Tantra’s most important yoga of all, the one that opens up Who You Really Are.
Yesterday afternoon my 12-year-old had a sinus headache so he took an ibuprofen with a glass of water and laid down. A couple of hours later, while we were running some errands, I asked him how his head felt. “I feel fine,” he answered, a little surprised. “Mom, isn’t it funny that we don’t even notice when we feel fine?”
Yeah, babe, it is. Western culture doesn’t really encourage us to feel fine, because, presumably, there’s no money in it. It likes to dangle the promise of feeling fine, if we just purchase this drug or buy that wrinkle remover or lease the silver Corvette. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things. Thaddeus felt fine after popping a pill and resting, but the point I’m making is he didn’t notice. Feeling fine is something we chase but don’t really sit with.
This is one thing I adore about lifestyle Tantra is that it is a spiritual practice to notice when we feel fine. Relishing and delighting in the moments of feeling fine, satiated, loved, awed, delighted is the pathway of understanding something particularly slippery: Who You Really Are and What it All Means.
The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, written in the 11th century–long before Advil and sports cars–is a series of over 160 conversational poems between the Divine Masculine, Shiva, and the Divine Feminine, Shakti, as She asks Shiva to teach Her about the ecstatic mystery of what life means. Their discourse is sexy, sensual, passionate, deeply loving, jaw-droppingly beautiful. One of Shiva’s answers is to practice the yoga of feeling fine. Get your copy used or new.
I am madly in love with this translation of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra. In this arpeggio (below) of sutras 47 -54, (a sutra is a teaching), Shiva takes feeling fine pretty seriously, and His examples of what feels fine are all over the map:
47 – Contemplating the memory of making love
48 – Seeing a loved one after a long absence
49 – Savoring chocolate or ripe fruit
50 – Enjoying music, food, fragrances, and colors
51 – Feeling carried away in a pleasure
52 – The relief of a soft bed for a tired body
52 – Gazing into to the sky during the day and night
54 – An epiphany, a realization, the ah-ha moment when wisdom pops into place
What strikes me about all these feeling-fine moments is their ordinariness. Food. Music. Colors. Nature. Rocking a baby or sitting by the fire. The very first pleasure in this arpeggio isn’t even a direct experience–it’s just a memory of really good sex. Sutra 54’s pleasure is equally invisible–the feeling of clarity. Sutra 48 speaks to one pleasure, like hugging someone you haven’t seen in a while; Sutra 50 lumps lots of sensuous pleasures together, as if at a party. Sutra 52 invites Shakti to revel in both the day and night sky–ordinary pleasures that would take several hours at the very least. How many of us focus on feeling fine for that long?
This feeling fine is a lifestyle, Shiva says. There are no rules for what should feel fine or long you should do it. But, Shiva advises not to underestimate the importance, as if each feeling-fine moment is the most holy of yogas, as if the Authentic You–your sat nam–lies in the moment of noticing when you feel fine.
What are your pleasures, you are so loved by the Creator? What do YOU really enjoy? Invisible or colorful, tangible or etheric, fleeting or hours-long, happening now or just a memory? What’s your pleasure? To revel is the most holy of yogas.
In our meditation club this month, wonderful soul, we will be settling into a Tantric trance to revel in the feeling-fine moments Shiva suggests in Sutras 47-54. As you meditate, you’ll be tuned to the ordinary ecstasy awaiting in the everyday. In so reveling, you discover what Sutra 51 calls “your true body.” In other words, what you enjoy is the gateway to Who You Really Are. No wonder practicing feeling fine is Tantra’s most important yoga of all.
Dakini Leah lives by the Tantric philosophy of following her desire, with no self-judgement, in full self-awareness, without injuring anyone. She offers a Tantric life coaching subscription program to help people apply this philosophy to their everyday lives and live life as Who They Really Are.