Bisexuality and the Virtue of Sensitivity

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” Edgar Allan Poe[1]

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)We cannot be too sensitive, but we can learn to direct our sensitivity so that it becomes a virtue rather than a source of confusion and pain. If we honor our sensitivity, we are on our way to self- actualization.

These next five blogs are about our becoming the best we can be. Maslow in his hierarchy of human values believed the ultimate goal was self-actualization which he associated with finding meaning and purpose in life. In his study, he looked at people he believed had special qualities that made them special people. I believe that being special is developing the five major virtues that allow us to live life the way it was intended to be according to some universal principles that are beyond the scope of meaning and purpose. It is about being rather than doing.

As human beings, we have a natural sensitivity that over time gets dulled and repressed due to harsh and sometimes painful life experiences. To reach self-actualization, we have to reawaken our natural sensitivity and develop and perfect it so that we can use our feelings for guidance and the pursuit of joy.

Our brains naturally are built to take in information from all our senses and to combine the information to form feelings that lead to the pursuit of happiness. The self-actualized person learns to select and enhance the positive feelings and to evaluate and process the negative ones. Physiologically that includes using the frontal cortex and the dopamine pathways to solve problems and then returning to the pleasure center and the serotonin pathways which are free of constructive or destructive anxieties. We are not built to linger in the anxiety that comes from the front of our brain; our main purpose is to pursue and enjoy pleasure in all its forms through our senses.

The greatest source of pleasure from our senses is rooted in love, including intimate love with a partner and the love of life. I go around my yard every morning thanking the flowers for sharing their beauty with me. I wait for my beloved to wake in the morning and greet her with a warm embrace and an “I love you.” I open my day in meditation where I sit on my front deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean and shut down my mind and concentrate on all the senses my beautiful body is providing, including the smell of vegetation, the feel of the sea air on my face, the sound of the birds, and the taste of a hot cup of coffee. I think about my children and grandchildren and my close friends and allow my feelings of love to build and flow out to them. I plan the day, things I have to do and things that I can ask the universal life force to do for me. I concentrate on completing my tasks and then return to enjoying my senses with a walk or a bike ride along the beach or reading a good book on a bench in my garden. I thank the universal love force for each day, and for each moment of each day. I pursue happiness through my senses and use my wonderful frontal cortex and dopamine neural pathways to plan ways to keep me in a state of bliss.

 

Five applications to bisexuality:

  1. Sex is a great source of pleasure. It includes all our senses. Learn to use them all, not just the sense of touch. We can open up our sense of smell to include scents and pheromones. Our sense of smell is directly linked to the old brain and the limbic system and the amygdala. We can enjoy taste, touch, and sight, and listen to the heavy breathing of our lover. We can make making love truly making love.
  2. We can love life and love our body. It is a gift. We can explore it and enjoy it, and not just the genitals. If we limit masturbation we can let our whole body enjoy loving touch. We can hug ourselves and touch all the parts of our body and thank these parts for doing their job and adding to our pleasure. We show our body that we love it.
  3. Seeking the sensations of sex with a new partner can be exciting but it is nothing like the joys of familiarity that comes from working on expanding the pleasure we can enjoy with a steady partner. We can seek to develop that one special relationship where we can share and explore together without the rush of an encounter with a stranger.
  4. Our bisexuality is more than just a sexual orientation. It is an ability to sense things at a deeper level. We can employ the full range of feminine and masculine characteristics. We have a wider view of life. The key is to follow our feelings and let them lead us to all aspects of pleasure.
  5. Expand our senses. Meditate but not in mindlessness. There is more out there to enjoy than just the sound of our own breathing. We can use this time to explore all the sights and sounds and smells around us and then thank the source of universal love and life for the privilege of just being alive.

[1] Virtue Science. https://www.virtuescience.com/sensitivity.html

Bisexuality and the Love Virtues

“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”[1]

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)It is oh so true. The whole focus of loving anyone, anything, is to be loved in return. The people who wrote the New Testament of the Bible understood this greatest need of mankind and provided us with the image of Christ, the perfect love, the truly unconditional love, which perhaps does not exist outside of the Christ ideal. Love, just by its nature, demands that it gets something in return. We need to be loved and to feel loved unconditionally, for just ourselves or in spite of ourselves.

