Human Instincts Part 2: Liberating the Sexual Instinct to Support Realization 

“When we talk about “erotic” in the spiritual sphere, it means that the divine and the physical and the love are all one presence. It has all of those characteristics. It’s pleasurable and fun and full and beautiful. It doesn’t have to distinguish between physical and divine. It’s the animal nature of our body along with the divine of our liberated freedom. It purifies the animal and the animal brings the aliveness to the spirit. 

There’s no need to choose.”

 -Karen Johnson
The Power of Divine Eros
Insights at the Edge interview with Tami Simon, A.H. Almaas, and Karen Johnson

To usher in Diamond Approach Online’s 2024 theme of working with the instinctual human drives, Diamond Approach founders A.H. Almaas (Hameed Ali) and Karen Johnson were interviewed for their reflections on the social, sexual and survival instincts. At this time of uncertainty – when we see the human instincts manifesting in distorted harmful ways throughout the world – Hameed and Karen felt it was particularly important to support our global community by offering teachings on the instincts to the public for the first time. The second of a three-part blog series, this blog delves into the sexual instinct, its origins and purpose, how it can become distorted and how it can be liberated to support our realization.

Inviting us to very deep, profound spiritual realities, the sexual instinct is a very important expression of the life force that can enable the liberation of our spirituality. Just as with the social instinct, which we explored in the first blog of this series, the sexual instinct can be liberated in a way that’s very different from our most common experiences of this drive. Engaging with this instinct can bring an experience of presence that is intensely pleasurable, sparkling, vibrantly pulsing with energy and magnetic love as one beautiful divine flow of vibrating delight.

The relationship between sexuality and spirituality has been a long-debated topic, with varying opinions and beliefs among spiritual traditions. Viewed on a continuum, sexuality can be focused on procreation, it can be pleasurable, and it can be the liberation of the erotic to become part of your life in the world and an added dimension to your spiritual life. 

The instinct for procreation is fundamental to all animals, including humans. With most animals, physical union is not driven by love and wanting connection; it’s driven by an innate need to create life and sustain the species. The drive for procreation is needed for life to continue, and that’s true for human beings as well. A most common experience of this drive, you might recall, occurs in your teenage years when hormones are surging. The sexual preoccupation and intense physical compulsion feels out of control.

In the modern world, sexuality is part of a healthy relational development. It may include the wish to procreate but is also the conduit for a loving pleasurable expression of love and union. The desire for physical contact and pleasure for many is equal to or more important than procreation. Today, we see new forms of sexual openness and diversity. We are also aware of the distortions of this drive in all manner of ways.  What we don’t hear much about in the conventional news and even most spiritual teachings is how the liberated sexual instinct has the potential for the transformative process of divine union nurturing the embodiment of our nature in the world as a true human being, a being of living, throbbing essential fullness.

One expression of openness that isn’t completely understood or clarified yet is a fresh way of looking at gender, sexuality, sexual expression, gender expression, identity, how you feel, and who you can love. It isn’t just about the binary; it isn’t just about procreation. This openness invites us to explore questions such as: Who do you love? How do you express that? Who are you attracted to? Who do you care about? Who do you want to share your body with? How do you want to share it? It reaches into what you feel inside, not just what your biology says. Desire in and of itself is pure and if understood, we can liberate that desire to fulfill itself more completely as the drive to know our pleasurable beingness.

On the other hand, the modern world is rife with sexual distortions. Many people are sexually frustrated or feeling dissatisfied in a world where sexuality has become more distant and abstract. The Internet has amplified alternative ways to engage sexually, such as pornography, online sex, sexbots and AI partners, and some individuals are not having sexual contact at all. For many, there is an absence of love and true connection in their experience of sex and sexuality. 

We all experience imprinting from our cultures, families, and religions that shape our developing sexuality. A lack of support and understanding can mean that the sexual instinct doesn’t develop in a healthy, liberated way. Instead, this natural drive manifests in distorted expressions, which could be as serious and painful as sex addiction or as common as intimacy issues with a life partner. Or for some, it is easiest to push away the drive altogether.

