Sex and Enlightenment


The act of sex is not a hang up in most cases, but rather it is unprocessed vexation about sex which can pose obstacles at certain points in life and practice.  Thorough explorations about sex are kept out of the spiritual dialogue in large part but, in many respects, sex is actually at the root of much of our need for spiritual healing.  The problem is that it has historically been cast into a dark shadow and all of the “religious” attempts to deal with it are generally uninformed, blind and exacerbate the problem with the same resistance and denial that caused it in the first place.  Religion can push our sexual awareness even deeper into the unconscious by falsely holding out their representatives as pious, cardboard Supermen and Superwomen.  This disavowing of real, natural sexual development and diversity creates shadow distortions and disowned demons which can result in crazy sexual malfeasance, as well as generations feeling isolated, at war with each other and afraid of intimacy.

Our society and family systems have traditionally gone overboard with the sexual rules, roles, standards, taboos and expectations.  In fact, the fabric of our society is almost founded on them.  These hang ups are passed from generation to generation and are so potent because not only are they are jammed into the disowned shadows of children by parents and society, but they are entwined with expectations of broader family, economic and community roles (marriage, sports, chamber of commerce, grandkids, etc.).   Because it is so unthinkably horrible in many places and psyches for boys to like boys and girls to like girls, almost no kid can escape a bunch of wrong signals about acceptance, openness and intimacy jammed down into their disowned shadow.  The feminine ends up being most repressed in this clumsy process for many reasons.  Those communities where there is extra sexual repression and rigidity seem to see extra shadow conflicts emerge.

Any disowned shadow stuff which we haven’t dealt with gets stronger as meditation practice and awakening deepens.  As grows our awakened nature, so grows our unconscious shadow.  If we do not deal with it skillfully it can become a monster shadow.  If a mere sexual urge arises during practice this is not an issue – it will pass.  However, if there is anything compulsory, vexed, uncomfortable or causing anxiety, shame or fear, then this is most likely part of the shadow which needs to be illuminated, examined and owned.  The first step is to understand that you’re not to blame – this is unprocessed junk you inherited from your childhood and the collective unconscious.  The second step is to step into the uncomfortable, disowned shoes – the sexual predator, the sexual deviant, the sexual abuser, the sex addict, the homosexual, the sexual victim, the submissive, etc. – and fully recognize and realize that this is one human potentiality found in the greater human psyche.  The third step is to give it a voice, let it speak, see what it says and allow it to exist.  To pretend it doesn’t or can’t exist is to be blind, a weak cardboard Superman, a split psyche waiting for the shadow to act out when you aren’t looking and scream “see me!”

This goes with anything in the psyche that you resist, ignore or are afraid of, but because sexual repression is so emotionally charged and wide spread in many cases, this repression causes more pain and confusion than it should.  It’s also important to ponder whether or not some of the most intelligent, strong and sensitive among us have been chosen to give healthy voice, illumination and psychic balance to the most disowned sexual impulses in our collective psyche.  After all, this kind of stuff is in the job description of a Bodhisattva.  This shadow play occurs in every facet of our life and is the yin and yang of our personality and psyche.  We must see, accept and own every darkness in our psyche in order to become whole.

Along the path of meditation a related phenomena will occur – the awakening of the kundalini.  As anyone who has had a kundalini awakening will attest, the energy which was dormant or repressed there is quite feminine in nature.  It is like a goddess arising up the back of your spine, enlivening the entire nervous system with feminine intuition and sensitivity which, unfortunately, is quite severely suppressed in our mechanical, violent, male world.  This phenomena of suppressed feminine energy in our world is no doubt part and parcel of the disowned shadow phenomena and this cycle is no doubt responsible for our “asleepness” when it comes to constant war, poverty, violence, greed, spiritual blindness and cruelty.  However, like all systems that become wobbly with entropy and imbalance, something will eventually give.  A global awakening perhaps?

3 thoughts on “Sex and Enlightenment

  1. Hi, I wanted to thank you for your thoughtful and supportive remark in our shared facebook group, and also wondered what sort of blog you wrote. I was really amazed to see all the work you’ve put into this blog, how many pieces you’ve written, and how well thought-out they appear to be from reading a couple of them. One of them was this one, and I appreciated your rational and original/creative approach to a subject I rarely see anyone discuss, let alone with any of those 3 qualities! I hope to peruse more of your pieces in days and weeks to come. Your work is much appreciated and hopefully will become a resource for me.

    On the subject of sexuality in spirituality i would add that it would appear we created this as a part of the expression of the divine when we decided to manifest in this world in the first place. That being the case, i have to feel we meant it. Its an incredibly powerful and wonderfully complex part of ourselves; so, maybe it’s something we should give conscious thought to and creative, responsible expression to rather than knee-jerk reactions.

    Sex, sexuality and gender have always fascinated me, and i’ve found that having the courage to own one’s own sexuality and ask a lot of questions within rather than of people who for the most part haven’t found such courage, has led to an amazing if difficult journey. It has taken me into the realm of taking responsibility for one’s need for love and romance among other things and becoming one’s own first and truest lover in every way, sexuality very much included. And now the experience of being my own truest and deepest lover seems to be transitioning from the self of the psych to the truest, deepest Self of all.

    One of the things this journey convinced me of more and more over the years, is that the absolute fear and degradation of the idea of sexual/romantic self-love among so many persons and entities in our current american society is an incredibly destructive force that robs so many men and women of a critical, rich, creative, beautiful and amazing part of themselves and also is probably a major force in the creation of rape culture and perhaps a primary cause of many, perhaps most rapes.

    The easiest and quickest way to see this is to consider that a young man will time and time again experience raping another human being as the easiest and quickest way to satisfy his sexual desires. What in hell is that about, i find myself asking on a regular basis. Where is his self-love, his capacity to truly, lovingly, creatively (and not mechanically, fearfully, shamefully, and in a terrible vacuum of emotional emptiness, compulsivity, and repetitive boredom due to an amazingly impoverished imagination) create, grow, and even share with his friends, lovers, and close family members, his experience of an inner garden of self-love? Why is this even a question, let alone something not even imagined by most (if not nearly all) boys and men in our society? What else could responsible modern sexuality look like? How else could we develop sexually mature, responsible, and thoughtful people?

    There are countless fantastic journeys a person can take in their lifetime, and exploring one’s gender(s), sexuality, and inner love-life may not be that primary journey for many people, but most of us need a good taste of it and i truly wish there was a way for open, rational, thoughtful and creative discussion to be held in our society of this matter. But perhaps the wobbling you mention will eventually lead to even a culture of courage and support to the loving by it’s members of their own selves for a change. Seems like it could be a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Bob – thanks for the very thoughtful comment. Not sure what the Facebook comment was – may have been someone else or a reposting of something here. Anyway, it is always good to hear from you and I appreciate your perspective here.

      Liked by 1 person

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