There is often some confusion when we use the word libido. According to the dictionary Libido in Latin means "desire, longing, fancy, lust, or rut." Although the adjective libidinous, meaning lustful, has been used in English for 500 or so years, libido only entered the language in 1913, thanks to Sigmund Freud and other psychoanalysts who applied the term to psychic energy or drive, and especially to the sexual instinct.
One cannot distinguish the two, for the libido is actually our life energy and so cannot be denied. To do so leads to all sorts of dysfunction. I could not speak of one without the other, for both are crucial to self acceptance and soul growth. Self-empowerment is often spoken of, especially by me ;-) but I wanted to share what it means by my definition. Some things take a lifetime to learn but being able to share my truth in this way can hopefully be helpful to some.
Understanding self empowerment and the role of libido in our lives
To me, self empowerment is the ideal way of being, something to strive for. It means functioning in the authentic self and being true to same. This requires an awareness of the many ways we are seduced into dis-empowerment in today's world.
Lack of empowerment is closely linked to lack of self esteem. Sadly, we are encouraged left right and centre to conform to some 'ideal' that is as nebulous and changing as the weather. Many feel in order to fit in they have to become clones of each other, but that always leads to denying the real self. Shakespeare saw this when he said:
"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
We are as original as the pattern of snowflakes, and that difference should be celebrated, not denied.
The fickle world of fashion
There are fashions that come and go. Fashions even in the shape of women's (and men's) bodies.
In the sixties flat chests were de rigueur and heaven help the well-endowed woman who was powerless to change her shape. Now we have the very sad state of affairs that small- breasted women feel they are lacking in sex appeal and go distorting their bodies with implants that seldom look natural in order to be someone they are not. This is anything but empowering!
Pressure to wear designer clothes is another. This conditioning starts very young. The peer pressure to be acceptable often starts with having to have the 'right' clothes.
We seldom stop and think just who is benefiting from all this madness. Certainly not the adults and children working in sweat shops churning out what is very often substandard garments at vastly inflated prices.
Self empowerment is catching
The self empowered parent leads by example, becomes a beacon of strength in an increasingly fickle world. A child brought up to treasure the real things in life is set up to cope better with the variances and the temptations to lose their identity and become a grey person in later life. To be blown this way and that, according to the dictates of the age or fashion etc.
Even those who become 'alternative' by following some opting out often end up looking like many others just the same... think of Goths for example.
I am not stating that to be self empowered means trying to stand out from the crowd by dressing differently. It means becoming who we were born to be and celebrating our uniqueness.
Deciding to take the reins
It is a subtle but very powerful change to taking responsibility for our own lives and our own happiness by asking deep in the heart of us who we are and what we want to achieve in this life, then going out and keeping focused, no matter what anybody thinks of us. It is also crucial to stop the blame mentality. This means accepting that we are responsible for our actions and even if others do us a disservice, holding no resentment but examining why we allowed ourselves to be in that situation. Holding resentment or blaming others is a negative vibration that can hinder true liberation.
It also requires us to be fully accepting of the sexual energy and aware of its importance in our lives.What we do with it, how we view it and how we respond to it is crucial to our development.
I will start first talking about the importance of developing a clear ideal of who we want to be and empowering ourselves to be that person through awareness of the traps of disempowerment.
The dangers of denying the soul
Trying to conform to some ideal that goes against our inner urgings of the soul sets up a cross-current in the depths of our beings that manifests many times as a futile search for happiness. This can leads to addictions, when we try to manufacture the lost feeling of contentment and total belonging which is the hallmark of the self empowered soul.
Or it leads to choosing the wrong partner to try to 'complete' us - very common mistake. Nobody can complete us... we are complete in ourselves.
Many feel in order to be acceptable they have to have a partner, any partner. Again, this will lead to a yearning that is often subconscious but it can manifest as a hunger in the soul that cannot be satiated.
Our higher selves know already what is right for us but so often we do not stop and enter the silence to hear that small voice, or if we hear it and it does not correspond with what we have, we again drown it out with materialism or whatever we feel drawn to in order to escape it.
