What is Tantra?
It’s a path for the Lovers of Life and Authentic and Courageous Spiritual Seekers.
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Tantra isn’t a crazed sex cult, a New Age fad, the Kama Sutra or even a religion but an holistic approach to living. It has gradually made its way to the West over the past 50 years in various forms, after having been forced underground by the predominant religions that make sex taboo and want to disempower people by creating a schizophrenic split from our natural sexual nature.
We are sexual energy beings and we shouldn’t be ashamed about it or feel any guilt. We should go beyond the taboos and the constrictions of our society. The focus is in consciousness itself and through sexuality we know and experience ourselves.
Tantra is the oldest single source of knowledge concerning the energies of the Mind, Body and Soul. How old? This is part of its mystery, but it’s estimated to be 5000 years ago from ancient India and Tibet, while the first Tantric texts began to appear within few centuries of the beginning of the Christian era.
Upon Tantra, Indian Yoga and Chinese Alchemy were erected, including Pranayama, Rituals, Mantra, Mandala, Ayurveda, Astrology, Martial Arts, Tai Chi and Eastern Philosophy of Buddha, Confucius and Lao-Tzu.
The word “Tantra” originates from the Sanskrit word Tantram meaning the warp of a loom, web, ritual, doctrine. It comes from the two root words: Tanoti means Expansion, Extension; and Trayati means Liberation, Freedom.
Continuous Expansion and Growth is the obligation placed upon us by Life itself and is the key to being happy, healthy and successful, as it opens the way of finding Light Within and applying Power Without.
Tantra believes in simplicity and in turning the ordinary into extraordinary. Tantra means the heightening of awareness in all aspects of life, from sex to the attainment of self-realisation, how you savour a tea or a glass of wine, walk, dance, communicate, love, relate to yourself, others and life. Tantra weaves the sacred into your daily life and transform through Divine Alchemy, Spirit into Matter, Matter into Spirit and Fear into Love. This will support you in bringing more joy, love and compassion into your life.
When you perceive yourself as Spirit, you will not simply feel love you will be Love – Deepak Chopra
Far from being just a theory, a philosophy or either a technique to be learned, Tantra is primarily a path of self-development and is absolutely existential.
Tantra is unique because it is all encompassing. It does not exclude or deny anything (light or dark, ‘good’ or ‘bad’, high or low, sex or spirit) as everything includes the “opposite” and the apparent chaotic forces of life are actually woven together into one harmonious whole and only appear to be separate. That is why Samadhi (Bliss) and sex are both expressions of the same energy.
Tantra does not prescribe answers: unlike a religion, it does not tell you what to think and believe. It gives you a structure to explore experientially and personally, and then to come to your own conclusions based on these experiences. The only authority in Tantra is your own heart, your own sense of what is true for you and what your spirit needs to follow.
Tantra is a life approach, which integrates sexuality, emotions, the senses, love and consciousness because it trusts in your body, in your senses, in your energy, in you – in toto. It requires you to change in order to see reality, it requires commitment and you to imbibe it. Tantra does not deny anything but transforms everything.
The exploration and refinement of the full spectrum of human experience using Tantra offers a very rich and varied path of personal development and the opportunity to unveil our true nature as divine human beings.
As we realise that all of life is connected and as we learn to feel that connection in every breath we take, we experience life in a new way. While life may still have high and lows we learn to accept these oscillations as a natural part of life, like the seasons. We learn to live in the flow of what is arising and move beyond the need to constantly judge ourselves, our choices and our experiences. We discover harmony, acceptance, and balance.
Tantra and Love
Tantra is the path of Love, of relaxation into the Heart, of Surrender, of not fighting, of being loose, natural, authentic and relaxed.
Sexuality is an important part of Love, as Polarity is the condition of existence and sex connect the Poles. Tantra claims that to know the truth of Love, we need to accept the sacredness of sex.
However, since the sexual revolution in the 1960’s, sex has been grossly over-emphasised and we have come to master sexual techniques, in our pursuit of short-term pleasure and ego-centred desire for strong gratification, failing to appreciate the emotional and spiritual implications of sex. Having sex without being in Love is a shallow and dissatisfying experience, that make you feel completely empty. When we merge into Love as a means to expand our heart, every touch, every sound, every caress, every breath will express our loving feelings and it can be a transformative experience.
Tantra is a science. Following a scientific approach it creates harmony in the meeting with your beloved. Tantra is alchemy and can transform your and your partner’s energy center, so that they meet in pure complimentary and opposite balance. This alignment of energy fields than triggers profound healing in both partners.
