Wednesday, October 12, 2016

TRUMP SEX TALK, LEARNING FROM... October 12, 20166

Our national negative reactions to Donald Trump's statements about human sexuality can miss the most important point. It is not that he talked about human sexuality but that he discredited and disrespected it. He set a tone that, if accepted, would greatly reduce the chances of persons, male or female, discovering and experiencing the incomparable joy potential of healthy intimate sexuality and love.

If his words had simply been an honest confession that he is sometime passionately sexually excited and attracted by the presence of another respected person this could be an expression of appreciation and honor for the other, not an assault or objectifying them sexually for self interest. And thus possibly nothing to be ashamed of as long as it did not get outwardly expressed in ways that are aggressive or makes that other person uncomfortable. I emphasize this for only a few decades ago, among many 'religious' teachings and persons, what I have just described would receive a pronounced condemnation as being a 'sin of the heart' and the statement attributed to Jesus invoked about 'adultery in the heart.' But what I have discovered on my spiritual path is the reality of 'Eros'... attraction and longing to touch , to be physically close(Eros can be present in non sexual ways as well such as the desire to hug our children) …. is healthy and, when it finds correct channeling, may lead to some highest joys of life, even comparable to the long fantasized 'being ecstatically one with God.'

But for Eros to be healthy for a person and/or a beloved one it must be accompanied also by the other Greek descriptions of love: Phileo which means a 'friendship that cherishes the physical presence of the other' and Agape which is a ' A faithful unconditional care for the well being of the other'. When these are together experienced by a human it is my understanding that one is in the presence of what is no less than an avenue to the 'Love of God' itself. Such a state of love would do no harm to the other nor force any desire it felt to be the responsibility of the other to meet or to even have any interest in. A maturely conscious  person under the influence of such attracting Eros love would understand these limits and realize that the attraction felt may not at all be mutual. This can become a process of unprecedented spiritual growth for a person, to contain and work responsibly with such an inner conundrum, perhaps for years. Such an Eros inspired situation is the heart of the Academy Award winning movie and novel ' Dr Zhivago' . There are limitless other examples in the world's best literature and mythologies. I would say that such a high level of love, I have no way of knowing of how common it is  outwardly  experienced  yet among humans, can conceivably surpass the authority of  collective moral codes that are so important in building culture and providing general moral guidance to humans.

Yet, if this higher love description is what we had heard from Donald Trump there likely would still have been many persons , especially from fundamentalist religious and political perspectives ,  who would be offended for speaking at all of love not being defined along the lines of the collective religious or civic code. For example nothing I've said limits such a high level of love from being found in the life of LGBT persons. It remains a sad reality that we Christians still need to face that we cannot 'insist' that such high levels of love appear when two persons are legally married. Such a high love cannot be corralled , controlled or limited to its activation where we choose it to be by legal or dogma means. So in this way 'truest and most complete mutual and honest intimate human love' is personally dangerous in all present societies. Such love is not be toyed with but understood to be as theologian Paul Tillich said , ' Eros is a human/God power'. And I would say a power and factor that humanity has not yet experienced as a common conscious and natural part of life. I hope we are now on the verge of that beginning to happen more and more. The more we are aware of this nature of higher human love and sexuality the more likely it can become a common human experience.

It can help Christians to have a reasonably accurate understanding of the historical course of the Christian level of  valuing  Eros love. There is I think good reason to conclude that Jesus of Nazareth had a very appreciative wholesome value for human sexual love and commitment such as I have tried to superficially describe. This would mean he likely experienced such love. It seems unreasonable if such love is the goal of spiritual living, personally and collectively, that the one who came to be seen by many as God incarnate would have lived without that full experience. There are stories and settings in the gospels that, reading between the lines and  challenging our Western interpretations , can be better understood as teaching a high value of human love where Eros is an essential aspect. But that spiritual appreciation of Eros was soon lost even before the New Testament was completed. Then Augustine, the very influential Christian leader of the fourth century, left a very paradoxical record. He, perhaps more than any ancient historical figure, recorded candidly and honestly his most inner sexual experiences and thoughts. Unfortunately he concluded very negatively about Eros, ushering in 1500+ years of human sexuality being denigrated, being morally for human reproduction only, and the potential joys of human sexual love being considered sinful lust. Orthodox Christianity has more or less kept this negative cloud over human sexuality ever since, always trying to corral Eros  love within legal marriage. It has never worked. The Sexual revolution of the 1960's and the emergence of birth control together have forever changed our Western view, questions and hopes regarding human sexuality and love. But unfortunately I conclude  we have not yet, in any general collective way, discovered the full joy and responsibility of sexual human intimacy either in the religious or secular communities of the West. This creates a psychological and spiritual desert and has left us victims to the most rampant materialism and consumerism humans have ever constructed. Even our religion usually supports it.

But perhaps such strong focus on the dark side of sexuality that the Trump comments have placed upon us will serve as motivation, not to return to Victorian or Augustinian views of sexuality and human love but to move us in perhaps quantum leap ways to becoming more conscious of the love potential that rests within the human soul. And the instinctual search for that which connects the human to the Sacred in ways that are imagined in the New Testament phrase 'joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

But the 'sexual assault and misogynous' flippant work-place language of Donald Trump the nation has heard repeatedly is a complete disavowal and disrespect of the high level honest / mutual love that I have tried to quickly  describe above. I am wondering if all this emotional outburst from all sides about the topic of human sexuality is a moment in human evolution that will nearly force us to take a more sober and hopeful look at the meaning of love and sexuality than humans in a society have ever been pushed to do?

We can only hope that what the 'mind of evolution 'or the 'spirit of god'  has in mind for us to learn will become more conscious to us. For it just may mean a grand leap in human spiritual evolution and far higher levels of genuine conscious joy among humans than has yet to ever be  commonly experienced. Not only would such lovers experience regularly such soul enriching love, but I think persons so convinced by their experience of effectively giving and receiving intimate love would naturally 'love their neighbor as themselves'. And the promise of all religions of humans 'loving each other' may be realized in ways never before in human history.

By the way it is extremely important in talking about the hope of such personal love experience that it be realized as unreasonable to think every human can be expected to be related to another by such love throughout life. In fact it may be those who have loved like this may spend most of their lives celibate and separated from such love by factors of human limitations, illness, death and simply that such love does not happen. Obviously such love can't be concocted and demanded despite the date matching services' promise. Often there may need to be long periods of life that serve to prepare a person for such love or to contemplate the meaning of such an experience. This in no way indicates that any person is 'lacking' or 'missing' their true destiny and cooperation with love . What can be a reality is that every person could come to understand that such intimate love experience is of highest v social/spiritual value and would want it to be happening in the world by as many couples as possible at any given time. That is likely the unconscious hope we have when we celebrate a wedding but as we know another story often begins there, an important one but not necessarily that leads to this higher love.

Also, I think we have some sound historical record that some persons have experienced such a love connection with another as an inner life experience without it becoming physical at all. And that inner experience has had the 'same qualitative effect and transformation' on them as if it had been external. One of many such historical persons would be Dante who credits his whole creative life being inspired by an 'internal falling in love' he had in his early adulthood. But the actual physical person he loved never knew it. I say this to correct any let down that any person, most all of us, can have if such' honest, intimate love anchored in Eros, Agape, Phileo' is not experienced at any given time, if ever outwardly, in this mortal life.

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