What is Heart of Tantra?

Heart of Tantra is based on the ten essential tantric principles. Its first innovation is that it revitalizes and illuminates ancient tantric teachings and techniques in ways that are nontraditional and nondogmatic. Second, it adds new and modern tantric methods that expand the vision of tantra.

But there is a deeper reason behind the term “heart of tantra”. This spiritual philosophy and practice actually offers the next step of tantra—an expansion of the tantric approach.

We need to understand that the intention of the ancient tantric systems has been to design a fast and powerful path to liberation. These great traditions have used the spiritual forces of our physical and human reality to lead us to a final release from the physical world. This means that the explosive energies of the material universe—form, pleasure, desire, passion—have been a springboard for leaving the world behind. In fact, the ultimate destination of ancient tantra is no different from that of any other Hindu or Buddhist doctrine: it is all about how to never be born again.

Although Heart of Tantra remains faithful to the essence of liberation, it is an approach that uses the ten tantric principles for a different ultimate goal: to radically transform our relationship with life and the way we perceive our human experience and life on earth.

"Heart of Tantra is a philosophical and spiritual approach that rejects the traditional and outmoded idea that this world is but a transient realm from which we should escape to a better, more spiritual place, be it heaven or nirvana. Instead, this system employs ancient and new tantric techniques that reveal the spiritual nature of human existence and the material universe, and imbue this life with spiritual value and meaning."

~ Shai Tubali

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Tantra and the meaning of life

Tantra is actually the only system of spiritual enlightenment that can potentially offer us a meaning for our experience of life as human beings. This is because it unifies our divinity and humanity and awakens the tremendous energies that lie dormant within our simplest, most tangible human experience. In this way, it demonstrates that there is a profound meaning to being human—including having a physical and a subtle body; possessing a personality, a brain, a heart, memories, and an ego; experiencing desire and will, and the great variety of emotions; and feeling pleasure and the intensity of sexual energy. None of these is a mistake.

In tantra, there are no lower or higher energies. All these elements can be experienced either as limited and limiting, or liberated and liberating, depending on the way we make use of them. Tantra teaches us how to use all these energies for our liberation. It tells us that there is enlightenment in every hidden corner of the human experience, and that light is also concealed in fear, anger, desire, attachment, and conflict.

The ancient tantric approaches have shown us that the spiritual realm is not outside us, but deep inside our physical reality. In Heart of Tantra, this becomes a key to an entirely new relationship with life, in which we affirm the human experience and discover its deeper meaning.

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We are already home

When we are too busy trying to get away from our life here, the meaning of this life remains unexplored. With the very same powerful tools of tantric expansion, we can examine our human experience and its tremendous spiritual and transformative potentials. In Heart of Tantra, this in fact leads to another dimension or layer of spiritual awakening: the enlightenment of the human heart, which is also the revelation of the higher meaning and value of our life here on earth.

In Heart of Tantra, our ultimate purpose is not so much to transcend the world and to return to a pure, primordial state before creation and form. Logically, if this were the purpose of life, it must mean that at least to a certain degree, being human is a temporary error that should be corrected!

But if you use the essential tantric principles to carry the tantric experience to its conclusion, you realize something tremendously exciting: if this physical universe is entirely made of explosive spiritual materials and energies, this is because it is, in itself, an indispensable spiritual dimension. In fact, even if we imagined for a moment that there were absolutely no spiritual dimensions outside the physical human experience, we could still realize that there is a spirituality that emerges from within matter itself.

While all religions and enlightenment traditions have prepared us for the transition from here to a “better place”—whether it is Nirvana or heaven—this life is not a mere passage, an inferior or lowly place. This is certainly not a place to be liberated from or to stop returning to. And this is not a place that one should fear or deny. You don’t need to leave this world behind to find enlightenment. Rather, you need to learn to look deep into this universe, this life, and to allow its tremendous dormant spiritual powers to blossom.

