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Working/dealing with sexual energy on retreat

Working/dealing with sexual energy on retreat
10 day retreat sexual energy
9/14/13 8:16 AM

My question concerns how to work skilfully with sexual "energy" on retreat. I couldn't find anything on here on the subject.

On a recent 10 day Mahasi retreat, I ran into issues by day 4/5 with the amount of built up sexual energy I had accumulated.

I take the precept on sexual abstinence on retreat to mean no sex, no masturbation.

In doing so, the energy built to a point where it felt very unsettling, spiralled off into fantasy, etc. It reached a level that felt unnerving and stopped my practice. A constant source of agitation.

My only option as I saw it, without meaning to be too explicit, was to do something with it. Once I had, the agitation went and I felt that I had lost a mass of energy from my body and my concentration level was also much lower - a certain lethargy took over and it took a day to get back to where I was before.

Question: how does one work with this build of energy and turn towards the "right" end in this setting? I.e. how does one use it to further the development of concentration and insight?

Is it possible to focus on the energy as object and "penetrate the object"? If so, how do you keep from being drawn in by it?

I hadn't really thought about this as being energy before - and I always found it strange that so many "religious" paths end up in celibacy.

Thanks for any advice you can offer on this - it somehow didn't feel right to bring it up at the interviews!


RE: Working/dealing with sexual energy on retreat
9/14/13 9:44 AM as a reply to Lee K.
You work with it the same way as you work with anything else. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's just there.

RE: Working/dealing with sexual energy on retreat
9/14/13 9:49 AM as a reply to Lee K.

Things that might help:
-open your eyes
-make your awareness more open, more vast, encompassing the whole body, spine, front, head&limbs
-see if you can direct that energy from the genitals toward your legs&feets, and maybe arms&hand as well, so that you ground that energy in the periphery of your energetic system.

quoting myself from another thread:

About sexual stuff in general: you can take the sensations building up sexual arousal and making them flow throught your body, directing them to more sensible areas of your body (hands and foot for me are very useful), expanding them and so on, until the thing becomes very plaesent and whole-bodied.
What I have found is something like this: if sexual sensations can flow, they are just very plaesent sensations moving throught your body; the moment they become painful is when they hit some kind of blockage, and then desire/irritation arise; if you find the point when plaesent sexual sensations hit a wall and turn into desire, you can use your attention/intention to make them flow there, and then desire is gone, and you are left with blissful sensations flowing.
So, to answer the question: the more you get used to enjoying sexual arousal, the less there is desire.

What can go wrong (meaning, what went wrong in my experience):
-if you put your attention on a single spot for a long time, it can get dangerous; if attention is more open, moving, then it's safe
-bad emotions can arise as a consequence of theese practices, as they can arise as a consequence of any other kind of meditation; however, there is something really particoularthat happens when they are combined with sexual excitement that makes them plaesent and painful at the same time in a very weird way, like you want them to stop but when you get away you want more...
-Painful sensations can arise in the body, in a way that is similar to how they can arise as a consequence of the Goenka tecnique
-since theese sensations are unlikely to go away at will, at the beginning you might find yourself nervous in daily life

On the other hand I noticed that, if I have semi-orgasmic sensations going on in daily life, they tend to make me more soft and open, in the same opposite way that if you have some chronic pain this will likely make you hard and irritable... as far as I can tell, apart for the fact that are obviously plaesent, this is one of the best thing that comes from sexual-oriented practices.

For more info on sexual stuff, see Yogani's Tantra lessons...

If you google "lust dharma overground" you'll find more threads, if you are interested.


RE: Working/dealing with sexual energy on retreat
9/14/13 4:36 PM as a reply to Lee K.
It has to do with perception/recognition. The brain will look at objects and recognize their shapes/concepts/what they do, but it will also perceive things it feels it should be addicted to or to hate which is based on past experiences of pleasure and aversion or what people told you you should like or hate. By paying attention to how perceptions create craving in your body you can get dispassionate with the process over time. Sometimes adding negative consequences (negative perceptions) that are realistic can also diminish the desire as a short-term antidote. Lust sometimes reminds me of advertising in that only the positive attributes are talked about but none of the drawbacks. That's how interest and desire can be awoken. Everything in this universe has a drawback simply by being impermanent.

The best thing is to be noting right when you wake up in the morning (especially being in your body with the feeling tones) and adding more and more detail of what's going on (dependant co-arising), with the understanding that these habitual perceptions will return and by being ready for them it's hard to get caught up in a big story that starts the clinging. Clinging needs some momentum and getting lost in stories about any desire will make it hard to stop the actions taken after clinging. The clinging is in fact what the "I" feels like. ie ruminating about mental stories of why you like or dislike something.

RE: Working/dealing with sexual energy on retreat
10/22/13 8:47 AM as a reply to M N.
Hi Mario!

Thanks for taking the time to reply, really appreciate it! Sorry for sluggish reply...haven't been on here for a while... Good point re googling...I did use the search in DhO but didn't find much...

Well, there's a lot to your answer so I'll take some time to pick through it.



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