An Introduction to Tantric Philosophy

So Luxaura, what is Tantra? I have countless seekers that are curious about this path that blends spirituality with sexuality; the body with the Divine. We all have desire, but do we give ourselves permission to explore and express these desires? Do we know how deep our yearning is to connect with the Divine source of love? At the root of all life, we are here to remember union,  to remember what it feels like to be loved so deeply that we have no choice to see the beloved in the eyes of another.

Advaita Tantra is a non-dual experiential system that embraces the body’s sexual power and desire as a worthy path to enlightenment or awakening. “Tantra” means to expand in order to liberate, or the Great Weaving. It uses the pathway of breath, meditation, yoga, mantra, and well-kept sexual secrets to heighten our sensitivities to the outside world, bringing a sense of oneness, bliss, pleasure, satisfaction and wholeness. Over time, when we build our yogic practice, we begin to awaken to the invisible force of Shakti Kundalini, and aim for the marriage of Shiva and Shakti; formless and form, in the bridal chambers of our being; in the crown of the head, or Sahasrara Chakra. 

A non-dual spiritual doctrine means that it embraces everything as a worthy part of the tapestry of reality, not excluding any thing or experience as illusory. A tantric simply aims to be present to the immediate world around him/her, without labeling experience as wrong or right. Some dualistic Buddhist and Yogic paths demise this earthly realm as an illusion, and that our physical bodies are completely separate from the divine creator. 

Christianity sets up doctrine of Heaven and Hell, wrong and right, of saints and sinners. Heaven is in the sky, and not in the body. Tantra embraces that Heaven is Here and Now, that Shiva, or God-Consciousness is everywhere, in everything, that the natural innate wisdom and make up of the physical world is inherently sacred. It is impossible to be separate from our true source, and in order to tap into our eternal nature, a Yogic or Tantric path is helpful in realizing our true nature as consciousness.  This path acknowledges negativity as real, just as night is real, but doesn’t put such a strong emphasis on “wrong” vs. “right.” It is not seeking practices to exit the body, or deny the body of it’s desires. Tantric philosophy and practices give us a more holistic, meaningful, and intimate experience in this life.

Have you heard of the phrase “As above, so below”? This is a statement that we have heard many times, across many cultures, pointing to the fact that anything that is out there in the universe is right here on earth. “We are all made of stars” is a common thought, and proven scientific thought, that after the Big Bang and particles began to cool, they formed stars, and eventually our bodies. Then how can we be separate from all that is? You can Journey to the far reaches of the cosmos, or the inner workings of a cell; Tantric philosophy recognizes that the basic inner workings that rule the inner worlds, also rule the outer or macrocosm. This could also be a statement of ultimate unity; since there is nothing in the universe that’s not inside of you, you are innately One with All That Is. 

So non-dualism could also be called all-embracing, and an all-encompassing train of thought; it includes the elements of this world and ALL parts of the body as vital pieces to the puzzle of our existence. What would happen if you could not take in air for a couple of minutes?

Or be denied food and water for days? How would you feel if you were in a dark room, and denied sunlight for weeks? Or if you were denied touch for months on end? Or what if your eyesight was taken away for just an hour? Truly we take these elemental experiences for granted, but by taking on a path of reverence, we begin to learn how interdependent we are on our environment. Tantrics not only recognize our interdependence to air, food, sunlight, etc, but made them sacred. Tantric Rituals include the five senses as a worthy path to awakening to a greater reality.  By realizing how dependent one is on air in order to live for the next few minutes, you may begin to develop a closer relationship and appreciation to the oxygen that enriches your body. 

“Nothing is deeper than the breath,” states my tantra yoga teacher. So we start here. What is the breath? Through some online definitions, it means life itself. A baby’s infant life starts with it’s first inhalation into this world, and ends with the last breath. It is universal vitality. In tantra and yoga, we must start at mastering our own breath. If you want to gain greater control over your sexual energy, you will get no where without developing a relationship to your breath, and relaxing into your own mind. Our bodies have become very smart at limiting our capabilities for taking a long, slow, deep inhalation. Why? Because then we will be forced to feel deep emotions that we are hiding under our shallow breathing patterns. Somehow over time we have gotten comfortable with the amount of tension we are holding in the shoulders.  Our ego, or separation identity,  informs our body to only take short breaths, for if we take a full and long  breath, we may be reminded of our innate truth, or Oneness of Being. 

Healing and transformation can happen when we give ourselves permission to breathe. We become relaxed, and have the opportunity to take in prana (life–force), and more oxygen gets to the brain, which creates more access to our creativity. When we have more access to our creativity, we have more power. 

Wow! So Tantrics were actually about empowerment; they were human beings who denounced the shaming of sex,reclaimed their breath, their bodies as holy, and their genitals as sacred sites worthy of worship?! No wonder they had to keep themselves hidden, and their practices secret. 

The status quo wants to keep you asleep, wants to take your power so you will show up to work every day, pay your taxes, and keep dreaming in this comfortable world that has been set up for you. But a tantric doesn’t take any one else’s word as truth, for it is not a path of just words; It is an experiential path. Claim truth as your own after you have experienced it
in your own body.

We could all try to shame ourselves around sexual pleasure, but personally I find that owning my own sexual energy and harnessing it like a champion horse is deeply satisfying. I have banished societal’s shame around sexuality as an old and crumbling paradigm. We must stand firm in our own birthright to be taken to the edge of existence through ecstatic bliss. 

Tantra is a path to truth; truth as Love. Truth as bliss; Truth as empowered sacred-sexual beings that are dancing in this world to be a vital participant in it; a Tantric is not trying to get out. We are embracing this moment as “IT”. There is no other time, no other place for you to be! Take in this moment! Breathe it in! Form a tactile relationship to your reality. Feel the sheets when you climb into bed; taste and chew your food. Appreciate your lovers embrace, or the slight smell on their skin. This is moment-to-moment enlightenment. We can chase after an awakening “over there” or meditate for 20 years in hopes that someday we will be awakened. Or we can take a conscious present breath in our daily reality and realize that all we have is this moment.

Blessings on your path towards loving empowerment.
May it all lead you back to your own truth!