One thing that is coming to the public awareness right now is abuse.
Abuse is when someone takes advantage of another person who is in a more vulnerable position. They abuse their power over someone else.
There are many forms of misuse of power in our world. Sadly it appears to be endemic to humanity. Wherever you see people using a position of authority to their own benefit, this is a form of abuse. They may be gaining money, influence, power, sex or some other desire. But to take advantage of others to fulfill our own needs is an abuse of power, no matter what form it takes.
Many people are vulnerable as they enter the world of Tantra. They enter it looking for better relationships, more intimacy, opening their sexuality and other deeply sensitive areas of life. Not only are they sensitive areas, but they are also topics in which we received little or no education growing up. This makes us even more vulnerable.
Any place in our life where we lack knowledge and understanding makes us vulnerable. In such situations we are naturally gullible and because we do not know, we are more open to persuasion of others. Whatever the “teacher” tells us, we may believe…after all, we have no idea of what’s right and nothing to compare it with.
Now there are plenty of great teachers and guides out there, people who have taken a position of authority in which to help and lead others in order to genuinely empower them and support them.
But there are also those who are taking advantage. Like many areas in life, it’s a mixed bag!
We may think we need to stop those who abuse, and certainly many are getting called out. But this task seems endless, with new ones appearing all the time. Sometimes abusers do not even realize they are taking advantage of others…they may have concocted all sorts of great justifications for what they do, and after a while they believe their own stories. Or in other cases they may have been abused themselves, and now they do to others what was done to them.
But the good news is, a lot of the power actually lies with the student/client.
As we empower ourselves in every area of our life, this process means that we cannot be taken advantage of so easily. When we stand in our power, we are no longer so susceptible to abuse or others taking advantage of us. However, this is a process and it involves learning to protect ourselves until we are empowered. Rather like the way a young tree is protected with stakes until it is strong enough to grow on its own. For this, we need to develop healthy boundaries and core inner values so that we can chose what is right for us, and not be swayed by the desires of another.
What does this mean and how can we do that?
Let me use another example from my life! I have been working on online projects in the last few years, but some areas of the work I have known nothing about. Sometimes I have found someone who can “rescue” me, and do all the things I can’t. It seems like a dream come true. BUT if I am not empowered at all, I am high risk of being taken advantage of. And indeed this has happened to me in the past.
I soon learned that I need to know what I am doing in order to work with someone else. Maybe they can do it better than me, but I need to know enough. So now I read up on an area first. I look into the software myself. I watch a few tutorials, I chat to some experts. And only then do I hire someone else to come in. It has made me much less susceptible to being taken advantage of.
I’ve been wondering what the equivalent would be for people entering the world of Tantra. What if they read a few books first? Watched several different videos and got a taste of the different teachings available. How about they investigated the history and different lineages? What if they chatted to trusted friends to hear what they got out of it. What if they looked at followers of each school and see what energy those different groups had?
And what if they found out what was the norm and what to expect? This is a big area of unknown that makes us highly susceptible. For example, when many people go for a tantric massage they go because they’ve heard it will heal their sexual blockages. But they have never had anything like this before, and probably they have no friends who ever went for one, and they have no idea what is normal, what to expect. Should they be naked or not? Will the therapist touch them everywhere? Is there internal work or not? Should the therapist wear gloves?
Some people even do not know whether it is normal to have a therapist offer sexual intercourse during or after a massage. This lack of knowing makes them vulnerable to suggestion. They want to heal their blocks, but they don’t really know how this is done, so they often accept the therapist’s suggestion even if they feel uncertain.
These are they ways in which people fall into situations that can make them feel confused afterwards, or even violated. Some even get caught up in a repetitive cycle of an on-going abuse of power.
Please remember that this is your journey and you can choose what best serves you. If you don’t know what that is, then do some research first. If you went on holiday to a completely new place knowing nothing, then those tourist-preying touts would leap upon you and sell you all sorts of tours at extortionate prices because you don’t know any better! Just a quick read of a guide book or two, a chat with someone else who went, and you are empowered to make better choices.
So why put delicate issues such as your sexuality, your heart and your love life into the hands of god-knows-who?
In attempt to empower you in this area, this is some basic guidelines for those considering Tantra:
We may ask several friends, read reviews and watch tutorial videos before buying a new computer, and yet we might put our minds, hearts, bodies and souls in the hands of a complete stranger, based only upon the testimonials that they themselves put on their website!
I am asking you to please value yourself. Value your precious body; value your journey; value your delicate heart; value your inquiring mind; value your own instincts and gut feelings; value your “yes” and value your “no”; value your soul on it’s earth-walk. No-one else is responsible to value you! But if you develop a healthy self-care then you automatically show others how to treat you. If you develop a healthy self-love then you move from being the potential-victim to being the empowered-being making choices to serve their own life.
Tantra is powerful. Powerful beyond belief. Go in with your eyes open.
© 2014. Shashi Solluna. All rights reserved.