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Lions Roar : July 2013
the flowers, the animals in their springtime cavorting. Like that old song by Cole Por- ter, “Let’s Do it, Let’s Fall in Love,” sex with or without love could be more fun. It could simply be more. Instead of being difficult, or anxious, or kind of dull, muted by rou- tine and our own unwillingness to let go of our fears and to change our lives. And, from time to time, our positions. Here I bow again to the springtime Earth as my inspiration and my teacher. I have always loved the bhumi-sparsha mudra in which the Buddha’s right hand is draped over his knee to touch the Earth. He is calling upon the Earth, the soil, to wit- ness his enlightenment. This gesture is full of meaning for me, for us, for the planet. In the oldest extant stories, the Earth that the Buddha touched was embodied in one of the ancient goddesses that predate Bud- dhism. She was Prithivi, also known as Bhumi, the Source of All, She Who Cannot Be Deceived, the Womb of the World. Ah-ha! Mother Earth, in the form of a fertility goddess, is present at the very birth of Buddhism. In some of the stories, Prithivi actually rises up and insists upon the Buddha’s purity. That is what I see in the singing, bud- ding, swelling, lusting, mating, springtime world around me. Prithivi rises again and again, every year, all year, whenever we are ready for her, whenever we want her. No matter how badly we humans treat this planet, she is always ready to speak on our behalf. Spring is her song, not only of life-giving lust and fecundity, but of per- fect faith. The purity that she swears by is nondualistic, enormous, with enough space and breath and starlight for every one of us, with our kinkiest kinks, our fear, our shame, our deepest lust, what we dream, what we whisper, what we dare not utter. She cries out, I am your witness, and you are—or you could be—free. ♦ KAREN CONNELLY’s latest poetry collec- tion, Come Cold River—in part an explo- ration of sexual wounds and healing—will be out in fall, 2013. Currently, she’s writing a new book with the working title A Short Novel Full of Good Sex. It’s in rebellion against all the crappy erotica of the world. Flesh Sex Desire continued from page 59 The power of speech was gone, and, along with speech, all chance of being heard by the person who happened to be undressing me. Fear resides, often, in the throat, along with its sibling, shame. Not a trinity, these two, but the difficult, unloved twins of the human psyche, born of damage and capa- ble of creating more. Shame and fear hud- dle like angry children in the places where they are inflicted, trapped in the subter- ranean passages of the mind and the body. Most of us have sexual wounds, smaller, larger, healed, still raw, scarred over. If we are persistent and fortunate, we find ways to heal those wounds through compas- sionate relationship, in spiritual practice, with good therapy. But all of us live in a culture that uses sex flagrantly; cheapens, sells, perverts, even tortures, and hates sexuality; debases the bodies of women and men in various media while using those same images to titillate, to instigate sexual response. Meanwhile, up on the surface, in our schools and homes, in our politics, in the way we teach and talk to our children, we are often puritanical about our bod- ies, frightened of the flesh, of desire, of sex. Our culture seeks to control, legislate, manage, obsess about, ignore, silence, and straitjacket the body, even as our teen- age girls feel pressured to hook up with boys they’re not really interested in and send out sexy photos of themselves to prove what everyone should know about everyone else, naturally, from childhood on: that we are all sexual beings, even we who are asexual. Sex is part and parcel of our humanity. We seem to be able to do almost anything with sex except simply relax with this most obvious and poten- tially charming fact of life. Somewhere, deep down, under these sensitive acres of skin and warm fat, in the animal layers, our bodies know that sex could be easier and, if we so desired, wilder. We could know both the deep comfort and edgy thrill of sex, with more grace and storminess, as the trees know it, the birds, SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2013 81