Many people ask: what’s the whole purpose of meditation—and indeed—the whole concept of inner development anyway? Why should I spend my time and energy pursuing that kind of self development?
One of the best reasons is getting to know who you really are. By that, I mean knowing yourself at a really deep level. We’ve talked about this before.
Most people who start learning meditation get bored with it before they actually get anywhere. And even then, among those who manage to make some progress and achieve some degree of inner stillness, most will never go deep enough to have the “becoming one with yourself” experience. Some have this experience fairly soon. Others, even accomplished meditators, never get there.
Way down, several levels below the stillness of inner peace, begins a region of what can truthfully be called the spiritual center of the human mind, where your spiritual being resides. In those levels you will begin to perceive knowledge not easily grasped by the conscious, thinking part of the human mind. There you will find a mirror that lets you see yourself in a manner and at a depth you may have never known or thought possible.
I’ve never found a name for that particular experience of self-discovery. If you know of a name for it, I wish you’d let me know. It is most surely the place where you can “become one with thyself” in the true of the word.
When “you,” in your conscious thoughts become aware of who you really are at the deepest levels of your being, it will transform you in a sudden and dramatic way. You will recognize that your conscious mind is just a surface-level mask that you use to “show yourself” to the world. It is only one part of your mind, and you can choose to use it or ignore it.
You will gain the ability to live without that mask, if you choose. And the chances are good that you will choose to wear it less and less. Voila, you will become a more genuine person. Harmony will spread to more and more levels of your being. You will have less stress. You will discover that you are truly one with yourself. You will also discover your own intrinsic values—which is a huge leap forward in personal self-development. You’ll learn what is really important to you, and what’s not. After that, you will find the big decisions in your life easier to make.
Let’s take some time to focus on putting meditation and sex together. When you mix sex with the meditative state, you’ll find it is a powerful and useful combination in several ways. It helps you to take sex to a more satisfying and more meaningful level. It also helps focus your meditative practice, and can lead to a deeper level of inner development.
Sex is the most powerful energy in the human body. While we normally use it primarily for pleasure and health—and occasionally for actual procreation, it can also be focused to accomplish things with the mind and body that might otherwise be impossible.
The practice of using the mind to influence the body and, conversely, using the body to influence the mind is called tantra. Since my teaching and coaching is primarily about meditation (and not necessarily sex), the goal of my writing today is more about deepening and expanding your meditation using sex. I want you to add tantra to deepen your meditative practice, thus opening the possibility of receiving knowledge from parts of your mind you’ve never known before.
We’ve looked at the enormous amount of sensory input flooding into the mind from the lips and genitals during sex. I suggest that with the cooperation of your partner, you ask for a period of time while having sex when you don’t communicate with each other, but rather take that time to be quiet and go within yourself. Use your mind to simply notice the huge rush of physical pleasure without actually thinking about it. It will help if, during that time, you can be completely relaxed, not move, and let your partner administer the pleasure to you. Don’t try to achieve orgasm or allow yourself to have any goal whatsoever in your mind.
The concept here is to “tie up” the mind by using it to notice and enjoy the immense pleasure but without thinking about it—or anything else, for that matter. It’s all about lulling the conscious thought machine into being still. If you fall into the trap of thinking, “oh boy, this is really great sex,” or “oh my god, I have the best lover in the world,” then you’ve been defeated by your thinking machine. Instead, instruct your conscious mind to not think. The whole idea for you here, as a meditator, is to experience a deeper state of inner stillness and peace.
I promised to write about some of the practical, real-world ways you can take your sexual love relationship to a deeper, more meaningful level. These are valuable and immensely satisfying discoveries. So, I hope this knowledge will be beneficial. If that is true for you, please leave a comment and tell me about it.
The first practical step toward Deeper Sex/Deeper Love is simply getting more of the body’s nerve endings involved in the sexual act. The genitals have the second largest number of nerve endings of any area on the body. That’s why sex feels so good. But the lips and mouth have an even larger number of nerve endings, which means that open-mouth kissing during genital sex more than doubles the physical sensation of the act. From what women tell me, most men don’t kiss while making love. Hey, what is wrong with you guys?
