Origins of Tantra


as viewed from the Creativity Perspective and Energy Consciousness Model

A Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity discussion topic

Copyright 2009 by K. Ferlic,   All Rights Reserved

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Tantra is a spiritual tradition which teaches and believes one can obtain spiritual enlightenment through the use of sexuality. Or, if said another way, sexuality does not stand in the way of spiritual enlightenment but can be used for enlightenment.

Tantra is the only spiritual practice that has been found to suggested the conscious use of sexuality as a creative tool for other than creating physical offspring. However, based on the observations of Tantra as part of the exploration of our inherent creativity, Tantra is focused on using energy of sex and sexuality to obtain spiritual enlightenment with overtones that the physical world is something to be transcended as opposed to embracing Physical Creation and using the depth and breadth of sex as the creative tool that it is.

Tantra was explored as part of the conscious journey into creativity to see what it said about sexuality and creativity. Independent of any information gained from Tantra, working with individuals to access their creativity revealed sexuality was found to be one of the most if not the most significant issue relative to individuals accessing their creative power and creative ability. As a result, the observed impacts of sexuality on our creative ability and creative power sexuality and creativity was further explored and Tantra was one of the paths for that further exploration.

Origins of Tantra

In reading the following observations and comments about Tantra, the reader is reminded that Tantra is a very old tradition and its roots go back hundreds and thousands of years. As in any tradition, there are authors and teacher who only have an intellectual understanding of a subject with little experiential knowledge. Or, worse yet, they only repeat what they have been old with little intellectual understanding of what they are told let alone experience. Also, many who pass on an old tradition allow their perceptions and experiences of what they have read and experienced elsewhere to influence what they say about what they write or teach. Additionally there is the issue that information available, and how it was explained, hundreds or thousands of years ago does not fully pertain to our current world and/or even apply. Analogies, metaphors, symbolism, references and the like can lose their meaning over time as ways of living or technologies change. As such, there may be part of any tradition which are incompatible for the society in which it is currently used. As any human being does, individuals will adapt, fill in, replace or revise information that is not accurate or effective for their time and place. As a result there are many changes, permutations, and the like which occur in any traditions. Something the essential truths remain. Sometimes they are lost. This leaves open the question does what is done within any old tradition today really reflect the essence which gave rise to that tradition in the first place.

What follows here is based on the observations of Tantra from a variety of sources as part of the exploration of our inherent creativity to understand the creative power of sex and sexuality and how they influence our creative ability and creative power. What is stated here is not based on the reiteration of information on Tantra form any source. It is based on the experiences of the author, those whom the author observed as part of the exploration of creation, and those who were subsequently counseled based on the understanding of our creative spirit and its need to be allowed to freely express itself to create the experiences it incarnated to have and create the experiences as to what gives life to the individual. You are, of course, free to do your own experiments and observations, to prove or disprove what is stated here.

From the creativity perspective and what has been observed about human sexuality, the origins of Tantra are quite simple. It had been observed centuries ago that one is able to have mystical experiences and transcendental experiences through sex or as a result of sex. Many feel a separation in the sexuality they experience and what sex provides. Yet there is something in the sex that they know will give them wholeness for it is a part of their creative power. So many look to certain types and kinds of practices around sex that have been reported to give individuals mystical and/or transcendental experiences. Centuries ago and over time a collection of these practices and related beliefs which go with the practices became the essence of Tantra.

Comments on Tantra

In talking about Tantra, it need to be understood that Tantra can be considered a form of mysticism that is characterized by the belief that through physical love and sexuality accompanied with the appropriate spiritual practices and beliefs, a direct and immediate consciousness of God can be achieved.

Tantra is based on a belief system developed in a particular time and place passed down through the centuries. How much it has evolved by subsequent teachers is open to question. Because it is based on experiences we have in the body, in particular in sexual experiences and/or sexual feeling, there are things that can only be learned from, or with, another and through the use of the body. All cannot be put in book or even transmitted orally in words. Some things need to be experienced. Additionally, the human collective has changed from the time Tantra was first created to what exists now. There are beliefs and understanding in the human collective which did not exist even one hundred years ago.

