Adam Snider

Archive for the ‘Spiritual Experiences’ Category

Acknowledging the dark side of life

In Spiritual Experiences on April 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm

I just recently returned from a Good Friday service at the Unitarian church. It was not, as you might have guessed, an explicitely Christian service. Jesus played a part, of course, but it wasn’t the traditional Christian Good Friday mass. It was still called a Tenebrae service, but it the part about “Jesus saves!” was noticably absent (since it was a Unitarian service, rather than a Christian service).

It was quite a moving service, for me. It was short but sombre. It caused me to be much more introspective than I have lately, and to acknowledge the darknesses in my life.

In particular, I thought about my father.

My farther is ill. He may even be dying, albeit relatively slowly. His kidneys are failing. In fact, he started on dialysis earlier this week. While I think he still has some kidney function, it’s as though the organs have already failed him completely.

It seems more and more unlikely that he will live to be an old man (he is only 50). I have been denying this and, in doing so, acting as if our time is unlimited. Instead, I should embrace the dark truth of the situation. I should acknowledge his illness.

I should cease taking my father’s life for granted. I should make more time for him in my life. I should let him know that I love him—through actions, if not through words. I should do all of this soon.

Now may be all that we have.

Sex and Spirituality

In Spiritual Experiences on February 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm
"they sleep" by caro*naf

"they sleep" by caro*naf

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought it was only appropriate that I talked about sex.

You might wonder: What does sex have to do with spirituality?

For a lot of people, sex and spirituality are very closely linked, especially if they base their moral code on their religious beliefs. Many religions talk about sex as sin, at least if it occurs outside of marriage.

For these people, their spirituality dictates their sexuality.

Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with premarital sex. Sex is not a sin. If anything, sex is a gift from god.

There are, of course, moral issues surrounding sex—rape, adultery, pedophilia, you name it—but sex itself is not a bad thing.* I can’t imagine too many people would disagree with me on that point.

Where a lot of people, both religious and non-religious, will disagree with me is in my belief that sex is a spiritual act. At least, it can be a spiritual act.

I’m not going to suggest that by going out and having a one-night stand, you’re getting closer to god. In order for sex to be a spiritual act, there has to be a connection with your partner (i.e.: a spiritual connection).

What is it about sex that makes me think of it as spiritual?

Primarily, it’s the connect with another human being on the most intimate of levels. Short of giving birth to someone, there is no deeper way to bond with a person than to have sex with them. If the sex is truly intimate, and not just a physical act, you’re accessing every part of your partner, and they’re accessing the deepest parts of you—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Part of my personal understanding of god is that “he” is not so much an external being as much as an internal, human force. This isn’t to say that humans are gods, but that we all have an element of the divine within us. To open oneself completely to another is to give that person access to that spark. Sex connects us to the spirit of the person we are with and, by extension, with the great Spirit of Life.

Sex is also a sort of zen-like experience. For me, and I assume for most people, having sex is the ultimate “in the moment” experience. It’s pretty rare that I find myself thinking about anything outside of the moment while I’m in it.

Because of the zen-like nature of sex, there is a strange sort of spiritual element that make me feel at peace with the entire universe. Of course, a lot of that is because of the happy-fun-time chemical cocktail coursing through my body while I’m in the act, but I see little value in separating the physical from the metaphysical. After all, it’s only through our physical selves that we can experience the metaphysical (I realize that this statement is a paradox of ridiculous proportions, but it’s what I believe).

Now, having said all of this, the spiritual element of sex is rarely something that I’m actually conscious of during the act.

Physically, sex is just plain fun. I think it goes without saying that sex is pretty awesome, even when these spiritual elements are removed from it.

But, for me, it’s the spiritual side of sex that makes it really worthwhile. It’s as much about connecting with my partner’s spirit as it is about physical pleasure.

As usual, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. How do you related sex and spirituality? Do you related the two, or do you see them as entirely separate from one another? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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*By no means am I suggesting that people who commit adultery are the same as rapists and pedophiles; I was simply listing some sex acts that I believe are immoral.