Sex in the Afternoon (on a meditation retreat)
A couple of years after the 1971 Majorca course, I was in Switzerland on a meditation course, and found out for myself what a delight sex in the afternoon is when your days are spent in meditation and doing yoga asanas.
Previously, I had never even thought about having sex on a meditation retreat – I had to work way too hard to make the money to go to wherever the meditation course was happening – Colorado, Maine, Majorca, Switzerland, France – and live in a hotel for months. I was spending money I had made grooming the greens of golf courses at 4 a.m. Additionally, I was totally desperate to break through the incredible psychic pain I was in, and get healed. Also, sex was something that to me was much more fun on the beaches of Southern California. I knew of gorgeous, deserted beaches where I could take my girlfriends for sex, and to me that was the ultimate, to surf and swim all day and then make love at sunset with the waves crashing nearby.
But here we were in Switzerland, in the little town of Gersau on Lake Lucerne, and a really hot young woman, a year younger than me (I was about 24) had developed an interest in me, and found excuses to come to my room. Let's call her Amanda, (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent).
The Divine Bath
One attraction was that my room had a bathtub overlooking Lake Lucerne. All you could see was the lake and the mountains on the other side. It was a mind-stoppingly beautiful view and a huge, comfortable tub. She asked if she could come to my room and take a bath and I said sure. I did asanas and meditated in the other room while she took a bath. An hour later she emerged, wrapped in a towel, glowing with delight. She stood there looking at me and then let the towel drop.
The view from the bath tub was way better than this
This developed into some of the best sex I have ever had, and certainly the most extended period of heavy petting ever in my life. Amanda was luscious, exotic, brilliant and tasty, and she had one rule, that I couldn't put my penis inside her. This was mostly because we did not have any birth control, and partly in honor of the idea of celibacy while on a meditation course. She figured that as long as I did not enter her, we weren't technically having intercourse, and so we could ravish each other to our heart's content and it would be a kind of sexual yoga.
Each day, we would be in our separate rooms, doing asanas and meditating all morning. Then at lunch we would meet and make jokes and laugh, then wind up in my room for a leisurely make-out session before doing our afternoon asanas, pranayama and meditation. We would lick each other all over, touch everywhere with infinite gentleness and delight. All with the sense that, any minute now we are going to stop and get on with our meditations. It's interesting to make love when you have the attitude that you can stop at any time and go meditate, and that is OK. It totally changes the context, you are not rushing to get anywhere – you are just lingering in a delicious moment. And she was incredibly delicious, and would come again and again. (It was OK for her to come).
It was there with Amanda that I learned that when you have your tongue on a woman's secret spot, you can see all her chakras vibrating, all the way up her spine and body, and play with the resonance of all those energy centers. That is, if your senses are totally wide open and your third eye is open. And then when she orgasms, you both dissolve into a golden and sparkling awareness of God.
Another thing I learned there, kneeling between her knees, is that you can accept the universe exactly as it is and forgive everything that has ever happened to you. There is a point, as the pleasure is building, where to go further, you have to accept what God is doing with Creation. To dive deeper into the ecstasy, you have to forgive everyone and everything from the past. You have one heartbeat to do this, which is all the time it takes to accept the dark dynamics of the universe, whatever mysterious alchemy God is doing that scooped up and dragged this matter you are made out of and spun it into form, a form for you to incarnate in, and now, here you are lit up, and all that matter is singing and turning into light and rediscovering where it came from.
Amanda, just by being there, was saying all this somehow. Her body was radiating this truth and this challenge: "Take me, take me now, I am yours, but have no other thoughts. Come clean before you come to me. Have no ambiguity, be whole."
"Be enlightened as you taste me."
"You have one heartbeat to accomplish this. If you are going to do it, that is all the time you need. If you are not going to go for it, don't waste my time and yours. Come to me with pure gratitude for everything that prepared you for this moment. Come to me as a pure clean being. Come to me as a man who is at one with God. Enter me as an act of worship, with single-pointed alertness."
There is a sense of choice also, which adds to the freedom. You can stop at any time, in many ways. And you automatically stop if you don't keep melting into the light and delight. If you want to hold on to something from the past, that is OK too, but you can then go no further into whatever that divine something is. The ecstasy will stop and politely leave you alone.
If you say, "OK, whatever led to me to this point is by definition a necessary journey, because I am here . . ." then you have said to the universe, "OK let's go – take me deeper into love and life." In total sex, every cell is vibrating intensely, and so you can say with every cell, "Let's go – all the way, let's dive." The physicality is as total as taking off on a wave, or pointing your skis down a hill. This is the essence of yoga – to be unified in every cell, every particle, and be all trillion cells and say as one voice, thank you.
We were both experiencing this divine quality to the lovemaking, as if we were musical instruments being played by skilled hands. Each moment was surprising, and unexpected, and then at some point in the afternoon's play, Amanda would jump up and go off to her room to meditate and do asanas.
There is a wave motion to sexual desire, where the energy builds and intensifies, and then you can go into orgasm, or meditate on the energy and allow it to diffuse and melt into everywhere. We had a secret deal that either one of us could stop at any time and say, "OK, now I want to meditate." This gives rise to a feeling of freedom and spontaneity. You are not planning anything and not bound to a script.
Amanda could tell instantly if my mind wandered, if I got distracted by something, and would instantly jump up and go off to do her meditations. And that seemed fair.
