May 7, 2015

My Love Affair with Tantra.

 Wikipedia, public domain

I’m in love with Tantra because it’s about love on all levels of being—physical, mental and spiritual.

I’m in love with Tantra because it’s about walking our spiritual talk and it’s not just about sacred sex but because it’s about sacred everything.

Tantra is a comprehensive body-mind-spirit tradition that includes the practice of physical yoga exercises, devotional dancing, mantra meditation and chanting, breathing exercises, visualization techniques, sacred cosmology, even alchemy and holistic, ayurvedic medicine and lots of spiritual love ideation during breakfast, lunch, and, yes, during sex.

I love Tantra because it’s both Hatha and Raja yoga in one embrace. When you practice a contemporary yoga studio version of a 14th century Hatha Yoga Pradipika asana or sit in lotus position reciting a mantra flowing like water over your silent tongue, you are a Tantrika.

I love this comprehensive tradition of dual mind-body energies entwined like lovers in a tight embrace, like the ida and pingala nadis of your esoteric spine, like a oneness flower in each chakra of your sacred body.

Tantra mirrors the macrocosmic universe in the microcosmic architecture of your own body-mind—it’s the mirror, the reflection, the reality. Hence it is said in the Vishva-Sara Tantra:

“What is here is elsewhere, what is not here is nowhere.”

I love Tantra because when I practice the asana in harmony with my breath, I am the whole universe moving in one tantric flow. When I meditate, I know that the breath I am breathing is the cosmos breathing through me—I am in the rasa, the cosmic flow.

I have a love affair with Tantra because it’s hardly about sex. Despite what most Western books on this subject inform us, Tantra is not just some form of esoteric sexual practice.

Health is not gained by gorging on organic food and true wealth is not found in the desire for more money, hence Tantra is not the path of indulgence or a path of mere sensual gratification. Indeed, on the subject of indulgence in drink and sex as a path to liberation the Kularnava Tantra speaks with a straightforward voice:

“If [you] could attain perfection (siddhi) merely by drinking wine, all the wine-bibbing rouges would attain perfection. If mere intercourse… would lead to liberation, all creatures of the world would be liberated…”

I’m in love with Tantra because it’s about finding balance in all aspects of our lives. In its essence, it’s about seeing and realizing that everything we do can become a sacred, spiritual act, including sex or feeding our tiny little baby.

I love Tantra because it simply means spiritual transformation, the path to inner liberation. Irrespective of religion, the spirit of Tantra is reflected in all genuine spiritual practice. It is not based on religious faith or belief; it is based on empirical practice.

I have a longstanding love affair with Tantra, because Tantric yogis embrace both unity and duality, both wholeness and opposites. They have realized that these opposites dissolve in Brahma, in spirit, and that the inner essence of all life and all things is bliss and love which is why Tantra is often called “the path of ecstasy” or “the path of love”.

I love Tantra because of its notion that everything is divine. This essential realization that every form, particle or atom of this universe has an inherent capacity to reveal the divine.

I love Tantra for boldly claiming that, not just everyone but everything is, at its core, god.

The tantric-no-BS spirituality means that in order to experience sacredness in everyday life, we must practice spirituality—Hatha yoga, meditation, prayer, chanting, dancing—diligently and with total abandon. We must walk (or dance) our spiritual talk. It’s that simple.

In other words, daily spiritual practice is essential in achieving results on the path of Tantra. Indeed, all sacred paths worthy of its mala beads would agree.

I’m in love with Tantra because it signifies a spirituality that is vigorous and fearless, a spirituality that encourages and enables us to overcome limitations, phobias, worries and egotistical tendencies head-on. Tantra said “Just do it!” a long time before the Nike advertisement made the slogan popular.

I love Tantra because of its alchemical use of energy, its ability to transform desire into bliss and violence into peace.

For the tantric understands that all dualities, all conflicts and opposites, all forms and energies are different expressions of god that ultimately dissolve in a state of non-dual unity and peace. That is, if you compost all your shadow stuff in a tantric way and if you do as the Spanish poet Anatonio Machado suggested:

“Let the bees in your heart make honey out of all your past mistakes.”

I love Tantra because it’s more science than religion, more art than science, more spiritual practice than doctrine.

I love Tantra because it’s the path of “subjective approach with objective adjustment.”

I’m in love with Tantra for its adherence to non-dualistic dualistic non-dualismthe understanding that the One created the many and that we, the many, are all part of the One. This ability to see the oneness of everything is the essence of tantra.

It’s perhaps this holistic and practical attitude—that divinity is everywhere and that sacredness can be realized anywhere which makes Tantra so appealing to us contemporary yogis. At least that’s why I fell madly in love with Tantra.


Author: Ramesh Bjonnes

Editor: Katarina Tavčar

Photo: Wikipedia (public domain)

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