As seen in a previous blog, the Greeks had six words for love; I would like to narrow that down to two – eros, which is hormonal and mental, and agape, which is mental and spiritual. Erotica comes from the root work eros, but it is much more than that. It covers all the aspects of romantic or physical love.  I will not attempt to add anything to this most used and misused word in the English language, except to say it is hormonal in nature and connected to the pleasure center of the brain. Agape is the essential part of the love virtues that we have just covered in the last five blogs. They include kindness, compassion, empathy, desire, and passion. Rather than rehash them individually, I would like to demonstrate how they all fit together to provide us with agape love.

First of all, agape love is a feeling that comes from the higher self. It is the love energy, or universal positive energy, or the god energy that flows through us when we are interacting positively with other human beings. It involves a three way resonance of vibration from the higher self, another’s higher self, and the external universal flow. It is the feeling we all seek; it is part of our physical and spiritual genetic makeup. The writers of the Old Testament tried to express this love by the action of god breathing life into Adam. In other words, love is essentially our life energy.

It is this life-love energy that is part of the bonding process, where we give of ourselves to mate, create and nurture our offspring. This child-parent bond is the closest we will ever get to unconditional love; yet, the motive is still based on the desire to be loved. If our children return the love we give, we are content and feel a kind of divine purpose being fulfilled. If our children do not return our love, we suffer the greatest of heartbreaks.

The next closest we get to unconditional love is with our romantic partners; however, if we do not feel love in return, we will eventually wear down spiritually and seek a new partner who is willing to give us the love we desire. And what is this love? Yes it is romantic, and yes it is eros based, but it is much more. It is what I call intimacy or the heart to heart connection that is based on sharing the life journey to self-actualization. In other words we support each other, offering encouragement, and mirroring back to each other where we are on the journey of life, and where we truly need to go.

The agape love stems naturally from these other two loves, but it can also exist in isolation by attaching our higher self to the universal flow of love. We can receive a tremendous boost of energy to share with others in the form of kindness, and compassion.  Yes it is altruistic in nature, but we still want some form of love in return. This can be experienced through appreciation, respect, and connection with other human beings in the form of empathy. When we receive these three gifts in return, it invigorates our desire to give and receive more. This becomes a passion that is based on helping others get on and stay on the path to self-actualization, which in turn moves us onward on our own path. Somewhere on this journey, we drop the need for respect and appreciation from others and do things just because they are the right thing to do according to our higher self. This in turn takes us closer and closer to the universal flow of love.

This is why I spend hours each week trying to understand myself and why I do the things I do. I write this blog because I feel it is the right thing to do. It is the expression of my appreciation of my own road to self-actualization that I feel a need to share to help others on their own journey. I expect nothing in return, but I sure appreciate a kind comment now and then. Even though I have never met you, I can honestly say I love you. Enjoy your love journey.

Five applications to bisexuality:

  1. This is not really about bisexuality; it is about being a loving human being. We are all on a life journey. The purpose is to experience universal love in all its forms. Enjoy the journey.
  2. Sex is great but do not stop there. Use it to form connections. Go for intimacy.
  3. Love yourself. Without self-love there can be no love for anyone else.
  4. Love one someone else and if you love to the best of your ability you will receive love in return. Enjoy this person and always seek the best for them and they will seek the best for you.
  5. Expand your circle of love to include others but do it for the connection to universal love. This is all we will take from this life into the next.

[1] Hugo, victor.  (http://www.yourtango.com/2013182354/love-quotes-inspirational-famous)

 

Bisexuality and the Virtue of Passion

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)Passion – vice or virtue? According to the major religions, we have two competing forces – good and evil, vice and virtue. However, if we realize there is actually no evil, just us, walking either a path to self-actualization, or floundering in our own fears and self-defeating negative behavior, we begin to view passion as neither a vice nor a virtue; it just is a part of who we are as humans. Religious study of the virtue of passion is obsessed with defining passion as the choosing of good over evil, serving others rather than ourselves, avoiding pleasure and pursuing some form of altruistic stoicism.  Passion as the pursuit of pleasure is regarded as a vice. However, there can be no passion at all without the pursuit of pleasure.

