WHAT IS TANTRA?
Just what is Tantra? There is so much confusion to this question in this rapidly expanding spiritual field.
Perhaps that is because the actual word “Tantra” refers to some very ancient texts, and yet a lot of what is being taught is sculpted to the needs of today’s people. This is not to say either the ancient or the new is superior to the other, but this dual-use of the word “Tantra” can cause confusion.
One way of defining Tantra is any spiritual path which embraces all.
This may seem simplistic at a first glance…but upon deeper reflection we can see that many spiritual paths involve some sort of renunciation. Many disciplines aim to move away from the “distractions” of ordinary life; in such cases it is thought that one must give up certain actions in order to attain spiritual awakening. Sexuality is commonly an area that is renounced in favour of spiritual growth.
Tantra is any path that includes all aspects of life into spirituality. Thus Tantra is a path that included sexuality. It is not so much that Tantra is a form of sex, or a sexual path. Rather it is a path that includes sexuality.
It is important to add here that “sexuality” does not necessarily mean having sexual intercourse with another person…some may choose to include sexuality by simply meditating on their own sexual energy and they could actually remain celibate. However, they are not suppressing sexuality.
“Tantric experience means neither to be repressive nor to be indulgent.” -Osho
The common way to include sexuality into a spiritual path is to learn to raise sexual energy up through the body, through the different energy centers (chakras), thus refining and transforming the energy. At the root this energy feels more earthy, dense and physical. However, at the crown the experience is more of lightness, spirit and divinity. Sexual energy rising upwards is frequently compared to the moevment of a snake, and can be called kundalini energy.
There are so many different techniques, practices, rituals and transmissions within the umbrella of Tantra. Being an all-inclusive path, it can very much be up to each individual to find what is opening them to more life at any one time. At some moments you may find a certain practice opens and expands you…at other times you are feeling stuck within it.
So rather than choosing with the head, follow your life force, your energy…where is your YES? We are blessed to be living on this planet at a time when a truly global web of possibilities is open to us…from deeply traditional disciplines to modern fusion “neo-tantra”. Find what resonates with you and let your heart lead the way….
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