So, self empowerment means being aware of who we are and attempting to be guided to operate from the higher self in all things. This is easier said than done of course but achievable just the same.
Subtle anatomy and self empowerment
On an 'energetic' level it means being well balanced and operating on all cylinders. The empowered person is not needy and has healthy boundaries. This does not mean not loving and open to all the joys of life and love. It means that the circumstances they draw into their lives are positive life affirming experiences as 'like attracts like' in the universal laws.
In my healing practice I sometimes get people who are being bullied at work or treated badly by others. There is no magic cure that does not involve active participation from that person. Healing of the energy bodies can correct imbalances of the subtle energy fields that surround us but unless that person changes their inner viewpoint by taking full responsibility they will simply go back to square one.
I liken this to bicycles with slow punctures. Healing can re-inflate the tyres... but unless the puncture is sealed they will simply go down again ;-)
The Cosmos is consciousness in varying forms of energetic interaction
Interestingly, most of our interactions with others do not take place at the conscious level. At basic level we are energetic force fields inhabited by the spiritual energy of the personality and the soul. Much of our likes and dislikes and attractions etc take place on the subtle realms of being, not in day to day awareness.
That means that many can become 'psychic vampires' who are drawn to others who are vulnerable and there they suck their energy, in order to maintain their own energy at the level they need. It sounds scary but it is extremely common. How many people do you know that leave you feeling tired, listless or sometimes downright depressed after meeting them or even speaking to them on the phone? Chances are that person goes away re-energised after that communication, having given you all their tales of woe and unburdened themselves. There has been an exchange of energy - they have taken from you and re-energised themselves. If someone is unfortunate enough to have someone like this for a partner or a close relative it can, in the worst case scenario, lead to severe energy depletion and resulting ill health either mentally, physically or both.
This does not mean we have to have no time for those in need, or to lend a listening ear... but the self empowered person has strong boundaries and is aware of how things operate.
When we are in touch with our inner power and spend time nurturing it and strengthening it, we hold inner light that means we are much less likely to be robbed in this way.
Not only that, but as I say, self empowerment can be catching. An unequal relationship can be vastly improved by one person waking up and taking back their personal power.
This is beneficial to both.
This is why it is so important to be strong inwardly and to be aware of the many ways that we can surrender our power to others if we are not careful. The self empowered person has awareness of the need to maintain strong boundaries both consciously and on the subtle levels too.
Some people are so energetically weak that they may as well have 'Please bully me' tattooed on their forehead. Our auras are our defense in this world, so it is imperative to have a strong vibrant one as first defense protection.
Of course many are not in the least interested in the subtle anatomy and that's alright too. It is there whether we are interested or not, and because it is, that part of us responds to changes in our mental attitude accordingly ;-)
Being self empowered means taking control of the helm of our sensory awareness and also taking back our individual power to think independently. This may often mean examining all that we are taught in religion. There is a huge amount of programming in organized religion that can be very damaging to the emerging soul consciousness. We came into the world with a soul mission that is essentially free of indoctrination.
This is where I switch to homing in on our libido (life energy) and the ways in which we can become dis-empowered by needless guilt, shame and sometimes crippling inhibitions....
The role of sexuality in self empowerment
Libido in its common usage means sexual desire. However, according to Carl Jung, technical definitions are more general, referring to libido as the free creative (or psychic) energy an individual has to put toward personal development or individuation (self empowerment).
Many are effectively imprisoned by their beliefs about the libido. These are often formed in childhood where parental inhibitions are absorbed as being normal. As the child's instincts develop and expand considerably during puberty when the sexual energy reaches a peak, there is much pre-occupation with the changing body and the newly formed desires. I know that growing up I felt that sex must be something shameful and hidden as my own mother tended towards what her mother before her had been i.e. (embarrassed and awkward).
I know this was a perfectly common experience, especially those in my generation. Times were very different back then and the exploitation we have with such things now, was not yet apparent.
