Ram Dass, how can we make sex sacred?
Ram Dass: Things that come to mind in response to that question are the way in which you make something into a sacrament; the way in which you invest a ritual; the way in which you slow down the process so that lust is not – “lust” meaning the seeing of another being as an object. Because anytime you do anything which separates beings, you have profaned the universe. Anytime you fail to see the unity that lies behind the diversity, you’ve just closed your awareness to God, and you’ve separated people and isolated them.
And a lot of people who have sex end up feeling separate from their partners through sexuality, because they get involved in their own greed for a certain experience, and they don’t slow down enough to be with their partner; so that the sexual process increases the shared awareness of it.
In a relationship – and this really is in any relationship between two people, there are three points of the triangle: There’s the two partners, and then there’s the shared awareness, which is a third thing. And you keep feeding into that third thing until it is really awareness; it’s shared awareness that is playing with the energy that’s created by these two polar points interacting, the yin and yang or the yaub and yum or whichever way you want to call these two different energies working.
It’s as if one awareness is working with these two energies, and the minute you get identified with one of the energies or the other, you polarize the situation, you create opposite, you create other. And then you have profaned the way in which it is the One, delighting in itself.
For that process to happen, you have to slow down enough so that you take the initial desire system and slow it down, like in tantric practices where you sit opposite your partner and you have enough control and discipline to take each new level of arousal and move it into the shared awareness that exists between the two of you, so all of the energy is constantly feeding up the spine to bringing the two of you more into your heart and more into your wisdom and more into that shared awareness; and the energy keeps feeding in and feeding in and feeding in, until finally it is one awareness experiencing the transcendent moment of sexual union. And that’s the sacred part of it. The profanity lies in every time you use your partner for personal gratification.
But you can see how powerful those systems are – and how common the culture is about seeing other beings as objects. I mean, that’s what all of second-chakra stuff is about, is – all the pornography, all of it – is object sex, which is terribly isolating to human beings, and really demeaning to the human condition. I mean, it really makes it less; it profanes it. It cuts us off from God. And certainly something as exquisitely beautiful as sex shouldn’t cut us off from God.
– Ram Dass
1989 Summer Retreats – The Listening Heart Series
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