Understand how Tantra, Yoga and practices like meditation are all connected. Learn the two core approaches to spiritual awakening and how Tantra’s approach is the most beneficial for those of us in the modern age.
Prefer to read it? See below:
Hello, it’s Jeff Craft, or Kali Das again! This is the second video in my series on common tantric myths.
Today’s myth is that Tantra and Yoga are two different things.
I will commonly hear people that come to some of my tantric workshops, or tantric meditation groups say things like, “Yes, I practice Yoga in the morning, and then I practice meditation”, or, “I practice Yoga and then I do my Tantra”. These statements imply there is a split or difference. But, even meditation is a part of Yoga practice.
The simple truth to this is that Tantra is actually a form of Yoga, when it is properly understood.
The meaning of “Yoga”, comes from the Sanskrit word means “union”. That is what Yoga means. It references the deeper intention that Yoga has of connecting what we have imagined our individual self to be and creating a union between that individual identity and the more universal consciousness that we could call God, or spirit.
That is where the union comes, that is the Yoga – the yoking of our individual self into this larger experience of consciousness, or God, or divinity, or however you want to call it.
That is what the real idea of what Yoga is. It is a systematic approach of self-evolving, self-awakening, self-healing that leads us from a state of suffering, of feeling separation, of experiencing attachments in the world, and leading us into a deeper space of presence, of love, of peace, that actually evolves from within our own being, within our own heart, within our own consciousness.
Yoga is ultimately connecting us back to the truth of ourselves that we have forgotten about. That is what Yoga is really inviting. Yoga is that process and Tantra actually invites the very same process. It just goes about it in a specific way.
There are lots of different forms of Yoga, but there are two primary approaches to rediscovering and reconnecting with that deeper peace that is our true Self.
The yogic teachings present as the highest outcome that the only thing that really exists is God. We can also call God as “consciousness” because it doesn’t have to be any sort of religious or spiritual idea. It is ultimately the essence of your True Self we are seeking.
Through Yoga we are trying to discover that. When we fully discover God, which is all that exists, it is the true nature of self as consciousness and awareness. In the process of discovering that the only thing that really exists is God, there are these two tracks, these two basic approaches.
There is a traditional yogic approach, which we could call an ascetic kind of approach. This approach goes about the idea of saying “the only thing that exists is God, God is pure consciousness, and therefore all of the things of the world are not God, because they are not pure consciousness. They are, in fact, illusions.”
This is the idea – a sort of a non-dual approach. The only thing that exists is God, this whole world that we have, and that we have been experiencing is all an illusion. It is this place that causes suffering for us, because we get attached, and therefore to ease the suffering of my being, I am going to reject this illusion, I am going to release all of my attachments. That becomes part of the process.
This is a legitimate path. Although it probably doesn’t appeal to you as you are listening to this, it is a legitimate path. However, it is a very challenging path. This is the kind of path that will lead people for their spiritual practice to abandon their family, go live in a cave, give up all their money and wander the streets begging for food, these types of things, as symbols and intentions around letting go of attachments. That is one particular path.
Tantra is another path or another philosophical approach. What Tantra does is it comes back to the original conclusion, and it says “Yes, the only thing that exists is pure consciousness or God and if that is true, that means that everything that I experience in the world is also pure consciousness, it is also God.”
So, instead of going about the process of rejecting the world, it actually embraces the world as being a sacred experience, an unfolding of the divine consciousness or divine being. Rather than rejecting it, it shows how can we peer beyond the veil and experience the presence of the divine right here in this world, in our bodies, in our food, in nature around us, in other people, in our desires, in our sexual experiences, in our creative endeavors, in our sense of purpose in the work that we do in the world. It asks “How can we begin to invite our life to become the actual spiritual process? How can the experience of living be converted into a spiritual path?” That is what Tantra really invites us to do.