Passion is usually listed as the fifth cardinal virtue. Aristotle’s term ‘passions’ covers our bodily appetites (for food, drink, sex, etc.), our emotions, and any feelings accompanied by pleasure or pain. On the physical level, passion drives us to self-gratification, and this is as good thing. Our bodies and brains are rooted in the pursuit of pleasure. We are driven by the dopamine based neural pathways from the forebrain which give us our drive to experience challenges and achievements. These pathways, when the circuit is complete, activate the pleasure center of the brain, which releases the neurotransmitters endorphins which inhibits pain, including thought-pain, and gives us a feeling of euphoria. When the goal is physical love, and the joining of two people is accomplished through copulation, the neuromodulator oxytocin is released aiding in the development of powerful neural and hormonal pathways that we can refer to as bonding.  This bond in the basis of romantic passion.

Freud believed that this sexual passion was at the root of all our passions, and I tend to agree with him. The forming of passion for anything, such as politics or even the game of golf, employs the same pleasure seeking bonding system, but without the oxytocin. These dopamine drives are part of our alpha-seeking system which have sexual links, making us, especially males, seem more attractive. When we achieve alpha in any area, it is assumed it will attract others to serve us in the pursuit of spreading our alpha genes and passing on our accomplishments to the next generation.

But passion is more than just enjoying the pleasures of the senses. We also have a trump card, the frontal cortex, the administration center of the brain, which gives us the ability to choose which path we will pursue. It in turn overrides the primitive brain and takes over the dopamine drive and the endorphin reward system. In other words, we can choose to do “good” deeds strictly for the pleasure of it. Usually this leads to self-actualization based on the desires of the ego.  This is good (unless a person gets pleasure by inflicting pain on others) and is the beginning of passion as a virtue.

Beyond the cortex, or perhaps including the cortex, we somehow arrive at the higher self, which I believe involves the energy system of the soul that we can refer to as spirit.  We now begin to create our own love story, which means we are operating from the heart. The heart-passion is a desire and drive for good based on love, but it is still connected to our own selfish, pleasure seeking pursuit of self-actualization, but on a higher level. We get to a new kind of love-pleasure based on the energy flow of combined body, mind, and spirit. This leads to pleasure by connection with others and to the source of all goodness. Self-actualization is now much more than body or ego based passion. Through love we now take pleasure in helping other towards their own self-actualization, which then becomes a collective pursuit of what is considered the universal good. Our romantic passion also takes on a new dimension. We pursue intimacy rather than just sensuous pleasure.

Here are my five applications to sexuality, particularly for us bisexuals:

  1. We can be passionate. We can let our passions free to just be without the restrictions of thought and shame. Our body passions are “good” in themselves; they are the energy system of a healthy body’s needs and desires. Without dopamine passion we slip into repressed drives which leads to chemical imbalance or clinical depression. Without the dopamine-oxytocin drive we become impotent which again can be a symptom of depression. It is natural and good to release and enjoy our passions.
  2. We can employ our minds to choose when to let loose use our passions. We can rely on our egos to choose what is best for us as a sentient being. Sometimes this means delaying self-gratification.
  3. As bisexuals, through consciousness, we can use mindfulness to expand the sexual sensations to involve the full body, mind, and soul, including all our senses and feelings. We can use our sexuality to build more than one love story and we can harmonize these stories into a whole new way of life that involves intimate relationships with both men and/or women, or we can choose to be monogamous and focus our love passion on one individual.
  4. We can expand our passion to include altruism, keeping in mind that we should also derive some form of physical or sentient pleasure by serving others. When we are making love we should be conscious of a partner’s experience of pleasure and take pleasure from our partner’s pleasure.
  5. We can use our relationships to reach out to a higher form of love that includes sexuality as a spiritual experience that binds us to humanity in general and to the universal flow of love. Passion is the love energy that we can learn to use for the universal good.

