Falling in love (even for five minutes)

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PART ONE

I have a personality something like a nice mellow golden retriever. I quite simply love to love. Love to love you, Baby. Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Wag, wag, wag.)

If I had my way, I would openly love anyone. I’m aware how unrealistic that is on our troubled planet, but in my dream world, loving openly, freely, and enthusiastically would be a brilliant way to live. I have a natural inclination to look for the good in people; it simply feels better to me to look for good than to look for bad.

I think it would be great not to have to censor my attraction for people. If I liked something about someone I would like just to say so. I could talk about anything without filtering for political correctness or worrying how the other person might misinterpret my words.

The love that I speak of is not always nor not even necessarily romantic or erotic. Yet for the most part social forces have dumbed down love and sex to the level of a Jughead comic or a Hallmark card. If a comment can be taken as a romantic compliment, it becomes one. So on the slight dangerous side, for example, if I, a male, were to tell a female that I loved how her pink, fleshy lips looked, oh, my, God!

Some people would be threatened or instantly offended by such a remark, no matter how innocent and complimentary it may be in my mind. It would automatically be taken as a suggestive sex wish or a come-on. It would be cast as erotic or romantic because in the Jughead world we talk about physical characteristics of people we are attracted to when we want to share an experience with them. In the old days this would translate to the ever-ubiquitous “Va-va-va-voom!”

“Who, me?”

Then comes the issue of appropriate versus inappropriate behavior, the definitions of which are becoming much murkier these days. Appropriateness is not objective. Excluding flat-out illegal harassing activities, what constitutes inappropriate behavior fluctuates from person to person and from situation to situation.

One woman in a committed relationship might like to hear compliments about her pink, fleshy lips. Another may hear it as disgusting. She might think or say “You can’t say that because I’m taken” as if any possibly flirty comment is invasive and needs to be met with a strong defense.

Imagine a world where a golden retriever is put through human scrutiny whenever he or she  comes up to people to ask for a pet. “I can’t pet you because I am taken. Go away! Shoo!”

For the most part, I keep my yummy-thought-spewing mouth shut. I have learned the art of not sharing those wonderful, delicious thoughts I have about people. There are many unopened gifts gathered underneath the consciousness tree because I have such an active beauty-seeking mind.

PART TWO

When I am attracted to someone for whatever reason, what’s happening psychologically is a process called mirroring. Admiring something in someone else reflects something inside me that I feel good about or that makes me happy.

We’re brainwashed to think that when we are attracted to someone, or to someone’s qualities, that it’s all about who and what that person is. We’re taught how that person bewitches us or drives us crazy or casts a spell on us or is even better than us. Our love songs, romantic movies, erotic movies, and countless other sources lull us into giving the object of our affection huge gobs of emotional control over us.

Yet the truth is that feeling admiration/desire is as much a reflection of who we are as individuals. It reflects our inner landscape—what’s going on inside our minds. If I have loving feelings for a woman whose creativity I admire, it’s as much about my creativity as it is about hers. I notice her creativity because I value mine. And that goes for any other trait I am drawn to.

So the feeling of falling in love (even if it’s for just five minutes) is as much a world of inner discovery as it is being charmed by another. It’s a concentration of energy inspired by someone yet also generated from within me.

I can fall in love at the drop of a hat—or virtually any other article of clothing. I look at someone and appreciate something about that person and feel a burst of energy which I associate with the falling in love phenomenon. It doesn’t mean I need to “have” them (whatever that means.) It means that they are stimulating my neurons.

Although most of our culture thinks of love in physical terms because that’s what we’re taught, love for me is also an energy burst, an upward mood swing, a sense of delight or creative stimulation. This welling-up of energy loves to be expressed, which in this case means communicated or shared. When that crosses into the area of “inappropriate” in the land of romantic boundaries, I just love privately within my inner nature park.

People often wonder why I am so quiet. Perhaps it is because I have too much good to say.

PART THREE 

After having thought about mirroring for awhile—years—I have come to see it as a way we love and express ourselves. So how does that work if I as a man am particularly attracted to a woman with fleshier lips? Does her physical anatomy have anything to do with me? Strangely, yes!

Body parts turn out to be tagged with symbols. Usually unconsciously, sometimes not, we assign symbolic meanings to things including body parts. This symbolic meaning will accompany any interaction that takes place between people. Perhaps I imbue a woman with thicker lips with the symbolism that she is very sensual, would be lovely to kiss, has a more generous personality.

Of course, this is entirely subjective and, as they say, subject to change without notice. My first impulse may be to be attracted or not attracted to a feature for a given reason which could instantly change with the flow of circumstances.

Meanwhile, any given person is much more than one body part or attractive feature, so this symbolic interaction is happening in many realms all at once. Everything we do involves working with the symbols that we have assigned to countless physical and metaphysical qualities—and with those other symbols people have created in their lives.

PART FOUR

The irony will always be that each individual has his and her own symbolic context through which everything is filtered. The outside reality is inwardly perceived.

Realizing that not everyone likes a golden retriever personality in a human being, I know to control my behavior in an affection-neutral style. I know not to express myself without editing for generally accepted standards of appropriateness.

