Celebration is the perfume of the Gods!
Whenever you enter into celebration, in whatever moment, you are inviting the Divine close to your heart and simultaneously you are lifted up into our embrace.
Dance, sing and laugh in the same way as the birds expressing the abundant overflow of life energy.
You have not been placed on the Earth to walk endless circles of despair.
You have been placed on the Earth to celebrate the dance of creation.
In whatever moment you can remember to celebrate, you are in that moment connected to your higher destiny & you become intimate with the Gods.
Many people say in their prayers, "Please reveal to me my purpose on Earth!". And we say again & again, "Your purpose is to celebrate!"
Express your gratefulness for this gift of life. Dance, sing, rejoice. You are one with the flowers, trees, animals, birds and fishes.
The recognition of this highest truth is called mahamudra. One who has experienced this, we call Enlightened.
Such a one has their path lighted by wisdom.
Such a one wears the perfume of the Gods.
"The void needs no reliance, Mahamudra rests on nought.
Without making an effort, but remaining loose and natural one can break the yoke, thus gaining liberation."
- Tilopa, Song of Mahamudra
Our meditation is very simple.
There are no complicated mantras, no visualisations, no strict requirements concerning posture.
We sit or lie down comfortably and allow the bodymind to relax and the breathing to come naturally.
We simply become aware of the what is - observing - with an open mind and open heart.
We meditate as we go about our daily life.
In the beginning the ecstasy will come in waves and will subside as it pleases. You will feel moments of intense communion and others that resemble oblivion. But when even the smallest trace of the infinite is allowed into consciousness, it can't keep from totally emerging.
The essential thing is not to chase after ecstasy. It arises naturally if your presence in the world remains relaxed, without goals and constraints - free open & light.
There is no special practice to keep up. If you want to meditate, meditate. if you want to take a walk, take a walk. If you want to work, work. if you want to practice the maithuna, practice the maithuna. If you want to withdraw into the forest, withdraw into the forest.
Stop all searching and you will find yourself in the truth.
When the opening of the heart takes place, don't fix it. Don't make it into a success. let it be dispersed into space. That's the only place where it can reach maturity, which means opening for an entire life.
There is never an ultimate state to be reached. Everything is in constant flux. To let things be and to let things die when the time comes - that's the whole meaning of life. There's nothing else to do. everything rises up from absolute freedom. Nothing fixed, nothing heavy, nothing definitive. No closed image of the divine, no dogma, no belief. Do not be for or against a single one of the ideas the faithful habitually attach themselves to out of terror.
Death, karma and reincarnation are only empty word used by those who haven't realised the divine. All concepts, dogmas and beliefs are like the flesh and bones of the dead. with time they end up as part of the earth again.
As for the secret teachings - they remain secret simply because those who hear them or read them without having the necessary open mind don't understand them. It's beautiful to see the letters printed on the page. they see and understand only what their hearts and minds can grasp.
The great tantric sages have written down their thoughts. Despite that, the tantric spirit of secrecy has never been broken. It's like a charm that keeps unprepared eyes from discovering territories they would disfigure by their thoughts. The divine opens or closes the eyes, frees or obstructs the ears and the understanding of listeners.
Tantrikas speak to help adepts recognise what they already vaguely know. Those who don't know don't understand the teaching. In any case, know how unimportant the words are. what's perceived directly is the heart.
-Tantric Quest, Daniel Odier
Once considered a divine gift that could lift us out of ordinary reality into a higher world, the transformative fire of ecstasy would burn away the barriers between ourselves and our souls, giving us important insights to ourselves and to the universe, connecting us with ourselves and every living thing and vastly enriching our lives forever.
It is the great tragedy of contemporary Western society that many have virtually lost the ability to experience the transformative power of ecstasy and joy. This loss affects every aspect of life. Ecstasy is sought everywhere - mostly with addictive behaviour. But instead of fulfilment, chronic, gnawing emptiness ensues.
