The Big OM: Your Brain on Sex & Meditation
- Pamela Madsen
I was lost in my mantra. It didn’t matter that I was sitting in a room surrounded by almost 300 other meditating souls. I was lost in trance. I had no physical body. I had let go of thinking. I was floating in a place that I have only found when I was lost deeply in my own sexual pleasure – riding the waves of simply being. How could that be? I was meditating in a crowded room?
I love it when I come across scientific papers that prove to me that the experiences that I’m having are real and not some figment of my own overactive imagination. I’m just back from studying meditation with Dr. Deepak Chopra, and Davidji at the Chopra Center in San Diego. Their workshops are a soul-opening opportunity. I loved the “Journey into Healing” workshop.
But I have a confession to make: I had sex on the brain the entire time, because in each meditation I was having my own personal epiphany about my brain’s relationship to sex and meditation. The trance states that I was accessing during meditation often felt like the same trance states I could experience with ecstatic sexual experiences. I keep wondering why we weren’t talking about this. And I didn’t want to bring it up. As it was, I kept being identified as the “Sex Expert.”
I worried that my Chopra friends would think I was just caught up in my own professional biases. But, I knew what I was feeling, and I started to research it as soon as I got home. I kept thinking how wonderful it would be to ramp up the use of meditation as a tool in sexual healing. Many sex educators were already doing this as a part of the slow sex or organic orgasm movement. Meditation is the perfect entry point to many profound sexual experiences. Successful meditation and successful sex all start with the same three key entry points:
1. Get comfortable.
2. Slow down.
3. Connect to the breath.
When we are able to approach sex just like we approach meditation (without rushing to go somewhere fast) we are able to touch deeply ecstatic or erotic states where we have “alterations in bodily perception” and a “diminution of self awareness,” as mentioned in a Scientific American article called “The Neurobiology of Bliss – Sacred and Profane.” These shared experiences are found both in subjects deep in meditation and in people having sexual experiences.
As I got more practiced at meditation, I was able to feel my ego dissolve along with my own general sense of self-awareness. As I floated into “the gap,” the place that Deepak Chopra says is the place without words, I also noticed that I lost track of where my body was in place and time. Oh yeah, I have been in these places before and it was not in the lotus position!
According to studies, when you meditate, the left side of your brain becomes activated and when you engage in sexual activity, the right side of your brain runs the show. Both of these brain responses helps you to stop the constant thinking or talking in your brain. And herein lies the key—when you are able to stop the chatter, and float into what can be called “falling into the gap”, “states of higher consciousness,” “erotic trance states” or even what is known as “sub space”, your brain helps you by allowing you to lose physical and mental boundaries. That is where we can find enlightenment or dare I say it – bliss.
According to the article in Scientific American:
“Until eight years ago, neuroscience had little scientific basis from which to comment on bliss, sexual or otherwise. Despite our public fascination with things sexual, as researcher, Gemma O’Brien put it, ‘orgasm is not impersonal and third person enough for the sciences.’ Neuroscience was hobbled by the avoidance of such squashy topics, even if it meant setting aside important parts of human experience. However, a clearer portrait of pleasure is now emerging. Bliss, both sacred and profane, shares the diminution of self-awareness, alterations in bodily perception and decreased sense of pain.”
So what do you think? Are you ready to get your mantra on and connect to bliss states?
I do it twice a day now. After all, Dr Chopra recommends that. And I always listen to the good doctor!