What is Tantra?
Tantra is a goddess centred religion dating back over 5000 years. IT originated in the Indus Valley in India. There are many ideas and (mis)conceptions about what Tantra is and in modern jargon the name has become almost synonymous with exotic sexual practices.
Like Taoism, Tantra has made it's way into the modern western consciousness because it embraces our sexuality as an essential part of our human and spiritual nature.
This is a stark contrast to western spiritual traditions which tend to condemn sex as a tool of the devil. This condemnation has left a legacy of toxic sexual energy with sexual assault be ing one of the main problems facing society today. Tantra is appealing to people looking for the real meaning and experience of sex, but it's easily misinterpreted given our mindsets and social conditioning.
There is way more to Tantra than sex. It's an incredible way of life that provides a total experience of self and the world on every level. This is because, like Taoism, it provides techniques to awaken our energy so that we can fully experience life, not just the physical but the energy also.
What is an Energy Awakening?
Have you ever felt tired, exhausted, unmotivated, unable to enjoy life in the present? Chances are that if you are feeling these things, your energy is not working as it should. Energy is what connects us with the present and gives us enjoyment of the small things in life as well as the drive to be passionate about everything we do.
Tantra understands energy logically and scientifically. The energy comes from our perineum, (it's closely connected to the life force of sexual energy) and if it's awakened, it moves up our body. This is called kundalini awakening. Yoga practice is designed to awaken this energy and so is Traditional Tantric Massage.
How Does Energy Awakening Happen?
Our bodies contain seven energy centres or chakras which correspond to the glands and also to aspects of our personality. The bottom chakra gives us the ablity to survive, to have a roof over our heads and food. The second chakra, the sexual chakra, gives us the ability to appreciate the beauty in life around us. The majority of people operate onthese two chakras, in the level of the mundane world, and so their energy is only in the lower part of their abdomen and they are cut off from a large amount of the human experience.
The third chakra gives us power, in particular will-power. the so-called one percent are operating on the level on this chakra, pursuing material gain often at the cost of their health and well being. These lower three chakras are what makes up existence in the mundane world, the safe reality of education and normality, the safe place to exist.
Hardwired into the human experience is the ability to fall in love. The Heart chakra is the domain of Love, and when we fall in love, our energy is pulled up to this level. But often love doens't stay because the mundane person finds it unpredictable and scary and pulls the energy back down into the lower levels, ruining sex and connection. The journey to find love is an enormous part of the human condition. We want it but it's so scary. Finding a safe way to be in love, which must start with self love, is essential to experience being human.
If we allow the energy to take route in our Heart, it has a base from which to travel up and start to feed the 'Higher Self'. This part of self is not superior to the 'Lower Self', in fact it's essential to have a strong Lower Self to stabilise the higher self. The Fifth Chakra is the throat allows us to communicate and to express ourselves, and also to tap into our intuition and even psychic ability.
Then the energy can move up to the third eye, the base of perception and intelligence. From this level we can become deeply in tun with the world around us, and if the lower chakras are balanced we can mainfest our needs and build a life that we really enjoy. The Seventh Chakra is the centre of spirituality, and allows us to access information and to know the higher purpose of our existence.
No chakra is more important than the other. For the energy awakening we need them to be open and balanced, not too open either. If all you are thinking about is spirituality, you are not balanced, that's just a part of the story.
As well as Balancing the Chakras, you need to balnce the two sides of the body. In tantra this is called the nadis and is like balancing the yin and yang sides of ourselves, the active and the passive. Lastly, you need to have the spinal fluid flowing properly, and then you are ready for your kundalini energy awakening.
What Does Energy Awakening Feel Like?
People can have vary different experiences, and if your energy was already partly active, it will be less dramatic. You can imagine turning on a hose pipe and at first it jerks about. It's very common to get jerking in the body. This is where energy blocks are clearing. You can notice where the jerking is happening and see what part of the body is blocked. For example, if you jerk by the chest it means your Heart is blocked, adn you can work on this by gently smiling into the area and opening up to love.
Once the blocks clear, the jerking will subside and turn into a vibration. The vibration will become less as the energy evens out through the body and eventually will become a calm, peaceful and relaxed feeling of oneness. This can take any amount of time and the whole process of clearing can take several years after the initial awakening.
What is it Like to Have Awakened Energy?
Awakened energy changes everything. The whole experience of life changes. Colours are brighter and everything is more intense. Beauty is everywhere around you and you feel contented. Your body changes, energy levels increase, you look younger and ailments start to heal. Suddenly a part that was missing is there and you don't know how you lived without it.
Sex also changes, and this is where Tantra has become famous. Tantric Sex is how you experience sex once your energy is awakened. Your sexual experience becomes anintegrated part of you. It's not that you become more horny, in fact if you are energetically awakened it's just as easy to gaze into the eyes of you beloved as it is to penetrate, because every part of your connection and the experience is more beautiful and more intense.
Because of this, Tantric Sex is slow sex. It can be done like a ritual, in fact there are many rituals that can be practiced to put the spice back into love making even without energy awakening, and that even can help the energy wake up because they open us up to love, creating an easy upward path for the energy.
After my energy awakening I realised I coud sit completely still for extended periods of time with my lover and feel the energy between us. There was a strong vibration between us, like our energy fields were interacting, and I started to orgasm all over my body. One day I realised that I didn't even need touch to orgasm, just his had pasing over certain parts of my body would do it. Later I realised that I could simply send a thought to any part of my body and the energy would flow and I could experience orgasm, anywhere.
How are Tantra and Taoism Different?
They are two ways of describing and understanding the same thing and compliment each other perfectly. When I am confused about an aspect of one, I find the answer in the other.
Generally I would say Taoism is more scientific and also stresses the importance of storing energy in the belly. This both prevents and cures kundalini syndrome which can be a side-effect of Tantric energy awakening, when the energy gets stuck in the head. Symptoms include headaches, tinnitus, dizziness and lack of concentration. The energy can easily be transferred down to the tan tien using the microcosmic orbit.
My Tantric Practice
I studied a Tibetan form of Tantra that comes from the Ancient Tibetan religion of Bon. Sometimes referred to as Tibetan Buddhism it shares many of the deities of Tantra and Hinduism. I practice this because it gives me an incredible understanding of my own energy and a tool to heal energetically and spiritually, as well as to conduct long-distance healing and energy awakening sessions. It fits perfectly with my Taoist practice.
Mantak Chia studied a similar tradition and uses some of it's techniques, such as the technique of forming a pearl. My tantric practice is profoundly spiritual and I use my sexual energy as a catalyst for healing and energy awakening. I am an initiated Priestess of Mahakali in the Bon tradition.