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Huna and Tantra
by Stewart Blackburn

I was recently asked to participate on a panel discussing Tantra at a small Tantra festival held locally here in Hawaii. I have explored Tantra, both classical and neo, and was very happy to discuss the subject from my shamanic perspective. They both have a lot to offer as practical spiritual philosophies and systems. They each have a focus on self-empowerment, which I think is paramount in these times. But their differences are profound.

Both Huna and Tantra support and encourage the individual's exploration of the deeper levels of the Self. Both view self-empowerment as essential to achieving one's full potential. And both encourage the active experimentation of all aspects of human life, including the sexual arenas.

The underlying intention of Huna is to be effective in our lives. We seek to be effective in creating and crafting the lives of our preferences, effective in helping others as best we can, and effective in supporting the Earth and all its inhabitants. Love (Aloha) is the ethic by which we operate and Power, particularly Self-Empowerment, is what we develop in order to be effective.

Tantra, on the other hand, seeks to achieve higher states of consciousness, and for many, an end to the cycle of rebirths. While Tantra uses many of the same techniques as Huna, like intense focus and creative imagination, the intentions and goals are quite different.

One of the people who was on the panel with me was Margot Anand, the renowned author and teacher of the neo-tantric SkyDancing Tantra. She represented a Buddhist form of Tantra that has an accent on developing sexual ecstasy for health and well-being. She and I found a lot of common ground, particularly with regard to the awakening process and how to deal with the increased energy released as various blocks are dissolved.

However, I told a story of mine that illustrated, I thought, that the higher states of consciousness don't particularly have to come through orgasmic release. I related how I had nearly been thrown out of a barbecue restaurant in Los Angeles because I had gone into a gustatory trance over some particularly fine ribs. The manager had been called over and he was shaking me vigorously, thinking probably that I was on drugs. No, I told him, the ribs had literally taken me to heaven.

Margo interpreted that story as an example of culinary orgasm. While there are similarities between orgasmic ecstasy and bliss, they are not the same. It seems that many tantrikas make the mistake of equating the two. I certainly used to. I was shocked when taking a 10-day Vipassana retreat some years back to hear how in that system one wanted to let go of ecstasy and passion for the higher states of bliss.

But I now find it clear that bliss is a distinct state that doesn't follow the usual pattern of pleasures. It doesn't rise, building to a crescendo, then come down only to fade away. It seems to be more a state of being where one feels the delicious easy flow of energy without large fluctuations. This is not to say that ecstasy and passion aren't magnificent and well worth exploring. It's just that they aren't identical to bliss.

I greatly appreciate the neo-tantric focus on sexual healing. That's something that isn't a big part of Huna. While undoing the shame and guilt engendered by our still-Puritan society can be largely done using the power and focus of the mind with Huna, it happens a lot faster with a more hands on approach. We can't take up our full power until we have stopped blocking it with our fears and our shame. Loving touch, especially in those areas that have been heretofore forbidden, can do a kind of magic nothing else can. Neo-Tantra is not the only system to do this work, but it is known for it.

However, to go into the depths of how we craft our lives, the mechanics of how we treat ourselves and thus create our experiences, I have found nothing that covers almost all the bases the way Huna does. While some systems work hard on creating the reality that you want, and others focus on how you are hurting yourself, I find that Huna pulls the various pieces of an empowered life together in a way that is stronger and kinder that anything else I know.

Copyright 2017 Stewart Blackburn

Stewart Blackburn is the author of The Skills of Pleasure: Crafting the Life You Want. His website is: www.stewartblackburn.com; email: lomilomiman@gmail.com.

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