Published on December 31st, 2019 | by Diana Daffner


Mindfulness in the Bedroom

by Diana Daffner

The concept of mindfulness has become widespread across many fields: mindful parenting, mindful eating, mindful writing, mindful walking, mindful leadership, mindful listening and mindful sex.

Mindfulness describes the process of bringing our attention into the present moment. While the term may be somewhat new, having been introduced in the last quarter of the 20th century by Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh and his student, American author Jon Kabat-Zinn, it is not a new concept.

The word mindfulness was coined by a Buddhist scholar TW Rhys Davids, more than 100 years ago. It was his attempt to translate into English this thousands-year-old practice of turning mental attention to whatever sensory experience is going on, rather than focusing on thoughts that take us out of the moment.

To perform the Japanese martial art of aikido well, we cannot allow ourselves to be hijacked by thoughts. We once used terms like “centering” and “energy awareness”. Centering puts us into our bodies and grounds us. Energy awareness in aikido invites us to notice and blend in with what’s going on from that centered place, making us more skilled.

Paying attention in a martial art turns out to be not dissimilar from paying attention in the more personal marital art of love. Bringing centering and energy awareness into the bedroom also makes us more skilled. Tantra, an ancient spiritual teaching from India, enhances sexuality by providing a framework of mindfulness for these most intimate encounters.

On the aikido mat, there are direct and knowable consequences depending on whether we move in a way that is mindful and centered, or not. In bed, there are also consequences. Greater pleasure and more feelings of intimate bonding with a partner are the most positive outcomes.

It might seem simple to pay attention to what’s physically going on during sex. Yet, in spite of the many sensory sensations that lovemaking provides, we are often distracted and disengaged from the delight itself. We can even get caught up in seemingly related thoughts such as wondering if our partner is happy or being concerned that we’re not performing well. When we are evaluating or worrying, we’re not experiencing. Just as in aikido, our attention must be in the here and now in order to blend with our partner.

Training in mindfulness alerts us when we’ve wandered away and reminds us to shift back to an awareness of what’s actually going on. Mindfulness is a fluid activity, a way of walking through life. It invites us to notice how we’re walking, what we’re walking past, what we’re noticing and what we’re thinking.

Breathing is often used as the path back to the present moment. Our breath is always here, always happening, always available for us to focus on. Tantra tai chi provides an easy blueprint for returning to center. When a couple shares an understanding and appreciation for a pattern of bodily focused mindfulness, lovemaking is taken to extraordinary heights and awakens spiritual joy. Mindful lovemaking can create a vibrant intimacy throughout a couple’s lifetime.

Diana Daffner, with her husband Richard, is the author of Tantric Sex for Busy Couples: How to Deepen Your Passion in Just Ten Minutes a Day and leads workshops for couples. For more information, visit IntimacyRetreats.com.

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