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(See also “Balance,” “Dangers,” “Health,” “Problems,” and “Sex and Meditation.”)

Tantra (also known as "vajrayana") is a form of yoga involving different types of meditation on various physical and nerve centers from the top of the head to the base of the trunk. It also includes raising or lowering energies in and paralleling the spine. Tantra yoga is different from the four classic Hindu Vedic yoga practices of raja, jnana, bhakti, and hatha yoga: these four deal primarily with above-the-head, mental, heart-centered yogas or physical breathing and postures (see “Energy Centers”).

Sometimes the phrase “tantric yoga” also is used to refer specifically to branches of tantra and of meditation practices that involve or use sexuality. However, in traditional practice, tantra yoga does not always involve sex.

If you want to pursue tantra yoga, you should plan on working for years with the higher centers of yoga first, until you have a well-developed mastery of those levels, first. Or, for faster use of tantra, you should turn to a personal master or teacher.

At the very least, if you choose to not work with a tantra master, you should work, first, on external exercises and rituals using tantra manuals before attempting actual concentration on the lower energy centers (see). Some of the sexual tantra rituals and postures also can be tried with relative safety by couples committed to and comfortable with each other over a long period of time. They also must have a lot of patience, they must enjoy their sexual life together, and they should have an especially deep trust and knowledge of each other.

Note, however, that you should not try the version of tantra that starts at the bottom of the chakra centers (see “Base-of-the-Spine Energy Center”) and moves upward. You should only attempt this when working with a tantra master, and only when the master says you are ready. Otherwise, you might open many lower physical and emotional energies and feelings in your body, including unusual or disturbing forces. (See “Dangers.”)

TEACHERSee “Master/Teacher” or "Learning."

(See also “Emotion” and "Pain.")

           Tears are normal and natural in some states of meditation. You should not purposely try to create tears just because you like to cry. However, if tears come in moments of pain or joy as a result of discovering, perhaps, a traumatic memory or a new feeling of great inner peace, joy, or love, such tears are not only acceptable but good, as they often are healing for the body and mind.

          Tears of pain can come as you look at, remember, or re-experience difficult moments in your life–traumatic, difficult, guilt-ridden, fearful or other profoundly painful, deep moments that suddenly come to you as you try to meditate. Meditation opens us up; as a result, you sometimes must be ready to deal with such experiences. Usually the best way is to simply observe them as they pass through you; if you keep coming to them in meditation, then keep observing them: gradually, they will lose their power. If the memories are more than you can handle alone, then get help: see "Emotion" and "Pain" for further suggestions.

          Tears of joy also are very natural sometimes if, in meditation, you happen upon a strong experience of joy, love, peace, or a similar strong feeling. Not only should you not deny or avoid such feelings, but rather you certainly can encourage and pursue them, as such profound feelings are part of inner growth in meditation. If they make you cry, that is fine: that is a sign of healing happening within you. For more about such positive experiences, see "Emotion."

TELEKINESIS – Mind controlling matter. See “Psychic Abilities," "Gifts," and "Distractions.”

TELEPATHY, MENTAL See “Psychic Abilities," "Gifts," and "Distractions.”

TELEPORTATION As a mental telepathy phenomena, mind or energy body goes to other physical locations. See “Psychic Abilities," "Gifts," and "Distractions.”

TEMPLE Jewish or Hindu place of worship. See “Architecture" and "Group Meditation.”

TERESA OF AVILA (See also “Centering Prayer" and "Contemplation.")

          Teresa of Avila was a Christian saint and mystic. Especially concerning meditation, she recommended in her The Interior Castle:

Infused recollection: See "Starting," the "Third Eye Energy Center," and the "Throat Energy Center")

The prayer of quiet: See "Nirvana," the "'No' Meditation," and "Prayer." 

The prayer of union: See "Superconscious Energy Center," "Mysticism," and "Prayer." 

The prayer of full union: See "Mysticism," "God," and "Prayer."

“THIRD-EYE” ENERGY CENTER (See also "Energy Centers,” “Mind,” “Chakras,” and “Starting Stage of Meditation.”)

