Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Essay on Classical Tantra by Michal Marek Griks

Essay on Classical Tantra

Written by Michal Marek Griks for Rasayana Tantra Academy
Word "Tantra" is defined as "to weave, to expand, and to spread".  It can be thought of as the "fabric" of life. Every thread is another aspect of live, another polarity. We could achieve our potential and deep fulfillment in life only when all its threads are woven in alignment with the pattern outlined by the Universe.
According some of the teachings, when we are born or according to others, when we first come into this world, life automatically conforms to this pattern.
As with the time we grow our desires, fears, attachments, etc.  what all together we name conditioning are messing with all the threads ( aspects, polarities ) and consequently weaken our fabric.  Tantric practices work with the transformation of energy and with balance various polarities. They work with healing and rituals in order to decondition and liberate ourselves, what all together basically means  to strengthen our fabric so it can return to its authentic pattern. That's why tantra very often feels like coming back in to our truth nature.
The beginnings of Classical Tantra may go back as far as 20,000 years. [As Tantra itself is in our nature it was probably with us from beginning of creation.] Drawings and carvings that resemble symbols, what are still used in Tantra today are found at that time. Tantra was actively taught in India and China more than 7,000 years ago.
The exact history of Classical Tantra is not well documented. It's said that Classical Tantra emerged in India during an important historical period.  At that time, the Aryans, a nomadic warrior culture, were fighting to conquer the indigenous people.  Although the Aryans thought of the indigenous people as inferior in other ways, the Aryan Rishis (sages), who posed questions about the origin and destiny of the Universe, were interested in the Spiritual practices of these people.  In the meantime two cultures influenced each other.
From those times are coming teachings known as the Tantra Shastras (Tantric Scriptures).  They included:
Nigamas – Principals of Tantra
Agamas – Practices of Tantra
The Nigamas and Agamas became the foundation for Classical Tantra. Some of the teachings were lost or altered because the writings became indecipherable or because the teachings were passed on only in secret.  That's why the history of Classical Tantra can be difficult to trace.
Classical Tantra is still practiced in the East with great reverence and respect for the ancient traditions established thousands of years ago.
The aim of Classical Tantra is generally to utilize sexual energy to connect with higher levels of consciousness.  It is the energy that flows within and is responsible for giving life to the body and all of Creation. It is always there, whether or not we are aware of it.
Sex is one of many aspects of  tantra. By enhancing a person's sex life we also can enhance a person's growth in other aspects.  Bringing awareness about sexuality allows us to engage with intention, rather than allowing our sexuality to control us.  In addition, sexual tantric practices teach us to experience the subtle energies that exist within our sexual being, so that we can enhance pleasure and direct those energies into transformation in our lives. These practices can as well increase orgasmic experience and bring about deeper communication with a partner, resulting in higher levels of connection and an enhanced intimate relationship.
Sexual energy, according to Classical Tantra could be compared with the terms prana, chi, qi, and orende etc. all of which come from other traditions.  It is the energy that flows within and is responsible for giving life to the body. It also is the energy that flows through all of existence and is responsible for creation of the Universe itself.  It is always there, whether or not we are aware of it.
In Tantra, everything is seen as sacred. This includes both the physical and the spiritual. In the times of Classical Tantra lingam and yoni had their own temples, sculptures, rituals, holy days etc.  Tantra is saying yes to everything. No judgment of right and wrong but accepting everything the way how it is.
Classical Tantra embodies spirituality in a much bigger sense than just seeking personal enlightenment. By walking down its path you can learn to harness and utilize energy and to evoke change around you profoundly. Everything in Universe is energy and energy can be focused and used as a resource.
Classical Tantra have many, very specific rituals what require very solid, mastered foundation.
Practitioners of Classical Tantra had to master their emotional, physical and energetic bodies, to understand themselves to gain knowledge about everything around them. They believed that there was no way to be masterful without understanding the very basic nature of self.
In those times practitioners had  to put whole their faith and trust completely to their Guru. Also they had to take care of their master as much as possible. This enabled the Guru to spend his/her time, meditating and working on energy or doing other important things what needed the potential of the Guru. Mostly, what they did it was constantly evolving their practice and devoting a good part of their lives and energy  to bringing student on the path of growth.
The wisdom of Classical Tantra is so powerful that big part of learning is passing the tests, given by master in order to check if the student is ready for it. It could be a test of everything, character, ego, attachments, knowledge, devotion etc.
Practitioners for hours or even days had to do a devotional chant or study mediation, sound, nature and themselves. Whole study lasted often even longer than 15 years and sometimes evens a lifetime.
At those times Classical Tantra was not a mainstream householder experience but it was left to few very devoted people.
Tantra means using body as a tool ( Tan = Body tra = tool ) . Analogically to Mantra ( Man = sound ) Yantra ( yan = vision ). As written above tantra means also to wave. To wave together 12 aspects of tantra - aspects of life: Healing, Sexuality, Family, Spirituality, Feminine energy, Masculine energy, Wisdom, Love etc.
There are yantras and mantras that symbolize those aspects as wholeness without one being more important than other. Like in chakras all those aspects have special function in life and in us. From finding balance in them and between them depends our inner grow.
Of course personal connection to those aspects depends from particular situation in life, that's why is important to have attitude of openness to all of them. Universe provides us with situation in life, what is constantly supporting us with our inner growth. Each confrontation in life, each challenge is an exam for us to grow higher to the next level. If situation repeats itself it means that we didn't pass last test, that we repeated the same mistakes, that we didn't change our attitude and our approach. In that case universe would push us harder. Situation would get stronger even to the point that we will get a hard " kick in the butt" ( which in the end, as my friend said: "It is always step forward" ). That's why it's important to see everything in the bigger picture. Very often, in my life the worse seemed situation, in the end brought me to bigger realizations and bigger inner growth. This is only possible when we use power of tantric alchemy and we will find the way to transform sadness in joy, sexual addiction in to sacred sexuality, dependence from being loved in to Unconditional Love etc. If earlier, we did ignore softer signs, in the end we may find ourselves in the situations that are shaking us even stronger and almost shouting to us " Wake up! Grow! Stop repeating the same mistakes! Do something differently than you will have different effects!"