It makes me incredibly dull. Sometimes it means putting my tail between my legs.

 

 

A loser

fisherman-twilight-72What is a real loser?

You may have heard the expression, “Sometimes when you win, you lose.” There is the flip side, too. “Sometimes when you lose, you win.”

Considering all the times that the 45th President of the United States has called people losers, I’ve been wondering if being called that is such a bad thing.

What if being a loser is learning a cosmic lesson?

Without insulting or degrading myself, I would have to step up to the plate and claim to be a loser.

I lost at love. People I have loved, sometimes passionately and deeply, left for greener pastures. They decided that we were done or that logistical obstacles were too great for us to join hands. Once that decision is made, it seems futile to me to fight it. Some married others. Some seemed to fall off the planet, never to be heard from (by me) again.

I lost at career. I never had what I would consider a dream job. I had some fun gigs as a freelance writer, which included experiences I still treasure, but I never made it into the center stage of a job that filled me with passion and zeal. Despite being a published author, I did not feel exceptionally successful. The what do you do question fills me with angst because I don’t have much to talk about at cocktail parties, which is probably one reason why I am so introverted—and I don’t like cocktail parties anyway.

I lost at things that I wanted very much in life. Bad eyesight ended my baseball career (yeah, so I was still in Little League, but I had to give up the dream.) Being born cross-eyed didn’t help matters with self-esteem. When I became an intimacy junkie in my thirties, I cringed at the phrase “eyes are the window to the soul” because my eyes weren’t the right stuff. It’s only gotten worse with aging.

I am a loser at being able to perceive spirits (no clairvoyance, no clairaudience, no clairsentience, no NDE or OBE.) Despite being intuitive and creative, I feel as if I lost out on the ability to have tangible proof of life in other dimensions than this physical one. When people talk about their astral projection trips or hearing from their deceased loved ones in a variety of intriguing ways, I feel as if I am a loser.

There’s more but you get the idea.

COPING

Coping with loss has been a big part of my life. Despair has sucked up a lot of energy. But it has also led to much spiritual growth, so maybe it’s not such a bad thing.

One of the first things that coping with loss entails is achieving consciousness on more important levels of being human. Society often peddles us a black-and-white, win-or-lose mentality about nearly everything. Win is good and lose is bad. But only when you deal with your own losses do you learn that loss arguably teaches more than winning. And winning often follows the lessons learned from having lost a bunch.

Getting everything you want might feel good in the moment of victory, but in the big picture that may span multiple lifetimes, is winning without losing worthwhile? It is often said in afterlife research circles that we come here to Earth School to learn about love. Part of that is to intimately know separation (i.e., losing.) Losing helps us better appreciate winning—or any of the experiences we succeed at having.

CHANGE

Losing is often a change agent. It forces us to veer off our habitual thinking and doing. As we look for answers or solutions, we have the opportunity to grow and change. It is not always obvious, but we often end up in better situations from our loss recovery. Stories abound about people who lose one job or relationship or living situation only to find a better one, often through circumstances revealed only after the loss.

Going through loss is often not fun, and it doesn’t help when some New Ager does what I just did: you’ll do better, just wait and see. But the more I’ve aged, the more the principle has proven truthful. What I like to do is feel the loss and absorb the pain—not deny the ouches—then look for the gifts or opportunities. I ask myself if I designed that loss for some reason, what is that reason?

Fiction authors put their characters into harm’s way all the time, often as a way to lead their characters to the prize. In so many stories, part of the creative formula is that your characters must struggle and suffer before they triumph.

ONE LIFE 

The concept of losing often supposes that we are living just one life in one environment. We get what we were born with in terms of our genetics and faulty status. The assumption is that if we don’t accomplish what we hoped for ourselves, we’re losers and failures.

Normally people do not account for the possibility that our higher self built our loss into our lives by design. Many of us do not believe in multiple lifetimes or a higher self, so obviously these possibilities are not part of the thought process. Nevertheless, more evidence is coming out that suggests that our lives have certain scripted events that happen to help us learn important lessons.

For one, there are past life readings or hypnosis regressions. These often suggest that someone came into this life to experience certain things, and many times, those things involved loss. In my recent book reading, a suggestion was made that many soldiers were incarnated to experience 1) their own death, 2) the death of a close friend, 3) the death of a son or daughter. All of these would normally be considered losses.

However, in a bigger picture, those losses were simultaneously successes for the soul. They were wins!

NO WOO-WOO

You don’t necessarily have to go woo-woo to appreciate how losses can be victories. In one period in my life, and I know this is shared by millions, I found myself hard-up for work. I was single and just had to take care of myself, yet on the other hand, going it alone can also be very scary. Just about all my meager income went to pay my mortgage. One winter I went without heat except for three extremely cold days.

I understand that I was still in the lap of luxury considering how many people are forced to live in dire poverty. It was tough for me, though, and I found myself doing without plenty of pleasures and some of what others would call necessities. Yet as humiliating as it was, it was also a time of great creativity.

The biggest gift was that I found out how much I appreciated what I did have. I was not collecting new stuff; I was enjoying what I already had. I also enjoyed receiving the generosity of a few kind souls who befriended me, showed me love, and made my life happier.

