First, there were mountains and rivers.
Then, the mountains were not mountains and the rivers were not rivers anymore.
Now, the mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers again.

 — Zen Master Qingyuan Weixin

Funnily enough, it’s the way my sex life panned out that helped me finally figure out what Weixin meant by his Koan.

First, sex was sex.

It was exactly the way it is depicted everywhere around me. Everywhere I turned, sex was all about raunchiness, about performance, about crude pleasure.

And even though I was turned on by the notion of sex the way I understood it, I had an eerie notion that something was missing.

If you assume I didn’t actually enjoy sex, you are correct.

But more than that.

Something essential around the entire topic of sex made me feel fazed, but I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly it was. 

So I did the best I could to learn techniques to enhance my own, and my partner’s, pleasure. I read advice online, in magazines, and in books.

Nothing elevated my uncomfortable sensation that lay underneath every time I engaged in any sexual (even sensual) activity.

I couldn’t figure out why sex is never that amazing pleasurable experience that everyone is raving about.

But I was determined to get to the bottom of it.

Then, sex was not sex anymore.

I continued my research and found that sex is not the thing I thought it was.

Sex was not about feeling pleasure and experiencing orgasms.

The more I delved into the understanding of what sex really is, the more it became clear to me that sex is about enhancing the connection and fostering a deep connection between loving partners.

I experienced sex that is elevating, transcending, and profound.

Sex became pure, beautiful, and innocent. Some would describe it as sacred.

The more I immersed myself in this knowledge, the more I found only that.

I didn’t see sex anymore.

I saw people striving to find true happiness in each other’s presence.

Now, sex is sex again.

Nothing more, nothing less.

These days, sex is another manifestation of our true nature.

It can be as heavenly or as down-to-earth as it may be in the heat of the moment.

It unfolds itself without needing to be a certain way.

Not raunchy nor divine. Not uneasy nor pure.

It is one and the same.

The excitement we seek is the other side of the coin of the peace we are after.

And the Koan’s perplexing mystery is unraveled.

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