Tantra is a path of spiritual, sexual, mental, physical etc. growth through our experience. It gives us tools, exercises, practice, mantras, yantras, rituals, connections, wisdom of many sutras etc. to grow as quick and efficient as possible.
Tantra by working with all aspects of life on all bodies, all dimensions and all levels possible, is considered as thunder ball way to enlightenment. That's why they say if you would like to achieve enlightenment in one life time you go to tantra.  It's is like diamond cut. Straight and forward.
It's not easy way because in order to grow, to feel bliss of pleasure, complete liberation and unconditional love, we have to heal ourselves, we have to de-condition ourselves from everything which was opposed on us from outside world ( parents, society, teachers etc... ) Sometimes we have to go through the same painful memories which traumatized us. By releasing suppressed emotions of those times, by going through the same experience with different, safe approach we heal and liberate ourselves in the same time. Tantra gives us confrontational, direct alchemy in the safest circumstances. At the first impression it seems very hard path but again in the bigger picture maybe the easiest way to go. What is more painful ?: Carrying old traumas through whole live, then even passing them to the next generations, waiting for the situation what in the real life ( not in the safe environment of workshop, massage or other tantric practice ) would give us the chance for us to heal old wounds. Chance that we very often are tends to ignore and in which we could traumatize ourselves even more by repeating the same mistakes. 
Life itself, any way is a big workshop. Every moment we have choice to grow, to heal, to liberate ourselves or to stagnate, to traumatize, or to condition ourselves even deeper. Real situations may happen slowly because we are usually not aware to work on our readiness. They're more risky, because they're not in the safe space. Very often, we feel there alone, we are lacking of support of friends, lovers, someone, who knows etc. Tantra gives us support of the practitioner, who knows from experience, what is the best for us to do, who may use best appropriate energies for the process. We do not have to deal with new situation to heal old trauma but through releasing that trauma from the body, we may achieve the same healing. And in this case, with awareness - it's us , who are choosing the time, speed and intensity of our process. When are you ready for the next? How far and deep, how much pain and emotion can you bear? - It's always your choice and your decision supported by the practitioner.
High level of awareness and deep unconditional Love is required, when you offer such a practice. You deal with the strongest energies, which may trigger you too. Not everybody is ready for the high steps. It's up to you to feel and realize all aspects and do everything with good intentions without allowing too much ego, mind or sex to take over.
That's why tantra in the past was a practice only for people, who were very devoted to it. Nowadays world needs urgently quick and efficient solutions for ecologic, emotional, economic, mental, social etc. crisis. That's why tantra is revealed to all of us. That's why the secrets are open to all, who wish to be a solution for nowadays problems. 
According to Classical Tantra, nature is feminine ( Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Gaja ), so even male are feminine too because they're also part of the nature. This sacred energy of nature, Gaja we should all respect and worship. That's why especially man should treat a woman as a goddess ( and vice-verse ).
Beyond the physical body we are all beyond the genders. We all have masculine and feminine energy. From ability and balance of those energies, depends our feeling of completeness and happiness. If inside, we are lacking of one of those polarities, we have tendency to look for fulfillment of it outside of us. We form the relationship from need of fulfillment of this lack in us. This brings codependency not liberation. "I fulfill your lack of feminine energy and you in exchange would fulfill my lack of masculine energy." Sounds more like a business agreement. Unconditional Love is about loving from abundance not from lack of that feeling. 
Of course, we have to realize that we have to love ourselves for that we are. Complete liberation, happiness, unconditional Love etc. are only directions to go. They may never be achieved in the ideal state. They're not goals. In tantra we have intentions not goals. How Buddha said "there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way", we could also say about unconditional Love: "There is no way to unconditional Love. Unconditional Love is the way. "Every step in good direction is good step. Enjoy it. It will bring you more freedom, happiness and unconditional Love in to your life. Forget that your life ever would be perfect or that you ever would be perfect. Perfectionism only exists in tantra in the way that "we are already perfect with all our imperfections." Wanting to be always perfect it's a very dangerous disease especially in modern times. It's holding us back and putting too much pressure, fears and insecurities.
The reality is that even if you would be able to heal all the wounds from the past, then you would still have to heal the wounds from your past lives and from whole humanity. "You could be complete free only when everybody is free." That's why tantra is like never ending story. After being in it already 9 years, still, all the time I'm experiencing new beautiful things, new ways of pleasure, still new healing and liberation are happening. Things what I never was aware before, things what I could never even dream about it at the beginning of my journey. It's like walking higher. With every step I feel, I see, I understand, I experience more beauty in my life. Sometimes beauty that I didn't knew it even exist one step before. 

