While at the trapeze aerial class last month, I overhead another student talking about meditation and I mentioned that I too enjoyed the practice. She recommended that I check out Against the Stream – a Buddhist meditation society here in LA which happens to be only about a mile and a half down the street I live on.
From the Air to the Cushion
While on the website, I discovered that there was a four-week series coming up that focused on sex, intimacy and communication on the Buddhist Path.
I signed up for the weekly discussions led by JoAnna Harper and this first evening was a mix of meditation, dharma talks and discussion.
Do No Harm
Basically, we’re exploring what the Buddha taught as principles for lay practitioners regarding relationship and sexuality. We all, as a group, shared our motivations for attending the series.
It was a bit unnerving to share such personal information with a room full of strangers, but it definitely introduced a level of intimacy and comfort after it was all said and done.
Each week we’ll be discussing the world of sensuality, desire and relationship because very little is found about this in Buddhism. Basically, the only thing really said about these topics is that we shouldn’t cause harm with our sexuality, which seems pretty vague and leaves a lot of area open to interpretation.
As the discussion wrapped up on this first meeting, JoAnna asked us to think about the ways in which we’ve caused ourselves harm with our sexuality.
She also suggested we try and recall our first ideas and feelings around our sexuality and compare those ideas to how we feel now in our lives.
Sensation and Patterns
My favorite part of the evening was when we sat together in a sensation-focused meditation for fifteen minutes. I love the feeling of being in complete stillness and silence with other people.
I know that I definitely have re-occurring behavior patterns around my sexuality that have caused me harm in the past. However, as I become more familiar with remaining mindful and grow more aware of what the sensations in my body are telling me, I find that I’m causing myself less and less harm.
It seems like everyone could benefit from taking some time to reflect on this concept. How have you caused harm (to yourself or others) through your sexuality? Are there habits you continue to act on that don’t serve you anymore?
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