REFRAME LOSING

We are taught as kids to fear losing. Parents, teachers, coaches, bullies, siblings, and others learn the art of casting the rhetorical voo-doo spell of insults by invoking the loser concept. Due to all this social conditioning, when someone loses big, he or she is often scarred for life. It’s like a big pile-on. Not only is there the content of the actual loss, but there’s all the mental rubbish that goes with it.

It pays to have a healthy philosophy about losing to help weather the storms of any form of defeat. It’s a bit like the famous story of the salesman who convinced himself to love hearing no because he knew it meant he was that much closer to hearing the next yes.

 

 

 

 

Hugging stations

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By now just about everybody who watches videos online has seen at least one “free hugs” video. This is where someone stands in a crowd with a “free hugs” sign and we the viewers watch as strangers approach.

It’s sometimes pretty emotional. I sometimes feel a lump form in my throat as I watch. I have a weakness for anything that shows people dropping out of the rigid rules of dispassionate, indifferent behavior toward each other to let some love shine, even in this baby step way.

If you really haven’t see one, let’s take care of that right now.

Here. And here.

One of my lingering, persistent fantasies over the years has been the establishment of hugging stations. This carries the free hugs idea to another level.

For my own creative enjoyment, I once invented a fictional character who would travel around the country for the purpose of hugging people. She did it as a way to re-create one of her near-death experience highlights. During her NDE, she was levitated around a circle of light beings, each one zapping her with love energy as she floated by. For her, the feelings were so intense, so amazing, that once she returned to physical life, she was inspired to give some of that feeling to people on earth.

As she went around hugging strangers, she discovered that each encounter built her energy a little more. She became like an energy collector, a human battery. Not only did she get energy from all that hugging, but each person she hugged received the benefit of all the love energy she had stored inside herself.

This is something like the hugging guru, Amma. It’s said that she has hugged over an estimated 36 million people in her life! Amma is so famous that people travel from around the globe to stand in line for hours and make the connection with her, the actual time of a hug being from ten or thirty seconds.

MY LIFE

There have been times in my life when I have felt great affection and community. There have been other times in my life when I have felt intense loneliness and isolation. The difference is profound when I feel loved and connected. I am much more creative and outgoing. In isolation, I am more withdrawn, sometimes depressed.

More and more, I believe that others share a similar response. Feeling loved and connected gives us strength and self-confidence. Feeling deprived, we retreat.

From my afterlife research, I frequently encounter suggestions from the spirit dimensions that love flows much more easily there. Whereas people on earth are often conditioned to fear intimacy, to block themselves off from showing and expressing love, the other planes are like hug fiestas. There isn’t much focus on whatever bodies they have; it’s much more of a spiritual bonding experience.

I often wonder how certain things said to happen in spirit would play on physical earth. Would we, could we, create ways and means for increasing human connection in a positive, loving manner?

HUGGING STATION

Temporarily setting aside those pesky issues of logistics, social acceptance, government interference, sexual exploitation, potential for ridicule, and all the rest, what would a hugging station be like? For a moment let’s just assume good intentions for all concerned.

First I envision attractive drop-in boutique centers, not pretentious but comfortable and with a pleasing ambiance. It would be a pleasure to hang out there for a little while. This could entail waiting for a turn, something which could be taken into account in the design of the center. Perhaps it could be adjoining a coffee bar or something similar.

I envision hugging specialists who may be something along the lines of qualified massage therapists or energy workers. In other words, trained. They would be heart-centered individuals who cared about people’s well-being. When hugging someone, they would intuitively send universal love energy.

Hugging is both a sensual and spiritual experience. It possesses feel-good comfort but delivers feel-good emotional satisfaction, too. I can easily remember times when I was feeling funky, nervous, or frustrated, and a long, nurturing embrace brought me out of it.  In some cases I could feel the energy streaming through me, lifting the gloom I had been in.

Someone who approaches this as an erotic diversion or romantic opportunity would send out an entirely different energy. This is also not a venue reserved for youth, beauty, wealth, or perfect health. It’s for everyone, recognizing that we are all spirits temporarily encased in flesh bodies, all equal despite cultural programming.

Qualified hugging specialists would know this and be able to respond to it. It would also be an opportunity to offer and to receive some compassionate communication. Often in our fast-paced world, having someone actually hear us, care about us, and be present with us is a rare treat. This is not intended as therapy, but a quick pick-me-up is welcome.

Meanwhile, not all embraces would be under the auspices of helping someone who’s having a tough day. It could just as easily be a celebration of being alive, a ritual of sharing joy with another human being who could be a complete stranger. Someone having a great day might like to boost that energy even higher with some hugging.

TAKING TIME DURING TIME OUT

I’ve noticed something in just about every free hugging video I’ve seen. Many of the hugs are touch-and-go speedy. They’re often one-armed hugs, just about anything that avoids intimacy yet still counts (barely) as playing the game. I recognize that this is probably more than enough intimacy for the average person, but for me it feels like cheating, like being given half a potato chip with no access to others.

