The transformation of anger and rage into joy and love is fundamental to the practice of Tantric yoga. Imagine an entire day spent without being ripped to pieces by nonstop concerns about the future and the mind’s dronelike repetition of ticks from a clock. Imagine an entire day without a tormented and neurotic inner life that prevents simplicity and joy from blossoming in one’s heart.

When a human being’s heart opens, they’ll find layers of pain and sadness there. Their presence is like the fairytale dragons that protect maidens in distress: a manufactured internal security system that keeps one from being vulnerable to life’s negative forces. It takes time, patience, and a good deal of trust to penetrate this wall of protection and open to joy and love. The material world doesn’t provide lasting love. It’s an elusive world: superficial and transitory without the depth one needs to slay inner dragons. The first sign of danger could force a human being to become an emotional mess. Their vulnerability is shredded, and their consciousness turns into an internal cistern full of darkness and despair. They don’t know how to slay their inner dragons, and they wonder if there’s really a damsel in distress, or a pot of gold to be won at the battle’s end.

Necessity demands that spiritual seekers learn to like and love themselves and work out karma. They must slay the internal dragon. They muddle through highways, byways and paths strewn with parts of themselves until the moment they realize that gratitude is both the key and the catalyst to an open heart. It slays the inner beast. There’s a choice to be made: does one let tension fester, or do they take a chance? What is scarier: being vulnerable or living with inner demons?

The soul comes to earth to learn to transform a transitory world filled with tension into a pot of gold called love.

Tantric meditation practice enables one to see the exact state of their inner being. They discover the true enemy. They also discover that battles can’t be fought if they don’t know their opponent. This chases most people away. They’d rather live in a delusive mindset than win a war against the one person who keeps them from being happy…that person being themselves.

Mental and emotional conflict drives a person to fix their unhinged condition. “I want to find happiness and grow spiritually,” people often say as they confront tidal waves of tension and discover how difficult it is to free themselves from it. They back away from the struggle and develop strategies that help them avoid the problem. “It’s too difficult to deal with conflicted layers of fear that are buried in the heart,” they say. “But the quickest path to the pot of gold is through the dragon’s nest,” wise men tell them. “Remove the anxiety-ridden internal cesspools that keep a person from ever being happy. The soul comes to earth to learn to transform a transitory world filled with tension into a pot of gold called love. It must step off a self-made merry-go-round of delusion into the arms of the Beloved.”

Tantric meditation is a craft anyone can learn. Its tools are mind and breath used to slay inner demons and free oneself from karma. The lowest and most painful elements of self can be transformed into a spiritual life. It’s an alchemical process that converts what’s killing us into life giving energy. Emotional and mental fortresses crumble and reveal an open heart. Both the objective and subjective worlds become sacred, and the meditation practitioner bows to the Maha-guru (life), making it possible for the soul to free itself…

(To be continued…)

Turner painting

J. M. W. Turner, oil on canvas, Frick Museum