Why Should Sex Be Associated With Spiritual Practice?
Robert Peng makes a dissertation about sexual nature and how this can help us focus on long-lasting happiness in our intimate relations.
Anything that can be related to sex, albeit indirectly, stimulates reflex. If we happen to be working in a café, for example, and our mind begins to wander, the mere fact of having an attractive person close by immediately elevates our energy. That increase of energy, according to Chinese medicine, represents the activation of our inferior dantian (the center of energy that is located below our bellybutton), which stores our sexual energy.
In his book, The Master Key: Qigong Secrets, Robert Peng explains our sexual nature in a clear and, overall, logical way. He says that pure sexual energy has the capacity to take us towards the purest delight, or to launch us towards the deepest wells of pain and suffering. And it is precisely this volatile and wild nature of sex what has led several religions to consider it an impediment for spiritual development. Due to the poor use of sex in advertising and the confusion and pain which intimacy can bring, this belief continues, to a certain point, to permeate popular imagination. And for these very reasons, also, comes the fact that the link between spirituality and sex is a lot harder to sell than, say, spirituality and wisdom or love.
But, how can we redeem sex and elevate it to the status it so deserves? How can we reconcile both energies when sexual pleasure is responsible for so many traumas, shame and pain?
From the perspective of Qigong, the antithetical notion between sexuality and spirituality simply does not exist, because sexuality is one of the sources of happiness. If we hope one day to secure long-lasting happiness with our partner, Peng says, we heal our socially conditioned distortions concerning sexuality. Essentially, we must spiritualize sex.
Stereotypically, man’s sexual energy lights up and dies quickly, like a match; while the sexual energy of women lights up gradually and remains burning for many years, like a bucket of boiling water. These different tempos create a great deal of problems, adding to these the fact that, when man’s sexual energy is activated, his emotions tend to be inhibited and he cannot easily relate to his own feelings.
We cannot alter our sexual instincts. But we can use spiritual practice to overcome the limitations imposed on us by the nature that surrounds our sexuality. Not for nothing are we beings with the capacity to take control over our own evolution. If we are aware that sex can rob us of our control and in that way lead to pain, why can we not direct it to a cleaner kind of pain? As a matter of fact, we can transform the inherent content between male and female sexualities and through several kinds of practices.
Qigong is one of the most effective ways in which we can help man use his sexual energy, Peng writes. When the sexual energy of a man is lit, it intensifies passionately around his genitals and flows freely towards the rest of the body. This is the normal pattern. But men can also learn how to redirect that same flow so that it goes upwards, toward the middle dantian (the energy level located at the heart’s level). By doing this, man can do two things: first, reduce the urgency to ejaculate, and secondly, while the sexual energy is elevated in the chest area, passion mixes with love and care. A man who is able to control this skill is able to prolong this interaction indefinitely and it deepens his emotional connection while he makes love.
When female energy is lit, this flows naturally inwards and upwards from her genitals to her heart. According to Qigong, stimulating the breasts actives the middle dantian further and this reinforces the emotional response. Unlike men, women do not need to practice Qigong to combine their sexual vitality with love. These qualities mix naturally and, in this sense, female sexuality is inherently more integrated.
Nonetheless, through focused spiritual practice, men and women can learn how to integrate their sexual energy in even higher levels. Sexual vitality (the elixir among all other elixirs) can be directed upwards, toward the heart and to the top of our heads, where it becomes permeated with the delightful quality of the sacred. And from there, vitality can flow through the central meridian (the energetic channel that unifies the three principal energy centers: the dantians) towards the sky, which holds the greatest climax of all.
This is the most intense and pleasant climax, which is even better than the most passionate sexual encounter. “Comparing the two”, Peng points out, “is like contrasting a bathtub with the ocean.”
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