|The Tantra Vision|
The popularity of sexual Tantra introduced the ideas of left-hand yoga to the West. Although the sexual emphasis misconstrues the meaning of Tantra, Margo Anand captured some essential features of the practice in The Art of Sexual Ecstasy. Added emphasis appears in red, and my reactions are enclosed in a box: (Note 75)
The Tantra vision accepts everything. There is nothing forbidden in Tantra. Everything that a person experiences, regardless of whether it is usually judged as good or bad, is an opportunity for learning. . . . What does it mean to you! When have you repeated this pattern of behavior in the past? Why are you tolerating the situation! What opportunities for change are available to you! Through this questioning you can develop a sense of how to make your life work better. . . .
The Tantra vision is one of wholeness, of embracing everything, because every situation, whether pleasant or unpleasant, is an opportunity to become more aware about who you are and how you can expand your capacities. And this provides a great opportunity for integrating all aspects of yourself, including those parts that you may normally reject or hide. This vision also recognizes that within each adult human being there is a natural, unspoiled, childlike spirit who can openly and innocently explore unfamiliar territory. The innocence of this spirit remains intact and represents our natural capacity . . . .
Because Tantra believes in wholeness, it embraces opposites, seeing them not as contradictions but as complements. The concepts of male and female therefore are not set apart, forever divided by a gender gap, but are viewed as two polarities that meet and merge in every human being. Tantra recognizes that each human being, whether man or woman, has both masculine and feminine qualities. . . .
In Tantra, when the male and female polarities merge, a new dimension becomes available - the sense of the sacred. When the sacredness of sexual union is felt, it is possible to experience your connection to the life force itself, the source of creation. This connection lifts your consciousness beyond the physical plane into a field of power and energy much greater than your own. Then you feel linked, through your partner, to everything that lives and loves. You feel that you are a part of the great dance of existence; you feel one with it. . . .
In Tantra you discover that by honoring the god or goddess in your partner, you can see beyond the limitations of personality and, by seeing the divine in the other person, perceive the same potential in yourself. The other person becomes a reflection of your own godlike nature. That is why Tantric partners greet each other by saying, "I honor you as an aspect of myself." This means, "You are one with me, and your consciousness is a reflection of mine." . . .
It is said that the earliest Eastern mystics obtained their first glimpses of spiritual enlightenment at the moment of orgasm. Indeed, many people know that orgasm can temporarily transport them to a state of rapture. For a few seconds the mind becomes devoid of thought, the egocentric view of life disappears, and we step outside of time into the timeless "now" of bliss. So sex, to the early mystics, was the very source of the religious experience, as it can still be today, given the right attitude and conditions.