One of the most beautiful things that the practice of tantra has brought into my life is a sense of deep acceptance. For who I am, for how I am. For all the little perfect imperfections of my being. It’s a growing process, one that’s never completed, always alive and growing. And this is part of the beauty of it.
The key, for me, revolves around acceptance and judgment. Judgment, in these terms, means accepting certain things and rejecting others. About ourselves, about others, about the world, about how life is. In essence: making something wrong. It can be pretty easy to slip into this. We all have things about ourselves that we would like to change, that we may not want to see, things we reject or try to fight against. And we tend to see those same things in others that we interact with and in the world at large, judging outwardly just as we judge inwardly.
One challenge that this brings is the tendency to move into conflict with ourselves. We may deny those things we don’t accept, or strive to change them. We might be angry or shameful: about our desires, our feelings, our habits, attitudes or emotions. But when we shun them, they only become stronger. We may push them down into the subconscious, but they just leak out around the edges of the masks that we wear, or explode outward and cause problems. We may get the feeling that no matter how hard we try to change, these qualities keep popping up, sometimes stronger than before.
Tantra is a practice of deep acceptance. Of knowing that there is no right or wrong. Everything we are, is essential to our beings, a beautiful part of our sacred journey. Tantra is about being present in the moment: feeling our feelings and simply allowing them to be.
Something amazing happens when we stop fighting and start accepting. Imagine for a moment a pain or anger you’ve been trying so hard to ignore. Imagine just stopping and allowing yourself to feel it, to be with it. At first, it can be overwhelming. It hurts, or it’s so strong that we could easily get carried away by it. That’s why we’ve run, or hidden, or lashed out, or made a story about it, or gone into the blame game. But we sit with it, breathing, allowing it to be.
This is just the beginning of acceptance, and yet if we are able to truly do this, to really love the parts of ourselves that are coming up to be heard, the charge starts to ease. We start to feel more space around the feeling. We might take it further and open up. Share what’s coming up with a trusted friend or loved one, move into a place of vulnerability. Suddenly, the thing that we’ve been fighting all this time begins to fade. We’ve stopped fighting it, stopped running or hiding from it. Stopped feeding the fire. We’re actually feeling it, and this brings a deep sense of peace and release.
This makes space inside of us. Space to allow life in, to feel, to see what’s around us in the moment, and to experience how beautiful, how joyful, rich, and alive the moment really is. This is the core of tantra. It’s something that we can explore in sexuality and sensuality, connecting to the body and the deepest creative force in existence. But it doesn’t stop there. This sense of acceptance, this peace with ourselves and with our moment, extends into everything we experience. Into every relationship, regardless of what the relating looks like on the surface. Into our approach to life at the deepest level and in every way.