When you hear the word “Tantra,” you probably think about two things: sex and spirituality.
The original meaning of Tantra (literally “warp”or “web”) refers to a complex system of beliefs and practices arising in India around the 5th-6th century A.D.
What makes Tantra novel and different from other spiritual traditions is that it is, first and foremost, a holistic approach to life and spirituality. The word “warp” itself implies that everything in the Universe is interwoven and interconnected.
In Tantra, the manifested world that we can perceive with the five senses deserves the same degree of respect and adoration as its counterpart: the Spirit or Consciousness. As a consequence, anything and everything is a potential source of spiritual evolution: food, music, medicine, astrology and of course, sexuality and carnal love. This integral, holistic approach is the basis of many of the characteristics of Tantra, such as its emphasis on the physical body and on sexuality.
Image: Spirit of Tantra by Hartwig HKD at Flickr