Fortunately, there are ways to work with the impact of our conditioning. We can bring awareness to our patterned beliefs about sexuality and be curious about opportunities beyond our current experience. This kind of exploration can shine a light on the blind spots we have about ourselves as sexual beings. Inquiring into our inner obscurations can liberate a desire to amplify and share our sexuality in a more open, uninhibited way that integrates the sexual drive with our spiritual nature, freeing our sexuality to support spiritual realization.

This will bring up our relationship with our body, including how sensitive our body is and how liberated it is for erotic energies to flow through it. For this kind of exploration, an embodied inquiry practice – where we can sense directly the openness or lack of openness to powerful, deep, and sometimes subtle energies – is crucial. A completely fulfilled sexual drive is a dynamic dance between spirit and body, where they are interacting, synchronizing, and becoming one.

Liberating the sexual drive eroticizes the whole body to be able to hold the sexual charge and be enlivened by the pleasure, the excitement, and the desire. The sexual instinct has pleasure in it, but pleasure at its roots is a good feeling that comes from goodness itself. That goodness is a spiritual quality rooted in love. So for human beings, love and the sexual instinct is a way to bring in the spiritual energy. 

That sexual energy is a vibrant, vivacious, wild kind of energy that when it’s liberated doesn’t mean having pleasure and sex with everybody you can.  It is about how to channel the energy, how to be with yourself, your partner, and with the bliss and pleasure and ecstasy that are not only profound and even satisfying, but it makes you feel, ‘Wow, life is doing its thing.’

Liberated sexuality is not just about having orgasms. While it’s nice to have orgasms, that is just the beginning of what sexuality really is. Sexuality involves levels of sensual connectivity, a level of union, all the way to spiritual union, which is really similar to union with God, with the divine. 

Our sexual drive can be an entrance into that divine union, and learning about that can help us in our human relationships. Our human relationships can express divine union. So the excitement of sexuality can become profound, deep, wide and varied, and when you meet another person that way, the pleasure is amplified. When there is the actual occasion of having a sexual interaction, you will have it with somebody who is not only appropriate, but the right partner. There are so many kinds of pleasures that we can access if our sexual drive is liberated. And our love is intertwined with the pull toward our partner and our delight is also in our making them happy and pleasured.

Our whole consciousness can be full, rich, vibrant and alive. The sexual instinct no longer has to be relegated to sex and union with another. It can be a portal to an entirely different way of experiencing ourselves, our relationships, and the world, enabling new states of consciousness to arise. When liberated, our erotic energy can expand into union with our nature and imbue our sexual satisfaction with the qualities of love, goodness, pleasure, bliss, compassion, strength, power, courage and all of the essential aspects of our True Nature. Working with our instincts psychologically and spiritually supports our spiritual practice so that our erotic energy can harmonize with love and the social instinct to bring forth the pleasurable aliveness of life meeting life.

Learn How to Work with Your Instincts as Fuel for the Spiritual Journey

If this blog resonates with you and you are interested in exploring your instincts further, join us for Human Instincts on the Spiritual Journey, a course taught by A.H. Almaas (pen name for Hameed Ali) and Karen Johnson. Through teachings and inquiring into your own experience in our global online community, you can take a deep look at your social, sexual, and survival instincts to see how they became impediments to your full realization. Bringing conscious awareness to these inner processes has the potential to liberate your instincts from historical conditioning and to support your embodiment as a fully realized human being.

New to this Topic?
Learn More in Realization in the Rough, a free talk with A.H. Almaas and Karen Johnson

Enjoy this video recording with Diamond Approach co-founders, A.H. Almaas (pen name of Hameed Ali) and Karen Johnson, to learn more about the instincts including how they are showing up in our daily lives and how working with them allows us to bring more light and consciousness into the world. 

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