I was browsing nipple pasties at an adult store for my upcoming birthday party.
As I examined the curious items, I noticed a book on Tantra. With magnetic attraction, it lured me in. I scanned the pages, read a few passages, and became mesmerized by the fascinating images. I was officially intrigued.
The woman behind the counter mentioned that if I genuinely wanted to learn more on the intimidating yet tantalizing subject, she knew a beloved couple who could teach me about white Tantra. She kindly flipped through her phone book and found their number. I hid it in my purse, unsure if I’d ever call.
I had been living in Hawaii for three years. The enchanting, lush tropics of the island had invited my own sexuality to further blossom. I made love by the ocean, behind waterfalls, and in other natural environments. I began to feel more connected to the organic world and its frequencies. I was certain flowers grew where my lover and I had united in sexual bliss.
I didn’t know a thing about Tantra and, like many, assumed it revolved around sex and lasting longer in the bedroom. Although my island man and I fully enjoyed ourselves naked together, I suspected there was more depth to it.
I made the call not long after my birthday, thinking I’d treat my “inner goddess” to some ancient wisdom. I didn’t tell my friends about my appointment, as I feared outside opinions may have distracted me from my own authentic interest. Society encourages us to suppress our desires—but I wanted to know what else I could do with them on a spiritual level, so I kept it my little secret.
On the drive to the opposite side of the island, I became anxious. Thoughts flooded my head. Would I have to sleep with my teacher? Get naked? Would he make me do seedy things? What would I actually learn? Was it worth my time? I didn’t know how to quiet my busy mind, nor know what to expect.
We began our session talking about my intentions and why I had contacted him. I could feel I was in the presence of someone both wise and spiritually attuned, and his space and energy were both calm and inviting. I felt so safe and was excited to learn from him. I assumed he’d lecture me, and I’d just take some notes. But we learn from experience, not from memorizing words.
He led me outside and asked how many colors I saw in the sky. Initially, I was a little irritated. I wanted to learn to have five-minute orgasms, not stare into space! Even though I had my doubts, I went along with it. “I see blue and white.” He instructed me to breathe deeper, feel into my body and center myself by shifting back and forth for a firmer foundation on the earth.
I looked up again. “I see different shades of blue and some off-whites.” I let myself surrender more and gradually released expectations. I started to become aware of my bare feet grounded into the raw, primal soil of an island birthed from the sea. As I slowed my breath, I noticed the soft ocean breeze kiss the sense receptors of my exposed skin. “I see blues, pinks, whites, oranges, grays…!”
My eyes widened and my jaw dropped because I hadn’t ever seen the sky look so beautiful! The more I relinquished my thoughts and let go of control, the more my perceptions changed. The magnificent, awe-inspiring beauty engulfed me. Tears pooled in my spellbound eyes. The clouds were spectacular—ever-changing, moving, shifting colors dancing in the blueness.
“You can look at a sunset and see a setting sun, or you can see a miracle.” ~ Rumi
I was more present in that moment than I ever recall being before. My breath reached every area of my still body. The sensations of being alive stunned me out of all concerns. I could smell rain in the distance and the sweetness of tropical gems all around me. It was pure magic. I drove home floating, thrilled by the new magnitude of existing. I will not forget the precious message I absorbed that day, nearly 13 years ago:
“Tantra is an organized system which rejects nothing as a means to a spiritual end.” ~ Dr. John Mumford
There are many arguments on the meaning of Tantra that could be discussed nonstop. Finding just one definition is nearly impossible. Yes, it can include sexual yoga. It also involves ritual, meditation, breathwork, dance, astrology, mantras, yantras, yogic philosophy, and working with “the Goddess.” It is a collection of ancient scriptures—a holistic system of personal development. It is an intentional expansion of consciousness, the interconnected web of interconnected life energies. But to me, it is love—and recognizing love in all we do, say, think, and experience.
“Tantra is the natural way; the loose and the natural is the goal. You need not fight with the current; simply move with it, float with it. The river is going to the sea so why fight? Move with the river, become one with the river: surrender. Surrender is the keyword for Tantra.” ~ Osho
Staring at the sky that day merged harmoniously with everything else I’ve learned since then. A key aspect of Tantra is to transfigure everything and everyone into something divine. Diving into the brilliant simplicity of a sunset allowed windows to open. In time, it has invited relationships to blossom. I didn’t realize back then how beneficial that moment would become at amplifying ecstasy in and out of the bedroom, just by letting go and offering awareness to the sacredness of it all.
I have been a devoted student at a Tantra yoga university, read numerous books, engaged consciously with lovers, meditated, prayed, practiced yoga, eaten clean, and practiced ancient techniques. But that cherished and significant day on which my teacher broadened my horizons will be ingrained on my warm, fortunate heart until my body expires.
It took effort to expand my mind and release old thinking patterns in order to receive such priceless education. In sincere gratitude for all the teachings in every form, I bow to the divine light of pure wisdom and universal love which I continue to realize is always in and around us all, forever, in every occasion. Savor it.
I never looked at clouds the same after that day.
“The goal of Tantra is to turn you on to the world, to wake you from your sleep, and bring passion to all aspects of your life.” ~ George Gurdjieff
Author: Tirzah Shiya
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis