Fall in love with your life with Tantra
5 keys for an ecstatic life: bringing tantra into your everyday. By Maria Porsfelt
Tantra is a genuine spiritual path that offers guidelines and methods that will gradually lead us to the realisation of our essential nature. Within this process, Tantra embraces the sensual and direct experience of life in all its nuances.
Life is innately spiritual, and when we have the right tools and attitudes we discover that life is imbued with spirit. By beginning to bring more awareness to our life experiences, they gain a sacred and profoundly meaningful dimension. Life becomes extraordinary, and leads us to ever deeper states of ecstatic awakening.
1. Take pleasure seriously
We often relate to pleasure as a guilty little add-on that makes everyday life more bearable. Whether it is the pleasure of relaxing in bed at the weekend, or the delicious treat we look forward to after lunch, such moments are mostly perceived as highlights that make the in-between parts easier to get through. This attitude brings two problems. One, we greatly underestimate the real importance of pleasure; and two, large chunks of our lives that we do not perceive to be pleasurable just become something to 'get through'.
When we experience something pleasurable, when we really surrender to that experience, we let go of any need to protect ourselves, and we can relax profoundly and expand our sense of self beyond our generalised though patterns and self-imposed limitations. Consciously experienced pleasure becomes a source of harmony and helps us gain new perspectives on ourselves and on our lives. Conscious pleasure connects us to the creative life force and makes our life more alive. Far from being just an add-on, pleasure is an important ingredient for a happy and fulfilling life.
We can learn to have a better relationship with pleasure, and as this relationship improves not only can we be propelled to discovering new parts of ourselves, we also become more and more attuned to the little pleasures life constantly offers – the pleasure of giving or receiving a hug, the pleasure of breathing fresh air, the pleasure of witnessing a beautiful sunset, the pleasure of having a quiet moment to be with ourselves.
You can start by making a pleasure date with yourself on a weekly basis: an hour spent without guilt, rush or agenda, on something that gives you pleasure, while giving yourself permission to be fully present, and to surrender to that feeling of pleasure.
2. Cultivate awareness
The extraordinary and ecstatic is born from the game between the experience and the one experiencing. And what links the two is awareness. Often great parts of our lives in the semi-darkness of autopilot, and we barely notice the moments passing as everyday life unfolds. It seems easier like that, so we can take a break and think of something else meanwhile. but what we are taking a break from is our life! And in the semi-darkness we do not see the meaningful details that reveal the value and purpose that life holds. We can only learn and grow from that which we are aware of – and this awareness should embrace all levels of our being, from the experience itself to the physical, emotional and mental contribution. By cultivating awareness we grow in understanding ourselves and the world, and we begin to perceive a new depth in our experiences. With awareness, we notice nuances in every experience, and often we discover a richness in apparently banal everyday life occurrences that were previously unsuspected.
Practice meditation to train your ability to become present. Spend some moments each day writing in a journal, describing your physical, emotional and mental states. This will give you the beneficial habit of bringing awareness to your whole being and to your experiences.
"Conscious pleasure connects us to the creative life force and makes our life more alive. Far from being an add-on, pleasure is an important ingredient for a happy and fulfilling life."
3. Carpe Diem
We tend to take tomorrow for granted – just like we did today. Most of our lives are in this way lost to the ordinary, and the extraordinary is a rare occasion. Seizing the day is done by seizing every moment of every day, every time we remember – this moment is your life! Give value to every day by striving to live a life of virtue and purpose. Seize every day like a piece of a great puzzle, in which every moment has its place in a much bigger picture. The right place is always found through the heart, by giving our best, by seizing the day and giving it all we have. You will discover that resisting the day takes much more energy and brings a lot less happiness than seizing it!
4. Give love a place of importance
One of the most important and beautiful components of our life is love. We know this – we dream about love, we long for it, we talk about it and we sing about it. But we often forget to really cherish it. Love connects us to the essence of life, transcends any physical limitation and exists at the very core of our being. Love is the presence of the creator in creation, it is the fundamental energy that sustains existence, and at the same time it is something we can feel as an emotion in our heart. Love brings a feeling of interconnectedness and a deeper sense of self. Love is essentially a choice, and therefore always a possibility. Aim to choose love at every chance you have!
Nourish and express the feeling of love every time you feel it and whenever the opportunity presents itself, whether it is in a kind gesture to a stranger, in creating a candlelit, romantic moment for yourself or a loved one, giving a helping hand to a friend or putting all your heart into whatever you are doing in this moment.
"Give value to every day by striving to live a life of virtue and purpose. Seize every day like a piece of a great puzzle, in which every moment has its place in a much bigger picture."
5. Manifest a state of detachment as much as possible
Too often we cling to things, perspectives, opinions, or emotional patterns out of habit or fear of the unknown. Letting go doesn't mean throwing away, it just means stop clinging. The state of detachment brings a superior perspective. When we dare to let go of our opinions, our reactions and preconceived ideas, and at least for a moment simply let life be, it is as if we can rise and gain a new understanding from a high level. Detachment is not indifference, but rather a 'zooming out'. Detachment brings harmony and allows growth by freeing us from our limiting patterns and perspectives. When you feel something challenging catch you, stop for a moment and repeat to yourself: "I nurture the state of detachment and I accept with a calm and serene equanimity everything as it is: a Divine lesson."
Attitude changes everything, and by bringing these five keys to your life with perseverance, you can open more and more to the path life offers in every moment, gently guiding you home to a place of pure happiness.
Maria Porsfelt began her journey of self-discovery through yoga and Tantra in 2001, and is coordinating teacher at Tara Yoga Centre (tarayogacentre.co.uk)