What is Tantra?
Tantra is a spiritual lifestyle embracing the divine in all things. The entire cosmos is a manifestation of divine energy. The infinite cosmos is a macrocosm of divine energy; subatomic particles are a microcosm of the same divine energy. Divine energy is held together by the tension created between the union of the opposing forces within it.
Sex education in the West
“Life is Lubbock, Texas taught me two things: one is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell; the other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth and you should save it for someone you love.” Butch Hancock, The Flatlanders.
Many westerners learn sex education on the streets, from what is seen in advertising, heard from misinformed peers and felt from the hormones pulsing around inside them. Is it any wonder we get confused? Who taught you Tantra first?
In the fifties and sixties rock and roll was a powerful sexual beginning for many teenagers. I was fortunate enough to grow up on the outskirts of Memphis. I got there just as rock and roll started shimmying its hips.
I have to thank Jerry Lee Lewis who unbeknownst to him was my first Tantra teacher. Sometimes Jerry Lee would drop into bars and sit on the band’s final set. I’d sneak in. Underage? Yes. Did I care? No. If Jerry Lee was feeling just right he would make up x-rated lyrics. “Chantilly lace, sit on my face.” Words easily taken to heart and were part of my titillating and powerful early tantric training.
Sometime our first task as we open to Tantra as a lifestyle is to unlearn the bad information we gleaned about sex as we were growing up.
Who is Tantra for?
Tantra is for anyone who wants to savor the joys being alive. Hatha yoga, meditation, music, rituals, flowers, fragrances, mantras, yantras, mudras, color, martial arts, dance, visualizations, sumptuous food and drink, etc. are all part of and add to the experience of Tantra.
A background in yoga, martial arts and meditation can make the journey into Tantra as a lifestyle swifter and smoother. However, the practices can be learned and enjoyed by everyone. In fact, the Tantric techniques can have a profound positive effect when studied and practiced by just one partner. They are more powerful when studied and applied by both partners.
Tantra vs Dualism
The word Tantra means expansion, web weaving. The fibers of the web are interconnected. Tantra emphasizes the interconnedness and sacredness of all things. This parallels many of the teachings of Native American Spirituality and even the path of Wicca, but all faiths are recognized and respected on the tantric path. Travelers on the tantric path simply become more devoted to their perceptions of the divine, whatever that perception happens to be.
Tantra (nondualism) and dualism are two schools of spiritual thought. Dualism prefers to separate the spiritual from the physical. It is generally held that in order to experience the spiritual the sense must be renounced. The world we live in is broadly considered an illusion. Tantrism teaches that everything in the universe is divine and the spiritual and the physical worlds are one and the same. Tantra encourages stimulation of the senses as a birthright that comes with living in a physical body.
Is Tantra Yoga?
Tantra is yoga. Tantra gave birth to hatha yoga. Ha means Sun, or male; tha means moon, or female. Yoga means to join or to yoke. Hatha yoga is the union of male and female energy. Each body, regardless of being born physically male or female has male and female archetypes within. The multitude of yoga styles practiced today all came from Tantra. Find a yoga that you like and it changes who you are.
How old is Tantra?
Probably as old as the universe itself. Tantra is the dance between Shiva, the god, the consciousness, and Shakti, the goddess, the creation. Legend has it that when Shakti and Shiva dance and make love the other gods and goddess are on high alert to keep them from generating so much energy that they destroy the entire universe.
Tantric cave etchings dating back 2000 years have been found in India. Ancient yoga was generally passed from person to person orally. Written books and records on yoga did not exist.
You must practice only techniques you like. Each person has a choice on which techniques to use and which techniques to respectfully leave alone. No person should ever be pressured or expected to succumb to pressure to do anything they do not want to do.
Monogamy or Polyamory
This is a choice each person has to make. Honesty is the best policy. Whether married or single, in a casual or committed relationship it is vital to be honest about who you are and what you do. Some married people practice polyamory. Some single people practice monogamy. If the path of polyamory is chosen protection must be used in every single sexual encounter, Lying, conniving and manipulating are choices that always lead to bad and something even tragic outcomes.
Kundalini is serpent power. Awakening Kundalini is the ultimate aim of yoga. Kundalini is the spiritual or psychic energy usually called Shakti that lies coiled in the form of a serpent at the base of the spine blocking the sushumna channel. The sushumna is the central axis traveling up the spine and is encircled by the ida and the pingala. The ida (female channel) originates on the left side of the root or base.