February 14, 2008
How would you define love?
“Love is profound interest”
Isn’t that a great statement?
I read that in an article that came with a request for me to review a book called Essence of Tantric Sexuality by Mark Michaels (Swami Umeshanand Saraswati) and Patricia Johnson (Devi Veenanand). Though I’ve heard about Indian Tantric practices, I didn’t know much about them. The authors, who have been teaching Tantra and Kriya Yoga together since 1999, note that, “Although the number of Tantric texts that deal directly with sexual activity is quite small, most Westerners associate Tantra with love, sex, and relationships. While Western ideas about Tantra are thus somewhat misguided, if you can bring a Tantric sensibility to love and relationship, your love life will be richer and more fulfilling.”
If you have read my blog on Soulmates and Solemates, you can see that I liked what they said about love, although I don’t think one needs to follow Tantric practices to have intimacy with your partner. Here are a few quotes from the article:
“Celebrating Valentine’s Day is controversial in 21st-century India. This is due, in part, to the rise of Hindu fundamentalism and objections to the holiday’s Christian origins. More importantly, conservative Indians view Western ideas about romantic love as alien and immoral. Arranged marriages are still very much the norm, even as India becomes a technological superpower, and in arranged marriages, love is a fringe benefit, not a necessity.
… Tantric love involves focused attention, awareness and reverence for the other.
By contrast, the contemporary romantic model treats love as either superficial and fleeting or full of drama, pain, and suffering, while insisting that it is the basis for any good relationship. The romance industry would have us believe that the only valid form of love is the kind that leaves us light-headed and swooning or that we must seek completion in another, that a single soul-mate is out there in the world and that once we find that special someone, everything will be all right. This can not only set people up for disappointment and an endless search for the “one,” it can also lead to the belief that the intensity of early infatuation is the only kind of romantic passion worth having. In reality, this intensity is fleeting; our biology guarantees that it will pass after three to six months.
… The Tantric approach is radically different, and the ancient tradition of spiritual partnership remains relevant today. In this model: “The relationship between partners is one of mutual aspiration, effort, and assistance. The two are equals, with neither one regarding the other as inferior or as an object to be manipulated for selfish purposes.”