Stories & Reflections
By Paulo Coelho
(Here I have transcribed some notes on conversations with J. between 1982 and 1990)
– Why has sex become a taboo?
– Because it is a process of alchemy: it transforms a vast manifestation of spiritual energy, which is love, into a physical gesture.
“It is imposible to understand sex as we see it nowadays – a mere response to a few physical stimuli. In reality, it is far more than that, and carries with it man’s and humanity’s entire cultural burden. Each time we face a new experience, we bring with us all past experiences – both good and bad – as well as those concepts which civilization has made into rules.
“This is not right, and we must recondition the brain so that each sexual experience is unique, just as each loving experience is unique.”
– Very difficult.
– Very. But one must try, because almost all human beings need to keep this energy in movement. So, the first thing one must understand is that it is made up of two extremes, which walk side-by-side during the entire act: relaxation and tension.
“How can one set these opposite states in harmony? There is only one way: through giving oneself completely. How does one give oneself? By forgetting the traumas of the past, and by not forming expectations about the future – in other words, the orgasm. How can one do this? Very simply: by not being afraid to err.
“In reality, what usually happens is that we begin a sexual relationship thinking that everything might go wrong. But even if it did, what importance would that have? One must merely be conscious of the fact that one must give one’s best, and any wrongs immediately are put right.
“Once the search for pleasure is being carried out by giving oneself, with sincerity, one senses the body becoming tense, like the string of an archer’s bow, while the mind becomes more and more relaxed, like the arrow being made ready to be fired. The brain no longer governs the process, which begins to be guided by the heart. And the heart uses the five senses to show itself to the other.
– The five senses?
– Touch, smell, sight, hearing, taste, all of them are involved. Oddly enough, in most sexual relations, people try using only touch and sight: acting thus, they diminish the fullness of the experience.
– Do both partners need to know all this?
– If one partner gives himself completely, he breaks down the barriers of the other, however strong they may be. Because the act of giving means: “I trust you”. The other, who to begin with may feel rather intimidated, wanting to prove things which aren’t even under discussion, is unarmed by the spontaneity of such an attitude, and relaxes. At that moment, true sexual energy comes into play.
“And this energy is not only present in those parts we call “erotic”. It spreads throughout the entire body, into each strand of hair and expanse of skin. Each millimeter is now shining a different light, which is recognized by the other body, and which combines with the other.
“When this happens, we enter a sort of ancestral ritual, which is an opportunity for transformation. All rituals, in whatever form, demand that one be ready to allow oneself to be led to another perception of the world. It is this will which lends the ritual meaning.”
– Isn’t all this rather complicated?
– It is far more complicated to have the sex one sees being carried out nowadays, a mere mechanical act, causing tension during the act, and emptiness afterwards. Everything spiritual manifests itself visually, everything which is visual turns into spiritual energy, I don’t think this is so difficult to grasp. After all, we are born knowing we have a body and a soul: why not understand that sex also has them?”
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