Pic of the day: Vague temptations seemingly out of nowhere.
Fake sex drive
This won't be easy to write, because it combines two topics that are very private by nature: Sex and spirituality. For some lucky people these pull in the same direction, or so I've heard. Certainly not so for me. Rather this is a prime example of where the flesh and the spirit battle each other. And unfortunately it is not a one-way siege, as perhaps it should have been. But let us first get an overview here.
I am, as I proclaim on my index page, a middle-aged man who never has sex. This is not to say that I don't have a sex drive. It is just that several (seemingly unrelated) circumstances conspire to make sure I never get to use my sex drive for anything worthwhile. In today's vital society, this is considered one of the worst fates that could befall a man, possibly right behind losing several arms, legs or eyes. It is not actually quite that bad: Now that I grow closer to 50, there are days when I don't think about it at all.
Conversely, in a vital society such as ours, spirituality is often seen as something that can be bought on the Internet, or at least a skill that can be learned fast and easy if only you find the right teacher (or self-help book). It is so vague that Christians and Satanists can both be "spiritual", not to mention atheists. Only the most pure-hearted of materialists will not admit to any kind of spirituality. But by and large it is somewhat hobby-like to most.
The surprising discovery happens when my spiritual need grows to a point where it risks outgrowing its place among the hobbies. When I spend more time thinking about such matters, more time praying, more time meditating, more time listening to the quiet for guidance and revelation. At that time, the flesh awakens. Unrealistic but vivid daydreams bubble up and intrude on my mind. Why right then?
One explanation is somewhat technical: With the deepening silence of the thoughts, one becomes more open to any impulses, not only those of the spirit. This could well be, and the spiritual tradition in which I have been instructed is not unfamiliar with it. One way to handle it is to "bind our thoughts" to a specific small piece of content, like a short prayer or a short, concise revelation from the Bible. (Your traditions may vary, obviously.) As one's thoughts are found in unwanted directions, they can be led back to this anchor.
But technicalities is one thing (and temptations are never easy, and the cute ones even less so than the ugly ones). What is new is that I have considered a more sinister possibility: That the ego is throwing up this fake sexual impulses to protect itself. In the end, if spirituality reaches a certain tipping point, it becomes a danger to the Ego, the center of our self-centeredness. And so the Ego throws this stuff up to stop the encroaching spirit. "Look! You can never go that way, because you are like this." After being immersed in dirty extramarital lust like that, it is indeed difficult to return to a spiritually productive state. The Ego is safe, for now.
The reason I came to consider this possibility was that I was engaged in some kind of somewhat spiritual exercise. I don't actually remember what, and should probably not talk about it even if I did. What happened next was this strong sense of lust. But when I bent my mind to look at it critically, there was driving need, neither physical nor social. I was not really wishing for something I missed. This led me to suspect that it was a simple protective measure by the Ego. It should know from years of experience that in me, lust will clear a spirit-free zone for a while, where it can relax. Of course, the Ego would just as ruthlessly have encouraged spirituality if I was at risk of drowning in lust. Not exactly likely, that. But the Ego will preserve its power base against all extremes, I don't doubt that.
I am not sure I should write more about this. It is hard to talk with tact about things that are so personal and so sensitive, not just to me but even more so to many others.
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.