In this article, I would like to share some of the insights and things that I have personally learned through my tantra journey so far. It is very personal, and I hope it can serve as an inspiration if you are looking to start the tantric path.
My tantric journey started already in late 2010, when I first joined a weekend course by Shanti Limnell in Finland. That weekend course was an eye-opener, and thus I started learning more about tantra – mainly from the point of tantric sexuality. A bit later I met a woman who was not able to receive anything related to tantra, so the idea stayed dormant for next coming years. When that non-tantric relationship ended, I was more than ready to embark on the tantric journey.
Autumn 2014 I started Wild Heart Tantra training, which continued to Tantric Life Coach training. Both of these trainings were held by Shanti Limnell, one of the pioneers in tantra in Finland. Shanti has been teaching for nearly 20 years, and now continues her work in Portugal. Now for the last two years I have been an assistant on some of Shanti’s groups and given a few workshops and tantra events by myself as well.
First of all, as with any of such long processes in an intimate group, this tantric journey has been a huge leap in my personal growth. In our group we were perhaps 20 participants, and we met 5-6 times per year for a weekend or longer, and in addition some smaller group meetings in between the weekends. So there’s plenty of time and possibilities to reflect on how you relate to yourself and others. There’s enough time to see how you and people around you evolve, how your world opens and how their world opens. Plenty of time to see your ups and downs, plenty of time to see their ups and downs. Empowering to see people when they open up to life and gain courage to step out of a life situation that is no longer serving them.
Accepting myself, accepting others
For me, the biggest growth has been in accepting myself as I am. For some reason, my self-esteem was not very high for the early adulthood, and I mostly did not – or could not – bring my views or personal sharing out very easily. I had done a lot of sharing in different kinds of circles already before the tantric training, but still it was often a bit confusing for me. Somehow I felt that I would be judged for the views that I hold or represent.
Tantra is about accepting things, going deeper into feelings, going deeper into emotions, feeling it fully, immersing, surrendering. I feel there’s still much more for me to discover in this, but at least my life has become much easier as a result of seeing things through tantra lenses.
And through accepting myself with my strengths and weaknesses, it has become MUCH easier to accept others as they are. Very important.
Through the taboos
Yet another big and important aspect of my tantra journey has been to accept myself as a sexual being. In the beginning, tantra meetings were really exciting as there it was accepted to be intimate and open and let the sexual energy be present in the personal interactions – in the exercises we did. Even if we as westerners think ourselves as free and open, it is surprisingly common how much shame and taboo there is around sexuality. People avoid talking about sex and sexuality openly, and if they talk, they may talk indirectly about “the bedroom things” or “down there” and so on. And giggling a bit.
The real breakthrough for me happened in Tantric Massage Training that I attended in 2015 and 2016. There we worked with several naked and sexual bodies, doing exchanges in massages in a safe and accepting environment. Working with sexual energy, working with different people, giving and receiving. For the first time I experienced something that could be called a full body orgasm or an energetic orgasm. And for the first time, I gave and received several genital massages.
Genital massage is maybe the most intimate encounter you can imagine, so it’s mostly not “business as usual”. Yet, our genitals can hold a great amount of stress, physical or psychological, and thus properly and professionally done genital massage can be a great help in your growth.
So of course it was super exciting to give yoni massage, to learn how to be present and how to find that sensitivity in your fingers and touch. And to learn that yonis and lingams, or vaginas and penises, really are an integral part of ourselves, and touching them does not need to be a taboo.
Stretching the comfort zone
Now in retrospect the journey seems pretty easy and smooth, but certainly there were times that I had to expand and stretch the limits of what I was used to. I will not describe the single exercises here, as probably I would not be able to convey the real feeling of the situation and it may even sound weird. It’s better to experience these things by yourself, but in a safe and supported environment. More on this a bit later.
In my experience, this has a lot to do with shame. Shame on how we feel about our bodies, how we feel about ourselves in general. One exercise here that I would like to mention, one that I found very difficult when I first did it: presenting my own naked body. We did this exercise in a small group of 5-6 people, and in each group, each person had a set time to present their body, taking off the clothes as the representation proceeded. Talking about your relationship to various body parts, what you like, what not. Beautiful parts, not attractive parts, too big or too small parts. Then when everything is said, the group will shower you with what they see in you, and offer their own reflection. And then offering some gentleness through touch to the Divine body. Very healing.
There were several situations during the training that first felt pretty awkward, but once done, it felt as some extra weight was dropped off from the shoulders, and so gave more space to breathe, more freedom, more possibilities.
Safety, support and trust
I really highly respect my teachers for their ability to create a safe and supportive space to explore these things I have mentioned above. I am aware that not everyone has been so lucky, and there has been a lot of crossing the boundaries. It’s sad, and through this blog and directory I would like to help people to find practitioners who work from the place of total integrity and respect.
It’s crucial that you feel safe when exploring the most intimate and sacred areas of your being. I also think it’s very beneficial to have a long process, to really commit to follow a training once you find a suitable teacher. If you just dip your toes in to the tantric river, it may give you some nice experiences, but to really grow and evolve, it’s better to give yourself enough time.
Trust and consent, these need to be present and respected for the opening and deepening to happen. In my experience, it also helps to consecrate or dedicate the practices and exercises to the Divine, so that it transcends the personal level of our being. Everything we do is for the good of something greater than our individual Self.
Tantra vs. tantra?
I realize that there are many out there who see tantra only as something sexual, and indeed, for me too, it has been a big part of it. However, now once I feel more free in that sense, it’s no longer a taboo, and I enjoy my sexuality, it has become more of an integrated part of me. Like owning this sexuality, the sexual energy that everyone of us have. So at the same time the need for outer expression of this sexuality has changed its form, and I have started to learn a different, perhaps deeper level of tantric approach to life. May sound like a cliche, but it’s like living life more fully, becoming who I really am.
Tantra is a practical and physical approach to spirituality, where our bodies are the unconscious in a materialized form. We’re holding on to the tensions and thus limiting ourselves. By letting go of all the unnecessary load, we finally can discover our true self, with effortless and easy flow to life.
Ultimately tantra can be seen as a path back to the Absolute, back to the Divine, by shedding the layers of conditioning and attitudes that are no longer serving us, to become free and to open up to dharma, our real Self. And we can then start to express artha, richness and fullness of life, where dharma happens naturally. Which is feeding kama, bliss, our natural state of being. When all these three aspects are present in our life, we could experience moksa, Liberation. Yes!
Glad to be alive at this time, on this planet and on this sunny summer day 🙂
What kind of experiences you have had on tantra? Can you relate to any of the above? Please leave a comment below!