Tantra can have this fog of mystery around it. On the one hand, it sounds like a super sex cult like system, yet if one looks a bit deeper, Tantra can be a complicated path of ritual, yogic wisdom and religious dedication. In the west, Tantra has become a weaving of many things. Teachers offer everything from sexual healing to spiritual liberation all under the umbrella of Tantra. Being that I also teach Tantra, I recognize that there is massive wisdom available to all of us at any one moment and wanted to create a more simplified way of receiving this Tantric wisdom. These are 7 keys or paths to allowing Tantra into your life every day.
One of the main teachings of Tantra is the simplicity of living life. How can we get out of our own way and allow the amazing magic of life to unfold? There are keys that can support the unlocking of doors that allow for an effortless understanding and experiencing of Tantra. Behind these doors you will find what has kept Tantra alive since the fifth century and ensured that the philosophy is still relevant today.
Surrender is the first key. The word alone might conjure associations of giving up and maybe even loss. This is far from the truth in the Tantric context. Surrender is more about letting go of control. It invites us to understand that we are playing out our divine role in life and that when we seek to control, our limited vision can create life path decisions based in fear or lack. This is also about surrendering into how amazing you are on all levels. Rather then giving up something, it is allowing the pure nature of your connection to everything to flow- the Nestea plunge into life. This is not blind surrender, which brings us to the next key.
The second key is Awareness. This is our full ability to show up in life. We are waking up to every moment and being fully present. This is the Tantric version of the ‘Power of Now’. Sexually speaking, this key is what makes sex magical and unforgettable. Bringing more awareness to each moment of life offers a rich fullness, where we begin to experience life from the point of view of the witness. As we become more present, cause and effect begins to become more important as we see our actions have reactions. Awareness supports surrender as we find the inner trust to let go while remaining aware of the ripple effect of each action. It makes surrender much easier to accept.
The third key is movement. Moving our bodies is moving our energy, which supports the flow of life. Surrendering into the awareness of each movement unlocks the full opportunity that our life force has to move with grace and ease. We move energy or stop energy- each are important. By stopping energy, you build up and pool life force. By moving, you can spread this juicy energy across your whole body or your environment. Tantra speaks of movement as something that is going on in every moment. It is not just about your physical movement, but also about your emotional movement. It is all energy. If your body stays in rest too long, it is more difficult to move. The same is true with emotions. Staying fluid is so important. This is your rhythm of life, so dance!
The next two keys, breath and sound support free, aware movement in life. The breath is something too many take for granted, until it is lost or interrupted. Think about those summer days playing in the pool or lake, seeing who could hold their breath the longest. Those seconds seem like forever. Placing focus on our breathing pattern brings a massive and tangible shift in our experience of life. Each exhale is surrender; each inhale is awareness as we move energy. The breath is one of the fastest ways to regain balance or clarity in any given moment. The more you awaken to your breathing, the more Tantra can offer you. Each breath is a chance to live and to die. Change is possible anytime. Each breath is a new opportunity to realize how everything you seek is right here. There is nowhere to go, nothing to do, just breathe.
Where did our sound go? Over time, our politeness and societal upbringing have caused a decrease in our use of sound. Tantra asks us to reclaim our voice, not just with words, but with sound. Any sound requires breath, movement, awareness and a state of surrender to be released. Breath is the fuel that moves sound. The vibrations that sound rides on penetrate to the core of our energy. We are sound beings. The more sound one can make, the more energy they are moving. If you add awareness, the sound takes form. Keys on a piano are just noise unless played with tempo, tone and intention, and then it becomes powerful music.
The sixth key of Tantra is intention. Intention is what holds the first 5 keys together. Intention can be a foreign practice for many as we have been taught more about goals. The release of goals creates such freedom. There is never a place to go, only the enjoyment of the journey. There is no doing, but rather, simply being. There is a knowing- a trust in the big picture. The setting of Intentions is a very feminine practice. Tantra is a Goddess based tradition, so the feminine is known to be the foundation. Intention is the clear mindset that comes with surrendered awareness to move energy, charged with breath and activated with sounding. With conscious thought, you can find bliss in each moment. Your intuitive ability begins to find form and function. Random energy spikes decrease, slip away, and life becomes more simple. Our true nature takes hold and the beauty inside begins to spill out. Division and separation in our being becomes less. There is a rise in the spirit and a connection to the body all at once.
The seventh key is acceptance. Tantra is the path of non-duality, and this key holds potential for liberation beyond any other. Acceptance says yes to all things. There is liberation from discipline, a welcoming attitude that all acts are divine. Non-judgment cuts the binds that hold in right or wrong, good or bad. Here, the foundation of surrender creates safety to trust with awareness of our actions. We breathe in that trust and awareness as we exhale with sound, fully letting go into our intention and allowing ourselves to unfold in the journey. Acceptance opens the doors wide and releases the old patterns. Each key alone is easy to practice, but placed together they create a flow. Success and safety, healthy concepts of sexuality, emotions and creativity, personal empowerment and health, friendship and romance, honest, creative communications, wide open intuition and connection to your source- all of these become so simple and powerful.
So the seven keys of Tantra are: Surrender, Awareness, Movement, Breath, Sound, Intention, and Acceptance. You can use these keys for work, sex, health, love, communication, psychic ability or your spiritual practice. Tantra supports us in living a free, full, rich and fantastic life. All the tools are in front of you. Tantra accepts you as you are and accepts your growth as well. Are you ready to get out of your own way?
Shawn Roop is the founder of Tantra Quest, a school of Tantric Wisdom based in San Diego, CA. He has been offering personal growth and wellness since 2000. Shawn uses the teachings of Mahamudra Tantra as a foundation and gathers wisdom from other amazing systems and practices from around the world to support people in living a live well lived. He offers classes in the 7 Keys of Tantra as well as providing private session work for empowerment and life change.
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