To fill this emptiness we need to reconnect with the capacity for ecstasy that lies dormant within us to make us truly alive. We then can live fully in our power, truth and essence with awareness travelling our own path of beauty and bliss. Pure Heart Tantra will connect you to your joy and ecstasy and the path of beauty.
What is Ecstasy?
During the 1950s, psychologist Abraham Maslow did years of research on what he called “ecstatic states”. His findings showed that almost all people have or can have “ecstatic states” or “peak experiences”. And psychologist Stella Resnick, in her book The Pleasure Zone, comments “Peak experiences are intensely pleasurable times that can last for just a minute or for several weeks or more. They are periods of complete happiness and fulfilment...” Maslow found that certain individuals - people he called “self-actualized” - enjoyed a much higher frequency of peak experiences than did individuals in the general population: “They felt fulfilled in their lives, motivated not by need, but by the desire to grow”.
We seek comfort, pleasure, and ecstasy from the moment we are born. Comfort is a natural state of well-being in the absence of pain. Pleasure comes from the gratification of our physical needs and emotional desires. Ecstasy is an experience of intense contentment, inner joy. It is, in most cases, a discontinuous state. It happens, it peaks, then it is gone. And we are left with the intuitive insight of an expanded potential for wholesome. At this juncture, we are drawn to the patient inner work that is needed to recognise and transform the behaviour patterns that sabotage our ability to be joyful, contented and self-actualize. As we become increasingly aware of this potential, we gradually discover ecstasy as an intense state of stabilized contentment that helps us to choose what is pleasing to ourself and others.
Such states are uniquely personal and hence difficult to define.
One dictionary defines ecstasy as “a state of exalted delight surpassing normal understanding” and “a state of emotions so intense that rational thought and self-control are obliterated”. The word ecstasy comes from the Greek ex stasis, to “move beyond stasis”, beyond the seemingly solid and fixed, into movements, or life. It is liberation from the known. Its Latin root ex stare means “to stand outside yourself”, as in transcendence (which means “to climb, to go beyond”). Fundamentally, ecstasy means to transcend yourself, to go outside and beyond what you think, know and believe is possible. An ecstatic state is a glimpse into the infinite.
We experience such states through music, love, religion, sex. Still, our ecstatic potential goes mostly unfulfilled. Most people are not educated (or trained) to value and recognise life’s sacred dimension. And, because they are often too busy to notice or value the simple joys of daily life, ecstasy often eludes them. They do not recognise that every moment is pregnant with ecstasy. For ecstatic states are not separate or opposed to ordinary life. Ecstatic states happen spontaneously. They are as natural as sleeping and breathing. Ecstasy was programmed into us the moment the sperm met the egg in our mother’s womb. It exists inside us right now as a potentiality. And it is possible to create joy within, to live a life cut like a precious jewel that reflects who we truly are, that radiates and energy that is healing and enchanting. And every step we take carries the possibility of such an awakening.
Our Ecstatic Anatomy
Perhaps the most common experience of ecstasy is the feeling of joy, relief, and exhilaration that comes with the sudden release from a difficult situation, when a crisis is successfully resolved or averted.
Another common experience of ecstasy comes during lovemaking. With its moment of intense pleasure and blessed release, orgasm may seem the most reliable form of ecstasy available to us in our busy lives. But it is just a taste of what is possible. Ecstasy transcends sex. We can learn to cultivate the quality of a great lover in the way we live our daily life. Ecstatic moments can be cultivated on a daily basis when we enter into a love affair with life.
The natural rhythm of life is ours: heartbeats, pulsing blood, firing brain synapses, inhalation-exhalation, expansion-contraction. The human body is a rhythmic orchestra, a vibrant totality singing and dancing to the beat of life. In their essence, life and creation are ecstatic activities.