There are many practices that begin to connect us to deeper presence, deeper embodiment of energies, deeper embodiment of experiences, and invite us to step beyond the limitations and the judgments that we may have for the world around us. We can begin to see the sacredness, to find the beauty, to find the acceptance of what is, and to be fully present and alive in the world.
Tantra ultimately invites us to be as alive, as blissful, as joyful, as loving as possible, while also being as peaceful and relaxed as possible. That becomes the invitation that it has. It is a specific path, a specific form of Yoga, but ultimately leads back to that same place of there being just one God, or one consciousness. It just goes about it through a different path.
What both systems will ultimately agree upon is that once you get to the final conclusion of really seeing and experiencing directly that everything that exists is pure consciousness and God, or that nothing that exists out here in the world is consciousness or God, that once you get to the nothingness or the all, that it all kind of melds into the same thing.
If none of this is God, and you find God beyond that, then you also experience the paradox of everything being God. If you go about the approach of getting there because you are trying to weave everything into being sacred, you get there and everything becomes God, you also again experience the paradox of it not being God at the same time. You get to experience both sides of the same coin operating in truth at the same time.
That is an explanation, a rather deep explanation on the non-dual approaches of Yoga, and how Yoga and Tantra are really the same thing.
As a side note, meditation is deeply, deeply connected to Yoga and Tantra as well. It is not correct to make a distinction between Yoga and meditation – they are both part of one single system. What most people think of as Yoga today, when you hear the average person say, “I’m doing my Yoga, I’m doing my Yoga class”, what they are actually referring to is what would more correctly be Yoga asana, or the postures that are connected to the Hatha Yoga system.
It can be helpful, I think, to make distinctions, at least in your own mind of understanding that all of these techniques, the postures, the breathing practices, the meditation techniques, and various other kinds of approaches to Yoga are all really connected to a single system, including Tantra being part of the yogic process.
That concludes the second of the myth-videos around Tantra, and look for the third one soon!
So, how can you go deeper into a genuine Tantric spiritual path?
If you are interested in exploring a path of transformation, growth, and evolution that weaves Spirituality, Sexual Wholeness, and Conscious Relationship together, then check out my Tantric Transformation Foundations Online Class series that will get you started on a path of personal evolution. It will give you a whole new way to understand your Self, you Relationships and your Sexuality that will take you towards greater joy, vibrancy, love, and abundance.
Understand the original intention of Sexual Practices in Tantra, and how approaching Tantra as ONLY a sexual practice is limiting and a deep misunderstanding. Discover the deeper Sacred Intention.
Prefer to read it? See below:
Hello, this is Jeff Craft, or Kali Das, and I am making a short video for you. This is going to be the first in a series of videos, where in each video I am going to be talking about a common myth that is associated with Tantra. This is the first video, and the first myth that I want to talk about is the idea that Tantra is about sex, or about sacred sexuality.
If we go back and look at the teachings of Tantra – if you look back to the sacred texts that are associated with them, you will notice something surprising. I know I was surprised when I first began to really dive deep into those texts, and the thing that is surprising is that sex is almost never mentioned.
Probably much like yourself, I first learned about Tantra as being a sexual practice as well, focused on creating more pleasure and better orgasms, and more stamina for men, and more pleasure, connection, intimacy, and those types of things. That was the way that it was introduced to me, and when I really started to go study it in a deeper way, I discovered that it was actually hard to find comments or mentions about sexuality in the original texts that are associated with Tantra.
As part of the myth that comes along with this idea of Tantra as sacred sexuality, some practitioners that teach Tantra will also insist that the Kama Sutra is a Tantric book. That really is also a myth. The Kama Sutra discusses lots of other things in addition to sex, but it ultimately is kind of an ancient version of The Joy of Sex. It shows positions and it shows other types of things about seeking pleasure in life.
In the Kama Sutra, there is some talk about there being 64 different arts, and again those tend to come more from Kama Sutra, and other types of cultural references, as opposed to truly being something that is specific to Tantra. It doesn’t mean that we can’t take those things into our tantric practice. We can make the Kama Sutra relevant, we can make the 64 sacred arts relevant to tantric practice, but they are not necessarily what they are often presented to be by some tantric teachers.
