Essential Tools for the Practice of Tantra.
Welcome to this new series of blog posts, in which we will explore essential tools for our practice of Tantra.
First of all, it's important to recognize that Tantra is not all about sex and sexuality; it is a complex system of self-knowledge and self-realization that originated in India thousands of years ago. As such, Tantric philosophy encompassed and encompasses much of what life is all about: Consciousness, joy, awareness, and yes, even suffering, pain, ignorance, and how to understand and accept these things deeply and with wisdom.
So, let's start with the essential core of Tantra: Meditation. There has been much written and spoken about meditation over thousands of years, but, words cannot touch it. It is an immediate experience, more intimate to us than our very breath. Rather than make meditation complex or mysterious (which unfortunately has often happened) I will describe it for you this way: Meditation is our natural state. Have you ever had an experience of ineffable joy, wellbeing, and contentment with things just the way they are? This is meditation.
How to touch meditation? Deepen it? Do we have to go and live in a cave or monastery? Do we have to sit for hours in darkened rooms repeating arcane mantras? Do we need to sit in perfect full lotus? All these things are valuable in their own right and hold great value. But, for many of us in the Western world, where things are busy, busy, busy, we just don't have the luxury of time to do these things! The good news is that Tantra teaches us ways to deepen our self-knowledge and realization right where we are, here and now.
So, when you have a spare 5-11 minutes, try this:
Sit quietly in a place where you will not be disturbed.
Switch your devices to silent.
Set a timer for your allocated time (it can be longer than 11 minutes if you want, I find that 20 mins is a particularly sweet spot).
Have your spine gently elongated. You can either sit on a supportive chair, or on the floor in a comfortable cross-legged meditation posture if you are familiar with them: the easy posture, the perfect posture, the lotus posture. Whatever sitting posture you choose, ensure that you are comfortable.
Close your eyes.
Observe your breath. There is no need to force the breath, just gently observe the breath as it comes in and goes out.
When the mind wanders, (and most likely it will) then without judgement, gently bring the mind back to the breath. Over time, this will become easier and easier.
When the timer sounds, gently and slowly bring yourself out of meditation, so that you carry the state of meditation with you into your day.
It sounds so simple doesn't it? That's because it is! Give it a try. If you can stay with it for a week or two, you will start to feel the benefits of meditation enter your life: peace, equanimity, joy, quickness to laugh, stillness. This is meditation.
Blessings on your Journey.