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A different meaning for spirituality

Since the beginning of human civilization we have been looking outside for the spiritual, beyond the human and the earthly. In fact, the very term “spirituality” implies something that is the opposite of matter; a reality that exists only outside or beyond physical existence. Dividing existence into spirit and matter may be the deepest, most intense split in the human mind.

In Heart of Tantra, however, spirituality is the constant process of discovering the deepest secret of our actual existence: that this existence is, in fact, a unique spiritual experience. It is time to realize that this very dimension, where we are right now, is divinely meaningful. We are standing in the midst of divinity. There is nowhere to go; life on earth is already “home.” Instead of trying to go beyond, to move away, or to leave behind, in Heart of Tantra we begin to allow a new type of ecstatic feeling and vibration—that of expansion and transcendence from within. We are expanding as the divine itself, all the way from its unchanging core to its dancing cosmic body.

It is probably time to write a new myth of creation!

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The enlightenment of the human heart

Tantra has always been interested in unions, marriages, and fusions. But we must not ignore the fact that being human is already an amazing tantric experience. Every human being is a blend of “human” and “being,” a meeting point of matter and spirit, form and formlessness, mortality and immortality, time and eternity, limitation and limitlessness. In Heart of Tantra, we explore this meeting point and bring the dimensions of matter and spirit into union within our heart.

The heart is the center where this ultimate tantric union can take place, and as soon as the two dimensions unite in us, we experience a blissful explosion that completely blesses our human experience—this rare and precious opportunity to be the meeting point that we are, and to fulfil a meaning that cannot be fulfilled in any other imaginable dimension.

The tantric law of the mixing of all opposites ultimately leads us to a total collapse of the greatest concept and division, that of spirit and matter. Human existence and divine nature, the spiritual dimension and the material dimension, the limited and the unlimited all blend into one. This reveals to us a new dimension of reality, and a totally different understanding of what spirituality really means, since from now on, our spirituality transcends this ancient, outdated division.

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An all-embracing spiritual practice

Heart of Tantra draws on the enormous powers of the ancient tantra to promote the true form of spirituality of the twenty-first century. In our modern life, it is no longer reasonable to negate the world; now, the next step is to affirm it, to give it spiritual depth and meaning.

In practice, this becomes an all-embracing spiritual approach that makes every aspect of our human life spiritual and sacred, including those energies we ordinarily consider nonspiritual, or even negative and limited, such as traumatic memories and desires. Using the fundamental tantric principles, as well as ancient and modern techniques, we transform all possible components of the human experience, and in this way move toward a complete enlightenment that far transcends ordinary spirituality.

All that needs to be done is to expand and release the powers inherent in life as it is. We awaken the spiritual forces that lie dormant within the human experience and the earthly dimension, and spiritualize the entire human experience and matter itself. The great variety of methods is all about working with the existing materials of our most immediate reality in order to spiritualize and enlighten all and everything.

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The end of suffering

The ancient traditions prescribed the cessation of rebirth. The question is: have we ever incarnated deeply enough to cease reincarnating? If we were to reincarnate fully and unreservedly, there may no longer be a question of staying or leaving.

In Heart of Tantra, we redefine the cause of human suffering. We understand that what causes us all to suffer is actually our resistance to the experience of life—our resistance to fully entering the human experience with all that it entails. Consciously and unconsciously, a subtle separation from life remains in us forever, and spirituality as we know it only fuels our resistance and our wish to avoid being here. We may feel that there is no meaning to our pain and difficulty, and so we simply yearn to put an end to the very experience. This conflict with life takes the form of many gross and subtle escape fantasies that are all about creating an alternative world within our mind.

Heart of Tantra is a path that equips us with the skill and ability to enter deeply and fully into the heart of life and to resolve this unconscious conflict. This is, in a sense, the most nondual teaching; compared to it, other nondual teachings have been deeply dualistic. It is also the ultimate life-affirming teaching. Instead of total negation, it is total affirmation—an affirmation that goes all the way to the roots of the human experience. It is the absolute sanctification of life, resulting in the heart’s deepest commitment to this life; a commitment on which our fate as humanity depends significantly.

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