We are wanting to understand that these are just little pieces of things. When you dive deep enough, there are a few places in these original texts that do talk about and reference sexuality and rituals involving sexuality. But when you really understand the intention and the implication of why they are doing these sexual rituals, you will understand that there is a completely different context to what it is often associated with Tantra in our current time.
The authentic Tantric rituals that involved sexual activity are actually used as ways to expand ourselves into a deeper connection with divinity, with God. That was ultimately the higher intention of them. People would prepare for these rituals over periods of time so that they were actually not really so focused on the personal pleasure. Instead, they were focused on using sexual activity as a gateway into the bliss of divine consciousness.
That was really the invitation that it was used for, so it was used with that intention of connecting more deeply to divinity, but not necessarily with the intention of having better orgasms, or having more sex, having more interaction, etc. In fact there are a lot of rules that were laid down about who was really eligible to even interface with these particular activities, and they are probably more restrictive than some of the modern tantric ideas that are associated with sacred sexuality might lead you to believe. There were restrictions on who could interact with who, it was preferred that someone actually interact with their spouse, and not with a stranger. Of course, there were some other things that happened in that as well. It is not 100% black and white, but that is the general idea of it.
So, when we are looking at Tantra, we want to understand that the original intention in those sacred sexual practices, that are truly documented, was a gateway to divinity.
There are literally thousands of other tantric practices that have nothing to do with sexuality at all. Deciding that this one slice, this one sexual practice, is really the whole truth of Tantra is similar to imagining, for instance, that the purpose of Christianity is to drink wine – that practicing Christianity is about drinking wine.
Of course, I am referencing the idea of communion in Christianity. Whether you are Christian or not, you probably know and understand that there is a symbolism that is involved in the sipping of the wine. We are not chugging wine at a communion, we are taking sips. There is an intention of connecting more deeply with what is described as being the “blood of Christ”. To be inviting that intention of a deeper thing, because the wine has been blessed, we are bringing that blessed energy in with the intention of connecting to Christ through the communion process.
If someone came running up to you and telling you that to be a practicing Christian, all you have to do was drink wine, you would, of course, think they were crazy! Understandably so. There is a similar kind of mistake happening around tantric practices, where this one practice has been taken out of context and has been told to us as being the main practice. The mistaken notion that in Tantra you practice “this sexual thing”, like that’s the focus, and it is skipping over the original intention. There is a sacred intention behind the idea of communion, and there is also originally a sacred intention behind the use of sexual energy when it was used as part of a Tantric practice. But “sex” is not the totality of practice, or even connected to the deeper Intention of Tantra.
That is the end of myth #1. Feel free to make some comments below, and click on the links to my site and check out other things that I have going on, and look for myth #2 coming up soon!
So, how can you go deeper into a genuine Tantric spiritual path?
If you are interested in exploring a path of transformation, growth, and evolution that weaves Spirituality, Sexual Wholeness and Conscious Relationship together, then check out my Tantric Transformation Foundations Online Class series that will get you started on a path of personal evolution. It will give you a whole new way to understand your Self, you Relationships and your Sexuality that will take you towards greater joy, vibrancy, love, and abundance.
Putting Your Inspiration to the Test | Full Moon in Gemini | Vedic Astrology Forecast for December 25th, 2015
The recent New Moon began the lunar cycle in Scorpio, reconnecting us to our fears and insecurities again as a means to evolve and transform them. And one of the effects of facing our insecurities and fears is realizing that permanent happiness cannot be found in the experiences of the outer world. There will always be ebbs and flows of our emotional waters from happy to fearful to joyful to sad, and the movement of life goes on. We can’t anchor our happiness to any particular person or object, because eventually it will be lost. We can and should enjoy the world, enjoy meaningful relationships, enjoy pleasure and seek to create the greatest happiness we can in the world, but we must also recognize the deeper nature of life as well. For as long as we have illusions about what life is, we will continue to ride the emotional roller coaster of joys and sorrows AS the mistaken truth or reality.