Human beings are born to enjoy, love and create beauty. And ecstasy is a skill that we can learn. As we achieve mastery in living, we are able more and more to integrate and experience ecstatic moments into our daily lives. Ecstasy is both our true nature and a state to be realized through self-mastery. Christian mystics call it consciousness. Buddhists call it our Buddha nature. It is our essence, our eternal nature, untouched by all that is impermanent, changing, appearing and vanishing. And whether we or others, notice or not, it is always shining through. It can be called the “Sky Mind”. It is the awareness of our essential nature. It is not something we acquire or develop. It is that which within us was never born, and will never die. And when the veils of our illusions, our beliefs, our confusion and our wounds are lifted, our Sky Mind is revealed, like the blue sky itself when the clouds pass away.
The Best Kept Secret of Our Time
Many of the most successful people today cultivate ecstatic states. They have learned how to make ecstasy a part of the fabric of their everyday lives. There is a direct link between their openness to exploring and incorporating unconventional insights and experiences in their lives and their original contributions to the world. And though they may have their own way of experiencing ecstasy, they must remain private, even undercover, to avoid the damaging label of “oddball” or “mystic”, which might diminish their credibility in the public eye.
Even spiritual leaders risk being discredited. Jean Houston, author and co-founder of the Foundation for Mind Research, and Marianne Williamson, popular author and spiritual teacher, were erroneously accused in the press of holding a seance in the White House. And this, simply daring to consult with leaders and explore political issues from a more spiritual rather than conventional point of view.
Nonetheless, the quest for deeper meaning is growing and touching more people. As Houston says, “We’re not on the fringe, we’re on the frontier.” It’s not just famous, successful people who are exploring the timeless frontier of higher consciousness. Researcher Paul Ray has studied more than a hundred thousand Americans and has identified a distinct new subculture of about forty-four million people that he calls “cultural creatives” or “ecstatics”. These people are looking for authentic experience and authentic relationships. Instead of being side-tracked by the anti-ecstatic mind-set of our culture, they are pioneering new frontiers, going on journeys of spiritual self-discovery, seeking public service in addition to or in place of their everyday jobs, practising voluntary simplicity instead of spending mindlessly, working for ecological sustainability rather than consuming irreplaceable resources.
It’s in every one of us. I just remembered.
It’s like I’ve been sleeping for years.
I’m not awake as I can be. But my seeing’s better.
I can see through the tears.
I’ve been realising that I’ve bought this ticket,
And watching only half of the show.
And there are scenery and lights, and a cast of thousands,
Who all know what I know.
And it’s good that it’s so.
It’s in every one of us, to be wise.
Find your heart, open up both your eyes.
We can all know everything, without ever knowing why.
It’s in every one of us, by and by.
The Art of Everyday Ecstasy is about waking up and finding that you are in love with life. More and more of us now long for healing, for conscious live infused with Spirit. We long for our vocations to fulfill us spiritually as well as materially, for our homes to be filled with the grace of the sacred, for our love to be unconditional. We seek a life that is authentic, expanded and joyful.
Bringing healing, balance and joy to our daily life in a world that is in the grip of what I term “the anti-ecstatic conspiracy” isn’t easy. There is a calling to understand the nature of this conspiracy, its effect on our psyche and in our lives. To confront and transform the old anti-ecstatic model into a more wholesome and holistic partnership model. To offer a vision - magical, mystical and practical - of what your life can be when you allow the spirit and sparkle of ecstasy to permeate your being.
Seven Tantric Keys of Awakening
The practices and rituals you will find here are doorways that reveal the inherent beauty and meaning of our ordinary moments.
1. Say “Yes” to life in all its erotic passion.
2. Go with the flow of the life force within and all around you.
3. Trust yourself, and allow your personal power to manifest in life.
4. Open your heart in loving compassion to the self and others.
5. Authentically express your creativity and your truth.
6. Look within to achieve clarity and insight in your life.
7. Surrender to your Source and know gratitude, spiritual peace, and a new capacity to live at your maximum potential in every moment.
These seven Tantric keys can open us up to our essential selves and unleash in us that abundant, joyous, energy - Everyday Ecstasy - that allows us to be all that we can be as human beings with our partners and our children and in our work, our community and the world. In the process, we discover the meaning of elegance, the art of achieving maximum results with minimum effort. Elegant people are in love with life. And their love, calls them to make contributions beyond the call of mere duty, to participate fully, to share their joys, pains, gifts and truths with others. And, by their example, they remind us that beyond our apparent differences, we are connected in Spirit, We are One.
