Sensual Presence and Bliss
Updated: Jul 1
In my last post, I spoke to a number of topics as discussed in David Deida’s book, Way of the Superior Man. I’ve heard back from some of you that you are now reading this book, as what I shared spoke to you as well. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to hear that! I look forward to hearing more from those of you who are reading it. Very exciting! In that post, I commented that I could easily write subsequent blog posts on each one of the topics the author touches on, as they all bring something important up for me. And I do still think that would be a great project for sure! As it is though, I am feeling called to return to one of the points I wrote about in my last post which is about being in your truth or in your passion and how important it is to not lose oneself in a relationship or in family or in work.
We must remember our passions and what makes our heart sing, otherwise we start dying inside and then everything around us starts to feel empty as well.
I woke up this morning thinking more deeply about this topic and the words and philosophy of Joseph Campbell reverberated loud and clear in my mind: “Follow your bliss!” I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Joseph Campbell, but he was a writer and professor of comparative mythology and comparative religion who wrote many books, most notably The Hero With a Thousand Faces (for those of you following my book recommendations – add this one to your list!!!). This guy has been hugely inspiring for me and has seriously helped me to puzzle through what it is that we are doing here with these human lives, as he looks at so many common threads weaving through the myths, legends, and foundational stories of many different cultures and religions over the span of humanity. There are so many themes that resonate and are indicative of my own experience and soul journey. His research, knowledge, and insight offer a rich and meaningful view into humanity’s evolution and spiritual journey. If you are looking for something educational, inspirational, philosophical, and extremely thought-provoking, check out his PBS interview series with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth. Amazing videos! (You can find them on Amazon and some clips are available on YouTube - like this one here: Follow Your Bliss!)
A few of his quotes will give you a good idea of what to expect and why I feel so inspired by him:
“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” I love that!
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” I work with this one every single day.
"People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” Wow. That seriously speaks to me. And perhaps it speaks to the type of sensual experiences many of us are seeking as well, those which we hope will go beyond the purely physical experience through to resonate with our innermost being – to that rapture he speaks of.
Okay, so how do we do this? How do we find our passion and how do we follow it once we have figured out what it is? It is easy enough to say, “Follow your bliss!” but what if we don’t know what that is? I’ve got to admit that I’ve been trying to pinpoint my exact bliss for years now and keep waiting for that lightning bolt to strike, but it just hasn’t quite done that – or rather it has done it actually, now that I think on that a bit further. The crazy thing is though that it continues to strike and it doesn’t seem to stay fixed, which is, I suppose, what I am waiting for. That ONE thing that will be the answer to all the other things and that will be the perfect piece to complete the puzzle – the piece that allows all the other pieces to fit perfectly into place. I realize now as I type that there have been so many things that I thought were “the thing.” Then I head off in that direction and the thing ends up changing on me just when I think I have it all figured out. I am appreciating now as I continue to ponder that perhaps the journey is “the thing.” Perhaps it is the seeking and the adventure of seeking that is “the thing” for me.
I recognize that I have this “the grass is always greener” thing going on and when I was doing my writing practice this morning, I started realizing this lack mentality that I tend to operate from.
I actually have a beautiful life and I do follow my bliss – all the time! The issue, I realize right now, is that I forget to recognize the bliss that is my life. Part of my bliss is getting to follow my whims and let my heart lead me where I need to go - and that does not seem to follow any straight trajectory. I can be all over the place, enjoying any given number of different beautiful things.
I’ve actually done a great deal of work to create a life that allows me to follow my bliss – annual spiritual pilgrimages to India are a huge part of my bliss and I work hard to bring that to fruition every year because it is what makes my heart sing. Writing is another one of my blisses (I know that is not an actual word, but I kind of fancy it, so I'm leaving it!) and I have organized my day in such a manner that I get to dedicate part of my morning and afternoon to it. Supporting others on their path – inspiring and motivating others to follow their bliss is a huge passion of mine and this blog is part of how that manifests in my life. These are just a few of the ways that I am living my dreams and being in my heart.
And perhaps it doesn’t need to be as big and complicated and out-of-this-world unattainable as I tend to make it in my mind. Maybe that is the secret ingredient that I tend to miss all too often – some simple recognition of all the beauty and bounty in my life. Recognition that it is all so much more attainable than I realize. Is that what we do to ourselves? Make it seem much bigger and more complicated than it actually is? Forgetting to be in gratitude for all that we have? I very intentionally practice gratitude every day and yet, still, it is so easy to forget all the beauty in my life. Why is that? Why do we tend to focus so much on what isn’t here rather than what is here? I was reflecting quite intently on all of this during my writing practice this morning and had a real “aha moment,” hence my sharing here.
I’m realizing now, too, how much this carries over into our sensual experiences as well. We tend to be so very goal-oriented – or orgasm-oriented rather – rather than being in the moment with our partner. I know that I’ve written on this previously, though it bears repeating because it is so prevalent and it takes a great deal of consciousness, awareness, and intention to move beyond this way of experiencing physical pleasure and intimate encounters.
I find it frustrating when I hear my partner tell me, “I want you to come” as opposed to “I would love to touch you in a way that feels good to you and is pleasurable for you.” It feels like it puts a great deal of pressure on me and my body to perform in some certain way – and that only serves to take me out of my body and into my head – which is not the best way to have an orgasm. [For those of you paying attention out there – never say this to your partner! It sets up too much expectation and just isn’t helpful.] I am sure you know exactly what I am talking about. When we are in our heads too much, we tend to dissociate from our bodies and the actual pleasure we are receiving, which makes orgasm – and, for men, maintaining erection and stamina – even more challenging and elusive.
