What is ‘Advanced Tantra?’

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The Wave Massage is a wonderful structure to both give and receive.

Essentially, Receiver lies on her back and relaxes whilst Giver kneels by her side and gently rolls his hands across those parts of her body to which she has given consent to touch. This rolling action originates in his pelvis so that the wave of his rocking passes through into her body and the two are undulating, no longer isolated but connected, no longer separate solid objects but waves of energy passing through both of them. An elegant and simple structure. A twelve year old could learn it in ten minutes.

The Wave Massage is one of the first structures one learns on our Paths of Transformation introductory evening. We teach it because it is structurally simple, and it enables our students the firsthand experience that makes Tantra Tantra; that one is a flow of energy, a happening rather than a static object; that physical movement and energy transmission closely reflect upon one another, and that separation is illusory. And so on. All the stuff of Tantra is contained in the Wave Massage.

I have encountered a few Tantra workshop participants who want to move on to ‘more advanced’ Tantric practices after having practised ‘basics’ like the Wave Massage. To progress is to learn more structures which are more complex (and perhaps jucier!). This is perfectly understandable, and to some extent, true; progression in an activity gives us a sense of purpose and keeps us interested. If we spent years in a joinery class making dovetail joints over and over without building on that skill to make a cabinet…well, we wouldn’t be spending years in that joinery class.

Tantra, however, is not like joinery or any other activity whose goal is to create something more complex. Tantra is more like a poetry appreciation class; both beginners and professional critics alike read and comment upon the same poem with the goal of enjoying a deeper, richer depth of appreciation. The difference between joinery and poetry appreciation is the difference between what Ken Wilber, founder of Integral Philosophy, refers to as ‘span’ and ‘depth’. Span refers to the ‘horizontal dimension’ of life, more techniques, greater complexity and so on. Depth refers to the ‘vertical’ dimension – our consciousness. Greater depth means more awareness. Joinery has a lot of span but little depth; in terms of what you can build, the sky’s the limit as your  carpentry skillset expands but you don’t need a meditators depth of awareness to construct a chest of drawers. By contrast, some meditation classes have little span and a lot of depth; simply learn to focus your awareness on your breath and awareness will deepen.

Everything you do from cooking your evening meal to driving your car to making love has elements of depth and span to them. These elements vary according to what is going on with you. Perhaps you cook some amazingly intricate Thai delicacy (loads of span) whilst daydreaming (little depth), or maybe cook the same dish mindfully and with gratitude for food-sustaining life (greater depth). The determining factor resides in the intention of the activity; are we doing something to create a measurable result (spanning) or are we raising our consciousness (deepening)? Or both?

In Tantra, it is both, but the emphasis is on deepening our awareness. The structures we teach, and ourselves practice, here at Rosehare Central, are designed to develop freedom in our lives. Here is John Hawken, from his book Realisations; On The Paths of Transformation;

(Through development on the Paths of Transformation..)..The experiencer develops a sense of choice. A choice is a consciousness in action. I choose who I am by placing my awareness consciously, on the present rather than the past, on the liberation of a healing rather than on the fear beforehand, on what I have achieved rather than what is still undone. That choice of where I place my awareness is the source of my freedom….through perceiving energy both in me and outside me I become one with the experience I have chosen, no longer a victim of it. I become one with my life. There is just energy…I experience, therefore I am. 

We believe that this experience can be cultivated through regular practice of the Wave Massage and a handful of other ‘basic’ techniques. A widely-spanning tantric skillset is not necessary to facilitate awareness of energy, intimacy and freedom. This is not to say that learning lots of structures which build on the skills of energy movement and visualisation are not desirable; it is fun to extend ones span both individually and in pairs, and each of us can find one or two structures out of the tantric menu which we especially enjoy and which therefore motivate us to practice.

For this reason, we have several dozen structures which we can teach, a mirroring of the versatility of life itself. But, congruent with John Hawken’s outlook, we do not think in terms of ‘Advanced Tantra’ but in advancing in tantra, which is all about placing the deepening of awareness before extending the span of structures we can internalise in order to do so.

For this reason we invite all of you to our introductory evenings and weekends, regardless of how long you have been practising. Novices and experienced tantrikas have much to learn from one another. If you have been practising for ten years or more, working with somebody completely new to Tantra (and maybe a little worried or shy) will deepen your attunement and compassion. How we thrive as a community of tantric practitioners is by connecting, practising regularly with one another, making every workshop, (yours and those of others) successful by whatever means works…..living the stuff of the Wave Massage in which we discover that we are one connected wave of energy and not isolated islands in the ocean which is yours for the sailing.

Advancing in Tantra, then, not Advanced Tantra.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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