Day 2: Terms & Co – Meditation, Mindfulness and Tantra

As I explained yesterday in the bootcamp basics post, the 30 day urbangay bootcamp program brings together three related, though slightly different activities; mindfulness, meditation and tantra. We won’t be going massively in depth into any one of them. The focus will be on cherry picking the best features of each approach and combine them in one powerful, transformative month for you.

All three methods have their roots in Eastern philosophy, though they can be found in different religions and philosophies outside of Asia. As promised, you don’t need to take a religious or philosophical stance, apart from some basic rules which I’ll explain more about tomorrow. So don’t pick some now, just dip into all of them, take the best they have to offer – and create your own toolbox at the end of the month.

Of course, the terms are often used interchangeably: mindfulness seems to mean meditation, both mean sitting still and tantra is almost movement-less sex. Well… almost. Of course, you are not here because you really wanted to sign up to a philosophy course and learn a lot of theory without trying things out, right? So… let me just quickly explain what is meant by these three terms – how they are similar, and how they are different. At least, this is how I will be using the terms in this program, to avoid confusion. Don’t worry though, this isn’t going to be a long and bothersome debate about the differences!

When I talk about ‘Mindfulness’ I talk about an activity that focuses on the present moment in a way that accepts what is happening in the present moment and the focus is on awareness about what is happening. This activity can be a quiet activity, which could look very much like meditation, or it can be an ‘active’ activity, like running. With mindfulness, the focus is simply to be present in the current moment – and to train the mind to focus on what is happening right now (rather than drifting off and thinking about what was, could be or should be). We will spend the first week exploring this concept, and see why it is so fundamental to well being.

While mindfulness is actively being present in the moment and accepting the moment, feelings and emotions as they are, when I talk about mediation it is something more purposeful. Rather then standing still and/or observing the present, when I use the term meditation, I’m referring to training the mind to do something or focus on something other than what is present, in other words, mediation has a purpose. For example, a meditation to train the mind become more positive, a meditation to increase confidence etc.. Meditation is also (at least in this context)  a quiet and stationary activity: so the term meditation means lying down or sitting down and not physically moving the body.

In the last week of the bootcamp we will focus on different types of sexual expression, including what could be loosely described as “tantric sex”. There is a lot of polemic around the term. For the program it is not really necessary to delve into the debate. Rather what is meant when the term tantra appears is a generally slowly performed sexual activity, where the main purpose is not to achieve ejaculation. Rather the focus is on sensuality, feelings and emotions created through touch. If they lead to an ejaculation, in terms of this program, that is ok. If they don’t… that is great, too. The point is to learn to build sexual energy.

So there we have the basic definitions of the program:
Mindfulness – focus on the present, with awareness and acceptance
Meditation – silent, stationary activity with a purpose (often focusing on training the mind to do something)
Tantra – a sensual sexual activity where orgasm (or rather ejaculation) is not the main purpose.
Don’t worry if some of these concepts still seem a little unclear. We will explore them as the bootcamp goes on, and I’ll give you plenty of examples to see what I mean.

I know that some purists will probably have some issues with this simple approach to the terms, but as you are not here to enrol in a class on Eastern philosophy, they simple explanations above will be sufficient for the moment. The focus of the bootcamp is to introduce you to a lot of different techniques. It’s about finding out which ones are right for you, which you like and which techniques and methods you feel are good for you. There are no right or wrong ways here – just your own individual way. And if after the bootcamp you want to explore more of one method or technique … come back and find out more!

Now we are almost ready to go… come back tomorrow to find out more about the simple rules to follow during the bootcamp time. Don’t worry… I promised no complicated things, and a lot of fun. Tomorrow, we will develop a Manifesto for the urbangay… with principles to follow for the rest of the program – and maybe even beyond. Check back tomorrow to find out more!