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Tantra Yoga Wisdom Grace Sex and What Would Jesus Say
By Eileen Fleming
Exclusive to The Arab Daily News
Tantra is a philosophy that emphasizes personal experimentation and experience as a way to move forward on the path to self-realization.
EXPERIENCE is not just what happens to you-it is what you do with it!
Self-realization is understood as freedom from external coercion, cultural expectations and worldly attachments.
One common thread that runs through the lineages, schools, and streams of Tantra Yoga is the belief that everything is divine and the Divine is in everything.
As Jesus hung on a Roman Occupying Force’s wooden cross he prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”– Luke 23:34
Jesus also said, “I and the Father are one” [John 10:30] which made him an enemy of the corrupt Temple high priests who made their living by charging people for ritual baths and sacrificing livestock as the way to be OK with God;
Despite the fact that the Psalmist taught that God “said, You are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.”– Psalms 82:6 (KJV)
Yoga scholar, Richard Rosen, explains Tantra’s first emergence was a response to a confluence of cultural forces:
People were trying out new things because the old things were no longer working. Energy, especially feminine energy, was percolating in the collective unconscious, and it found an outlet at a certain time in history to express itself. For the first time, the body became a temple rather than being the albatross around the Self’s neck.
“For you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”– 2 Corinthians 6:16
Legend has it that once upon a night a great sage named Vasugupta, who lived in Kashmir during the latter half of the eighth century, had a dream in which Lord Shiva appeared.
Shiva instructed the sage to visit a nearby mountain called Mahadevgiri, where he would find 77 sutras (verses) under a rock. When he awoke, Vasagupta did as he was told. He found the sutras—they revealed a path to samadhi (spiritual liberation) through a philosophy and a powerful practice of meditation that, together, were known as Tantra—and began to teach them to others. According to a branch of Tantra called Kashmir Shaivism, that is how one of their central texts, the Shiva Sutras, came about.
The Tantra school of Indian philosophy differs from what I have been learning over the last ten months by attending yoga classes, which have been based in Patanjali’s classical yoga [ashtanga yoga] also known as the eight limbs of yoga.
Most scholars agree that Patanjali was dualist and therefore believed that the divine, spiritual realm was separate from the everyday world.
The main difference between Tantra and classical yoga is Tantra’s body-positive view.
The classical yoga viewpoint is that the body is inferior to the transcendental Self or spirit.
Tantra views the body as a manifestation of spirit!
Tantric yoga seeks to make the body pure and strong through asana [yoga poses] and believes that by uniting the universe of opposites-yin and yang-within the body, it can end suffering and attain liberation.
Meditation teacher Sally Kempton explains, “There are widely different Tantric texts and different philosophical positions taken by Tantrikas,” or practitioners of Tantra.
One consistent core aspect of Tantric philosophy that is taught in the West is nondualism, which is the idea that one’s true essence/transcendental Self/pure awareness/the Divine is within every particle of the Universe.
Nondualists see no separation between the material world and the spiritual realm.
For Tantrikas, everything you do and all you sense- from pain to pleasure, is a manifestation of the Divine and a means to bring one closer to the divine within.
Like the Hebrew Scriptures, Tantra philosophy was originally passed down orally from teacher to student.
To this day some Hindu Tantric texts still have not been translated into English.
But by the second half of the 20th century the teachings became better known through the Siddha Yoga tradition in the West.
For everyone, everywhere, to realize the presence of divinity in themselves and creation, the cessation of all miseries and suffering, and the attainment of supreme bliss.
To constantly impart the knowledge of the Self.
The Shiva Sutras are now widely available in English and are inspiring Westerners seeking to live an authentic spiritual life.
Pure Yoga founder Rod Stryker, a teacher in the Tantric tradition of Sri Vidya explains, “In Tantra, the world is not something to escape from or overcome, but rather, even the mundane or seemingly negative events in day-to-day life are actually beautiful and auspicious. Rather than looking for samadhi, or liberation from the world, Tantra teaches that liberation is possible in the world.”
