When sincere seekers ask “What is Tantra?” we could answer “like Zen, Tao and Buddhism, Tantra is a path to enlightenment”. But many modern students are stubborn and insist on a mental response, even if it is a partial response, leading to the common assumption that Tantra is a kind of sexual yoga. (It is not like this?)
Our favorite textbook definition of Tantra points to its Sanskrit roots. The prefix “tan” implies expansion and “tra” means liberation. Therefore, Tantra can be interpreted to mean liberation through expansion. Sure, it’s poetic, but it’s too intellectual. Tantra does not occur between the ears. It also does not occur between the legs.
Types of tantra Tantra is like an old wise tree with a vast and deep root system. Some of its more developed branches include Tibetan, Hindu, Kashmir, Shiviasm, Taoist, Kundalini, Left Handed, Ipsalu, Quodoshka, Shamanic, Sex Magic, and more. Tantra, like yoga, is not a religion. It does not exclude any part of the human experience, it includes the entire spectrum of humanity. Tantra meets people wherever they are and offers them tools to expand. Different types of Tantra attract different types of people who have different needs.
Tantra colors Tantra is subdivided in terms of color: white, pink, and red.
White Tantra is oriented around subtle practices and philosophies rather than physical contact and sexual practices. It can be meditations, visualizations, higher concentrations of chakras, looking into the eyes, working on breathing and sound to generate sensual energy without sexual contact.
Pink Tantra (or in some cases, violet) encompasses both the spiritual and sexual aspects of the practice. This is the way where the heart is open and the sexual act is practiced with honor, reverence and healing.
Red Tantra consists of many passionate sexual practices. Traditionally, the color red connotes femininity, power, passion and sex. This path can be liberating for people who are sexually repressed and it can interest people who are sexually obsessed.
Sexual magic Sexual energy must be conserved for spiritual advancement, not for material gain. In the ‘Shamanic Method of Sexual Magic’ * system the practices cultivate the force of sexual life for healing, pleasure and God-realization. This approach is not dualistic, it frees the judgment of material and sensual pleasures, but it is safe and heart-centered.
Neo-Tantra Tantra may have deep roots in India and Tibet, but new seeds were planted in the West during the sexual revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. The message that sexual liberation can lead to spiritual liberation is often called Neo-Tantra. The most common practices of Western Tantra include balancing the chakras, raising the Kundalini, worshiping the Goddess, and expanding orgasmic energy.
What is shamanism? The word Shaman means “to know” and is the oldest known spirituality dating back 40,000 years. Shamanic practices have existed in all cultures throughout history. Shamans are known to:
- cure human suffering
- interpret dreams
- reverse disease
- exorcise spirits from other bodies
- Channel animal guides and spirit entities.
Some of the basic tools in Tantra and Shamanism include breathing, sound, movement, prayer, singing, lovemaking, and ritual. The correlation between Tantra and Shamanism is the use of ecstatic techniques to contemplate the independent integrity of religious philosophy.
Non-duality in a nutshell Have you ever had the mystical feeling that we are all one? Do you remember the last time you felt totally connected? That is the essence of Advaita, or non-dual tantric philosophy. Advaita is a Sanskrit word that means “not two”. He argues that all matter, regardless of its distinctly different properties, may appear separate but is still connected to the whole of existence.
In Tantra we explore the polarities of male / female, give / receive, active / passive, self / other, mind / body, mischievous / pleasant, duality / non-duality to bring us to higher levels of truth. In Tantra, instead of seeing the body as opposed to the spirit, the body is accepted as a spiritual vessel. Sexual arousal carries with it the divine urge for two to become one.
Full attention Paying attention to every subtlety in every moment is mindfulness. Tantra is experiential, so ask yourself, what are you thinking about right now? What part of your body are you aware of at this moment? What is happening to you right now? … and how about now? Each of these separate consciousnesses brings a greater connection to the abundance of creativity and love.
conclusion If you asked Baba Dez what Tantra is, he could stretch his arms as if offering a big hug and reply: “Tantra encompasses all aspects of life. Tantra is about how we live, how we breathe, eat, sleep. , work, play and love. It’s about everything. And the practice of Tantra is a practice of living life in a way that creates power, magic and divinity. It is any practice that supports us in our divinity. “