Recently, Tom Stine raised the question of Sex and Spirituality. Is celibacy necessary or is sex a natural part of spirituality? This drew out many comments. There was a surprising degree of commonality given the arena but my references to uniting love were not fully supported. (laughs)
I wrote about this in a prior article as sex so often tends to get shoved onto the back burner in many spiritual circles. In one comment, Tom referred to it as the elephant in the room on some retreats.
I would suggest the subject is similar to how a given teacher describes awakening. One will talk of stages or a process, another of a single spontaneous stroke of grace. It depends on their own experience and culture. It can also be about the audience they are speaking to.
For some, sex is a distraction. As sensual pleasure, it can be a trap. In comments, Akemi mentioned the energy exchange. Indiscriminate sex may lead us into collecting connections that may not be desirable. Energy and emotional connections that will need resolution, typically called karma. It may also hold our energy in our more animal natures.
And of course, there is the long held belief that unless one becomes monk-like, nirvana will remain a dream. From what I’ve seen, this is crap. Monks may be celibate but, for most people, this has nothing to do with waking. If you read the Vedas, you discover that the the majority of the authors (all fully realized) were householders.
Plus, sexual energy is prana. Life force. This does not get used up. With immoderation, we can get out of balance, reducing what is available. But the issue is the context it’s being used in, not it’s use.
Some people may have a temperament where abstaining may help them detach. Others will have a temperament where abstaining will create considerable internal conflict. It is simply not their nature.
And we must not forget that the role of sex can change when we do. Many of the “rules” change/fall away when the pursuer is gone with awakening. I’ve seen some loose interest in sex and relationship. I’ve seen others find a new passion arise. But the motivation becomes quite different. Thus, the relationship with sex may change completely, as it can with so many other areas of life.
Again, it comes down to how the tools are used. How we use our body, heart and mind. Do we focus on things we crave? Or is sex a loving expression? Sex can be an amazing vehicle for drawing 2 into 1, as a uniting force.
We tend to think of vehicles of devotion in the form of God, saints or gurus. But for some, devotion does not flow so easily to God or guru but does to a mate. I spoke of this in Divine Relationship. Our mate can easily play the role of goddess/god in the devotional stroke into unity. Sex then can be an aspect of devotion and an expression of love. The stories of Krisna and the Gopis illustrate this.
When love is first, what follows is always beautiful, whatever flowers from that. What arises one will discover. What happens will be unique.
Like anything else, it’s personal. How do you feel afterward? Degraded? Satisfied? Uplifted? And does that arise from your relationship to sex, or your relationship to your partner?
Follow your heart. That will tell you what to do with your body.
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