Tantra is the only spiritual practice that has been found to suggested the conscious use of sexuality as a creative tool for spiritual enlightenment. Tantra was explored as part of the conscious journey into creativity to see what it said about sexuality and creativity. Sexuality was found to be such a significant issue relative to individuals accessing their creative power and creative ability, a questionnaire on sexuality and rituals was developed to help begin exploration of the deep beliefs and feelings an individual carried about sexuality when they attempt to engage in creative endeavors, in particular, creating rituals However, what was discovered was most of the issues and beliefs around sexuality and their link to the individual’s creative power lied in the individual’s nonconscious, and only revealed themselves in context. Hence a questionnaire was of limited value. Consequently, something like a meta-theater was more appropriate and powerful way to surface sexually related beliefs which impact our creativity.

Tantra was explored to see if, in any way, it addressed what we being observed about sexuality and its relation to, and impacts on, our creative ability and creative power. It was also explored to see if it provided an explanation as to why sexuality arises in certain creative endeavors and not others. It was observed sex and sexuality were quite readily used as a creative tool in Tantra. However, Tantra was actually silent on the creative aspects of sexuality and as a creative tool and uses sex and sexuality more covertly that overtly. Tantra was seen trying to control the energy of sexuality in order to obtain spirituality as opposed to surrendering and flowing with the energy as Creation unfolding.

The impression provided by Tantra was that it was almost as thought the original creators of Tantra understood the creative powers of sexuality and sex such that they incorporated it into their tradition. However they never taught their disciples and/or followers including subsequent teachers about the creative power available to them nor passed that information on to others. Rather, it was used for the purposes of the tradition and for whatever reason the creative aspects of sexuality and how to use them were not shared with the users of the tradition. The more likely scenario was the originators of Tantra stumbled upon the creative powers of sexuality is the creative powers of sexuality were never fully understood as a creative tool. Rather the creative powers were simply incorporated within the tradition and used in a unknowing, more nonconscious way - the way most use the creative powers of sex and sexuality.

Tantra, as a teaching or at least how it is taught, is really silent on the creative tool that it is. In many way Tantra has compromised sexuality and it powers of creation for the purposes of the beliefs of Tantra about spirituality rather than teaching its followers the true powers of sexuality. In some ways, in a rather cynical view, it can be said sex sells and when all else fails to market what you wish to sell, use sex. In many ways all Tantra is doing is using sex to market one view of spirituality. The real issue in using sexuality this way from a creativity perspective is if the spiritual is seen in any way separate from, or somehow better than, the physical, both the true creative power of sexuality and wisdom of the creator/Creator are denied and one continues to foster the separation of the creator/Creator from creation/Creation.

In the end, individuals who practice Tantra and do achieve some reasonable level of enlightenment will tell you the answer is not in the sexuality but beyond it. Only the mind thinks it is in the sexuality and about sexuality. It is much like anthropologist Carlos Casteneda who studied the religious and spiritual aspects of the mushroom with the Native American Shamans of Central America. After he was initiated into the practice by the his teacher Don Juan, Carlos discovered the mushrooms were not necessary. Don Juan then told Carlos, the mushroom were never necessary. Don Juan said that he used the mushrooms because Carlos thought the power was in them. But the mushrooms were only used as a tool. So too the issue of sexuality as the means to enlightenment and/or understanding. Creatively, it is a tool for creating a flow of energy - for creating life - and needs to be understood as the tool that it is.

The issue to be discussed in creative sexuality is our creative power and the role sexuality does or doesn’t play in our creative power. The real issue around sexuality is our creative power lies in what we feel. Sexuality is a door way to feeling at each and every level of our being. In Tantra the use of sexuality is toward enlightenment. That is, it takes what we feel and directs our action to Tantra’s view of spiritual enlightenment. In this regard the question become how does sexuality work within the Tantric practice to give enlightenment. The answer is it doesn’t. Rather it is in the feelings which are created by the sexuality and how the energy in the feeling that is created is directed. Ultimately it is all about the control of our mind and how we do or don’t feel, what we allow ourselves to feel or not feel, and how we do or don’t direct the energy that we feel.

