His Holiness says physical love spells “trouble.” A priest responds: in its highest form, sex spells “At-One-ness.”
DAVID RICKEY — Sex is a many splendored and often-splintered thing. The Dalai Lama, in a rare interview on the subject, focuses primarily on the splinters:
Naturally as a human being, some kind of desire for sex comes but then you use intelligence to make comprehension that those couples are always full of trouble. And in some cases . . . suicide, murder.
Speaking purely biologically, sex is the sine qua non for the survival of the species.
But as human life evolved beyond the simple need to propagate our species — and relationships, then families, and finally, societies developed — the purpose and place of sex also evolved. Or at least it was “supposed to.”
Unfortunately many people are still operating from the “reptile brain,” and therefore, responding to hormones rather than living (and Loving) from a deeper place.
Early on in a human relationship, the hormonal drive and need for sex often provides the “glue” for developing the relationship in the first place. But as the relationship grows, the quality of the relationship and the role of sex in it is “supposed to” evolve.
The relationship is now about becoming more conscious, partly by looking at our own buttons as they get pushed by our partner, and doing the work around them. Sex also can become an experience, not so much of hormonal discharge but of intimacy and awareness of inter-dependency – and ultimately “At-One-ment”.
During orgasm, the “ecstatic” experience temporarily dissolves our “boundaries” – primarily ego-driven distinctions – so that there is an experience of unity. The couple is actually “making love” – creating love as a product of the “unitive” experience of oneness.
There is a somatic experience, “in the body,” of the essential truth of the unity of all life. The feeling of Love is truly the feeling of being at one with the other. Thus the couple experiences an embodiment of ultimate reality.
The Dalai Lama is speaking primarily from his awareness of monastic life and the statistical record of dysfunctional relationships.
From that point of view, the advantage of celibacy can be a shift of the energies normally devoted to intimacy between two people (and often then to the exclusion of others), to a more general awareness of deep connection to all life. In addition, most couples on this planet haven’t evolved far enough beyond the hormonal and “pain-body” energies to discover true Love.
But celibacy isn’t, therefore, superior to the expression of sexual love. In fact, celibacy can often be a way of avoiding the personal-growth challenges inherent in developing a personal love-bond between two people.
With all due respect, I think the Dalai Lama is overstating the case based on observation of what is most prevalent. That many — even most — human beings haven’t learned to move from “having sex” to “Making Love” doesn’t mean that sexual intimacy is bound to lead to trouble.
Rather, this reality points us to the need to teach more about what the spiritual role of sex is in adult, consciously-evolving, relationships. In fact, Sex and its colloquial partners — Drugs and, yes, Rock and Roll — can be compelling paths to spiritual enlightenment.
If this spoke to you, here are five similar articles.
- Spiritual Surf: Dalai Lama’s Hell on Earth, Brad Pitt explores the soul of Percy Fawcett, and Dr. Phil “Creamed”
- Been abused? Surprising Darma from Dharamsala
- Spiritual Surf: Sukkot, Letterman, Dalai Lama, World Council of Churches, Tantric Sex
- Love is a verb. So, let’s DO it.
- No. 1: Kundun