No subject raises more interest, attention and controversy, than sex. Us humans, we love sex. Popular media cashes in on this, with magazines, movies and shows exploring mojo boosting sexual mystery and power. But what about the bedroom secrets of Tantric masters? Tantra is becoming a hot word today. It can be seen as a practice to gain greater sexual prowess or magic, yet Tantra can elevate sexual encounters to life enhancing experiences that have the potential to heal the body.
While it may seem like an anomaly to some, sexual energy can greatly enhance spiritual expression. Often there is a great divide in opinions on Tantra, particularly in some western religions where sexuality has been thoroughly excommunicated by those in robes. Yet several ancient traditions, like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), make use of sexual energy and sexuality in ways that are profoundly healing and life enhancing.
It is a fairly new perspective for Westerners to view sex as an opportunity to enhance their vitality and to use it as a meditation practice. In fact, Tantra basically means the transformation of energy. By circulating the sexual energy through the heart, sexual union is elevated to something more profound than just release; it becomes a spiritual communion. So why is sexual energy so important? And why did the ancient Taoists put so much emphasis on Jing?
The Three Treasures
In TCM there are three types of energy, known as the Three Treasures or the Three Jewels. They are Jing, Qi (Chi) and Shen. Jing, meaning essence, is our inherent Chi, and the fixed amount of energy you are born with. It is determined by the health of both your parents when you were conceived. Jing is stored in the kidneys and is the kidney essence.
The Three Treasures are the essential energies sustaining human life. Jing is the nutritive essence and is carried in sperm and blood, while Qi is vitality, energy, life force, air, breath, vigour and attitude, and Shen is spirit, soul and mind. Shen isn’t something that you build, cultivate or extract, it is something you open into. Jing is like your body’s reserve that is dipped into only when your blood and Qi is low.
Jing is consumed throughout our lives by our daily activities and it is said that we die when our Jing becomes too low. The rate of depletion of our Jing is closely related to how well we look after ourselves. Jing can be lost in many ways, but most notably is lost through bodily fluids. For men, the most Jing is lost after ejaculation and sexual climax. Women waste the most Jing though childbirth, having children in close succession, and menstruation.
Author and international teacher, Mantak Chia, is famous for his books on cultivating male and female sexual energy. He says Jing, or sexual energy, is the most powerful energy we have.
If we want to conserve or restore lost principal energy, sexual energy provides the means to create that extra power if we conserve, recycle, and transform it back into principal energy. We then will have more energy available to transform into Chi, which in turn becomes transformed into another type of energy called ‘Shen.’ The word ‘Shen’ means spiritual energy. – Mantak Chia, Taoist Secrets of Love.
Whether you are single or part of a couple, young or old, sick or vibrantly healthy, celibate or available, gay or straight, you can use Taoist sexual practices customised for your own individual needs, and to refine your sexual energy.
Have you lost your mojo? It seems many couples find a decline in sexual interest over time as they grow older and their energy levels decrease, especially as they hit their late thirties and forties. Could discovering the secrets of Jing, or sexual essence, help you find your mojo? Apparently yes.
Simple teachings from eastern Tantric sexual practices are rejuvenating relationships. One of the main teachings is for men to learn not to ejaculate every time they have sex. Learning this practice results in a tremendous turnaround in their vitality and energy levels in daily living. Both partners are encouraged to learn to breathe together and circulate together as an energetic whole, and finally to view lovemaking as a shared meditative experience without any goals or need to perform.
Sexual Kung Fu
The Taoist masters advocate for men not to ejaculate. Now, for all those men groaning out there, this doesn’t mean the end of your sex life, in fact your sex life can be greatly improved. There is no end to lovemaking when the sperm is not expelled, and you can become multi-orgasmic. This practice also ensures a blissful experience for your partner. Tantric practitioners advocate retention of sperm as not only a means for conserving energy, but also heightening sexual pleasure, especially for women.
This sexual kung fu takes time and practice to learn, but has a tremendous impact on your health, sexual expression and life force. Mantak Chia is a master practitioner, and was taught the sacred ancient Tantric practices by a Taoist Master. According to Mantak Chia, the primary purpose of conducting sexual practices is to save and transform sexual energy into more refined energy (transmuting Jing into Chi). In the genuine Taoist thought, however, this is only possible if the sexual essence is spiritually guided and purified by the heart, only then can its virtue transform into Chi. That’s why the Taoists who want to achieve true inner cultivation only practice sexual methods with utmost care and respect towards their sexual partner.
Mantak Chia teaches practices like the microcosmic orbit, where sexual energy is circulated in a specific way through the body and the inner smile, and advocates amazing vitality through the cultivation of sexual energy and retention of sperm. Solo cultivation involves transforming essence in one’s own body in solitude. Both paths require a Yin phase in which the practitioner gathers and grounds the transformed essence in their lower Dan Tien (belly). Preserving this essential purity throughout the whole practice requires deep compassion and stillness in the heart-mind. Sexual practices in Mantak Chia’s teachings include techniques for men, women, couples and singles. If you’re playing solo, you can also cultivate your sexual awareness and energy. The Taoist sexual practices help rejuvenate the body by managing the seed essences of sperm and the ovaries that control hormone and blood quality. this reduces loss or waste of sexual energy.
Michael Winn, author and senior student of Mantak Chia, says the practices are hugely relevant for the happy singles out here and for gay couples. While the Tao is all about balancing yin and yang, this isn’t specific to sexual orientation. “Tao is about balance and unfolding one’s essential self and its virtues, about accepting what is and working with refining that to its highest level….The Taoist sexual energy work is largely internal and solo in the beginning. Many male gays have told me Taoist methods of recycling sexual energy have liberated them from compulsory horniness and dumping randomly of their sexual impulse.”
Taoists promote harmony between yin and yang – masculine and feminine. Men lose energy through orgasm, but women don’t. Mantak Chia is encouraging men to become multi-orgasmic through the sexual practices. Women are naturally multi-orgasmic so don’t need these practices, but they lose energy through menstruation and child birth. Women receive the same benefits of a long life and great health as men by recycling menstrual energy. This practice also creates painless menstruation. But it is important to note that retaining sperm at orgasm is not enough; the cycling of energy – as taught with the microcosmic orbit practice – must also take place, otherwise you can experience blockages in the sexual centre, which can include aching, congestion, wet dreams and headaches.
So could taking the time to practice this internal kung fu, and learning to circulate sexual energy through your body, be revolutionary for your sex life? Taoists say a resounding “yes,” conserving sexual energy in this way has a host of amazing benefits.
When lovemaking is not goal oriented and a race for the finish line of orgasm, but rather takes on a more relaxed, peaceful, meditative quality, then there is a subtle building of a charge of energy in the body. If this energy is drawn upward to our higher energy centres, through conscious intention and techniques, it can unite us with the Divine as well as with our partner. You can also direct this energy into specific organs or parts of the body needing healing. In this way, a loving partnership can contribute powerfully to both our spiritual unfoldment and our physical health.
Both man and woman must redirect energy through the Microcosmic Orbit, what the classics call the Small Heavenly Cycle. As above, so below – within each one of us is also a small universe, a small cosmos, yin and yang flowing together. In the act of sex, the moment of orgasm, yin and yang unite and the two heavenly cycles become one. – Mantak Chia