The key here is to realize there is an awareness in what we feel. There is a clarity about what we need to do in life or with our life which comes in a knowing. The knowing is only accessible through feeling - the deepest feeling to which we can go. These feelings arise and come through the body tending to enthuse the entire body. The feelings lie beyond the types and kinds of feelings which can arise in sex but are often similar because they are about creating life. Consequently, because there can be sexual overtones when the whole body is enthused with the feeling of the business of our life or the intention for our life, most never see this knowing or use it for they get distracted by the sexuality. In doing so, they miss an opportunity of a life time.

In Tantra, the distraction normally caused by the sexuality is directed back toward the awareness which lies within the feeling. However, rather than teaching the individual how to simply stay with the feeling and access the awareness, the individual is taught to direct the energy into creating an experience which is interpreted to be spiritual enlightenment.

When doing Tantra there are many techniques, recommendations and even schools of thought on how certain things should or shouldn’t be done. But, in one way or another, they all focus on awakening the Kundalini and taking the awakened energy upwards for spiritual enlightenment. They all incorporate some type and kind of meditation practice. Usually the meditation practices are kept secret and only passed on until the individual has obtained a certain level within the tradition. That is, it is about the control of the energy rather than flowing with it and allowing the flow of energy to lead..

Kundalini is about feeling and a flow of energy and we can look at it either way. If we see it as a flow of energy within our being, we are, in essence, separate ourselves from the flow. If we allow ourselves to experience it as feelings, we become one with the flow. In being the flow we can move the focus of our attention and awareness upstream to see its origins or down stream to see where it is flowing. Here we open the door to see through time and space and open the door to see creation for what it really is.

However we choose to look at it, the Kundalini appears to start at the base of the spine and rise upward. What the author never saw discussed in the Tantra world was a corresponding flow of energy that flowed downward, in essence opposite the Kundalini which was just as powerful. This downward flow of energy is more like the flow path of energy discussed in the Kaballah mystical tradition. Nor was there any discussion, in any tradition studied by the author of the flow of energy that seems to originate in the heart and flow both upward and downward simultaneously which can be experienced as more powerful than the Kundalini or the corresponding downward flow of energy.

The author has found that there is a flow of energy that originates in what is symbolized in the heart that overpowers any control issues that exist in all the other six chakras. This flow of energy which originates from within the heart will override and overpower any control issues around sexuality or control issue of what individuals attribute to God. This flow of energy from the heart contains both what is described in the upward flow of Kundalini and the downward flow as described in the Kaballah. That is, they are one and the same flow originating from the heart without separation. 

This energy flowing from the heart allows one to see and experience a total and profound oneness to all Creation in a relatively fast, easy and gentle way. It allows one to see there is not a person on the face of the earth with whom we could not have a passionate love affair. All that keeps us from having that passionate love affair is our own mind and what we think and believe. But then the question becomes, “why would we want to have a passion love affair with any given individual and what would we desire to create with them and why, in particular, why them as opposed to anyone else?”

Although there are several differing schools of thought on Tantra, there are some interesting common distillations that are related to the creative powers of sexuality. The creative impacts of these distillations are discussion elsewhere as in the topic “Discussion and Thoughts on Tantric Practices from a Creativity Perspective” and expanded upon in the whole area of Creative Sexuality.

One distillation is to take the awakened energy upward more as a transmutation of a "base" energy into a more "spiritual" and "enlightened" energy. This is really only about understanding sexuality and the energy within our being acts at every level of our being and is not just physical.

Another is the male should wait for the female until she is ready. A third is the male needs to learn to control himself and not readily ejaculate. It is often said a male will lose his power in ejaculation and especially if done quick and not waiting for the female. Yet it is the said the female loses no power but gains power in organism and needs to be allowed to readily brought to organism frequently and often to gain power. There are tidbits of understanding that really point to the need to move past sex and is a very simplistic description of what moving past sex look like.

