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193 of 198 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read... Humorous and Informative....., September 28, 2007
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This review is from: Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-First Century (Paperback)
I'm a personal growth coach with a graduate education in integral psychology. I have had a lifelong interest in the wisdom traditions of the world and this was also part of my study. I also work with people having various kinds of sexual issues or seeking more fulfillment.

When I ordered this book, I had a mixed reaction to the reviews and I was honestly expecting not to like it. However, I found it to be quite refreshing, fun, extremely witty and also informative. It talks about real sex between real people and how sex can be used as a spiritual practice and tool for transformation.

Strickly speaking, tantra is path to spiritual transformation that uses the stuff of everyday life as a gateway to something more transcendant. There are many tantric practices and the sexual practices are only a small and rather minor subset of this overall topic. If you are looking for an a good introduction on this deeper tantra or for more context, see Introduction to Tantra : The Transformation of Desire. This is an excellent, concise and accessible introduction to traditonal tantra before it was imported to the West. Although it is written from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective, the concepts apply well to any type of traditional tantra.

Back to this book.... once I got beyond my resistance to it given my knowledge and biases toward traditional tantra, I found it to be a practical tool for people looking to find deeper meaning in sex. Tantra is sort of a buzz word in the West and has a technical definition in the East. However, the authors define Tantra as... "living, authentically, consciously and sensuously. And that can be done in an infinite variety of styles and practices, all of which can bring about prolonged states of love, connection and bliss." If I accept this definition and judge the merit of the book by their own definition, then it succeeds in describing a path for busy Westerner's who wish to find more meaning in relationship and/or sexuality in general.

This book also focuses on Tantra as "primarily concerned with inner mystical experiences, not relationships." As such, it does not have a gender bias or even a heterosexual bias. In the author's words, "Gender is not two bins into one of which everyone must be dumped. It is more like a rainbow spectrum along which everyone can find the particular shade of color that looks best on them." This quote crystallizes the openness, curiosity and acceptance that characterizes the overall tone of the writing.

If I had to summarize the content, I would say it's a collection of psychological, spiritual and practical insights. It challenges basic assumptions most of us have about sex and suggests alternatives, exercises and challenges to the cultural paradigm. Often times the language is edgy, explicit and politically incorrect. However, this doesn't detract from the content, my sense is that is an attempt to reach beyond the ignorance, shame and guilt that so often plagues people in this area of their lives.

While there is some information on the chakra system (subtle energy system), Eastern practices, etc., this is not another New Age book on this topic. In addition, this book contains very concrete tips, techniques, exercises and inquiries that most Western people could connect to.

In short, this is a very fun book. It is fun to read and you will learn a lot from it. Even if the language or suggestions at time seem too far out or don't fit for you, you will still find a lot of value. You may also be surprised that as you delve deeper into exploring this territory there are new vistas waiting for you. This is a nice blend of ancient wisdom, modern insight and down-to-earth sensuality. In my opinion, it is a successful fusion of wisdom old and new applied in a way that the average person can relate to.

If after you get done reading this you want to delve deeper into Kundalini yoga or approach the chakra system gently from a credible and understandable place, then you might enjoy Kundalini Awakening: A Gentle Guide to Chakra Activation and Spiritual Growth. This book is geared toward Westerner's who have difficulty relating to esoteric teachings. It provides an experiental guide to learning about chakras, kundalini, etc. It also explains some difficult concepts in easy to understand language and is written by an author with a gift for simplicity and practical application. You can also look at my listmania lists for other references, including in-depth scholarly ones.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 29, 2009 1:03:43 PM PDT
W. Patterson says:
Great review and thank you for your insights...I'm buying it !!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2009 3:36:43 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 14, 2009 3:37:00 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2009 3:36:45 PM PST
Fernando says:
Me too, this review sold me.

Posted on Aug 30, 2010 2:09:47 PM PDT
MysticJaguar says:
This is not a book about Tantra. Read my review
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