The Importance of Studying Tantra At Home
It seems like a funny thing to study tantra at home. Some people prefer it because it gives them the privacy to explore their personal journey and as advanced as our society is becoming, we are still sometimes uncomfortable discussing relationships, intimacy and sex in public settings.
But there is a more important reason: We need to integrate tantra into our everyday lives at our own speed or else it won’t really transform us.
(I definitely love teaching and attending workshops and retreats. There is incredible benefit to being with a teacher and learning within a community. This article is about the balance of doing our own work as well.)
Learning by Your Own Lamp:
There is a story about a blind man who wanders into a pub. While he is there, it begins to storm outside. As he is about to leave, someone offers their oil-lamp to him to carry on his way home.
“But I am blind. What good is a lamp to me?”
“Others will be able to see you in the dark. You will be safer.”
So the blind man walks out through the centre of the town-square holding the lamp in front of him. (He normally would have kept to the sides so that he could guide himself safely. But he had this lamp to keep him safe now.)
Suddenly he heard the sounds of brakes and hooves right in front of him and a man yelling “What are you doing in the middle of the street?!! I nearly ran you over!!”
“Didn’t you see my lamp?”
“Your lamp is out.”
Creating our Own Safe Bubble:
If you have ever attended a tantra workshop or retreat (or any transformational retreat), then you know the potential healing that you can find there.
Good facilitators will create a “safe bubble” where you are safe to explore the darkest corners of your consciousness, bring them into the light and then integrate them and heal them. It is truly wonderful! (Plus you are doing this with a group of equally wonderful people.. So it is a very rich experience!)
The challenge becomes when we head home. It could be compared (loosely) to “going home from rehab”. At the retreat, everything is safe, controlled and wonderful. Everyone understands that you are expressing your emotions. Everyone is on the same page. Plus, we don’t have the pressures and stresses of everyday life triggering us and sending us down paths we don’t want to go.
But tantra is about REAL LIFE. The true transformation comes when we can be tantric in every aspect of our life – when our mother calls, when our child doesn’t make the team, when we gain 20 pounds, when we become sick. These are the times in our lives when we are asked to make real choices about how we want to experience the world around us. These are the true “tests” of our journey.
And so, we must create our own “safe bubble”. We must define for ourselves what our world is like in a very day-to-day way.
Being Self-Motivated to Do the Work:
When we go away, we get to sit within the mojo of a teacher. There is huge benefit here. Simply being in their presence can change us.
But we have to be careful not to depend on the “energy” of the teacher to take us on our journey. While we are on retreat, it is good to adopt the student’s mind and be open to the teachings. But once we return home, we must now take the reins in our life. We must continue the work without the “added juice” of the teacher.
This can become a challenge.
But it is the perfect challenge because when we are in our normal surroundings, all of our life is in front of us. We have all of the people whom we love and care about. We have all of the people who are great challenges to us. We have our job. We have our responsibilities. We have our hopes and dreams. We have the dark nights when we wonder if we are on the right path. And we have incredibly joyous, happy times!
All of these things are actually what makes up our life.
So, HERE is where we must explore tantra. And we must do it exactly at our own speed according to the conditions that present to us.
Making Our Personal Transformation a Priority:
Every time I go away on retreat, I just love the structure of the time for yoga, more time for meditation, time for study and reflection, etc. After a few days of this, I always wonder why I don’t integrate more of this into my day-to-day life? Why do I let my to-do lists dominate my day?
We generally aren’t taught to integrate personal growth time into our days. This is considered a luxury.
For 15 years, I owned and worked a dairy farm with my husband and children. Our days began at 5am and on a normal day ended around 8:30pm. In busy seasons or when things didn’t go right, our days could end closer to 10pm. Add raising children to this day, and the idea of having time for personal growth seemed impossible.
And yet, I wonder how different my life would have been if somehow I had fit it in… even 10 minutes of meditation each day. What if our personal growth and well-being had been as important as our work-ethic?
And so, as we choose to transform through tantra or yoga or meditation, it generally takes a real re-ordering of our priorities in life. Is taking time to meditate more important than getting the dishes done? What takes priority over learning and expanding in your life?
These are important questions that can only be answered by observing ourselves gently each day and then choosing to make small changes… that soon grow into big changes.
Personalizing Your Tantric Transformation:
Tantra is simply about transforming you into YOUR full being. And the end-result will look different for everyone.
Who are YOU really? What do you really love to do? Who do you love to be with? What have you always wanted to do in life? What are YOUR gifts? What makes YOU shine? What if you would secretly love to be a dog-walker? What truly brings you joy?
One woman taking the course has discovered that as she releases the constructs and becomes more meditative, she loves communing with nature – truly listening to the messages of the trees. She has discovered that she can talk to animals and she can understand them as well. She silently thought she could for her whole life but kinda thought she was just making it up. Now she has the centre to know it’s true.
One man’s journey has been about becoming the KING that he knows that he is. It’s about truly exploring his masculine side to balance a very introspective feminine inner world. Through this balance, whole new worlds are opening up.
Another’s journey is about healing sexual trauma Another’s about overcoming an addiction to porn and discovering who they truly are outside of the images that society has presented. Others might discover a great joy in working with seniors or children.
Everyone’s journey is completely unique and incredible.
Learning To See:
I believe that there is a wonderful balance between working with a teacher in community and our personal daily learning.
In a workshop or retreat setting, the teacher can lend us their lamp and you can gaze around the world and perhaps see things that we didn’t know were there. And maybe we wouldn’t have believed they existed if we hadn’t seen them with our own eyes.
There is great benefit there.
But the true shift happens at home.
This is where we take what we have learned.
And we transform from being blind…
to being able to see clearly.
No lamp needed. 🙂