A fourth is all the Tantric traditions use meditation in some form or another. A fifth is all use some type of focus in their meditation. The focus is not necessarily a mantra  but nevertheless a focus of the mind. All use yogic type positions and/or practices. Some positions are specifically directed to enhancing sexual stimulation while others are directed at raising the energy from a ‘base’ level to a higher “enlightened” level. All use ritual. All use some type or kind of prayer or its equivalent. All have a deity, deities, and/or a spiritual master that is held in great reverence. Use of meditations, the object of focus in meditation, yogic position and practices, rituals, prayers and the like are all ultimately about creating a single point focus and focusing our attention and awareness to create our desired experience. The Tantric tradition implies there is something special in the meditations, the focus or the positions when in reality, they are all simply about focusing our attention and awareness.

One of the key issues which underlies Tantric practices is what we get and receive in terms of feelings and energy, we do not use for ourselves. That is, we do not seek the sex for its pleasure. We enjoy it and savor it fully in the experience of allowing the energy and feelings to flow freely but we do not seek it for the sex and it pleasure. If we do, it will simply become an addiction.

The focus of the Tantric perspective is to direct the energy upward. First and foremost we move the energy up from the lowest chakra to the highest. On this point of directing the energy upward, in older traditions that are not readily practiced today, the partner we have, or rather it should be said the partner we are given for the rituals, is not someone whom we have emotional, romantic, or conjugal connections. We are completely unattached to the partner. Each partner would function for the other to stimulate and be a vehicle to help cause the sexual energy to arise. In this way the energy is not directed toward the ego and the ego desires of the individual but much more available for creating spiritual insights. In doing this one would learn to be detached from their partner and learn to work with and manage the energy that was flowing within their being. Yet, this aspect of Tantra is not practiced by most individuals who study Tantra because of existing social customs and, of course, the dominance of the ego's desires and wants. Most individuals encountered by the author who pursued Tantra seemed to be more interested in finding a way to explore and engage in sexuality in a way that their mind considered safe within their spiritual desires. Few, if any, desire to explore and become a servant of the energy.

This practice of using a partner to whom one is not attached was probably one of the more powerful aspects of the Tantra practice to destroy the ego. The reason for this is most engage in sex with the intent of enjoying the pleasure of the sex and subconsciously reinforcing their own ego. What has been observed in most individuals when it comes to sex is the individual tends to feel they own the other person and/or need to control the other person. Most individuals feel that other person should be devoted to their pleasure although they say otherwise or believe otherwise. Although not consciously aware of it, many keep the energy that is release in sexuality for themselves and seek only their own pleasure. Most seek to stimulate their partner not so much that their partner fully enjoys the experience and use the energy for their unfoldment and/or the creative needs of each other, but more to satisfy their partner so their partner remains around so the individual can have sex in the future. Usually there are tremendous control issues around sex and the use of sex in both individuals. If the control issues are not cultural and social controls, then there are personal control issues. One of the main focus in older Tantric practices was to break these control issue not only around sex but the control issues of both the mind and ego for after all, the Tantric was being used to create spiritual enlightenment. Hence any technique that could break the control of mind and ego was a potential candidate for use. In this regard, some tradition did use Tantric initiation rituals.

In any case what is important here is how the creative power within is accessed and used or not used. On this point, first and foremost, our creative power and creative ability lies in feelings. Unless we feel we do not, will not, and cannot act. We must feel to act. The greater the feelings the greater our ability to act. We access our creative power in feeling and through feelings. We can feel both consciously and nonconsciously. When we act and don’t know why we act it is because we are feeling something but what we feel has not surfaced into our conscious mind but is process by our nonconscious mind. So we just seem to act with no particular reason. Hence it is essential to learn to feel and to be open to feeling and to make our nonconscious mind conscious especially about what we feel and don’t feel. For reason discussed elsewhere about our loss of creative play, most of us have shut down our ability to feel early in life. Yet, it is being aware of what we feel nonconsciously we open the door way to our psychic abilities. It is why many enlightened masters have psychics powers and access the siddhis. They arise from the individual being able to seen into their own nonconscious mind as an as a being of infinite consciousness either through the techniques they use and/or through their own awareness of themselves and how their mind works. What one uses depends on the tradition and training of the master and their school of thought.

