kamasutraWell over a millennium ago, Indian Hinduism treated sex as an art, a science and a spiritual practice. It was not considered a remnant of some dark and ancient bestial behavior, but rather a civilizing force. As such they wrote extensive treatises on how to elevate their sexual potential.

The most famous pieces of Indian literature on sex are the Kamasutra (aphorisms on love) and the Kamashrastra (from kama “pleasure”, and shastra “skill”). This collection of explicit sexual writings, both spiritual and practical, covered most aspects of human courtship and intercourse. The Kamasutra is thought to have been written in its final form sometime between the third and fifth century AD, a period of Indian history when sex epitomized love, pleasure, synergy and happiness. It was a successful strategy, which begs the question why around the 11th or 12th century, India took a conservative turn toward decreased freedom for women and a proscription against premarital and extramarital sex. They wrote a new sex manual suitable for their new order.

In Jewish law, sex is not considered intrinsically sinful or shameful when conducted in marriage, nor is it a necessary evil for the purpose of procreation. Sex is considered a private and holy act between a husband and wife. The residue of sex (as with any lost bodily fluid) was considered ritually unclean outside the body, and required ablution. Perhaps this is how sex became cast as a dirty act, forming an imprint in our brain that must somehow be removed.

Christianity re-emphasized the Jewish attitudes on sexuality with two new concepts. First, there was the reiterated idea that marriage was absolutely exclusive and indissoluble, placing further guidance on divorce and expanding on the reasons and principles behind those laws.

Second, in Old Testament times marriage was almost universal, in continuity with the total matrimony in Eden, but in the New Testament, the trajectory is extended forward to the goal of no marriage in the new heavens and new earth (see Matthew 22). Practically therefore the new age after Jesus now has marriage as only normative, but celibacy is a valuable gift in and of itself.

In present time, it feels as though our free will and identities have been stolen from us. My understanding from birth has been that each of us has a free spirit and entitled to create and live a chosen fruitful life of discovery, adventure, productivity and happiness, without meddlers and the dictates of a false society. This period of an open attitude towards sex reflects love, pleasure, synergy and happiness in their culture.
It was necessary to have a sexual revolution and the reason we pioneered Sandstone Retreat, which became known as the hub of the sexual revolution.

In 1972 we went so far as to create the Sandstone Movie for viewers to look in on members happily living an alternate lifestyle. It just happened that our principals were in sync with Hindu principals and expression of an open attitude towards sex reflects love, pleasure, synergy and happiness in the culture. The Sandstone Movie (only one of a kind) has been re-released on https://www.indieflix.com site. Just go there register (free) and search for “Sandstone.” Enjoy this rare event.


Golden Relationships

As I write this, I’m sitting at my desk pondering the self-exile of humans from nature—both Nature with a capital N and human nature. What a sorry state of affairs this is! In a kinder, more sympathetic time we sprang from the fertile soil of Earth, then one day by mutual acclimation we paved over it.

There is an old myth from the Greeks about the giant Antaeus. While some part of him was in contact with his Mother Earth he was continually strengthened and enjoyed invincibility. Hercules, sensing the value of their intimate connection, lifted Antaeus up into the air and strangled him. The moment we turned our back on nature with distain, we created our own Hercules out of our arrogance and self-importance. Beware this monster—he will turn on you.

Our relationships were meant to be pervasive, stretching in all directions, to embrace life in all its grand diversity. We are surrounded by kindred spirits; the ox and owl, the hawk and cheetah, the wolf and lamb. As adaptable creatures, it is our heritage to reach outside of ourselves and form bridges to different viewpoints, different lifestyles, and different loves. What sets us apart as a species is not how much we can separate ourselves from Nature with a Capital N, but rather how fully and consciously we can embrace it. Ours was the golden opportunity to see not just our own thread but to stand back and perceive the whole tapestry, to know the design and our place in it. Instead we tug the threads that fall within our grasp and rapidly destroy a beauty that we fail to understand.

This callous approach to life could not help but erode the beauty and harmony within our own people. Rather than a mighty glacier, we are individual ice cubes held captive in a tray of our own design.

In the work-a-day world about the only consideration I have experienced, is what can we get from one another in this transaction? How much is this person worth to me? Oh my God, we must have lots more potential value that has spilled over into a vacuum! All the possible exchange of caring, compassion, respect and awakenings for a long term relationship are lost in this transaction.