Hugging for me is both a sensual and a spiritual experience. I do feel it in my body, and it feels good. But my consciousness is often focused on being in a present, healing, and universally loving space. When I hold someone, I often think of our relationship to each other. We could be longtime friends or we could be virtual strangers such as at a workshop, church, or social gathering.

One term I like is the namaste hug. The holy part of me honors the holy part of you. It’s lovely to feel the comfort of someone’s body against mine when my mind is in the namaste space, feeling gratitude for the moment of inclusion. I also like the term soul embraces because it describes that consciousness is the essence of the hugging ritual.

So in my fantasies of hugging stations, I think more of connections that put life on pause for a little while. In my ideal world a soul embrace would be like mutual meditation, a five-minute (give or take) break to share some no-strings intimacy just because … because we are human, we need connection, we need more of a human family feeling, and speaking of feeling, it simply feels good.

Beyond orgasm

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Modern sexual mythology poses that orgasm is the big kahuna of erotic bliss. Well, I say, isn’t that a ticket to disappointment?

OK, yes, orgasm is delicious, at times deeply delicious, sometimes even a fully-puffed-out peak experience delicious. No question, no issue, no complaints. But as long as we focus on that orgasm as the main event, the whole point of the show, the goal line, we could be missing out on some amazing, life-altering experiences.

I had a friend whom I joined once on a trip to Paris. She had two main goals to see at the Louvre: the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Goals accomplished, she was ready to leave, not terribly interested in everything else the world class museum had to offer.

Well, this is how I think many people view orgasms. Come, take your selfie coming, and think you’ve experienced the cream o’ the crop of everything sex has to offer. After all once you’ve had the mighty orgasm, it’s downhill from there … until the next ride.

Maybe it’s time to re-think that flawed premise. While we’re at it, it’s also time to think that maybe the mighty orgasm you have come to know and love and worship is almost like a decoy or distraction from the true depths of intimate pleasure.

THERE’S MORE

I’ve loved orgasms ever since I first discovered what they were, but fortunately I learned along the way that sex is a multi-dimensional experience—provided you choose to go there. If you think outside the jail of habit, porn conditioning, and other depictions of sexuality, and if you find change and creativity more fun than annoying, you could broaden your horizons.

If diversity of experience isn’t good enough of a reason, you might consider this: bodies age and change. This includes orgasms. While for me they still are quite pleasurable to experience, physically they are mere shadows of what they used to be forty years ago. If orgasm was my idea of the main event, the raison d’etre for sex, I would not be wildly happy about my inevitable physical decline.

But sex is a journey with a buffet of goodies to enjoy before and even after the destination most people seek. Here are a few suggestions in brief to consider.

Expanded Sensuality: In the hunt, race, and habit of bringing on orgasms for self and partners, people often miss out on the luxury of pure sensuality. It’s mostly just a mind set. We’re conditioned to take the most direct route to achieving orgasms. Stampede the clitoris or attack the penis straightaway. We often ignore other ways that the body delights us if we give it the opportunity. A slower build-up of sensual energy can 1) make eventual orgasms more intense, and 2) be a grand reward on its own.

When broken down analytically into named activities like cuddling, spooning, stroking, soaking in a hot tub, stretching, whatever, it may not sound too thrilling. But each of these activities offers the mind/soul an experience of sensual consciousness. It’s what you make of it. Cuddling can be anything from a major bore to the grand entrance to a peak experience depending on the mental and emotional chemistry happening.

Energy Orgasms: There is a type of full-bodied orgasm that is very pleasurable yet most people in Western culture have not heard of it. Under certain circumstances, full-bodied orgasms can create a more powerful and intense release than a traditional genital orgasm. As the name implies, full-bodied orgasms involve a shuddering sensation felt throughout the body, and are often accentuated through various relaxation, breathing, and visualizing techniques. While they often also involve genital stimulation, it’s nevertheless different, usually not involving male or female ejaculation or penetration.

Energy orgasms are entirely possible while fully dressed. In my personal experience, they have frequently happened during extended hugging, hugs in the ten-to-twenty minute range. All the emotional love and excitement of intimacy merge with sexual excitement until I/we start feeling waves of energy build and crash, build and crash, build and crash.  When this goes on for awhile, it leads to full-bodied shudders, and if you are prepared for them (i.e. not surprised or shutting down) the shudders increase in intensity. If you eroticize them, it can be some of the hottest sex ever (yes, still fully clothed and without ejaculation/penetration!) One nice feature about energy orgasms is that unlike physical orgasms which end things, at least temporarily, energy orgasms keep coming until you voluntarily just cannot have another wave. It’s a case of the middle being more intense than the end.

Meditation Adventures: Something I rarely if ever see described or depicted is the opposite of fifty shades of pain, bondage, intense physicality. That rare yet powerful quality is complete relaxation. One way to put it simply would be to meditate together while embracing each other either clothed or nude. The object here is not traditional intercourse but more of a mental and emotional intercourse, no-goal cuddling. The mind and heart do the merging while the bodies are as relaxed and quiet as any other kind of meditation. This kind meditation can be done without conversing or with one person guiding a visualization. For some this will sound dull as dust, but for others, the potential adventures in intimacy, energy, and sensuality will be overwhelmingly delicious. (This is different from therapeutic cuddling which is intended to be romantically or sexually abstinent.)

