>> I have been feeling a pressure in my head lately and it seems more than coincidental that it has come about since my trying to strengthen my fire qualities (for the IIH visualization exercise and in order to deal with negative character traits) - could this mean that I have an energy block or am trying too hard? What could I do to combat this, if it is related?
The Step II visualization exercise in itself seems to put a greater demand on my fire qualities than anything I have experienced in meditation before. I have also been using TMO to strengthen my will and restraint (not having too much luck with that at the moment, I have to say), impregnation of food and drink, the autosuggestion with knotted string of upon going to bed and waking up, the pore breathing exercise.
My main concern in terms of character transformation is sexual restraint at the moment, and I have thought about the meditated on the root causes of the problem and cannot decide whether this is an air problem (the fantasy/obsessive/boredom aspect of it) or a fire problem (the lust, the compulsiveness, the lack of sufficient will power). Maybe it's a combination of the two. I looked for qualities in my positive soul mirror to try to balance out/transmute the negative ones, but I am not having much luck, although I am more aware of the whole process now, I can observe it from a more detached perspective - the chain of events: there is the thought/fantasy (air) which is usually pictorial (fire) which leads to an engagement at the astral/emotional level (water), and this astral 'fuel' perpetuates and strengthens the fantasy aspect which leads to physical arousal and there is an addictive aspect on this level in terms of the hormones/chemicals released (fire?) and the physical sensations (earth?)
Ultimately, I am unable to control these basic physiological and emotional desires (hmmm, is there even such a thing as a physiological desire or just a physiological *reaction* to an emotional or mental desire?). <<
What arises for me when reading what you've written is that much, if not all, of the "pressure in your head" is a consequence of your trying to (fighting to, actually) suppress your sexual desires. I think the reason why this struggle is ultimately resulting in a physical Fire-region pressure is because of the way you are going about this suppression.
There are three components to human sexuality: biology, emotion and thought. Paramount and essential is the biological imperative. As human beings we are sexual creatures with a basic, instinctual, physiological, genetically-programmed *need* for sexual interaction. No matter what we think rationally or feel at an emotional level, there is always the biological imperative that has the final word. That is Nature's way.
Yet, as enculturated modern humans, we *do* have all sorts of thoughts and emotions surrounding and modifying this biological imperative, and many of those thoughts and emotions are in direct conflict with the biological imperative itself. Primary among these is the idea that sexuality and its expression is "dirty", "sinful" and non-"spiritual".
In other words, we are taught to think and feel things about sexuality that are directly antagonistic to our essential nature as human beings. This essential conflict sets up all sorts of very complex negative structures within the human psyche leading to issues of guilt, self-loathing, sexual addiction, sexual dysfunction, etc. Furthermore, this internal conflict is exacerbated by our culture and is used to control behaviour (e.g., sexualized advertisements and media, fundamentalist religion, pornography, etc.).
The result is what you have described where sexual response is habitually *mental* in origin. In other words, it *starts* with a mental fantasy and descends from there to a physical arousal. Whereas, a genuine or truly natural sexual response *starts* with the physical body and the biological imperative.
In this circumstance, wherein our relationship to our sexuality has been reversed from its *natural* state, the most unproductive thing to do is to "attack the problem" by suppressing the *physical* arousal. That is no longer the *origin*, yet that is what is always addressed since it is considered the "dirty/sinful/non-spiritual" aspect.
So if you wish to realign your sexuality with your *natural* state and thereby remove it from the un-natural experience of addiction and shame, then the place to begin is with your *thinking*. Examine your thoughts about *your* sexuality and look for the patterns you've adopted because of cultural, societal and familial input. Compare them to how *you* truly feel about *your* sexuality (radical self-honesty) and listen *very* closely to that biological imperative. Look at the habits of thinking that you've developed around your sexuality, specifically at the mechanism that leads to the sexual fantasy and the overall "mentalization" of sexuality.
Within that self-examination you will find the *practical* ways in which you can begin to transform your thinking in regard to your sexuality and to your relationship with the biological imperative. The biological imperative itself is never shameful or addictive or dysfunctional. :) Those are negative effects of the internal conflict between what we are taught to think and what nature designed us to be. The key that unlocks the chains that bind us to these negative effects is the resolution of the causal mental conflict. As the Alchemists say, "Listen to Nature . . . She leads the way".
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
01 Apr 2005