Bisexuality and the Virtue of Empathy.

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)Is empathy a virtue or an emotion? Not really either, but it is an essential ingredient in forming any of the virtues related to the ability to love. “Empathy is the intellectual, emotional, and imaginative apprehension of another person’s situation that takes place without experiencing it. It is learning through identification, through entering that special matrix where one encounters the unifying co-humanity of self and neighbor”[1]. So when is empathy a virtue? It depends, Miller in his research article concluded, “Empathy as a virtue is dependent on other virtues. It can’t stand alone; it’s insufficient. It needs to be informed and disciplined by other virtues such equity, judgment, and fairness[2].” However, empathy is much more than an emotional or cognitive connection. It is the ability to feel what someone else feels, and when these feelings involve the higher self, they become a call to action and become a virtue in themselves.

Empathy involves the ability to relate on body, mind, and soul levels. The emotions are the domain of the body and the old brain. When we experience and absorb the sadness or grief from another, it activates the amygdala resulting in our own experience of sadness including tears and the lump in the throat sensation. The call to help involves the workings of the mind. We evaluate the best way to support the other person, whether it be a hug, a word of encouragement, or just the silence of a good listener. If the cause of the person’s grief relates to our own experiences, there is a mental and emotional connection. We feel bonded through our sadness. Our soul, or more correctly, our spirit, experiences their soul energies and will begin to resonate with the same vibration with the goal of bringing the other soul back to the natural vibrations associated with love and joy. This ability to experience the emotional, mental, and spiritual vibrations of another is truly a remarkable virtue, one that we all have the innate ability to practice and experience. It is one of the basic foundations of love.

When it comes to sex, our body goal is orgasm, the mind goal is self-gratification, but the unspoken goal of the soul is to empathize or to seek and resonate with the love and joy vibrations of another.  If we are feeling down, we will seek another, usually a love partner, to help us regain our love-joy vibrations again. This is empathy in reverse, but it is still empathy according to our definition. This is more than an emotion, it is the ability to connect, not just for orgasm and sexual self-gratification, but for the ultimate goal of reaching and sharing the vibrations of love and joy. However, we have to be careful with whom we mate, because empathy means we absorb the emotional and mental vibrations as well as the spiritual. The goal should always be seeking the love-joy connection, so we can experience enriching feelings of higher vibrations.

 

Five application for bisexuality:

  1. We are a sexual body. It is sometimes okay to seek orgasm for the sake of orgasm as long as the other person is seeking sex for the same reason. And as bisexuals we can seek copulation with either men or women.
  2. We also have a brain or a mind, and we should use it. We will be forming a mental and emotional link with another human being. We should evaluate whether or not we wish to form such a link with the individual involved.
  3. We should also be seeking more than just orgasm. Anonymous encounters provide orgasm but nothing else and usually leave us with a hollow feeling, or even guilt, or shame. When we seek a sexual partner, we also have an opportunity to exchange thoughts and feelings with another human being. We have an opportunity to form a friendship and to share emotions and other feelings as well as orgasm.
  4. We can view sex as a soul experience. If we just experience sex and a physical and emotional experience, we have missed or deliberately chosen to bypass the greater sensation of joy. We can seize the opportunity to form a spiritual link which will lead to the wonderful vibrations of love and joy.
  5. We can remember that we are higher beings with a higher inner self. We have an opportunity to experience love and joy continuously. Sex can be a bridge from the mundane world of crying and striving to the fields of Elysium. We can choose a partner to help us walk the path with the enormous boost to joy that sexual experiences can provide.

