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- Pornography, Compulsive Habits, and Tantra (Audio)
Date: Mon Jan 3, 2005 0:36pm
It is recommended you read from the beginning of this tantra yoga archive,
as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "What
is tantra yoga?"
Q: I have a question about
pornography. I have a problem with this addiction, and masturbation, and I
want to know how to stop this bad habit. Please help me. I practice yoga and
meditation and I want to control this instinct. Thanks.
you for writing and sharing. Your desire to deal with an obsession for
pornography and masturbation means the solution is already being formed.
Desire is the first step. Your meditation is bringing up inner silence, and
that is calling your inner energies to a higher purpose. In this situation,
"vices" can become a means for yoga. By this I mean that, with a strong
desire for a higher purpose (bhakti), you can make good use of the methods
of tantra to transform your sexual obsessions. If you have not already,
please review the tantra lessons. There you will find techniques, including
the holdback method, blocking, and the count method, which can be used
during any kind of sexual activity in solo or partner mode to achieve the
primary goals of tantric sex -- preservation and cultivation of sexual
energy. This is brahmacharya.
But let's be clear about an important
point. Nowhere in the AYP lessons is sexual activity beyond our personal
norm encouraged for the purposes of tantra. Knowing sexual techniques is not
a license to engage in excesses we normally would not. I say this because
there has been some misunderstanding about it. For example, on the last
tantra lesson #T37 regarding the use of sexual
fantasies for tantra when they happen, some have asked if this is a license
to indulge in sexually covetous desires. No it is not. But if the desires
are happening, we will do better to make good use of them with tantric
techniques than to try and squelch them into karmic repressions that can
rise again later on. With bhakti, sitting practices, and tantric methods, we
can transform these to a higher purpose within our nervous system. Then the
energies will be contributing to our enlightenment, and be a burden to us no
The same thing goes for pornography and other sexual feelings
and behaviors that we may be obsessive about. They are not encouraged for
their own sake. But if they are happening, if the tendency and conduct are
there already, then we can redirect the energy through bhakti and tantric
methods. So, whatever our sexual tendencies may be -- whether they would be
considered normal or abnormal by us or anyone else -- they can be redirected
through yoga and tantric methods. You are experiencing this already with the
rise of your desire to overcome what you see as a destructive behavior. Yes,
it is destructive. But you don't necessarily have to shut it off. Maybe
better to redirect it to a higher purpose. In doing that, the tiger of our
unruly sexual obsession can be tamed to permanently serve a higher purpose,
rather than caged, only to eat us later when the tiger escapes again -- and
Obviously, if our conduct is such that it breaks the law or
seriously endangers ourself or others, then that conduct should be stopped
The permanent transformation of our nervous system to
naturally express the blissful inner silence and ecstasy that are inherent
within us is the key to overcoming all obsessive behaviors. This is the role
of yoga. Whether it be a simple desire for truth (bhakti), sitting
practices, asanas, tantric sexual methods, or joyfully engaging in service
to others, all of these are tools to promote purification and opening. The
more aspects of good yoga practice we can incorporate in our daily routine
in an orderly fashion, the sooner we will be seeing our obsessions melting
into our steadily rising enlightenment. So, keep up your practices, and add
more as you are able without undo strain. The procedures of "self-pacing"
should always be applied. The topic paths on the web site lists lessons for
this important aspect of practice -- self pacing, which is about regulating
practices is such a way so as to achieve maximum progress without creating
undue discomfort or risk.
habits are particularly strong, then yoga practices alone may not be enough.
Our nervous system is a window to the infinite. Yoga cleans the window in
very refined ways. If we have an addiction that is especially strong, then
obstructions could be accumulating on our spiritual window faster than yoga
can clean them off. Then our ability to meditate or practice other yoga
methods could be hampered. A strong addiction related to alcohol, tobacco,
drugs, money, food or sex, can hold us back. What can we do in this
The "Twelve Step program" developed originally by
Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s is a highly effective means for dealing
with compulsive habits, and has been expanded to cover every kind of
If you look in the
AYP links section under "Twelve Step Programs," you
will find some useful resources there. If yoga is not able to clean the
window due to a deep-rooted compulsive habit, then the twelve step program
can be a useful compliment. The goals of the twelve step program are
consistent with yoga, and whether we consider ourselves to be compulsively
addicted or not, developing a familiarity with the principles of the twelve
steps is very worthwhile.
It is up to each of us to decide our
course in life, and take the necessary steps to travel our path. I wish you
all success on yours. Enjoy!
The guru is in you.
Related Lessons Topic Path
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Note: For detailed
instructions on the methods of tantra in relation to the broad scope of yoga
practices and the enlightenment process,
see the AYP Tantra book.
Also see AYP Plus.
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