- Sex is complex, people are complex, so a study of celibacy is also complex.
- The practice/aim of celibacy is simple but not always easy (until it's mastered): no sex.
- Sex in its various forms occurs at the intersection of a number of currents, like a whirlpool.
- The body and mind are heavily programmed by nature for sex.
- Sex is expressed as "normal" sex, erotic fantasies, deviant sex and masturbation.
Body, mind and spirit
- Body includes how our body feels, meaning its sensations, energies, desires, impulses.
- Body also includes reproduction of the species, a primal urge, maybe at the cellular level.
Both the above have their mental equivalents.
"Mental", defined broadly, includes emotions:
- Attraction to the opposite sex and desire to be intimate.
- Feelings of self-worth.
- Desire for self-expression.
Mental experience includes a "high octane" type of thinking known as eroticism.
- Eroticism is an extreme focus by the mind on what would otherwise be a biological urge.
- Eroticism has a social component; it is used commercially and is subject to fashion.
Tackling these one by one:
Sex is how we all got here, so it’s pointless to denigrate or deny it.
However, most animals reproduce in season while humans have sex year round, so there are other factors at work.
- Keeping couples together.
- Recreation, "pleasure".
- Health reasons (cardiovascular, hormone regulation).
As an approach to sanity, it is proposed to examine these other factors, in order to allow for the best health and well being of the individual while ensuring propagation of the species.
The natural order of things would be:
- Opposite sexes attract.
- They reproduce.
- They stay together and raise children.
This can be examined in contrast to deviations from this condition: in other words, pathology, such as with promiscuous behavior.
(Keep in mind that there could be genetic reasons in the species for promiscuity, i.e., a tendency to increase the diversity of the gene pool.)
Non-reproductive sex such as promiscuous behavior and masturbation can be seen as unhealthy by the sense of dissatisfaction they engender. If at first these feelings of unhappiness are rationalized away as being the result of social programming (internalized self-criticism) the activity may persist until the dissatisfaction becomes unbearable.
This suggests some tentative axioms:
A.) Man has a drive toward fulfilling a purpose, and actions which are counter to accomplishing that purpose result in unhappiness.
Different people define their purpose differently: work, family, acquisition of knowledge, spirituality. Balance in life means each of these are included, as well as a break from the routine known as recreation. An unbalanced life results in the drive to purpose being blocked.
B.) The human body is an energy system designed to enable man to fulfill his purpose.
- Disruption of the energy system results in illness.
- Man is subject to a syndrome known as addiction, a negative cause-effect feedback loop.
- Extreme pain and illness can cause depression and hopelessness, sometimes a wish for death.
It must be considered that there could be natural forces - which when they occur to the physical body are called diseases - that seek to exploit man's energy and push him to despair.
Energy conservation is both a cause and an effect of good health.
The questions proposed are:
- How does unproductive sex interfere with purpose?
- How does unproductive sex interfere with energy?
- What are the effects of unproductive sex?
- What are the causes of unproductive sex?
Are we able to talk honestly about such issues? (Two sides of this: a desire to be honest, as well as freedom from unjust criticism.)
Regarding causes, assuming the person and the body have an instinct for self-preservation, what would induce that system to be overridden or caused to break down?
To what extent can our failures to stay healthy be seen as a character weakness? (It can be described as "failure" when its harmful effects are recognized.)
Is there such a thing as willpower? Or can we only desire the best outcome, hope and pray for it?
Can we learn from our mistakes or are we destined to repeat them?
"Is celibacy difficult?"
When celibacy is said to be "difficult" – what exactly does this mean?
How to address this? There are 3 maybe different situations – are these analogous?
- Is learning to ride a bicycle difficult? Once learned, is it still difficult?
- Is stopping smoking or some other substance abuse difficult?
- Is losing weight or staying physically fit difficult?
Each of the above is a different situation; the idea is to see which comes closest to trying to succeed at celibacy.
What are the true or built-in emotions regarding sex?
- Desire to remain innocent, whole and wholesome as a child.
- Desire to explore one's body and its powers as one becomes older.
- Desire to be free from molestation (rape) by outside forces.
- Desire to have integrity as a human being.
- Desire to maintain proper relationships and family ties.
- Psychological benefits of having an intimate relationship.
- Discomfort of isolation if one is without a partner.
- Discomfort of social scorn if one is outside the norm.
- Feeling of failure if one does not live up to these.
What emotions are experianced by those who practice celibacy?
- Deep satisfaction at regaining at least a portion of one's innocence.
- Freedom from complicted relationships of an intimate nature with people who have psychological problems, who have not defined themselves and may not be interested in doing so.
- Freedom from compulsive plans and strategies aimed at getting sex.
- Freedom from compulsive and recurring thoughts that formerly one entertained as "harmless" or even enjoyable fantasy.
- Integrity of physical energy system; being "Hermetically sealed" as the alchemists said.
- Integrity of a moral nature.
- Extreme mental clarity and vision.
- Cosmic consciousness.
- A sense that everything is right with the world.
- A sense of accomplishment and personal worth.
Structure of the human being:
- Subject to confusion: i.e., conflicting thoughts, theories and plans; subconscious thoughts, repressed traumatic memories; constantly shifting frame of reference.
- Subject to division - man is multiple, without will.
- Subject to influence - society, images, voices (internal and external).
- Subject to ignorance - about his body, actions and purpose.
When we use the word "weakness" we mean that we have conflicting desires and we pay a price when one of them gets out of hand. Then in remorse we say we are weak; we couldn't achieve our aim, we lost our integrity, our word is no good.
Note the presence of negative forces (thoughts and emotions) which oppress when we believe we have "failed". These forces did not wish for us to succeed in the first place, so why should we respect them?
Editor's note: Dhananjay makes the case for astral effects when multiple sex partners are entertained. See in this section: dhananjay-astral-connection.htm
How is celibacy accomplished, in theory and practice?
- Normally there is a period of exhaustion; then a wish for self-preservation against excess.
- It is seen that the misuse of time, energy and attention can be harmful to one's spiritual prospects.
- The above is a clue, to redirect one's spiritual efforts, however defined, replacing sex with positive efforts.
- Simultaneously, the positive effects of celibacy on one's physical and mental states are noted, with a desire to keep body and mind healthy. Sex can be replaced by walking, exercise, etc.
- Association with like-minded individuals is always helpful.
- Likewise, avoiding people who have antagonistic views regarding one's own aims or who are energy drains.
- Strong negative emotions sucher as anger and rage feed off sexual energy, so they should be avoided.
- Mental celibacy is crucial, avoiding images and associations.
- Avoid the temptation to look with lust at other people.
- Be wary that a period of abstinence will make you more attractive in the eyes of the opposite sex; also your new-found confidence may make you less worried about your weaknesses.
- If in a relationship, at the minimum stay true to your partner.
A Classic Experiment
Richard Rose said to approach celibacy as a scientific experiment, rather than a question of morality and taboo. The following is the classic experiment he offered:
- Read a spiritual book when one has not been celibate.
- Be celibate for 30 days.
- Re-read the same book and guage the improvement in your scope and depth of understanding.
- Note the improvement in your mental clarity, energy level, and physical health.
If you try this, the subject will no longer be theoretical for you; you will have the certainty of knowing from your own experience. This is something that 95% of people would never try. Look for a better way of life than the 95%.