Sunday, September 4, 2011

THE GREATEST OF THESE...may 20, 2008

I would not want to be misunderstood about my views regarding  human sexuality. For one thing I doubt that there is such a thing as casual sex. The high risk of sexual intimacy rules out it ever being viewed as just another event in a persons life, like eating a meal, using the bathroom or accomplishing a business transaction.
Adam And Eve Contemplating Whether To Become More Conscious
 No, experiencing sexual orgasm, in the case of intercourse  with another human involves physical risks of being bruised, hurt or torn, and exposure to a wide array of serious medical diseases. The emotional risk is monumental. The risk of hearing abusive or demeaning words about ones most intimate and naked self. The risk of being cruelly described as not sexually pleasing or competent. The risk of having bared ones naked body and deeply personal sexual needs and longings, and being turned away from after the intimate contact leaving one feeling abandoned and used. The risk, that for centuries, women had to always carry was becoming pregnant when one had not the means or interest or time to birth and raise a child, easily 20 years of emotional, time and monetary commitment. Another extreme risk that can be a part of sexual encounter is if one or the other persons is in a stated understanding with another person that they will not have sex with anyone else. This of course even involves legal risks if either is married but the risks are similar if either is engaged or in a relationship where sexual loyalty has been promised or implied. These 'other commitment' relationship issues begin to cry out even more for one's moral system to come into play and help resolve some of humanity's most perplexing and important human situations. To many people these dilemmas seem to be matters of happiness or human misery and often I think are. Even if  'other commitment'  relationships are experienced as very unhappy and unfulfilling the moral dilemma of not keeping ones sexual promise of faithfulness is one felt with deepest moral seriousness. These are risks that people experience and sometimes take to move toward what they have some deeply held but uncertain intuition may lead them to experience a human joy and happiness, potentially nothing less than heaven on earth(on earth as it is in heaven). All one has to do is listen to the songs, watch the movies, read the novels of any generation to see the awareness of the risks of human intimacy and the likelihood that many humans on any given day will be taking such risks. Ancient scripture also adds its language in story and law to express many of these risks, hopes and anxieties surrounding human sexual intimacy.

Once the world shaking change came of women being in control of their own pregnancy, the impact  on most every front  of which cannot be over stated, there may have been a rush of experimentation referred to as 'free sex.' This of course nearly overwhelmed the moral senses of most church teaching and turned the multifaceted male double standard and male sexual dominance upside down. Because this has happened the world of human sexuality will never be the same. As upsetting and troubling as all this was it was, in my opinion, essential if society were going to be able to move toward genuinely mutual human relationships (very important words and easier said than done)and great strides have been made in that direction. But in due time following the  'sexual revolution' human experience has shown the majority of Americans, religious or not, that promiscuity is not a sustainable or even desirable life style. That is just not where most people are now and it is not because of the moral injunctions of the church that all sex outside of marriage is sinful and alienates one from God. It is so hard for religious people to keep in mind that sometimes God himself teaches the human race without the religious folks being primarily involved at all. And sometimes that instruction turns out to be far more truthful and helpful than the church's take on the subject(I picture God saying, ' This one is too important for me to let the well intentioned botch up, so I will do it myself."  Thank you God. But the fact that the scriptures do not usually treat human sexuality lightly (except for an occasionally approved rape or on one occasion gang rape  justified since it was hetero and not homo sexual.  See Lot and the angels at Sodom in Genesis 19.)or uneventful turns out to be an appropriate emphasis on this mysterious, promised filled, privately fantasized part of everyday human existence.
Modern Adam and Eve Lovers

Perhaps this human involvement that inherently has such deep and fearful risks also holds potentially the richest , most ecstatic and euphoric( words that approach and perhaps even surpass the experience of miracle), most profound and psyche enhancing expressions of human love that are possible. This may be the area of human reality, proven to be continually and deeply circulating in the human mind at conscious and unconscious levels throughout most of the days of life, that promises the highest likelihood of Humanity proving the reality of the scriptural epiphany that the >greatest of all things is indeed love.= It has been shown scientifically that the true sex organ, that part of one that leads them to awareness that they are strongly and richly attracted at times to another person sexually, is the brain not the genitals. Our human sexuality is anchored in image, images that come spontaneously to our mind. This means that sexuality is based in our capacity for imagination, and our willingness and freedom to allow sexual images to become conscious. We do a great disservice to our psychic life by repressing them. Like all images, which are the basis of all conscious life, it is what we do with them that makes them either base or in service to the highest spirituality, to love. This awareness, so often judged as bad, evil, immoral(perhaps evolutionarily because of the risk involved as one approaches actual intimacy), potentially can be underpinned by genuine care, appreciation, respect, and spiritual awe at the very reality and wonder of another human being. If sexual encounter should incur in such an atmosphere of mutual respect, concern for well being, desires for the deepest and richest pleasure of the other person and each taking full responsibly for all risks involved, human sexuality seems to potentially be a door to the highest level of human consciousness. This would be the human spiritual experience par excellence.

