We had an amazing Power of Love workshop last weekend, with over 50 people between our facilitators, staff, and participants. We are feeling so very inspired and blessed by the bravery of the women who faced, felt and freed many of their blockages around men with love, compassion and courage.

One of the themes of the weekend was the importance of a healthy and empowered sexuality between men and women.

It seems that we generally have very few role models of such a sexuality in our culture. Yet we all instinctively know that there is something very beautiful, sacred, and awesome available in sexual union.

In our experience, there are three paths to walk with our sexual passions. The path of the stoic, the path of the addict and the path of the mystic.

As stoics we basically repress or deny our sexual desire.  Knowing how passionate, uncontrollable and fiery our sexual energy is, we are too afraid of what might happen if this energy lets go. In our western culture we all seem to be conditioned to carry some degree of shame, repression and guilt with us when it comes to our sexuality.

Coming from such an unsupportive environment, sex is basically seen as dangerous and bad, therefore better kept at bay, swept under the carpet or “spiritually transcended.” As stoics, we white knuckle our way through life, deaden our passions through denial, and sometimes even become self righteous pretenders.

As addicts we live in reaction to the stoic.  Aware of the intensity of our sexual desires we indulge in them without restraint. “I’ll show you”, we say to the stoic, “I will not be repressed. I’ll do whatever I want with my sexuality and don’t care what anybody thinks.” Pornography, promiscuity, and sex disconnected from love or care for the other then run rampant in our society.

We might end up having little or no regard to who might get harmed in the endeavor to express ourselves freely. Everything becomes over-sexualized and superficial sexual encounters don’t leave us fulfilled but only wanting more and more.

As human beings we usually hang out more on one side than the other, but neither one feels free, empowered, or in any way truly satisfying. We might go from one extreme to the other, never to find true fulfillment. Both the stoic’s and the addict’s behaviors are, in COB language, reactions of the “defended self.”  Not knowing how to live and love in an undefended way, we basically split off our body from our heart, and we never feel truly whole. 

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So what’s the answer to this dilemma?  

First of all, if we find ourselves caught on either path, it certainly does not help to judge ourselves (or another for that matter). Instead, we need a lot of compassion, awareness and the courage to inquire about what is underneath our avoidance strategies. We lovingly remind ourselves that in truth we are so much greater than our defenses.

At COB we hold it that the answer is in a third way, which we call the Mystic’s Path. Here the intensity of our erotic desire is seen as good, beautiful, precious and sacred. Here our body, heart, mind and spirit are unified.

We turn towards our desire with presence, love and awareness. We welcome it as a deep call from within, as something planted there for a divine purpose: for union and communion. We are lovingly concerned about the good of the other.  The real power and purpose of sexuality emerges. We channel our desire intentionally and consciously towards the Sacred.  As mystics, our embodied, integrated sexuality becomes the rocket ship on our way to divine intimacy, love and bliss. 

Over the next month we’ll take a closer look at each of these paths.  We’ll reflect on where we personally might be caught in stoic or addictive behaviors in our lives, and where we are called to open more deeply to our innate mystical sexuality.