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 anticipation, withholding, and fulfillment for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Anticipation
"The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting." -- Andy Warhol
Remember waiting for something grand as a child? Whether it was your birthday or the arrival of a special relative, anticipation filled your little being with tremulous excitement, blocking out all other reality. Looking forward to plans you've made to restore your mental health, such as taking a vacation, is a wonderful way to create novelty and to rest from day-to-day responsibilities. Setting goals and at last achieving them supports your hope of realizing your potential and having a richer life. The capacity to hold and wait for good things to come is an internal strength that can bring great fun and joy to life.
But anticipation can become problematic when it runs our lives. The mind seems always to tumble into the future, always to expect the next, new, more exciting experience or possession. Impulsive decisions or acts lunge past feelings in the moment and can have us consume yet another unnecessary thing or get into a relationship or agreement we haven't had time to savor, think about, or consider its purpose. Conversely, waiting for something better in the future can overtake the present as an obsession, and leave us discontent with what we already have can leave us feeling dull or struggling with apprehension about our lives.
At its best, anticipation emerges deliciously from hope, awareness, or intuition about something yet to come that's even more wonderful than the present. Take heed and let yourself relax into the present moment. See what new excitement emerges freely without your effort, when you don't give over to impulses that say, "I want it now."
Daily healthy sex acts
- Luxuriate in the present, and notice the moment-to-moment changes around you.
- Set a date with your beloved and notice the anticipatory feelings that arise as you get closer to your date.
- Go shopping and don't buy anything. Stop, look, think about the item and whether you need it, want it, or are lunging at it for a momentary "high." If you decide you need or want the item, wait at least a day before you return to the store and purchase it.
Meditation 2: Withholding
"We are meant to learn this great truth, that giving fulfills us, while withholding and trying to get causes us to feel empty and even more needy." -- Gina Lake
Withholding love or sex is psychological abuse and may result from early trauma. Withholding is altogether different from not having sex or not reciprocating love. People don't have sex for many reasons. They might be traumatized. They might suffer from sexual dysfunction. They might be practicing self-care and setting appropriate boundaries for them. They might even be engaging in the political act of a sex strike in an effort to enact social change. There are equally many reasons why people might not reciprocate love. But to withhold sex or love as a punishment is a different matter altogether, in my opinion, and is the result of learned emotional or mental abuse. Manipulating loved ones might appear to be a thought-out strategy, but in my experience, it's always compulsive.
Withholding exemplifies how deeply we hurt ourselves when we try to hurt others, and how deeply hurt so many of us have been. The phrase, "This hurts me more than it hurts you" (commonly uttered before corporeal punishment), is actually true. A caregiver doling out physical pain experiences the punishment along with the person they are hurting. Unfortunately s/he is also reinforcing a psychological pattern that brings psychic agony and isolation. Likewise, those who purposefully withhold love or sex certainly feel the pain and isolation of their actions.
Like any addiction or compulsion, such habitual behavior doesn't just disappear. Because withholding is often masked by denial, it can be difficult to confront. Withholding is a very human quality; most of us at one time have given and received "the silent treatment." Since most solutions to human troubles involve caring, attention, and love, to withhold means to deny solutions. Such withholding is probably a leading factor in much personal, social, and global conflicts.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Think of times you withheld love or sex. Know that we all have the capacity to do this. Where will you find help breaking your own pattern of withholding?
- Contemplate examples of others' withholding sex or love from you. What was your response? Know that what others say and do is about them. Let yourself feel compassion for whoever wronged you this way, wholly acknowledging right now the pain they must have been repeating.
- Let cold hearts thaw. Breathe into all impossible pain, and be free. We don't have to repeat old stories. Today, choose love and acceptance. Resolve to embody the truth of your vitality, your beating heart, your innermost desire to feel connected, and demonstrate your commitment to healthy sex and love!
Meditation 3: Fulfillment
"The loss of a cherished pleasure is not necessarily the loss of true happiness and well-being." -- Jean-Yves Leloup
The fulfillment we expect from intimacy and sexual communion is really like the harvest we expect when we plant a seed in soil: They both take time to grow. Even a healthy intention cannot sprout suddenly into a fully-formed reality. We must nurture the seed of our intention through good times and challenging times. If we want to be present for ultimate fulfillment, we need to be present for disappointments along the way. We cannot constantly uproot the seed to see if it has sprouted. Instead, we must practice faith, which requires care and patience.
When we look around, the only readily visible constancy in life is change and impermanence. If we hinge our inner fulfillment to any external circumstance, we enslave ourselves to fluctuating states. Childhood toys break. Homes and possessions deteriorate. People and pets die. The human condition bears witness that bad things happen to good people. So lasting fulfillment might well seem impossible. But understand that we perceive reality only through the lens of our limited perspective. The suffering we see is what we see -- yet it is a mirror to an invisible, inner reality.
We're often advised to "be in the now," to live the present moment without expectations or projections. Simply to be. Still, we always bring our self -- even in the now -- which isn't some dissociated state separate from our experience and hopes. If fulfillment is truly possible, it involves a mode of grasp-less being that contains our future and past. There is nothing more fulfilling than the gift of personal consciousness, that kiss of life. This is our ever-replenishing wealth. May we share our ever-enlightening selves in each precious moment, and may the harvest of this loving act ripple throughout the world of our being.
Daily healthy sex acts
- What do you hope to receive from these meditations? What are you looking to fulfill? True fulfillment requires open heart, eyes, and mind. If you're looking for a specific material result, what would that fulfill? Continue asking this question until you uncover the inherent potential within you that seeks permission to live. Now -- live for today!
- What do you find fulfilling? Let yourself immortalize the good times. To combat chronic discontent, write down all your fulfilling moments, past and present, on index cards, and store them like favorite recipes in a special box. These are your recipes to fulfillment. Add more as experienced.
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.