Tantra: What is Tantra?
Tantra: What is Tantra?
By Diana Daffner
Tantra, an ancient Sanskrit word, means to “weave” or “expand.” It is a form of yoga, which means to “join.” To join and expand, to come together, weaving our energies, for the purpose of opening up to the entire universe. Shaped variously by Hindu and Buddhist traditions, sometimes constricted by Confucianism, Tantra in its widest meaning describes an approach to living that links the physical universe to the cosmic whole.
Sexuality, the most physical and intimate of human interactions, is seen a sacred activity, a continual re-enactment of the original creation of the universe. The First One, separating from Itself to know Itself, embracing Itself to experience Itself.
Tantra proposes that each of us undergo within ourselves this total union, this joining of the feminine and masculine. When loving partners dance the path of Tantra together, the relationship is transformed into a sacred journey to Oneness.
Tantra describes a movement of energy, a welling up within us, of joyous excitation. Unlike forms of meditation that withdraw us from the world of senses, Tantra encourages us to start with the senses, building on their ability to focus us in the present moment.
Sensual experience is appreciated as a tool for awakening the energy within us. In the moment that we shift from overt physical pleasure to an internal joy, to a focus on the internal movement of energy, the subtle nature of our being is exposed and Tantra takes place.
Tantra occurs only in the present moment. Yesterday’s experience has no relevance.
When I smell a rose, I smell it in this moment, not yesterday or tomorrow, but right now, right here. And if I embrace the moment of smelling the rose as the prelude to a spiritual experience, if I invite the rose-smelling into my total being, aware both of the scent and my total bodily response to the scent, aware of the softness of the petals and the rose energy in my heart, then in that moment I am open to the fullness of Who I Am. This is Tantra.
And if you and I both smell the rose together, and sharing that experience, dissolve our separateness into an infinite Oneness, then together we experience Tantra.
Tantra brings poetry to lovemaking. When my beloved caresses my face, and our eyes meet and we breathe together and acknowledge our rising passion, sense our hearts joining and our spirits soaring, the energy rising through the power centers of our bodies, this is Tantra.
Some spiritual paths teach us to deny, to say not this, not that. They teach that who we are is not the body, not the mind, not our actions, not our thoughts. Stripped of what we are not, these paths allow us to see the emergence of who we may be. Tantra teaches us to say YES! to this, YES! to that. I smell the rose and I am that experience, my lover touches me and I am that experience, there is nothing that I am not, I am everything. All experience can be a doorway to who I am, provided I focus on the experience itself, with the intention of energetic awareness.
To learn and benefit deeply from Tantra, we must practice being still, undistracted. When I am smelling the rose, I smell the rose.
To make love in the Tantra way means to be fully present, to allow each moment to be the entire experience. In Tantric lovemaking, there is no goal, no race toward release or orgasm. Instead, there is complete attention to each touch, each breath, each movement of energy.
Every moment in our lives can be shaped by Tantra, can be lived in fullness and acceptance. We can learn to say YES! to each moment.
We need to do more than just make time to smell the roses. We need to learn how to let the scent permeate into our belly, deepening our breath and opening our heart to the expansiveness of spiritual experience.
Generally our minds, our thoughts, are constantly darting here and there. Our lives are structured around busy-ness, not around living in the moment. Sometimes while we are skiing or snorkeling, playing piano or violin, the world does disappear, leaving only the intention of the moment. That is the attraction of these pursuits. They require training and practice, and are designed to take place in a zone outside of daily living.
Tantra provides a way of living daily in that zone, as you enjoy exploring intimacy with your beloved! Sacred Sexuality is a training, a practice. It can transform your relationship into a love affair!
Diana Daffner and her husband Richard are the creators of a program called Tantra Tai Chi. They lead Intimacy Retreats (vacation/workshops) for couples and also offer an at-home guided audio CD called "Lessons in Intimacy...The Lover's Touch." You may call 1-877-282-4244 for a brochure. Their website is http://www.IntimacyRetreats.com
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