“Sexual energy permeates every aspect of our lives, including the work that we do, our creative projects, our relationships with others, our relationship with food, money, material objects, and even the earth. Sexual energy is our life energy, the energy of creation itself, and I feel that it truly is the deepest desire of every human being to use their energy for the highest good of all…..
My journey into celibacy began in the spring of 2012 as I started living more fully in the present moment and from my heart. Having read about the ego from contemporary spiritual teachers such as Eckhart Tolle, I began studying and dissolving my own ego based thoughts. As I continued to feel into the nature of my thoughts, learning to empower thoughts that felt good in my heart, while dissolving the mental patterns responsible for creating negativity, what I noticed was that most sexual thoughts did not actually feel good. I began to see a pattern emerging around my sexual thoughts, and I observed how in moments of anxiety or boredom I was more likely to have a sexual thought than when I was in a peaceful state.
It became clear to me that these thoughts were not in alignment with my highest good, but rather a mechanism of my ego for soothing anxiety, and tended to distract me from taking greater personal responsibility for myself in the present moment. Having sexual thoughts about another has often felt as though I were taking something from someone else that didn’t belong to me, a form of disrespect, even if it was only in my mind. So in the moments when sexual thoughts arose, I practiced bringing my attention back to my heart, feeling my breath and inner energy field. Within a few weeks my sexual thoughts had mostly disappeared, and I neither felt the urge for self-pleasure, nor sexual experiences.
The transition into celibacy was quite natural, and did not take much effort initially. It felt like a lightening of a weight that had been on my shoulders for a long time, and I was happy to be letting go of these patterns within myself. It is important to note the difference between the process of repressing sexual thoughts out of fear or shame, versus allowing old patterns to be dissolved that no longer serve the heart. My intuition was guiding me to free myself from old programming, and so following this guidance from within was the most natural thing I could do.
Though my sexual desires had disappeared by the end of the first month, I did have a series of intense sexual dreams that took a bit more time to dissolve. Amazingly, I experienced intense sexual dreams on the first three full moons during my time of celibacy. This was the first time in my life that I really understood just how powerful an effect the moon has on our minds and bodies.
Though going into celibacy was relatively easy and natural, the challenges that arose in other areas of my life during this practice provided me with great material to learn more about how my mind and ego operated. I noticed that celibacy was similar to the fasting experiences I had gone through in the past. And just as I sometimes had an increase in sexual desire during fasting from food, conversely, I often experienced an increase in my cravings for food (as well as other stimulus) during my time practicing celibacy.
This reminded me again that the root of the ego is actually addiction itself. This energy of addiction can be for anything, and is felt as a compulsive desire to escape the present moment through the distraction of some form of stimulus. The addiction of the ego is generally most strongly experienced in the following areas; food, sex, money, and power, but can also be experienced in any activity where the objective is escape through pleasure, such as drugs, music, exercise, or entertainment. This does not mean that the motivation to engage in any of these activities is necessarily coming from the ego, but it is through these activities that the ego can potentially strengthen itself through addictive tendencies.
The compulsions that arose for me during this time could be quite strong, and it took a great deal of resolution not to react to them. Fearful thoughts regarding money, my health, or the state of the world would often pop into my mind, seemingly out of nowhere, and I had to continually practice coming back to my heart. My compulsion for food became very strong at times, to the point that I would find myself in the supermarket late at night looking for something to satisfy my cravings. More than a few times I gorged myself on ice cream, cookies, or chips, to the point that I made myself sick.
These were wonderfully humbling experiences for me, and allowed me to see just how powerful Life Energy becomes when it is diverted away from sexual thoughts and desires. It also helped strengthen my motivation to heal and move forward, letting go of compulsions, and being more present. As I continued staying present, the more I became aware that underlying the compulsions were repressed pain, fear, and sadness.
This unfolded in the most unexpected way. When I had the choice to follow the compulsion or return to the present moment, I made the choice to be present and feel what was within. In the next moment I would often feel a deep sadness for what seemed like no reason at all. By simply sitting with the sadness it began to lighten and dissolve. In other times I released this emotional energy through crying. It felt wonderfully cathartic to give myself time and space for this natural healing process.
