Episode 31: Marrying Spirituality and Sexuality with Jorge Ferrer

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In this interview, Jorge Ferrer speaks from his extensive research on sexuality and spirituality.  He looks at deep philosophical and practical questions such as:

  • What is the fundamental nature of sexual energy?
  • Are sexuality and spirituality always paired?
  • What are some ways that relationship, flirting, love, and sexuality are held differently around the world?

If you want a life that is deeply spiritual and also sexual, you will enjoy listening to this fascinating discussion of intimate relationships.

Transcript

Announcer: This program brought to you by personallifemedia.com. It is suitable for mature audiences only and may contain explicit sexual information.

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Hello everyone and welcome to “A Taste of Sex,” guest speaker interviews coming to you from One Taste of Inner Taste Center in San Francisco. Welcome to the show, this is weekly audio podcast called, “A Taste of Sex,” guest speaker interviews where we actually get a chance to hear from the country’s prominent speakers and teachers on the subjects of sensuality, connection, spirituality, and relationship dynamics. Tonight’s speaker is Dr. Jorge Ferrer, who is an associate professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He is in the Eastern-Western Psychology Program and the title of his talk later tonight at One Taste in the Two Tonight forum is spirituality in intimate relationship. Monogamy, polyamory, and beyond. He has also written a book called, “Revisioning Transpersonal Theory,” a participatory vision of human spirituality. So, for those of you who are interested in holistic sexuality and learning more about what the different options are, you will truly enjoy the show.

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Today on “A Taste of Sex,” guest speaker interviews, Dr. Jorge Ferrer speaks to us how to bring together sex and consciousness. He talks about the cultural values of flirting and how that is different between Europe and the US and also how can one access the bodily and energetic intelligence that we are born with, that’s already there, once certain blocks are removed.

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Beth Crittenden: Dr. Jorge Ferrer and he is going to speak with us today about the combination of sex and spirit. So Jorge would take it after there, what do you have to say about that?

Jorge Ferrer: About the combination of sex and the spirit? I would like to say that I don’t see how they cannot be combined. For me like sexual energy and spiritual energy is the same energy, but in different states of density or different states of transformation. So, sexuality what we call sexual energy emerges from the energy of life, you know, what the Hindu people call the “Shakti,” and this energy of transformation that can get transformed into human beings through our physical, emotional, mental structures and conscious structures until it becomes like more subtle into those realms of consciousness and this is what normally in the ways and I mean the places in our culture is associated with spirituality, those realms of consciousness, but actually for me like that sexual energy is really the same energy but in a different state of transformation.

Beth Crittenden: Why do you think people separate it so strongly? Why do you think there was that kind of sever between sex and spirit?

Jorge Ferrer: My sense, there are I am sure there are many factors in different contexts, different historical moments, and different places, but my sense is that generally speaking, the reason why in many spiritual communities there was like either a repression or regulation or sublimation of the sexual primary energies in the person in order to pursue spiritual goals, is that at some moments in history, the values of the heart and energy of consciousness has not been -- was not strong enough, was not strong enough and then to open oneself to those very intense primary energies would mean perhaps like re-absorption of the energy of conscious into all these kind of more even instinctive patterns and even animalistic pattern, but today my sense is that the values of heart and your consciousness is strong enough so that we can  re-encounter the primary energy and achieve spiritual marriage within us, between those two energies. But this is kind of open to discussion, there is no way to of course, to prove that.

Beth Crittenden: When you say primary energy, what do you consider is the source of that primary energy?

Jorge Ferrer: Well, primary energy, it has like this double meaning that is kind of instinctive but also means primordial. So primordial energy is what is the origin, you know. So the origin is primordial energy in our life or the universe like what kind of like brings kind of like evolutionary pulls or may be what the Greeks call, “Eros” you know, or the “Shakti,” of the Hindu you know. So the source of that is like what is the source of the source, right? So that’s why it is for me, it is very spiritual and very sacred. You know that’s not only because it’s worth taking about an area that’s said, “The Origin of Life,” or during your own life. And this is something that in our cultural values counter with, we call came into the world through our sexual act performed by our parents our mother and our father, all of us.  There’s no way out of that.

