On the Other Side of Shame, Approval of My Sexual Hunger

by Ravi  Jan 20, 2016
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Some know the story of Gandhari, a woman who took on a voluntary vow of blindness in an act of devotion towards her husband, the king, who was also blind. There was something special about the style of her sacrifice, perhaps its purity and lack of the need for approval, whereby she was granted a divine gift: a power to bestow invincibility upon a single person. It was a power befitting this woman who had sacrificed her sight for love. The design of the gift was simple — Gandhari would take her blindfold off for a moment, open her eyes, and all naked flesh of the person she chose to see could then never be hurt.

She asked her eldest and favorite son Dhuryodhana, the general of a large army, to come to the riverbank in the nude to receive this power. As he walked to the river, an advisor named Krishna came along and gave him some advice. He said, “Why don’t you wear a towel around your genitals? Are you really going to walk in front of your mother in the nude, as a grown man? Do you have no shame?”

And then Dhuryodana did feel a certain disgust about his brazenness, his disrespect, and his lack of propriety... so he borrowed a towel before meeting his mother. When she removed her blindfold and opened her eyes for the first time in decades, all her love and care and devotion alighted his body, across his skin, and penetrated his flesh and bones, from head to toe, except for his groin where he had wrapped the towel.

As the story goes, the love of Dhuryodana’s mother gave rise to his uncommon success on the battlefield. And his shame drew in his demise. His groin, which stayed covered and could not receive the gift of his mother’s special powers, became his Achilles heel, the one place he was weak and could be killed. And so he was. A direct blow to the groin, as Krishna would later advise his opponent in battle, is exactly what killed this otherwise invincible man.

This story came to my mind the other day after an experience I had had with my wife and our OM practice. I teach and practice Orgasmic Meditation precisely for its ability to uncover and address the subtle places where I’m not yet fully conscious in my relationship, to keep it continually evolving. It’s in our wedding vows: to maintain our relationship as a practice and crucible for awakening - individually and collectively, sexually and emotionally - and to continually aim at more depth and joy and love and play. And so when I have an issue such as I have been having, I bring that issue into my OMs.

So what was the issue? I had been noticing a place in our sex where I was hiding my desire and hunger behind a very subtle emotional wall of shame. It’s something I’ve helped hundreds of men through - the shame from cultural conditioning that tells us our sexual desire is inappropriate and should be kept to ourselves - and now here it was again, showing up for me. I could feel the instinctual desire to move in a certain way, to possess her with a certain prowess and layered texture, to let her feel me go out of control and not know what’s going to happen next. I wanted to do it, to just say yes and let go and yet still say conscious and present to any reaction she may have, but I couldn’t do it. I felt a surge of psychic impotence in bed. It was embarrassing, disappointing, and a little scary, because I could tell she was feeling it too.

As I brought this into our next OM, I could feel it happening again: a place where I didn’t let her in. I was hiding my sex. If I was to visualize it, it looked like a castle surrounding my pelvis, and an inner moat surrounding my genitals. There was something I felt embarrassed to let out.

“This totally ludicrous,” I said to myself. “This woman is actually my wife, she’s vowed to love me and find me right and worthy no matter what crazy thoughts or desires are in here. NO MATTER WHAT. And god knows I’ve revealed a lot to her already and she’s loved me out of many pockets of shame.”

So I opened it right there in our OM. I let her feel my sex, the desire to fuck her, the desire to have and hold something, to penetrate her with this full intensity of animalism, hunger, and artistry that I possess as a man - fully in his sexual rightness. And that’s when her body lurched and released more energy. I hadn’t changed a thing, hadn’t said anything or changed my stroke, other than dropping that subtle wall within me, that wall of being a nice guy without a powerful orgasm.

In that moment I began to feel something else. I felt nourished. I felt loved - in an odd place. I felt loved for how vulnerable it is to claim my sex in a world where I can be criticized for my hunger. I felt loved for how much I wanted her and this feminine magic inside of her. I felt loved for my brazenness, my risk-taker, my willingness to be the one who breaks the seal on our walled off sex. It felt amazing to feel loved there. Beyond words.

I have a hunch that what the story points to as “invincibility” for Dhuryodana, is really just allowing love in for all parts of ourselves. It takes a deep vulnerability to reveal all those parts that we think we should be ashamed of, and when we do, it’s surprising how powerful the relief is when we stop hiding.