- Margo Anand, The Art of Everyday Ecstasy
DECLARATION OF SEXUAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Humanists have had an important role in the sexual revolution. It is clear that they are strongly in favour of the development of a sense of moral responsibility. With this in mind, Lester A. Kirkendall, Ph.D., noted sexologist and professor emeritus of family life at Oregon State University, was asked to draft this declaration which was edited and rewritten many times. Finally, 38 humanist authors, educators and professionals, many of whom are in the forefront of humanistic sexology, endorsed the following statement:
NOTE: This declaration was drafted in 1980, long before the effect of AIDS were known. Were it to be rewritten today, there would, I think, be more reference to precautionary measures. Other than that, I think everything in this declaration is as applicable today as it was in 1980.
Sexuality has for too long been denied its proper place among other human activities. Physical eroticism has been either shrouded in mystery and surrounded by taboos or heralded far beyond its capacity by itself, to contribute to the fullness of life. Human sexuality grows increasingly more satisfying as life itself becomes more meaningful. The time has come to enhance the quality of sexuality by emphasizing its contributions to a significant life.
For the first time in history there need be no fear of unwanted pregnancy or venereal disease, if proper precautions are taken. The limitation of sexual expression to conjugal unions or monogamous marriage was perhaps sensible so long as reproduction was still largely a matter of chance, and so long as women were subjugated to men. Although we consider marriage, where viable, a cherished relationship, other sexual relationships are also significant. In any case, human beings should have the right to express their sexual desires and enter into relationships as they see fit, as long as they do not harm others or interfere with their rights to sexual expression. This new sense of freedom, however, should be accompanied by a sense of ethical responsibility.
Fortunately, there is now taking place a worldwide re-examination of the proper place of sexuality in human experience.
We affirm and support the statement on human sexuality of a committee of the United Nations World Health Organization: "Every person has the right to receive sexual information and to consider accepting sexuality for pleasure as well as for procreation".
We believe that the humanization of sexuality is far enough advanced to make useful a statement of rights and responsibilities of the individual to society and of society to the individual. Accordingly, we wish to offer the following points for consideration:
1. The boundaries of human sexuality need to be expanded.
Many cultures have tended to restrict sexuality to procreation. Any other purposes of sexuality were regarded as derivative, were looked at askance or were sternly disapproved. But the need to limit population growth, the widespread use of effective contraceptives and the developments in reproductive technology have made the procreative aspect of sex less significant today. Responsible sexuality should now be viewed as an expression of intimacy for women as well as for men, a source of enjoyment and enrichment, in addition to being a way of releasing tension, even where there is no likelihood of procreation.
This integration of sexuality with other aspects of experience will occur only as one achieves an essentially balanced life. When this happens, sexuality will take its place among other natural functions.
2. Developing a sense of equity between the sexes is an essential feature of a sensible morality.
All legal, occupational, economic and political discrimination against women should be removed and all traces of sexism erased. Until women have equal opportunities, they will be vulnerable to sexual exploitation by men. In particular, men must recognise the right of women to control their own bodies and determine the nature of their own sexual expression. All individuals, female or male, are entitled to equal consideration as persons.
3. Repressive taboos should be replaced by a more balanced and objective view of sexuality based on a sensitive awareness of human behaviour and needs.
Archaic taboos limit our thinking in many ways. The human person, especially the female, has been held in bondage by restrictions that prescribed where, where, with whom and with what parts of the body the sex impulse could be satisfied. As these taboos are dispelled and an objective reappraisal ensues, numerous sexual expressions will be seen in a different light. Many that now seem unacceptable will very likely become valid in certain circumstances. Extramarital sexual relationships with the consent of one's partner are being accepted by some. Premarital sexual relationships, already accepted in some parts of the world, will become even more widely so. This will very likely also be true of homosexual and bisexual relationships. The use of genital associations to express feelings of genuine intimacy, rather than as connections for physical pleasure or procreation alone, may then transcend barriers of age, race or gender.
