What do you think of when I mention the word "tantra"? Go on... be honest. For many, the immediate association is with sex, perhaps even orgies or making out in all kinds of weird and wonderful positions. For others, it's a murky area, where you'd just rather not go and you're not exactly sure why. Maybe you feel some fear? Or a confusing blend of fear plus curiosity, desire and shame, because your curiosity is something you'd rather keep secret? There's so much mystique around the word in our culture! And there's so much distortion around sex too. So let me cut straight to the chase and enlighten you: tantra is a centuries old spiritual practice and way of life, designed to awaken you to your innate divinity.
As we say in Kundalini Yoga: God and Me, Me and God are one. The principles of this practice are pure and simple: through immersing ourselves in our embodiment with total presence, we may attain transcendence.
And this is where the desire comes in. Rather than rejecting our body, its sensations and impulses, we embrace them fully and consciously. (Consciously being the operative word!)
In this way, we discover an infinite well-spring of subtle and delicious aliveness within our own being, that simultaneously delivers us into and merges with our meditative mind.
This is divine union. This is what the tantric yab-yum icon (see above) of a man and woman in coitus represents. And it this embodied realisation that leads to our awakening.
To live this reality is ecstasy! Is sex involved? Yes, in the sense that no part of our lived experience is rejected or judged as unholy. And yes, again, in that over time, we come to understand and experience sex as something quite other than purely physical intercourse.
But that doesn't mean we need to be having rampant sex all the time, nor that a tantrika is eternally up for it.
Far from it. In my own experience, the more deeply I embody and understand these teachings, the more discerning I become about intimacy of any kind, and the less important the sex act becomes, since life itself is so fulfilling. In its ultimate expression, we recognise that the universe is being created and re-created in every moment through a great making love. And, if we choose to, we can move through life as a lover embracing the Beloved, feeling again and again the infinite bliss of love meeting consciousness, whether we have a lover or not. This is a life lived orgasmically. Only it doesn't even need to involve any touch or genital stimulation - thought it can - beautifully.
If this whets your appetite and you're curious to know more, then why not head on over to my youtube channel, where I'm currently uploading a daily vlog based around Daniel Odier's seminal book on tantra: "Desire" and where you'll also find my daily readings from the Radiance Sutras: a luscious translation of one of the oldest tantric texts in existence.
To begin or progress your own journey of tantric awakening, I offer one-to-one sessions, as well as my signature online course: Awakening Your Ecstatic Potential.
Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions.