This very short riff on sexuality is meant to be nothing more than thought-provoking because a comprehensive treatment of the metaphysics of sexuality would be too lengthy for this encyclopedia. There are not many topics of conversation that would expose the ignorance of the false self in the context of P-B as flagrantly as human sexuality. We can do nothing more here than begin a much-needed dialogue.
Layna Verin initiates our discussion with a broad metaphysical overview. “Our sexuality is the deepest and most primal impulse we possess. Repressed, it drains our vital energies and weakens all our faculties of mind and body. Fulfilled, it becomes a great creative and regenerative force. Sexual liberation does not lie in mastering techniques which see our bodies as pleasure mechanisms, but in the realization that our bodies are holy and that sexual relationships are sharing of the divine energy that animates the universe.”
The goal of expressing our sexuality is the same as the overall goal of a life lived consciously in the present moment. In the words of Thomas Moore, that overall goal is “to fulfill your destiny, to live out your fate with openness and heart, [which] may not justify anything. You may be an antihero, doing less than the ordinary person, and yet being yourself.” Moore knew in writing this that the goal in question was expressing our compassionate True self.
In the West we can trace the split between a healthy sexuality and religion to the Old Testament and to Saint Paul in the New Testament. “Christianity’s lack of recognition of the sexual values of the spirit, and its profound dismissal of the importance both of the woman in life and the feminine in the spirit of man, encourages this tendency [which] already was in the Old Testament and its dedication to a masculine patriarchal concept of God. This rejection of the feminine and this apparent suppression of sex reached its most omnipotent height in the Victorian era.”
Caroline Myss is an intuitive working in the field of physical healing. “The personal history of American culture, combined with the value we place on sexual control, contributes substantially to the widespread shame people feel about their bodies and sexual natures. During many of my workshops, participants who share personal stories of their unfulfilled sexual lives are as numerous as those who come to workshops to improve their health.”
Sexual abuse as most of us know is not related to sex but to power. “Rape and incest of an energy field are motivated by the desire to cripple a person’s ability to be independent and thrive outside the control of another person. In effect, their parents [or sexual abusers] “raped” their children, stripping them of the personal power they needed for health and success.”
The illusion of romance permeates western society and distorts the roles many of us play in our institutions including marriage. The themes of Susan Ostrov Weisser’s book The Glass Slipper: Women and Love Stories are the myths and persistence of the love story. “‘The more incoherent romance and marriage become, the more the stories of romance proliferate and assume an ever more pivotal cultural role.’ She finds the story of the glass slipper—the arrival of a man who represents the ‘perfect fit’—to be as pernicious as the limitation of the glass ceiling: it leaves many women feeling responsible for the failure of their lives to conform to what she contends is an impossible standard. ‘No matter if they love too much or too little,’ she laments, ‘it’s still all on them to make the damned thing work.’”
“Weisser first documents the historical specificity of the ‘true love’ story. Despite what her students think, it is not eternal but rooted in the Victorian era, that period’s cultural solution to ‘the tensions and contradictions of reconciling love and marriage.’ When these Victorian ideas, intended to protect against lust, carry over into an era of sexual permissiveness, ‘the story of a love affair redefines sexuality as something personal that women can understand and control, rendering its social context invisible or irrelevant.’”
Both men and women suffer from the loss of a healthy identity and sexuality is a large part of that dysfunctional “self.” The false self of a woman, for example, might show up in her purchase of sado-masochistic fiction such as E. L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey.
“Noir, more than any other genre, allows us to see our most shameful fantasies enacted and then to step away, unmarked by the experience.” Megan Abbot, writing in a review of Elissa Wald’s The Secret Lives of Married Women, might be underestimating the suffering incurred by the “cravings” of the sensation energy center of the false self.
Pleasure is suffering and very few people understand that. Our existential anxiety is due to a fear of chaos. Women have their own cravings and aversions causing suffering. In Wald’s book her characters share intimacies. “Between them ripple marital frustrations, anxieties over motherhood and most of all the way their own cravings have shaped and contorted them. These women are fellow veterans, not of the depredations of men but of their own furtive longings—longings that threaten the order they seek in their lives, an order they hope will protect them from their own dark impulses.” (6 p. 10) We can see why the personal shadow must be embraced and integrated into our True self as a key process in creating a healthy Self-awareness.
Even the American Psychiatric Association supported behavior in the past that we would consider barbaric today. Phil Nash, the first director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center and a former editor of Out Front Colorado, describes a protest activity at the annual conference of the APA in Detroit in 1974. “Our mission: seek out booths promoting ‘aversion therapy’ machines, and noisily shame the vendors’ companies for profiting from the torture of gay people.”
What torture? “The patient reclined in a comfortable chair, in front of a TV screen. The ‘therapist’ would attach electrical wires to his genitals, then display a series of sexually explicit images on the TV. If the electrical wires detected arousal as the patient viewed a male image, he’d get an electric shock. When a female image appeared, the shock stopped.”
“Conservative religions also have used what they often called ‘reparative therapy’ to direct their gay congregants back to the path of righteousness. Reparative therapy is a confrontational style of talk therapy officially denounced by the APA in 1997 but still used in many churches. In 2011, presidential aspirant Michele Bachman’s husband was reportedly running a Christian gay-conversion program in his Minnesota clinic.”
Exodus International was an organization that was in the gay-conversion business and the organization’s leader Alan Chambers recently (2013) issued an apology to the gay community and announced that it was ceasing operation. “He admitted that almost everything the ex-gay ministry [gay conversion movement] had done for 37 years was wrong.”
The expression of the false self in the context of the conventional Judeo-Christian religious tradition illustrates how the heart of both religions which is surely compassion has been distorted. Fear of the other, in this case those who have sexual identities other than heterosexual, has led to egregious suffering throughout the global village. Can we find the courage to face the truth, formulate policies and laws based in reality and the compassion to implement the changes needed to create a sustainable future for humankind?
References and notes are available for this article.
Also find a much more in-depth discussion of Simple Reality
on this blog and in published books by Roy Charles Henry.