Preserving Ojas
I was surprised that in the health books, yoga classes, and spiritual courses I studied growing up, I rarely heard about the significance of preserving my sexual energy until I was in well into my twenties. Not that this information wasn’t available in the US, I just didn’t come across it for some reason until I joined the Hidden Valley ashram in California. Then I learned even more from my teacher in India about this important principle. However, the actual practice and experience of it was what sold me the most. I had an instinctive suspicion growing up that it wasn’t auspicious for me to constantly discharge my semen, but there was no strong, ‘why’ behind my intuition, and so I didn’t pay much attention to it.

Ayurveda (India’s traditional Hindu system of natural medicine) says that our sexual energy (also known as “ojas”), which is the subtle essence of our sperm or ovum, is the most difficult and important ingredient that our body makes. It is the last structural component that the body creates to sustain itself. Ayurveda says that the way in which the food we eat and the liquids that we drink build our body is as follows: Once the food is fully digested, the building of tissue commences beginning with plasma; the tissues will form one after the other, with each layer building upon the layers that come before it. The sequential order is: plasma; blood; muscle; fat; bone marrow; nerves; and finally the reproductive fluid (ojas). While all these tissues are important and affect one another, the latter tissues that get formed are more sensitive and have a wider effect on all the other tissues. Ojas (the final ingredient) is the essence of all the tissues in the body and is therefore considered the most important. Proper diet and sleep, good digestion, being free of lust in thoughts and actions, and living a non-stressful lifestyle will preserve our ojas the most. Eating meat, processed food, a lot of garlic and onions, and drinking alcohol can make it more difficult to curb the sexual desire. These things can be strong aphrodisiacs.

I can declare without any doubt that without preserving ojas I wouldn’t be able to know my Self as the spacious presence that I AM. This twist in consciousness from being identified as a body-mind to knowing our Self as presence is very subtle. It requires levels of inner balance and subtle perception that I don’t have access to when I’m burning up my core life energy on low level mental desires. Some people ask me how often is acceptable to orgasm. I tell them it’s an individual matter. Let your intuition and your higher intelligence guide you. Try to abstain from ejaculating for at least thirty days and see the results and then build up from there. You will be able to answer this question for yourself when you are in the experience of it.

Other benefits that I notice from conserving my ojas is that my mind is quicker and sharper, my eyes look more alive and bright, I have a lot more creative energy to do things, more charisma and spark, more will power, physical strength, self-confidence, self-control, calmness, and  spiritual capacity.

The opposite is also true. When I used to constantly lose my energy through unconscious sex and masturbation, or burn it up through lustful thinking, I also reaped certain consequences. I was more anxious, easily frustrated, weak-willed, and overly sensitive. I had tired looking eyes, a paler complexion, my face and eyes felt drier, and I lacked general enthusiasm and vitality. 
I instinctively, but sporadically starting preserving my ojas while I was a teen. I became serious about it when I was in my mid twenties. The first level of ojas preservation that I experienced was purely physical. I didn´t ejaculate no matter what. But I would still get myself aroused either by physical means or by mental fantasies. I would constantly seek out attention from women and try to get a ''hit'' by attempting to spark some interest from them. When I saw interest in their eyes, I would gobble up that energy they projected. I call all of this being a victim to mental lust. This behavior went on for a while. Even though I was always unsatisfied and felt more empty inside after I did it, I couldn´t seem to stop. I was using it as a pain killer so I wouldn´t be aware of inner anxiety, the pain of ticcing, or the neck pain that was always alive for me. I dealt with my inner imbalance and discomfort with the drug of lust for a long time.

At some point, I hit bottom with this anxiety producing and perpetuating behavior and stopped it. It was then that I realized how much energy is actually burnt up through mental lust. I had always prided myself before on not discharging my energy on a physical level. However, I clearly saw that I was losing a lot of life force through mental lust.

With all that said, I’m not a proponent of repudiation on any level, especially when something is a God-given function. However, it shouldn’t be our mind or lower passions sitting on our inner throne dictating and controlling our instinctual desires. The impulse to unite sexually should arise naturally (without any inordinate need), and be guided by our Universal nature, not our personal instinctive nature. It is important to know the difference.