Becoming a male tantric practitioner
Tantric: To be or not to be?
The Dutch are open-minded people generally and as long as you don’t hurt anyone you can live your life as you wish without others frowning upon you. However, when it comes to Tantra there is a lot of prejudice and misunderstanding in the Netherlands (and elsewhere).
When I finished the Tantra Massage Therapist Training through Somananda Tantra School I knew that this was something I needed to put into personal and professional practice. However, I was faced with a dilemma: is it wise or not to openly relate my massage practice to Tantra?
The surrounding environment isn’t so welcoming, especially for men. After extensive contemplation on the subject matter, the answer became a definite yes! I had to keep calling my work and practice tantric or else I would lose something very essential.
A life of integrity leads to freedom and power
These are the five reasons why I chose to align myself publicly with Tantra:
If I were to choose a different name for my practice or dress it up in fluffy terms so as not to offend anyone, I would deny certain parts of myself and lose my authenticity. Furthermore, I noticed that by being open about the original roots of my practice, people around me became more supportive (even if they didn’t always understand). Being true to myself deepened my massage practice exponentially, allowing me to be a more skillful practitioner and therapist. Remarkably, Tantra become more and more integrated into my everyday life as well when I made the decision to courageously walk down this path regardless of social norms.
Resolving who I wanted to be in my personal and professional life allowed me to gain a clear understanding of my intentions, capabilities, and boundaries. This transparency has also allowed me to tap into universal and spiritual support for my massage practice as well as build rapport and trust with clients and partners.
Sometimes this process of opening up felt almost like coming out: “Hi, I’m Janne, and I like Tantra.” The feeling of vulnerability that came with it brought me more in touch with my core and true nature. I was willing to show this deeper aspect of myself, because I knew that this is what it is really about and, in fact, that it is invulnerable. Exposing these deeper layers within me also created more profound connections with people that are closest to me.
In Tantra, there is a lot of talk about the creative energy that arises when the polarities of Shiva and Shakti, man and woman, meet. All around me, I see women growing in their strength and femininity. I could say “Ok, then let the women take over” – some even say that only women should teach Tantra. But men are needed to keep the balance in this polarity. And tantric masculinity is needed as a voice of clarity amidst the current misconceptions of what masculinity actually represents.
Rather than hiding the wrongs that happen under the name of “Tantra,” I wanted to keep showing its beauty. Especially in a world where there is so much misunderstanding, it doesn’t feel helpful to become apologetic or defensive. I look to present a more constructive, inspiring approach by sharing the fruits and beauty of what I have learned and continue to discover on this incredible spiritual path.
A warm welcoming
This journey of opening myself wholly into my new identity as a tantric practitioner and healer has been a mirror for me, reflecting a passion and honesty which have greatly enhanced and reinforced my massage and spiritual practice and helped me to feel more welcomed in love, in life and in my work – probably because I wholeheartedly welcomed myself into this role and path.