Sex is probably the single greatest method of, or for, feeling humans have. But the issue of sex and feelings is not the sex. The issue is the body feeling. It is just that the desire and need to have sex allows us to use the body in a deep state of feeling or, said otherwise, to engage in sex, we must expose our body to feeling. So sex is a natural doorway to our creative powers which lie in what we feel. It is just that most engage in sex for the sex and the feelings which arise but never become aware or consciously use the creative powers that lie in the feelings that are generated in sexuality. Nevertheless the creative powers that lie in the feelings that are generated and arise in sexuality act to cause us to create nonconsciously and this is the way most create with sexuality. Tantric attempts to use these feelings more consciously but directed toward its ends. Tantric practices and teachers never talks about the role of feelings as a creative power and/or how the practices are directing and manipulating the feeling to create what the particular Tantric school of thought thinks is enlightenment.

Here is the catch and the issue about Tantra. Any Tantric tradition is a school of thought. It is a spiritual, religious or esoteric tradition no different than any other tradition. It attempts to channel people into its belief system and understanding of God or about God, spirituality and the like. It is just that it uses the creative power of sexuality and the feelings that are generated to meet its desired end. Individuals are not taught their creative power lies in what they feel. Their creative ability lies in how developed their mind is and how it is focused to direct what they feel.

There are two parts to our creative power. One is what we feel and allow ourselves to feel. The other is what we understand about how the world works, how we work and what we understand about what we feel and subsequently how we direct what we feeling based on our understanding. Tantra uses both. It creates conditions where it is safe to feel and directs what is felt into its end.

Tantric practices use the sex to awaken and arouse the creative power within the individual without telling the individual that what is occurring. It then overlays it tradition and beliefs into the individuals mind to channel the energy released into its ends. The spiritual realization that people have from any particular Tantric practice or school of thought is just an experience of what they believe about God and spirituality. A different set of beliefs would provide a different type and kind of experience - may be similar but different. This issue is discussed under that topic, “The problem of mind and the experience of the Source of Creation - the trap of mind.” Quite simply, our creative life energy will mold itself into an experience of what we think and believe. Change our focus and we will change the experience we have, even of God and what and experience of God looks and feels like.

People are not taught how to raise the feelings within their own being and what they can use to raise their feelings. Similarly they are not taught to look to see what really serves them and helps them to create a life worth living based on their own heart and uniqueness of being. Rather, most are taught to serve a system of some type - religious, spiritual, social or cultural. Rather than teaching people about their own creative spirit, how to access it and how to manage it, people are taught to follow whatever their “teachers” direct whether those teachers be care givers, social elders, state person or the like.

Our creative power lies in feelings. Our creative ability lies in what we understand about our feelings and how Creation does or doesn’t work. All the rituals, prayers, meditation practices, yogi positions, and education given to individuals in a Tantric practice are only there to control the creative energy that is released, by and through, the sexuality to direct it into the endpoint as identified by the Tantric tradition and/or teacher.

In accessing and releasing the depth and breadth of our unlimited creativity and creative ability and creative power the following needs to be understood. Our creative power lies in feelings, what we feel and what we don’t feel. Our creative ability lies in what we understand about our feelings and how Creation does or doesn’t work.

To access our creative power, we need to be open to what we feel at each and every level of our being. We need to become aware of what we feel nonconsciously that may be directing us in life. We need to explore what methods allow the greatest feelings to arise within our being. For large tasks we need enormous feelings that will last years. For small tasks, we need only a little feeling. It is much like learning to fuel a rocket. We need to ensure it has enough fuel to last the journey we wish to take.

