Posted by BK (220.127.116.11) on August 15, 2002 at 19:05:49:
In Reply to: Chastity - where does affection end and sexuality begin? posted by Gerry on August 14, 2002 at 06:16:04:
The word chastity often conjures up a connotation of puritanism and prudery and where would those things be without hedonism and lust to balance out the equation? You see what this all gets reduced to? It becomes a discussion about how people are driven by sex. In one way to supress it and in another to embrace it, but, like so many other things, we are starting with the wrong premise.
We have to realize that who we are, or our identity, is fundementally spiritual. When we start with this premise everything becomes a question of interdependence between individuals, society, nature and supernature. What we should focus on is the fact that chastity means much more when Baha'u'llah talks about it then the former crude interpretation. Chastity is about purity of heart and purity of heart is about detachment from things we normally identify as being who we are ie. our opinions, our emotions and, especially, our bodies, and redirecting our attention to who we really are: our souls. This kind of detachment is an attainable thing, but it can only be achieved through attaching our true selves more completely with Baha'u'llah. We do this through prayer, study, meditation and action.
We are given full liberty to enjoy the things of this world to the fullest through Baha'u'llah's Revelation, but we have to remember that life isn't all peaches and cream all the time. There's struggle and pain and if there weren't any of these trials and tests we wouldn't grow. Baha'u'llah has commanded us simply to be modest in all of our worldly interests. Chastity applies here in the sense that in order to be modest we must have a clear understanding of what causes unecessary suffering. For instance, we have to eat and food should be enjoyable, but if you live on cheesburgers your gonna have problems and if we all eat cheesburgers all the time there's gonna be a lot more cows and a lot less forests. You see where I'm going with this?
It's the same with chastity as it pertains to sexuality. Sex has to be enjoyable or else we wouldn't want to procreate, but it is obvious that sex is not a pleasure in and of itself. What I mean is, just like we should only eat when we need to, we should only have sex when we need to and the only time we need to is when we want to have children. Now if you had a choice between taking a pill to get equal nutrition and fullness or eating an equally filling and nutritious delicious meal you'd want to eat the meal because that's our right to enjoy that, so sex can also be enjoyable. It's not supposed to be an assembly line process. It's supposed to feel good and be fun for both people, but we have to return to the thing that links all of these points into one interdependent, sensable reality, which is that the more we become attached to Baha'u'llah the more we will internalize this understanding and the less we are arrosed by simply huggin people or giving them a peck on the cheek.
Hey we all struggle with this. It's our animal inheritance, but I think we can start to appreciate our sexuality more completely as Baha'is and as people in general when we stop obsessing over sex and start focusing on our true identity as spirits. O.K., that was more than two cents. That was like a dollar twenty five, but you get my point, or maybe ya don't. Who knows?
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