I have this friend, he’s a yoga teacher, well, a tantric yoga teacher to be more exact. And some time soon I’m going to blog about tantra because that’s a whole big steaming mess of misunderstanding.
But let’s just say that tantra is the practice, and science, of expansion. Tan means something like inertia, or lethargy and tra means the force that liberates. So literally, tantra means that which liberates from the sleep or the lethargy of existence. But tan also means “to expand“ Sanskrit words have so many meanings, it just seems to go on and on, so tantra also means that which liberates and expands.
This thing called tantra proposes to awaken you from the anesthesia of living like a zombie. You know, the big screen plasma tv, the bottle of something mind altering, the quart of Haagen Das, the shot of celebrity gossip. It can go on and on. We can find lots of ways to go back to sleep, that’s easy.
But the thing that wakes you up from all that, whatever you call it, is ultimately tantra, and it happens because you practice going in to yourself and touching that which is undoubtedly Real, the truest part of yourself. And when you bring it back into your every day life, well, the yogis like to say that the “veils of illusion are lifted.” It’s amazing how there are always more veils to lift.
Anyway, this friend of mine likes to say this about spirituality: Either you expand or you don’t. But it’s even easier to go back to sleep – which is why there is practice. The thing about expansion is that the possibilities are endless, there are always opportunities to wake up even more, to expand even more.
And I’m not talking about visiting Starbucks here. Did you ever have this situation when you thought you were doing everything right and everything is coasting along so sweetly and suddenly, wham, there’s the shakedown. Everything you thought was real and true is pulled out from under your feet?
I was once in a situation where I thought I was being completely altruistic, I remember being accused of having ulterior motives – an accusation I vehemently denied. I spent a lot of time defending myself and being very hurt and upset. And I also allowed the situation into my meditation and through the practice realized that there were certain things I was doing that were not entirely pure. It was not at all a pleasant realization about myself, but it did force me to change and to become vigilantly clear about my motives.
We all have roles and masks we put on that keep us in various stages of slumber. We mostly have developed them from childhood or even came into the world with assumptions about ourselves. What opportunity do you have to wake up today from something that is keeping you asleep; what can you change about the way you see yourself that will set you free?
Then there’s the waking up that we all need to do collectively…the scene below is great – if you can catch one of my Chakra workshops – I talk about this scene as a metaphor for the spiritual awakening which occurs when we move from the first to the second chakra. The symbolism is amazingly accurate!