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Unlocking the Power of Emotions: 3 Tantric Practices for Spiritual Growth

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

We often label emotions as good or bad. We try to avoid negative emotions and cultivate positive ones. In Tantra, all emotions, including those labeled as "negative," are sacred and divine. Tantra teaches us to understand, manage, and even harness our emotions for spiritual awakening. This post will discuss Unlocking the Power of Emotions: 3 Tantric Practices for Spiritual Growth


The Divine Play of Shiva and Shakti in Tantra

Cosmic Dance Shiva Shakti Tantra

Tantra sees the Divine as a single reality with two inseparable aspects. We consider these two aspects to help us comprehend the incomprehensible, but in reality, they are one and the same. In Hindu Tantra, these two aspects are known as Shiva and Shakti.


Shiva, personified as the masculine aspect of the Divine, represents Consciousness or Awareness. He is omnipresent throughout the universe, beyond space and time. Shakti personifies the activating power and energy of consciousness as the feminine aspect of the divine. Together they represent consciousness and energy, nothingness and everythingness, they are still and dynamic. From a tantric perspective, Emotions are condensed manifestations of Divine Energy they are the Dance of Shiva & Shakti.


From a tantric perspective, Emotions are condensed manifestations of Divine Energy they are the Dance of Shiva & Shakti.

Tantric Sublimation

In Tantra, sublimation transfers energy from lower to higher chakras. The lower chakras relate to negative emotions like fear, anger, and lust, while the higher chakras relate to positive emotions like love, aspiration, and discernment. The practice of sublimation transforms "lower" emotions into higher ones.


This approach to managing emotions is dualistic. It is grounded in the understanding that emotions are either negative or positive. Utilizing the practice of sublimation, can help when stuck in a dualistic mindset. Emotions can be overwhelming and consuming, they can distort our beliefs, and perception of the world. When we are having difficulty separating ourselves from our emotions, this may signal a need to sublimate.


We can choose to practice sublimation through yoga, chanting, dance, or breath control. Focusing on higher chakras creates emotional distance, allowing for the second tantric practice.


The practice of sublimation transforms "lower" emotions into higher ones.


Resting as the Witness

Tantric meditation, witness consciousness, being aware of being aware

In Tantra, we can manage emotions by observing them without engagement or belief in accompanying narratives. Emotions often come with accompanying narratives in our minds. These emotions become overwhelming when our minds incessantly obsess over the cause, reason, or even type of emotion that we are having. Emotions do not always have a cause and spending time worrying about why certain emotions are manifesting is like worrying about the weather. It's just raining, so we can simply allow it to rain, or worry about why it is raining.


Tantra encourages non-judgmental observation of emotions. We can observe our physical sensations and emotions without getting caught up in our mind's stories. Practicing this can help us achieve emotional balance and detachment.


Through simple observation, we can learn to detach from the labels our mind has attached to emotions, such as good or bad. Emotions may arise in the body as sensation before they manifest in the mind as thought. If we learn witness the emotions as sensation without the labels of the mind then this provides a further step back from the mental dialogue. To detach ourselves from the stories and labels created by our minds, we can find solace in the perpetual peace that is our innate state. We can allow emotions like fear or anger to surface without losing our composure. We learn to rest as the witness without getting involved in the play that is unfolding in our bodies and minds.


In Tantra, we can manage emotions by observing them without engagement or belief in accompanying narratives.

Dissolving into the Infinite

In non-dual tantra, we do not divide the world into the divine and non-divine. We view all things as equal, recognizing that all forms are composed of the Formless and Infinite One. From this perspective, everything - from your coffee table to your thoughts - is a manifestation of condensed consciousness in varying in degrees. Regardless of their density or tangibility, their source remains the same. Since all things emerge from the Infinite and eventually return to it, we can use this knowledge to approach our emotions.


Everything is a manifestation of consciousness - Regardless of their density or tangibility, their source remains the same.

In the third tool for managing emotions we begin by simply witnessing. We then take it a step further by moving towards the energy of emotion and merging back with it. In this way we move as the witness towards the condensed energy, finding that at the center of it is nothing other than Consciousness itself. We allow the witness to dissolve back into its source.


Moving towards the emotion we can even inquire. What is the source of this manifestation? Where does it come from? Slowly the witness, the inquiry and the emotion dissolve into one.


This practice is similar to being aware of being aware which we find in the advaita vedanta traditions. In Advaita Vedanta, self-awareness is often attained through introspection. The Tantric practice that we are speaking of here, is to be aware of our awareness by focusing on the world, Shakti, and how awareness is present even in condensed forms.


In this way we move as the witness towards the condensed energy, finding that at the center of it is nothing other than Consciousness itself.

Tantra yogi dissolving into the infinite, shiva & shakti everywhere and nowhere

Practicing this helps us detach from the notion of being an individual grappling with emotions and or even from the idea of being a witness, observing them. We become both the dynamic experience of energy in motion and the infinite spaciousness within which the energy moves.


On a basic level, when we experience sadness, we observe physical sensations of emotions in the body without getting caught up in the reasons behind it. We can experience the energy of sadness as it flows through us, without passing judgment or attempting to suppress it. Practicing this can learn to be more open and accepting of our emotions.


At advanced levels, Shiva and Shakti, consciousness and energy dissolve into one another, leaving nothing other than a radiant, alive, beingness. Resting in awareness allows consciousness to flow between form and formlessness without preference. We are consciousness watching ourselves emerge from the Infinite, taking shape, and merging back into our essence. All things are equal, welcome, and joyful.


At advanced levels, Shiva and Shakti, consciousness and energy dissolve into one another, leaving nothing other than a radiant, alive, beingness.

3 tantric practices : Our Emotions as a Spiritual Path

When to Use the 3 tantric practices

It is important to recognize that these three practices are not part of a grading system. To use them effectively, we must employ them with humility. Even with a non-dual understanding, there may be days when you feel disconnected from the Divine and struggle with your emotions.


When we feel overwhelmed by a storm of emotions and cannot find any peace, it is often an indication that sublimation is the best tool to turn to. When emotions arise, but we can maintain a sense of spaciousness and clarity, we can observe them as if they were passing clouds in the sky. In this way, we rest as witnesses, simply observing the emotions as sensations. When we recognize that we are resting in undifferentiated awareness, we may choose to intentionally shift our focus towards our emotions. To merge with the silent source from which all things arise.


As my teacher once said, even if you know yourself as the vast ocean, you will still experience the sensations of being an individual wave. Some days, Grace is abundant and it's effortless to surrender the ego and merge into your boundless essence. Some days, there is laundry to be done and hair in the drain. Just as we strive for an undifferentiated view of our emotions, we should also aim to adopt a similar perspective when determining which practices are most suitable for us.


Some days, Grace is abundant and it's effortless to surrender the ego and merge into your boundless essence. Some days, there is laundry to be done and hair in the drain.


Unlocking the Power of Emotions:

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