Digging Deep into Tantra's Rich History For Helpful Tips You Can Use Today
By Somraj Pokras of Tantra At Tahoe
In the modern world, Tantra is most often associated with sex, and certainly we use Tantric Sex as a method to raise consciousness and thereby improve one’s life. But totally equating Tantra and sex misunderstands its roots.
The more traditional meaning of the word “tantra” is a mystical or ritual text. Another is adherence to the doctrines or principles of those texts, or tantras, involving mantras, meditation, yoga, and ritual. There’s a lot of good stuff there, but you have to know how to find the gems.
Ancient Indian wisdom was compiled in sutras. A “sutra” is a short rule or aphorism that conveys much meaning in just a few sometimes obscure words. That’s partly with Tantra has been so misunderstood down through the ages. Here’s an example from Osho’s Book Of Secrets…
“Even remembering the union, without the embrace, transformation.”
What do you make of that? Well, we’ll go into this and other critical sutras soon. Hopefully this demonstrates that, without a guru to explain the deeper hidden meanings, sutras often seem cryptic, inexplicable, and downright baffling.
We all have the good fortune to benefit from just such an enlightened master, Osho, who is largely responsible for bringing Tantra to the West in the latter part of the last century. Many of Osho’s over 600 books clearly present these ancient teachings in a way we can understand and apply
“The Book Of Secrets” is one of my favorite Osho books. It documents his wide-ranging commentaries on a pivotal 5000-year-old text, the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. Literally translated that means “techniques for going beyond consciousness.” The sutras in this ancient text describe 112 meditation techniques, and Osho’s commentaries detail how to use these methods in all aspects of our lives. Those who associate Tantra with sex will be surprised to learn that less than hala-dozen of these directly deal with the sexual act.
The coming articles in this newsletter will share these sutras, explaining how Tantric Sex can change your life, not to mention bring you closer to yourself, your beloved, and your innate source of supreme bliss. We’ll begin with Chapter 33 which addresses sutras 48 through 52, entitled, “The Spirituality Of The Tantric Sex Act.”
Before we dive in, it’s important to review Osho’s introduction which he says is essential to understand the full meaning of each sutra…
“Man is born natural, real, normal, but the moment the newborn becomes part of the society, neurosis starts working. As we are, we are neurotic, and the neurosis consists of a split — a deep split. You are not one: you are two or even many. This has to be understood deeply; only then can we proceed in tantra.”
“Your feeling and thinking have become two different things: this is the basic neurosis. Your thinking part and your feeling part have become two, and you are identified with the thinking part, not with the feeling part. And feeling is more real than thinking; feeling is more natural than thinking. You have come with a feeling heart…”
“Tantra is a very revolutionary concept — the oldest and yet the newest. Tantra is one of the oldest traditions and yet nontraditional, even anti-traditional, because Tantra says unless you are whole and one you are missing life altogether. You should not remain in a split state: you must become one. What to do to become one? You can go on thinking, but that is not going to help because thinking is the technique to divide. Thinking is analytical. It divides; it splits things. Feeling unites, synthesizes, makes things one. So you can go on thinking, reading, studying, contemplating. It is not going to help unless you fall back to the feeling center. But it is very difficult, because even when we think about the feeling center, we think!
“Tantra says fall down deep within to the feeling center. What to do and how to fall back? Now I will enter the sutras. These sutras, each sutra, is an effort to make you whole.”
I hope you can grasp the massive divide between thinking and feeling because it’s so essential to mastering Tantric practice and practicing Tantric Sex. With new students in our Private Tantra Workshops, we always start with the basics, namely being conscious of breathing, moving, and feeling.
Most of us are so conditioned to think instead of feel that these simple steps are often major hurdles. For example, we often do an intense hour of breathing into the chakras (the seven energy centers arrayed along the spine) which stirs up a lot of old energy in the body. Afterwards we inquire with questions like “how does your body feel now?” and “what feelings did the meditation stir up?”
All too often we initially get answers like “it felt like that time I looked over Niagara Falls” or “it seemed like I was a bookcase and all books were getting rattled and falling out.” Obviously something happened, and that’s great. But can you see that these responses are memories and thoughts? We have to guide new students with deeper queries like “where did you feel that in your body?” and “describe the sensations there.”
You can practice this at home even before we get to the sutras in our next edition. Listen to some music that moves you and look inside for the feelings. When you read a book or watch a movie that shocks or inspires you, identify the sensations stirred up. Something as simple as a sunset or a beautiful cloud or a child playing in the park can evoke feeling. Focus on them and appreciate them.
Right here is one of the dramatic side benefits of studying Supreme Bliss Tantra. Noticing your emotional reactions to things makes you more aware of being alive. This happens to us more and more during everyday life. Living with passion makes everything brighter and sweeter and more meaningful.
Love, Somraj & Jeffre