Ignorance and misunderstanding are always dangerous; but when they are expressed from someone who has some power, or even feels somehow empowered, the dangers become magnified.
Tantra is power. Tantra is freedom. Freedom is the ultimate power. “You are free. You can do anything.” What can be more powerful, more empowering, than this. People go crazy over such freedom; such power. Some are terrified by the anarchy inherent in such statements. Others use such statements as an excuse to follow a terrifying kind of anarchy, a selfish lawlessness in pursuit of selfish interests. Only the enlightened can understand such freedom; such power.
Many people take Tantra to immoral, or, at best, amoral. But this is not the case at all. Although Tantra does not layout laws and framework for people to follow in the way more orthodox paths do; morality is implied in the all-embracing love that goes hand in hand with self-realization.
Love, joy, union is the true expression of freedom. Exerting the ego is not how freedom expresses itself. The ego is an expression of maya and the bonds of karma. Freedom never has to exert itself. This is not to say that every base instinct that so naturally arises in us is ok to follow. Instinct and intuition or separate matters. Instinct is a primal karmic bond from our most ancient ancestors and is far from freedom. Intuition is the spontaneous expression of joy and love.
If we want to practice Tantra, we have to first learn to fall madly and deeply in love. Not just to some person in the selfish greedy way we see on television, but the kind of love that a mother has for baby; the kind of love that will completely sacrifice itself for its beloved. Love, compassion, empathy are the methods used to enter another body; as the older texts put it. Is this not union-yoga? Is this not the feeling we get when we’re in very close loved based relationship with people: that we’ve become one with that person sharing and feeling even their most intimate sensations?
And is not love incredibly dangerous? What happens to the ego when we love? Oh that poor ego. What happens to the individual when they love? Oh that poor individual. We hold on to these ideas of ourselves because were afraid that if we don’t, nothing will get done; perhaps we’ll cease to be. This essentially what the orthodox paths teach us; to just turn away from this unreal world and retreat to the inner sanctuary of the spirit. Tantra teaches just the opposite. Once we feel an abiding love for the world and recognize the spirit in everything, then we have no choice but to act out of compassion.
With Tantra, with love and compassion comes a certain degree of responsibility; not because someone has made you responsible, but because you feel responsible. Most people hardly feel responsible for themselves, never mind the faceless billions who populate the world.
Think of the difference between an ideal king who works in the interest of the citizens, and a corrupt king working for his own gain. Tantra is not different than power; it can be used many ways. But true Tantra, just like true power, does not trample over others. Those who have to make a big show of their power and use coercion to obtain their power usually have little true power and their weaknesses can be quickly penetrated. True power does not have to insist or coerce anyone.
It’s like the difference between a naturally beautiful woman and one who coerces her features into beauty with plastic surgery, make-up and fashion. The naturally beautiful woman knows that her beauty shines from within; body shape and skin tones be-damned. This does not mean that the natural beauty will suddenly become less attractive if she applies make up and fashion; but she knows these things are a part of the theater of life rather than the reality of life.
Many orthodox beliefs suggest that all “make-up” and “fashion” is sinful since it glorifies the body and material comforts over spiritual austerity. Tantra suggest that there is nothing wrong with material pursuits; “make-up” and “fashion,” as long as we remember that our true beauty, our true light, shines from within.
There may not be anything “wrong” with material pursuits in Tantra; but such pursuits are always dangerous, especially when the tantric assumes that their personal morality is greater than social morality. It’s been said that one who is self-realize will know this; but it can also be said that an ego manic will also “know” they are self-realized if that is what their ego desires. When most of us are still groping in the fogs of maya, how are we to tell if one is self-realized or merely a pretender?
Most Tantrics believe that everything has a soul and on this soul level we are all one. This assumes that great care will be taken in our relationships to be warm, loving and forgiving. Tantra does not objectify people or things; every relationship is a personal experience since Tantrics know that whatever feelings they have for anyone at any particular time arises from inside of them selves. How could this not be personal?
Tantra is a very emotional practice. Tantrics put their heart into everything they do. Or rather, everything they do flows from the heart. This cannot be stressed enough. But even this is a dangerous thing to tell people because Tantra is also a path of knowledge and little distinction is made between self-knowledge and knowledge of this world; all knowledge is spiritual knowledge (so to speak).
Sure, Tantra holds intuitive knowledge in very high esteem; but this does not mean reason and logic can be ignored. If power does not yield to wisdom, it looses legitimacy; Tantra is the same. Tantra is not there to legitimize everything that “feels right.” If those feelings are coming from ego and selfishness, they are not “ok.” Wake the fuck up!