In the Western World, for several thousand years, there has been a crevice, philosophically, religiously, and in the practical daily lives of us humans – a crevice between spirituality, which is assigned to the province of the holy, the sacred, the pure and heavenly, God, light and archetypally “sky culture;” vs. sexuality, which is assigned to the profane, darkness, dark rooms, the realm of Hell, dirtiness, mud, ooze, and “earth culture.”
Surely there have been energetic efforts to cross the split, from Gnosticism, Wiccan, to the 1960’s “sexual liberation” and “free love,” and a tributary running through Modern Feminism, Post Feminism, and post-Modern Feminism. Yet these movements have only scratched the surface of the Western consciousness, when it comes to the split/sex duality. It seems to me that many, if not most of us in Western culture are wounded and scarred deeply by doctrine and influences that are promulgated by Church, local and national government, community social groups, and yes, the media (even now).
Consider that the 1960 Boy Scout Manual has a chapter on “Masturbation” in the table of contents. Turning to the chapter, the reader finds one sentence only: it says “Masturbation is unhealthy and un-American.” This message was for our 11-year-old boys ! Consider that in this age of pornography becoming a casual pastime, the most alluring and seductive images and movies are often labelled “wicked,” forbidden,” or “immoral,” by the advertisers, who are exploiting the spirit/sex split, by appealing, sometimes subliminally, to the magnetic draw of doing something “wrong” (and sometimes not so subliminally). It was not that many years ago that we had a breakthrough porn movie called “The Devil in Miss Jones.” Yet it was a breakthrough only in public acceptance of a genre, but perhaps a setback in our attempts to seek and understand Consciousness as a complete whole, so that we might function as whole and as complete persons.
It is in our own spiritual strivings, which at their best are a journey toward this very wholeness and completion – and in our relationships with our intimate partners, our spouses, our lovers, where we seek to have loving exchange, uninhibited fun, relaxed closeness, pleasure without doubt or physical expressions of pathology; it is in these areas that we carry psychological and soul-ogical damage, that we experience pain, senses of failure, attempts to deny our bodies in order to become clean and spiritual, and blocks to merging of body, mind, and soul within ourselves.
Ursula K. Le Guin, novelist, feminist, philosopher, writes, in 1997: Christian or Cartesian dualism, the division of spirit or mind from the material body and world, existed long before Christianity or Descartes, and was never limited to Western thought (though it is the “craziness” or “sickness” that many people under Western domination see in Western civilization). Lao Tzu thinks the materialistic dualist, who tries to ignore the body and live in the head, and the religious dualist, who despises the body and lives for a reward in heaven, are both dangerous and in danger. So, enjoy your life, he says; live in your body, you are your body; where else is there to go ? Heaven and earth are one. As you walk on the streets of your town, you walk on the Way of heaven. (1)
The spirit/sex duality, and its impact on those longing for a harmonious self, holding both spirituality and sexuality, is the subject of this blog.
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