Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sex and the Spiritual Warrior

One of the things I agreed to when I received "Amrit" (Sikh Vows) last year was to remain celibate. In Sikhism "celibate" is having sex with your spouse, or not at all.

To be honest, since I got married the week before I was "baptized", it seemed like I was getting off pretty easy. There are a few other stipulations that I agreed to, but the most major one—in my view anyway—was already taken care of. I was simply reiterating my vow to my husband to be faithful.

Almost a year later, I am realizing that celibacy is about much more than having or not having intercourse...

Pre-Amble: I Don't Think Sex Is Bad
Let's get real. We are all sacred beings, having come to Earth by the grace of Cosmic Oneness, the egg of our mother and the sperm of our father. Sex creates miracles like you and me!

What I have learned from Kundalini Yoga, however, is that casual sex—with short-term partners or people whom we have not energetically or literally committed to—is actually a depleting experience.  Yogic science aside, is this really a surprising statement?

Anyway, this blog is not about how "sinful" sex is. It is a reflection on why celibacy (i.e. fidelity to a spouse or no sex at all) is part of being a Spiritual Warrior.

Discipline and Commitment

Celibacy, as agreed to in the Amrit ceremony is about making a commitment and living up to that commitment. No one can force you to make this decision... and I would be wary of anyone who tried. You can't push someone down the aisle and expect the marriage to stick, right? Same goes here. It has to be an internally-motivated decision.

So, why would anyone be so crazy?

Sacred Space

Not only can it be considered a challenging sadhana, choosing celibacy creates a boundary around a most sacred space—our own body. In my opinion, not enough emphasis is placed on this rather important point in our culture. Sex has been advertised as a basic human need, like food or shelter, when it seems to me that having meaningless sex is like drinking salt water—a similar consistency to water, but hardly hydrating.

Flash back to my past when I was eating nothing but raw food and doing hatha yoga daily; I would have screamed if you had tried to "poison" me with a chemically treated orange. And yet, I had no issues with sleeping with someone whom I don't even talk to anymore. Strange, no? Years later I realize that toxicity comes in many forms.

A Tale of Two Abstinences 

It seems like there are two versions of abstinence:

1) "I abstain because my body is an altar."
2) "I abstain otherwise God (and everyone I know) will condemn me."

There might be other reasons people abstain that are along the continuum of 1 and 2. For example, avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, fear of intimacy, body image issues, etc...

Basically though, if we are only doing something out of fear, that's seems to diametrically opposed to the idea of being a spiritual warrior. A spiritual warrior is guided by the light of God that dwells within them (i.e. the definition of "Khalsa" in Sikhism).  A spiritual warrior is not swayed by ever-changing popular opinions on spirituality, not does s/he live according to doctrine and ignore her/his own intuition.

I realize this is a heated topic, but it's something I think about sometimes... Feel free to share your thoughts on the topic.


1 comment:

  1. "is a heated topic" - pun intended??? :)
    Sex keeps the humaniods going so all those souls will have a vehicle to drive around in. Pure tantra is one of the few human creations that doesn't have a sex "problem" - and uses sex as a tool for enlightenment. Sometimes sex can be cosmic, so it isn't a stretch to see where tantra came from. For a very good movie on the human struggle to come to terms with merging the mundane with the sublime, see Samsara (2001)


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