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from masturbation to meditation

Updated: Mar 18

One of my teachers, Layla Martin says meditation is the passive form of sex, and sex is the active form of meditation. I couldn’t agree with this more!

This is not an article about hedonism or pleasure as a way to cover up pain. Rather, it’s about why I think an intentional self-pleasure practice is one of the most effective tools to widen your tolerance to pain or other suppressed emotions by feeling all emotions are safe, and finally direct erotic energy to enhance your everyday life and deepen your spiritual path. 

Pleasure is something you always have. Whether you feel it or not in the moment, you can learn to access it. I myself used pleasure to increase my window of tolerance and balance my nervous system to move out of chronic pain from deep trauma and a serious bone infection that led to an actual near death experience. So, I’ve not only studied this via my coaching certification and initiations, but also stress tested these tools myself. 

According to non-dual shaiva tantra – the beautiful, deep and often misunderstood tantra that I align with the most philosophically, walking the spiritual path is mainly about discovering and integrating your “samskaras” (the impressions or patterns that are subconscious within us). These often originate in implicit memories (memories we don’t remember explicitly or in detail but might rather feel). They shape our behavior, and stem from experiences we couldn’t process at the time we had them, e.g. from childhood or otherwise suppressed emotion, causing stains coloring our glasses and perception. 

Active vs. silent meditation

The way I see it, the quietistic (more calm meditation or spiritual practices) often access these states via pratyahara (sense withdrawal via accessing deep parasympathetic, freeze states in complete silence focused only on breathing). In tantra, these quietistic meditations represent shiva, but tantra is often known for its active or dynamic meditations that represent shakti.

Note that both are important, and I invite you to always choose the path or practice that feels right to you in regards to your path or desire.  I also want to point out that a lot of people get turned off by this shiva/shakti dynamic, thinking it has to do with masculine/feminine, which is not really the case. It simply represents “ecstatic” and “instatic”, and was a way for the tantras to speak to our dualistic minds as humans. After all, the brain understands things in a “this not that” framework. Ultimately, non-dual tantra believes we all stem from the same source. 

Many people ask me what ecstasy means to me, and in the context above, I’m speaking of pure expression and action in alignment with our deeper truth. It doesn’t have to be pleasurable – it can be an “anger-gasm” or rupture in sadness … someone once said tears are simply orgasms from the eyes. 

Instatic talks then to the opposite – of looking inward in silence and contemplation. Not unlike the concepts on Yin vs. Yang. A deep connection and presence while speaking the language of the body is a skill many of us have learnt to cultivate here in the west, at large, although the body connection is often still weakened. For me, this is where tantric tools have incredible effectiveness in aiding us taking those last steps toward full embodied liberation. Tantra is about expression of your deeper truth, through your senses. Tantra is also not about sex, but is one of the few philosophies and practices that doesn’t deny our sex, life-force or creative energy, but rather uses it for our empowerment. Ecstasy is a core principle in tantra, but if you’re experiencing it without liberation, which is the higher order, you could say you’re not technically doing tantra, or having tantric sex for example. Although I see most of us are doing tantra today in one way or another, whether we are aware of it or not! 

I often meet people that “know” why they act the way they do, yet fall into the same patterns over and over again, that they are simply so sick of. It ends up being self-destructive. Whether it’s feeling free and organic in your intimate expression, speaking up at work, feeling your sexual energy is a source of power rather than IT overpowering your actions … tantra has a track record of tools that have held up for centuries in liberating us from these internal power-dynamics. I had a woman tell me the other day “I know what to think, it’s the acting on it that’s hard”. 

I like to say you can THINK things all day long, but if you don’t FEEL them, you won’t get anywhere. 

At large, I believe we need this other component of expressing somatically to truly heal and come back to the remembrance of our wholeness. 

The reason I bring this up is to set you up for understanding why I believe pleasure, and hence active or dynamic meditation, is such an effective healing tool. 

