It's vital for mindful acts of emotional and spiritual intimacy to steadily develop as a daily practice for healthy sex. To that end, Center for Healthy Sex has created daily meditations to help you reach your sexual and relational potential. (You can subscribe for free here.)
Even momentarily concentrating on healthy solutions rewires psychological patterns to receive and share healthy sexual love in the present. Here are three meditations with the themes of polarity, conditioning, and center for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Polarity
"That which so delighted my eye made my heart sink to the depths of the earth." -- Richard Wagner
Human consciousness flips back and forth between extremes like a pendulum. Feelings of contentment and possibility give way to frustration and hopelessness in a taunting game of emotional roulette. We're the best, we're the worst. Psychological inflation cedes to deflation in an endless loop contaminating whatever it inspects -- our talents, appearance, relationships, or experiences. But those are feelings, right? Mercurial, unpredictable, irrepressible feelings. We'd have as much luck controlling the ocean's currents. But thoughts! Our thoughts are more Apollonian, more structured compared to our freewheeling, Dionysian emotions. Yet even our much-vaunted reason sharpens itself through trenchant internal debate.
In fact, the egoic need to judge and rate everything that happens to us seems always to summon this seesawing effect. That's because evaluating rather than experiencing life is a learned coping mechanism, which develops our ability to differentiate but blocks us from perceiving the unifying truth behind all outer seeming, and from feeling part of it.
To deduce from this polarity of inner experience that the world really pivots on opposites would be a mistake, as if for every dollar made, there'll be a dollar lost; for every moment in love there'll be a moment alone. For reality isn't perfectly balanced, unless behind the curtain of death there are compensatory experiences we can't know. Real experiences in this world aren't quantitative, they're qualitative. If we're wealthy, we may not feel wealthy enough. If we're in love, popular, successful, talented, we may still feel their opposites. This paradox stems from the ego's habit of grasping reality only in personal terms, which brings us the unending, upsetting duality of polarity. But we can find a comforting flip side even to this disquieting routine, if we recall that our perceiving any reality ensures we'll eventually perceive its opposite -- in this case, an ultimate, reconciling unity.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Look under the surface to perceive the unity in every situation. Unity is rarely announced with the blaring trumpet call of a revelation. It starts out as simple and subtle as a fine thread. Look for little moments of familiarity and follow through with acts of identification, empathy, and loving-kindness.
- To begin any relationship inevitably brings its end -- whether by choice, circumstance or death. Knowing this, why embark on any? One answer is so we may open our heart to contain all of life. Today, reconcile any oppositions by surrendering to this higher purpose.
Meditation 2: Conditioning
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love." -- Butch Hancock
Early childhood conditioning is essential for our growth, but hanging onto it in adulthood is like a butterfly clinging to its cocoon. It is our individual responsibility to question received beliefs and discard those that no longer serve us. Trouble is, we identify so strongly with so-called personal points of view -- all of which were given us at some time by another -- that we often don't know how not to identify with them. Some people turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to mitigate early influences and experience new thought. Unfortunately, turning away from reality in an attempt to grasp it results in only the cloudiest semblance of thought. In fact, inebriating one's brain only mirrors the original trauma of being overpowered by senseless programming.
We are conditioned by caregivers, teachers, neighbors, peers, media, politicians, spiritual leaders, and our entire culture. Some overtly attempt to control our thinking, committing psychological abuse comparable to brainwashing. Other influences parrot groupthink programming thoughtlessly, like a radio left blaring. Although we are genetically programmed to tune out overly painful messages, if the bombardment is constant enough it becomes ingrained in our memory.
Negative conditioning makes harmful thoughts feel safe and insecurities seem secure. Even if we learn to recognize these distortions in our thinking, long-term negative conditioning can give them such a sense of familiarity that we feel disloyal negating them. The feeling of not being good enough can become especially habitual if one's conditioning equated worthiness with rigidly idealized behavior, particularly in regard to sexuality and relationships. But there's no rationale for keeping tuned in to a program that no longer addresses our true needs. It's up to us to change the channel of our customary thinking. No one else can possibly find the new frequency attuned to our individual truth.
Daily healthy sex acts
- What conditioning did you receive as a child from caregivers, community, and culture? Do these messages still support your self-image, relationships, and dreams? Counter negative programming and shine the light on all your stinkin' thinkin'.
- The tragedy of negative conditioning is that life usually meets our expectations, which, in this case, are our most negative ones. Today, drop your judgments and criticisms. Know that the real nature of life is loving-kindness and empathy. And if you happen to catch yourself in toxic patterns--the result of past conditioning -- start with empathy for your own authentic, love-growing self.
Meditation 3: Center
"The door to the human heart can be opened only from the inside." -- Spanish proverb
Personal recovery is an inside job, whether it's the recovery of sobriety, values, relationships, or sexual health. No one can do it for us. But the message that we're dependent on external circumstances for our well-being and sense of self is all-pervasive. In fact, through much of history children were regarded as mere property subject to the dictates of family or state. The idea that newborns enter this world with unique destinies rather than as blank slates for caregivers to script represents a radical, and ongoing, paradigm shift. This novel idea means that the sacred center of our being requires and deserves dedication and attention -- to be recognized and free. Unfortunately, living in our true nature often seems not in our nature.
Nothing can throw us off-center more than balancing romantic, familial, social, financial, and personal obligations. When we can't express ourselves through all these activities, we may take obsessive refuge in one of them or transform into another personality to cope. Too often, we change our voice in an attempt to be heard, which muffles its true melody. Similarly when we attract a lover by presenting a made-up version of ourselves, we hide our true center. And, like a top, when we're not centered, our wobbly actions have uncentered -- eccentric -- and unintended consequences.
Each of us has at least one area of our life where we feel mastery -- an athletic skill, an art, a talent, a body of knowledge. In our area of expertise, we know to come from our center. In contrast, many of us have never felt centered in relationships and sexual activity. But we can start right now to apply what we do understand of centeredness to cultivate a sense of self that's centered within all the lives and loves we touch.
Daily healthy sex acts
- What is the central focus of your life? Calculate how you spend your time. Are there addictive or habitual lapses in your day? Unwinding for self-care is fine. But watch for actions that become distractions from your true center.
- Do you lose yourself in orbit around certain people? Conversely, do you have to be the center of attention? Today, make room for all persons to come from their center.
- How do you center yourself? When have you felt most centered -- in touch with your true self? Can your lover share in this process, or must you be alone to find your center?
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.