Most people have a difficult time with their sexual lives. However, those traveling the spiritual path can develop unique problems in handling sexual energy. Some of us assume we no longer have sexual desire -- that we've outgrown it. Some of us feel hopelessly trapped on the other side: that sexual drives dominate our thinking and life. But most of us are somewhere in between, alternating between one or the other polarity -- either toward repression or toward overindulgence. The answer is not to be found in either extreme, but has to do with transformation. Sexual energy must eventually be transformed.
Sex: Good? Evil?
Our concepts of good and evil, and the judgments we make, form the barrier. Sex is neither good nor bad... it is our limited way of thinking that makes it so. Simply stated, sexual energy is. Self-acceptance, which means honesty with ourselves about our experience, combined with open-mindedness, is one requirement for this transformation. Most of us know very well the all-consuming intensity of physical passion and deadness of sexual repression. In time, all of us can know the ecstatic merging experience where the sexual act is no less than a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
Sex can be a creative act -- an act of creation. It can be the co-participation of a man and woman in bringing about the vehicle for a soul to join the human family, to learn mastery, and to help the planet. It can be an act of love, joining two beings, and actually opening up a pathway to the heavens.
There are women and a few couples who report similar experiences during that act of lovemaking which turns out later to conceive their child. They all describe a three-way linkup of energy -- some see this visually while others feel or sense this connection. The bond or union between the couple would feel deeper than during previous sexual experiences, but in addition there would be a definite link established with a third being, often felt as overshadowing the couple. Some have described a great and masterful presence, while others sense the presence of a little child. One couple saw a being of great light who defied any description.
Are these hallucinations? We prefer to think not. We agree with those who speak about opening the doorway to heavenly worlds, establishing a spiritual connection with the soul of the child. We feel there is a spiritual counterpart to physical conception -- a loving contact with another being either consciously or unconsciously made by the couple in the process of uniting.
Besides the natural physical or reproductive level of sex, there is the level of communication common union or sharing the spirit of love. One way our lovemaking can become a method for our awakening is by learning the secret of giving. The communion that we long for can only enter the sexual experience through the act of giving. This means thinking of our partner's happiness, even creating ways of giving pleasure to our partner. In fact, we can give the whole sexual experience as a gift to our partner and to God. Our joy will then be very great. But this can be tricky, for we have to sincerely desire to give. If we give expecting to later receive, we will fail.
In addition, many times we forget that one of the highest ways to give is to receive-to be receptive. Sometimes during the dance of love the greatest way to give joy is to allow our lover to give to us, and then to be open and sensitive to their gifts. It is easy to miss this if we lock ourselves into the notion that giving must mean doing or performing.
Open communication is essential for a conscious sexual relationship. This doesn't necessarily mean talking out every step of the way, although in some cases it may. It means an honest sharing of all of you-being vulnerable and visible. It may mean keeping your eyes open, sharing without any words. Open communication requires sensitivity to the feelings and experience of your mate. It's so easy to become preoccupied with your own experience, whether it is during sex or any other time. But it is very possible to rise above this selfishness. It is possible, as many of us have experienced, for the flow of love to become so strong even at the point of orgasm that we stop the whole physical process to just look into each other's eyes or express our love in words. The orgasm has become unimportant-even irrelevant. It is as if the sexual feelings transcend the genitals and encompass the whole body. From there, the experience can then move to higher and higher levels of consciousness, adding new dimensions of ecstatic joy and gratitude. Human sex can become a union of the highest order.
Some years ago, Joyce and I had to pass through a phase of over-zealousness in regards to spiritualizing our sexual relationship. We insisted that every episode of lovemaking be a perfect Divine Communion. Therefore we had to wait for just the right moment. We found that late at night, or when we were tired, we would lose consciousness too easily. Our physical, sensual passions would run rampant. So we forced ourselves to abstain at those times. When we woke up in the morning we would sometimes be really attracted to each other, but no, we wouldn't be "awake" enough. During the day we were often too busy. When we finally did have time alone, first we'd do our "spiritual" practices separately, then together and, when we started feeling close to how we thought we should, our time alone was used up!
We were afraid of failing at "spiritual sex". We almost stopped touching each other completely. Yet, the truth of the matter was we were suppressing our desire and attraction for one another. We were viewing sexual desire as "unholy"-a human weakness that had no relation to God.
In reality, there is nothing unholy about sexual energy, just like there is nothing unholy about any energy. All energy is of God, but as human beings we have free will to express this Divine Energy in any way we want, ways that will either help or hurt, not only us, but all life as well.
As we grow together as couples in love, we realize there is a higher purpose to sex. Behind our body and personality each one of us is both male and female. Sexual desires arises from this divided consciousness of man and woman longing for union, a divine dance being played out by two bodies. Sex in its highest function is an instrument for waking us up to our real oneness of Spirit. It can be a vehicle for reminding us of our original condition: the essential oneness of male and female. Even for those having no interest in the spiritual dimensions of sexuality, the orgasm is a tangible, spiritual force that temporarily suspends ego functions and gives an ecstatic taste of union with all existence.
A Loving Practice
This practice is for committed couples. Sit in front of each other as closely as possible without touching. Close your eyes, tune into yourself, and relax each part of your body. Breathe slowly and deeply through each part of your body. Don't hurry this part. The rest of the exercise depends on adequate preparation. But also, don't get down on yourself for having a racing mind or tight body. Just do as much as you can, asking inside for peace and love.
Now open your eyes and take each other's hands. Look into your mate's eyes with gentleness and love, and breathe love back and forth with each breath. If you wish, visualize a ray of light connecting your hearts growing brighter with each conscious breath.
Next, remember a time when you felt the most deeply attracted to each other. Pick a specific time or event that stands out in your memory; a time you felt like a human magnet, so drawn were you to the beauty manifested in your mate.
Finally, and most important, feel how all this is still happening. It isn't just a memory. But perhaps this wonderful attraction has become somewhat covered up with day-to-day living. Perhaps you feel, as many of us tend to do on the spiritual path, that the physical attraction is less important than the other ways of connecting with each other. But can you begin to see how physical attraction is also part of the spark of love, and one part of the spark is not less important than any other? And if that special flow of love that passes as a current through your body is cut off, so also is the life in your body cut off to the same degree.
Look deeply into the eyes of your beloved... without moving a muscle... join every part of your being with him or her. Let your essence merge with that of your beloved. Make love to God!
The above was excerpted with permission from, "The Shared Heart Relationship - Initiations & Celebrations" by Barry & Joyce Vissell, ?1984, published by Ramira Publishing, P.O Box 1707, Aptos, CA. 95001.
About The Authors
Joyce Vissell and her husband, Barry, have counseled individuals and couples since 1972. Their favorite work is living what they write about-their own relationship and parenting their three children in the hills near Santa Cruz, California. They are also authors of several books including "Models of Love" and "Risk to be Healed". Visti their website at www.sharedheart.org