Recently I received an email from someone I have done work with for some time, a longtime meditator, someone I greatly admire for his ongoing commitment to personal growth and transformation. The subject of the email? Trauma.
He told me he was surfing the often unpredictable waves of life by learning how to identify his traumas and healing them by letting them go with trauma release work. He told me the current book he is reading on trauma release has many elements that are similar to the tantric practice we explored together.
Having worked with others who use trauma release over the years, I definitely agree that there are similarities between it and certain tantric practices; however, in my experience, there is one key difference between tantra and trauma release that is very important to know for tantric practitioners. So, what is this key difference? And how do we actively work with trauma when we are practicing Tantra? Intrepid reader, read on!
The Key Difference: Trauma Release Focuses on Trauma Itself.
Trauma release, undoubtedly a very powerful system of self-development, tends to focus on trauma itself. Trauma is the primary focus. The practitioner must actively focus on the trauma before they let go of it. Practitioners are encouraged to go deep and focus on where the trauma arises. From this place they can clear the traumas through certain practices designed to release or dislodge them. While this can be incredibly helpful, tantra teaches that there one potentially serious drawback in doing this, that is often not recognized. This drawback is giving the trauma too much importance by actively identifying with it and thereby creating an identity from the trauma. This is not to say that this happens in every case. However, it is definitely something to be aware of if we genuinely wish to move forward from trauma. If tantra doesn't focus on the trauma itself, how does it release trauma?
Tantra Teaches the Cultivation of Ecstasy to Release Us From Trauma.
Rather than the trauma itself, tantra focuses on the ecstasy generated by spiritual practice. Over time, this ecstasy becomes stronger and stronger, deeper and deeper. Ask any serious long-time practitioner of tantric meditation or Conscious Sexuality and they will attest to this. Tantric practice generates ecstasy, which naturally purges the traumas by (this is a free translation of a scriptural quote) "burning them in the fire of the ecstasy of the Heart." I love this approach and experience it in my own life.
This is not spiritual bypass. The ecstasy helps us clearly see the traumas first, acknowledge them, and then let them go. We are not short-circuiting the process. It is an owning of the trauma rather than being owned by it. We are letting go of trauma through ecstasy. In tantra, the only way we can let go of trauma is through recognizing the ecstatic nature of our own Self. And what is this? Well, it is, of course, love. Ecstasy, at its core, is Love, with a capital "L". The most effective ways to align with this Love in Tantra are meditation and Full Body Orgasm work, where we surrender to the kundalini energy and let her run freely through the body. In meditation our experience tends towards stillness. In Full Body Orgasm work, the experience tends towards dynamism.
Do You Want Awareness of Trauma or Ecstasy?
Either approach can work, and over time they will free us more and more from trauma. For me, I prefer the ecstasy, the natural feeling of wellbeing and bliss that tantra gives us with disciplined, joyful practice. This natural ecstasy helps me to let go of my trauma with love when I am ready to. In my view, it shows depth of practice when we can actually own the reality of our trauma and choose to let go of it through Love.
What are your thoughts or questions on trauma and ecstasy, trauma release and tantric practice? Please comment, I'd love to hear from you!
Yours in Tantra,