Our Tantra Vision
Jan den Boer and Caroline van Wijngaarden
Tantra, the desire for connection
Tantra puts the desire on the path of spiritual growth. You learn to discover that you can enjoy the desire. The desire doesn't need to be released nor to be repressed. The feeling of desire in itself can be a pleasant feeling. When you are totally present in this sense of longing, you can choose freely what to do with it. You can learn to enjoy the desire. This is based on the Buddhist insight that wanting desire causes suffering and free desire can be an experience of enlightenment. In our workshops we explore the opportunities to learn to enjoy the desire, and then transform this energy into love, compassion and meditation.
In these exercises, it is possible to experience how life- or sexual energy can be made conscious, how you can learn to be a spectator of this energy. This gives you more freedom in the choice how you live this energy, so that you can experience how this energy can quieten in an ecstatic form of tantric meditation. The tantric transformation not only affects your love life, but in all areas of your life can lead to greater understanding, freedom, joy and open, loving contact with others.
How Tantra can enrich your love life
Many people struggle with desire in their lives and in their relationship. You desire to be satisfied as soon as possible, or you can not feel this desire very well. This leads to conflict in relationships, struggle about wanting or not wanting. When you become conscious of the movement of reaching out and holding back in a tantric meditation, it is possible to reach a balance wherin this desire quietens and you simultaneously feel ecstatic and meditative.
So you can learn that there is a balance in desire, where is no wanting and everything is possible. You can learn to recognize the movement of desire, reaching out or holding back, and to be present in pure loving desire. Then a profound love connection becomes possible in a relationship, in which you as it were are carried by love itself.
Wanting desire and desire
The Tibetan Buddhist teacher in the Tantric tradition Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche makes a distinction between wanting desire and desire. The wanting desire is the reaching out and holding back. Wanting desire is the big suffering according to Buddhism. Pure desire is enlightenment according to Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche.
So the Tantric way is the transformation from wanting desire to pure desire. We call this the enjoyment of desire: being totally free in desire without reaching out or holding back.
The way to learn this is to explore both the reaching out and the holding back and to meditate on this so that it becomes more and more conscious until it's totally free.
An example: how are you lying in bed with your partner: are you more reaching out because you have a goal to reach or are you more into lying on the edge of the bed hoping you can go to sleep? Tantra invites you not to do either of them but just be conscious curious to whatever can happen between you and your partner.
Emotions and feeling
Our second inspiration is the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. He wrote some very important books on consciousness. One of his books is I feel therefore I am which is an answer on the philosopher Descartes, who influenced our culture very much with his I think therefore I am. According to Damasio feeling is the most important part of our consciousness, but feeling is not emotion.
Normally in our culture we make a distinction between on the one side rational thinking and on the other hand emotions/feeling. Damasio states that in our brain there are three parts: thinking, feeling and emotions. Emotions are the oldest part of the brain and are more or less unconscious. When emotions become conscious they become feelings.
The way we see it thinking corresponds to the head, feeling to the heart and emotions to the belly. Emotions correspond to the outreaching part of the desire, thinking corresponds to the holding back part of the desire. Feeling is pure being, awareness. Living from your heart.
We focus on the experience of the participants in our workshops and trainings. We always start with an exercise and then do a short sharing in which some people can tell from their experience. From this experience, we then tell you more about the background of tantra, both from a well-founded knowledge as from our own experience. This gives tantra meaning from your own experience in the workshop. By integrating the experience and meaning tantra can then take shape in your own life.
We work with dance, active tantric meditations on desire, breathing techniques and tantric rituals. You get more in touch with your own feelings, you learn to see through blocking emotions and thoughts and you will then be invited to share the newfound openness with others in tantric rituals. We provide a safe and respectful atmosphere in which we set clear boundaries and your boundaries are respected.
Our workshops are as well for singles, couples and people who have a relationship and just want to come alone.
Articles on tantra
1) Tantra and the diffence in desire
In this article from Jan, that you can open below, you can read more about our vision on tantra.
The first part of the article is the more scientific part: p. 205-210.
The last part of the article can be read separately and is more about mindfulness and sexual desire, tantra and practical exercises as used in our tantra workshops.
Read the article with this link: Tantra and the difference in desire
2) Tantric life, forever connected and free
A talk by Jan den Boer, with Mahasatvaa Sarita, Baba Dez and Bruce Lyon.
English translation. Published in Dutch in the Onkruid Jaarboek, 2015.
Read the article with this link: Tantric life
For Jan and Caroline Tantra is a way of life, first in their love relationship and daily living. This way of life they share in their training from a program based on a variety of tantric traditions, Buddhism, science and a long experience as trainers. Desire is their main exploration and sexual desire is to strongest way of Tantric meditation. "If you really can be free in your sexual desire you are free and connected. Than you can choose to live in loving kindness." Since 2004 Jan and Caroline organize every year a one-day Tantra Festival with 36 workshops and more than 300 attendants.
Jan works as a tantra trainer and therapist, as a project manager and as a writer. He gives Tantra training since 1994.
Jan wrote several books and many articles on tantra. "Tantra is for me a way of living. It's about being connected, in relationship and in all aspects of my life "
Caroline van Wijngaarden (1963) did the following education: HBO Social Work and Post graduate Rational Emotive Therapy (RET).
Caroline attended a number of training courses in the field of personal growth and tantra, including the year training 'Intens leven' with Jorien Vossen, many Tantra Courses, a training Female Leadership at Phoenix and De Verdieping and the Centour at Venwoude.