Tantra as we practice it in the Heart of Sound community can be summed up like this:
Total Embrace of Life
The penetrating vibrations of sound-based practices help us uncover our hidden patterning that has kept us locked in a dualistic fight with life. If we have subscribed to the very common cultural beliefs that heaven is separate from earth, or that spirit is superior to the body, opening ourselves up to an all-embracing Tantrik view can be radically healing and transformative.
Our approach to sound-based practice arises from a core Tantrik belief:
Life (and ALL of its expressions) is a glory of consciousness… to be enjoyed fully!
The Heart of Sound approach to practice is in alignment with this view.
Our whole approach to sound, singing, chanting, and mantra meditation produces a significantly different way of relating to ourselves and the world; one that is alive with listening and authentic expression. It is embracing, connected, harmonious, non-hierarchical, non-competitive, non-manipulative.
Without a doubt, bringing such sensitive musicality into our relationship with ourselves creates the favorable conditions for a blossoming into union to occur. That union (yoga) could be between you and you, between you and the divine Beloved, or between you and a physical lover. Or perhaps it’ll be expressed joyfully as all of the above!
Designing for Love
Engaging a sound-based practice to rewire your felt experience for love is like digging a drainage channel before it rains. If you failed to prepare for the monsoon, there’s a chance the water might go where you want it, but if you prepare the pathways with diligent, careful wisdom, you’ll almost certainly get the outcome you designed.
Each recurrence of a tension point / growth lesson in our lives is a rut we’ve dug that fails to channel our felt experience in a direction we enjoy. Our traumas have wired us to defend our lives rather than to embrace life.
Good news! Each tension point is an opportunity to re-tune to love. And that’s exactly what you’ll be doing by engaging the sound and mantra practices!
Love is manifest in its most subtle form as sound. Love is manifest as you, in your most subtle form, as the sound of your resonant, self-shining voice. That sound, once you discover it within yourself, enlivens within you a resonant, undeniable, profound felt experience of love.
We don’t have to go up and out into some intangible “spiritual” experience, we go down and in to this wondrous life.
Creating a Safe Space for Transformation
In all of the Heart of Sound retreats and trainings, we take great care to provide safety within the community for everyone to embrace their full aliveness. We laugh, we weep, we feel, we sing... we dig deep together in order to bring out our authentic voices. Falling in love with sound means falling in love with our own voices and supporting each other to embody a more musical way of being in the world. Our teacher trainings focus on how chant leaders can create these ecstatic and enstatic musical experiences in their own communities.
In the global spiritual community there’s a whole lot of buzz around the words Tantra, Tantric, Tantrik, and Tantrika right now. There’s also a whole lot of confusion from the realm of neo-tantric sexual practices (which have nothing to do with classical Tantrik philosophy, and no, we don’t focus on sex practices in the Heart of Sound retreats or courses). There can also be a reputation around those words in India that can be associated with black magic, sleazy astrologers, and other unsavory uses. However, our use of the word Tantra in the Heart of Sound curriculum is in its Sanskrit root of "loom, warp, weave.*" To weave pure awareness and sensual embodiment as the integral fabric of life.
*Sir Monier Monier-Williams; Ernst Leumann; Carl Cappeller (2002). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint of Oxford University Press 1899 version). p. 436. ISBN 978-81-208-3105-6.