The sexual freedom of today for most people is really only a convention, an obligation, a social duty, a social anxiety, a necessary feature of the consumer’s way of life. – Pier Paolo Pasolini
However, to be loving is a state of being, our inner nature and has nothing to do with our relationship to another person, on “to whom”. That is why the possibility of Bliss and Happiness depends on how full of Love you are, on the realisation that Love is not externally dependent, is not what you feel but it is who you are: I AM LOVE. That is why we should learn to be loving toward all, including lifeless objects, cause who cannot love all, cannot love anyone.
This shift of perspective from a never ending search, fear and lack-based, set you free and empower you as you are Love itself and from this space of fullness and wholeness you can generously and unconditionally give and forgive.
Tantra thus involves balancing the inner polarities of masculine and feminine within oneself and with ones partner to create harmony, seeing the sexual union as a vehicle to Enlightenment, a way of experiencing a deep connection with the Universe and all-that-is.
Tantra and Sacred Sexuality
The first question many people have about Tantra is what does it have to do with sex?
The answer is everything and nothing.
Only 7% of the tantric texts are related to eros and sacred sexuality, while the remaining 93% they describe the usage of mantras, mandalas, meditations, the diverse aspects of the divine and male-female polarity. While most religions teach that we must be either spiritual or sexual and the very act of procreation is depicted as a sin, in Tantra sexual union is seen as a vehicle to Enlightenment, promoting a healthy attitude toward sex.
Tantra historically made the first attempt to raise sex to the spiritual dimension. The temple of Khajuraho in India is a testimonials of this: in it, there is no sense of vulgarity or lust, but rather a sense of peace, serene sacredness, holiness and soft openness into the heart.
Tantra advocates exploring every aspect of life and consciousness, so the study of sexuality was included and revered. The word Tantra means the capacity of expansion, that which goes on expanding. While Sex shrinks you, Tantra expands you and bring sacredness, innocence, simplicity, naturalness, prayer, peacefulness, meditation and understanding back into sex. It is the same energy, but it takes a turn as it is no longer selfish or self-centered but it starts spreading to the whole of existence.
In Sex you can attain a short-term orgasm while in Tantra, you can live in an everlasting Orgasmic-State because your very energy becomes orgasmic and your meeting is no longer with any individual person but with the Universe itself. Tantra is the art of transforming lust into bliss, the explosive orgasm of release into the implosive orgasm of expansion of the soul reaching an ecstatic state where there is no separation between you and the whole.
You see a tree, you see a flower, you see a star and there is something like orgasm happening. – Osho
Tantra isn’t just about having good sex – it’s how to make life, in all its complexity (both the beauty and the pain), continually orgasmic, authentic and adventurous. Sexual union is portrayed as an experience with more profound implications than just pleasure but rather a sacred expanding experience that opens up our heart to love ourselves and all beings with increased passion. However, the Intimacy with the Self implied in Tantra, means that it is not a set of techniques imposed from outside, but rather a method that naturally emerges from one’s relationship with the Self, Others and Life.
If you are just interested in having better sex, there are much easier methods. However, it’s extremely common and beautiful to start your Tantric exploration through sensuality, as Tantra provides an abundance of practices that begin with focusing on pleasure and expanding sensation in the body, thus reaching a deeper level of self-awareness and self-love, beyond Time, Ego and Space.
Tantra help us open up and experience more Ecstasy in our bodies, as we learn how to contain our sexual energy rather than expelling it through a genital orgasm and we learn how to channel our Life-Force Energy Inward and Upward, instead of Outward and Downward.
We learn how we can be relaxed in high states of arousal and expand beyond what we previously thought was possible. These tools move us beyond mere sexual pleasure into the realm of spiritual awakening and we discover how to transform sexual energy into spiritual ecstasy. These practices help us to awaken our Consciousness and move us beyond the belief that we are this Matter, this Body, allowing us to transcend sex and reach the realms of formless Awareness.
Do I need a partner to practice Tantra?
To explore Tantra you do not need a partner and it is actually recommended not to and rather to start alone, especially at the beginning in order to avoid disempowering co-dependency. Our sexual energy is not dependent on anyone. It’s our creative life-force energy that can be awaken from within. That is why is so important to develop solo-practices, to become aware of it and master the ability to channel it.
Alone you can explore and master your energy autonomously, integrating and balancing your own inner masculine and feminine polarities. Then, in a later stage you share this exploration with a loving partner, merging into Oneness your heart, body, mind and soul.
