By Dawn Cartwright: What is Tantra?
It appears at the edge of sleep. In moments of intense feeling. In the breathless space when you let go. It is the life hidden in this one; a secret life of astonishing beauty that also experiences us. And responds. A love affair of cosmic proportions.
The Tantric path, complex and varied, opens the space for the experience of this hidden life in everything we do. According to scholar, Robert Brown, “The idealogical aspect of the Tantric vision is the cosmos as permeated by power, a vision wherein energy is both cosmic and human and where microcosm and macrocosm correspond and interact.” It’s an approach, an attitude that encompasses beautiful, joyful and delightful guidance and steps to tap into a joyful field of experience within all aspects of your life.
HOW TO TANTRA – THE PRACTICE
1. Begin right now, where ever you may be. While there are many Tantric meditations and practices that require you to sit silently in a quiet place, Tantra, in its essence, is about engaging with life just as it is. Therefore, you, as you are, wherever you are, is already the perfect place to be.
2. Even 3-10 seconds works. While it’s helpful to have an hour or more to dedicate to your practice, finding time can be the biggest stumbling block to starting. Daniel Odier, Ph.D., a renowned Tantric Master, encourages his students to engage in short, 3-15 second, practice sessions to get over the time hurdle. Some find these “micro-practice” sessions done frequently are even more effective than one long session.
3. Scan your body. Give yourself a few minutes to mentally scan your body and notice how you feel. Where do you feel relaxed? Where do you feel tension? Take your time. Meet your body and how it feels with acceptance and compassion, every sensation is a jumping off point for exploring the life hidden in this life – no exceptions.
4. Choose one sensation and focus. While scanning your body, you probably noticed a sensation that was interesting to you in some way. Focus your attention there. Get closer, feel more. Imagine climbing inside the sensation to get even closer.
5. Go deeper. You may be holding tension you weren’t even aware of – allow yourself to relax. Steadily soften the muscles around the sensation, until your whole body is relaxed.
6. Notice. What do you notice about the sensation now that tension has been released? How does your body feel? How do you feel in general? Scan your body again. What do you notice?
7. Start again. The Tantric practice is often a spiral of concentric circles, plunging deeper and deeper as more and more is revealed. Now that you are more in contact with the sensation that first captured your attention – get even closer. What happens when you feel within the feeling now? When you release deeper layers of tension in your body and mind?
8. Deeply receive. When you feel complete, take a few minutes to absorb what you have discovered in your practice. Let go, sink into your body and the support underneath you. Savor the life hidden in this one.