In a relaxed state, the body goes limp (although granted this does not always include erections.) The relaxed body absorbs pleasure in a more sensitive, profound fashion than a body engaged in pain responsiveness or wild thrusting. I think of relaxation as more pleasure, less work. It’s comparable to when listening through headphones to something and you turn the volume down very low; you end up listening more carefully to the whispers instead of the shouts. The meditation part opens the gate for streams of thoughts and feelings to flow, and this can lead to amazing adventures for the connoisseur of consciousness. You can end up seeing visions, hearing the inner voice, taking psychic journeys, basking in creativity. Bonus: Sessions like this can bring on unexpected energy orgasms as well.

Four Orgasms Theory: One time I played with writing a book (never published) in which I proposed that there are four types of orgasm: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. An orgasm could be described as a peak of excitement. Each type of the four is different enough from the others that focusing on any one kind will produce spicy variety. For example, a mental orgasm would be a peak of excitement for the mind. It could be a surprise, a thrilling sentence, a toy for the imagination, the right thing at the right time. Doling out mental treats leads to a mental orgasm. Kapow!

The four orgasms theory largely involves nonphysical stimulation, emphasizing that lovemaking is a blend of holistic arousal techniques, not just body part play. Make love with the mind, heart, and spirit to really experience the heights of arousal. Through practice and personal experience, one learns that orgasms as usually portrayed have their limitations and that there is a wealth of powerful experiences most people miss.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Western culture through its books, movies, and stories primarily and overwhelmingly tells us how important sexual orgasms are. We have dumbed down orgasms to the physical level. Ironically, if you decrease your focus on physical orgasm and increase your focus on nonphysical stimulation, you will have better orgasms of all kinds including those that can happen while fully dressed.

Woo-hoo!

 

 

Fog of sex

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I have always regarded sex as one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. It has the potential not only to create new beings, but also to create intimacy, healing, adventure, bliss, and contentment.

Unfortunately, humanity has bullied and pummeled our sexual gifts to a point where we focus much more attention on the pain of sex than on the pleasure. Social forces have shaped this gift from Garden of Eden innocence into a cesspool. It’s like a beautiful temple that has been ransacked by vandals and plunderers.

We have created the fog of sex. (Yes, I borrowed from the term fog of war because it’s such an apt description.)

The fog of sex is anything that keeps us from clearly seeing what a precious gift it is. The fog obscures its natural beauty. Some of the fog comes from the religious right. This is all the guilt and shame and fear heaped upon it. Some of the fog comes from the pornographic left. This is all the exploitation, trivialization, and physical obsession.

I often remind myself that how things may appear to be or how people talk about them are not necessarily the way they are.

Several times in my life I have had incredible sleep dreams that involved sex, yet a much different style from traditional flesh life. It was such an emotionally uplifting and brilliant experience. There was an amazing lightness of being and magic to it that just does not happen in real life or in the movies. It was entirely fresh, filled with love (even for strangers), and void of erotic cliches. The closest thing to this that I have seen have been commercials for Viagra and the like where they show smiley, zippity-doo-dah, lovey-kissey faces. The mood is all about juicy sex but doesn’t look at all like a porn shoot.

I wake up from dreams like this wondering why humanity has taken the path into the fog of sex.

Here are some contributing features to the fog of sex.

Materialism. Most of us are conditioned to view sex as primarily physical activity. We often define our joy by what happened with our body parts and specific sexual activities. This focus of our attention limits our joy to a small slice of pleasure pie. Though fun while the novelty lasts, it becomes more challenging later on to find meaning in the activity, which is one reason why sexual boredom steps in. Obsession with orgasm and physical appearance overshadows mental and emotional joy of sex and inhibits people from exploring new ways to think about it.

Beauty. Our society exploits youth and physical beauty at the expense of mental, emotional, and spiritual beauty. It’s ridiculous how young some people start feeling old and washed up. People will often not own the term “beautiful” or “handsome” because self-judgment or bullying have convinced them they’re sub-standard. The truth is that much beauty is nonphysical and stems from the heart and mind. More than it’s usually portrayed, sexual beauty is one’s consciousness—how one thinks, communicates, channels energy, empathizes, and plays. But in the fog of sex, we make it mostly about looks and conforming to erotic clichés.

Ego. Humans burn up plenty of brain cells worrying if they’re sexy enough. It’s a lot of work playing the chosen role of ugly or beautiful, even if you’ve got great genes. This smothers the truth that nature actually creates sex appeal. If nature did not make someone charmed and dangerous, there would be no such thing as sexual attraction. Human traditions in custom and fashion somewhat alter this—cosmetics, bedroom fashions, and pornified mannerisms, for instance. But even with those additions, nature arms the magic—as does the mind of the beholder. Ego builds or destroys this force of nature.

Religion. Even if we are not religious personally, so much of the guilt, shame, and fear we feel surrounding sex originated from organized mind control. Religions create a narrative about sexual behaviors, and society often adopts them as law or “morals.” Much of our mainstream entertainment mirrors that thinking as well, solidifying it into majority practices. The forces of rebellion including porn mock that strict behavior control, but in so doing they create a different kind of oppressive behavior code. Both narratives contribute to the fog of sex and usually don’t encourage sexual joy and wonder.