[1] Virtue, First Foundation –

 

[2] Miller, Richard. Research IU Bloomington. 2013. http://virtuefirst.org/virtues/empathy/

 

Bisexuality and the Virtue of Desire

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)

Aristotle understood that action depends on thought plus desire and that reason and thought by themselves can achieve nothing (Nichomachachean Ethics, 1139a). He goes on to describe desire as the engine for directing “the right thought” which is the basis of higher thinking. In her book,  Li Zhi, and the Virtue of Desire, Lee describes Li Zhi’s insights about the role of feelings and how feeling involve the virtue of desire.[1] Crucial to Zhi’s ideal of the good life is the ability to express one’s feelings, as the articulation of feelings leads to clarity, and clarity leads to new desires. In other words, the virtue of desire is at the foundation of all our actions and even our private thoughts and feelings. Desire is a natural and necessary drive that helps us formulate thoughts and feelings which eventually will lead  to a progression of thought and action. But is desire by itself a virtue? Not necessarily. To become a virtue, desire has to be directed by the higher self, thus leading to higher desires that will set us on the path to self-actualization.

Desire is often omitted from religious inventories of virtues. There is constant reference to controlling our thought life and our desires. Christianity and Islam consistently talk about controlling the desires of the flesh and According to Buddhist belief, the goal of life is to live without any desires at all, because desires result in stress and anxieties that lead us away from a life of peace and contentment. However, this begs the question – can we truly be content without desire? Would we not be conflicting with our basic human nature which is to perceive something greater, some pleasure, some dream, some goal, even the goal of living a life of contentment free of anxiety and stress? What would we be without desires?

Desires are part of our basic brain structures. We see what is not and we ask why? We think of something that might give us pleasure and ask why not? Then the brain sets up a neural pathway that involves a goal that is intrinsically linked to the acquisition of this possible pleasure. A dopamine rush is then set out to motivate the body and the mind to obtain the pleasure. Once the goal is achieved we experience a serotonin rush that engages the pleasure center of the brain and sets up a neural pathway to enjoy this pleasure again in the future.

Human beings are creators, the motivation is desire, and the reward is pleasure. Ester Hicks through the voice of her spirit guide, Abraham, in the book Ask and It Is Given, states that desire is “the delicious awareness of new possibilities. Desire is a fresh, free feeling of anticipating wonderful expansion.” She goes on to say that we will “revel in the conscious awareness that you (we) have deliberately molded your (our) desires into being”[2] and “when you (we) go with the flow of your (our) own desires, you (we) will feel truly alive and you (we) will truly live)[3].

In conclusion, it appears that desire is indeed a virtue and life itself is based on wholesome desires of the body, the mind, and the soul. Our bodies and our drives lead to desires for feeling the pleasures of our bodies which includes sexual experiences. In fact, they lead to body, mind and soul connections with other human beings. They are simply a statement by our bodies that we wish to experience pleasure in its deepest forms. The mind wishes to experience life so that it can expand its knowledge of the world around it. It seeks to understand life in all its forms. The soul longs to dream and make its dreams come true. To reach self-actualization, we can follow our desires to experience the pleasures of our bodies; we can explore life in all its forms, and we can dream and let our dreams lead to desires that motivate us into making the dreams come true.

 

Here are my five applications to bisexuality:

  1. The desires of the body are part of human reality. There is no sin in desire. It is there to lead us to connection with others through the powerful sexual sensations of the body.
  2. The mind will try to evaluate if the desire is good for us. It will attempt to protect us from doing things that may be harmful, such as engaging in unsafe sex. However, the mind is also vulnerable to opinions, because it feels it needs to live in harmony with others. Therefore, it will try to abide by the mores of the society in which it lives. We may wish to override these mores from time to time and engage in activities that will bring pleasure to our being. We need to be conscious of what we are doing and why we are doing it. If we feel the pleasure is a healthy expression of who we want to be, we should set aside the restrictions of the ego and fulfill our desires without guilt and shame.
  3. The higher self is the best judge of what we should and should not do. It directs by feelings. If it feels good at a spiritual level it is automatically good. If it feels bad it is probably bad. We should get in touch with our higher self and learn to listen to the inner voice. This is not the voice of the ego; it is a voice without words. We shut down the mind and reach for the feelings from within.
  4. Our sexual desires usually lead to deeper desires. We seek connection. This is body to body through sex, mind to mind through shared knowledge and desire for learning, and a desire to spiritually vibrate and resonate with the spiritual vibrations of another. These vibrations are enhanced through body, mind, and soul connection. It can just be a full warm hug or it can be whatever we both want it to be.
  5. All paths should lead to self-actualization. It is the desire of the soul to experiment and experience, and move on from experience to higher knowledge and increased love energy. Pay attention to your desires and enjoy.

