Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tao of Love And Sex: Sexual Fantasies And Illusions

SEXUAL FANTASIES AND ILLUSIONS

The Taoist sexual method is concerned above all with preserving the vital forces in such a way that both partners, by developing their bodies, hearts, and minds, can live a long life and enjoy all that our existence here on earth has to offer. This full development of the human potential requires spiritual awareness and a positive outlook. Illusions, fantasies, and sexual avidity are not part of the Taoist program for sexual development. The Taoist master Zuang Tsu was quite clear on this point:
Whoever becomes attached to his fortune will be affronted, whoever attacks power will exhaust himself, whoever lives in idleness will drown in it, whoever revels in the easy life will become its slave: what a sick man's life!

One of the preconditions of longevity is to develop a pure and serene heart. The great Taoist masters of the schools of internal healing summarize the requirements for healthy living in the following way: Preserve original yang qi by practicing health exercises. This precious qi needs to be stored in the abdominal cinnabar field to fortify the root of life and prevent illness. It is not the work of a single day but requires patience and application. As the proverb says, "How can ten years fit into a single day?" Avoid being trapped by passions that cloud the senses. Passions are actually poisons that dim pure, original thought. The seven emotions are always triggering thoughts that can in turn provoke a kind of anxiety that impedes the circulation of vital energy. A Taoist proverb illustrates this last point: "Those who believe in their dreams sleep all their life."

Eating regular meals and following a proper diet are also necessary, but one must not become obsessed with food or burden the stomach by eating and drinking to excess.
By preserving one's strength and vigor, by cultivating one's consciousness through meditation and emptiness, by taking traditional tonic formulas, a man can attain long life and will not die before his time. But if he does not know the principles of the Taoist sexual method, then paying attention to his diet and his hygiene will be wasted effort. The sexual union of the man and the woman is like the very first creation of the universe. On the other hand, if a man heeds the principles of the sexual act according to the Tao and in harmony with the rules of yin and yang, he will live a joyous life and enjoy the fruits of longevity.

For Taoists, sexuality can be lived in a number of different ways. One is the natural way, that of the Taoists; another is through sexual fantasy, a method even advocated by some psychotherapists. For Taoists, fantasies are a bottomless pit, an illusion with no reality to it whatsoever, a waste of time and energy. Natural sexuality depends on physical, mental, and emotional health, natural biological cycles, the attraction of one partner to the other, and a direct and uncomplicated mutual understanding. If all these conditions are present, then sexuality will be natural and consonant with the way, or Tao, of the universe. If the sex act takes place under these conditions, no energy will be lost and both partners will be spiritually satisfied.

A fantasy-based sex life, however, is totally artificial and verges on unreality. It leads to insatiable hungers and deep feelings of frustration. We can't work out our frustrations by acting out our fantasies. Nor can we be nourished by our illusions, except through self-deception, which always leaves us with a feeling of bitterness or even disgust.

Many newspapers and magazines in the West and some now even in Asia have been promoting the idea of casual sex, which in fact comes with its own norms and codes. This unrealistic point of view is quite the opposite of natural Taoist sexuality, which has no need of fantasy, seduction, the quest for sexual performance, and mutual ego building, all of which are artifices. In short, authentic sexuality has no need for aphrodisiacs, artificial aids, the art of touching, and psychologistic contrivances. A Taoist proverb brings us back to the realities: "Charm and beauty mean very little when they are only external."

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