In retrospect, I believe this sadness and emotional outpouring was due to repressed pain from sexual wounding that I had experienced in my past, which was coming to the surface for me to feel and consciously release. These sexual wounds were not necessarily inflicted on me, but rather, ways in which I had energetically hurt others and myself by misusing my own sexual energy. To witness this and let it go felt very healing and cathartic, as though I were touching the deepest portions of my heart where this sadness had been hidden for so long.
In addition to sadness around my own sexual experiences, there also arose a deep sadness within me for the sexual wounding that has occurred within the whole of humanity. A few times I experienced deep emotional releases, grieving for what felt like the pain that has occurred between people when we hurt and manipulate one another, particularly related to the issues of domination and control—one of the greatest misuses of sexual energy. By exerting domination and control over others, we feel a temporary relief from the anxiety of separation from our hearts and God, but ultimately, this need for control causes pain for others and for ourselves.
You can see this expression of control and domination in the way that many people relate to one another. Most people have had the experience throughout life of being controlled by parents, teachers, friends, romantic partners, employers, or co-workers, with this pain often becoming internalized and repressed, beginning at a very early age. Exerting a certain amount of control is necessary to provide a structured and safe experience for oneself and others, and yet many expressions of control are often coming from a deep seated fear and anxiety about life.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my resistance towards those who tried to exert control over me lead me to strengthen that very same ego mechanism in myself, which I had played out in my relationships (romantic and platonic) many times throughout my life. I had done so as a way to feel some sense of power amidst my underlying feelings of powerlessness. True power, however, comes from knowing yourself; knowing what motivates you and why. When you know yourself, no one else can have power over you.
One of the most wonderful outcomes of celibacy was an increased awareness of the sacred aspects of all life. As I repeatedly redirected my attention within, my heart truly opened to greater depths of gratitude for the magic and mystery of life. Watching a ladybug crawl across a leaf, or the delicate flow of water in a stream, could easily bring me to tears of joy. Everything seemed to take on greater meaning and magic, as though I was witnessing the most beautiful dance of creation happening all around me. I began to feel on a deeper level just how blessed we are to be here having this incredible human experience. This phenomenon would come in varying waves of intensity, and seemed to increase the longer that I remained celibate.
Another wonderful effect that occurs when you retain your sexual energy is an increase in physical and mental energy. There were some nights when I only needed a few hours of sleep, and had so much creative energy that I would spend hours writing, painting, or playing music. I found that my mind became much sharper and more focused during this time, which spurred me to find new ways to use this increased mental energy in order to prevent stagnation. I found that an abundance of physical exercise, creative expression, deep breathing, and a balance of structure and spontaneity in my life, helped to keep this energy flowing in a positive and healthy way.
Through this process it became very clear just how strong Life Energy could flow when directed in such a focused way. As we become more discerning with what thoughts we empower with our attention, then each thought that is created has that much more energy and power. The more focused the mind becomes, the signal that we send out to the Universe is that much clearer and more energized.
This seems to be one reason there is still much fear around sexual energy. For the most part, we are still collectively afraid of our own power and creative potential. This is changing, however, as more and more people are awakening, and learning to become more responsible with their energy. The more energy that flows through us, the more responsibility we have to use this energy in positive and uplifting ways.
After roughly a year of practicing celibacy I began to feel that this cycle of healing in my life was coming to an end. There came a time when I intuitively knew that it would not serve my growth anymore to continue the practice. Remaining celibate began to feel more restrictive rather than expansive, and so my journey of celibacy gradually came to an end as naturally as it had begun. As I ended my journey of celibacy I was surprised to feel a very strong desire to have a family. I felt more clear and excited by the idea of being a father than ever before….”
An Excerpt from “Healing Through Awakening.” If you are interested in reading more about my spiritual journey, consider purchasing the book through this link Healing through Awakening
meditation, mindful awareness, eckhart tolle