We assert that physical pleasure within the context of meaningful human relationships is essential, both as a moral value and for its contribution to wholesome social relationships.
Taboos have prevented adequate examination of certain topics, especially with respect to female sexuality, thus blocking the discovery of answers to important sexual questions. Abortion is a case of point. By focusing only on the destruction of the feotus, many have avoided facing the other issues that are fundamental. They do not, for example, openly discuss ways of providing a comprehensive sex-education program for both children and adults. There has been a long struggle over the issue of providing adequate information about available contraceptives for those who wish them. Likewise, taboos that cause people to feel that viewing genitals is an obscenity or that any verbal or visual expression of the sex act is pornographic undermine objectivity and leads to demands for censorship. The oversacramentalisation of sex also inhibits open discussion by not allowing people to treat sex as a natural experience.
4. Each person has both an obligation and a right to be fully informed about the various civic and community aspects of human sexuality.
The need to be fully informed about sexuality is obvious in the individual's private life, but it is rarely thought to extend to one's social-civic life as well. Sexual attitudes are intimately related to many problems of public import, but again taboos inhibit free discussion. Too-rapid population growth cannot be dealt with except as individual attitudes toward sexual expression and contraception are recognized. Clearly, the social status of women is also involved here. In the rehabilitation of incarcerated criminals, establishing meaningful ties with others is important. It is inhumane and self-defeating to cut these persons off from the possibility of sexual relationships.
We should extend this concern to all persons who are confined in institutions - for example, those in senior-citizens' homes. The right of the physically and mentally handicapped to be fully informed about sexuality and to have sexual outlets available should be another concern. The commercialization of sex needs careful scrutiny. Patterns in childrearing that may result in dysfunctional sexual expressions, such as child abuse and emotional deprivation, must be adjusted to new technological and medical developments and to changing cultural patterns.
5. Potential parents have both the right and responsibility to plan the number and time of birth of their children, taking into account both social needs and their own desires.
If family size is to be so regulated and the birth of unwanted children is to be prevented, then birth-control information and methods must be freely available to both married and unmarried couples. There must be a continuing reassessment in light of the world population situation. Involved in the right to birth control is the right to voluntary sterilization and abortion. We should especially point out that birth control should be the appropriate responsibility of men as well as women. Male contraception should be the object of further research. Contraception should not be considered the sole responsibility of females.
6. Sexual morality should come from a sense of caring and respect for others; it cannot be legislated.
Laws can and do protect the young from exploitation, and people of any age from abuse. Beyond that, forms of sexual expression should not be a matter of legal regulations. Mature individuals should be able to choose their partners and the kinds of sexual expression suited to them. Certain forms of sexual expression are limiting and confining - for example, prostitution, sadomasochism, fetishism. However, any changes in such patterns, if they are made, should come through education and counselling, not be legal prohibition. Our over-riding objective should be to help individuals live balanced and self-actualized lives.
The punishing and ostracising of those who voluntarily engage in socially disapproved forms of sexual conduct only exacerbate the problem. Sexual morality should be viewed as an inseparable part of general morality, not as a special set of rules. Sexual values and sex acts, like other human values and acts, should be evaluated by whether they frustrate or enhance human fulfilment.
7. Physical pleasure has worth as a moral value.
Traditional religious and social views have often condemned pleasures of the body as "sinful" or "wicked". These attitudes are inhumane. They are destructive of human relationships. The findings of the behavioural sciences demonstrate that deprivation of physical pleasure, particularly during the formative periods of development, often results in family breakdown, child abuse, adolescent runaways, crime, violence, alcoholism and other forms of dehumanizing behaviour.
8. Individuals are able to respond positively and affirmatively to sexuality throughout life; this must be acknowledged and accepted.
