Sex, Spiritual Awakening and Relationships

So, do you wanna wake up or do you wanna get laid? Worried that you can have one but not the other? My friend, let me assuage those medieval mentations …

Sex and enlightenment are by no means mutually exclusive. I woke up in the midst of a completely normal marriage that included/includes sex and even spawn. If it’s not already obvious, the type of awakening I’m talking about here at PIE is not (ultimately) dependant upon any type of effort or tecnique. So fucking yourself into enlightenment or not fucking yourself into enlightenment is not going to work. On the other hand if the enlightenment you’re after is the Yogi-on-the-mountain-top, One-with-the-universal-godhead, breathitarian-kundalini-master one, then by all means do what you ya gotta do. Fuck away. But then again, if this is you, I hardly think you’d be tolerant of listening to a fool like me.

If you’ve acquired the good sense to let that kind of religulous notion go and have despaired of attaining anything then great, we can have a reasonable conversation about sex. Here’s the deal: It’s no big deal. Sex and enlightenment is just like everything else and enlightenment: In sensible moderation it’s all good. What I’m saying here is that if the enlightenment game is truly your cup of tea but you haven’t gotten laid in a over a decade, then – God Man!- go get yourself some putang.  And conversely, if the enlightenment game floats yer boat, but you’ve got four girlfriends, a terrabite of laptop porn, and a blow up doll- okay, well then- you’re gunna need a period of abstinence.

Here’s some great advise that the school of Waking Down taught me: (I thought it was a gem and have remembered it all these years)

 Don’t go looking in awakening what you can only find in relationship. Don’t go looking in relationship what you can only find in awakening.

Now that is some damn good advise. I can’t tell you how many satsangs, and yoga classes and new age bookstores I went to in hope of getting laid or meeting a girl. It’s just biological. Natural. Nothing wrong with it. You’d be in total denial if you didn’t admit that the first thing you do upon arriving to the meditation hall is to scan the room for some really nice ass: Just don’t let this automatic mechanism compromise the truer reason you came to sat sang.  In attaining enlightenment, what is required, just like the rest of it, is that you extricate yourself from the gripping talons of maya. This is just a fancy way of saying that what you need to do is reverse the rolls of ego-mind and awareness. Right now, for most of you, ego-mind is the pilot and awareness is the co-pilot. They need to switch places.

So, try this the next time you’re having sex or are stressed about not having sex: Be aware, be deeply aware, in the midst of doing it or not doing it – and I’m sure, you will find, that one something is always true: Who you truly are is always present. Do this enough and surprising things will happen.

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8 Responses to Sex, Spiritual Awakening and Relationships

  • This is good advice. Buddha himself spent many years in pleasure before he renounced everything, then ending up renouncing the renouncement. All paths lead the same direction eventually.

    I have a few thoughts, as a more or less sex addict who is trying to weaken this hold on my mind as a matter of spiritual growth.

    1) Sex is healthy, brings people closer together and we are hard wired for the senses, so guilt or shame or whatever people feel in a negative way about sex is as bad as being excessive. People who have sex often tend to live longer and enjoy life more, and people who are in love tend to have sex often. Hence love is the higher purpose, sex secondary. Experiencing non-sexual love is also healthy, though I am still having a hard time with that in practice.

    2) Sex is action and action is karma; it begins with the mind. How we use the mind is how we will experience our karma. If our sexuality is selfish, harmful, excessive, compulsive and unloving the results will tend to be more negative. If our sexuality is unselfish, joyful, responsible, spontaneous and loving, the results will be more positive. I don’t think there is any way to generalize because everybody is different and every circumstance is different, but I think we all have or can cultivate the capacity to see this for ourselves, no matter if gay, straight, married, single, virgin, polyamorous, or whatever.

    3) Sex can cloud our thoughts and lead us to unfruitful attachment if we are not mindful. Pornography for example never used to bother me until I realized the karmic consequences and unhappiness it causes. This is not a judgement and I don’t think it’s “bad”, just something that leads to delusion and eventually suffering because it has no reality. I’ve gotten the to point where I even stop looking at tame, ordinary news sites sometimes for example, because I feel it is distracting to my spiritual goals and keeps me trapped in samsara. Again that is a totally personal choice and not a judgement on anyone who sees it differently.

