“Tantra is not all about sex,” I insist to any interested party.
The usual response is, “Yeah right,” followed by a snicker or a snort. “The end result of some tantric paths can be a feeling of making love to all of existence, about embracing everything,” I exclaim. Or it can be.
There are multiple schools offering different forms of tantra. Some offer neo-tantra, which is all about the love-making, while others offer a more hardcore version that require stringent spiritual work.
In tantra, sexual energy is seen as a gateway to awakening.
Tantrikas can be called to different paths at different times—celibacy, polyamory, monogamy. One requirement is that you bring consciousness to the party and that you work through a valid teacher.
I have tried a celibate path. It worked for me for a while, but now I follow my own way.
Even within the context of celibacy, a tantrica can work with her sexual energy as a means to awaken and enliven her field. Ultimatel,y sexual energy becomes a force for awakening, expansion, and for connecting with the god/goddess with.
Tantricas do work with sexual fantasy—though usually in a guided way to complete certain fantasies so that they can become more present with life, with god, and with their partners. This is a challenging path and there are guidelines for working with eroticisim which can be quiet stringent so that the practitioner’s consciousness remains intact.
The belief is that when we fully follow our deepest desires, and bring awareness to them, we can complete them if we need to, and can become more present in our lives, our bodies and our partnerships. But this can be a lifetime exploration, and should be done with enough consciousness to keep the practitioner safe and stable.
It is not a path for everyone, and usually those who enter the path have a deep calling to truth.
It is ultimately an embodied path.
Tantric practices can open you up to experiencing increasingly subtle sensations in your body, as your body becomes a tool or vehicle of consciousness. As this energy (commonly known as kundalini or shakti) flows through the body, it clears and releases blockages in the chakras.
Tantra can bring you home to the beloved—within and without. It should not be practiced without a valid teacher, unless you are just interested in the sexual practices to increase your joy in bed, which can be a fun way to explore and grow in consciousness gently with a partner. In this case, a book on tantra can suffice.
With so many different schools of tantra, some can be misleading, so always make sure you are with a well-trained teacher before you step out on the path. Not one who offers the most fun, but one who keeps you the most safe and sane.
Tantricas should focus on deepening self-love, and on creating an inner beloved relationship with their inner masculine and feminine energies coming together in a dance of sacred union.
On the pathway to wholeness, one may seek to work through denied feelings, or even fantasies, as these will always prevent us from being fully present, and from letting go of control enough to allow the full flow of awakened energy to move through us. But this can take a lifetime, and should be done with caution if you are working alone.
It is a path that may feel attractive but make sure you have a deep calling to enter.
Author: Talia Y
Editor: Travis May