Meditative Sensual Massage (MSM) is often a wonderfully affirming and rejuvenating experience. Not only is it pleasurable and enjoyable, but often it provides a vehicle for our personal transformation, self-realization and spiritual growth.
It is not surprising then, that regular practice of MSM in its fullest form (with aspects of physical and mental connection, affirmation, touch) can serve as a healing, cleansing and freeing force. Especially so, because we live in a society that is touch-averse, where physical contact is shunned, avoided or feared. Thus, many of us already suffer from a deficit of touch, and restoring that deficit brings us back into balance again.
Usually, healing and rejuvenation happens gradually over time, and is not the main objective of a session. In some cases, however, the healing aspect takes centerstage. In this series we cover aspects of healing via meditation, touch and massage.
If you resonate with some of the statements below, MSM and healing touch may be suitable for you:
It’s been a long time since I’ve last had a good cuddle / snuggle with someone.
I feel I may have self-confidence / body-confidence / self-worth issues.
I have some emotional or sexual traumas that impede a healthy body and mind.
I feel I do not know much about my own body and pleasure profile.
I have never experienced an orgasm before or can’t orgasm easily.
I feel that my attitude towards my sexuality impedes my fullest enjoyment and ecstasy; I do not enjoy my sensual and sexual nature as much as I should.
I feel like I’m stuck in an emotional rut - obsessive thoughts, fears cloud my mind.
As seen above, much of this has to do with mental or emotional imbalances. Meditation *and* touch can help, using the synergistic relationship between our mind and body to effect positive change.
As this is a fairly long topic, we’ve broken this series down into 3 articles:
1) Overview, mindsets & resistances 1/3 (this article)
2) Learning to flow with the stream 2/3
3) Practical exercises to help 3/3
Right understanding, Right thought
Inside each of us is a spontaneous, joyous, playful, childlike spirit who wants to be free to savor everything and love everyone, a spirit that wants to live to the fullest through all our senses. Meditate and you should sense a resonance with the truth in this statement - take some time to consider it!
Along the way, however, many of us lost our basic nature of playfulness and freedom. Why? Because, unfortunately, modern upbringing doesn't teach us key values of loving ourselves and enjoying life - instead, modern society pursues materialism and the accumulation of money in and of itself. This leads to neglect of our inner self. Society, education, commercialism, religion and other social structures build around and reinforce this focus.
As such, we're made to feel and live unnaturally by social conditioning and moral codes that don't serve our inherent make-up. All the do's and don'ts of human society produce inner struggles against our basic desires. From young, we are conditioned and learn taboos, injunctions, laden with guilt or shame. Women and men who've been sexually exploited, abused, and wounded carry even more baggage.
This conditioning and baggage goes so deep we sometimes even question our natural instincts and second guess them!
There is no condemnation going with the flow of our natural instincts
Focusing on pleasure is the Tantric way of living. And MSM can help to restore balance to our focus. You may ask - isn’t focus on pleasure inherently selfish? We beg to differ! Consider this - unless one has an excess of something, it is difficult to truly give others without reservations - this universal rule applies to almost anything and to everyone.
Think of us as a container: when a container is empty, it’s not possible to pour anything out from within. Fill ourselves up and we will be able to give of what is within to others. If it is positive, we can give positivity to others, if it is negative, we naturally exude the negativity to those around us. Thus, the ideal state is that of us being filled to abundance and letting the goodness naturally overflow to those around us. Before we can do so, we will need to fill, and constantly re-fill ourselves.
To re-program, is a process of emptying the negative and re-filling with the positive. Nature abhors a vacuum - it’s not possible to remove the negative alone without replacing it with something else. Thus the first principle is to accept that it is good and right for us to respond to and welcome pleasure without shame or guilt.
This leads us to consider blockages & resistance to pleasure that hinder our fullest enjoyment of life.
Blockages & Resistance
Along the path in pursuit of pleasure, we all run into blockages or resistance. When we relax, exercise touch, and enjoy our physical bodies, we often encounter old baggage that blocks our excitement and pleasure.
Blockages and resistances are anything that gets in the way of our natural flows of life energy. When something goes smoothly, it flows without issue. Remember a time you felt vibrant, alive, eager, and joyful - that’s a state of ‘flow’. When we are healthy, feeling good - energy flows continuously and smoothly.
Sensual and sexual pleasure, (including orgasm too!) is a prime example. When you are in the flow, your body is dynamic, your mind is clear, and your spirit soars. When it's inhibited, you don't. Resistance is happening, and there's a blockage.
With resistance, we may feel turned off, repulsed, angry, irritated, frustrated, hopeless, or depressed (or other negative feelings). We want to feel pleasure, we want to enjoy the color and taste of living, but something gets in the way.
In general, resistance comes from internal conflict. Psychologically, it's caused by thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that are in conflict with what you want. These inner inhibitions may block you from giving and receiving pleasure, pursuing your deep desires, opening yourself up to fully love others and more. It might simply feel uncomfortable, or you may experience some form of fear, anxiety, or even anger.
• Maybe you're feeling down about not having what you want or what you think you should have.
• Maybe you have high standards and expect more of yourself and others.
• Maybe you feel there's something wrong with you or what you want.
• Maybe you’re pushing to achieve some goal and doubt your ability to succeed.
• Maybe you feel that anything you might want is dirty, bad, or evil.
As you can see, this usually stems from deeply internalized rules about enjoying life that get the way of pleasure. Unfortunately, society as a whole seems structured to discourage and denigrate such free, exuberant living.
A feedback loop
When everything is functioning properly, energy is flowing. You have a desire, from love, lust, image, touch, fantasy. In response, the automatic mechanisms of your body create arousal.
As you begin to experience good feelings, the autonomic nervous system carries those messages back to the pleasure centers of the brain creating a feedback loop. In other words, when you get turned on, you get more and more turned on without much effort. Of course, this assumes that your conscious mind isn't interfering in any way and lets your body take over. When you welcome the desire, your energy flow creates passion.
When you have some built-in resistance, your beliefs and feelings conflict with this wonderful human process of arousal. Consciously or unconsciously you're thinking "nice guys/girls don't" or "it's not right" or something similar. These resistant beliefs block the natural flow of messages to and from the brain. The feedback loop is stopped in its tracks and your excitement wanes.
If this pattern isn't modified, your pleasure channels shut down. The maxim "use it or lose it" applies here - over time, as we neglect the pursuit of pleasure, we reduce and even lose our ability to experience it.
When we aren't really conscious of the resistance mechanism at work, these confusing mixed messages can drive both giver and receiver crazy.
How do we help to address and resolve this? The subsequent article shares our thoughts on this. Stay tuned!