The real problems start when there is indoctrination, whether by the church or others, that sex and sexual feelings are sinful. This leads to many issues of inner anguish and also many sexual problems when asked to operate against our natural desires. There are very valid esoteric reasons for sexual restraint of some kind but this has nothing to do with the tired, outmoded beliefs of guilt and fear.
For example, masturbation is not a sin. It is a sensible and affirming release of a build up of sexual tension and in fact is very good for us physiologically speaking. It releases the 'feel good' endorphins and keeps our sexual engine running (use it or lose it ;-) Many studies have been done about the benefits of it on our wellbeing.
Inappropriate Guilt and shame
The amount of guilt and shame that has been imposed on this act has led to many problems, including impotence and marital dysfunction in some cases. There are very valid reasons why it should not be practiced by those who are seeking to raise the Kundalini energy for spiritual enlightenment but that is a whole new subject and for most of us not something that needs investigating.
To disrobe that old guilt and fear warning... it does not make us go blind, nor cause hair on the palms of our hands! Nor is it a sign of neuroses, low intelligence or stunted development.
Funny though this is, I have known some who have been seriously affected by such teachings and to ruin a life through such ignorant warnings is a tragedy to my thinking.
Puberty and hormonal upheaval
In tribal communities young people on the brink of adulthood are guided through initiation ceremonies and this helps tremendously to help them understand that something major is occurring as they leave the things of childhood behind.
"When I was a child I spoke as a child
I understood as a child I thought as a child;
But when I became a man
I put away childish things."
I Corinthians. xiii. 11.
The hormonal upheaval can be quite unsettling and it needs to be grounded for stability and a healthy outlook for the future. A major part of puberty, of course, is the emergence of a very strong libido, and how we handle and teach about this can affect that person for all time. That is why it has been so damaging to those with the misfortune to be taught that it is a sinful thing that has to be submerged or denied.
What formal education lacks
I often think that the education we give our children is nowhere near the things that we should be teaching them about life and how to live a happy one. There is far more to life than facts and figures and how to pass exams. There is tolerance and virtue, honouring the imagination for the great gift it is, NOT decrying it as the weakness of a dreamer. Life is a skill that can be learned and so is self empowerment. These are the things that are all important not how to make money to live unrewarding, empty lives in comfort.
In fact, puberty is the perfect time to teach about responsibility and care for others and the emotional and health risks of behaving inappropriately. Yes, they need to know about unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases but where do we mention the beauty of intimacy or the bonding of true passionate and dare I say it.....loving intercourse that takes sex into the realms of the spiritual and out of the realms of the back street?
Nor do we teach of the devastation to the self esteem that can take place where there is rejection for those who have engaged in sex when their bodies are ready but their emotional maturity is not.
Grounding, belonging and sexual well being
We are on the earth and our connection to it is through our base chakra. The sexual urge resides there and in a healthy individual, this manifests as sexual desire.
The libido is our life energy and so is very pertinent and not something that has to be denied through guilt or indoctrination. As mentioned earlier, some chose to be celibate for various reasons. Being celibate may mean denying any sexual release even through masturbation.
The sages, mystics, monks and priests may choose this avenue in full awareness of the ways that such energy can then be channeled for spiritual advancement.
This is their conscious choice and that road is set upon with total awareness of how the libido can then be used for esoteric purposes like raising the huge power up the subtle anatomy of the chakras in order to reach Samadhi or the highest state of consciousness in the human frame.
However, to most of us it remains simply an avenue of great pleasure and relaxation. :-)
Dangers of thwarted libido
Thwarted libido can, in the worst case scenario, lead to dreadful things, including child abuse, mental illness and not least incredible cruelty. This is a very controversial and difficult subject but it is a fact nevertheless that the libido comes into play in some of the most heinous crimes mankind has ever seen. Simply put, when we take one of the most powerful energies gifted to us on our earth walk and deny its very existence, it will manifest in other ways. Think of a balloon that is squeezed... it simply causes more power elsewhere.
