Maintain conscious awareness of your physical body, even as you strive to connect with and know your spiritual self, for both are equally important and necessary as you make your way on your journey through life. Without a healthy physical body your spirit will struggle, and without a healthy spirit your physical body will suffer. Keep them aligned with each other in healthy ways, giving each dedicated time and attention so that one does not miss the other, so that each may flourish, and so that your wholeness will never be in doubt. This is what you are so longing for, a more balanced union with self, body and spirit. In full awareness of yourself as body and spirit, may you travel on your ever-changing journey in health and happiness, knowing yourself to the fullest, achieving everything you wish for.
Human sexuality is the physical manifestation of a far subtler yet powerful cosmic energy whose guiding intent is union. At the highest level that union is oneness with God, or the cosmos. At the most basic level, in the human form, it is unconscious instinctive union that results in procreation. One of the greatest challenges for human beings is to reconcile this divine energy with its physical, emotional, and mental energies in the human body.
I opened the Huffington Post the other day to an article entitled: Saudi Historian: U.S. Women Drive Because They Don’t Care If They’re Raped. This somewhat bizarre argument, to justify the Saudi law that forbids Saudi women from driving, does shine a light, however, upon a worldview that acknowledges the power and dangers of sexual energy. The Saudi solution is to overly protect women from the dangers of male sexual energy that loses control in situations of rape. Their solution is an affront to modern sensibility and progress, yet it nonetheless openly confronts the power and potential dangers of sexual energy.
In the West, the assumption that rationality, maturity, love, and respect insure safety in sexuality is blatantly on trial in our age of internet revelation. Abuse of sexual power is evident in our most sacred religious institutions, our schools and universities, and in our homes. It is quite arguable that for all our technological advances we are extremely naive and underdeveloped in our handling of sex.
In old Tibet, children entered monastic life long before the adult manifestation of sexual energy. Celibacy and the refusal to engage in sexual pleasure, even in masturbation, are fundamental to nuns and monks seeking enlightenment. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico discouraged sexual activity, as the energy it exhausted is seen as critical to dream advancement. In these practices we see a respect for the power and vitality of sexual energy, and while it is sublimated it is still utilized, channeled into spiritual advancement. Freud went so far as to suggest that civilization itself was a by-product of sublimated sexual energy.
This scant survey of sexual management throughout the world highlights the power of and the challenge that the carnal and the spiritual dimensions of sexual energy pose. If we can allow the hypothesis that sexuality is of cosmic origin, a blind yet divine energy, sent from “God” to empower union in human form, then it is our greatest human challenge to reconcile this blind, divine energy with full human consciousness. Thus, we can ill afford to lock it away in protectionism, divert it for spiritual aims, or naively assume anything goes simply because we all have rational control.
As humans, we are charged with discovering the full depth and power of our sexual instinct, this divine energy from God, in all its manifestations—physical, emotional, and mental. We are all charged with actively uniting this side of our nature with our consciousness, that which, in our human form, is our ephemeral spiritual center.
This weekend we celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day appropriated to pay homage to love in relationship. The intent of this celebration is to merge love—union based on consciousness, driven by what is right—with sexuality, in its most instinctive form, in a harmony that symbolizes wholeness and oneness, as cupid depicts, in divine rapture.
Valentine’s Day is, not coincidentally, the opening day for the movie Fifty Shades of Grey. This movie is based on a highly erotic novel that develops the theme of dominance/submission, sadism/masochism in sexual practices. The novel, with all of its steamy sex scenes, has had unprecedented worldwide success. I suggest this success is due to its liberating effects on the exploration of female desire and sexual fantasy, which have been largely undervalued or “protectively” ignored. However, I don’t feel that this fantasy of female sexuality is fully accurate or comprehensive. It may serve for the release and exploration of a largely hidden topic—woman’s sexuality—but I think it actually mirrors the collective frozen states of women’s sexual pleasures and the relationships that reinforce them.
The storyline of the novel allows women pleasure in bondage. Bondage may indeed be a pleasurable experience, but it hardly touches the depths of real pleasure that a woman is capable of experiencing in a truly conscious, loving relationship. The true union of the primal sexual power with consciousness requires the containment of a safe, loving relationship where these primal energies can play and merge in full consciousness.
Bondage, by design, is the antithesis of true freedom. Nonetheless, bondage might be viewed as a more primitive form of commitment. In true commitment, however, a couple freely bonds themselves to each other in a love that allows the full meeting of two beings on all levels. This deep and freeing union, I suggest, is one realization of the divine intent of sexuality. Issued from the highest spiritual plane, it culminates in full realization of the divine in sublime human form.
