All addictions are sexual — that is if we understand sex as an impulse toward release or bliss and not just exchanges of body fluids. For life itself is sex.
We were born in it and we die in it, and in-between we go through endless symbolic cycles of birth and death: cravings and aversions and boredoms with mundane existence that lead to more cravings, leading to disappointments (aversions) or fulfillments that ultimately come round to boredom and then cravings again. Only rarely do we abide within a peaceful joy and then shortly thereafter, like any addict, we need ... something new or more or better, and the birth and death cycle starts up again.
At some point we all realize this, but logic and the world outside tell us there isn't much we can do about it. So we might as well have all the fun we can, as we know how.
Then there are some who realize release from the cycle is release from misery itself. But release from misery isn't exactly happiness either, and so they eventually go back to the mundane cycle.
Sexual energy is powerful. Many addictive neurotics turned gurus or geniuses have also been known to have excessive amounts of sexual energy, which — though it often got them into trouble — was also, once under control and redirected, the very source of their illumination.
But really it can be the power of any deep craving, any strong addiction, that can be re-directed through dedicated surrender toward spiritual transformation. In yoga this transformation is explained in the science of Kundalini, where the reproductive system turns upon the self to rebuild one's being from the bottom of the spine upward rather than mindlessly dissipating this energy outward toward worldly pleasures.
This is one of many reasons why frivolous sex acts and any mindless habituation to the pleasures of the senses are strongly condemned in all scriptures. For it's the very pressure of restraint — not mindless repression, but a well-observed energy that thereby comes under our control — that enables us to cultivate that Shakti (power) or Kundalini energy and redirect it toward our edification.
No one will fully leave these illusions, however, unless they can sense something better or get a big motivator. So here's an inspiration: Some say that Buddha, while practicing his austerities under the tree of illumination, came to "an inner state of eternal orgasm." Happy austerities!
WILLIAM BRASHEAR is a Yoga Psychologist and owner of Cincinnati Yoga School in Blue Ash. He's been practicing progressive meditation since 1988 and gives lectures and instruction locally and internationally. Contact him at [email protected].