July 2, 2010

The Yoga of Tantric Love.

Attraction is the law of the universe.

We are attracted to inspiring art, romantic sex, beautiful music and poetry.

Bees are attracted to pollen, some lilies have a romantic relationship with the moon, and mystical poets, such as Rumi and Mirabai, are insanely attracted to the Divine.

In Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of Divine Love, we express our spirituality through longing and love for God. Bhakti Yogis see emotions as a great vehicle to enhance spiritual devotion. Through spiritual longing, we open our hearts for greater union, ecstatic bliss and communion with the Divine.

Tantra is often called the path of ecstasy, and Bhakti Yoga is an integral part of Tantra. Tantra is not a belief system, nor is it a religion. Tantra is a spiritual practice, a way of life and a philosophy that expresses the perennial essence of our human quest for spiritual realization.

Tantra represents our universal quest for truth within and beyond the world of science and religion. Based on a spiritual worldview and yogic practices, the Tantric lifestyle helps us to invoke the sacred in everyday life.

Tantra, which often is termed Tantra Yoga, cannot be divorced from the inner essence of its own spiritual heart, from the experience of Bhakti, from the expression of spiritual love.

American poet Robert Bly aptly describes Bhakti Yoga as the path where “the bee of the heart stays deep inside the flower, and cares for no other thing.”

This focus on passionate love is integral to Tantra as it turns desire and attachment, the very antidotes of spiritual liberation, into an alchemical fuel for love and the emancipation of Spirit by worshiping all as God.

Thus the bee of the heart goes so deep into what it loves that it transforms into love itself. To become that love is the goal of the love-intoxicated path of Tantra.

Tantric love is about creating spiritual oneness and union. Tantra is about feeling connected to the spiritual essence of the universe. And what is this essence? It has many names: God, Spirit, Godhood, Tao, Allah, or simply The One.

In Tantra, this essence is called Brahma, or Cosmic Consciousness. And this Brahma is composed of Shiva and Shakti, the dual expressions of Brahma, just like light and heat are inseparably one with fire, yet also its dual expressions.

Shiva is Brahma as pure Cosmic Consciousness, and Shakti is Brahma as Cosmic Creative Energy, the force behind creation, the force that created you and me.

Shiva and Shakti, like a wave and a particle in quantum physics, are never separate. They are always together, always the same. They are simply two different expressions of the same universal Brahma.

Remembering these primal aspects of the world, we open up to see and experience oneness in duality everywhere. We open up to feelings of spiritual connectedness and love.

The primal, evolutionary force of Shakti—which is both real and symbolic—is that which inspires us toward illumination and wisdom. Yet the same force has the capacity to blind us, to drive us away from truth and self-realization.

In other words, the duality of wisdom and ignorance, Vidya and Avidya Shakti, exists at the very root of creation and life itself. Thus, no matter at which stage we are on the spiritual path, there is always the possibility of making mistakes.

Hence, there is always a need for spiritual vigilance, always a need to personify a deep, spiritual ethic, and always a need to transcend our own limitations and ignorance.

The path of Tantra is about experiencing spiritual bliss, to soak the human heart with divine Spirit. Thus, it is often said in the yogic scriptures that Bhakti Yoga, the path of ecstatic love, is the best and safest path.

This Yoga of Love is beautifully exemplified in the life and poetry of Rumi, who said, “The taste of milk and honey is not it. Love instead that which gave deliciousness.”

In other words, love that which is within and beyond all physical forms and expressions. Love that which is within and beyond food, sex, fame, and money.

As the Tantrics will say, when you cultivate love for that which gives you all that is delicious in life, namely Brahma, you will eventually experience love in everything. That is the spirit of Tantra. That is the alchemy of Tantric love.

This, then, is the path of Tantric Love—the path that leads us to experience the unity of Shiva and Shakti in our own hearts and minds, and, hence, to the realization that the Divine can be experienced everywhere.

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