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 sexual fascination, discrimination, and happiness for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Sexual Fascination
"Sex, a great and mysterious motive force in human life, has indisputably been a subject of absorbing interest to mankind through the ages." -- William J. Brennan, Jr.
"Sex sells," they say. We know advertisers use subliminal sexual messages to sell products -- orgies hidden in ice cubes. That's because erotic imagery affects people's brains first, followed by body parts, like an accident we can't not look at. What is it about sex and sexuality that's so provocative? If we weren't repressed on some level, would sex still hold us enthralled? Certainly the world is wounded by sex-negative messages, and part of our cultural fleshly fixation might be trying instinctively to restore sacred sexuality to its rightful place. Yet true eroticism really does demand a deep connection to stir us inside, to rouse us from sleepwalking through life. So the issue of sexual fascination might not be so much the result of sexualization intruding on society, but more likely is the imposition of societal obligations onto individual erotic integration and genuine interaction. Were we to live more authentic lives, perhaps our sexual fascination would be absorbed by our sexual expression.
Surely there's a biological imperative to mate and reproduce. But even beyond that, there's a psychological imperative to sexual fascination in that sexuality is one of the rare, true transformations of ourselves we've witnessed: We started out with scant consciousness of the subject, but that unawareness transformed with puberty. All of us lived life when sex was the farthest thing from our minds. Try to remember the careless freedom of play, basking in the beingness of others. As adults, responsibilities and obligations can often bind us to a daily grind. For some adults, then, sex might be one of the few interactions that restores their openness and sensory exploration of play. It's not hard to see why sexual preoccupation might take over when people become locked out from experiencing fulfilling lives.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Consider your fascination with sex. What is the feeling as sexuality suddenly enters a routine day, whether by an erotic image or a sexualized spark?
- Speak from your center. Does your vocal pitch waver throughout the day as circumstances overwhelm? One way to counterbalance the overpowering allure of the sensory world is to operate out of your inner potency. Whenever you find yourself transfixed by anything or anyone, summon personal power and speak from your heart and in your true voice.
Meditation 2: Discrimination
"Of all the girls that are so smart
There's none like pretty Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And lives in our alley." -- Henry Carey
It's vital for human beings to recognize the light in everyone. When our walls of prejudice block others' light, we might seek out unconscious, subversive, or even illicit means to integrate those we deem inferior. How many of us have fantasized about or fooled around with people we would never take home to our parents? Is that reluctance based on the people or our prejudice? To judge and divide sets us in a prison of our own making. We might feel virtuous by uplifting those that we (delusively) consider lowly, but we're still blind to their (and our) true light.
But to discriminate wisely we need to see our own and another's natures. Just because we want to open our hearts, eyes and minds to honor all life doesn't mean we should open our arms, homes, and wallets. Mother Teresa could transmute all personalities to share her unconditional love, but most of us will strive to balance our dual capacities for charity and self-care.
Valid discrimination requires self-knowledge. "Trauma bonding" explains the attraction between couples who share similar or counterbalancing psychological damage. Romeo and Juliet's impulsive affair, usually cited as the epitome of true love, is more a tale of trauma bonding. We can only perceive in others the qualities we have perceived in ourselves, and what we haven't worked through will be worked out on others. Many profess attraction to rebel types over supposedly nice types, but to someone else the nice one might not seem so nice and the rebel might seem quite conformist. But willfully to choose "bad" over "good" people, things, or behavior is a personal delusion -- the result of repressed desire meeting unexamined conditioning. Illuminating how we discriminate helps us define deeper values that may guide us to seek what's truly good for us.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Show unconditional love today for all you encounter, but protect your personal boundaries. Recall the difference between unconditional and indiscriminating, and that you might hold someone in your heart while keeping them at arm's length.
- What attracts you to others? Define your "arousal template," all the factors you find sexually stimulating. How does your present discriminating taste serve your sexual health?
- Often, sex and love addicts in recovery struggle to release unhealthy patterns and tolerate intimacy with a healthy partner, which differs from their familiar arousal template. Where does your own internal system of discrimination need restriction or expansion?
Meditation 3: Happiness
"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." -- Buddha
Happiness is a peculiar feeling. Most of us long for happiness when it's gone. Yet when life pleases, some of us anxiously treasure and fanatically document our joy. There's even a word for the irrational fear of excessive happiness -- cherophobia -- recognizing that such an exalted state carries the potential for disappointment or consequent tragedy. Material happiness refers to a temporary state depending on outside factors, and being based in externals results in a dual experience. In the physics of the material world, what goes up must come down. Similarly, material pleasures have a beginning and end, a rise and decline. That's why we can chase after every desire and peak experience and it doesn't necessarily create long-term happiness. The core belief that happiness will inevitably trigger displeasure may strike us as familiar, because we all know fluctuating cycles and the pain of polarity. But this is clearly a falsity, a mental distortion to ever think that happiness and pain must be received in equal measure.
Is there a possibility for everlasting happiness, perpetual grace? We certainly do seem to seek the happy ending as a species, and the right to the pursuit of happiness is even indoctrinated in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, although the right to the fulfillment of said happiness is noticeably absent except in assorted religious promises of the afterlife. We do know that true inner happiness is an act of communion because it results in identification and connection to the flow of life. This happiness must involve intimacy, the ability to make oneself known. Receptivity to the experience of personal happiness is a form of self-knowledge. To be capable of self-knowledge, intimacy and communion manifests fulfillment, a deeply enduring happiness.
Daily healthy sex acts
- When you seek happiness from something outside of yourself, first seek the inner values promised by your object of desire: A vacation promises freedom, and a new lover might promise eroticism or esteem. Cultivate lasting happiness by focusing on these inner values, which you can work toward any and every day, with or without that object of desire.
- Today, practice smiling for two minutes nonstop. How long can you last? If your habitual mental loop spasms to negativity (anxiety, fear, or sadness) you'll feel your facial muscles twitch. Even if you don't feel happy, the physical act of smiling can trigger neurotransmitters to induce a healthy surge of happiness.
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
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