Within Hindu Tantra, there are hundreds of branches, schools, and lineages and perhaps the best known come from Kashmir Shaivism- a term encompassing several schools that originated in South India.
The Kaula School views the body as a vehicle for liberation. Shakta traditions worship the feminine and the Neo-Tantra School gave Tantra its reputation for sex-enhancing rituals.
All share in the idea of awakening kundalini, understood as a feminine, dynamic energy lying dormant at the base of the spine understood as the Root Chakra.
Many ancient Tantric practices focused on bringing that dormant energy to life by moving it upward, through the seven-chakra/energy centers in the body.
Tantra’s loving embrace of the body and “left-handed” schools that use ritual sexual practices have led many to equate Tantra with sex although Tantra’s attitude toward sex is in line with the philosophy that every aspect of life is a gateway to the Universal:
IF done in a healthy way with the right intention: JOYFUL UNITY!
Modern yoga teachers who practice Tantra employ different approaches, but the bottom line is always the same in yoga- and everything begins with the breath!
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.-Job 33-4
When the Breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the Breath is still, so is the mind still. – Hatha Yoga Pradipika
When “Breathing becomes refined, and if everything comes together, the alchemy of the different elements creates Tantra. Then we start to see the world in all its glory.” –Rod Stryker
John Friend places importance on learning the Anusara Yoga Universal Principles of Alignment; “Instead of trying to control or subjugate the body, you try to align it with the bigger flow of the universe, so that you can experience bliss.”
Friend encourages us to remember that no matter how stiff or out of shape a body is it is divine and, “We can really find the good and the beauty in each person right from the beginning. As soon as you like your body, it’s pretty much Tantric. You see the beauty and the Divine in it.”
Rod Stryker says, “Tantra is a quite unique, powerful, and meaningful stance to take. It’s a bold statement to say that in light of so much suffering, disaster, and fear, the world is actually a beautiful place.”
Today’s Tantra Renaissance might well be the next step in America’s spiritual evolution first envisioned by our most forward thinking Founding Father, Thomas Paine:
Soon after I had published the pamphlet “Common Sense” [on Feb. 14, 1776] in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion…The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
In the branch of Tantric Yoga called Kashmir Shaivism the goal is to merge in Shiva or Universal Consciousness, or realize one’s already existing identity with Shiva, by means of wisdom, yoga and grace.
Hinduism regards Shiva as one of the primary forms of God or Supreme God.
The Book of Wisdom was thrown out of the Bible by the Protestant Reformers but it remains in the Catholic Bible.
The Book of Wisdom defines wisdom as:
A spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, and certain.
Not baneful, but loving the good. Keen, unhampered, beneficent, kind, firm, secure, all-powerful, all-seeing and pervading all spirits.
Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion and SHE penetrates and pervades all things by reason.
SHE is the aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of The Almighty.
SHE is the refulgence of eternal Light, a spotless mirror of the power of God.
And SHE who is one, can do all things and renews everything, and passing into holy souls from age to age, SHE produces friends of God and prophets.- WISDOM 7:22-8:1
“Wisdom has built her house and SHE calls to all; “Come, eat my food and drink my wine and you will live abundant life and walk in the ways of understanding.” -Proverbs 9
Eileen Fleming founded WeAreWideAwake.org as a Public Service after her first of 8 trips to both sides of The Wall in 2005. Her fifth book, Getting Older Yet Better: Gentle Yin, Yoga Nidra and Tai-Chi is offered here as a Public Service. Eileen Fleming is the Administrator of FREE Vanunu and TNT/Telling Nuclear Truths. Follow her at TWITTER
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Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" who founded WeAreWideAwake.org in response to her first of 8 trips to both sides of The Wall in Palestine Israel.
In 2012, Eileen ran for US House of Representatives District 5, in Fl.
Read her FREE eBooks and more at:http://www.eileenfleming.org/