Inspiring is that all of it is already in us, in our nature. It feels like coming back home after years and generations of conditioning. It's like allowing yourself to feel body, heart, mind, spirit, masculine and feminine energy, inner child, emotions, soul, inner dreamer and inner critiques, unconditional Love and sacred sexuality. It's about finding in yourself all those parts of your being as equally important. It's about finding, transforming the way, that instead of inner fight and dominance between them, you would create inner dialogue, harmony, love and friendship. 
In tantra we don't have to kill our mind, ego, some of the emotions etc... 
Through exercising we learn how to use those very important parts of us. We are transforming them in to our best friends. Our mind is one of the most amazing computer in our body, what modern technologies never would be able to replicate its intelligence. Tantra is teaching us to use the mind not in dominating way, in the harmony, especially with the heart and the body, especially in the moments like making Love. We just have to convince the mind that perceiving, observing, enjoying here and now could be a new beautiful role to be. 
The same we do with our unhealthy ego, immature masculinity or/and femininity etc... By friendly inner dialogue, by using tantric exercises and rituals, by experiencing those very often hidden in us polarities, we are learning how they can support each other, instead of fighting against each other. How they could be in use appropriate for the present moment. In that way we are more complete. We rise up in inner love, with all parts of our being living together and supporting each other. This is tantra, waving polarities together, using all aspects of life and existence. In tantra very important is attitude of openness. This helps us to allow ourselves for new things to happen whenever we feel ready for it.
Non attachment helps to openness, to not be stuck in some of the old habits, old situations. It helps us to flow, to liberate and heal ourselves. Sometimes we have to abandon some old wisdom, what was serving us for many years....
When we grow our perception also grows and sometimes we have to change point of view to widen our horizons. 
The same with the relationships. They're to make us grow together. Rise up in Love ( not falling in love ). If for any reason it stopped to serve that purpose, we got stuck somewhere, we do not grow anymore together and we tried all solutions, maybe sometimes best thing what we can do for each other is to split, to detach and allow each other for new energies to come in to their lives. This doesn't mean that we have to stop loving each other. Sometimes the most beautiful act of  Love could be letting someone go with sincere wishing of happiness for that person. In that way we may keep the best friendship for the life time... and who knows. Life is like a river in tantra. You never know, what universe would bring for you in next day :)