That Scorpio energy is a jumping off point to re-examine our relationship to the ups and downs of life where we learn to stabilize our emotional state through a steady, calm and grounded mind. We learn to reach deep into our nature beyond this world to find our anchor of peace. And as we recognize “where we are” and the “nature of life as it is”, we are often motivated to seek a deeper meaning and purpose for our existence beyond just the pursuit of worldly happiness.
That search for deeper meaning and purpose is what steps us psychologically into the realm of Sagittarius. On December 16th, just 5 days after the New Moon in Scorpio, the Sun stepped our collective sense of Power and Soul connection into Sagittarius. Perhaps you have notice that the last 10 days or so has felt a little more hopeful and optimistic despite the recent global fears and challenges. It doesn’t “wash away” what has happened, but it connected us to deeper possibilities, deeper meaning, and hope and optimism to find the path out of darkness.
With the Sun here, we have all been invited to reflect on our own relationship to higher truth, higher purpose and the meaning of existence that has been the studies of spirituality and religion for thousands of year and longer. Do understand this is a universal quest and questioning. It isn’t about a specific religion or spiritual belief system, although you may feel connected to and guided by one. But even for those who aren’t drawn to organized religious or eastern philosophy, their “religion” is formed by their own sense of purpose and truth. From a technical sense, even being an Atheist and believing “God doesn’t exist. We should just be nice to people” is a “religion” in the sense that it is a guiding set of beliefs for the meaning of life.
However you are inspired, however you find meaning and purpose, however you connect to a deeper hope, these are the things that we are invited to connect to here. For many reading this, you likely are in some ways connected to a spiritual path, and that may be the source of renewal and deepening. It is common in some way that our inspirations initially come from others as spiritual teachings, teachers and practitioners. (Sagittarius is also associated with Teachers and higher teachings.)
And for some, especially when first learning something new, when something “sounds good”, we might just cling to it as Truth. Hopefully it is. But sometimes that “clinging to” become Dogma. Even if the principle is sound and helpful, perhaps we become too rigid about it. Or perhaps we embrace a philosophy that isn’t really helpful but can’t see that yet. Or, perhaps we embrace a beautiful philosophy that is filled with the deepest Spiritual truths, but it only stays at the level of “ideas” and never sinks into direct experience through practicing it.
As the Full Moon begins to form in Gemini, it offers the counterbalance position to these potential challenges in forming our deeper belief systems and awakening deeper Truth from teachings and philosophies. Gemini is ruled by Mercury which rules our capacity for speech and communication. Mercury is fast and quick and curious about seeing many perspectives and having many experiences. As an air Sign, Gemini deepens Mercury’s curious, playful and creative nature. This quickness also reveals that Gemini energy is often not very attached to things. It can hop from one idea or experience to another and just explored and experiences the perspectives.
This Gemini energy reminds us that we must Test our principles and teachings. We must be willing to take the principle, the idea, the teaching, the philosophy and be unattached to it and put it into practice. And through the experiences of the practice, we will discover for our self if the teaching really is worth anything. Does “treating others with kindness” really benefit our self and others? We will only know if we become curious enough to “do an experiment” and see the outcome.
Through this willingness to test the beliefs and teachings we encounter without attachment or expectation, we are able to throw away what doesn’t work or what seems to have less positive impact, and keep the true Gold. As we learn to evolve Mercury through Gemini’s curious energy, Mercury becomes a deeper tool of mental discrimination. We learn, through our own experience, what is valuable and what is not. And we become centered in an embodied experience of our philosophies and spiritual practices, rather than just having “ideas about how things are”.
