For some people, "sacred sexuality" is an oxymoron, an inherent contradiction in terms. And it's no wonder, given humanity's religiously-inspired history of making sex wrong. Yet, if you doubt the connection between sexuality and spirituality, just ask yourself: whose name is most commonly invoked at the point of orgasm?
Before I was exposed to spiritual practices like meditation and breathwork, the only time my mind would cease its endless chatter was during sex. In those moments I was able to go beyond myself, transcend my inner dialogue and self-doubts, and become one with another. Time stopped. In French, orgasm is referred to as "la petite mort," the little death. For at that moment there is a collapse of the ego boundaries that keep us apart; we dissolve into ourselves and each other in an exquisite state of timelessness, feeling at one with each other and with everything. We die briefly to our separate identities, our ego selves, attaining a state of ecstasy as we are lifted out of ourselves.
With the emergence of the patriarchal cultures and religions several thousand years ago, the physical and the spiritual were split. God was disembodied and exiled to the realm of the abstract, and heaven was pushed away from the Earth into the far reaches of outer space. Where the hell is heaven anyway? The spiritual became inscrutable, remote, hard to reach, and certainly asexual. It is telling that my computer's thesaurus lists "spiritual" as the antonym of "sensual."
Anything associated with the physical, including the Earth, became inferior -- something to be conquered, subjugated and controlled. No wonder we treat our planet the way that we do. The human body? Animalized. And sexuality? Sinful, dirty, even demonized.
This regrettable, tragic situation has not always been the case. Back when the Sacred Feminine was revered, this false dichotomy was not the prevalent belief. Even more recently, in Tantric and Taoist spiritual traditions sexuality was considered not only sacred but a powerful vehicle to the divine. In Hinduism the Kundalini energy, which, when ignited, rises up the spine to bring about enlightenment, is also the sexual energy. And to most indigenous and shamanic traditions everything is sacred, including trees, rocks, animals, clouds... and the sexual organs.
How do we then begin to bridge the artificial split between sexuality and spirituality? How do we begin to bring the sacred into the bedroom?
The first step to reconciling these two fundamental and intrinsic parts of our humanity is upgrading our thinking, cleansing our perceptions, and evolving new belief systems about sex. It's time to upload a new version, for the old system is outdated and ineffective. This entails cultivating our own garden of beliefs, plucking weeds of conditioning and culturally ingrained sex negativity as we plant new seeds such as: "Becoming a better lover is a spiritual thing."
The Greek word for temple is temenos -- something that contains within it the divine presence. When we treat our bodies as temples of the divine, with the reverence they deserve, we watch what we put into them and the situations in which we place them. We also honor our partner's body with that same reverence. What a difference this simple act of remembering -- even done unilaterally -- will make, and what a powerful effect it will have on our sexual experience!
In this context, Namaste is much more than a pretty word we use along with prayer hands and a gentle bow at the end of yoga class. Namaste is a radical concept, one of those handful of spiritual principles that, if we actually embodied and put them into practice, our lives and our world would change immediately. If the sacred in me sees, honors, acknowledges, bows to the sacred in you, how can I steal from you, lie to you, cheat on you, rape you, allow you to go hungry, kill you or invade your country?
What if we extended the concept of namaste into the bedroom? The sacred in me sees, honors, acknowledges, bows to -- and makes love with -- the sacred in you. We honor the sacred in our partner. Through our partner, we are actually making love to God in this realm. God making love to God. Now we're talking! Now things can start getting really juicy.
For me, the most important aspect of being a good lover is just that: to let sex be about love, become an expression of love. Making love -- even with a stranger -- means just that. Literally, we are making love, becoming conduits for love in our relationships and sexual experiences, bringing the sacred energy of love into a world that can certainly use more of it.
Sex, when infused with spirit, is as hot, sensual, and passionate as it ever was. In fact, it is even more so, and certainly longer-lasting and more deeply satisfying. We have been conditioned and misled into believing that God and spirituality are sexless, staid and boring. This is simply not true. In our most profound sexual experiences, it becomes clear: God is love; God is passion; God is life; God is sex; God is juicy; God is the Ultimate Orgasm, and the "Big Bang" itself. So next time that classic "Oh God!" escapes your lips during sex, remember how appropriate that remark is, for you are indeed savoring the Divine.
Yes, becoming better lovers is a spiritual thing!