Rape, in all its manifestations, is the consequence of an aberrant decision to not take up the challenge of humanness and instead to surrender control to the proclivities of the dark side. It’s inhuman. Bondage, in all its manifestations, is a rudimentary experience of trapping and controlling the divine energy. Conscious relationship is the exact opposite, as it seeks to responsibly unite animal and divine.
The ultimate challenge awaits us in death itself, where we, as individuals, must completely merge our human energy with divine oneness. Notice, this is not union with another person. This is ourselves, as individuals, uniting with the divine.
Our ultimate, full realization of divine sexuality is in the inner union of self, in the wholeness of all energies merged, physical and divine, transfigured into the oneness of all. Will we resist releasing our body and land in the bardos to continue to work through our attachments to physicality? Or are we ready to fully join with the divine light?
Almost every morning, as Jan channels the Soulbyte for the day, I go off and open a book at random to let the divine deliver its message to me.
The other day, I opened Autobiography of a Yogi to an interaction between Yogananda and his master Sri Yukteswar. Yogananda had just experienced a great physical healing, which he thanked his master for. Sri Yukteswar craftily worded his response to suggest that the healing was actually effected by a change in Yogananda’s own thought process. Yogananda anxiously sought to disavow this power and the next day awoke completely unable to physically get out of bed, restored to the comfort of the familiarity of his old weakness. Sri Yukteswar then instructed: “The human mind is a spark of the almighty consciousness of God…whatever your powerful mind believes very intensely would instantly come to pass.”
Can we take ownership of that Divine Spark, that God within us all? Can we wisely direct our thoughts toward greater union within ourselves, within the world? Are we ready to take full ownership of our power?
On another recent morning, enveloped in a mood of despair and stagnation, as Jan channeled, I turned to the I Ching for guidance. Not surprisingly, hexagram #12, Stagnation, appeared. Here heaven and earth are flying further and further apart, deeply out of alignment with each other.
It’s hard now to not see the signs of this dissociation every day, whether it be beached whales, fish fleeing the too warm waters of Maine, children slaughtered at school, women brutally raped, and the stories go on and on. We are in a time of total disintegration as nature and spirit dissolve the world as we have known it and move toward a new position, rebalancing into a new and sustainable format.
The I Ching tells me (nine in the fourth place) that the time of stagnation is nearing the point of change into its opposite. And finally, nine at the top, that though this time of standstill does not last forever, it does not cease of its own accord either; the right leader is needed.
Here I am led back to my opening quote, stating that the spark of God resides in every person. Every person is and has the power of God within, and that power lies in the power of intent. But we must truly embrace that power and believe it to effect the change we seek. One danger, of course, is to misuse that power. This has been the mistake of our human race to date, to exploit our Godly power to our own advantage: narcissistic greed. That mistake has brought us to this edge of oblivion.
Yesterday morning, I opened Autobiography of a Yogi again, to this quote regarding how to use our power: “Don’t do what you like, then do everything you like.” The guidance is clear. Ego must first check its narcissistic impulse to act. This impulse is cut off from the needs of the interdependent whole, just as the I Ching suggests that the earth and the heavens are cut off from each other, each swirling in opposite directions away from unity and wholeness. It’s all about me, me, me. If we pause, we give ourselves the opportunity to realign, to become the interdependent whole that then is freed to act with abandon, offered the opportunity to achieve true unity based on right alignment, with ego serving the Spark of the Divine.
Synchronistically, I turned on the news the other day to hear that two leaders have acted as real leaders, serving the interdependent needs of the whole, Cuomo and Obama. New York Governor Cuomo refused the interests of the fossil fuels industry to value Mother Earth and our true needs. NO FRACKING in New York. Bravo, Governor Cuomo! President Obama has established diplomatic ties with Cuba, ending a long divide. Bravo, President Obama!
Let us all be our own Godly leaders, exercising our own Spark of the Divine. Let us all have pure thoughts of greater union, of care of the true needs of the whole, of heaven and earth, of self and other.
It takes decades to climb the many stepping stones to full sexual maturity. Great effort is required. Aging without effort guarantees only old age. Deep sexual union may, in fact, be the opus of a lifetime with the failures of the first half of life actually being the necessary preparatory steps for true fulfillment beyond midlife.
Those failures include the fertile years where nature, in a most impersonal way, secretly dominates the sexual drive, masking its demands for recreation in the inappropriate attractions that spellbind us into sexual union. Many of those unions, though they may achieve nature’s aim of procreation, lack compatibility, sustenance and duration.
