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Tantric meditation – the wine tasters of life!

Wine tasting, a tantric meditation

 

Tantric meditation

I am so often asked the question “I am really interested in tantra and what you teach, but don’t consider myself spiritual. Is it still appropriate for me?” I thought I would answer this here on my blog. Before reading on, you might try the visualisation practice below for c.5 – 10 mins to really feel what is written about. Alternatively you might wait, and instead choose to savour a glass of your favourite wine after reading!

Imagine walking into a room at home. You have just returned from work, a long commute, or some other stressful area of your life. Picture some of the distraction activities that you you habitually engage in (unless you are enlightened!). Perhaps the TV goes on, you are texting / checking emails, your mind is running through the day’s events, or you half (pretend to) listen to a partner or child. Introduce a glass of wine into this scene. As you drink it, notice what is your quality of awareness as you drink? How much of the sight, smells and flavour do you notice? It may satiate a need within you, but do you really savour it? What is the quality of your being in this moment?

REWIND!

This time you are going to walk into a room that feels beautiful to you. It may be a place in your own home, or could be somewhere imaginary. As you walk feel your bare feet stepping on a pleasing surface. Feel pleasure in your body as you move and breathe deeply, noticing  the qualities of light and space in the room. You pour a glass of wine, noticing and enjoying the light as it moves through the liquid, highlighting the visual qualities, smoothness and colour, absorbing yourself in enjoyment of this for some time. Bring it closer to your nose, allowing your whole olfactory system to be activated and tingling, through a few anticipatory molecules. Savouring a sip you notice both the sweet and sharper qualities of the wine. You may choose to share your enjoyment of this moment, with a loved one who unexpectedly enters the room.

You get the picture! The first visualisation is how many of us tend to engage with the world on a daily basis: in the second visualisation, we are simply learning and practicing mindfulness, and to become the wine tasters of life!

Mindfulness exercises

Through heightened senses of sight, smell, taste and learning, the wine taster comes to a much deeper quality of appreciation, seeing things that may pass us by in our ordinary uncultivated awareness. Beyond the sensory experience, perhaps they will taste something of the climate, geography, the grower and the year in which the grapes were grown. Or perhaps they will awaken in us a yearning to know something more, through inspiring us with a poetic appreciation of their experience.

Whether the wine taster is naturally a poet, or has a scientific understanding of methods of production: either way the experience will be a very different to a casual, distracted, satiating glug. The moment of appreciation will be rooted in a deep sensory experience of the glass of wine before them. And at the same time the meeting between taster and wine may open a gateway, to things both intrinsic to and beyond, their existence in that moment.

Approaching tantra as an experiential laboratory, we can begin to come into an enriched appreciation of being. We move beyond the casual distracted, needs satiating glugging of life! And begin to cultivate instead an attitude of enquiry into ever subtler qualities available in every moment. This deeply savouring quality of appreciation, may first be known by opening up to creative exploration, practices and rituals. Our palette may broaden to appreciate both the sweet and the sour, the smooth and the sharp. And as long as we continue, it will inevitably expand beyond that which we currently can taste and can know.

For some this may lead to a deep enquiry into the nature of being, a search for enlightenment. Others may come to a scientifically informed sense of awe, as they reflect on what is known of the origins and expansiveness of the universe. And yes, perhaps you will simply savour the moment of the wine… unadorned and utterly pure, a moment of beingness!

Where-ever it leads us, this is tantra when practiced as an experimental and experiential laboratory. No belief required: just a sincere depth of enquiry, a willingness and commitment to practice in the field!

Comments

  1. Cathryn says:

    Dear Chris, thank you for your comment, yes exactly! the wine is a metaphor really (though it can be a literal practice too) for an approach to the whole of life.

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