“We must let go the life we have planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

~Joseph Campbell

The same can be said for relationships and our expectations of love. This Valentine’s Day, when so many are turning to long-stem roses and pre-fix dinners for a little romance, we’re looking for something more long lasting (and maybe slightly tongue-in-cheek) with Tantra.
According to the spiritual science of Tantra, the body is the life-affirming vehicle by which we sublimate reality by purifying, elevating and reaffirming an authentic identity of mind-body-soul.  Like a snake sloughing off dead skin after cycles of hibernation, the human body reinvigorates itself through physical connection. Shakti is the maternal figure, where all form is born, and Kundalini is the form of Shakti in the human body. In Tantra, the snake represents Kundalini energy “coiled” at the base of the spine.
“The lingam (also, linga, ling, Shiva linga, Shiv ling, Sanskrit liṅgaṃ, meaning "mark” or “sign” is a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva. The lingam is often represented with the yoni, a symbol of the goddess or of Shakti, female creative energy. The union of lingam and yoni represents the "indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates.” The lingam and the yoni have been interpreted as the male and female sexual organs. They stand for the inseparability of the male and female principles and the totality of creation.” In contemporary times, rather than be gender specific, they can be interpreted as the masculine and feminine energies that exist in each person—and as each person is unique, the balance is individually complex per person.
Tantra goes beyond the Kama Sutra. The sophisticated body-affirming system of asanas (postures) and breathing exercises of yoga, mudras, mantras (sacred words and phrases), mandalas and yantras (iconography of universal forces) are also said to awaken our life force. Once activated, the kundalini energy unfurls out of the Muladhara chakra, rises through the seven major chakras to merge with Shiva (masculine) in the Sahasrara, the crown chakra of the head. Tantra unlocks cosmic reserves of creative feminine potential, awakening the body fully of its sensuality and divinity, transcending duality with heightened states of awareness.
Synthesizing mind, body and soul, the unification of complementary energies of female-male and unconscious-conscious invokes a regenerative healing force, symbolizing the eternal cycle of renewal. In mastering the circulation of internal sexual energy, sex becomes a liberated experience of deep union, an embodied vibration of love.
One doesn’t need to be into yoga or Hindu practice to appreciate Tantra, though. There’s something about embracing—and yes, Valentine’s Day is as good as any other day to embrace—the intimate duality in all of us and the fulfillment of connection; whether with a place, a person, or just a simple moment of inspiration.

~Rhina Ju
February 2013