Men, stop being so self-centered and thinking only about your own satisfaction. Create some good face-to-face, eye-to-eye intimacy, and start kissing your girl during the act.
In addition, a lot of you women need to learn how to open up wider to receive your lover. Several beneficial movements in Yoga are hip openers that greatly enhance your lovemaking skills. One way of doing this (in the missionary position) is to bend your knees, put the soles of your feet close together, bring the feet close to your seating bones, and let your knees fall apart as far as they can. Now, you can rotate your pelvis toward your lover, giving him the maximum penetration. The man can cup a hand under your buttocks and lift it slightly which helps to take his penis to the glory land. Wow. Subtle difference, but a major effect.
The chief goal here is maximizing body area that is being touched by both of you. Your bellies and chests will be rubbing together. And of course, you both should have your hands touching and caressing every part your lover’s body you can reach. The skin is known as the largest organ of the body. Touching and rubbing makes a huge difference. In addition to maximizing bodily touching, you can also use visual and auditory communication. Look into your lover’s eyes while you are making love. Kiss, nibble, and whisper into your lover’s ears. Express your feelings.
If you can put all this together, then you have achieved a huge step forward in being a good lover, at least on the physical level. One cute little name for this skill uses three four-letter words, the first two of which are full and body. So from now on, when I talk about the FBF, you’ll know what I mean, right?
Here’s your homework: Practice the FBF for a while, and I’ll work on some ideas to take us into the deeper realm of tantric lovemaking. Meanwhile, have fun.
The human mind/body has a potentially powerful connection between the true meditative state and sexual love. If you are fortunate enough to have a sexually active love relationship with another person, you might discover the splendid benefits of combining sexual love-making with meditation. By the way, the most important definition of tantra, as I know it, is using the body (especially with sex) to influence the mind. Most teachers and masters of inner development understand the close relationship between sex and meditation, and most will shamelessly use that connection to deepen and extend the benefits of both.
As you may already know, I define the true meditative state as having a wide-awake mind without thinking. If you have a successful and on-going meditative practice, and you are able to enter that state of mind while having sex with someone you love and who loves you, then you may draw very close to one of the side-gates of nirvana.
Perhaps I could express that a bit more clearly: Being able to empty the thinking mind and be without thought while enjoying delicious sex with your lover will enhance both your lovemaking and your meditation. Meditative sex might take you to a deeper level than you’ve ever experienced, in both meditation and sexual love.
An even more enticing and exciting possibility is that you (and possibly your lover) will discover a spiritual aspect to your relationship. By that, I mean that your relationship will be not only between your bodies and your minds, but also will include a connection between your human spirit and that of your lover. Such a connection, if it ever happens to you, will create a bond like none you have ever experienced with another human being. Alas, many of my readers aren’t able to go with me when I talk about the spiritual realm—which is okay. We’ll put that off for a while.
But, let’s get back to sex.
Since most of my writing and coaching is about meditation, I typically don’t put a lot of focus on sex. Maybe I should change that. From my past experience and much reading, I notice that most teachers and masters actually start off with sex when they train new students. Sex gets people very interested very quickly, and it harnesses the most powerful energy of the human body/mind to get things started. Yes, I think I’ll put a lot more emphasis on sex.
But, there’s sex, and then there’s sex. And, from what I’ve been told by a lot of people (both men and women), many people don’t do it right. That is, they don’t use sex as a way to develop a deeper and more intimate relationship with their lover. Too many people are focused mostly on achieving their own satisfaction. Perhaps my own gender is more guilty of that than it should be. Wham, bam, and well…you know.
So, let me get to work on the next post that will address the challenge of deeper and more intimate sex—that is, actual techniques of love-making that will pave the way for deeper contact between two lovers. Hmmm, this might be a daunting challenge—or a lot of fun.
Leaving your body for a while is a meditative skill that takes place entirely in the mind. It is something you can learn to do a little bit at a time. Essentially, it means deepening your meditative state, and requires becoming more advanced in your meditation skills. I learned it accidentally over a long period of time. But, when you know what to do and you focus on doing it, you’ll learn it a lot quicker than I did.
