It's vital for mindful acts of emotional and spiritual intimacy to steadily develop as a daily practice for healthy sex. To that end, I've co-authored a book of daily meditations titled Mirror of Intimacy with a colleague at Center for Healthy Sex to help you reach your sexual and relational potential.
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 ambiguity, certainty, and compromise for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Ambiguity
"If you notice an unconscious fantasy coming up within you, you would be wise not to interpret it at once. Do not say that you know what it is and force it into consciousness. Just let it live with you, leaving it in the half-dark, carry it with you and watch where it is going or what it is driving at." -- Marie-Louise von Franz
When we allow healthy ambiguity in relationships, we invite intimacy, which thrives in the open hand. Romantic enmeshment assumes an unqualified accord, and to align with a partner on important issues feels gratifying. But gratification is not relationship. The ability to navigate the unchartered territory of loving requires definite ambiguity. Definite ambiguity sounds like an oxymoron, but secure openness is exactly the grasp-free touch that feeds love. To live in shades of gray means to save ourselves from fluctuating extremes. We all tend to self-declarations that may be contradictory: "We're this way. No, we're that way." Stating our case so rigidly seems to summon its opposite. But since external reality is not black and white, we try to embrace an inner ambiguity that mirrors the real world.
The diversity of individual experience validates ambiguity. Unfortunately, formal education tends to reward only the "right" answers that are not always evident or meaningful in the real world. Exploring the process of our thoughts can be even more enlightening than memorizing and parroting another's script. Dictated paradigms of right versus wrong, good versus bad block the realization of our personal truth. Only through the lens of ambiguity may we each uncover inner certainty.
Whenever we hear the urgency of absolutism, we're reminded how often single-mindedness signals anxiety and lack of serenity. That doesn't mean we should weaken every statement by injecting maybe, sorta, kinda and never take a stand. Pick your battles, but don't sweat the small inconsistencies. We never have to defend our principles against the charge of uncertainty, because if they're really our principles we embody them in an open, ambiguous generosity that lets us live them in the richly ambiguous real world and with richly ambiguous others.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Do you rush to know and fix everything? When does solving every problem that comes your way suck the life out of the room? Consider how it feels not to know. Can you share when you haven't the answers, or does pride or fear prevent you from acknowledging your ambiguity?
- Recall times you were forced to eat your words, to retract a stated "fact" or opinion. Practice a light touch and let ambiguity guide your expressions.
- It's difficult to accept that people -- especially parents -- aren't all good or all bad. Today, see the ambiguous human truth beyond absolutes.
Meditation 2: Certainty
"Certainty is knowing that this system works, and because it works, I'm in the right place right now, regardless of how it looks. And since I'm in the right place, at the right time, every time, I need to be good with where I'm at -- no matter what." -- Yehuda Berg
Certainty is faith that an answer to any problem exists. With certainty, we can approach difficulties as challenges. To behold in loved ones the certain attributes of their best selves is an affirmative act. But how frequently does our daily behavior contradict even our surest beliefs? If we believe in the power of unconditional love, we must certainly embody this belief or endure an ambivalence of our own making.
There is much we can't know in this world. There's a tale about a god who greets a man with the promise of riches if the man can keep silent. The god commits escalating acts of mischief, but when he slays a traveler the man angrily renounces the god and the reward. Finally, the god reveals his hidden agenda: slaying the traveler, a villain seeking to destroy the next town. The moral isn't that killing may be justified, but that ethical certainty is more subtle than our perceptions, because we are ignorant of so much.
But the imperfection of human knowledge is not a call to chaos. We are most assuredly guided to mindful actions by internal morality, for those thoughts and feelings are knowable. We may not see whether we're making the right decisions or whether a person is right for us, but we can be sure that the questions have entered our awareness. This distinction is both subtle and certain. We spend so much of our lives questioning the meaning of external reality that we often ignore our own inner reality. Follow the flow of your thoughts, and pay particular attention to contrary cognitions. You may be certain that the work of reconciling contradictory inner messages will bring new levels of understanding, self-actualization, and a certain serenity.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Today, summon certainty for all that you do. Connect with your intentions and trust that by following your instincts with an open heart you are fulfilling your destiny to affirm your inner truth.
- Recall the most recent experience of certainty in your life. How did it feel in your mind and body? Write down similar experiences throughout your life. Although doubts may surface, try to summon this surge of certainty through the expression of treasured values today. For instance, when you smile at your beloved, smile with such certainty.
Meditation 3: Compromise
"The most important trip you may ever take in life is meeting people halfway." -- Henry Boye
The heart of compromise is the willingness of all parties to sacrifice reciprocally and equally for the greater good of a relationship. Reconciling conflicting needs for the sake of unity can't work if just one person does it. A coerced compromise, when one partner deceives or overpowers the other without allowing room for shared truths, usually results in an empty agreement that's soon undermined by unilateral acting out.
Compromise demands open-hearted listening, being present for another's reality, and sharing personal truth without superiority, selfishness or resentment. In that way, true compromise invites light, healing, and relational harmony. We all carry this reconciliation pattern within us -- the ability to intuit and value others' needs. But we must actively cultivate the habit of compromise, based on openness to new ways and readiness to question old ones, so we can strengthen our good instincts.
When trivial disagreements blow up into impossible obstacles, there's usually a defense mechanism gone awry. Simple differences of opinion may come to represent a parent's lack of care or the undependability of life itself. Especially where lovers are concerned, small details can become extreme sticking points, while tiffs in a more impersonal context might be resolved easily. Sometimes what we seek to gain through "winning" a conflict is not worth what we're refusing to sacrifice. And true compromise often involves sacrifice: As on the path between Scylla and Charybdis, the monsters of Greek mythology who lie on either side of a narrow strait to devour sailors and ships, either way you go there will be losses. Through life experience we gradually learn to differentiate between the ideals, values and principles which can, and those which cannot, be compromised.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Are you involved in any conflict at present? Consider the degree to which you perpetuate reactive patterns learned in your past. Find it in your heart to compromise for the greater good. If necessary, write out a "pros and cons" list of what's lost and what's gained by your actions.
- Today, endeavor to practice the art of compromise. Look deeply into others, and perhaps allow every person a little more space for himself or herself, while embracing your own true center. Ask yourself, "What is the greater good for all concerned in this matter?"
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