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Srinivasan Pillay

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Viagra vs Spirituality: Mojo Rising

Posted: 09/24/10 10:30 AM ET

Men rely on the ability to have an erection. And when that does not work, it compromises their sense of masculinity. But there are several aspects of spiritual lore that contradict our expectations here and might be worth considering. Personally, I think that all vital functions are great to preserve, but spiritual theories have some compelling information to share.

Firstly, at some point in life, one is supposed to understand that the constant seeking of sexual satisfaction as an obsession is limited. It is not only time-limited but also distracting from states of consciousness separate from the one we are used to in our everyday lives. "Realization" is supposed to come from disillusionment with this physical world. The disappointment with various aspects of human relatedness as well as the limits of sexual wanting are part of this. Most people I have talked to inside and outside my office have encountered this disillusionment, but when they do, they think that something is "wrong" and want to correct it. It is important to be aware that many spiritual traditions (and I am confining myself to spiritual and not religious here) would say that you are closer to a higher state of consciousness because of this "realization."

The whole notion of an erection is confusing anyway. It is stimulated by more than just aesthetics or closeness. In fact, closeness can reduce the possibility of it because erections are in part made up of fear, excitement and "motivation." These emotions or qualities of consciousness are often absent when people feel very close to their partners despite feeling intense love for them. Also, there are certain yoga positions that can spontaneously induce erections. So if you are lying on your back with your legs in the air and nobody but a celibate and aged yoga instructor you have just met in the room, a few adjustments to this position may have you in full erection without the usual accompanying emotions.

One of the concepts that lends us some insight about this is the concept of "kundalini" that comes from the yogic philosophy of ancient India. This is a Sanskrit word that literally means "serpent" and is a conceptual description of "coiled up" energy at the base of the spine. It represents libidinal energy of which sexual energy is only one part. According to yogic philosophy, the "awakening" of the kundalini leads to the experience of other states of consciousness. Crudely put, this "energy" moves up the spine, but too rapid an awakening may cause confusion or at the extreme end, insanity, and one of the challenges of life is to cause the rising of the kundalini to create spiritual awakening. Viagra, I would argue, somehow interferes with this process but kundalini rising is not without its complications either. Viagra is an attempt at creating a chemical kundalini without the "creativity" component being as accentuated as it is in the energy of kundalini. While kundalini awakening is associated with spiritual enlightenment, Viagra is associated with sexual enlightenment. These forces-the sexual and spiritual-are often at war with each other.

The result is that with spiritual awakening, satisfaction of the senses becomes less of a priority because of the promised experience of bliss. "Bliss" is distinct from happiness and has been reported in meditators. The experience of this state without drugs is the purpose of the spiritual path. Several dilemmas arise from this contemplation. I think that they are questions worth pondering:

1. If closeness removes some of the impetus for erections, are we denying ourselves a "switch" to an alternate state once we have intimacy by insisting on perpetuating the sexual experience?
2. If we think we are "damaged" when we do not have erections, are we stuck in a pointless contemplation and should we move on?
3. Is the disappointment of frequent and powerful erections an opportunity for spiritual awakening?
4. Is there a nexperience beyond sexual excitement that we could turn to in order to continue to enjoy life's offerings of "bliss?"
5. Does Viagra challenge this spiritual path and create kundalini confusion?

While I cannot claim to have the answers to these questions, I think that this challenge between giving up our focus on the sexual and submitting to the abstraction of the spiritual is a point in one's life journey where much suffering could be eliminated. My current view is that sexual potency and spiritual evolution would be ideally part of the same process, but I have to admit that this particular all-inclusiveness may reflect a reluctance to proceed on the spiritual path more than the best alternative out there.

 
 
 

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