Translated from Sanskrit, the word Tantra means "to weave" or "expand", and is a practice of accepting the highs and lows of life (and love), and weaving together the seeming opposites of spirit/body, good/bad, and even birth and death.
Moreover, Tantra is a physically-based spiritual path that accepts and celebrates the body as a temple. And yes, that includes sexuality. Tantra understands that the very energy of Life is sexual and can be used as a doorway to the sacred.
So what does any of this have to do with the triple-tragedy in Sendai?
I received a letter late last night from a friend of a friend, a young American woman who was teaching English in Sendai, and her account of the patience and tenderness with which she and her Japanese neighbors are living with one another stopped me in my tracks. She was literally describing what Tantrists call sacred space.
In the midst of all the chaos, grubbiness and hunger, she and her fellow survivors are living free from alienation and blaming. When one of their houses suddenly gets the water back on, owners put out a sign to announce to any and all who may need it. Doors are left unlocked and open (safer in all the aftershocks), and no one is concerned about looting. Strangers ask one another if everything is okay.
Life there has resumed a richness and a slowness that the elders describe as "the old days, when people used to help each other". The skies and roads are quiet, and the stars are abundant.
As I looked back and forth from my feeble attempt at a blog entry last night to her wonderful letter, I must admit, I had a moment of doubt. Was there anything I could possibly say about "connecting sex and spirit" that would have any relevancy in light of such profound changes as she described? Such BIG energy?
Big energy changes everything.
Tantra acknowledges that sexuality might be about the only “big energy” we humans are aware of, or, at least, able to feel. The moments of birth and death could also be included, although being born and dying have a lot to do with sexuality.
We typically don't get much practical instruction and opportunity to become proficient at these major life occasions, much less "master" them. Nevertheless, we have all had our "moments", whether it was a wake or a birth, or losing ourselves in mind-blowing cosmic embrace. And many of us have experienced the peculiar still point that often opens up in time of catastrophe or sudden loss. None of us are strangers to Spirit.
The simple perspective of noticing and honoring Spirit in all our human moments is a primary way that Tantra ushers in the same richness and slowness that my friend was describing in Sendai. As it turns out, our body-minds are geared for repose and compassion, but short of a major life intervention, we have to practice the dance of life.
It's always considered extraordinary when people come together to help each after a calamity, but what if this is our natural state of being? It's interesting to me that peace, love and tolerance is socially "weird". Similarly, why is it that our sexuality is commonly at odds with such peace and spirit?
For me, Tantra has been a way to thread together all these disparate aspects of life. The specific practice of moving the life force that I've always associated with sexuality to other parts of my body has been major. Practicing relaxation in high states of arousal in Tantra has also helped me stay calm in other circumstances of my "real" life, whether parenting or dealing with a difficult client.
In a full-blown catastrophe? We'll see.
PS - This Tuesday's Meetup Group in Prescott AZ, Connecting Love and Spirit, will be a chance for those of you in the area to learn specific exercises to connect with your own capacity to create the sacred in your life! http://www.meetup.com/The-Prescott-Tantra-Meetup-Group/
PPS - a copy of the letter from Sendai is here: http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/2678919/sendai-letter
"Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along." George Herbert
"You are your ideal lover." ~ Barbara Carrellas
As Diana and I began to plan our opening sessions for the Prescott Tantra Meetup Group, the obvious question was where, exactly, does one launch into this whole adventure of sexual/spiritual discovery that we call "Tantra"? And we both had to admit, after all the years we've spent practicing Sky-Dancing Tantra together, that the only real place to begin is with oneself.
In this first of our four-part series "In the Spirit of Intimacy", we'll be sharing practices and exercises that you can use from you-to-you to open up to self-generated energy and pleasure. Discover if you can actually free yourself from needing someone "else" to turn you on. We will invite you to test our theory that you are the principal source of your own pleasure. No one can give you sexual ecstasy (or spiritual realization, for that matter); it comes from within.
Awakening to your own inner joy and loving yourself has nothing to do with being self-absorbed and narcissistic, quite the contrary. Giving to yourself first means welcoming yourself as the most honored quest in your own heart. By nurturing yourself fully, you free and expand your nurturing to others, most notably your lover. "Love your neighbor as yourself" , indeed!
Questions/Comments: Diana at 928-445-7501/Glenn at 507-649-2488
Meet with like-minded others in a safe and supportive environment as we explore, communicate and celebrate the body-based spiritual path of Tantra.
With simple and fun exercises of breath, movement and communication, we will rediscover the deep wisdom of the whole body, and open to trusting the spiritual nature of our human sexuality.
- Join us and celebrate the union of the masculine and feminine in yourself and in all your relationships!
- Rediscover and feel how sexual energy is the physical expression of your higher consciousness
- No nudity or explicit sexual activity. Held in a space of respect, safety and serenity.
"Our sexual energy is the source of our life force energy and a primary key to a happy life. What we'd like to do is awaken the inner sexual being that we often keep stuffed down in that one little lower part of our bodies and allow it to move freely throughout the entire mind, body and spirit. The part of ourselves that we call our sex center is our creative center, our life force center.
There really is no such thing as going-to-the-store energy, doing-our-work energy, and then - over there somewhere else - *sexual energy*. It's all life-force energy. Tantra is the practice of using that so-called sexual life-force energy all the time in ways that nurture us. We are all capable of feeling a lot better, but you have to be willing to learn how to feel, and it all starts with you.
We have all spent so much time looking for our ideal lovers, wondering if we've found that person or if we ever will find that person. You can stop looking - you've found them! And the best part is, you will always be there for you , you'll never leave you, you'll always want sex when you do, and - your parents would probably even approve of your choice." ~ Barbara Carrellas
What was abundantly clear to us all today was the simple "okay-ness" of our human sexuality, and it's connection to spirit, or the Divine, as Diana likes to call it. Ranging in age from 20-something to 70-something, our large group quickly broke out in laughter and giggles as we did the "pelvic walk", moved our aroused energy up to our hearts, and hushed to a prayerful stillness as we exchanged appreciations in the concluding Puja circle.
Thanks to all of you for showing up and BEING, and thank you to Peter and Lewis from the Prescott Healing Arts Association for sponsoring our event.
Our Tantric Meetup Group moves to it's permanent address at the Creekside Center in Prescott later this month. Watch this space for details, and join up (if you so desire) at the Prescott Tantra Meetup Group.
Namaste` dear hearts,
Glenn and Diana
"How can we hope to heal the planet, save the rain forests, establish peace among the nations and religions, when the universal symbol and activity of human love is poisoned in our individual minds? How can love flourish when our religions tell us sex is sinful, and that our flesh is the enemy of our spirit? The damage caused by the condemnation of sex, is incalculable: violence, rape, emotional afflictions, perhaps even war itself." ~ Margot Anand
"Sex lies at the root of life, and we can never learn reverence for life until we learn reverence for sex." ~ Havelock Ellis