Seven meditation centers or focus points are roughly aligned with your spine. They are called, here, “energy centers” (see). They are physical meeting points for groups of nerves, or the energy from many nerves. They also are–according to ancient Hindu, Chinese, and other medical and spiritual traditions–excellent points on which to focus in meditation. To read about all of them, see the Guide for “Energy Centers.”

The “third eye” is the popular name for the second energy center from the top. It is located on the forehead at a point between–or slightly above and between–the eyebrows. It corresponds to higher thinking and imagination, and with visual thinking and seeing. The basic form of yoga meditation to which it corresponds is “jnana yoga” (see).

The “third eye” center is not, as sometimes suggested in popular fiction and pop culture, a strictly psychic or ESP center. It does not necessarily peer into other dimensions. And it is not really a “third eye,” except in the sense that it is an inward-looking eye.   

How does this center function physically? It is, in a sense, the frontal access to higher intellectual thought: the kind of thought which is conscious and/or involves our own control. In other words, it is a sort of access point or focus point for working with higher mental functions of the brain. In addition, most major spiritual traditions recognize certain intellectual or “third-eye” functions that can happen–or on which you can focus–in meditation.

Would you like a list of meditation methods for this energy center? If so, go to the “Energy Centers” definition in this dictionary. Then, at the end of it, see “A Guide to Energy Center Meditation.”  Methods for each energy center are listed there.

THOU Sometimes used as a name for God. See “I-Thou" and "God."

THOUGHTS AND MEDITATION (See also “Memory" and "Mind.")

          Thought is a very general concept that means anything to do with mental processes such as remembering, intuiting, verbalizing internally, and connecting such mental processes with each other. Thought is not physical feeling, nor is it simple sensory stimulus (though thought often can be connected with physical feeling, creating "emotion," or with sensory stimuli, creating mental or thoughtful observations). Examples of thought are your working on a grocery list or a difficult new idea in your head, talking to yourself in your head, and remembering or imagining objects, people, or scenarios in your head.

          Thought in connection with meditation can be both useful and distracting. Thought that leads to, reminds you of, or helps you understand your meditation generally is helpful. Thought that keeps you from meditation, distracts you from it, or enters your head during meditation, stopping your focus, is not helpful.

Positive uses of thought for meditation:

  1. Set up a time/day for meditation.

  2. Identify through study and/or experiment which meditation to practice.

  3. Create a system for reminding yourself to stay in meditation (such as tapping your body, using an electronic reminder app, using a breathing pattern, et al.).

  4. Examine your meditation afterward.

  5. Compare it to other meditations or other experiences (yours and other people's).

  6. Remember the details of it for future reference (writing about it helps, as does talking about it).

  7. Study how it relates to your life, your energies, and/or other people's experiences.

Getting rid of distracting thoughts:

  1. You can throw them out or refuse them entry (see "The 'No' Meditation").

  2. You can tap on your hand, your wrist, or another energy center (see) on your body as a reminder to maintain your focus

  3. You can move into a strong focus to which you will constantly return for a certain number of minutes (and use an alarm or a person to let you know when the time is done).

  4. You can use massage of a body part to maintain your focus on that point (for healing, or for continuing to focus on one of the higher energy centers (see).

  5. You can perform a body movement that helps you get rid of thoughts, such as a "swimming" motion that physically appears to push thoughts or feelings away from you.

          As you develop your sensitivities through meditation, you may find yourself experiencing thoughts like seeds, or emotions like waves, coming into your awareness. These may be thoughts and feelings coming from others: people around you or people at a distance who are thinking about you. These thoughts, too, are distractions and can be treated as such using the methods above.

FUL, THOUGHTFULNESS See “Contemplation" and "Mind."

THOUSAND-PETALLED LOTUS See “Above-the-Head Meditation Center,” “Energy Centers,” and "Born Again."

(See also “Chakras,” “Energy Centers,” “Mantra,” “Mind,” “Nirvana,” the “’No’ Meditation,” the “Starting Stage” of Meditation,” and “Word Meditation.”)

