Nope – not going to satisfy your dirty minds with pictures of people doing all kinds of positions from the kama sutra. So get your mind out of the gutter. You filthy little….
Tantra is actually way more than just that “sex thing” from India. Being a traditional tantra yoga teacher I often have to answer the “so, what is it then?” question. Wikipedia does quite a good job on explaining the basics:
“Tantra (Sanskrit: तन्त्र), also called Tantrism and Tantric religion, is an ancient Indian tradition of beliefs and meditation and ritual practices that seeks to channel the divine energy of the macrocosm or godhead into the human microcosm, to attain siddhis and moksha. It arose no later than the 5th century CE, and it had a strong influence on both Hinduism and Buddhism.”
There’s a lot more on there to read about that topic. But for those who are a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of knowledge out there, let me give you my own thoughts on tantra.
Some guy on OKC (the most spiritual place on the internet – not.) told me that he was reading a book called Urban Tantra. He found himself feeling like he’s sexually connected to everybody else and that he understands the author when she speaks of sexual or divine energy, although he’s an atheist and does not believe in God. Further on he said,that Barbara Carrellas, the author of the book, states that the physical orgasm is some kind of paroxysm. After telling me that he’s feeling this sexual, divine connection right now as he writes to me (that’s an interesting way to put it..), this is what I answered:
My Thoughts on Tantra
“Why can’t this energy be God? I know exactly what you mean by “I strongly believe that god not exists” – But isn’t this merely a question of definition? I too do not believe in that kind of god which pops into our heads when we think about religions like christianity, judaism or islam. I strongly disagree with many aspects of that God. But I do believe in a connectedness, an universal energy, a divine energy if you want to call it that. I choose to call this “God”, when I talk to people who might understand what I mean. God is a word, corrupted by us, reshaped over millennia, and it is a word that changes meaning from culture to culture, religion to religion even from person to person. That’s why I try not to put too much meaning into that word, ’cause words are merely an expression of us trying to name the unnameable. “Energy” is more vage and therefore more convenient to use.
Now about physical orgasm being a paroxysm. In tantric sex, as I understand it, orgasm is not the goal. You try to hold back to sink into the oneness of your true selves – so if you release in orgasm you are disrupting the energy exchange. This might happen because you body is overwhelmed. It really depends on why you’re having sex. If you are having sex solely for physical reasons (hornyness, orgasm, cuddles, bodily sensations, reproduction) orgasm is the climax. It’s nice, it relaxes. But if you are having sex for spiritual reasons an orgasm might be an obstacle in your way – a paroxysm disturbing the holy communion of two souls. That’s why actual sexual encounters are one of the very last things you do on the tantric path, because there is way more to learn before you’re able to walk through that door towards oneness, “enlightenment” as some say. This is at least the tantric way from what I understand.
I do believe we are all connected through energy. And I do believe that this energy changes it’s form in “appearance”. It can “show up” as sexual energy, as love, friendship, sympathy, empathy and all the other emotions that live within us and connect us with other beings. That’s why I don’t eat animal products (since we’re one), that’s why I don’t believe in gender (for there is no gender in a soul), that’s why I don’t believe in judging people, that’s why I walk my own path, trying to be authentic and in touch with myself – for when I’m not connected with myself, how can I be open to feel connections with others? Well, this is at least how I see life.”
After I sent him that message it took a while for him to gather his thoughts and write back. But he did. Good for him!
What are your first thoughts, when you hear the word tantra? Let me know!