No I am not writing about tantric sex. I have never tried or practiced that.
I wanted to write about a deeper definition of tantra I received from my teacher, and how it has been showing up in my life. There are many definitions of tantra out there, but here I am just going to be writing about what I have been taught and have personally experienced.
When someone in my sangha recently asked my teacher what tantra was, he said that "if you are on planet earth, you are engaged in tantra". What he means by this is that tantra is the alchemical transformation that naturally happens when the walls of our ego meet the walls of another's ego. Within each person there are stubborn opinions, various types of wounds, social and cultural conditioning, unique emotional and mental tendencies etc. and all of these aspects create a lens that distorts one's view of reality. At the same time, each human has an inherent goodness that wants to go towards love and harmony, but it is blocked by these distortions of reality. The tension between the inner imperfections and the desire for love creates a tantric path of eventual ego-dissolution as the soul wants only perfect Love at any cost.
I heard a story about a black man who would meet Klu Klux Klan members and slowly transform them with love. He was putting himself in danger by going to their meetings and confronting the KKK members, but he was driven to create changes in their hearts. Over the years he collected many of their uniforms, as one by one they would be transformed and surrender their uniform to him. He was also transformed by sitting in the fire of his own pain that was triggered by them, with patience and love. I have also heard countless stories of people being transformed by their challenging relationship with their spouse, child, dog, boss etc when they were willing to open their hearts and let go of some of their egos. Just ask a new mother who has to be up most hours of the night, how ego-transformative that must be. Life has a way of giving us what we want to avoid and teaching us how to love it.
To my knowledge, unconditional love is the true outcome of tantra. It is being willing to sacrifice all aspects of the small self in the transformative bonfire of Love. It is not at all easy. You come face to face with so much you don't want to see or feel in yourself. It is being willing to sit with the pain in yourself, to listen deeply to the pain in others, to let go of your own perspective to hear someone else's, to open yourself to opinions that you think you can never acknowledge in a million years, to let your mind and your body be opened and rearranged by the Truth you find deep within someone who you once called "other". It is bravely going to all the darkest and unknown corners of your being because you are willing to do it for love, truth, and to make this world a better place. It is letting go of who you think you are and what you want to allow Divine Love to overtake you, blessing you and all beings with harmony and wholeness.