Okay and then it is very sad that the culture, you know, talks about when they know this is so intimately associated with the origin of life and during our own life in this plane of physical reality, as something to be ashamed of or something dirty, or something kind of like to be afraid of, something to mistrust and for me, it is not surprising that this is a culture that is so alienated and is, you know, going through all this alienations and psychosomatic disorders, depression you know because when we disconnect and we treat that energy as disconnected to the origin of our life as something you know dirty or to be mistrusted, you are mistrusting life when we are sourcing out life and the origin of things cannot be in good direction from that place.

Beth Crittenden: And in your hypothesis is this primary energy is something that would be there regardless of humans being alive or is the body a necessary key for the energy to convert and be experienced?

Jorge Ferrer: I got you. I would say that, I mean, the primary energy exists in the universe. It is the primary energy that you know exists in the universe. It is there you know independently from human beings, but it takes a specific forms in human-ness and so it takes specific forms in your kind of like sexual world, in forms for instinct, impulses and the desires, it takes specific form in the body, in the heart, in the mind, in the consciousness. So it is like if the energy is to make contact with the different human structures somatic, instinctive, emotional, mental conscious takes different forms. But my experience and my sense that this is the very same energy there of life or of the cosmos that this kind of impulsing, everything from the evaluation of the galaxies, the expansion of the galaxies to the emergence of life on  planet earth before the emergence of consciousness.  This is something that we always tend to forget, you know. Before the emergence of consciousness and human conscience, life, there was a tremendous intelligence functioning in planet earth, creating the different species, different plants, and all this what’s happening before consciousness emerge in the planet.

So that is kind of like the like of kind of like primordial intelligence or wisdom that I associate with this primary energy and with which we can re-connect now, you know, marrying our consciousness with that kind of like primordial wisdom of that energy.

Beth Crittenden: When you were first talking about it, I wondered if you were giving a higher priority to the more primordial one, but it sounds like you are saying use both of them together, because that is the intersection of sexual spirit?

Jorge Ferrer: Yes, that is the sense, it is exactly. I think that’s the key like, you know, in many traditions like the primary sexual energy has been used at the service of all their pursuits. For example, [xx] opening the heart in forms of like celibacy, using that energy to transforming into a like [xx], love of the heart that is non-sexual, although it is erotic even if it is non-sexual, it is still overt like in many forms of Tantric practice like using that energy as fuel to catapult consciousness to kind of like trans-human states, disembodied states like becoming the god and the goddess, for example.

And, I believe that what is needed is like more like work at the integration of these energies in which those two energies, we are not using one energy at the service of the others, neither of those, but working at like integrating those energies, no embody, no instincts in the heart, in mind you know. So we are both vital and subtle but sensuous and spiritual. We are animals and divine, we are human.

Beth Crittenden: How have you studied and what do you recommend in terms of integrating everything? What works for you?

Jorge Ferrer: Life. I think that life is like the teacher you know, you listen and your percept is taking off means certainly any kind of like working nature. I think nature holds like a refrain of that integration.  Nature for me simultaneously sensuous and spiritual and so when you kind  of like walk in nature from [xx] to walks to anything that you in nature spending time there and realizing that this is really good. Of course, then there are many other practices, you know, that are kind of like bodies of work that they are emerging and I believe that here in One Taste, it is part of you are kind of like doing.

Beth Crittenden: Definitely.

Jorge Ferrer: And so I think it is really good news that there are kind of like sensuous sanghas are starting to emerge and this is quite new in many ways.

Beth Crittenden: Part of what we are studying is how sexually you can take yourself out of control, so we always have two people engaged in the practice of orgasmic meditation and I am interested to hear more about what is the relationship of sexuality within one person? How do you access your sex in your theory by yourself?

