What is Tantra ?
Tantra has been around since the fifth century AD. and continues to evolve as Eastern philosophy meets Western psychology.
The word Tantra means the loom that life is woven on. It is based on this belief: all is One in the Divine mystery of Existence, and the Divine is the ultimate joy, freedom, harmony, and the highest beauty of all. It is about a fully incarnational spirituality: being wholly here, and moving through every aspect of our experience with one clear intention: I will open everything to the pure Love that is within me and within us all... In this, I will reconnect fully to my Truest Self in order to become more fully alive, completely here, and happily whole. Tantra is about using the body, senses, sexuality, and feelings to enhance spiritual evolution.
In this ancient spiritual path encourages us to surrender to what is. In this moment, – in every moment, – what IS? Can you relax into what is, accept it, and learn something about yourself from it? Tantra is about finding increased relaxation, acceptance, and pleasure in the body, mind, emotions, spirit, and sex, so you wake up and appreciate the miracle of life and treat each moment with reverence.
Tantra can be defined as the path that leads to liberation. Contrary to the popular belief in the Western world, tantra does not advocate uninhibited sex. Tantric practices generate sexual energy and purify the energetic body.
As a life-embracing philosophy, Tantra consists of various practices, including spirituality, love, sexual union and social life, in order to achieve one's spiritual aspirations.
The "tools" one may use in a Tantric practice include mudras, mantras, prayers, meditation and other yogic practices that purify both the body and soul. Sexual energy is involved in the practices of some Tantrikas.
The philosophy of Tantra has influenced various faiths, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Tantric rituals expand consciousness and liberate the practitioner from the physical level of existence.
Tantra has been around for thousands of years and continues to evolve as Eastern philosophy meets Western psychology.
The general term ‘Indian Tantra’ denotes all the teachings and practices found both in the scriptures (called Tantra's or Agamas) and passed on orally from guru to disciple. This said tantra is a system, a philosophy and technology so intuitive and natural to man that its essence can be seen within all genuine spiritual paths, from Taoism, Tibetan Buddhism, Kabbala, and Tarot, to the cults of the Ancient Egyptians and even within Christianity.
Tantra has deified these two concepts. Consciousness is known as Shiva and energy is Shakti.
Shiva is therefore pure, un-manifested latency without form or shape. A void which is paradoxically pregnant with undivulged life.
This still and silent potentiality can be encountered within the human experience as a state where no thought is present, no sensation is present and no sense of individual self is present; an intuition of pure being where all that remains is a deep, intimate sense of universality with no center.
We could say that consciousness / Shiva is like an unmoving, unchanging observer, a silent witness to his own boundlessness. Shiva is the ultimate ground of all reality whereby all forms of vibration are his expressions. Just as the sun is not separate from its rays, ultimate reality is not separate from its manifestation. Reality is therefore both luminous and self-aware.
For this reason, Shiva and Shakti are depicted as lovers in eternal sexual union. A beautiful, distinctive emblem that depicts the central Tantric concept of Prakasha / Vimarsha.
Prakasha relates to Shiva and means the Light of Consciousness and Vimarsha relates to Shakti and is the Power of Self-Awareness. Vimarsha implies that we are reflections or representations of pure consciousness.
It is worth noting that without humans and the myriad other expressions of creation, Shiva is as though lame, inert; without limbs through which he can experience the joy of Being.
According to the Tantric philosophy, thought, matter and everything we can perceive through the five senses, including the electrical currents that we feel moving through our bodies, is a love-dance of Shiva and Shakti.
Clearly then Tantra is a life-embracing, celebratory philosophy that includes all of creation and the Tantric practices likewise embrace all of life.