It is part of the human condition, whether we acknowledge it or try to subdue it. So attributing what is essentially a God given desire by assigning it to something wicked or sinful (unless within the bounds of marriage) is incredibly foolish by my estimation. The Catholic Church especially has railroaded this knowledge and made it a sin to engage in, leading to what we see now. :-(
Even the fundamental branches of the Protestant church refer to sex outside marriage as 'fornication'. This, by its very nature, brands it as something of which to be ashamed. Looks like there are few ways to keep in favour, while embracing that side to our natures, unless we are married (Heaven help us if we are single or happen to love the same gender).
Why on earth should we, as free people, be dictated to by any organization let alone one whose ideas are often so screwed up as to lead to total corruption within? If priests were allowed to marry I am sure that so much that has transpired in the way of child abuse would not have occurred. The self realized person goes by their own inner guidance in such matters and does not allow others to tell them who to love, how to love or when to love!
In an ideal world, we would all have a loving partner to enjoy wonderful sexual interaction with. Today's society has a fixation on sex, robbing it of sacredness. The sex act has been high-jacked and become in some cases little more than a shallow pastime with no regard for the partner. The beauty of the sexual connection at its purest is very much a spiritual bonding of souls. Esoteric law says that any intercourse connects us for 7 generations. A thought to ponder to those who engage in it willy- nilly! ;-)
Unmasking the truth
Sex often comes clothed in many preconceptions. Not only that, many are coloured by past experiences of rejection, self doubt or inherited inhibitions. This article is about self empowerment and there cannot be self empowerment without examining exactly how we view ourselves as we are. A major part of that is our sexual energy and sexual expression.. The media has relegated sex into a box that yet again, engenders massive doubts and fears... we ask if we can be 'sexy' compared to the media norm which is all 'Maya (illusion) anyway.
Accepting and working with, instead of against, our sexuality is empowering and this is true whatever our sexual persuasion. This calls for balance and thoughtfulness in the ways that we express it obviously.
It is the energy that gets things done and fires us to strive for greater things. It does not have to be expressed in a sexual way but it does have to be understood as being important in our lives.
Yes, there is a natural order to everything. We are virile and predisposed to engaging in sexual activity when young. That is the natural way of it for procreation and survival of the species. But we are far more than that!
The libido is normal, natural and healthy. It may or may not recede with advancing age but it should not be viewed through the world's lenses (or the church's to my mind) :-)
Everyone is an individual and so is their genetic makeup. Some are happy to relinquish their sexual activity as a factor of ageing and some feel it is a crucial part of their makeup. We are called to be non judgmental, and seeing it as the life force that it is allows us to view it from a higher perspective free of the categorization so prevalent in the world today.
Self empowerment realizes all these things and gives thanks for what has occurred for the lessons learnt. Give thanks for the partners who taught us so much about our selves (even if they broke our hearts). Give thanks for the realization that all life is learning, that the libido is to be celebrated as life affirming and that we are so much more than the constricted view that has been foisted upon us by those who would rob us of personal power.
The vibration of gratitude opens doors for many more blessings to flow into our lives.
Embracing self empowerment
To recap, being self empowered ask us to love and accept ourselves just as we are, to be aware of the many ways that others would rob us of our self worth and to accept ourselves fully. To walk to the beat of our own drum and not try to constrict the urgings of the soul in order to be acceptable. To celebrate our human-ness and our desires while practicing a no-harm policy on others.
It does not mean being self obsessed, nor uncaring of fellow travelers on our spiritual road, but diving deeply and bravely into our true selves with awareness and self acceptance.
We can become empowered to realise that we have these choices and the choices are neither good nor bad, they simply are ways that we function while in the physical.
Lastly, and to my mind at least, most importantly, being self empowered acknowledges our need to connect to our spiritual natures. To refuse to buy into the arrogance that says we know it all and have no need to be vulnerable in our need. There is great strength to be found in vulnerability.
We are spiritual beings who manifest in our earth natures but connected (and part of) something much greater. In this we should be both grateful and humble. One day, all will be known, but for now we have to develop discernment.
"For now we see through a glass, darkly;
but then face to face: now I know in part;
but then shall I know even as also I am known."
1 Corinthians 13, verse 11