Sex and enlightenment
Why sex and spiritual enlightenment are not so far apart.
Dragon Kings Daughter: Adventures of Sex and Love Addict narrates a true story of how a spiritually focused process of recovery transformed suffering into happiness. Framed within the context of a Buddhist philosophy, it goes without saying therefore, that not only does the book articulate a ‘spiritual awakening’ it references ‘sexual experience’ too. It was interesting to discover that both subjects proved the most challenging in the entire memoir to write. And, within a book that covers a multitude of challenging and often taboo subjects that was not insignificant! So what makes sex and enlightenment so difficult to articulate? And what do these subjects, often regarded as diametrically opposed or even conflicting, have in common?
At first I contemplated their ‘experiential’ nature. You can talk about them, read about them, study them all you like, but the knowing or understanding of them comes through experience not theory. In the last chapter of Dragon King’s Daughter, ‘Buddhahood’, I recognise this:
“What is Buddhahood? What is enlightenment?
For all that has been written over hundreds of years, this is a life-state that is to be experienced rather than described.” (Dragon King’s Daughter 2016, p183).
Working on the second draft, I was aware that a book concerning sex and love addiction didn’t actually contain any sex. This had been a conscious decision, but I chose to flag it with my editor. If there were any place in the narrative to describe the sexual experience to which I was addicted, one that kept me locked within the confines of an otherwise unhealthy relationship, this would be it. “Go for it!” my editor said. So I did. Or rather I tried…
To be honest, I found the passage even trickier than the one describing enlightenment. Maybe because rather than detailing the physical mechanics of sex, I wanted to try and articulate the feeling of the experience, and not just the physical feeling of two people being together, but even deeper than that. Could I capture the emotional experience of intimacy, the feeling when two souls combine? And so proved the most difficult section of all…
Reactions from early readers of the manuscript were divided. Non-Buddhist friends said, “We want more of it” and they were talking not only about the sex but about the enlightenment stuff too. Conversely, my (Buddhist) publisher said, “Cut it out, the book doesn’t need it”. Interestingly they were also talking about both subjects! “Let the story speak for itself,” they said. But isn’t that where a book has an advantage over the movie? Isn’t that a reason why we read books? To access a door that takes us directly into the author’s mind? And aren’t thoughts as important, if not more so, as the way in which things actually play out? No. What I sensed was anxiety and concern. And I can understand why.
Sex and enlightenment not only represent the personal experience, they are shrouded with layer upon layer of cultural and societal expectation, sensitivity and stigma. No one wants either forced upon them – and that’s fair enough. But nothing seems to create quite the same level of resistance when it comes to an open discussion. And that’s interesting too, because I have realised that both subjects are ultimately about connection. They are unifying experiences: Sexual intimacy – when two souls become one. Spiritual enlightenment – when one’s soul joins with the vastness of the Universe.
Within the pages of Dragon King’s Daughter I explore a personal search for connection, wholeness and love in the context of both sex and enlightenment. In the end, the biggest adventure is undoubtedly the spiritual one, and that’s an adventure that can live at the heart of each and every experience we have.
Dragon King’s Daughter: Adventures of a Sex and Love Addict is available for purchase on Amazon Worldwide.