Childhood sexuality is expressed in genital awareness and exploration. This involves self-touching, caressing parts of the body, including the sexual organs. These are learning experiences that help the individual understand his or her body and incorporate sexuality as an integral part of his or her personality. Masturbation is a viable mode of satisfaction for many individuals, young and old and should be fully accepted. Just as repressive attitudes have prevented us from recognizing the value of childhood sexual response, so have they prevented us from seeing the value of sexuality in middle and later years of life. We need to appreciate the fact that older persons also have sexual needs.
The joy of touching, of giving and receiving affection, and the satisfaction of intimate body responsiveness are the rights of everyone throughout life.
9. In all sexual encounters, commitment to humane and humanistic values should be present.
No person's sexual behaviour should hurt or disadvantage another. This principle applies to all sexual encounters - both to the casual experience and to those that are deeper and more prolonged. In any sexual encounter or relationship, freely given consent is fundamental, even in the marital relationship, where consent is often denied or taken for granted.
Perplexing questions are raised by these concepts. Those directly engaged in the encounter may hold widely differing points of view toward sexual conduct. This possibility makes necessary open, candid and honest communication about current and future expectations. Even then, decisions are subjects of judgement and projection, and their outcomes are only slowly revealed.
No relationship occurs in a vacuum. In addition to the persons directly involved in the sexual relationship, there are important others. The interests of these other persons are usually complex and diverse; no course of action will satisfy everyone. Some might prefer that no sexual involvement whatever occur, and are disturbed if they are aware of it; others might be quite accepting under most circumstances.
For this reason each individual must have empathy for others. One might ask oneself: "How would I want others to conduct themselves sexually toward me and others I care about? Am I at least as concerned for the happiness and wellbeing of my partner, and others involved, as for my own?"
There is also a broader consideration: namely, that each person contribute to creating a social atmosphere in which a full acceptance of responsible sexual expression will exist.
The realization of the points in this statement depends upon certain attributes in the individual. One needs to have autonomy and control over his or her own sexual functioning. One needs to find reasonable satisfaction in living and to accept and enjoy pleasures of the body. Furthermore, one needs to respect the rights of others to those same qualities. The society in which one lives, while it makes demands, should also be attuned to individual needs and the importance of personal freedom. Only as these conditions are met will loving and guilt-free sexuality be possible.
At this point in our history we human beings are embarking on a wondrous adventure. For the first time we realize that we own our bodies. Until now our bodies have been in bondage to the church and state, which have dictated how we could express our sexuality. We have not been permitted to experience the pleasure and joy of the human body and our sensory nature to their full capacity.
In order to realize our potential for joyful sexual expression, we need to adopt the doctrine that actualizing pleasures are among the highest moral goods - so long as they are experienced with responsibility and mutuality.
A reciprocal and creative attitude toward sexuality can have a deep meaning, personally and socially. Each of us will know its personal meaning when we experience emotional growth and life enhancement with others. In effect, our behaviour can say to another, "I am enriched for having this experience and for having contributed to your having had it also."
The social meaning can derive from the loving feelings engendered by a person who is experiencing guilt-free, reciprocal pleasure. The loving feelings of mental and physical well-being, the sense of completion of the self, that we can experience from freely expressed sexuality may well reach out to all humanity. It is quite impossible to have a meaningful, ecstatic sexual and sensual life and to be indifferent to or uncaring about other human beings.
We believe that freeing our sexual selves is vital if we are to reach the heights of our full humanity. But at the same time, we believe that we need to activate and nourish a sense of our responsibilities to others.
CATHARSIS AND ORGASM
Reich thought that the repression of sexual feelings lay at the root of rigid, inhuman and oppressive social systems. This is too exclusively a somatic approach and is only part of the story in my view: it is the whole range of distinctively human capacities as such that are occluded by distress, and the resultant distortion includes a distortion of the sexual function. I would like to suggest here both a sex-negative and sex-positive theory.