The Sandstone environment spotlighted the almighty need to focus our energy towards creating a natural environment that could enhance awareness and relationships between us. Nothing took center stage that was more important than budding relationships and their vastly personal power.

First, is the need to unleash us from bondage and correct the sexual dysfunction. What followed was the need to begin replacing the old outdated negative program by tearing down the retaining walls in our brain and replace with positive, cleansing thoughts and actions, so we could feel good and respect our mind, body and soul. The task to carry out this matter is best handled through our hearts. Love is the most powerful emotion on earth, love yourself and assure your happiness!

People think freedom, and more importantly, how to achieve it, is difficult. Often people think freedom is measured by a lack of restrictions, take away the prison bars and you are free. But people carry around attitudes, prejudices and assumptions that are their own private prison, and it follows them wherever they go. I want to help people help themselves, to achieve the only freedom really worth having…and that’s a freedom that comes from within.

What Is Life Without Rules?

There were hundreds if not thousands of laws that were strictly enforced at Sandstone. Without their help, there would be no cooperation between plants and animals (You give me oxygen and I’ll give you carbon dioxide), and the ice cubes in our drinks would sink rather than float. Without the law of gravity, even the cuckoo clocks wouldn’t work! It was our zeal to obey such laws that forced us to throw off the pretentious and frigid rules of “polite society.” Nature was invited back to impose its time-honored order and pattern. Emotions were allowed to do what they were designed to do, bodies were allowed to function according to plan, and stress resumed its ancient role as a response to life threatening emergencies rather than trying to be a lifestyle. In short we saw that man’s “conquest over nature” was a lot of hogwash trumped up by an antacid company to sell more product. We wanted to take less Pepto Bismol and let nature win a few rounds.

Laws that make us who and what we are rather than something we’re not were just fine with us. John and I spent the better part of our adult lives trying to rediscover obeying the laws of nature. Many of them had been forgotten in our mad haste towards “progress.” Retrieving these from the dustbin of history meant discarding a lot of foolish edicts and mandates crafted by folks afraid music might (gasp!) lead to DANCING!

Because we are born with our human nature, children must be constantly watched and thrashed until they learn not to listen to their inner song and begin marching to the drumbeat of conventional wisdom. Bit by bit they shed the nature of “human nature” and they nearly lose the human along with the nature. “Almost” I say because the stress, regret, repressed rage, hidden longings, and feelings that there should be something more than this keep throbbing in the breast along the despairing trudge to the grave. How could we be happy living with a false self known as the ego? When the ego said; no you are not allowed to feel good, we at Sandstone said, “If it feels good do it!” We did it and it felt good, which was living proof we were on the right path. Our hearts only spoke the truth!

This situation screamed for an alternative lifestyle that by passed the negative ego and moved to our heart where we could strengthen our spirit. Our heart is five hundred times more powerful than our brains! Now we would listen to our hearts and be free to enjoy living daily in a state of happiness and joyful bliss, with the help of our environment; nestled in a quiet and beautiful natural setting called Sandstone Retreat.

Our discovery; we no longer had a need for rules that would simply infringe on our natural high and quash the inner joy and happiness, which was our God given right, and heartfelt by everyone in the community, leading us into a brave new love community. From what I know, it appears that we should feel good all of the time and it is possible! Am I wrong?

A couple of points that could be interpreted as rules at Sandstone were; don’t force yourself on anyone, and no show of violence will be tolerated. Any display of either one would be grounds to cancel memberships. We scheduled Monday night meetings to hear and clear any grievances from the family members. Any further questions were about scheduling of tasks to be done.

Nudity vs. Nakedness

“What is dirt?” goes the old quip. The punch line is, “soil that goes where it’s not wanted.” Nakedness is an adverse reaction to nudity. Nakedness is the shame people feel when who they are and what they are stand side by side.

It is somewhat easy to deal with external nakedness—the reactions of others. Dealing with internal nakedness—the panic and shame we feel when our curtain is drawn and the sunlight falls unchecked upon our human heritage—is somewhat harder to deal with.

The body and spirit were partners to the ancient Egyptians. In their afterlife, the worthy live again when their soul is reunited with a body cured of mortality. Centuries later a belief arose among another great civilization—the Ancient Greeks—in which two great gods strove for control of the universe. One represented darkness and matter, the other light and spirit. To these people, body shame was a wise counsel of the God of Light that all flesh is mortal, corrupting, and distracting.

