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 childhood, sacrifice, and impact for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Childhood
"The reality is that most of us communicate the same way that we grew up. That communication style becomes our normal way of dealing with issues, our blueprint for communication. It's what we know and pass on to our own children. We either become our childhood or we make a conscious choice to change it." -- Kristen Crockett
An infant is the living manifestation of all things good and perfectly imperfect! Adults see their own beauty and virtues in these soft, curious, and loving creatures and are filled with joy interacting with them. Childhood bonds with primary caregivers form early attachment patterns that last into adulthood and shape all our relationships. Therapy and recovery work almost always explores significant or traumatic experiences from that stage, so rich with growth, and examines early conditioning to see if its messages still serve us.
One of the most important aspects of childhood development is the emergence of sexuality. How were the topics of love and sex addressed in your household? Some families are emotionally absent on the subject, with parents who tried to shut out sexuality; other families are enmeshed, with parents who let sexual issues all hang out. These early messages -- verbal and nonverbal -- affect a child's sexuality at a cellular level. They are the fertile soil from which sexual identity will emerge, whether through imitation, avoidance or defiance.
We all know from our own lives that the actions, emotions, and conversations of adults greatly impact children. Since it takes a village to raise a child, how can we now develop healthy sexuality to set a positive example for the children in our lives? While there is no one definition of appropriate behavior and speech, and we may know better than to repeat our own childhood experiences, resources abound to help us identify healthy messages about sex based on what works best for the psychology of the child in his or her community. We may fine-tune our behaviors through reaching out to caregivers we admire. By consciously practicing our truest principles, we'll develop healthier ways to relate to children responsibly and, with time, to heal our own inner child.
Daily healthy sex acts
- If you have or were to have children, what message would they receive from your sexual and romantic lifestyle? Are you embodying values you'd want to pass on to the next generation?
- What patterns are you replaying from your childhood? Do they serve you? If not, what will it take to break the cycle?
- Today, embody your highest relational values. By living in your spirit, let your presence be a healthy model for others. Enjoy the connection this brings with everyone, especially all caregivers and children -- who deserve our best selves.
Meditation 2: Sacrifice
"To love is to know the sacrifices which eternity exacts from life." -- John Oliver Hobbes
If love were an altar, what parts of yourself would you be willing to sacrifice? It's not hard to see how ancient civilizations, traumatized by the harshness of early human existence, might have assuaged their fears through the ritual of offering treasured possessions to the gods. But we also engage in quite healthy and necessary sacrifice by giving up short-lived pleasures for long-term goals. At a basic level, we all surrender childhood innocence and animal instincts in order to grow up, to live successfully in society, and to become our best selves. We also know that joining in romantic relationship with another demands basic sacrifices that can feel difficult: Just for starters, we must forfeit our single-hood, our stubbornness, and our refusal of accountability, all of which may have served deep psychological purposes. In fact, part of being in relationship with someone, whether romantic or platonic, is sometimes having to forgo personal desire for the greater good.
But when a sacrifice is made not for mutual benefit but to a false god -- a delusional mindstate -- it creates pain and resentment. We all know the martyr who sacrifices personal fulfillment for the sake of enabling others, or the killjoy who abandons pleasure for accomplishment and discovers too late that life has passed. Couples may sacrifice real intimacy for sexual relief, and be surprised to find their emotional connection weakening. Healthy sacrifice requires open discussion and open-handed motives to determine whether our actions in fact serve the greater good -- a good which must include our own higher selves.
Daily healthy sex acts
- List the major sacrifices you've made in relationships. Do you harbor any lingering resentments or regrets? Next to each sacrifice, write what you were hoping to achieve. Own your choices and the inner qualities you were seeking to cultivate.
- History abounds with stories of unthinkable sacrifice for noble causes. Determine which sacrifices you need to make for the noble cause of your best self: using your time more wisely? learning to unwind? eating healthfully? Consciously sacrifice the habits holding you back by surrendering them to a Higher Power. Sometimes we must aim beyond the goal to reach our real mark.
Meditation 3: Impact
"Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness." -- Harold Kushner
We influence our planet and one another through our words and actions. The lasting impact of our actions on others or our surroundings can be monumental or minuscule, known to us or not. A profound statement of shared meaning or a mere smile from a stranger may equally shift the way we perceive our self or our life. Think about your day yesterday. Who affected you? A co-worker who made you laugh? An angry customer on the phone? Either left you with a residual emotion.
Imagine the impact great thinkers have had on local and global cultures. Then think about the impact terrorists have had in those same societies. Good or bad, these actions have woven themselves into the fiber of our psychic landscapes, changing and shaping us in ways we may not have asked for. When Aristotle, Walt Whitman, Dorothy Parker, Yogananda or other great ones walked the earth, they struggled with their own existential issues that later became philosophical issues for us all to grapple with. The gifts of their minds and the risks they took speaking and recording them reverberate through every generation, bringing each to the same questions but often from a more evolved vantage point.
In Buddhism, the Eightfold Path contains ethical conduct, two elements of which are right speech and right action. It's not necessary to practice Buddhism to value paying attention to what we say and do, and to acknowledge how much our words and acts touch everything and everyone with whom we come in contact. Like most creatures of habit, we can easily forget to reflect on the importance of right speech and right action, and end up hurting Earth or offending our partners through our lack of awareness. Wake up today to the impact you have on your world!
Daily healthy sex acts
- When we respect ourselves and others, we are perceived as attractive. Take action today to impact your love relationship in a way that makes you feel good about your commitment to your lover.
- Do you need to apologize to anyone for any negative impact you've had on him or her? If so, what is the best way to do that? Whose assistance do you need in order to make sure you're actually honoring the person you hurt rather than just assuaging your guilt?
It's been one year since we started posting weekly meditations on The Huffington Post! A compilation book of all 366 meditations titled Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence will be available early 2014. Stay tuned for more details.
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.