And when we are attached to the material things be always aware about question and answer: "It's we who own things or maybe the things own us ?". Be aware that material things are here for us as tools to help us to have easier life and not to take over our life. When you see someone on the dance floor holding the bottle, notice: Is the dancer who is holding the bottle or opposite: the bottle holding the dancer ? See between the lines and free yourself from everyone and everything. As more you do as more you would be able to love unconditionally. 
In Classical Tantra we use body ( tan = body ) as tool ( tra = tool ). It may give us enormous paths of exercising, experiencing and feelings all different energies, bodies and dimensions. 
According to different teachings, we recognize many types of the bodies in our beings. Physical, causal, energetic, emotional, spiritual, soul, astral, karmic, divine...
In tantra we work on all of them. All of them, they have special functions and they're the same important in our earthly life. That's why tantra is so efficient in healing, empowering, liberating, loving, in spiritual and sexual growth. It builds connections on all levels in all dimensions. Beautiful slogan:"We are one" it's not only idea, a dream but with tantra it's becoming real experience. Could you imagine to what levels it brings compassion, empathy, care and healing ? When you feel pain, fear and sadness of abused animal or a woman, destruction of mother Earth as your own, then you really feel to do something. Then you really do. You use the energy that you generated through making love, the energy that you brought upwards instead of  loosing it in peak orgasms. You use your full potential of unconditional Love and your purpose in life: "Being one" with everyone and everything, Mother Nature and the lover, the person who needs healing and animals who need freedom... etc. You're the universe. Yoniverse is you ;)
In our bodies are stored all painful experiences, past memories, suppressed pains and emotions. By touching, pressing massaging, we could release this entire luggage which we have to carry through whole life, which is slowing us down. Then we could use more of our full potential. We may begin to live with passions, and become less and less affected by this which happened before. Enjoying here and now.

In Classical Tantra we also use man (= sound ) tra (= tool ). Those are holy sounds in ancient languages like Sanskrit or Gurumukhi. They came to us in sacred, energetic way. Monks or practitioners in very deep meditation and connection with Universe, leaded by energies, were producing simple sounds , how they were guided had a very deep meaning ( Ohm, Har,Auhm... ). Besides making the connection with universe, masculine or feminine energies etc. through positioning our mouth, tong, teeth, breath etc. they were massaging our bodies in the way that we were connecting to the meaning even stronger. Also they were making special vibration synchronized with those meanings. As we know according to Classical Tantra everything is a vibration in universe. Those sounds are on special frequency connected to their meaning.  In that way those mantras are not only holy songs of faith but also energetic work on ourselves beyond of someone's' beliefs or lack of beliefs. That's why singing mantras in proper way have much more deeper effect than only listening them.
In Classical Tantra we also use yan ( = vision ) tra (= tool ) . Those are drawings of sacred geometry which were designed in the same deep state of meditation and connection with Universe. By looking at specific yantras in particular way, connected with special breath and state of being, we could connect on deep level in to specific meanings and energies. 
Classical Tantra is very connected in to Hindu religion. It recognizes gods and goddesses as representatives of energies, what may manifest in us.
My personal feeling about it is that we are all gods and goddesses. Tantra is not giving you only belief in it but give you also experience that you're the one. You could be yourself or you could invite in yourself energies of Shiva, Shakti, Kali, Lakshmi etc... Whoever you feel connected to or whoever energy you need at this present moment. You're the god. You're the goddess within you. This connection gives you especially beautiful experiences during tantric love making beyond the peak orgasms. It gives you a feeling that you're god, goddess,
 universe, that you're one - there is no separation any more. This illusion is gone :) And this is one of the best experiences that empower you in good direction. It makes big difference between believing and experiencing then knowing. We Are One

SatCitAnanda Romania

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