Over the past few years, I've been working on a book entitled The Intimacy Room. Here's a new chapter about the tantric principle of Tapas and Spanda.
Tapas and Spanda: The Moment Before The Kiss
Jon is a physical beast of man. With a furry round belly and pierced nipples, he looks like a warrior from Game of Thrones, complete with a dense muscular power and brooding expression. But Jon is a sensitive guy. A salt and pepper beard flows from beneath his dark wet soulful eyes. As we sit naked facing one another, I fall into the depth of his gaze. Baking in the heat emanating from his skin.
Jon and I are about to dive into a tantric experiment that I’ve been dreaming about for a very long time. As my gaze floats over the terrain of Jon’s face, I feel a vibrating rush in my body. My mouth begins salivating. My lips and tongue dance to wet themselves. I tilt my head to the side slightly. Jon’s face and beard blur as his mouth gets within reach. We lean our bodies in to each other very slowly. Careful, not to go too far. Careful not to pass a very particular point of no return.
The experiment Jon and I are doing into engages the Tantric principle of tapas and spanda. Tapas is to create a barrier, like building a dam. When we build a dam it holds back flowing water and the accumulating pressure of the water pressure behind the dam becomes a new source of power and transformation. In terms of Tantra, when we stop the flow of erotic energy by placing a restriction (tapas), the same kind of pressure builds up inside us and between us until it is released in a moment of spanda. Spanda, like expansion and spontaneity, is a new experience, revelation or orgasm born with sudden force and surprise.
As I lift my jaw to Jon, my lips part and there in the millimeters before our lips touch, in the nanosecond before we make physical contact, Jon and I pause. This is our destination. This is the tapas that Jon and I are exploring. We are stopping our flow at the microscopic moment before our lips meet in a kiss and go no further.
I admit. This experiment is my suggestion. This particular point of vulnerability would often catch my eye like a small flashing sign on the highway. I could feel that something big shifted in the moment before a kiss, but usually, this moment was quickly out of sight before I had chance to really examine it. For years, I have been really curious to hover in the atmosphere of a kiss and not touch down on its surface. A first kiss especially with all the new secrets that first kisses contain. To get as close as possible and then to pause in anticipation. To see what’s there, just to see what happens.
As we began the workshop, Jon shared his boundaries of contact. He said that he would not be kissing anyone. Although he’s here to explore intimacy, his ultimate goal is to bring some new ideas home to his relationship. And he made a promise to his partner to share his kisses only with him.
When Jon told me that he would be holding back from kissing, it inspired me to suggest this experiment of tapas and spanda. Not kissing in the most extreme sense! And even though we honor Jon’s promise to his partner and keep our lips from touching, once we dive in to the experiment, I’m afraid that I’ve lead Jon to break his promise on a whole other level.
At first, it’s just very awkward. Lips parted. Mouth watering. We are suspended in action. As Jon and I are hovering, I rest my forearms on his round belly. A few nervous laughs escape from my mouth and I feel them like mini explosions in the canyon between our faces.
Like Adam and Eve taking a bite of that infamous apple, at the moment we touch our lips together with someone for the first time a potent moment of innocent is immediately gone, replaced with knowledge.
When we first kiss, we can’t help but to start gathering information about the kiss. We start thinking about whether we like the kiss or not. What are the tastes and textures? How do our kisses mesh?
I reach up and put my hand on the side of Jon’s head. I hold his cheek and line up our lips more intently. We breathe each others breath sharing an intimate atmosphere. As Jon exhales, he sighs quietly and I become aware that even though our lips aren’t touching, the sound waves of his sigh have just landed on my lips.
Romantic movies have romantic climaxes where new lovers kiss most often for the first time.
They overcome all the difficulties in the story until they move in close and without words say Yes, I will be emotionally vulnerable right here and now with you. I will close my eyes and reach across the distance between us. I hope and trust that you will do the same. Knowing that until that contact is made there is the possibility that you may draw back and leave me exposed in my vulnerability.
When the big kiss happens, the dramatic charge is released (spanda) and the story is mostly over. The peak moment of these movies for me is the moment before the kiss. The moment into which Jon and I are locked.
After a few moments in our suspended kiss, I sense that something is happening. Erotic tension begins to build between us. The desire to complete the kiss becomes overpowering. Like the dam holding back a river, a whole new force is gathering.
Jon starts to get heated with the urgency of the building energy. His big meaty hands start moving all over my head and face. Coming to our knees, we start grappling like high school wrestlers. Our erect cocks jab into each other as we pull ourselves together while never loosing the almost kiss of our lips.
It’s as though we fused to this moment of anticipation. Like splitting an atom, holding the pause button on this tiny moment of transformation it exploded with power.
Then through the space of this almost kiss, I sensed an invisible energetic part of me was now moving. And that part of him was moving in me.
The energy passing back and forth between us feels like extension of my spirit piggy backing on my desire. As it flowed, I recognize that this is the invisible spiritual part of every kiss I’ve ever had. Even though Jon and I are holding back from the physical act of kissing, this invisible spiritual part of us is unbound, flowing freely across the divide.
We said we wouldn’t kiss but is a kiss still a kiss without lips?
When our time is up, Jon and I sit back and look at each other. His wet eyes are soft and slightly shy when they find mine.
Jon and I compare notes to discover that our kiss experiment experiences are very similar. Mid sentence, Jon stops speaking for a moment and looks at me sideways. “I can still feel it,” he says. “I think we’re still kissing.” I know just what he means. Even at this distance, I can still feel the energetic flow between us from the kiss that never fully arrived.
We sit facing one another for another long moment feeling the pleasure and intimacy of the kiss between us until Jon wonders aloud “How will explain this to my partner?”