    4) There is a root cause to excessive desire (or excessive aversion for sex): if we understand the cause we come closer to enlightened action. For me I now understand that my excessive desire for sex (i.e. excessive because it subtracts rather than adds to my happiness) is based on avoidance of other things: loneliness, low self esteem, being unhappy, stressed or whatever, and trying uselessly to find an escape through physical pleasure. Having sex doesn’t erase the root cause. Knowing this now gives me the power to use sexuality for enlightenment, because at the root of every thought there is a deeper meaning. When I seek sex, I now look deeper and think “why”. I still enjoy sex and think about it a lot, but there is an additional layer of mindfulness. To get to this point I had to be both honest and compassionate with myself.

    5) Trying to radically halt years of hypersexuality overnight is not fruitful: I am approaching sex addiction as I approached addiction to cigarettes, by going easy on myself and making the goal to smoke less, not stop. By smoking less I did in fact stop cold turkey (postponing the next smoke minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day until I quit), but that was never the goal, merely the result. I have no intention to stop having sex, but I do see that sensual pleasure has no ultimate reality and devoting so much mind to the pursuit of orgasm will be a waste of my time on this planet and prevent me from experiencing life more fully. I would like to get to a point where not having sex would not interfere with my happiness. I’m not there yet but I have significantly weakened fruitless impulses.

    Thanks for providing this opportunity to comment on a topic that is so fundamentally human that it cannot and should not be overlooked in spiritual study and practice. Have sex, mindfully!

  • Thanks guys!

    I think there is a natural sex impulse and there is a sexual attraction as result of our projection (our unconciusly desire to “own” some characteristics or qualities that other person “have” and we “don’t”). Both can be a problem if we are not aware of them, especially if they are mixed up. So, when sexual desire rise up, it’s signal to turn on awareness to max. 🙂

    One thing ’bout consuming porn. It’s not only unreal and misleading, but it also consumes our time so we’re keep postponing whatever we really always want to do.

  • First of all thanks for sharing, it’s always inspiring to here from others points of view/experiences.
    I like sex but for some reason “casual sex” never really attracted me. i’ve always been very involved with my girlfriends and could never separate deep feelings and sex. This lead me to experience moments of amazing, complete fusion with my partner but also moments of terrible sadness, frustation and depression in the moment that the relationship ended.
    Actually I think that part of the reason of my begining of spiritual seeking is due to trying to solve the riddle of how to totally enjoy a relationship without being destroyed by the (seemingly inevitable) end of it. And sex plays a very strong role in it. because it can create an intimacy much more deep that anything else, but also much more fragile than, for example, a simple friendship (not to say that it can also create new human beings).
    Any idea on how to solve the riddle?
    please don’t be to serious about it, I myself already tend to be 😉
    ps sorry about my english (my first language is italian..)
    tx in advance to all

    • Hey Rick
      Your english is fine and so is your sex life 🙂 I would advocate for the deeper feeling sex than casual sex, so I think you’re doing just fine there.
      The riddle solution is this: No amount of casual sex,intimate tantric sex, loving super duper sex, or cosmic sex with the most gorgeous senstive soul in the universe will make you HAPPY- in the way that the true longing of your heart longs to be happy. There is nothing wrong with seeking through sex or personal love. Don’t confuse it with the deeper aspects of seeking- Nonseparation, Unity, and Wakin’ up.
      A reality check:
      This is not to say that awakening is a panacea for the loniliness of life. I’m married and have a 5 year old. I would be a miserble -awake- fuck without them. In other words (I’ve said this in the post I believe) just get yer expectations in order- relationship and awakening are 2 different things. One cannot provide what the other provides. I waited a good loooooooooooooong time before I met my wife. we’ve been married 10 years now.
      Dating advice from a non–expert:
      The more spiritually confident you become in your own being- the more attractive you will become to someone else who is also spiritually confident. That ground of mutual spiritual dedication, wholeness, and just plain down-to earthiness is the glue and recipe for a good relationship marriage….that will last.
      I wish for you the best –
      Peace, J

  • could’nt agree more. And by the way focusing on the importance of integrating more and more spirituality to “down-to earthiness” should be pointed out and reminded more and more. The great A. De Mello used to say “there is nothing more practical than spirituality”. How can you argue with that?
    thanks for your advice and kind words. Consider yourself already invited to my wedding (whenever this will happen),
    all the best to you J.

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