Seven meditation centers or focus points are roughly aligned with your spine. They are called, here, “energy centers” (see). They are physical meeting points for groups of nerves or contain many nerves. They also are–according to ancient Hindu, Chinese, and other medical and spiritual traditions–excellent points on which to focus in meditation. To read about all of them, see the Guide for “Energy Centers.”

The throat energy center is located on the front of the throat at about its center. A number of nerves come together at this point as they move from the head to the trunk. The energy in this center relates to lower  or “verbal” thinking: basic noises, enunciation of words, singing, and “yes-no” and practical logic. The basic form of meditation to which it corresponds is verbal prayer (see), word repetitions, and, in yoga, the use of mantras (see).

The throat center is not, in meditation, an excuse for speaking or thinking mindlessly or without stop. And though it represents or is a part of singing, that singing is not a form of meditation by itself. In other words, meditation using sound must be with some kind of special focus or extra awareness in addition to making the sound. Also, meditation in this center does not mean tightening or constricting your throat.

How does this center function physically? It is the area of your body where you enunciate sounds when you are speaking or singing. This sound-producing part of your throat, notably, continues to move when you also are thinking silently, not out loud, if your thinking uses verbal words or other sounds.  In fact, rain scientists report that much of our thinking is a mix of sound, image, and feeling, with partly formed words, impressions, visualizations, and/or emotions flashing through our brains so quickly that we almost don’t notice them.

Most major spiritual traditions recognize specific types of meditation having to do with words, song, or chanting. Some have to do, instead, with creating the cessation of sound in your mind.

Would you like a list of meditation methods for this energy center? If so, go to the “Energy Centers” definition in this dictionary. Then, at the end of it, see “A Guide to Energy Center Meditation.”  Methods for each energy center are listed there.

TIMES OF MEDITATION See “Settings,” ”Moving,” and “Still.”

TIME, SENSE OF – (See also “Illusion” and “Reality.”)

Sometimes in meditation, you may feel a pausing of time, or even a reversing of it. Or perhaps you may feel like you are peering into the future, or seeing the past. This type of deeper experience of time is not a simple intellectual or mental thinking of previous or future times, nor is it just a memory or an imagined image of the future. Rather, time itself feels, to one’s senses and intuition, different. For example, you may have a déjà vu, or perhaps think of something and then have it happen to you a minute, hour, or day later.

In modern culture, we tend to think of time as happening along a line on which we are always marching forward, step by step, in even increments of minutes, months, and years. However, in other cultures, other times in history, and even in scientific experiments, time can be understood, instead, to circle back upon itself; move in cycles, loops, and even different dimensions; and clearly have subjective speeds depending on what we are doing, feeling, and understanding.  In one famous scientific experiment in the 20th century, for example, the only logical explanation for the reactions of atomic particles is that one of them is literally going backward in time.

For these reasons, time in meditation may feel or appear to happen differently. If this happens to you, it is no cause for concern. Simply continue to meditate.

Seer and “medical psychic” Edgar Cayce, perhaps the most consistently accurate psychic in 20th century North America, said that everything that has happened is imprinted in a record of all events. Modern scientists would say that if we could go faster than light, then we would be able to see all of history unfolding when we looked back.

Cayce said that peering into the future is similar to looking backward, but with a slight difference. Looking into the future, he said, is like standing on a mountain and seeing the future in what is forward of us. Events close to the mountain, he said, are more likely to happen as we see them. However, the further away the view, the more possibility of change in the details, and the greater the variety of paths in getting there. All perceptions such as this in meditation can make time seem different.

How do we perceive time in meditation? Subjectively, often, time feels like it is either slowing down or speeding up. Otherwise, whatever distortions or changes of time may exist are not a concern of your meditation. Rather, like so much else during meditation, you simply learn to ignore such feelings and events and continue the meditation itself.


TOUCHING MEDITATION See “Massage," "Meditation with or on Others,” and “Sex and Meditation.”

TRANSCENDENT and TRANSCENDENCE See “Immanent and Transcendent," "Arts," "Transcendentalist," and "God."

