The word “Tantra” is as misused these days as most words borrowed from the East. While the word originally means both the “web of life” and a “technique” one might use to work with the web, it has been demoted, in most circles of Western spirituality, to mean some kind of kinky spiritual eroticism. While it is fair to say that some forms of sexual “techniques” were practiced in some schools of old Tantra, it is a pity that they have lost their greater meaning as to what those practices can be truly all about.
To have Tantric Trust is to trust the web of life, and to trust the path that you take to engage it. To trust in such a way is to trust what is outside of ourselves as though it were intricately prepared just for us to experience. It is also to trust that our inner discernment will always guide us as to how far we follow the outside’s lead. This kind of trust is a slow turning process that ever takes us out, then in, then out, then in and ever onward, revealing in each pass a little bit more of the interconnection between the two.
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead, you relax, and float.”
Life has a way of pushing our buttons, and the nature of such button pushing is that we don’t have a choice in the matter, which is often intensely frustrating. The choice we do have, however, is how we respond to the situation. Not only in our ability to choose our attitude rather than have emotional patterning dictate it, but also in how we choose to see the bigger picture of adversity itself. The process is not often very pretty, and success in this is a path paved with the stones of failure.
With practice, we can learn to catch ourselves, whether days, hours, or moments from our initial response. With determination, we can find the will within us to push through such negative patterning and instead invoke our preferred reorientation to the situation. At times we may only have the thought that we could respond in a better way. It is easy to write off such meager glimpses as a failure, and certainly, they are nothing to tout as a virtue to others. Yet even these little moments of fleeting potential need to be silently acknowledged to ourselves. Where attention goes, energy flows.
Exploring The Edges
Self-knowledge is never something you will find by resting on your laurels. It is all too easy to assume we know who we are and what we are made of. It is all too tempting to posture ourselves on our ideas of who we are rather than uncover the depths of what forms us and let that undefinable energy instead resonate into and through us to shape our relations. It is a rare person who would set out from the comfort zones of toxic belonging to see what lies beyond the horizons.
Out on the edge of our world, we will find a more complete spectrum of experience. This can be both shadow and light. Whether we are challenging ourselves with public performance, new relationships, solitude, skill development, loss, or responsibility, we will find it brings both an invigoration and a challenge to our balance. They say, “what does not kill you will make you stronger.” I say, if it does not try to kill you then you will never find your strength, meaning, if it does not transform you, it did not empower you.
The Delicate Art Of Discernment
Yet, too much is too much. Our edges must be explored but our boundaries must also be honored. We must ever be weighing the balance between self-protection and vulnerability. To err on the former is to hide from the beauty and wonder of empowerment. To err on the latter is to have lost our polestar of appreciation and gratitude for the unlikeliness of incarnation. Fearlessness must always be balanced with nurturance.
Of course, we fail in this balance all the time. It is through the exploration of the extents of a given set of polarities that we may discover where the center is. At times it may seem like we are flailing wildly. At other times we may have the poise of silent decisiveness. Discernment is an ever-shifting calibration. One day it will say to jump right in, even though our fear triggers are sounding the alarms. Another day it will be very clear that those alarms are for real. This is the price of and the promise to those who would dare to see life for themselves.
Suggested Divination Meanings
Am I letting fear keep me from taking the path of power?
In what do I place my trust and why?
What path promises me empowerment even though I hesitate to take it?
Have I pushed myself too far into intensity and need to take a step back to recover?
What is this challenge pointing my attention too that I don’t want to look at?
What would the person I want to become choose to do in this situation?
Am I afraid to withdraw, because it will appear weak to others, even though I know it is for the best?
What path forward will invigorate me most?
What have I learned, from taking things either too far or not far enough, that applies to this situation?
Can I see the symmetry in this challenge, and how it is meeting me right where I have the need to grow?