LIFTING THE FOG

Sometimes when I read information on spirituality, such as past-life regressions or afterlife research, I run across passages that ironically get me to thinking about sex. That just happened:

“As we all know, we are more than just a body, more than just a physical organism. There is some kind of essence, energy soul, or spirit which animates the body, and that’s what we’re really looking to access in these sessions.”

The author was talking about past-life regressions, but I flashed on the spiritualization of sex. Wouldn’t it be lovely for sex to be more meaningful than just a fun game to produce orgasms? Wouldn’t it be great to access soul consciousness?

OK, so for the most part, erotica doesn’t go there. We’ve become more intrigued by jiggling boobs or massive boners than by soul connections. Maybe soul connection just doesn’t sound exciting. Does a soul fuck sound any more interesting?

Spiritualized sex does not intend to put anyone to sleep, at least not until after the rush of contentment. It’s supposed to mean emotionally rich, right-brain creative freedom and sublime wildness. It’s akin to trance dancing, music making, art rendering, soul journeying bliss. It may include traditional erotic accoutrements, but leaves the door open for nontraditional expressions, too.

ULTIMATE SATISFACTION

What’s satisfying for you in the term satisfying sex? Is it a successful orgasm or two? Is it specific, must-do sexual activities? Is it a delicious mental journey with fantasy fulfillment? Is it a meaningful emotional event? What is it?

It’s a topic that often gets danced around without specifics—what do we want out of sex? If we don’t consider what we want out of it, we get what we get.

FUTURIZING

Sometimes I think in terms of karma and reincarnation. I wonder where I have been on my sexual journeys over the centuries in different lifetimes.

I wonder what it would be like to come back as a physically beautiful woman, the kind that makes the proverbial jaws drop. I wonder if it would be any more satisfying—or unsatisfying—than what I might experience now as an average, aging man. Ultimately, does physical beauty offer any benefits for true happiness?

Being a man this time through, I am especially attentive to what women have to say about their birthrights, which some definitely see much more curse than blessing. Every time a woman complains about what it’s like to be female in a patriarchal society, a part of me shudders in anticipation of that being my path in some other life. How would I handle that?

When I have my social observer hat on, I look at the media and see that healthy sexual role models in our society are few and far between. It’s as if men are hypnotized to surrender their intelligence, humor, sensitivity, and humanity in their roles as lovers. This is the fog of sex in action.

In the privacy of my thoughts, when I think about the ideals of sexual fulfillment, what I would most like to experience if I could, I see a much more emotionally intimate connection than what’s normally portrayed in the fog of sex. I see it for men and for women. I see the meeting of souls. I see the splendor of my sleep dreams.

Parental mysteries

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On the fifth anniversary of my mother’s passing, I found myself ruminating on a familiar theme: I wished I would have known her.

“What?” you ask.  “You didn’t know your mother?”

No, not really. Not at the depths of my desires or the farther reaches of my curiosity about who she was as a person.

Please don’t misunderstand. We had what casual observers would call a good relationship. I loved my mother and she loved me. In terms of the average American life with average expectations about average family relationships, I had little to complain about. Compared to some of my friends with horror story upbringings, I lived in a cake walk world.

Yet as my mother slipped away from a long and full life, I realized how much was left to know about her. As is true for many parents of her generation, she kept herself in a protective bubble of non-disclosure. It was not usual for her to reveal much of what she was truly thinking and feeling. I doubt if I could tell you why, because that, too, would be hidden within her psyche.

I presume she was just following the values instilled in her. She grew up in a culture where parents shielded their children from knowing their deep, private thoughts. This trend still exists in many of my friends today who are parents. They keep much of their real world secret from their children, many of whom are adults now.

The secrecy game is played with good intentions. It is often borne out of a deep love parents have for their children. Society teaches parents that they are expected to be role models for their children, and as such many do not feel comfortable showing weakness or even that they are struggling. Secrecy is often intended to shield children from the cruelties, insecurities, and challenges of life in this world. Parents want to see their children succeed, and that includes not being bogged down by … well, by reality.

Is it a good thing that parents die off without their kids knowing who they were as people? Is that how the system is supposed to work? Are parents somehow required not to share openly? While it is clearly a tradition many families cling to, is it in the best interests of both?

MYSTERY MAN

Starting right after my mother passed, I lived with my father for his final 30 months of life. He was a caring and generous father by any normal standard, and I was often told how lucky I was to have him as my dad. Still, we hardly knew each other. Dad steered clear of much deep verbal engagement. I got the distinct impression that like many men, he was not comfortable discussing his true feelings, often not even his true opinions.

As his 65 year-old child, I respected his boundaries with conversations, but I would have preferred my own personal Tuesdays with Morrie experience. “Dad, what’s it like to be looking at the end game of your life on Earth?”

“Well, Son, let me tell you. You have a week of hours?”

