Saturday, January 7, 2012

"Tantra is..."

Definitions are often to be mistrusted; especially in the vast field of psychology and, even more virulent, esotericism and religion. We rarely ever manage to really give an accurate and exhaustive enumeration of all factors. Thus, it is more accurate to say, instead of "X is...", that "Some aspects of X are...".

The problem with that is that it doesn't sound all that catchy.

So... here's a list of things that I have found tantra to be (which will be expanded later):

Tantra is...
  • training in relating to yourself in positive and productive ways
  • a way to help you deal with negative emotions
By this, I mean that it provides you with a method of creating bliss almost instantaneously, anytime, anywhere. That bliss gives you a safe-haven. You can then start "inviting" the bad stuff, and encounter it in the safety of your bliss. This will make it easier to face the problems in your life, and take responsibility, or, as they say, "own up to" them.

Update, 30th Jan 2012:

As the word "tantra" is currently used, it seems to simply mean "a practice of integrating sexuality".

Two important questions remain open in this definition: "Integrating it into what?" and "What exactly do you mean by sexuality?".

That's why tantra is such a vast and diverse field. Some people want to integrate their sexual energies into their spirituality without ever doing a lot of physical stuff. Some people want to integrate physical sex better into their partnership. And some just want group sex.

I guess the major lines, here in the west, are

  • the therapeutic one, with a strong focus on self-acceptance and setting your boundaries
  • and the "recreational sex" one (aka "spice up your love life") with a strong focus on - well, sex.

Both have their place. For me, self-love and personal development are the primary goals, so I go with the therapeutic bunch.

Of course, there are also fringe groups that one should be very wary of. Some groups seem to force people into sexual practices they don't necessarily want, or shoot photos of participants in intimate positions and the like - all in the name of "openness" and "acceptance". Sadly, wherever there is some kind of freedom, it can and will be abused.

So it makes sense to take some time to check out the credentials of any one tantric teacher. Are they trained as a therapist? In what therapeutic method? What do you know of that method? Ask them whether you will have to get undressed - in a setting that I prefer, they will always place huge focus on respect, and people will be actively encouraged to say "no" if they don't like some practice, or simply not take part in it.

It might also be wise to check out the location. Will you be able to drive home at any given point, in case you don't like what's going on?

(to be continued...)

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