Although, Tantra as we know it in the West is often associated with sexual techniques and prowess, for me it is an inquiry. The practice is about totally accepting every single thing – exactly as it is in each moment. It is a practice of keen observation of our habituated patterns of resistance, generally to those things that are happening in our lives that we don’t like, or approve of. It is an invitation to experience the Divine through the body, in the deepest prayer of gratitude. I experience it as a practice of conscious opening that can shake you to the core, exposing you raw and vulnerable, and also whole and loved.
My tantric journey begins with exploring physical and emotional boundaries, and how to see and honor them. One of this first exercises I ever did involved standing in front of a man, about 4 meters apart, and signaling with my hand for him to come closer or retreat further, and feeling deeply within myself whenever the distance between us felt good or somehow not good. This subtle and simple exercise was surprisingly powerful and allowed me to experience the repressed pain from years of violated boundaries, which when brought to the surface, I have been able to embrace and start to heal.
I realized that ever since I was in my early teens, perhaps even before, I allowed (sometimes encouraged!) my boundaries to be overstepped over and over again. Certainly this happened a lot once I became sexually active, in my early twenties, but even in other areas of my life I saw it. Our boundaries can be violated with something as simple as somebody forcing us to engage in conversation when we do not feel talkative. Often social contracts and obligations require us to behave in ways, or do things, that we might prefer not to. Taking the time to get to know yourself, and your needs, is an essential initial step towards honoring yourself, and therefore all of life.
A common behavior pattern, I have become aware of is the way in which I shut down and shut people out, when I am afraid. What I noticed is that sometimes this fear is not based on anything real, only on memories of past experiences, that in fact are no longer relevant. And moreover, this shutting people out, inevitably involves shutting myself in. And what’s the fun in that?
Developing a practice of simple observation, is opening the possibility for all things hidden to surface, into a space where they can be embraced, and we can become free from the load of unnecessary baggage we often carry around with us, sometimes knowingly, and very often completely unaware.
The practice of Tantra begins with open curiosity. Expectations and pre-conceived notions can and must be dropped, allowing space for what actually is, to be seen clearly.
How aware are you of your boundaries? Are they based on fear or are they based on (self) love? Take some time to sit with these questions, and just watch what arises. Breathe. Give yourself time to embrace any emotions that may come up.