Archive for the ‘sex’ tag
In Jungian psychology, the journey towards wholeness is called individuation. In alchemical terms, this wholeness is represented by the masculine and the feminine symbolism which takes the form of a holy wedding between the king and the queen. Knowing that the images are symbolic is vital for understanding of the psychological process. Within the psyche, the anima, or soul, is the feminine aspect; consciousness is the masculine aspect.
As to be expected, there are other symbols that are used to illustrate the idea of completion, of wholeness. One that finds it way into contemporary society is that of the sun and the moon contained together. As I walk down the street of my tiny town, I can see numerous examples of this image including several that are on my house. In Jungian terms, the sun is symbolic of consciousness, of the masculine principle; the moon is symbolic of the unconscious, or feminine principle. It is vital to differentiate the masculine and the feminine principles from biological males and females.
In social terms, the union of a man and a woman with the resulting creation of a child produces a wholeness that all societies embrace as family. This union of male and female has its roots in instinct, in the will to survive as a species. The union also has the impulse for completeness, for two to become one for a moment, a moment in which allows a transcendence of the painfully prosaic lives we live as individuals, even if we are in relationship with others.
With the act of union completed, it doesn’t take long for each to retreat within themselves and begin a grieving process for the loss of the other, for the loss of a sense of being at one with oneself. One returns to suffering.
“In talking about sex, we are getting into a very big topic. We are getting into the fact that every life situation has meaning behind it, or a process of communication in it. Communication can’y be established unless there are two parties, one of whom is the activator and the other the receiver. On that basis, any communication can be said to be sexual, although I’m not being Freudian here. The passionate quality of sex, doesn’t have to be involved necessarily. In order to communicate anything, however, you do have to have the true element of union. From the tantric point of view, everything is interpreted that way – in terms of union. There is the union of samsara ad nirvana, the union of phenomena and consciousness. We interpret it all in terms of the feminine and masculine principles. Everything is seen that way. (Trungpa, Work, Sex, Money, p. 106)
The union of masculine and feminine, the union of all dualities, polarities – the union of opposites and the achievement of wholeness, of one-ness.
It’s summer solstice today and I am writing this at approximately two hours past the peak of the solstice. I found this image as a representative image for the solstice, an image of the masculine. As most who follow symbolism are are aware, the sun is symbolic of the masculine where the moon is symbolic of the feminine. The summer solstice is all about the sun.
Solstice is representative of the midpoint of a man’s life in as much as it represents the midlife of the annual journey of the earth around the sun, the point where man is at his peak, the moment when the sun is in the sky longest in the year. It is the time when a man is the most conscious of the fact of being a man, most feeling the power of being male.
If a man has truly worked at becoming conscious, he comes to a point of crisis as he realises that the life of spirit, of logos doesn’t fill him. All that has been believed, all the effort, the struggle now seems to ring hollow. At this moment, a man “knows” that he has peaked and that it he is now engaged in a journey back to darkness. If he is lucky, he has a guide to help him descend from the peak.
With a focus on what has been attained in the work of being a man, the fact that reaching the pinnacle of his essence as a male has not resulted in a sense of fullness, but of a paradoxical emptiness, a hollowness, a man is graced with the opportunity to move towards balance, the balance of light and dark, the balance between his masculine aspect and his feminine aspect.
And it is this embarking on a new journey that is to be celebrated at the solstice, the end of the honeymoon and the real work to come, the real work which will give life meaning and purpose. Those who resist this journey get lost in addictions which promise meaning: sex, power, money, dominance of others.
It doesn’t make sense to the objective world that it is in a descent into a subjective world that one finds purpose and meaning in the outer world. But who said it has to make sense in a “logos” kind of way? Too much of one thing leads to burn out, to a searing of the soul.
Though it might seem a time for mourning of one’s ego, a time for anger and resistance; midlife is a blessing if one can only dare to continue a journey of individuation, a journey in which one learns to embrace the feminine, the soul.
Passion, rawness, sex, lust, love – so many words that call to the basic instinctual command to couple as a species. There is no room for logic or consciousness, just a throbbing of the loins to mate. When we begin to think about what our bodies command, we begin to travel a different road, one that often contradicts nature. Nature compels us to mate, to preserve the species as it does for all other species, a biological command. However, being human brings forth a different dynamic, one that both embraces and confounds the urges and demands of nature. I want to return once more to Gao XingJian’s book, Soul Mountain to have him speak of this dynamic from a “Chinese” scene.
