Everyone has their own, unique reason to start with Tantra. In this article I will reveal my own personal reasons for signing up for my first Tantric retreat. I will also honestly tell you to what extent the practice of Tantra was successful in answering the desires and fears that were behind those reasons:-)
There is a good chance that you will recognize one or two of these reasons, as I heard them being told over and over again by the hundreds of peope I’ve guided on this beautiful path. I would love to hear from you what makes you interested in Tantra!
1. My life feels superficial
Gray. Boring. Not ‘real’.
That’s how I described my life when I was about 25 years old. Few ups, and few downs … it felt like a swamp I struggled through; dragging myself from one obligation to another. Trying to meet the expectations of… well, just about everybody but myself.
Whether that was changed by Tantra?
Absolutely. During that one introduction week, I felt more life in me than I had felt together in the ten years before. I sparkled, I vibrated with energy, I floated … And: I felt like being run over by a truck.
There was pain. Sharp, cutting pain. Deep dull pain. Pain of all kinds and colors that can be felt. Along with the vibrancy, the sparkle and the fun, there was also the pain of the separation that I had experienced for so long.
This is why: when life energy starts to flow again, it touches your whole being. It touches you in the places where you are radiant and you experience your greatest beauty. It also touches and lightens up the places where the darkness, the rawness and pain of life has gathered.
I have sometimes thought, especially in the early years of my Tantric practice: ‘maybe this was not such a good idea’. But gradually I got more and more confidence in my ability to ‘stay’ with my experiences. Through practicing all those weird and wonderful Tantric meditations I increased my ability to simply stay present, whatever I went through.
The beautiful and most fundamental teaching of Tantra is that an experience will always change. That is: if you let it run it’s natural course. If you are willing to ’take’ it completely as it is – without trying to block, hide or alter the sensations and feelings that come with it. That is a courageous thing to do, because it needs you to relax and let go. And we have not exactly learned to trust that all will be well if we simply let go.
But when you do not close yourself or cling to a certain feeling, as a reward you will feel more space, more openness and more connection. This is why Tantra is called the ‘Path of Transformation’.
It’s still a regular struggle, by the way. I don’t know if that will ever end. But hey: life has become a lot more colorful!
About Marije Oostindie
In 2007 I was together with my beloved Jeroen for three years, when we did our first course at the Center for Tantra. That overwhelming experience enriched all aspects of my life.
I am now affiliated with this beautiful institute as a teacher, and thoroughly enjoy the group retreats that I conduct there.
From this place I so often get the question ‘Can we also get to learn about Tantra privately?’, that I created these ‘Avonden vol Aandacht’ (Evenings full of Attention); private introductions to Tantra for couples.
It is very fulfilling for me to have my attention so extensively with two people with a genuine interest in themselves and each other.
2. Sex is a lot of trouble for little pleasure
If there is one area in our life where it becomes clear how tensed we are, it’s in sex. That also makes sexuality such an interesting subject in Tantra: all our cramps, but also all our free flow, comes to the surface in this area of our lives. Sex can be our greatest hell and our most glorious heaven.
Tantra does not make any statements about how often, with whom, when or how you should have sex. A quickie on the kitchen table every day? Totally cool! Celibate to the grave? Of course! Orgy? Lots of fun!
Tantra does, however, add an intriguing new opportunity to this range of possibilites. Namely, the possibility that sex becomes a meditation.
Stop doing it
In Tantra, sex can become a sacred time and space in which you and your partner(s) bring all your attention to the moment. You stop ‘doing’ sex, you no longer make an effort, you don’t force yourself. You even don’t try to get your partner to do what you like:-) You simply hang out in the moment together and you allow your free flow to go where it wants to go…
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, I was a master in forcing myself. It took me a long, long time to realize how much I was actually ‘doing sex’ for my partner. I was doing what I thought he wanted. So sex became something I dreaded over time. Logical, because I had no idea what I actually liked, and even less how I would ever dare to communicate that with my partner. It did not happen overnight – and I am still not completely free from effort – but I now experience sex as very fulfilling and above all: very much together.
3. Other people always feel so far away
Often I had the taste of cardboard in my mouth after catching up with friends in the pub. We had talked and talked endlessly, but did we speak about anything true?
I was so fed up with it!
Tantra was a revelation to me. It asked of me to show myself. It felt like being naked, without armour. Maybe you know it too; this little shield between you and the outside world, right under your skin. It’s like an invisible protection against the pain that other people may inflict upon you.
Practicing Tantra helps to soften this shield, this armour, very slowly. It requires courage to show your truth – but in Tantra it is seen as valuable in whatever colour it occurs. Your truth is valuable whether it’s black as hell and also when it’s radiant like the purest gold.
This revealing, becoming naked, is a super exciting and vulnerable thing to do.
I really need to feel safe in order to be so honest with myself and others. I was endlessly invited to show my heart to other people. And in fact, I almost always received a respectful response … and the greatest gift: the fragile revelation of the other’s heart.
Actually, when I look back now, I had a lot of trouble trusting people. But gradually I got the felt experience: people are basicly good. The only reason we are nasty, false and hateful towards eachother is because we are in pain and think we have to defend ourselves.
I must confess that some of my old friendships did not survive my journey in Tantra. Now that I had experienced so much real contact, I never wanted to catch up. The radical honesty that Tantra asks; that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Maintaining friendship is still not my greatest ability. But even if there are only a few; I feel very blessed with the people close by.
4. I don’t know which way to go in life
Just before my dive into the Tantric world, I regularly cried on the road to my job.
Is this ‘it’? How did I end up at this place? Why am I doing this?
Tantra has helped me to be much, much more in touch with my body. And my wise body turned out to be sending all kinds of signals that I had ignored for 25 years! When I started listening again, she seemed to be very clearly about which places and people I naturally wanted to move away from. And where and to whom I naturally wanted to go.
Tantra has reconnected me with my own inner compass.
After a few years into the world of Tantra, I more or less naturally became self-employed. That gave me the freedom to align my career with my spiritual development. I became an artist again after ten years of not touching a brush. And, after years and years of studying and assisting, I developed to be a Tantra teacher. And here we are!
5. What images come to mind when you hear the word ‘Tantra’?
Fair is fair; the mysticism surrounding Tantra exerted an enormous attraction on me. Isn’t it super cool to discover such a new world? All those age-old rituals, mantras, breathing exercises, crazy meditations and also something with sexuality. We could use a little more craziness in this life!
In an Avond vol Aandacht / private introduction to Tantra, you take the first steps on the path of Tantra, together with your beloved. Yes; Tantra is a path for life and this session is only three hours. Still I promise you you will learn a tremendous lot; about intimacy, the art of saying ‘yes’, and listening to the signals of your body.
Simply book your session through my online reservations page, or give me a call when you need more information or just want to get to know me a little better. I like to get to know you too:-) +31 (0)6.24620048.