Introducing the Sexual Unconscious

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Introducing the Sexual Unconscious

Unconsciousness is the semi dream-state that most people on this planet live in. The unconscious is a realm in our awareness that gets shaped by fears and desires that we have suppressed or avoided feeling fully and deeply. These unconscious patterns of fear and desire start to form in our lives at the day of our conception, through our childhood and up until the present moment. Our personal unconscious also gets shaped by the collective unconscious of society at large, and, closer to home, the unconscious of the collectives (such as family, religion and other forms of tribe) that we identify with and are shaped by.

Unconscious patterns grow in us for reasons such as:

  • Childhood shocks: When an infant or child experiences something that is overwhelming or too much to process, he/she will repress the memory. What is repressed goes into the unconscious, and gets manifested in the body – as body responses, one of the most noticeable being erotic responses.
  • Cultural/religious positions: The influence of the collective – the culture, religion or tribe – can cause an individual to deny or repress their own experience in favour of what is acceptable.
  • Moments not fully lived: Even in adulthood, any moments not fully lived, any experiences and emotions not fully felt, become unconscious patterns in us.

In effect, what the unconscious does, is to create a false sense of self that we call our ego. If you look carefully (as we will on this course) you will see that your sense of who you are in the world is made up of unconscious attractions and repulsions, fears and desires. The ego thinks it has control over its identifications and dis-identifications, but it does not.

The usefulness of our ego structure is that it creates a sense of coherence in our experience. Without the sense of self that the ego creates for us, we would have no centre from which to reference our experience, and we would be insane.

Once the light of consciousness has been shone on an aspect of our unconscious, the energy contained in that particular unconscious construct integrates into our conscious awareness. When the bind of an unconscious ego pattern has been released, our sense of who we are becomes less contracted and more expansive.


The Sexual Unconscious

Perverse refers to what you find unacceptable or taboo within your personal value code, and/or the value code that you have taken on from the collective. The erotic is that which causes a sexual bodily response in you – ‘turns you on’, makes you wet and/or hard when you think about it. Our focus in exploring your erotic response here is mostly on the realm of fantasy – erotic response which is clearly created by your mind and is embedded in association. Pavlov’s experiment with dogs explains association. He offered a stimulus – such as a bell – at the same time as giving the dogs food. The dogs would salivate while eating the food. After a while the dogs began to associate the sound of the bell with food, and they would salivate (an actual body response) even when the food wasn’t presented. Then he would add another association – say the sound of a door opening with the sound of the bell – and remove the first mind-symbol (the bell). The dogs would then salivate at the sound of the door opening. He managed to sustain the salivation response in the dogs through several more layers of association. The complex cerebral cortex of humans is capable of several more layers of association than dogs.

Sometimes it can be difficult to discern whether your eroticism is associative or direct. For instance, you may say that you are eroticized to breasts, which seems to be a response to the real and direct experience of the body. However, test yourself. Does the thought of touching a breast turn you on more than actually touching one? What gets evoked when you touch breasts – do you find yourself regressing into a different age (say adolescence, where the touching of breasts was not allowed, or childhood, where it represented mother’s nurturance)?

Fantasies can also take the form of patterns of attraction. An example is time and again falling in love with older men who carry something of the energy of your father, or an older family member. How you know that this is a pattern is that it repeats, despite your best conscious intention not to get involved again with a person who displays those qualities.


What to do now?

This training will give you a systematic and guided opportunity to integrate the desires and fears that have surfaced through your fantasy exploration. What to do about what you have seen? For now, hold what you have seen in awareness, and don’t act on it. Here is a meditation to assist you with holding your experience in awareness


Practice: Holding sensations in awareness

Take a deep breath in. Fill up your body with air. Suddenly let go the breath, and let all your energy drop down through the earth, using the force of gravitation. Let your body become heavy. Do this a few times. Full breath in. Letting go with the out breath.

Identify the thoughts and/or emotions that have been awoken through this exploration of fantasy. How do you feel them in your body? What sensations arise in your body, and where exactly do you experience them? For instance, the excitement could be creating a fast fluttering sensation in your heart, that is making you feel dizzy. The fear could be creating a heaviness in your belly, or a sense of impending nausea in your solar plexus.

Notice the sensations without judging them or trying to do anything about them. Place your focus on the specific sensations that you are feeling, and breathe into them. Remember not to try to change them. Take the attitude that Rumi describes so beautifully in his poem The Guest House:


The Guest House


This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.


A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.


Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.


The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.


Be grateful for whatever comes.

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.


— Jelaluddin Rumi,

   translation by Coleman Barks


Having welcomed each of the visitors (the specific sensations that have been evoked), now pay attention to the whole house of your body. Expand your awareness from the sensations you were feeling in direct response to the fantasy, to feeling every part of your body. Observe sensations in your whole body in a neutral, loving way.

Now expand your field of sensation beyond your body. Feel the specific sensations, the sensations in your whole body, and the sensations in the space around you.

Then shift your attention. Instead of focusing on the sensations in the space around you, feel the emptiness of the space around you.

Now feel the emptiness of the space that constitutes the inside of your body.

Feel all sensations dissolve into this space. Feel the boundary between the inside and the outside of your body dissolve into space.

You can do this practice for several rounds, returning back to the beginning where you feel specific sensations, and then following the practice all the way through to the end where all sensations dissolve in space.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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