Thursday 11 February 2016

Awesome Tantra

I have just spent three weeks in California and Hawaii (someone had to do it!) and thought that I would write some impressions. Hawaii is beautiful and like a very laid back part of America with the Union Jack still on its flag. The locals drive around in pick-up trucks with nothing in the back. I've seen this in other places in America.  I think they need to signal that they could bring back a moose or a buffalo if they had to.

We are divided by a common language and I had to remind myself that the meaning of a word is its use. To Americans everything is “awesome” which in English would be “rather good" and produce the mildest forms of pleasure or approval.  It seems that awe is easy to produce these days. Its use as approval, removes it from fear and as Stuart Sovatsky reminds us “fear and awe are close cousins in erotic matters”. The same revision of a word seems to have now completely happened to the word “tantra”. It’s use at the tantra festival I was at seems to be synonymous with “intimate yumminess”.  Now I am all in favour of intimate yumminess but its connection to tantra is small. A few others recognised this but hey we were having a good time so….what the hell! 

Yet a word like “tantra “and all the varied and historic associations to the word cannot, I hope, be so easily destroyed.  In the UK it may be that the era of tantra festivals is ending in favour of love festivals which may be more accurate if it is in the sense of making love. Traditionally, tantra is not a great deal to do with human love or intimacy (Gasp!! and the Kama Sutra is not a tantric text).  If it is love it is more likely historically to be bhakti or love and devotion to a goddess or to a guru or teacher. The intimacy in tantra is principally intimacy with the whole universe or more accurately, the resonance and identity of the individual with the whole universe, The union of the microcosm with the macrocosm.  Human love and intimacy may be a secondary by-product of tantra in much the same way that toned thighs and flat tummy may be a result of yoga but that traditionally is not what yoga is for. Even yoga asanas are principally to produce a seat for meditation and possibly to open the spinal pathways for the flow of kundalini energy.

Does it matter if words change? Not really, provided, that the wisdom of millennia isn't lost in a present day obsession. "Orgasm chasers" is what one direct realisation tantra teacher calls them. Tantra - and one one of the meanings of tantra is simply "methods" or "practices",  has time tested ways, which work.  In March we will be running a weekend workshop (4th - 6th)  to explore this. Do come. Click link for more information