To access our creative ability, we need to become aware of the creative/creation process, how Creation works and how we work. We need to know what serves us and what a life worth living looks like to us. We need to understand that life and what serves us is most probably unique to us and may not look like what serves any other. We need to understand what we think and believe and how we think and believe what we think and believe and why. The more conscious creative ability we desire the greater the depth we need to explore these questions. The greater the creation, again, the greater we need to explore these questions.

What we need to realizes is that what we think and believe has a great bearing on what we experience. This is true for Tantra and any other tradition or school of thought we may use.

Summary statement on the observations of Tantra

Sex is about creating life. The observation made in the exploration of our inherent creativity is that those who are drawn to Tantra are some how looking to become alive and find life at some level of their being and/or to understand the feeling about creating life they have that are arising as sex. It is just they are looking to find it in sex for they think it is sex.

Those who go deeply into the Tantric practices will say the answer is not in sex. Nevertheless many sells the sex of Tantra rather than life it creates - not all, but some, for after all, sex sells. Creating life doesn’t sell for people don’t know they are looking for life. Our mind thinks it knows what gives it life so we look to make a living as opposed to sustaining and expanding the life which flows from within. Here it does need to be noted, the same observation is true for those seeking spirituality and those who see the spiritual as an answer for their longing. What they seek is a life that allows them to feel alive and full of life. What they seek is their own heart and the life they incarnated to live.

At the deepest levels of Creation we are it. In feeling the need for what is called a spirit journey of any type or any journey to look for the external partner to complete us, we are ultimately only looking to create a particular kind of life where we are free to release our creative spirit to give us the life we incarnated to live. This does not mean we do not wish to share life with another which includes having a sexual experience. However we need no other to complete us. When we are whole and complete we seek to share life, we do not seek any other to complete us. In living the life we incarnated to live we find that inner satisfaction and inner freedom and all that we seek in finding Heaven or finding Nirvana. We can have it all here and now. We have only come to deny our need for an inner journey and the experiences we incarnated to have because of our current mind and what we have come think and believe.

We need to realize our outer world is reflective of our inner world. What we seek in an external partner to fill our inner longing which draws many to sex or spirituality is to look in the wrong direction. There is, of course, a biological need for a mate to create a child, but creating a child does not address the inner longing which we see the external partner addressing. To find and live in wholeness within our being and satisfy the deep inner longing we feel, we cannot believe we are in any way separate from the external world. We need to see the external world as the reflection of what lies within.

When we feel we are lacking something and we are drawn to find an external partner, we need to look at our inner masculine and inner feminine to see which, if not both, have not been able to come to maturity to give us what we need. The inner masculine is about finding our truth and having the courage, strength of will and fearlessness to live it in the world. The inner feminine is about nurture what lies in our heart and what gives us life to live the life we incarnated to live. When we do what gives us life we are moving toward living our truth and nurturing our truth and the experiences it creates. In doing what gives us life we find a fullness of being, and passion for life and for living, a desire to share life, an expansion of being or a blossoming of our being. In is living our truth our gifts are brought forth and given to the world.

Ultimately this inner journey to address the inner masculine and inner feminine is intimately tied to both the body and what it feels and to the outer world. There is a powerful mind body connection at work and profound inner and outer reflection. Each, the inner and the outer, can be used to address the other. What we desire externally, we need to look internally as to what and where we are not giving ourselves what we seek to meet our true need to create what serves us. Similarly, what we feel internally we need to look eternally in how we are not living such that we can give ourselves what we need to experience. But we cannot change one and sustain the change without working both the inner and the outer. Something will need to be sacrificed in our inner and outer world to create the life we wish to live. A part of us must die  to create what we desire.

Related topics
Discussion and Thoughts on Tantric Practices from a Creativity Perspective
Sexuality and awakening consciousness
Sexuality - a tool for enlightenment about our own mind
Sexuality and becoming aware

A bottom line about sex and our creativity
Sensual experience beyond sex

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