Tantra is a misused concept in the West. I suggest that we simple stop using the word ‘tantra’. Here are my alternatives.
If you refer to the true tantra please call it tantric hinduism or tantric buddhism. And know that it has nothing or very little to do with sexuality. In my experience only about 0,001 % of those that think of themselves as tantric are true tantric yogis.
Call it mindfulness instead of tantra
If you by tantra mean mindful sex then please just call it that: mindful sex. There is nothing wrong with sex. There is nothing wrong with mindfulness. It is actually a really nice combination and it does not include misuse of terms. Mindful sex includes energy sex.
If you by tantra mean mindfulness of sensuality in a broader sense then why not just call it that? Mindful sensuality or mindful sensing. Mindful eating is included in that category and it is a general mindfulness practice to come to our senses.
Being mindful means to be aware in a nonjudgmental way. Right mindfulness is when your awareness is combined with loving-kindnesss. Mindfulness is ethical and healthy. It is not just to live in the moment like an animal.
In conclusion: I suggest that ‘mindfulness’ replace ‘tantra’ in the way that we seem to want to use ‘tantra’ in the modern culture.
The Secret or The Law of Attraction is a popular new age believe that thoughts can change the world directly. It became popular from a documentary movie and a following book by Rhonda Byrne. During the years I’ve met a lot of people that based their lives on this “secret”. Mostly women. This is what I have learned.
The real secrets about The Secret
Secret #1: It creates bad karma
The Secret is basically a modern kind of abuse of the buddhist principle of karma. The Secret teaches that material desire is a good thing whereas buddhism actually teaches that this desire is a root cause of existential suffering. Just based on my personal live experiences I think there is some truth to the concept of thoughts, ideas and intentions create manifestations in the physical world. But this is actually something to be handled very consciously because this craving is the main cause for human suffering. Especially now in the modern world. And from a Buddhist perspective craving more material things and money actually creates bad karma that will backfire on you in this life or your next rebirth.
Secret #2: It makes you passive
Thoughts don’t actually become things in the way The Secret teaches. It mostly creates a dream world where you sit and think instead of going out and doing something real. The real secret is that thoughts and intentions become actions which change the physical world. I have personally experienced women who never get any succes in life because they base their life on The Secret bullshit with thinking instead of action. Wake up and do something! That is my recommendation for real power women.
Secret #3: It prevents political protests
The Secret believers who want world peace and social political change sit and visualise the perfect world instead of opening their mouths and taking the rightful indignation to the streets. This is a perfect way for the powers that be to eliminate protests before they begin. Believers of The Secret actually think that it will make things worse if they engage in real political work because “thoughts become things”. The Secret is The Perfect Bullshit Storm for those that want to continue with all the unjustices, frauds and wars. If I was a conspiracy theorist I could argue that The Secret was actually invented by capitalist war mongers so that they can go on with their dirty business.
Physically and mentally healthy people that don’t care about politics are socially and globally unhealthy. From a holistic point of view their total health is actually low. Awareness of politics includes awareness of the often hidden powers that are pushing you around.
Remember the four dimensions of holistic health:
Physical health: your body and physical functions
Mental health: your thoughts and feelings
Social health: your relations to other people
Global health: your relations to the global world
Health as indirect political propaganda
Increasing the focus on physical health, lifestyle and mental wellbeing can be a political method to decrease the focus on social and global health. Who could be interested in that? Well, maybe those that just want you to be a healthy working slave for capitalism. They want to keep your physical health as high as possible (so that you can work, produce and pay taxes) and your global health as low as possible (so that you don’t wake up to the deep injustices of the world).
I would like to launch a new concept: sustainable health.
Sustainable health is:
– Healthy changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle, which the individual can continue (ie behavioral sustainability)
– Healthy changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle, that do not overload the environment at the same time (ie environmental sustainability)
– Healthy changes in the perception of weight and body making us better at carrying and caring for the body (ie bodily sustainablity)
– Healthy changes in mindfulness, which the individual can continue (ie sustainability of mindfulness)
Let us work together for much more sustainable health.
Dieting is a part of the problem of obesity and not a part of the solution.
This is how it goes:
1. Something makes you fat
2. Being fat makes you go on a diet
3. Dieting fucks up your natural body weight regulation
4. You gain even more weight
5. You go on an even stricter diet
6. You become even more fucked up
Eating is probably the most widespread method to reduce stress in the modern world. Eating to reduce stress can be done both with and without awareness. Most frequently it is done automatically in the modern world environment with easy access to both stress factors and delicious food.