But, it seems certain that dreamed for ecstasy has been and still is in great measure only potential. It is fraught with the deepest illusions and results in some of the saddest and most personal disappointments in present human experience. Marriage has been for centuries where religion and society has tried to channel this longing for the highest experience of sexual love. Marriage has also been used by church and state to control the frightening strength of sexual impulse. It has also been used to support male sexual, economic, educational and social mobility dominance over women for millennia. With this huge negative baggage carried in marriage, especially by women, it is no wonder that the fullness of genuine sexual love can hardly be fully realized. It has been common for women to experience marriage as being given economic security in exchange for domestic service and sex on demand. One that must make her feel she has sold out on real love and, practically speaking, she may have; but who can fault her when the risks of doing the other is so high, especially if she has children to raise.

For church or society to not face that such has been a common experience of marriage is to simply not be attuned to the deepest longings and disappointments of the human heart. If marriage is not truly an environment that has been very successful in developing spiritual and intimate love for women, then men can hardly experience it in its potential for joy either. It is most certainly true that one's partner=s experience of sexual love can be no higher spiritually than hers/his own. Total mutuality and trust seem be an essential ingredient for mature spiritual sexual love. Since most of the structures of society have not encouraged and supported genuine mutuality in male -female relationships( It has instead usually worked overtime to prevent it) it has been nearly impossible for sexual intimacy to become, but perhaps for extremely few, what our human fantasy and our spiritual love hunger keeps anticipating. Our culture carries this dream but most speak of it as 'only an illusion' for books and film. But still it likely lives strong in the hearts of most individuals to one degree or another.

Our culture can hardly compute the fact that romantic love between two individuals is a very recent social concept and that in many cultures today, marriages are fixed by families with economic and religious parameters. And many such marriages are more lasting and 'efficient' than marriage in our culture where it is supposedly of free choice and based on committed as well as romantic love. It would seem that our marriages would truly be the door to fulfillment of ultimate human sexual love, joy and peace beyond imagination. But sadly, it is far from that experience usually and people end up settling by saying, A well, it is just a fantasy and not anything that reality can live up to. Sadly it can become, A honey, I'll make the money, you cook the food and be with the kids. Maybe we will occasionally enter that world of dreamed for sexual ecstasy." Obviously this scenario has changed a lot for some couples in the past 30 years and that gives me hope for the future. But what most call the good old days were replete with this experience, whether consciously aware or not. It could have hardly been otherwise. Scripture could have helped but for the most part didn't for it was not appropriately interpreted and no one was willing, or was able to find permission, to ever to say, for example, to the beloved Paul, "You are wrong on that point buddy. I'm not teaching that to my daughter."

I think I am suggesting that there is a spiritual evolution possibly at work regarding sexual intimacy. This would imply that a next great step in human history will have to do with human beings being capable of experiencing sustained sexual love at a level of spiritual and physical ecstasy that has never been possible before in the course of humanity. My hunch is that when such partners come to experience such elevated loving intimacy, it will have a huge positive impact on all of society. Love experienced at this level of spiritual intimacy will help evolve people who are so certain of themselves being loved and of their being able to love, that a much higher practice of 'genuine Christian' love will be possible  in all of the non sexual relationships of life. A person who is living in such love with a partner will be far more able and successful at loving others in non sexual ways. It is no accident that people are reported to exclaim(and likely really meaning it)," O my God" when orgasming with a trusted beloved and committed partner. It would raise the capacity for loving others exponentially. There is likely presently a defined limit on an individual's capacities to love others , including their own children not to mention strangers and foreigners, because of the lack of this psyche changing sexual love in our personal lives. So, I could say I believe that humans are just now approaching the spiritual capacity to truly live out what it can mean for monogamous love partners to become "one flesh". So in the end it is still the words quoted by Jesus that point me to the hope that humanity is far closer than it has ever been to fulfilling its capacity to "love one another." 

The reader my wish to read also blog posts 'Love's Troubles"
and  "Human Intimacy"

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