 

[1] Lee, Pauline C. ; Li Zhi, and the Virtue of Desire. Suny Series in Chinese Culture and Philosophy, Amazon. 2013.

[2] Hicks, Ester and Jerry. Ask and It Is Given. Hay House. 2004. (page 120).

[3] Hicks (page 123)

Bisexuality and Compassion

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)Like all the virtues, compassion is purely selfish, and that is okay. It fact, it is more than okay. We do it because it makes us feel good and we feel good because being compassionate allows us to vibrate with The Source of goodness and compassion, with the universal flow of love that makes us more than rational animals on the planet Earth.  It puts us into the flow of life with such people as Nelson Mandela who truly understood the meaning of compassion: “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future”[1].

Compassion does not come easy.  It is learned by being conscious travelers on the road of life. We do not have to live a life of suffering to be compassionate but it sure helps. It gives us a reference point with others who are suffering, a place in our minds and souls where we can connect through common painful experiences. Their pain helps us recall our pain, and our pain helps us remember the path through pain which in turn gives us something real to share with another human being. We can help them see the way through to the sanctuary of love and joy. Yes joy – or bliss, or ecstasy or whatever you want to call it. By retracing our steps through the journey with this companion in suffering, we again experience the joy, that place where the depths of the pain enables us to experience the fullness of life.

But before we can be truly compassionate we have to make the journey to self-awareness. As Brene Brown has stated: “It’s hard to practice compassion when we’re struggling with our authenticity or when our own worthiness is off-balance.”[2] If we have worked our way through the grounding virtues (see past blogs on the grounding virtues) we will have had to make that journey. We will have learned to be aware of our higher self and to appreciate our self just as we are.  We will be thankful for those experiences that have helped us reach the place of being conscious. We will have celebrated those moments of suffering because they have made us better human beings.

Grounding leads us to the love virtues of trust and kindness. This makes us aware of the suffering of others and compels us to share the path of restoration. Many of us have been born with a difficult path that has led to sexual confusion and conflict. As members of the LGBTQ communities, we have learned compassion the hard way. For example, Ellen DeGeneres  learned compassion from being discriminated against, “Everything bad that’s ever happened to me has taught me compassion”[3]. And it is not just discrimination; more likely it has been sell-incrimination. We have had to learn to accept our orientation for what it is and to live with it to the best of our abilities. Often, especially for women, this has included some form of sexual abuse.  Therefore, we share a common bond, a source of resonance that is automatically tuned in whenever we begin to share our experiences with each other. This is why I write this blog. I want to share the deepest feelings of my inner soul. That’s why I write poetry, to give substance to those dark feelings so that they can be experienced by others. But life is not just about suffering. It is about overcoming the sources of pain and then sharing it with others. This is compassion.

Here are my five applications to bisexuality:

  1. First we can be compassionate with ourselves. We recognize and walk through our own painful experiences and celebrate our victories. Our bisexuality has been a difficult path. We have survived. But we are not just survivors; we have learned to thrive.
  2. We love our self. That is the only way that we will be able to love anyone else. We begin to see and love others as we love ourselves. We will be drawn to other bisexuals and members of the LGBQT community who need a kind word to help them on their own path to victory.
  3. We can learn to listen. We will soon become aware of the pain of others. We will be able to read between the lines. We will be able to read the body language. We do not pry. We just let others know that we are there to listen if they want to talk.
  4. We become conscious students of bisexuality. The more we understand our own situation the better we are prepared to help others.
  5. We live a joyous life and we let others know that there is a very bright light at the end of the very  dark tunnel.

[1] Nelson Mandela. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/nelsonmand447262.html?src=t_compassion

[2] Brene Brown
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/brenebrown553120.html?src=t_compassion

[3] Ellen DeGeneres
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/ellendegen451793.html?src=t_compassion