For the main part, what is advertised as “Tantra” today is in fact “neo-Tantra”, modern syntheses of one or more traditional Tantric paths interwoven with more eclectic movement meditations, healing processes and personal sharing, dialogue and guidance.
The intention of these schools is to offer a practical, spiritual approach to relationships, meditation and life. So the goal is not purely “nirvana” or transcendence, but also to become a happier, more loving and fulfilled human being.
As body-oriented psychotherapy evolves, it has become ever clearer how our parents’ relationship – and this fundamentally involves their sexual relationship – shapes our own patterns in relationship and our sexual expression.
It is also apparent that dissatisfaction and immaturity in these areas leads to all manner of compensatory behaviours, from family break-up to sexual abuse to cultural, religious and international warfare. On the other hand, when one has a fulfilled, mature, spiritual sexual life, then a sense of completeness, overflowing love, connectedness and generosity is the natural consequence.
Tantra and neo-Tantra can offer both individuals and couples the skills and transformation required to truly “make love not war”.
After completing a degree in Psychology, and feeling empty and unsatisfied with the information that I had learned, I trained as a yoga teacher. This gave meaning to my life. The method of yoga I was practising was from the Vajryana school of Buddhism, and it worked with the elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether (the substance within which all elements reside).
It was Tantric in the non-sexual sense. In exploring the elements as they related to the physical body, seeking balance and harmony, I reflected on these elements and this balance in the whole of life.
Meanwhile my intimate relationships were a mess. I was frequently attracted to men who were either unavailable or were not interested in committed partnership.
Motivated by feelings of frustration, isolation and longing for the truth, I travelled first to a Thai monastery to practice vipassana (insight) meditation, and then to Australia where I attended an international conference on the breath.
Here I discovered Tantra, or neo-Tantra, and it was absolutely a seminal moment in my life. Despite being a shy, rather awkward young woman, I realised that I could have a deep sense of connection with a whole room full of strangers, without wanting something from them or needing them to be any different.
I had a sense of wholeness and completeness in myself, for the first time in my adult life. It was truly as if my body were, to use a popular Tantric metaphor, a flute, and that my breath and energy could travel up and down it freely, and it was all integrated.
Meditation was a sexual experience. Sexual expression was mediation. Love was the gateway that connected them both. And it was both quite a raw personal experience of opening and feeling vulnerable in an unfamiliar way, and yet also very joyful and transcendent.
From that point I continued my Tantric studies with various teachers, and became a Tantra facilitator myself, starting my own school, Diamond Light Tantra, in 2000. Adults of all ages and backgrounds, and from different religions attend. Students report benefits such as reconnection with beauty and sacredness, recognition that true fulfilment lies within themselves, and renewed vitality and connection with life.
After many years of marriage devoid of deep intimacy, long-term partners have fallen in love with each other again. Women who connect more deeply with their bodies have been able to conceive, immediately, after years of unsuccessfully trying, and have healed trauma from early experiences including sexual abuse.
Men feel more in touch with their potency and identity as men, as well as with their capacity to give and receive love. Couples make love as a spiritual practice, as prayer, for their relationship, for their children and for the healing of the planet.