WHAT TANTRA HAS TO TEACH US ABOUT BOTH the JOY AND SADNESS we all feel AT THE HOLIDAYS
Holiday Tantra is the art of embracing everything you feel at the holidays, joyful or sad and everything in between. Many emotions make up holidays, both happy and melancholy. Carol after carol praise happy times with families and friends, or of how romantic snow fall and sleighbells are, of coffee and pumpkin pie. We celebrate the magic of gifts appearing from a mysterious benefactor. Meanwhile, the most wonderful time of the year is also the most challenging. Psychologists write articles about Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) or how to deal with the loss of loved ones. Seinfeld was famous for the creation of Festivus, a yuletide holiday frankly admitting relatives and friends can be a big pain in the ass. Collectively, we experience a full range of powerful holiday-induced emotions.
The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra acknowledges all these emotions and the experiences that spark them: the joy of seeing a loved one after a long time apart; the pain of loneliness in the dark night. The delight of magic or the awe inspired by stars. The warmth of friendship by a bonfire, or the chaos of feeling overwhelmed by too many things to think through. One thing the Vijnana Bhairava never says is positive emotion is better than negative, or that negative emotions should be pushed aside so we can muscle our way to being merry and bright. Instead, the sutras–the verses–treat the full range of emotions as precious opportunities.
What is waiting in the middle is the musical hum of creation, the heartbeat of Who We Are, a paradox of both vastness and at-home-ness. The essence of emotions and their catalytic experiences are God hiding in plain sight, all around us, inescapable, permeating all things. This is holiday Tantra, to rest into all the emotions the holidays inspire.
In our next live broadcast meditation series, we’ll be going into the gamut of all the holiday emotions, from comfort, joy, and awe to grief and overwhelm. We all feel all these things over the holidays. Each emotion is a gateway, you’ll discover, to Oneness with the Creator, the Lover of All Things. What you feel, whether painful or beautiful, it’s all good. Here’s the breakdown of the holiday tantra emotions we’ll visit in this series:
1. Comfort and Joy- Sutra 51
2. Awe – Sutra 53
3. Disappointed – Sutra 89
4. At home. – Sutra 26
5. Grief – Sutra 64
6. Reunited – Sutra 48
7. Rest – Sutra 52
8. Remembering – Sutra 96
9. Overwhelmed – Sutra 106
10. Magic – Sutra 110
Do you see yourself in all those emotions? It’s important to feel what you feel without trying to make yourself feel anything different. Why? Because that’s what home is. Home not having to be anything you’re not. Home , the sutras tell us, is where we end up when we step into the center of whatever we’re experiencing. You get to be who you are. God is waiting for you there. This is living in Tantra.
If you still don’t have a copy of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, aka the Radiance Sutras translated by Lorin Roche, you can get it here:
As my gift to you, I’ve put together a holiday Tantra song list I know you’ll love that corresponds to every meditation in this series! Whatever you feel this holiday season, you are not alone–someone is making music about it, and people are listening! Music has power like no other to not only make us feel deeply, but to empathize with the strong emotions the holidays inspire. Each song will help you go deeper into whatever you’re feeling this season.
Sleigh Ride by the Ronettes
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings – Bare Naked Ladies and Sarah McLaughlin
“I’m Not Really in the Christmas Mood This Year” by Foxtails Brigade
I’ll be Home for Christmas – Michael Buble
Sarah McLachlan – Wintersong (Official Video)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – The Carpenters
Silent Night – Pentatonix
Christmas Memories – Frank Sinatra
Too Much Christmas – Me & My
Vibe for New Year – Magical Jazz Trio
Much love to you! #beLIT