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 sexuality, grief, and respect for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Sexuality
"A person's approach to sexuality is a sign of his level of evolution. Un-evolved persons practice ordinary sexual intercourse. Placing emphasis upon the sexual organs, they neglect the body's other organs and systems. Whatever physical energy is accumulated is summarily discharged, and the subtle energies are similarly dissipated and disordered. It is a great backward leap." -- Lao-Tzu
Sexuality is a core component of personal identity as well as a determining factor in sexual behavior. But sexual behavior is often mistaken for sexuality, just as the external actions of our lives -- career, relationships, social activities -- are mistaken for the inward experiences of our lives. Both mistakes confuse what we do with how we feel. Sexuality includes much more than actions: our sexual orientation, gender identity, arousal template, and beliefs.
Our culture does not provide a process to develop conscious sexuality. Sexual education is usually limited to a hasty discussion of biological development, with no mention of its varied expression nor of ways to measure functionality and fulfill sexual potential. One 2011 survey found the majority of respondents cited friends and television as their main sources of sexual information. If we're getting our cues about sexuality from TV and the locker room, we don't have a very conscious way of imbibing knowledge about sexuality.
Many of us learned about our sexuality in casual or frantic states. And this mode of learning creates an attitude in which, even if we collect the basic info regarding what goes where and why, we might still experience the same panicked or repressive response. People can, and often do, engage in copious sexual activity while utterly repressing their core sexuality. That's why sexuality (our true sexual nature) and sexual behavior (what we do sexually) can sometimes be at odds. Especially when one's sexuality has been wounded, one grasps for help anywhere, often through partners that are struggling with the same wound. But sexuality is a sacred aspect of our being that deserves at least the level of care and commitment as our primary relationship.
Daily healthy sex acts
- If your sexuality were a country, would it be a developed nation or a desert island? Write some descriptive words you associate with your sexuality.
- What do you know about your sexual self, and how did you gain this awareness? As you consider this, note signs of discomfort, confusion, or blankness. Write a list of affirmative words you'd like to associate with your sexuality.
- Partners are the obvious helpers in exploring sexuality and healing sexual wounds. A qualified sex therapist can also help by providing safe, educated discussion. Whom can you trust to explore as-yet unknown aspects of your sexuality? Conceive a plan for how you might fulfill your sexual potential.
Meditation 2: Grief
"I thought when love for you died, I should die. It's dead. Alone, most strangely, I live on." -- Rupert Brooke
No one knows the hurt of heartbreak until they've experienced it. The gnashing pain of saying "goodbye" to a lover -- when we know the relationship isn't working, when we have to leave in order to grow into our potential, when we've been so terribly betrayed that we can't hold a vision for healing, or when someone dies -- is beyond comprehension until we live through it. Loss is so devastating that many people hold onto pain, resentment, or anger as a perverse way to stay in relationship with the one we've said "goodbye" to. Sometimes it even feels righteous to stay in anger, hurt, or upset -- almost as though we can right the wrong if we dig in our heels. Yet over time, this stance leaves us embittered and stuck, hanging on for dear life so as not to feel the awful feelings of sorrow. Worse, that mental clinging precludes our moving on.
Grief, on the other hand, is an essential step in our progress forward. Grieving requires the ego and the recriminations to get out of the way so that we can become vulnerable and fully feel the loss of what once was. Without the full-bodied sensation of our grief and loss, we can never get past them. Letting go and grieving is a cleansing and healing process for all: We tear open our emotional prison and energetically release ourselves, and our former beloved, to move on.
Daily healthy sex acts
- If you're holding on to an old wound and haven't let yourself feel the loss, take time today to write about what keeps you invested.
- Free yourself for a good cry over your primary losses.
- Have a small ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the loss of a loved one, whether it was a relational loss or literal loss. Light a candle in his or her name to free them, throw a rock into the ocean to symbolize an aspect of the relationship that needs to be let go, or plant some flowers so that your grief can blossom into something new.
Meditation 3: Respect
"When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are. When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be." -- Thomas S. Monson
Respect can be an arena for key issues to play out. Lack of respect will be keenly felt by anyone who grew up with an insecure attachment to caregivers, whether in chaotic households or with neglectful or domineering parents. If the personal integrity of such a person is (or is perceived to be) wounded, this often results either in an unending quest for respect or a constant evaluation of whether others are worthy of respect. We've probably all heard parents, teachers, friends or lovers at one time or another declare, "You need to show some respect!" It's the oddest demand, because there's never been a moment when that admonition is followed by respect toward that person!
Would that we could simply demand respect to receive it! But no. To earn respect, we need to show people the way to respecting us. When we were kids we didn't respect anything, until someone lovingly showed us the way to honor persons, ideals, customs, ourselves. If we're not willing to take on that responsibility for others, how can we expect them to have already learned any respect for us? If you have a deal-breaker that bars you from developing close friendships or romantic relationships with someone who doesn't respect your hobbies or interests, recall that at one time you didn't even share those interests! It's possible to develop reverence and love for any subject if someone brings it to us in the right way. We could come to admire and even love any person someone brought us to understand. We've done as much for ourselves: We grew to understand ourselves and everything that we respect in life. So when we invite people into our interests, and into ourselves, we're showing, and earning, respect.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Seeking respect can be a sign of trying to manage one's reputation rather than examining personal behavior. What qualities would you like others to respect in you? How can you lovingly show them the way you respect those qualities in yourself and share the special meaning they have for you?
- Empathy also engenders respect. It's easier to empathize when we recognize similarities, shared values or respective truths. Affirm your respect for others today. Listen, and let them know the loving qualities you see in them.
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.