TRANCENDENTALIST MEDITATION – (See also "Immanent and Transcendent," "Arts," “God” "Paganism," “Mysticism," and "Oneness.”)

If you enjoy "transcendentalist meditation," usually this means, in a general sense, that you are a person who finds surpassing beauty, peace, love, joy, or strength in nature. This usually means being in nature, but it also can mean observing nature through a window or even in art. A transcendentalist experience of nature is not just any basic, normal feeling of being somewhat peaceful, happy, or strong. Rather, you find an experience of ultimate reality (see), a deep or intense experience of joy, peace, or strength, or in some other manner you feel a closeness to a divine reality. Examples include St. Francis of Assissi working in his garden, transcendent joy in great vistas in nature or the workings of nature, and a feeling of at-oneness with nature or the world as a whole.
(See also "Gifts" and "Psychic Abilities/Phenomena.")

A trance or trance state is an experience of speaking or even acting out as an intermediary for another being or force, during which you are minimally conscious or even unconscious. It is not the same as when you experience an alcoholic blackout, nor do you have self-control during such a state. In trance states, spirits from other times or places report through you, or possibly your own self reports in a matter of fact way what you see or hear elsewhere. The most famous trance-state speaker in twentieth-century America was Edgar Cayce. Others in many spiritual, psychic, and religious traditions have claimed to be trance speakers offering important wisdom.

(See also “God” and “Mysticism," and "Oneness.”)

Transformation or transforming is used in some religions to describe the experience, during meditation of becoming someone or something else. It sometimes refers to the process of discovering one's own aware self (see "awareness" and "self"), to experiencing nirvana (see), or to being transformed into another being or image (such as Jesus, Mohammud, Buddha, a native spirit guide, a pagan power, et al.).

In meditation, if some kind of transformation furthers your path of discovery, then you may choose to encourage, pursue, and re-engage with it. If, however, the transformation is merely an interesting experience along the way, a sidelight that doe not further your path of meditation, then you may treat it–however flashy or startling–as nothing more than an interesting movie you might see or person you might meet in passing.

TRAUMA (See also "Breathing," "Clear," "Pleasure," "Problems," "Pain," and "Psychology.")

          Trauma in meditation terms usually refers to psychological or emotional trauma: a set of negative reactions or negative feelings left over from a bad experience. This leftover trauma usually is psychological or emotional, whatever the initial events that may have caused it.

          Though "trauma" also can refer to a current physical wound, physical trauma should be taken care of by medical means. Psychological/emotional trauma can be caused by physically or emotionally damaging events. However, the resulting psychological/emotional trauma may continue after cause has stopped.

          For example, if you were hit regularly as a child, or if you experienced even a single particularly harsh beating, you likely will have lasting emotional trauma–emotional pain of disturbance–from the event. Rape, constant fear, constant high-stress experiences, severe or regular emotional abuse, and other damaging events usually cause some kind of lasting emotional trauma. You may heal quickly, or you may take a long time to heal. You may be normal much of the time but suddenly find yourself experiencing emotional pain, or even "acting out" physically, when something "triggers" your trauma.

TRINITY See also "God."

          A trinity is the feature of the highest form of ultimate reality, or God, in several different spiritual systems. The trinity in this form is not of human actions but rather of ultimate theological and experiential (meditation-available) states of being. For example, in Christianity, the trinity is of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In some forms of paganism, it is of the Parent/Lord of All, Child, and Spirit; or of the God, Goddess, and Child. Hinduism has two trinities: the Satchidananda (see), which means Peace-Power/Consciousness-Love/Joy); and the three god-forces that are the Creator/Originator (Brahma), Sustainer/Preserver (Vishnu), and Destroyer/Dismantler (Shiva) of the Universe.

          In meditation practice, a trinity or a part of it can be a powerful method. You may focus on each one of the parts of a trinity. Focus on your memory of something close to it in your own experience, focus on something similar to it that you have experienced in meditation, or invite that particular force, power, or state of being or energy to enter your awareness.

TRUST IN GOD – See “Faith” and “God.”

See “Clearing the Mind."

TWITCHES See “Body Functions.”



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