Recently, Steve and I got a powerful reminder about how precious it is to be alive. Our dear friend and fellow Tantra teacher Robert Frey unexpectedly passed away—he was an inspired, healthy and beautiful man in the prime of his life. We are grateful that he touched our hearts with his grace, his songs and his bright shine, and we send him off with love.
As I wandered through the day after receiving the news, I noticed a greater sense of appreciation for everything around me. The flowers looked brighter, the birds sang louder, the dogs were particularly cute and loving, and Steve felt better than the moment before. My awareness expanded into that which is real – right here and right now. To me, that is what Tantra is about. It honors the preciousness of being alive today. There is no guarantee that we will be alive tomorrow. Life is unpredictable. Although we like to think otherwise and surround ourselves with plans for the future, there is only the present.
How often in the past few days have you taken a moment to notice the eyes of your beloved shine with love and tenderness? Have you expressed today your love and appreciation for others?
Becoming present, celebrating being alive, begins with the smallest things. I take care to look for a moment longer into the eyes of the bank teller, or the checkout person at the supermarket, and to thank them for a job well done. Steve speaks to his 84-year old dad almost every day and shares about our life. Every day he cherishes our animals and our land, and the mystery of nature growing and changing. We thank each other for being partners in this lifetime and rejoice in our open hearts.
But this is not about being so good and positive all the time! I can feel miserable and grumpy, but give myself full permission to BE THAT. Of course then it usually fades away pretty swiftly! It is the attitude that transforms. Instead of trying to push the water over the rock, I get out of the way to let the water flow around it.
And what does all that have to do with Tantra? Tantra is a spiritual path that includes everything. It transcends dualities and unites seeming opposites into a harmonious whole that is the fabric of our life. On this spiritual path, tantrikas use a variety of methods to celebrate life and connection, love and truth. We honor each other and create sacred time together. We worship our bodies as the temple of our spirits. We travel together on this adventure of life with open eyes and hearts. And when the moment of our death arrives, we can die knowing that we have lived a full and good life. This is what Tantra is for me.
Tantra offers a wide spectrum of techniques that helps us to become more enlightened and fulfilled human beings. And yet most of what is written about Tantra today informs only about its sexual practices–why? Sex is a doorway to the divine. Most of us know what I mean by that when we recall particularly satisfying sexual experience. During sexual intimacy, and more regularly so when experienced in the tantric way, the mind stands still and we are deeply connected with one another in the here and now. At the moment of orgasm we disappear into the void of now. Each orgasm is the death of the mind, and the birth of our divine essence.
When death enters the perimeters of our life, we suddenly become really clear about what is most important to us. Our hearts open, love flows more easily, and new aliveness arises everywhere. One of my favorite questions – especially in times of high drama and internal confusion – is “What would you do, say, or change if you knew that you were going to die next week?”
And if the answer reveals something different to what is going on in your life right now, then you know it’s time to take a closer look.