Learn, train, read, study, get help from a teacher, and practice until you can achieve the meditative state (totally awake but without any thought) for ten or fifteen seconds each time. Start practicing for fifteen minutes a day for at least five days a week until you can maintain non-thought for a minute. Practice, practice, practice until you can maintain non-thought for two minutes. Learn to really LOVE your practice, and make it an important part of every day until you can stay in the meditative state for five minutes. By this time, in most of your meditations, you will begin sensing small traces of the joy and energy that are always found in the human spirit.
Don’t stop. Use those delicious little tastes of spiritual inner peace to deepen your commitment to the practice. Have many short meditations in your daily life, while standing in line at the checkout counter, during a long traffic stop, whenever you are bored, and every time you get in bed and can’t sleep. When you are a meditator, you eagerly use every episode of insomnia as an opportunity to practice and deepen your meditative state.
Then one day, you’ll discover that you are meditating ten to fifteen minutes each time—with ease. You might reach this stage of your practice in a year or two. Or, depending upon your dedication and consistency, perhaps in a few months. It took me thirty years. But, if I had known what I’ve just written in the two paragraphs above, it would have been much, much sooner for me.
By this point in your practice, you will have developed an ability to block some sensory inputs from your mind—to one degree or another. You’ll know how to block out a distracting noise, perhaps a buzzing insect, or whatever seeks to disturb your meditative state. Then, voila! One day you realize that you can block out the annoying pain in your knee, or the throbbing place where you hurt your hand. Perhaps even a headache. Simply by deepening your meditative state and silently telling the mind to turn off a particular sensory input, you have begun to separate yourself from your body.
As you explore your own mental geography and practice the skill of turning off sensory inputs, you will learn—again, one small step at a time—the art of leaving your body. Generally speaking, each “trip” away from the physical body brings you into the proximity of your own human spirit. There you may discover a vast resource of knowledge and joy like you have never known or imagined.
A delightful benefit of your meditative practice—after you’ve reached a certain level of accomplishment—is the ability to separate yourself from your physical body. Some readers may think I’m talking about a so-called “out of body experience.” But I’m not. Rather, I’m referring to the ability to go inward to a point where all sensual stimuli from the body are blocked, and the conscious thinking mind is completely stilled.
This “place” within yourself has names in some other languages. But I’ve never found a good name for it in English. I sometimes use the phrase “returning to your core being” or “going into your spiritual state.” Unfortunately, when I talk about spiritual matters, a lot of people think I’m going off into religion. I’m not. The word spiritual has an entirely secular, real life meaning.
To wit: An entity exists within our core being called the human spirit. Every human being who is alive has a spirit. When the human spirit leaves the body, the person is said to be “dead.”
When I’m talking about the human spirit, I am able to use the adjective spiritual, which has a specific meaning that is not associated with any dogmatic belief system. Spiritual means that which is associate with the human spirit.
So now—voila!—we can accurately say that when you revert inward to your spiritual state, you are disconnected from bodily senses and your conscious thought machine. When you are able to get into your own spiritual state, you will discover that it is always peaceful there. And not just peaceful, but also euphoric. Among the other benefits you may discover, the spiritual state is like being stoned and happy, but without using drugs. Believe me, it is wonderful to be able to go there whenever you want.
If I can figure out how to put it into words, I’d like to describe step by step how you can learn to get into your spiritual state. I’ll work on that for my next posting.
Meditation is the doorway to self-mastery.
Inner peace, calm, and deeply restful sleep are gifts that come from a practice of self-mastery, which is the art of controlling the body and the mind. Perhaps most importantly, self-mastery can lead to spiritual self-knowledge, that is, knowledge of one’s own human spirit. And that knowledge can lead to Enlightenment.
Self-mastery (chiefly through meditation) is something that I was “taught” fifty-one years ago. But to be more accurate, it is something which in me became fully realized only decades later. Admittedly, my Tibetan teacher had limited skills in my language back then. But his words stuck somewhere in my brain and then, many years later, they blossomed into the insight I expressed above.
The pathway to self-mastery offers very little in the way of forward vision to the seeker. You can’t expect to see exactly how your meditative practice will result in self-mastery in the future. But intuition should tell you that self-mastery will come from a practice of self-mastery. And the practice of self-mastery starts with sitting quietly and not thinking. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?