Tantra is a path for discovering our true nature and it is an accelerated path. A Tantric practitioner, called a Tantrica, can awaken within one lifetime because it offers a system to speed up the transformation in the entire structure of the brain, allowing us to recognize that we are Consciousness and every moment become an opportunity to awaken fully, as by accepting ourselves and what is arising in each moment.
As we awaken there is a recognition that we are one with all that is and we then let go of fear and the need of trying to be in control and instead we open and trust that the abundance of the Universe is supporting us in every moment. We begin to see ourselves as Creators of our life experience and understand that we are not separate from the Creative Life Force Energy. We recognize that the “self” is not who we are and the experience of “no-self,” awakens us to the “Self”, as Universal Consciousness, God/Goddess, Spirit or however you want to label “All-that-is.”
Tantra teaches us how to say “Yes” to the Here and Now, to each Moment and to see the Divine in whatever is arising, in all beings and in all-that-is, even if it is painful or challenging. As we gain this understanding, we have a deeper respect of the miracle of Life itself and our hearts expand and we experience more love, connection and passion for living.
The Body as a Sacred Temple
Tantra is a spiritual path that believes all of life is sacred, including the human body and sexuality.
Most religious paths place restrictions on the body and see the body as a barrier to spirit and a sin. Sex and sensuality are often associated with Evil, shame, guilt and fear, this leading to repression, hypocrisy, suppression, compulsiveness and a violent and unhealthy way to express our divine nature, including pornography and prostitution.
Tantra celebrates the body as a Sacred Temple, a doorway to Life and of communion to the Universe. As we learn to be more present in our bodies and heart and open to our senses, we begin to expand our awareness and discover that our bodies have the power and wisdom to inform us of our needs, shortages, desires and how to have them met in healthy ways and to heal itself.
When a man approaches his beloved, he should have a sacred feeling, as if he was going into a Temple, without lust but with a sacred feeling of reverence.
As we come to love and enjoy the body we also learn to see beyond the limitations of our form and recognize our true nature as Awareness, Creative Energy and Bliss.
Tantra teaches us that Sexual Energy is our Life-Force Energy and how to access and channel it upward and inward within ourself. As we expand our knowledge and connection within, we are able to live with Purpose, connected to our open-heart while accessing inner guidance and feeling at One-with-all-that-is.
There is no condemnation, non-dual understanding. It is about feeling a sense of Wholeness within, of Oneness with all that is and feel at peace to Be. This includes to approach the Body as a Sacred Temple, beyond any split or denial. That is the reason why the Purification of the body to allow the Energy to flow and remove the blockages and any tension is a requirement to live in a no-tense but fully relaxed and at the same time alert and awaken way.
This reconnecting to the holistic approach of Tantra itself, including Energy Healing, Breath, Movement, Sound, Yoga, Meditation, Nutrition and really encompassing all that is.
Tantra in the XXI Century
Our lives tend to be fast-paced and complex. That is why Tantra is so needed in today’s busy and conflicted World and we are witnessing a Tantric Global Renaissance Movement of it. This is apparent by the easier access to it, the numerous Tantra Festivals becoming more and more popular and the organic interest that more and more people are expressing into an Holistic and Sustainable Approach to Life.
Tantra’s introduction to the Western World can be paralleled to the introduction of Yoga and Meditation. When they were first introduced, many people regarded them as strange spiritual practices from the East, as something exotic or for young hippies. Now yoga is one of the fastest growing health and leisure activities, and meditation is widely acclaimed worldwide for its many positive benefits. The Financial Times states that after the economical crisis of 2008 Yoga is the most practiced discipline in cities all over the World, attended by Managers, Business Men, Marines, Housewives.
There are people betting that this is the time of Tantra as it is the perfect spiritual science for the XXI Century and this will have a tremendous positive effect on people approaching and embodying it. Tantra can also be very relevant in modern relationships, encouraging to spend more quality time together, becoming more intimate, putting aside the responsibilities and concerns of the World and being totally present in the Here and Now, while being more alive in the Senses and more open to indulge in them.
So, is Tantra the Yoga of Sex? No, as it is so much more complex, fascinating and all encompassing than that, being beneficial to your overall well-being. Eventually, we recognize that we have always been fully Awake, we just didn’t see what was present within us and so we hold space for other people to blossom, tune in and recognize our pure primordiarly enlightened essence.
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Don’t try to understand life. Live it! Don’t try to understand Love. Move into Love. Then you will know and that knowing will come out of your experiencing. – Osho
Love & Freedom,