Why pleasure heals

Not only does it access the implicit memories by necessitating us to connect with our bodies deeper. It also creates a peak experience – one that our nervous systems can remember more easily, and hence creates an optimal opportunity for nervous system re-patterning. 

So saying something out aloud while self-pleasuring that you’re working on, like “I deserve deeper love” or “I am worthy of a higher salary” can truly make that real for you in your nervous system. 

Pleasure is one of the most powerful energies we have, that can be used to bust open any other locked up emotion in our bodies. 

As stated in “The Body Keeps the Score”, by Bessel van der Kolk (a must read for anyone that’s had a traumatic experience in their life or knows someone who has) …

"The rational analyzing brain in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex does not have a direct connection to the emotional brain, where most imprints of trauma resides, but the medial pre-frontal cortex does." 

What this means is that we need to get out of a thinking state to process trauma and/or look deeper within ourselves. Of course you can sit in silence and contemplate your samskaras, but most of us simply won’t have the drive or energy it takes to do that deeper work, within this lifetime, to become truly liberated or to thrive. 

This is where pleasure can truly serve as a driving force to do the deeper work, and alternating between pleasure and pain (or suppressed emotion) in a conscious way allows us to widen our window of tolerance for stress, anger, anxiety, sadness and any other emotions experienced as difficult to feel, or that we are used to suppressing. This is a powerful practice I teach in my 1-1’s, using a holistic approach to your body. 

I believe pleasure is the main driver for much of what we do in life, ultimately tied to procreation and survival. Silent meditation is fantastic - I do it daily now for example, but alternating with pleasure practices is such an important and beautiful compliment to reconnect with our life-force and bodies in more dynamic ways. Ways that I think here in the west, we truly have been missing.

This maps with the increased popularity of yoga in the past few years, and what is called “somatic therapy” (focusing on the soma = the body). If you don’t want to call the work I do tantra, somatic trauma integration is another good word for it. 

You see, as kids, we were connected with this dynamic life force - we moved and sang and made weird noises in liberated ways. But as we grow older we often lock our bodies into straight postures and quiet our voices, because that’s often what’s needed to navigate social norms and communicate cross-culturally. 

Most of us have a shame story around how we weren’t allowed to express our voices when masturbating as teenagers for example, and this story, at such a shaping age, often affects our global behavioral patterns more than we might know. 

Tantra is a beautiful way to liberate the body, voice and expression in a much faster way. But with great power comes great responsibility … as some anthropomorphized spider once said 😉 And this is very true when it comes to tantric practices. I want to make two things clear; first, the power always lies within YOU and not the guru or teacher. If you don’t feel empowered to achieve the same results on your own after a tantric session, you’re not in the right place. Tantra for the 21st Century is not about a guru disciple power dynamic. Sure, there are certain practices that are necessary to do in-person, but most of the wisdom practices can be transferred online nowadays, if done right. Secondly, the art of true tantra is a lot about learning how to direct this powerful energy in a way that you feel sovereign over your own body, decisions and destiny. Directing this energy in a way that supports you, from a truthful and empowered place, is why I have designed the Pleasurehacker Initiate Program. This is a self-paced online video course with playful exercises and worksheets, that delivers tangible results in how you experience your sovereignty, pleasure, and eventually allows you to feel that no matter what happens in life, you got this! Scroll down here to find out more about it.

It also teaches you how to start a regular, intentional, self-pleasure practice as a way to heal, integrate, and work with your nervous system to live in your desired reality in the bedroom, as well as in the boardroom. 

Even if you’ve never been sexually very active on your own, and maybe especially if you’ve been reliant on your partner/s for pleasure, I invite you into deeper curiosity around what knowing your own body, and loving it intimately, could do for your love life and life-force energy. Most of us have only scratched the surface of our bodies' experiential capacity and capability. 

I personally find life is simply too short not to go on an intimate journey of self-discovery. The immediate and tangible benefits are simply too good. And pleasurable! 

With love, power and grace,

Fabiola Einhorn


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