“Young women in groups of five or six come to the river-bank, some standing in a circle and others holding hands, and begin calling their lovers. Melodious singing rapidly fills the vast night. . . .
. . . It is totally instinctive, uncontrived, unrestrained and unembellished, and certainly devoid of what might be called embarrassment. Each woman exerts herself, body and heart, to draw her young man to her.
. . . I am suddenly surrounded by an expanse of passions and think that the human search for love must originally have been like this. So-called civilization in later ages separated sexual impulse from love and created the concepts of status, wealth, religion, ethics and cultural responsibility. Such is the stupidity of human beings.
. . . I see her expectant eyes in the darkness, unblinking and fixed on me. My heart starts pounding and I seem to return to the long-lost trembling of my passionate youth. I am drawn to her . . . I see her lips moving slightly although she doesn’t speak again and just waits, and the singing of her companions grows soft. . . .
I’ve never encountered this style of love. It’s what I dream about but when it actually happens I can’t cope.
. . . I’m afraid of shouldering the responsibility of even pursuing momentary happiness, I’m not a wolf but I would like to be a wolf, to return to nature, to go out the prowl. However, I can’t rid myself of this human mind. I am a monster with a human mind and can find no refuge. (Gao, Soul Mountain, pp 228-229)
Almost every day we can see for ourselves, when falling asleep, how our fantasies get woven into our dreams, so that between day-dreaming and night-dreaming there is not much difference. We have therefore two kinds of thinking: directed thinking, and dreaming or fantasy-thinking. The former operates with speech elements for the purpose of communication, and is difficult and exhausting; the latter is effortless working as it were spontaneously, with the contents ready to hand, and guided by unconscious motives. Jung, CW 5, par 20; cited in Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book One, p. 44
I am going to risk going out on a limb with today’s post. In saying that, I do want you to remember that what I say is not dressed up as some kind of truth, rather what I say is more apt to be a real reflection of what I intuit, understand, feel, perceive from my particular introverted attitude. I will try to speak using directed thinking, but don’t be surprised if non-directed thinking should appear and colour what I say in spite of my intentions.
Why this preamble? Well, I will dare to tread into the territory of differences between men and women. In my way of understanding, there is a difference. What comprises this difference, other than obvious biology, is not so easily understood by either men or women, individually or as collectives. I want to look at differences based on CGJ’s quotation above, on types of thinking. I see men operating more out of non-directed thinking in terms of relationship while women are more prone to operate using directed thinking. Though they are clichés, there is much truth based on human experience – men have their heads in the clouds and women are down to earth.
For example, take the act of making love between a couple that is passed the initial entrancement stage. While making love, the man is more lost in the feeling and in fantasies that often don’t get expressed. It is unlikely that thoughts will drift to prosaic thoughts. I would suggest that it wouldn’t be all that unusual for a woman to think about other things while engaged in intercourse – is the door locked, will I remember to do such-and-such, is the baby awake, what was that noise? Of course, over time, these kind of differences often lead to issues in relationship in terms of what intimacy is, what it looks like and even what love is.
Returning to directed versus non-directed or fantasy thinking, Daryl Sharp has this to add:
The movement from directed to fantasy thinking often occurs when the level of consciousness is lowered, as commonly happens when we are fatigued, ill, under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or erotically engaged.
It is arguable fortunate that directed thinking often gives way to fantasy thinking involving love and sex, or how else could the world go round? (Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book One, p. 47)
And for the one who doesn’t make the shift to fantasy thinking, there is a sense of being abandoned as the “other” seems to disappear into himself (or herself). Conflict then becomes an issue, not of love, but of being in different head spaces. Is one way right and the other way wrong? Not in the least. It is attempting to both get on the same page at the same time that is critical. I know, this is easier said than done.
I took this photo in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India in January, 2008. It is a detail from the outer wall of the Jagdesh Temple in the old inner city. Kama is one of the four sacred paths which lead to union with Brahman, the path that leads to Moksha, the escape from the wheel of life and rebirth. Four paths with Kama being the path of materialistic living.
Kama is not the same as the Jungian concept of coniunctio, the holy marriage the union of masculine and feminine, yet the end result is exactly the same. The escape from the wheel of life leads to Brahman, the transcendent reality, the divine ground, the return to wholeness through union with the one.
Sex is sacred and needs to be honoured as such rather than be a commodity bought and sold or bartered. Sex is not a weapon to be used to gain power or advantage or to punish. Sex is about celebrating the journey. Sex is a constant reminder of the need to bring union to opposites.