At Sandstone, we believed the mind and spirit worked independently as appropriate and at the same time interconnected in a dance of harmony, a state of synergy, a mutually beneficial symbiosis.

Each reflect the other and also have their independent input. The body has its own awareness and you can listen to its knowing provided through feelings; it doesn’t have the agenda of ego so in its own way is wiser.

One belief we held at Sandstone was that our body performs incredible tasks and must be cherished.  Our spiritual responsibility is to care for our body with respect, kindness and compassion. We believed that man is basically good and saw nothing shameful about our humanity.

Nude exposure of our bodies, when in appropriate settings, keeps us enlightened, honest and truthful.  A nude person finds it impossible to lie to themselves and others. A clothed person finds it easy to lie thinking their clothing will cover up the lie. Also Nudity eliminates aggressive and abusive behavior.

Sexual repression continues a black cloud over nudity, love and sexuality. Being in the nude does not advertise come have sex with me.  Love does not exist because we have sex.  Linking together, Love, Nudity and sex just makes for a lot of chaos, confusion, and a faulty premise.

In the early 70’s we at Sandstone were placed in the position of having to defend our first amendment rights.  The citation issued was for three or more persons, not family members, exposing our nude bodies to one another.  The court ruled; it was our First Amendment right and dismissed the case.

Through the act of appearing Nude, say at a Nudist Park or a designated beach we can become more aware of our body and will be motivated to change how we appear to ourselves. When we have (common) body shame or a tendency to eat so much and not be sensitive towards our bodily appearance, nudity acts as a great neutralizer and guides us to overcome such negative attacks on ourselves.

A Tale of Two Kitties

The people of Ramesses’ Egypt were very much in touch with the “nature” in “human nature”. They had no quarrel with nature, and they even held such acts as the yearly flood of the Nile as sacramental mileposts that measured out their lives and renewed the land. They liked their wine and music, they sang the praises of love and laughter, and they looked for any excuse to celebrate.

These Egyptians idolized their cats, seeing in their quiet dignity mixed inextricably with a lust for life a model of a life well lived. The death of the family cat was nothing less than the loss of a child. The lifeless body was taken to the embalmers for mummification as the spirit was bid a swift and pleasant journey to Mother Bast where all wounds are healed and all tears wiped away.

Bronze Saite era art of an Egyptian cat in the Gulbenkian Museum

Come forward a few centuries and a few thousand miles to the people of Victoria’s England. These people were at war with nature. Their proper deportment was as people who never urinated, never defecated, never farted, and never ever had sex. Except, of course, that they did it strictly off the record.

There were mostly black cats in Victorian England, but nearly all had at least a small white patch of fur somewhere on their body. It was just out of living memory that the gene pool of all-black cats had been wiped out in an epidemic of witch hysteria. No longer reviled as familiars, cats were still regarded as the epitome of insatiable lust. The joie de vivre that touched Egyptian fancy horrified the Victorian mindset. The unquestioning loyalty and dependence of the dog had a place in the rigid class-conscious society while the cat’s contribution to popular culture was naming the “cathouse”, a place where men paid to do things men never did…except when they did it off the record.

During our Sandstone days we made our peace with the cat. Like the Egyptians of the Two Kingdoms, we embraced the nature in human nature, removed the masks that hid our instinctual heritage, and encouraged one another to claim their rights and uphold their responsibilities in unleashing the inner tiger.  Sex is a socially integrating force of great scope and magnitude, completely overlooked by our popular culture. Repressing our sexuality only stalls the process of enlightenment and makes the problem worse. Your heritage is powerful; run if you like, but it will follow you wherever you go.  You cannot defeat it as the Victorians sought, but you can embrace it and sail on its wings as the Egyptians did.

Some members of our society have turned into themselves and asked the hard questions relative to “how can I contribute” to a better and more productive lifestyle?  Thus, realize that our sexuality has far greater benefits than only procreation.  It is imperative that we stop repressing our sexuality and open ourselves to kinesthetic communication.  This mode involves touch, body contact, and most importantly, sex, which fills our need for intimacy.

It has been over 40 years since the Sexual Revolution happened and we are falling far short of owning our sexuality and progressing towards a new psychology of being, blessed to be a free thinking and independent soul.

But far too many members of society carry on with business as usual on automatic pilot with their focus on Procreation, which continues us down that destructive path of population explosion and ultimately ends in human extinction.  We can do better.