Author of the Month

Waking From Sleep: The Causes of Higher States of Consciousness (cont.)
By Steve Taylor

It’s significant that this experience happened while the person was swimming, since sports can be a trigger of awakening experiences too. This is particularly true of sports which involve long periods of monotonous rhythmic activity, such as long distance running or swimming. The activity itself serves as a focusing device, and quietens the chattering ego-mind. Similarly, the poet Ted Hughes often experienced a meditative state while fishing. He notes how poetry depends upon the ability to focus the mind intensely, and believes that he acquired this ability through fishing. He describes the effect of staring at a float for long periods: “All the nagging impulses that are normally distracting your mind dissolve…once they have dissolved, you enter one of the orders of bliss. Your whole being rests lightly on your float, but not drowsily, very alert.”

This may also be part of the reason for connection between sex and spiritual states. The sheer pleasure of sex can shift our attention away from the ego-mind, which may fall silent as a result, bringing what D.H. Lawrence described as “the strange, soothing flood of peace which goes with true sex.” At the same time, sex may release new energy inside us, energy which is normally dormant but can arise and shoot through us like electricity. (There is a similarity here the volatile kundalini energy with, according to Hindu Tantric tradition, is coiled at the bottom of the spine.) Here, for example, an acquaintance of mine describes how she feels after she has orgasms:

I feel as if I haven't got any weight. There's a warm feeling running all through my body...Nothing else seems to matter, problems cease to exist, as if the feeling takes you over so much that there's no room for anything else. I look at things more clearly, look beyond what I usually look at. The colours seem more distinct; if you look at, say, a tree, you see it for what it really is, not just as a tree. You see it as nature, not just as an object.

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