My afternoon meditations there on the lake were the most prolonged periods of mental silence I have ever experienced and changed me permanently. After Amanda left, I would close my eyes and open them 45 minutes later, having had just three or four thoughts the whole time. By contrast, my usual rhythm in a meditation was to have a few seconds or a minute of pure inner silence, then minutes of thoughts and sensations, then some silence again. The clarity of my being was as total as I have ever experienced. Vivid.
This is what I would see when I opened my eyes. Usually there was no boat.
In sex, there is a rhythm of giving and receiving. Sometimes you are active, leaning over and kissing someone, and sometimes you are receiving, you let someone kiss you, glide their hands over you. This receiving is a very active process, in which you consciously attend to the tiniest sensations and appreciate the music the other person is making with your body. To truly receive a loving touch, you have to let your own body and soul become married, fused into one vibration of delight. You have to be willing to tremble with the slightest touch. Giving and receiving in this way is a kind of yoga, an integration. Yoga means union and is cognate with the English words join, joint, junction, and adjust. Sexual union can be a profound yoga, and to fully experience even a light touch requires every bit of awareness you are capable of bringing.
All that loving, and the exquisite beauty of my relationship with Amanda, was lifting me into a realm of purity I had never experienced with such totality before. There was nowhere on Earth I would rather be. There was no one I would rather be with. I had glimpsed this kind of awareness of being, for a few minutes here or there. I had visited being awareness for a few minutes or hours before, but this was marriage – I married that level within myself and in the world. I was one with the life force. It was as if there were an invisible ocean of creamy nectar permeating everywhere, as vast as the solar system and as personal as a glance, and I was one with that. And as I sat there in almost perfect stillness hour after hour, I merged with it.
I dissolved from being Lorin and merged into this all-permeating light. Then I condensed again from the diffuse light into being Lorin. Just a faint outline of my skin, then back into the light. Then entering my bones and appreciating how solid they are, then melting again into radiance. Then entering each of my senses in turn, vision, inner vision, touch, inner motion sensing, taste, smell, hearing, and appreciating how each sense gives you a different way of experiencing light and delight. Back and forth, dissolving and then re-incarnating as Lorin.
The years of meditation had prepared me for Amanda and given me the sensory ability to really perceive who Amanda was, to accept the gift the goddess was giving me through her. Think of a diamond or a diamond-like gem, pure clarity. No color at all, but somehow it has brilliance. Then think of water, completely mobile, completely flowing. That is what I felt like – diamond pure and also completely flowing.
And there was another quality – it was as if the diamond that I was now, was made up of the black carbon of my life previously. The incredible burning heat and pressure of my life experience and then my meditation training had done something to me, something akin to what the Earth does to a lump of dead plant matter that becomes a lump of coal and then a diamond. I had never heard of anything like this – this was not at all the language Maharishi was using at the time. And Maharishi was a monk – the feeling was, it's all about sitting in a cave. I was in a luxurious hotel room in Switzerland in winter, sitting in a wooden chair, feet on the ground. A totally different image.
Another great gift of that meditation course was that there was nothing going on in the evening, nothing compelling. Which meant I got to spend many evenings with Sarah, a woman who loved Sanskrit as much as I did. There was nothing sexual in our relationship, the attraction was about singing in Sanskrit. We did pujas together, chanting hyms and improvising with the mantra-sounds like jazz musicians - lingering here, speeding up there, letting a space of silence open up and become vibrant. During these pujas, I felt completely close to the tradition of teachers going back in time. I felt connected, easy, and natural with them. I have never spent time with anyone else who instinctively knows how to improvise in Sanskrit.
That course ended, and Amanda and I went off to Lucerne and got a room and had sex for a few days and explored the city. We laughed because the lovemaking wasn't as exquisite as what we had been experiencing on the course. We suddenly felt awkward and slightly out of synch. She was a bit worried about going back to her life, with its thousand unsettled details. We did not know how to transform our cheap hotel room into a temple. And there is so much to learn about making love to one person. I think it takes years to learn to really make love to one woman in all her moods.
We flew Swissair back to New York. Going through customs, there was a moment when Amanda went ahead of me through the line. The customs officer searched her bags and then sent her on, and you are supposed to keep moving into the next room. Amanda paused, turned and looked back. It was a look with such longing that it warmed up the air all around her. The customs officer apparently felt it, because she looked up from her work startled, and glanced at me with a look of "What is happening here?" I was standing totally still, just feeling, and so the officer, a black woman of about thirty, turned her head and glanced at Amanda and understood instantly, then turned back to me and waved me through, with a delighted smile, blessing us. I really did feel that she blessed us, welcoming us back to the world.
I thought about this for a few minutes as Amanda and I walked through the airport. Hmm, seemingly telepathic customs officers! That makes sense, that someone whose job it is to make quick judgment calls would develop their intuition to a high degree. The speed of the officer's perception impressed me, because her glance at me, to Amanda, and then back to me was just two seconds, and she did not doubt herself at all. Ever since then, when traveling, I always give whatever border guards I encounter full permission to scan me with their intuition. Let them do their job.
One of the definitions of meditation is to be there at the gates of perception, noticing what comes and goes. In breathing meditation, notice the air as it flows in, turns, and flows out, then turns to flow in. Be there and feel the contact, you and the vast ocean of air.
Amanda lived in San Francisco and I lived in Laguna Beach, so every couple of weeks for the next several years we would fly back and forth and have long weekends of great sex.
The story of Amanda continues, the next meditation course we went to together.