And as we explore through curiosity, and embody that experience, we become more calm, more centered and more genuinely sure that our teachings are working to improve our lives and the lives of those around us. And then Mercury’s capacity to communicate and speak arises to be able to clearly articulate these Truth from a place of wisdom and experience.
This is the balance point. So, are you putting your own ideals, principles and cherished beliefs into practice? Are you being the type of person that you hope others would aspire to become as well? Are you holding others to a higher standard that you allow yourself to slide on? And if so, what is the result of living and action from these principles? What can you observe in your own life or the lives of others that shows “it is valuable”?
We impact our own life and others by testing our beliefs to see if they really provide the benefits, the growth and the outcomes we expect. And if they do not, then we should also be willing to let them go and refine our understanding of life, others and the deeper meaning of existence.
I know for myself on the Spiritual Path, my understanding of various teachings has evolved and refined itself through practice and experience. There are popular teachings that I assumed were true, and later discovered they didn’t seem to benefit me, or discovered they were helpful at a certain stage of development, but ceased to benefit me once I stepped into a deeper understanding. So they changed. Or I threw them out.
This is what most any major “Wisdom Tradition” would teach. I know it is True of Tantra Yoga. The higher teachings are offered as the deepest Truths as discovered by those who have evolved to their fullest Spiritual Potential. We are invited to assume they are worth pursuing, but we are not required to believe it is True until we have a direct experience of that Truth. This is the difference between a “scholar” and a “practitioner”. The Scholar understands and can explain the philosophy, but an experienced practitioner knows by direct experience that it is True. It is of course possible to be both Scholar and Practitioner, but the layer of experience is what really deepens faith and clarity of the teachings.
In other transits, we see that Mars moved into Libra on December 23rd. This will help to connect our actions and strength with greater awareness of others. Mars always has the potential to create some agitation, anger or violence, but it is considered a “friendly” placement, so it’s general expression here should be one of calming some of the agitation we have seen recently.
Venus will also move into Scorpio just a couple of hours before the peak of the Gemini Full Moon. Here, our experience of happiness is moved into a more emotionally fluctuating space. It is also a fairly friendly position for Venus. It may bring some ups and downs with regard to emotional realms, but it will also connect us to our deeper desires. Look for opportunities to better connect to previously hidden desires and see if perhaps some greater happiness and fulfillment might be found in exploring them. This may be your hopes and dreams in any area of life. And Scorpio is also often associated with our sexuality (as an often hidden force), so you may find yourself feeling a little more connected to that level of desire as well.
This will also create an exchange of energy between Mars and Venus, which can lead to increased passion related to the pursuit of pleasure and happiness.
On December 26th, Mercury as Speech and communication is leaving Sagittarius, carrying with in a renewed sense of hope and optimism, and entering Capricorn. Capricorn brings the experience of Inner Structure where we learn to establish emotional boundaries and develop responsibility and ambition to embrace commitment in the world. It is oriented towards protection of self and others from perceived challenges and problems, and finding practical solutions to resolve them. This energy should be supportive of continuing the conversation about how best to protect our country from terrorism.
Mercury feels friendly in this environment, and hopefully this will support creating new understanding, open dialog and new policy around the fears and insecurities which have recently been brought into the collective experience. But I do see that Mars and Saturn are both aspecting Mercury in this position, which shows the communication in general is likely to be motivated by fear and anxiety (from Saturn) along with agitation and argument (from Mars). Be mindful around your own communications during this time as well.
How will you engage this Full Moon energy? What beliefs, teachings and inspired philosophies have been awakening for you? How has your understanding of life and the meaning of your own existence been shifted or challenged during these recent events? And what beliefs might you be blindly following that you would benefit by testing or just putting into action?
The above is a general Vedic Astrology Forecast. It discusses the shifts that are happening at the level of the Collective experience, as well as how you can use that Collective energy for your own growth and evolution.
For a detailed reading of how the Planetary cycles will impact you personally, you should schedule a private Vedic Astrology Reading.