connection that originally drew you together. This is where humour – applied kindly and lightly – can help build a bridge. So rather than try and reason with your partner when they are annoyed – which can be incredibly hard to resist! – make them laugh. And remember this: no matter how tense the atmosphere – there will be spaces in the tension, where – if you pause to feel them – you’ll be able to sprinkle some humour. And so feel the tone shift from tense to…. Tantric.
3. Be ready to be seen & be ready to feel
Most of us find it very hard to be vulnerable. We carry so many masks in our lives – in the office, with friends, family – that we have lost touch with who we really are. Our relationships are one of the few places where it can feel safe to be ourselves. But here’s the thing; unless we take the time to learn to accept our own vulnerabilities (and we all have them) we will never be able to accept or support our partners. Which is key if we are to learn to embrace all that they are.
But there is more and it is this: if we truly embrace our partners, we also need to extend that acceptance to some painful truths that we may otherwise want to avoid: love hurts, relationships can come to an end and our time on this earth is not forever. However if we can acknowledge these truths, our appreciation of the preciousness of life may start to grow. For as the teacher and writer Wayne Dyer says: “When we change the way we look at things; the things we look at change.” This is the gift of Tantra!
Tantra Tip: The next time you feel overwhelmed, share your vulnerability with your partner. This is especially important if you are someone who takes pride in being able to manage everything without the help of others. If this rings true, let your partner step-in. Notice the resistance as you do, and then as that great book by Susan Jeffers says: “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway…” Vulnerability may just be your greatest strength.
4. Connect to your breath
The more you connect to your breath, the more empowered you are to know what works and doesn’t work for you: get to know it by observing it whenever you remember. Feel it, befriend it. Likewise, when you are making love explore gently encouraging your partner to come back to their breath. Many of us unconsciously hold onto our breath when we’re nearing orgasm, which inhibits sensation: the very opposite of what we are hoping to achieve!
Tantra Tip: ‘The Breath of Love’
Lie face to face with your partner. Or you can be sitting close, faces coming together. There is a real gentleness to this. Movement is slow, tender. Gaze is soft. Eyes can be open or closed. Or move between. Let go of the specifics, and allow the feeling of your breath mingling with your partners to take over. Then just go with it, breathing nostril to nostril, moving your faces – you can kiss and nibble and nuzzle. But keep coming back to the breath.
This is Tantra – bringing the divine to the mundane. For there is something unbelievably intimate about feeling your partner’s breath. When we do we can feel all kinds of things: relaxed, loving, intimate, turned on and so on. There’s also another quality that emerges with the breath of love: trust…. Which brings us to tip no 5.
5. Trust your body
You might spend hours trawling Instagram looking at the perfect food to fuel your body (#greensmoothie!) and sighing over impossibly toned and gorgeous physics, but most of us are in fact incredibly disconnected from our bodies. This is where Tantra can help.
Tantra Tip: Learning to listen and then respond to the intelligence within takes a lifetime. So be patient! Put aside time every day to notice where your ideas about what you should be doing contradict what your body is telling you. Do you feel like warm scrambled eggs but your mind is telling you to have a cold smoothie instead? Do you feel like lying down to relax in savasana but your mind is telling you that you need to push and exert yourself? This is a very simple, but enlightening exercise!
Throwing the net open…
So let us be radical. Let’s start a more human and helpful conversation that supports couples and individuals explore how to create more supportive and accepting relationships. And lets bring a new awareness to how we approach our relationships, so that rather then focusing on what we want from them, we look at what we can give. Rather then judge others – and ourselves – for what we think we are, learn to accept and embrace ourselves for all that we are. So that maybe one day in the future, we come to see, as Rumi said: “We carry inside us the wonders that we seek outside us.”
To find out more about Laura Fraser and her work, go to: www.throwingthenetopen.com