While I read in one of Goenka’s question and answer sessions that masturbation, or as he calls it, “self-sex”, isn’t breaking the sexual misconduct precept, I’ve started to wonder how healthy this really is. All of the precepts seem to have a sliding scale of strictness, and for sexual misconduct, that ranges for no rape or adultery to complete celibacy. I’m not exactly sure where I am on the scale.
As I’ve continued my daily meditations, I’ve noticed how indulging in sexual fantasies clouds my mind. Seeing an attractive girl in a miniskirt or flipping through magazines full of scantily clad women seems to divert my mind to a less pure space. But I can’t seem to control this. It happens so quickly. It really does just feel like my biological nature.
So do I feel bad when I find a woman to be attractive? Do I want to live in a Muslim area where women are covered from head to foot? Do I avoid reading magazines so I can avoid the advertisements? Should I never walk in Times Square again?
This is the best example for me of accepting where I am without rolling in thoughts. If I see a woman that’s attractive, acknowledge it, appreciate it, and move one. I shouldn’t allow that appreciation to become a craving by allowing my mind to roll in a passionate fantasy. By focusing on the breath or sensations, I’m able to catch myself when my thoughts are rolling. This is allowing me to maintain the balance of my mind more frequently.
I’m not sure where this leaves me with masturbation. On one hand, masturbation seems like the ultimate indulgence of mental passion. On the other hand, suppressing passion into a craving so it could erupt like a volcano in the future doesn’t seem healthy either. I guess I’ll just keep observing sensations and see what happens. Time to meditate.