In puzzling this out a bit further, I am wondering now what we consider our “bliss” in sensual encounters. Is the bliss the entire encounter of being touched and held and caressed and enjoying our partner – or is it experiencing emotional connection with another – or is it the physical and energetic release of orgasm? So many people say it is the former, yet their actions seem more geared towards the latter.
I wrote some time back on the art of “slowing the fuck down” and it seems worthy of mentioning again (and again!). That was actually my most viewed blog post and that feels very telling to me. It even beat out the sex club post! People appreciate hearing instructions and feedback of this nature, I believe. It is funny how many people resonated with that post, yet I’ve not really noticed anybody seriously take it to heart (aside from one person and you know who you are!). I am very seriously contemplating offering instructional sessions once all of this social distancing thing is over with and show you what I mean by “slow the fuck down.” You all will have to let me know if that is of interest to you. I truly believe that we could be so much more in our bliss if we slowed down, quit focusing on orgasm, and started really feeling and listening to our partner – and not just their words, but their body language. Women take a lot longer to get turned on (if you read She Comes First, you will know this already) and if you really want to “see her come,” you will need to slow down, take your time, explore the landscape, and really listen to all of what is going on – and let go of whatever agenda you have.
In bringing it back to what I was talking about earlier with my own experience of “following my bliss,” I am coming to understand more and more about Divine Timing and the need to be patient and allow things to unfold at their own pace and of their own accord.
Some things just aren’t ready to happen yet, despite all my fussing and forcing and aggressing on life, despite how badly I want it all right now! I have to relax and let it flow. And this is the same thing with intimate encounters. Relax, enjoy the ride, and let it flow. Leave the lingerie on for a while. See just how slowly you can caress my inner thigh moving your hand from my knee up to my… Let your lips linger. Relax, enjoy the ride, and let it flow. This should be my new mantra. Maybe you might like to try it on too.
And no doubt this is a product of our fast-paced, everything right now, one-click shopping society. We are all in such a rush to get everything done, take the short cut, take the mini-course, get the instant version, same-day delivery. I get that it is going to probably take quite a few reminders and many more blog posts for all of this to really sink in – and truly it is something I work with myself every day. Slowing down and being patient. But for whatever reason though, I do have this figured out when it comes to intimacy. I just need to keep practicing taking it out of the bedroom and applying it to all areas of my life. Slow down, follow my bliss, enjoy the ride.
Oooo! Speaking of enjoying the ride, I had another big “aha moment” this morning during my writing practice. I was contemplating enjoyment, as this is something I call into my life every day. I want to enjoy life more. I want to be in enjoyment. This morning I realized that this is not necessarily a passive experience.
I realized that I need to bring much more intention to enjoyment, as it does not seem to be an automatic experience, though my life really is, upon contemplation and reflection, quite enjoyable. Though I would not say that my experience is necessarily one of enjoyment. Why not?
When puzzling this out, it occurred to me that it really does take some attention and action on my part to enjoy life. As discussed above, we are moving through life so quickly and doing all of our things and getting ready for the next thing, what are we doing tomorrow, where are we going next, what are our plans for the future, what is happening in the future that I can look forward to enjoying, and does that enjoyment ever come…?
At this point I thought, too, about gratitude, which I cultivate every day and which is also not a passive experience. One has to recognize and take action to BE in gratitude. I do this. A lot. Very intentionally. And it has taken a lot of practice to keep an awareness on being grateful for all the bounty and beauty flowing through my life. And it is an awesome practice and awareness and a life-changing one at that. But – I also realized this morning – being in gratitude is not the same as being in enjoyment.
We often say we 'enjoy something,' but what does that mean really?
As I continued to reflect and contemplate, I came to the realization that enjoying is actually something I need to participate in – in the moment. I recognized that enjoying a thing or a moment involves me utilizing all of my senses to really experience the moment. It is not passive. It takes awareness and it takes an opening to what is transpiring in my being and in the environment – what am I hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, smelling, doing and is it enjoyable? How is it enjoyable? Does it spark joy in my heart? And what does that feel like?
I discovered that enjoying is a present-tense experience and requires being present with ourselves, our senses, and our environment – and it seriously is quite enjoyable when I take the time to feel the warm air on my skin, look at all the beautiful colors surrounding me, hear the birdsong in the air, smell the fragrant jasmine blooming. I had this experience on my walk this morning as I contemplated what it was to actually BE in enjoyment – and it was quite glorious to do so. I am going to continue to work with this and to cultivate enjoyment, as I realized that life is really quite enjoyable when I start paying attention to it, but that it does require that I pay more attention and be more present. There is that presence thing again. It keeps creeping in and I keep getting to new levels of understanding of what it means to be present with life and with the moment and how much more rich it all gets when I am able to do so. Practice, practice, practice! And this, too, ties in to how we experience our sensual encounters - if we come down into our bodies and pay more attention to how we are enjoying with all of our senses, it automatically slows us down and helps us to savor the moment and be more in it. So nice!
So those are the thoughts that have been roaming around in my heart and mind as of late. I think I will end here. As always, it is so lovely to be sharing with you all. Do check out Joseph Campbell if you are in need of some inspiration. I think you’ll love it!
Thank you all for reading and for being part of my journey. I pray that all is well with you and that you have love and light in your heart.