Reading the book, you will learn to embrace and understand your feelings and find a deeper friendship with yourself that builds confidence and self-esteem. You will learn to appreciate the richness of all the gifts that life brings you, letting go of conditions and judgements.
Jan Day's book: "Living Tantra - A Journey into Sex, Spirit and Relationship
A practical manual on Tantra in all its aspects from one of the UK’s leading Tantra teachers. It’s firmly rooted in the ancient Indian tradition but the book shows via many practical exercises how Tantra can be applied to every aspect of our daily lives.
Tantra originated in India many centuries ago but it's uniquely placed to help people use real life as grist to the mill for spiritual transformation. The purpose of the book is to articulate what Tantra can be in our modern times and how it can be applied to all aspects of our everyday life. Traditionally Tantra was a path that brought spirituality out of the caves and monasteries and into the life of householders. It didn’t seek to separate sexuality and spirituality and to force people to make a choice but rather to integrate the life of family and relationship with spirituality. This includes sexuality but it’s not all about sexuality, and this is a rare book that applies Tantra to every aspect of life.
Living Tantra is a body of work that aims to bring the essence and core message of tantra into relevance for our contemporary life and society as a path of spiritual growth and human development. It’s based on her legendary workshops which book up via word of mouth and attracts attendees from across Europe and North America, especially Sweden, Austria, USA, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic. The exercises here come out of these workshops and mean that we can benefit from this work in our own homes. The principles of Living Tantra are to use all life, all experience to learn and become more conscious of ourselves and the world around us, to care more for ourselves, each other and the world and to develop greater compassion. Tantra includes everything. It is “the weaving together of all that is”.
Living Tantra is a form of neo-tantra that draws on the essence of tantra; a weaving together of all that is, a path of learning and growing that includes all aspects of our experience.
In Living Tantra, we begin by connecting and opening to the energies of the three main energy centres: Body, Heart and Head, drawing on their gifts and vitality to enhance all aspects of our lives and to truly come home to ourselves. These centres and the relative strength of their energies are shown the diagram below.
Opening to these centres is experienced as aliveness, ecstasy or bliss. Most people have experiences of opening to one or two of the centres and often favour one of them. In Living Tantra the aim is to include all of them, to find wholeness and full vitality.
We start by making connection with the body centre because it is the centre that holds all the most powerful energies. It holds all our feelings, sexual energy, survival energy and power. These are all very strong driving energies and we can get lost in or overwhelmed by any one of them. Our traumas are also held in the body so it is important that explorations go slowly and that we are fully present to our experience.
We open to the body centre through movement, dance or touch and by developing awareness and sensitivity to the sensations and feelings that flow in it. This includes opening to our natural, innocent sexuality, which for many people has been shut down or never fully accessed. The sex centre is also the source of our wanting and creativity.
An example of being open to the body centre would be sexual bliss e.g. completely immersed in our body, connected through touch, enjoying the natural and innocent pleasure of connecting with our body alone or with others. It means we are aware of the sensations and feelings arising when we are touched by ourselves or another person.
It could also be the ecstasy of being immersed in a creative project, writing poetry or making art – being in the flow of our creative energy.
Opening to all that the body holds, especially as it is touched, opens us to the heart.
The heart centre is about an over-flowing love rather than the excitement of romantic love; that belongs much more in the sex centre. It’s the love we feel when we see someone fully, in their vulnerability, in their power, in both light and dark, and we can embrace them in all of it. It’s an overflowing love for ourselves and our essential human-ness. It might come when you first see a new-born child and are overcome with love at the creation of a new life.
It arises in the depths of a committed relationship where you see your partner in their wholeness and you simply love them, accept them, embrace all that they are. You are overflowing with love in seeing their beauty, loveliness, vulnerability, fragility, humanity.
The head centre includes our intellect as well as intuition and the sacred which are experienced through the third eye and the crown. Opening the head centre opens us beyond ourselves to a subtle body energy that gives us a sense of unity, being one with all existence.
Opening to the head centre may be experienced as a radiance, where everything shines and there is barely any boundary between you and all existence. Or as an overwhelming peace, a feeling of calm and ease both ordinary and extraordinary, a lack of resistance to your experience so that you can just “be with” whatever is happening.
Many people experience this in the beauty and magnificence of nature, for example running in a park and suddenly feeling a one-ness with the beauty or at the top of a mountain seeing light shining on the snow and being overcome by sense of magnificence. That unity consciousness is often experienced in meditation or while singing sacred music especially with others.
These are all moments of experiencing the Head Centre in its highest potential and our connection with all life.
Most people have had at least glimpses of the delight of opening to one or two of these centres at some time in their lives. And yet it is very common to have blocked or shut down part or all of one of the three main energy centres.
Each one of these centres can be an opening to ecstasy but it can also be defended, shut down, blocked, stuck or used in a way that no longer serves us. Releasing these blocks is an integral part of Living Tantra.
In my early teens I blocked my sex completely and as a result I tended to focus on heart and spirit. That’s fairly common because religious teaching has tended to separate spirit and sex. We’ve often been taught that we can have either spirit or sex. Sex gets labelled as sinful, disgusting, shameful. Certainly not something that you could bring into your spiritual practice.
We can also block the body centre by getting lost in sex. It is such a compelling energy that we can get addicted to the pleasure of it and lose touch with our heart and connection to the sacred. That might look like jumping from one man or woman to another, using the sexual energy to feel good rather than allowing it to flow in mutual giving and receiving, creating intimacy and heart connection.
The heart centre can be blocked by an inner critic telling us that we are bad, unworthy or unlovable, so that we don’t have a sense of our own goodness or self-love. Then we need to develop our own inner Loving Parent voice to displace the critical parent or teacher voice. When the heart centre is open it gives us a deep yes to ourselves and a sense of inner confidence. The heart centre needs to be nurtured. If we don’t have a sense of our own goodness and inner love, it’s quite difficult to let love flow.
Getting over-focused in our intellectual mind blocks the head centre, especially if we have a strong intellect. It acts as a defence against emotions that are painful or uncomfortable.
Connection with the head centre and the sacred gets blocked if we’ve suffered with early experiences of religion or developed an aversion to any kind of spirituality.
These are just a few examples to illustrate the ways that these three important energy centres can be compromised.
The opening and weaving together of all three centres is where Living Tantra guides us. It leads us toward wholeness and our fullest potential because we are using everything to grow.
Imagine now if you could experience the ecstasy and the bliss of your sexual creative nature flowing and interwoven with the ecstasy and expansiveness of your heart wide open at the same time as you felt the radiance of unity consciousness, with Source, with the magnificence of the infinite Mystery. Imagine living your daily life open to these three centres, woven together into your everyday activities so that your life would be vivid and the vitality of each centre would be flowing in you.
That is the journey of Living Tantra.
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