Tantra and the Chakras

Tantra and the Chakras

Tantra is a practice that cultivates awareness of our oneness with existence through sexual awakening. This happens through the opening of the chakras or energy centres in the body. Typically in sexual encounter, we send our sexual energy outwards. We may experience deep bliss for a while, but generally this does not last. With Tantric awareness, our sexual vitality starts to move up our bodies like a snake that uncoils, from the root or base of the body all the way up through the crown. Sexual energy moves from the first chakra up. This process is often known at the Uncoiling of the Snake (sexual energy or kundalini).

First Chakra (root)

For many of us, sexual energy or life force is blocked at the base chakra. This happens when we are motivated in our decisions by issues of survival, or by an unwillingness to be in the body. When the first chakra clears, we open to the pulsating power of the earth that rises up through us and initiates our own flow. I have seen in myself and so many others how our estrangement from the earth and the natural world estranges us from the grace of our own bodies. When we get immersed in the mud of her body, mother earth, we find ourselves again, in all our delicious juiciness. Opening the first chakra is really about incarnating, about deciding to be in this body, here, now, fully. In order to get there, we also embrace death as a natural part of this body’s journey. Once we have accepted our death, we can be fully alive.

Second Chakra (sacral)

The second chakra area (the belly) is where we hold our experience of being loved by others. Our primary love relationships typically are with our families (our tribes) and our lovers. Our tribes and our experiences with lovers often shape our notion of what is possible in love and sex. In exploring the second chakra, we look at how both our sexual ideals and our repressions have been shaped by our tribal loyalties. We also unravel how our love relationships have created our sense of who we are in sex and love. Through awareness, we bring healing and the possibility that we may feel well loved, always.

For so many of us, the restrictions, inhibitions and phobias of our tribes have heavily prejudiced us against the natural flow of our sexual bliss. Before we can release these restrictions, we have to bring them to awareness, find and own them in our bodies. We also look at the sexual dreams held by our tribes. Each lover who has touched us has become part of the landscape of our bodies. Opening the second chakra requires taking time to see and celebrate this landscape, and then allow it to change, to resonate with our current truth, with who we most authentically can be now, in our relating, through our sexual flow. The key to unlocking this chakra is to allow spontaneous creativity. Sexual and creative energies are one and the same thing. When we unlock the one, we open the other.

Third Chakra (solar plexus)

In today’s world, so much of our experience of our own sexuality is entangled in issues of power. We give away our personal power in relationships, we allow ourselves to be dominated, we lose our sense of self, and we become manipulators. The worldwide interest in S&M is a reflection of our desperate need to engage and resolve the power struggles that weave into our experience of the sexual. Many of us have lost our sexual power through abuse, perpetrated on us, often during childhood.

When the third chakra opens up, we learn to distinguish in our bodies the impulses of pleasure and pain, and we begin to follow pleasure without needing pain. We face our projections and our fantasies in technicolour and integrate them back into our wholeness. Then we are able to choose out of fondness and personal choice.

Fourth Chakra (heart)

Our experience of ourselves as sexual beings has so much to do with what happens in our hearts. One of the main aims of Tanta is to let the energy rise up to the heart. Once sexual energy enters the heart, magic happens. But the power of this meeting also exposes the wounding of our hearts and the sadness that we have carried for so long. This is one of the reasons why we prevent ourselves from making the connection between love and sexuality. We fear the pain of the broken heart that may follow when sexual encounter leads us to deep love. The other reason is that we believe, deep down, that love is good and sex is bad. But the heart has no fire if we do not allow it to be fed by our sexual energy.

The fourth chakra opens when we hold in tenderness whatever the stories are that our hearts are carrying, and we nurture them through creativity and sharing. It is quite likely that this journey will take us back to our infancy, to our first experiences of love and love lost. We hold each other in the postures and songs that the child needs in order to feel deeply, to bring to awareness the wounding, and to release the pain. And then we celebrate the beauty of the heart willing to stand naked and to tremble in the glory of sun and moon. When the heart is open, it fills up, and it flows over, irresistibly.

Fifth Chakra (throat)

As the kundalini or sexual energy starts to rise through and beyond the heart, our world becomes very whole. Our insistence on seeing and experiencing ourselves as separate from the divine dissipates. We enter the place that is called the “choiceless choice”. In this place of paradox, two actions come together. We take responsibility for our lives and express what we want. And at the same time, we surrender our will to that of existence, the Tao, the inner divine. We engage the blockages that keep us from expressing and living our truth as sexual beings. We explore what surrender to the divine means in our sexuality. This is an initiation into some of the ancient mysteries of Tanta, the art of sacred sexuality.

Sixth Chakra (third eye)

Have you ever during sexual encounter found yourself hearing, seeing or feeling things that seem to be not from this ordinary world? You may have felt your eyes blinded by light, seen visions or a dissolving of form, heard a ringing in your ears, or felt an intense movement of energy up your spine. These are some of the expressions of the energy released through the third-eye chakra.

It has taken me many years to realize that I have since childhood had extrasensory abilities. Because these were not recognized in my culture, I denied their existence and they became dormant. The third-eye chakra is the energy centre where all the abilities originate that heighten our awareness – our intuitive knowing, our ability to “see” beyond what the physical eyes can see (clairvoyance), to hear into the unheard and to feel from inside what is true. For me, the reclaiming of these abilities has been linked to the opening of my sexual energy flow or kundalini, and the allowing of the transcendent force that this energy holds.

Seventh Chakra (crown)

To say I Am That is to claim your divinity. To claim your divinity is to see that you are one with all that is. This is the ultimate goal of Tanta – a total dissolution of the sense of a personal self and the awakening to the cosmic Self.

For so long, humanity has held that sex and spirit belong in two opposite categories – profane and sacred, demonic and divine, defiled and pure. There are many reasons why we have kept this separation in place, and many of these reasons we will have worked through in the courses preceding this one. But now we have come to the ultimate reason, which is that the full embracing and allowing of the kundalini, our sexual energy, through our bodies, leads to a merging with all that is. If you have ever had a split second of this experience in sexual encounter, you will know that its impact is irreversible. It breaks the illusion of separation from God and defies all beliefs we have held about our personal limitations.

“Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love; and then for the second time in the history of the world, men will have discovered fire!” – Theilard de Chardin

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