Jorge Ferrer:  Yeah, that’s interesting question.  There are many ways to access one’s own sexual energy of course, you know, from different forms of self-love. This is the most direct obviously you know, masturbation or different kinds of contact or self-massage. You are talking about one person without another person, okay. So this is one form you know. Again like going into nature, walks in nature in which there are like you are just engaging in mindful, sensuous engagement of the different pictures that nature leaves, things like that. Of course, if you can read naked, better. You need to find a proper place!

Beth Crittenden: Like he said about everything.

Jorge Ferrer: And, of course, there are many other things that kind of evoke that energy like forms of dance obviously. But ultimately my sense is that the kind of like inner work that we can do on ourselves is what can make that energy to be flowing within us and through us in a more permanent basis and I think that’s kind of like the horizon and the challenge and also the direction, you know. And, there are types of practices that can kind of like unblock the different blockages you know. But in general, for me, like some general principle is like to get rid of shame in the body. This is crucial. And shame, I am not talking only about psychological shame, but like kind of like the shame that is embedded in the physical structure or that takes form of like different energetic blocks that prevent the free-flowing of that primary energy.

In a way, what is happening is that we already having inherited energy typically from our parents and through many, many generations of like repression and we inherit like energetic patterns that are already with us, you know.  So this is what is blocking you know.  So I think the work is to unblock to allow the natural condition of the human being to emerge that this is the condition that simultaneously fully open to that sexual sensuous energy, primary energy and also very permeable to consciousness, that energy of consciousness you know. So when you work at kind of identifying those kind of areas of body shame and then dismantling those blocks is important. When you work about unblocking the tendencies of the heart to struggle and to fight, and to confront is important too and you want to get rid of the mind of its pride, is important too.

Beth Crittenden: You have an interesting cultural perspective because you grew up in Spain. How long were you there?

Jorge Ferrer: I was there until I was 23, 24.

Beth Crittenden: So how has that formed your work and what’s the difference between the cultures when it comes to sex and spirit?

Jorge Ferrer: Yes, it is very different. You know like my sense is that the United State’s culture is much more influential of course than Spain or Italy by kind of like modern Anglo-Saxon, forms for Puritanism on Anglo-Saxon morality that are coming from England and more north countries in Europe. And in Spain and Italy it is not there is no repression, there is repression and there is shadow and there is all that stuff, but whenever you walk in the streets of Barcelona or [xx] or any village around… I mean the sexual sensual energies in the streets. I mean you get very noise and that people know that many American people go to Barcelona and say, “Ah, this is just so great! You know we got those noise here,” you know. I think part is that you know it is a very sensuous energies in the streets out there. It is also a very flirtatious energy in a no manipulative way you know.

Here, like in the States flirting has like this bad press.  Someone is trying to get something from you, you know. Someone is trying to manipulate or someone is trying to…and I remember when I first came here like 14 years ago, I am flirter by nature, you know like probably most pioneers. And when I came here like 14 years ago, I had to stop modulating you know, because I was getting the message that you know there was basically misinterpret you know, that if I was flirting with someone this person thought that I wanted to take her to bed, you know. And that was really in most occasions, really far, far, far from what I was living in that mind. I was just simply expressing myself in a flirtatious way of spirituality, simply I wanted the affirmation. An affirmation of your beauty and your sexual nature and that’s it you know.

So it is very different. Our culture like Spain how they hold those energies and how it is held here in the States.

Beth Crittenden: Great, thank you. We are going to take a moment to support our sponsors here in personallifemedia and when we get back, we will talk more about holistic sexuality and what that means. So this is “A Taste of Sex” guest speaker interviews. I am your host, Beth Crittenden speaking with Dr. Jorges Ferrer. We will be right back.

