What is Tantra?
Tantra is the path of life – the way of fully embracing life and everything it offers us in order to learn about ourselves and growing into our full potential as a human being. Where some more ascetic paths advocate the practice of renunciation, stepping out of the world, Tantrics aim to engage themselves completely and consciously in the flow of life.
In the Sanskrit word ‘Tantra’, ‘tan’ can be translated as ‘network’ or ‘web’, referring to how the understanding of Tantra not only stands behind and unites all relevant esoteric traditions in the world, but also incorporates everything we experience in life into a way of knowing ourselves better.
Another meaning of ‘tan’ is ‘expansion’, while ‘tra’ means instrument. ‘Tantra’ can therefore be translated as an instrument, or method, for the expansion of the consciousness. This expansion takes us from our current (typically limited) view of ourselves to a much more comprehensive view of our true potential and how we fit into the world around us. On the Tantric path we surpass our limitations to say ‘yes’ to life in all its aspects – to love more, to make love more and to embrace fully and consciously our journey in this existence.
Tantra prescribes cultivating and amplifying our innate energies as fully as possible and using these energies to expand our awareness. This implies learning to control our sexual energy, which is the most powerful energy we have, and also the one that we tend to lose the most of. Once we have learnt this, then all other lesser energies, emotions, thoughts and general life situations also become much easier to regulate, helping us to move increasingly into a position of control in our lives. This is achieved by developing our awareness through the practice of Hatha Yoga and various other concentration, purification and meditation techniques.
The fundamental principles of Tantra provide us with a practical, even scientific, way of understanding every situation in life, on every scale: from quantum physics, to human relationships, to the universe at large; they all obey the same essential laws. When we start to understand the interplay between consciousness (the masculine principle) and energy or manifestation (the feminine principle), everything begins to fall into place.
Essentially Tantra is a way of accepting life as an intelligent flow which can take us wherever we should be – if we allow it. This requires becoming aware of that flow and then consciously relaxing into it, not always as simple as it might first sound! But by working steadily, with perseverance, and gradually overcoming our inhibitions and limited perspectives, the possibilities become endless and supremely beautiful.