Dad well knew that I was interested in the mysteries of the afterlife, yet despite his health challenges, he was (surprisingly, I thought) not interested in the topic of what happens after death. His wife and several close friends had passed within the last few years, yet he didn’t ask my thoughts about it. Even while we dealt with the practicalities of health care and hospice, he never once said anything like, “I’m dying.” He would talk about “after I’m gone” in a practical way, like what to do with the furniture, but he rarely shared his thoughts or feelings about the journey he was taking.

I don’t mean to sound critical or whiny; I respect his choices. After all, dying is a highly personal and private experience. But as he left, I still wish I would have known more about his hidden joys and heartbreaks, his successes and regrets, his end-of-show thoughts and feelings. I wanted to know him as the person he was, not as the role he played as my father.

A WRITER’S WORLD

As a creative writer, I love wondering what makes people tick. It’s my passion to know how people see the world and what motivates them to do things. I normally want conversations to get beyond superficial banter like what someone ate last night or what cute sayings someone read on Facebook. I want to get into the juicy stuff that flows like magma underneath the surface of our daily lives.

What are your heartbreaks? What are your ecstasies? What are your aspirations?

Creative writers base stories on motivation. Often in literature and movies, characters will talk at a depth not commonly seen in real life, at least in my real life. We get to know what drives people to do things, often quite poetically.

It’s not so common today in everyday chitchat for people to drop in deep to discuss inner yearnings and deepest pains. In our wired, televised, social media networked world, deep conversations are often reduced to tweet and sound bite brevity. Today, kids are often babysat by big screen HDTVs, little screen tablets, and smart phones. It’s easier than ever to let someone else think for us. It’s easier than ever to lose intimate contact with others because we are being taught to keep it simple. Tweet it or delete it.

I like to talk and write about feelings, relationships, sex, death, afterlife, mystical experiences, unusual perceptions, coping with various situations, solving problems, emotional growth. In-depth conversations about topics—topics that ironically matter most in our daily lives—are simply out of bounds in many families. We’re often taught to put on a good show, and not a reality show.

ONE-WAY STREETS?

Communication between parent and adult child is not always two-way. For example, a mother might help an adult child through a romantic break-up without mentioning what she herself is going through or went through with the child’s father. A parent might give or lend money to an adult child without sharing what a true financial hardship that is. Parents may deal with their offspring’s drug issues or mate choices or job choices without revealing their own struggles.

We are taught to play roles and not tell our truths.

The older I got as a teen-ager, the less of my personal stuff I shared with my mother and father. I had learned the safe topics and the unsafe topics. While I know that it’s entirely normal for adult kids to edit their conversations as much as the parents do, I nevertheless find something sad about the practice.

AFTERLIFE STUDIES

As I have pursued my interest in afterlife studies, I am confronted with the possibility that there are no secrets in the next world. Why? Because in the spirit world, the nature of thought and telepathy does not allow for secrecy. Anybody can read us like a completely open book.

That may sound pretty creepy to earthling ears. No secrets? Everybody knows everything? Even that?

But it is also a love space. So, yeah, everybody knows your secrets, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a very forgiving place.

For me, the most interesting aspect of this is how I respond to the idea that my parents right at this minute know it all. No secret is beyond their spiritual eyes and ears. Even that.

But how strange this is for me now! I’ve noticed that even in imaginary conversations with my parents, where there is an astoundingly small chance of them answering back in a voice I can hear, I have a difficult time discussing my secrets with them. It feels as if it’s not safe. Ha! That programing goes deep.

Of course, any difficulty I experience sharing secrets with my parents-in-spirit only mirrors that I have trouble facing my own secrets.

In the afterlife, we’ll be more like movie actors attending a script conference discussing our character roles. We’ll share our motivations, conflicts, goals, and beliefs from the life just lived. We’ll have a complete backstory from our past lives and our between-life goals and objectives. We’ll probably learn why we eat our secrets. Yes, even about that.

 

The Purpose of Pain

LonelyI don’t know whether this is a new trend in spiritualism, or whether I am just discovering something I hadn’t noticed before. In various places the concept is arising that a major purposes of life on Earth for souls is to enjoy the experience of pain.

Sounds like another exciting episode of Fifty Shades of Grey.

The notion goes something like this: we come from a spirit world where love prevails. In that world we know that we are all one. One for all and all for one. There are none of the contrasts that so characterize life on earth. For example, no being there is regarded as evil. There is no pain, no deceit, no violence, no loneliness. The very atmosphere of life in the spirit world is love, love, love.

When we as souls live in that bubble, we wonder about the pain of being different.

Apparently during the course of events of eternity, some of us decided that all of this love, love, love wasn’t helping us grow, grow, grow spiritually fast enough. We didn’t like being sloths in paradise. We wanted to experience some contrast. Since what you get in paradise is constant ecstasy, contrast turns out to be conflict, resistance, pain.

We were thinking, well wouldn’t it be great to go to a place where we didn’t get what we wanted whenever we wanted it? Wouldn’t it be great to suffer? Think how much we would learn! Think how much fun that would be!

So we (or at least someone we knew) manifested Earth School. Some of us really wanted to be material girls and boys, so we eagerly signed up. Other souls thought we were crazy. I am not sure why, since they did not know what pain was. Maybe neither did we.