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Beth Crittenden: Hello and welcome back to “A Taste of Sex,” guest speaker interviews on personallifemedia. I am your host, Beth Crittenden coming to you from One Taste Urban Retreat Center in San Francisco, California. Today we are speaking with Jorges Ferrer on spirituality in intimate relationships and today we are going to speak more about holistic sexuality which Dr. Ferrer teaches and writes about. He actually teaches classes at California Institute of Integral Studies on trans-personal studies, comparative mysticism, embodied spiritual and spirituality and sexuality that is a mouthful.  So tell us more about holistic sexuality and tell us more also about why did you decide to bring sex into your work? It is so controversial and it’s so confronting for many people. What’s the value to you?

Jorge Ferrer: It emerges out my own personal process of transformation and my own personal search. I am a Scorpian, I am from Barcelona, I am a hot-blooded Spaniard…

Beth Crittenden: I am a Scorpio, too.

Jorge Ferrer: …and here I am also with tremendous passion for also all things spiritual and you know, not practiced for many years, different disciplines, Buddhism and retreats, [xx] and many, many things and during all these practice like for me like I am a Scorpio, you know, like sexual energy is really…it’s partner in these practices you know, for me. I could never dissociate it. I could never dissociate it and I think it something that brings kind of like vitalization and that kind of juice to the spiritual practice that otherwise, I think it can become more stale or bitter states of what they call kind of, “chronic equanimity,” in which certain practitioners…

Beth Crittenden: Boring, in other words…

Jorge Ferrer: I would practitioners and even spiritual teachers display today and exactly that’s what I felt, it was boring. And when I was starting to kind of teach, I was feeling you know, I just don’t want to become like them. I don’t want to leave anything behind, otherwise it would feel there is a greater reason for dissociations and many of the, you know already also boring scandals, the sexual scandals of so many spiritual teachers in all traditions, I think they emerge from those kind of like forms of gross or subtle dissociation between not being, you know, kind of like heart and mind and consciousness evolved, but the primary world being still in underdeveloped, underdeveloped and it is normal because we don’t use it, it gets under-developed like everything else.

Beth Crittenden: Is it a reason? So how does that look and feel to live in integration? To have a holistic sexual approach, what is that like?

Jorge Ferrer: It’s great, but it is very simple. And there  is nothing, it is like, you know anything you do from like talking with some individual, I mean a cup of tea with friends, teaching or you know making love or practicing you know, you are still both simultaneously a sensuous being and a spiritual being, you know. And you are not again you are just and then you become you feel more whole, you know. You don’t need to compartmentalize your life anymore.  You need to leave things behind in order to be spiritual. I don’t need to leave my body and to leave my instincts, to practice and the best is that when I go to my sexual life, I don’t leave to my heart or my consciousness, spiritual consciousness out. It’s like you are more whole wherever you go, whatever you work.

Beth Crittenden: Are there any places that you haven’t quite crossed that barrier that you still have to hold back that sexual side of yourself?

Jorge Ferrer: Hold back the sexual side of myself? Say more.

Beth Crittenden: Okay let’s say for me, I grew up in small town Virginia and so when I go visit, I am probably not going to be giving everyone the [xx] what is life now.

Jorge Ferrer: Yes and no. I am going to explain why I say yes and no. Yes, that there is like a regulation of the…of course there is a regulation depending on context, depending on who we encounter, but knowing to sense that there is holding back as in a consciously intentional posture that they take like I go to a place where I need to hold back now, no. And whenever you move, and again like this is like endless path, I don’t claim to be fully integrated that’s ridiculous, no one is.

This is endless, life is endless and those energies are endless. So there is always more you know, but actually to move in the direction of integrating the more conscious and primary energies within yourself what happens is that only your consciousness gets more erotized and vitalized and kind of awake, I am grounded in the body, but your primary wall that energy undergoes kind of awakening. An awakening that is like a sense in which it kind of it starts self-regulating itself, without need for conscious or mental regulation.

