Event: Tantra Speed Date

Mindful dating is a relatively new thing. It involves a new approach to dating where you are being present with the person you are meeting, set your boundaries from the beginning and stay open.

So there are now mindful dating websites where spiritual people can find like minded partners. But Tantra Institute from New York took it even further and started organizing mindful speed dating events. The way they differ from regular speed dating is enormous because they are actually based on different principles than regular dating or traditional speed dates. The main difference is the Puja Circle instead of the regular tables where women just sit and wait for the next guy to come and chat to them for a few minutes. Here men are standing on the outside and women are actually moving around the circle, having interaction with one man after another.

These interactions or mindful exercises are called ‘stations’ and some of them are just pure fun but the other ones are truly therapeutic and healing. Some of them involve touching the person in front of you and gazing into their eyes for a minute or two, and others concentrate more on speaking your truth. The main idea of the whole event, which by the way is called a ceremony, and rightly so, is that when men hold space for women, they can open up and relax more. They feel safe and seen, appreciated and heard. And thanks to that they can respond to these men in a better and more vulnerable way.

Honesty and vulnerability from both sides are encouraged and welcomed which helps the participants to see another beautiful human being in front of them and allows them to really connect with each person they meet that night. The circles contain an even number of men and women so everybody stays involved all the time. And sometimes the pairs are told to move, sometimes to say certain, specific things to each other and sometimes to just play. People dance, laugh and cry. We see the whole spectrum of human emotions and by the end of a two hour event people feel like they are all on the same page and deeply connected. Women just glow and men are more grounded.

It actually feels a little bit surreal and idealistic. But people are truly transformed by it. Though this experience is not for everybody. Some people cannot face looking into strangers’ eyes without covering their nervousness with laughter and jokes. Others do not want to participate in some stations involving a more intimate touch. But the ones who just go for it all and engage fully, later appreciate every moment of it. And it is surely worth trying – I highly recommend experiencing it to everyone.

The last healing ‘stations’ are the most beautiful and important parts of this event. They allow the participants to connect on a higher level and imagine what our world would look like if we fully showed up in every daily interaction and just supported each other. And it’s a beautiful vision.

Lauren Harkness and Guy Shahar, co-funders of the Tantra Institute

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