1. The sex-negative theory.
The orgasm cycle is quite distinct from the carthartic cycle, in the sense that orgasm as such does not unload fear, grief, embarrassment, from the psychosomatic system, whereas cartharsis does. The number of orgasms a person has, appears to have no effect on the reduction of distress-distorted behaviour, whereas I believe that the number of cathartic sessions a person has, does effect such a reduction. An orgasm is occasionally followed in some people by a spontaneous cathartic releae of tears, or laughter or trembling; but in most people most of the time I do not think it does. So it cannot be argued that orgasm is a reliable prelude to catharsis.
A person in whom the carthartic function is denied and distress feelings repressed is likely to undergo a distortion of the sexual function: the repressed distress displaces into compulsive sexuality. Nor is the displacement difficult to understand: the purely somatic release of orgasm temporarily diverts attention from the ache of buried distress - hence the need to have another orgasm soon. The result is compulsive, maladaptive release of sexual tension.
The corollary of course is that the level of sexual tension and arousal may be falsely inflated by the displacement of repressed feeling into the sexual function, so that the person is seeking and obtaining sexual release to a degree that has no relation to her real physical needs, but bears blind witness to early interrupted personal needs and the distress that surrounds them.
The compulsive sexual behaviour itself will show symbolic maladjustment: the person blindly acts out in the present unfinished emotional business from the past. Thus the petty or emotional rapist blindly acts out against a succession of women, his repressed anger against his mother and the frustrated longing she imposed upon him. An older woman has a series of disruptive affairs with a younger men as she blindly acts out the grief and anger and interrupted love at the death of her eight year old son. And son on. The sexual longing is but the leading edge of an unidentified distress and frozen need that give the longing its direction and much of its motive power.
The underlying distress may be early repressed personal distress due to the negation of sexuality in childhood: the child's need to share love and joy playfully through the whole of its body including the genitals, may have been grossly interrupted by parents or siblings. Hence a hidden incest compulsion: the interrupted need for love, together with grief and anger at its interruption, genitally fixated and oriented to a member of the family - this whole constellation being repressed and denied, while at the same time being repetitively projected in a blind manner, and with disastrous results, into the adult social world.
A more general displacement occurs from frustrated nurturance into sexuality. Nurturance I define as the expression and sharing of the human capacity for loving and being loved through the body by touching, holding, embracing, stroking, caressing, where sexual arousal is absent, minimal or entirely secondary and marginal. Human beings of all ages have strong nurturance needs I believe, and they are distinct from sexual needs. Nurturance needs and sexual needs may be fulfilled in relative independence of each other: nurturance without sex,or sex without nurturance. Or the fulfilment of one may lead to the other. Or both may be fulfilled simultaneously, as when sex becomes the celebration of tenderness and love.
In the non-cathartic society there is a strong taboo on the expression of nurturance needs, and a general tendancy to conflate physical contact with eroticism. The resultant frustration and repression of needs for warm, human, non-erotic contact between men and men, men and women, women and women, is displaced into compulsive sexuality - which further tends to confirm the false assumption that sustains it. Thus both men (especially) and women may have a compulsion to be sexually successful and active, without any competence in the physical celebration of mutual tenderness as such which sexual interaction may or may not be eventual expression.
In reciprocal counselling, where sexual attraction arises in the context of what was initially a co-counselling relationship, I always suggest that the attraction is made explicit, is acknowledge and then worked on by cathartic techniques to see whether it is the presenting indication of some unidentified early material. What appears as sexual attraction may resolve into a frozen need for nurturance and tenderness for and from someone earlier in life, into incest fixations, or into other unfinished emotional business. Once these things are dealt with, and their underlying tensions reduced, then the sexual attraction diminishes, and the idea of acting on it becomes irrelevant.
If the sexual attraction is acted on without intensive counselling on it to find out whether it is distress driven, then the result can be a psychological and interpersonal mess. The sexual relation that results can be a collusive, self-perpetuating avoidance of unidentified distress, which, however, continually distorts the relations emotionally from behind the scenes. The couple thus become compulsively locked, as it were, in a series of emotionally defensive and distorted embraces; and mystified to know why they cannot related in a rational, loving and aware way.