Beth Crittenden: We have many listeners who may not be able to get to a seminar or a One Taste Urban Retreat Center just yet, let’s there is someone living in Alaska listening to this right now. How would you tell them to start an embodiment practice and how would you tell them to start bringing their sex and their spirit together?

Jorge Ferrer I would say that the two most simple ways that are accessible to almost everybody is, one is in the direction that I have already mentioned like contact with nature, like mindful, sensuous walks in nature, not simply as going to nature and just walk, this thing in your mind, thinking about your problems but going to nature and do like kind of a [xx] erotic, sensuous walk in which you smell the different trees and leaves. You touch different things, you are getting touched you see not only with your hands but also with all your senses; your sense of taste, your sense of smell, you can bring your body in engaging with different trees. That is something that old persons can do, because nature is accessible to most and here in the States there is so many places that you can go is beautiful.

So and then the other like is more private is a very simple practice that each person can choose like a music that is evocative, that is either for their sensuality or spirituality or maybe both, if they can find one. And then simply at home, you know, like going on kind of like date with herself or yourself and maybe you can even have some mirror if you want or not and simply allow like the music enter to you, allow the music enter you and start moving your body and allow the movements of the body being co-created by the music and what is working within you. And then you will see what happens.

Beth Crittenden: We picked the term, “One Taste,” out of Ken Webber describing it in his books and having the taste of the divine and I understand you have been in dialog with him as well. So how do you see his work kind of weaving into the greater sexual, sensual conversation?

Jorge Ferrer: I had been-- I should say being with it I have been a bit out of contact with his world for the last few years. But I was in dialog when I had a chance with him before many years and then it felt to me that his world was still kind of like certain kind of transcendental biases, [xx] biases and even was valuing more like this kind of [xx] disembodies states of…even the way he was talking about the [xx] realm, I think he put that on top of the hierarchy. It felt to me that he was not really integrating, that was not bringing and especially the body or the primary. So I am sure that the extent of his work because he is so vast. You can’t the find sources there and perhaps there to also build an integrated life.

But something for me in his work that I had to always use because we are specialize in the practical application is that his proposal for integral practices, integral living that call is basically based on the selection of different practices for different levels of the person. So I select something for the body like body building; or I select something for the heart, devotional chanting; I select something for the mind like Yoga, but for me always the question is who is making those choices? Who is running the business? And it is normally in the mind or the conscious mind who is making the choices about what practices are good for different levels.

And in the work I facilitate, I with my friends, holistic sexuality as well as making a philosophy of life, it is more like that let’s first allow these different worlds, the body in the primary world to mature autonomously and then they will call for what they want to practice and even they will co-create their own practices. They will create their own Yoga from within rather than like a mental decision of knowing pores on my body, this kind of like discipline you know because I have read that this is good for it.

Beth Crittenden: So kind of a natural order within the body.

Jorge Ferrer: Yes, that is like an intelligence in the body. There is an intelligence in the primary and to listen to heart that if the blocks are taken away and some kind of work has been offered to those walls that they kind of start maturing then they can start making choices. They can co-create your spiritual life as equal partners. The mind, consciousness, the heart, the body, the instinct all sit on the same table as we are doing here as equals and co-create as equals without any of those levels being kind of like they are running the business.

Beth Crittenden: Thank you so much for joining us.

Jorge Ferrer: Yeah, sure.

Beth Crittenden: So, again this is, “Taste of Sex,” guest speaker interviews. I am your host, Beth Crittenden: from One Taste Urban Retreat Center. We have been speaking with Dr. Jorges Ferrar from California Institute of Integral Studies. Thanks so much for joining us. If you would like to get text and transcripts of this show, please visit www.personallifemedia.com. You can also emails us with feedback or questions or arguments. We love to [xx]. Email [email protected] Also for our full schedule and for information on our courses on conscious sensuality, you can visit www.onetastesf.com. Thanks for joining us.

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