EMBRACE THE LOVE

Most of the time, what I used to hear was that we incarnate on Planet Earth to learn how to love. Our purpose is to love. That’s it. Love.

Then the message got a little more complicated. The notion then became that we were supposed to learn how to love in the face of trials and tribulations. We were supposed to love our enemies. And forgive them.

Many of those conflicts were the results of karma that we had created in our past. If we had cursed, bludgeoned, poisoned, decapitated our fellow human beings in previous lifetimes, we eventually need to pay the piper.

There are no free lunches.

So if in one life you thought it would be fulfilling to capture and torture slaves for a living, in another life, just to balance things out, your soul would say to you, “Hey, here’s a fun idea! It’s time you were born into poverty and raised by cruel, abusive parents. All right? Off you go!”

This theme has countless variations.

Spiritual teachers often insist that karma is about balancing, not punishment. You essentially experience the contrast in another life to what you do in this one. In the spectrum of our Earth lives, the whole kaboodle, we choose a bunch of different roles including playing the bad guys. We may actually choose to be a lowlife criminal during a particular life just to experience the pain of living that awful existence.

EMBRACE THE PAIN

In light of this trend in spiritual philosophy, pain is where it’s at. Embrace the pain. Enjoy the mental anguish.

What’s being taught is an extension of the spinach before ice cream mentality. OK, this doesn’t really work for me because I like spinach, but nevertheless, the idea holds. By completely experiencing the pain of life on Planet Earth, we will be overjoyed to return home to a sexless, immaterial world.

Wait! No sex? Well, everything is better than sex anyway, so don’t worry about it.

There is no pain in heaven. Just about anything that you find painful here in the material world is missing from the spirit world. That’s great, except that apparently some things you find delightful in the material world are also missing in action from the spirit world. A few of those enticements lure us back to this pain-laden wonderland.

Sex, for instance.

Spirits constantly tell us that there is a form of sex in the spirit world, but it is entirely ethereal. It is energy-based. It is merging with another being in complete awareness of who they are, what they think, what they feel. And very unlike life on Earth, people don’t form couples. You merge with anyone and everyone. But it is a fleshless existence, and apparently for us in spirit form, flesh is so compelling, so off-the-charts yummy that we can’t wait to come back here to enjoy it. Then we get here again and re-discover that sex dwells in a cesspool of insecurity, jealousy, deceit, greed, persecution, violence, etc. Just sayin’. We don’t even recognize what a gift we were given, and so we go about destroying it.

PLAN IT AGAIN, SAM

So before incarnating, we engage in planning sessions to design all the great pain we’re going to experience. Oh, yay!

I’m not sure yet how I feel about this idea that Earth School is Pain School. Part of me wonders if accepting that idea while we are here on this planet is a magnet for attracting more pain. It’s as if the universe says, OK you want more pain? Here, have a car crash. Want some catastrophic earthquaking? How about a swarm of locusts?

On the other hand, when I am in the midst of feeling pain, trying to responsibly deal with something yucky, it does help me to consider that perhaps my soul is growing more swiftly because I am enduring the life here. This thought helps me move from rage or angst to love and forgiveness.

Love the bastard. Forgive the bitch.

The Earth is for pain idea usually goes in hand with the life plan idea. Books like Your Soul’s Plan and Your Soul’s Gift by Robert Schwartz illustrate how different traumas, tragedies, and challenges helped people grow. People in his books often experienced enormous pain, but they also grew in leaps and bounds, both in Earth terms and in a spiritual perspective. They often end up thanking God for that blessing in disguise.

People often resist the idea that a tragedy was planned before incarnating. It seems weird and  unloving. Why would someone as a loving soul deliberately choose to step into harm’s way? Well, pain seems to be a great motivator and Earth School is about contrast, pain versus pleasure, bad versus good, light versus dark. No pain, no gain.

For those of us currently existing in physical bodies, it’s not a pleasant thought to wonder if there are more great wallops of pain to come. Are we sitting on ticking time bombs? What else do I get to deal with on my life’s journey?

Yet to quiet that rant comes the idea that we have a team of guides, angels, and loved ones on the other side who help us negotiate any lesson we have on our learning plate. As we grow spiritually, we make wiser choices that help us deal with and even avoid life’s obstacles. Further, good stuff is in store to help balance out what we might see as bad stuff.

Spirit might see our lessons just as many of us watch a TV show or read a good book about someone else’s pain. We enjoy learning about someone else’s troubles, partly as a way to deal with our own. Many of us are entertained by someone else’s troubles. Could it be that our own souls can disassociate with us and our pain as we disassociate from other people’s pain? Hmmm?

In summarizing the main lessons of his book Seeking Jordan, author Matthew McKay, PhD (who co-authored the book with his murdered son Jordan who is on the other side) says in a YouTube interview [edited], “The reason we show up on this beautiful but difficult planet is because there is pain here. In the life between lives, there isn’t any pain. We feel known there. We feel part of things. We feel supported by this vast community of souls. And there isn’t pain in the sense that we know it here. But pain affords us opportunities to grow. Struggling with things that hurt is how we evolve and develop as souls. And perhaps the greatest pain we experience is loss, things that we count on taken from us. Our life here is learning how to love in the face of pain.”