If I were to invite 100 people who all said they understood what tantra was into a room and ask them each to give their own description of what tantra is then I have no doubt that there would be 100 different responses. Tantra is an experience, so each person will have their own experience of tantra in the same way that they each have their own experience of life.
And each person’s understanding of the term ‘tantra’ would depend on their own lineage. Within the Buddhist lineage Tantra is one of their highest teachings, and certainly bears little resemblance to the carnal focussed descriptions of ‘tantra’ that you may encounter in the west,
There are some consistent elements though, including:
– Tantra is experiential and cannot be learned from books
– Tantra is about being fully present with whatever is, whether that seems to be bad or good
– Tantra is not about the past or the future but is about now
– Tantra is about being fully conscious and engaging with the experience
And some would say that Tantra is about love, but then life without love is pretty void.
My own understanding of tantra and my own relationship with it is that of fully engaging with life. So what does that mean in real terms? When our lover looks us in the eye and tells us that they love us, it’s about fully experiencing how that feels in our body, in our heart, our head, our belly and our big toe. In every part of our being. Completely immersing ourselves in the feeling of being loved. And equally it’s about when our lover tells us that they no longer love us and that they are leaving, it is about fully immersing ourselves in that experience. To quote Sting, ‘tantra is about treating every action, whether it be eating, sleeping, speaking, walking or making love as an act of devotion and an act of gratitude’. Maybe this is where love comes in: ‘tantra is about approaching everything as an act of love’.