Adapted from R. Silber’s upcoming book.
Sexual repression can make us see everything sensual as sexual. Most people link sensuality and sexuality so closely in their minds that it prevents their sensual awareness and enjoyment. While people may confuse the two, sensual refers to all the senses, not just physical touch and the activation of sensors on our skin.
Sensual includes the enjoyment of all of our senses of taste, touch, sight, hearing and smell. It is true that all of the senses can play a part in sexual excitement and sexual connection. But can we enjoy a hug or a back rub that has no sexual energy behind it? Can we hear beautiful music and feel transported to a place of peace and tranquility? Our senses give us gifts of pleasure, and opportunities for greater awareness.
Imagine life with no senses at all. We would hardly seem alive. Yet mind would remain. In fact, sensory deprivation is a key practice that can assist the consciousness raising experiences. Sitting in meditation is a form of sensory deprivation that allows us to develop mindfulness: a perspective where we are more conscious of the mind. Sitting, silent meditation is a key practice for building awareness, and can be useful in resetting the emotional body.
By intentionally isolating the senses we can increase our capacity for sensual experience. Blocking out one sense often heightens the perception of other senses, which is why the blind often excel at music, or even touch. In Thailand, for example, massage is a natural profession for the blind.
Where can there be more goal-less sensuality in everyday life?