The sexually wise person appears to be one who, in her encounters in life, can distinguish between sexual interest, in herself and in the other, that is rooted in hidden distress; and sexual interest the expression of which is a true celebration of human values.
There appear to be three different types of sexual encounter:
i) The compulsive attraction rooted in distress: it is not wise to act on it, but difficult if the distress in entirely repressed and undischarged.
ii) The genuine attraction rooted in human values, where the total circumstances are such that it is appropriate to celebrate these values by consummating the attraction.
iii) The genuine attraction rooted in human values, where the circumstances are such that while it is always appropriate to enjoy the sexual feelings as such, it is inappropriate to act on them: those concerned choose to acknowledge and appreciate the feelings, but not to consummate them.
2. The sex-positive theory.
In the realm of authentic human encounter and intimacy sexual activity can be a celebration of may things - singly or in any variety of combinations, serial or simultaneous.
i) The celebration and sharing of friendship.
ii) The celebration of mutual tenderness, love, affection, nurturance.
iii) The celebration of life, energy, vitality.
iv) The celebration of the aesthetic: sexual interaction as one of the great dynamic plastic arts - two human forms interwoven in elegant and dramatic variations of mobile intimacy; celebration of the beauty of the body.
v) The celebration of human joy and delight in being, the sharing of personhood.
vi) The celebration of the playful
vii) The celebration of the comic and the absurd.
viii) The celebration of passion, desire, lust.
ix) Celebration of the dynamic ease of the animal.
x) Celebration of the transpersonal and sacramental; sexual interaction as a means of atunement to wider realities, to archetypal principles of being, to the divine - as in Tantric yoga.
Finally, of course, sex may be the celebration of parenthood, of the procreative process, of the generation of new life.
In the non-cathartic, repressive society, either by condemnation or pursuit, sex is given a kind of weighting it does not deserve: there is a remorselessness, a lack of freedom and lightness, of being at ease, both in the proscription and in the permissiveness. In the emotionally open society, sex may be seen as one of the may delights open to humans, one of the many possible ways persons can share and celebrate their human identity - and so it becomes an elegant option, related to a physical need but not bound by it.
The human body can be seen, for consciousness, as five life-rhythms, overlapping continuously in time: the heartbeat, breathing, eating and excreting, waking activity and sleeping, sexual arousal and sexual quiescence. The five rhythms increase, from first to last, their time cycle: or, to put it in other words, they decrease their frequency - the heart beats very fast compared to the slow rhythm of waking and sleeping. The five are also, roughly speaking, in an ascending order of flexibility or amenability to voluntary control and variation. Nowadays by biofeedback methods people can learn directly to influence the rate of the heartbeat. But these voluntarily induced variations are small compared to the variations a person can induce in the breathing cycle, which again are small compared to the ways in which a person can choose to alter the times between eating. The greatest flexibility attaches to the sexual function: a person can vary enormously the times between its satisfaction, without causing any physical dysfunction. Each of the other four cycles has an outer time limit: to attempt to extend the cycle beyond that limit leads to physical dysfunction or death.
The very great flexibility of the sexual function, combined with its ecstatic, convulsive consummation, has probably produced in human beings throughout history a purely internal anxiety about its management. The primary external constraint has been that of childbirth, apart from venereal disease. Put the internal anxiety and the external constraint together and, with displaced distress of other kinds, we get the genesis of most of the restrictive norms, taboos and shibboleths that have constrained human sexuality in the past.
Today with theories such as those proposed in this work we can understand and resolve the internal anxiety and the displaced distress. Childbirth is now entirely under voluntary control. Venereal disease is eliminable. Perhaps for the first time in history, human beings can claim fully the heritage of the flexible ecstasy of their bodies. In a society where human beings take charge of their feelings, take responsibility for their lives, and act very awarely in relation to others, we may expect that this claim will be taken up in all kind of sensitive, exciting and imaginative ways. For a further analysis of some of the issues involved, see my paper "Life-style Analysis: The Sexual Domain" (Heron, 1974).
Extracted from "Catharsis in Human Development" by John Heron and published in August 1977