Nature fully takes advantage of the naiveté of youth to romantically do its bidding. Beyond copulation, nature provides little to support relationship. Yes, it does provide bonding and nesting urges, on an instinctual level, but that doesn’t stop nature’s compulsion; it will not be limited. That’s its survival strategy: quantity of children over quality of relationship. And true commitment, true containment, is hard to submit to in the fertile years. All humans must reckon with this debt to their animal natures, with its exorbitant interest toll evident in relationship casualties. If we truly grasped the power of nature to commandeer even our minds during the fertile years, we wouldn’t take so personally our failures. We didn’t stand a chance against nature’s imperative.
Coexistent with nature’s biological dominance in the fertile years is the ego’s growing control over sexual life. These include encounters with adequacy, self-esteem, performance, power, and the ability to connect.
Some of the ego challenges that men may encounter as they attempt to firmly establish their potency and power are questions such as:
Am I attractive enough?
Am I virile enough?
Am I worthy of this person?
Can I approach and hold my own in interaction?
Do I know how to seduce?
Is my penis adequate, large enough?
Can it get the job done?
How do I turn her on, what’s the best method?
What’s the deal with oral sex? Can I handle it?
How are you supposed to do it?
Where’s the clitoris?
Can I handle a real life encounter?
Can I stop shaking?
Can I get an erection?
Can I maintain an erection?
Can I handle the responsiveness of her body?
Will I ejaculate too soon?
How will I know if she’s satisfied?
Can I share my fantasies?
How did I measure up?
Why doesn’t she ever approach me?
How can I get more?
Women are challenged by many of the same ego and self-esteem questions, but their are others specifically female related, such as:
Am I pretty enough?
Am I smart enough?
Am I desirable enough?
Do I have an attractive body?
Are my breasts too little, too big?
Do I smell good?
Does he really like me?
Can I tell him my dreams?
Will it hurt?
Where is my clitoris?
Will I orgasm?
How do I tell him he’s not doing it right without hurting his feelings?
Is this love?
Will he come back or is this just a one time thing?
What if I just want to cuddle, will he be okay with that?
What if he comes first?
Do I have to fake an orgasm so his ego isn’t hurt?
How do I stop him, say no, if it doesn’t feel right?
Why do we have to do it so often?
What if I get pregnant?
These questions and thousands more, including a readiness and willingness to commit, pervade men’s and women’s thoughts during the fertile years. Concerns are largely self-centered, only marginally relational. True readiness to be with, take in, and merge with another person, in mature union, transcends the ego’s preoccupations during the fertile years.
Biological aims and ego insecurities dominate the fertile years and must be experienced and burned through to prepare the ground for the depth of spiritual union inherent in sexual maturity at midlife and beyond. Midlife crisis is actually the spirit’s call to recapitulate and complete the learnings of the first half of life’s lessons to prepare for deep union in later years, what the alchemists called: conjunctio.
A major component of recapitulation is reliving our complete sexual history, facing the full truth, releasing the myths as well as the myriad of feelings combusted and stored around all sexual encounters. In recapitulation, we retrieve our freed energy; we enter our bodies deeply; we accompany the free flow of libido with calm presence and openness, as we prepare for union without barrier.
Recapitulation itself is an arduous process. As we climb the stepping stones to full maturity we learn that it takes time, patience, and a deep yearning for, and commitment to, the truth and fulfillment of this life. During recapitulation, ego issues and traumatic underpinnings that once froze the free flow of sexual energy are discovered for what they truly are, dismantled and released. Recapitulation is conjunctio within the self, as energy previously separated is reclaimed and merged into a unified whole within the self. From this recapitulated place of wholeness, extraverted conjunctio, matured sexuality, is possible with an “other.” If the residual sexual issues from the fertile years are not resolved through recapitulation, these issues will be carried forward, interfering with conjunctio, both within and without.
After recapitulation, the physical changes of midlife, and beyond, matter little. With ego relativized through recapitulation, full spiritual, sexual union—at the deepest energetic level—is completely possible! After recapitulation conjunctio is no longer thwarted by such issues as body image or mechanics, for no physical limitations or ego limitations can stop true sexual, energetic union. There simply are no limitations! Two fingers alone can touch in ecstatic orgasmic union!
For those still in the midst of the necessary challenges of the fertile years, stay patient. Full sexual maturity awaits if you allow yourself to have your own necessary experiences and acquiesce to recapitulation when it beckons. For those with limited or deeply compromised sexual experience during the fertile years, recapitulation provides the necessary process of integration of self that will lead to openness to union in later years, when true union is really possible, offering the ability to fully actualize the sexually mature self, in true relationship!
The full realization of sexual maturity ultimately includes the biological, ego, and energetic or spiritual dimensions of our beings. It’s far more than nature just taking its course. It requires us, as conscious beings, to evolve as individuals to really meet each other.