Bridging Hedonic and Eudaimonic happiness in Tantra!
The hedonistic experience of sexual (and spiritual) connection in love-making is amongst the most delicious human experiences there are. After love-making, when hormone levels subside (differentially in men and women), juicy physiological responses diminish and the waves of deep physical pleasure come to a restful lapping through our bodies, there sometimes feels the impulse of attachment to this experience and the desire for it to last indefinitely.
What if we could bridge this relatively short-lived (even in 5-hour tantric love-making!) experience with a more foundational, consistent eudaimonic happiness through living tantra in every moment?
To achieve living tantra in our daily lives we can employ the following 6 practices and strategies:
1. Bhakti Yoga- seeing the divine beauty in everything and everyone. Take a picture of something beautiful, let someone know 5 things you like or love about them or find something that makes you smile out in nature or the city.
2. Conscious and authentic communication to ensure deeper connection with ourselves and others. When something comes up between you and another person you may want to try:
2.1 Assessing if the thing you want to share is necessary, compassionate and authentic, if it is then try to communicate it bravely.
2.2 Practice radical honesty, where you commit to tell the truth no matter how difficult it may be. Use the Hendricks body knowledge strategy to feel into how you physically feel about a situation and how communicating it can release tension and contraction around the issue.
2.3 Compassionate communication gives us a framework for communicating. Briefly this involves 1. Stating the fact e.g. when you interrupt me when I’m speaking 2. Saying what you feel e.g. I feel like you aren’t listening and aren’t interested in what I have to say, 3. Speak what you need e.g. I need to feel seen and heard, 4. Ask the other to consider doing something to honour your need e.g. Would you consider allowing me to finish when I speaking and would you mirror back what I’ve said so I know you understand and are listening fully?
2.4 Be mindful of how you communicate with the other gender, as men and women, in a very generalised way, tend to communicate differently.
3. Honouring our creativity and playfulness- as author of The Artists Way, Julia Cameron advises, make an artist’s date. Once a week give yourself permission to do something creative, musical, dance-related, playful or new and different. This stimulates the creative right side of our minds and allows us to open channels to more pleasure.
4. Checking in daily, through journaling and meditation, to ensure that we are living in harmony with our deepest intuition, values and beliefs, and that those values and beliefs are in alignment with our highest selves. Also when checking in, allow any feelings to exist without judgement and resistance so they can flow through you freely.
5. Karma Yoga- once our own vessels (our souls, spirit, whatever you identify as your juicy, vital core) are full, through self-love and self-care, we can offer service to others. Doing something outside of ourselves, with no attachment to the outcome is one of the most important things we can do to ensure we live in happiness.
6. Gratitude- start and end the day by thinking about and just speaking out loud 3 things that you are grateful for and 3 things you appreciate about yourself.
So seeing beauty, creating open and compassionate communication, honouring your creativity, connecting with your deepest selves, doing things for others and practicing active gratitude are, in my opinion, the most effective ways to live with eudaimonic happiness and an openness to the flow of infinite pleasure in life.
To bridge this larger eudaimonic happiness with your shorter-lived hedonic happiness you can bring these practices, above, in to moments of pleasure, for example:
-Savour that chocolate truffle that you are eating. Eat it slowly and notice the texture, temperature, sweetness, smell and appearance. Share it with your lover.
-Meditate together and see the divine beauty in your lover.
-In love-making be present in every moment and allow creativity to prevail- each touch and kiss is an invitation to something unknown like a freestyle dance.
-Once a week communicate, verbally or otherwise, how you feel before, during and after lovemaking.
-Notice if your intimate connection with another makes you feel amazing at your core. Do you open and feel alive or feel contracted and negative? Listen to your body and explore what it is telling you about your experience.
-Give gratitude for your experience, your lover, the space you are in and anything else you notice.
Just try bringing in one practice in each week, a little at a time.
An orgasmic life is sure to follow such authentic connection, presence and openness to beauty.
Here’s to your hedonic and eudaimonic happiness!
Karen Tamaklo xx