The stress eating response is natural. Stress increases the craving for food because eating reduces stress. Foods with a high content of sugar, fat and pleasureful taste is especially effective in reducing stress through various biological mechanisms.
I recommend these steps to manage stress eating:
Step 1: Become aware of your stress eating. Accept that it is that: eating to reduce stress. Reflect on the meaningful effects that drive your stress eating. It is not just a bad habbit.
Step 2: Become a mindful stress eater. Accept that stress eating probably will contrinue to be a part of your life. So why not enjoy it? Try also to notice when you have reduced your stress level sufficiently and stop eating at that point.
Step 3: Manage your life stress directly and notice how that reduces your need for stress eating. Practice simply being mindful of stressful feelings, thoughts and situations and let the stress pass by itself.
Don’t skip step 1 and 2. They are necessary to reach step 3.
Pleasure is healthy. Is reduces stress and improves brain function.
The three basic sources of pleasure are:
– Food and drinks – eating and drinking
– Socializing (probably with hugging and cuddling with dear persons as the most pleasurable activity)
If you want to eat and drink less, perhaps to loose weight, one pleasure strategy is to increase the two other basic pleasures, that is more plasurable hugging, cuddling and sex. This will indirectly reduce your cravings for excess foods and drinks.
And remember: Your desire for pleasure is by itself a sign of health. You just have to be conscious about how you satisfy your basic needs.
Mindful eating is eating with conscious awareness of the hunger, sense impressions and pleasure of eating.
One of the key benefits of mindful eating is that you get a lot more pleasure out of the food you eat. And pleasure is healthy. Very healthy. Pleasure reduces stress, increases mental robustness and improves brain function. Pleasure prevents depression and other mental problems.
And just as the British band Depeche Mode sings – “Everybody’s looking for at reason to live / If you’re looking for at reason / I’ve a reason to give / Pleasure, little treasure” – pleasure is meaningful in itself. No matter how the pleasureful activity affects health. Everyday pleasure makes everyday life more meaningful. Mindful eating allows you to extract much more pleasure from the food you eat. Without changing the food you eat. You simply change the way you eat it. You consciously focus your attention on the pure sensing and enjoyment of the food while you are eating it. Withot letting your mind wander away with anything else. You just eat. And remember to be present with your awareness when the pleasure is high. And let go when the pleasure is down to a level where it is not worth eating anymore.
The best way to train mindful eating is to do eating meditations. You can do eating meditations on both main meals and snacks. It doesn’t matter what you eat. Eating meditation is a mental exercise in which you develop your ability to concentrate on eating. Without doing anything else. Without being anywhere else with your mind.
Click here to listen to one of my instructions in eating meditation for free. The meditation instructions last 16 minutes. Have some food ready to eat before you start the exercise.
In your everyday eating you then try to be as mindful as possible with as many mouthfuls as possible. You go on a mindful eating course in which you take small steps towards more mindful eating.
You can follow me on Twitter where I tweet about mindful eating and conscious health in general. My Twitter name is @pleasurehealth.
Mindful eating is the new way to eat for health, weight regulation and pleasure maximization. Don’t let these five myths about mindful eating bring you down.
Myth #1: Mindful eating requires you to eat in silence
Fact: You can practice with as much noice around you as you want. Mindful eating is an inner practice about directing your awareness towards the sensing of your food and your body. Just let the noice be as it is.
Myth #2: Mindful eating is boring
Fact: Mindful awareness changes even the most simple experience so that it becomes interesting. Just try with one mouthful. Even your breath becomes interesting when you focus on that.
Myth #3: I don’t get the enjoyment of socializing while I’m eating
Fact: Eating while you are socializing actually makes you avoid quite a lot of both the social pleasure of being with people and the sensual pleasures of eating. When you socialize, socialize. When you eat, eat.
Myth #4: Mindful eating makes every food healthy and slimming
Fact: No, it does not. But mindful eating allows you to better transfer your knowledge about nutrition into your food choices in your everyday life. A donut still contains a lot of calories even if you eat it with mindfulness.
Myth #5: Mindful eating requires me to become a Buddhist and meditate a lot
Fact: No. Mindful eating can be a part of a “hardcore” buddhist meditation lifestyle. But it can also be a part of a lifestyle where you simply take inner small steps motivated by your primitive, animal craving for maximum pleasure.