How to Enhance Intimacy, With Andi Goldman, Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing, 2005.
Tantra of Sound was really a discovery for me!
On first sight, and compared to Jonathan Goldman’s earlier book Healing Sounds, this present book appears to be edited in a more professional way, and in fact, it’s from a different publisher. The choice of headers and font, all is perfect in the present publication, and I did not find one single typo, while in Healing Sounds, I found several.
And this present volume has one big advantage: it comes with an Audio CD that contains 20 tracks over 60.34 minutes of playing time, the first and last being Introduction and Conclusion and all the others being vocal intonations.
In addition, it is noteworthy that this volume has been authored by both Jonathan Goldman and his wife Andi Goldman, and this for good reason.
The book’s main intent to to apply sound to relationship, and even to love and sexual union, in order to stimulate and broaden the pleasure and joy of love within the couple—really an extraordinary gift item after all. I can whole-heartedly recommend this book. But not only for this purpose. In fact, I am myself in the moment without a partner, and this fact did not reduce my interest in the book. As the authors state themselves:
It is not necessary to have a partner in order to experience tantra. In Tibetan Buddhism, tantra is normally practiced alone, uniting the divine forces as one within you. Traditionally, a tantric practitioner’s meditations incorporate the visualizations of male and female deities./9
To begin with, what is of high interest in this present book is the research that the authors have done on Tantra, a research that pretty much unveiled most of what is written on the Internet about Tantra as folklore and imagination. Let me go into more detail here, because it’s an important matter, and let the authors speak for they have put the right words on the right things. In a few short statements, they basically say it all, and this gives you the framework of what this book is about, and what it is not about:
Tantra is Sanskrit, the ancient language of the Hindu tradition. As in other sacred languages such as Hebrew or Tibetan, there is frequently no one single meaning that can be applied in translation. Thus tantra is often translated as ‘continuum’ or ‘unbroken stream’ and indicates a flow of consciousness from ignorance to enlightenment. The word also translates as ‘web’ or ‘warp’ and encompasses all that is. /4
Tantra represents the interconnecting energies between all things in this and other planes of existence. Other words used to describe tantra are: leading principle, essential part, model, system, framework, doctrine, rule, theory, scientific work, order, chief part, rule, authority, science, mystic works, magical formulas, means, expedient, stratagem, and medicine. /Id.
The etymology of tantra points to the combination of two words, tattva and mantra. Tattva is the science of cosmic principles, while mantra refers to the science of mystic sound and vibrations. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, tantra is sometimes referred to as Secret Mantra. This may be to distinguish it from Western concepts. A definition of Secret Mantra from the Tibetan Buddhist standpoint is as follows: ‘Secret’ indicates that these methods should be practiced privately; ‘mantra’ means ‘protection for the mind’ and often utilizes sacred sound to provide this. Thus the function of Secret Mantra is to enable us through the use of sound to progress swiftly through the stages of the spiritual path by protecting our mind against ordinary conceptions./5
Indeed, one of the highest levels of tantric practice involves resonating and harmonizing oneself with the sound. This is done in order to enhance and energize our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual essences. Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist tantra both stress the power of sound. Sound, in fact is the basis of much tantra – through working with advanced sound techniques, tantric practitioners are able to harmonize themselves in body, mind, and spirit./Id.
The model we present in Tantra of Sound is one that is balanced and aligned with the harmonious integration of the masculine and feminine energies within each person. When these energies are embodied, they create an egalitarian relationship with the self and others. This relationship is not controlling nor is it in competition with the participants involved. It is cooperative and compassionate. It is balanced and harmonious./6
So, to summarize, if you want to buy this book for strictly enhancing your sex life, and expect it to contain explicit sexual advice, you better buy any other book on the matter.
This book does not contain sexual advice. On the other hand, the exercises are varied enough and thorough enough to impact, if you do them correctly, on your emotional body, and that of your partner, and by so doing, you may experience a stronger fusion and perhaps also a stronger sexual response. I would say that chances are higher for this to happen than not to happen. But the book is not written with an intent that focuses on the sexual union, but is much broader in perspective and rather speaks of love, instead of speaking of sex. And I personally think that this is the right approach, as it is holistic. The authors explain and frame their approach very well:
It is from the Hindu tradition that sex as a physical activity has come into our awareness as being synonymous with tantra. Yet, in actuality, many true Hindu tantric practitioners are celibate, focusing, like their Tibetan Buddhist counterparts, on the symbolic union of male/female energy. This union of the male/female energy—the Shiva-Shakti current —is metaphoric ritualistic, and meditational. It is only a specific variation of Hindu tantra that actually works with physical sex between partners. This is the left-hand path of tantra, known as Vamacara, which has become the focus of much Western awareness of tantra./9
I will not discuss the holy mantras that the authors very thoroughly present both in verbal explanation and as vocal intonations because this may be considered by the authors as core material and therefore might be considered as more tightly restricted by copyright. I will thus not quote from these chapters that cover 20 pages of the book, so much the more as this information was secret for hundreds of years.
Suffices thus to mention that the book elaborates in its Chapter 6 the ‘Sacred Vowels’ and in its Chapter 7 the ‘Bija Mantras’ and that the CD contains vocal intonations of these mantras, which may be very powerful. For what reason other than for that have they been kept secret for so long? It’s because they are powerful and therefore should be used responsibly. For the couple, Chapter 10 is of particular interest as it discusses and explains ‘Sounding the Bijas with a Partner.’
Now, with this voluntary restriction, let me shortly mention here what I myself found particularly useful in the book, while it may be a byproduct of the author’s research. Indeed, I myself found the authors’ explanation of the chakras, and of the brain waves particularly useful. They write regarding the subtle bodies:
Knowledge of these subtle bodies first manifested thousands of years ago in the ancient mystery schools of India, Egypt, China, and Tibet. The understanding of our bodies as being composed of different, interfacing energetic fields is one of the core concepts of the / esoteric traditions found throughout the world. These energy bodies make up what is called the ‘aura’, a word meaning atmosphere or light. It is a word usually defined as a multidimensional energy field made up of the emanations of each of the subtle bodies./22-23
In my research on the human energy field I found a stringent incongruence of terminology in this respect; in fact, I found that most authors, when they speak about the aura only want to mention the etheric body, and thus only one of the seven bodies we possess as humans, and I find the authors’ very encompassing notion of aura comprehensive and elucidating.