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 patterns, self-care, and cherishing for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Patterns
"Life isn't one damn thing after another. It's the same damn thing again and again." -- Edna St. Vincent Millay
Our entire understanding of the world is built on the patterns we perceive. From mathematics to neurobiology, observable patterns define our field of awareness. Over some fixed patterns we have no control: Planets orbit the sun; electrons orbit atoms' nuclei; we instinctively breathe, suckle and cry; animals domesticated for generations still follow automatic patterns of behavior. Despite this, we know that certain patterns can be reset. Dogs might be programmed innately to bark or chase cats but with daily training, new behaviors can replace instinctive scripts.
The entire field of psychology focuses on discovering and retraining patterns, and recovery from destructive patterns of behavior is more possible than ever. Even informally, when people share stories they often repeat the same details over and over as they process them into their looping procedural memory, making the explicit literally implicit in their brains.
It's been said that life is a spiral slowly progressing upward and looping back down in repetitive patterns. We may feel dejected to find old patterns repeating, but they do so each time at a higher level of consciousness. Recovering addicts in particular report the eternal reappearance of deep-set psychological patterns. But while the patterns might feel the same, the fact that the recovering addict is sooner and more keenly aware of them represents a tremendous advance. Ever-increasing attentiveness forms part of the new pattern of recovery, and finally creates new behavior. The very fact that our lives are built on so many patterns reveals a larger pattern to our lives.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Today, observe patterns in the world around you--the weave of your clothes, the hum of traffic, the rhythm of your breath. Recognize how patterns impact your consciousness at every level.
- Pay attention to mental and emotional patterns as well. As you mentally loop through habitual thoughts, verbalize this typically unnoticed routine. Or bring awareness to one emotion--happiness, curiosity, or fear--and note any pattern to its reappearance throughout the day.
- You can train your brain to reset its patterns. Pick a simple goal such as exercising, deep breathing, or feeling your feelings, and spend just ten minutes a day in gentle practice in order to repattern.
Meditation 2: Self-Care
"When hungry, eat your rice; when tired, close your eyes. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean." -- Linji Yixuan
Self-care is like the airplane oxygen mask that in the event of an emergency we first fasten to ourselves before we can take care of another. If we don't take responsibility for our own care, then really we're not in a state to take care of anything. Many times it's in the rush of personal and social interaction when self-care goes by the wayside. One of the key signs of codependency and addiction is self-abandonment. Are we eating right, getting enough sleep, grooming, exercising, cleaning home and car? How about setting appropriate boundaries, and pausing before reacting? We can have so many issues around these acts, especially if they weren't effectively modeled for our unique autonomous development.
Sometimes we abandon our own care to focus on others with the hope we'll be inspired, blessed, or the person we save will return the favor out of gratitude. Cut out the middle man! The best any of us can do for others is to take care of ourselves, physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. When we feel spiritually healthy, chances are we're better apt to define our genuine needs and goals. It can take time to learn to trust and not sabotage true presence of mind.
One of the most important aspects of self-care is communication, knowing that each person you're with is trustworthy. Sexually, self-care involves attending to your own sexual health and pleasure, and knowing when and how to say no even though your body might be saying yes, and vice-versa! If a past history of ignoring self-care has contributed to major problems you've faced, then an inventory of these issues might be in order. Not to punish yourself, which is the antithesis of self-care, but to truly understand your inclination. Why might you have an uncaring attitude toward your own needs? Where does your negligence originate? These are all substantial questions that you can explore, and are themselves a healthy part of self-care.
Daily healthy sex acts
- What can you do today to take care of yourself? Whatever you need--love, attention, freedom, value, time-- give it to yourself first before seeking externally.
- List the priorities in your life. Consider how each priority impacts your self-care. Address any discrepancies. See that you're getting enough food, water and sleep each day. Usually if we think we're saving time by ignoring our own needs, our lack of energy will create the opposite effect.
- Do you need to discuss your unmet needs with your partner? If a partnership isn't reciprocal, it's not a partnership. State your needs, and listen to the needs of your partner. See any conflict through the lens of respective self-care.
Meditation 3: Cherishing
"Every life is noted and is cherished, and nothing loved is ever lost or perished." -- Madeleine L'Engle
A significant predictor of love's endurance is how we cherish one another. Relationships require attention, dedication, and communication as we work through outer and inner issues. But an absence of mutual cherishing makes love feel more like a convenient living arrangement or a self-help project than an amorous embrace. Similarly, eroticism offers infinite opportunities to cherish one another. The sex act can involve giving and receiving, mutual pleasuring, even tolerating as an act of caring. But cherishing elevates sex above all these ways. Just as we cherish our best traits, prized possessions, and breakthrough accomplishments, it's essential to cherish the sexual energy we share. Cherishing real human beings, though, requires a willingness to see the beauty in their imperfection and to adore them all the same.
The same is true about valuing life. Every moment offers an occasion for cherishing, even if it's the silver lining in every cloud. And to bear witness to the sober reality of our proverbial rain, of our pain, doesn't discount the simultaneous certainty of our blessings under the sun. Life is filled with little disappointments and conflicts, and romantic interactions can easily become tainted with resignation and buried resentment. But that's why expressing true feelings and needs is so crucial to love's survival.
For cherishing requires a clean slate. It's only with a trusting, open heart that we see clearly. Overlays of secret agendas and manipulative stratagems lose us in the murky world of shadow projections. Cherishing is the clear outpouring of unconditional love, and it's only through this perception of sharing souls that equality is ever possible. There isn't a fixed amount of love, such that cherishing another depletes us of personal power. That's not how love and blessings work. If anything, when it comes to affection and appreciation, to give endlessly makes it possible endlessly to receive.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Practice the physicality of cherishing. Great works of art portray lovers trembling before one another, hands to heart in deeply felt surrender. Search for paintings and photographs that express the cherishing of which you're capable. Practice the poses and, as they say, "act as if until."
- When you're most annoyed by a friend or family member, imagine your life without her or him. The prospect of their absence can shift your attitude toward cherishing in an instant, especially when you can look past your petty grievance and see their loveliness.
- Today, cherish your life, your love.
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.