Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bringing Sexy Blag: Part 2

Ah, Spring! The flowers are blooming, the trees are blossoming, the sparrows are making love, as one yogi so poetically put it, the pigeons are conducting their ages-old love rituals...It's the perfect time to talk about brahmacharya!

Sex as holy, beautiful, miraculous ritual of rebirth is all around us! That's all the trees are doing when they make our noses run, what the pigeons are doing when they coo and chase each other around, what we're hinting at when we show off our legs even though it may not actually be that warm out yet...Yay sex: Celebration of second chances, of not letting death take the day! In that spirit, why should we ever not take part in this beautiful, sacred ritual that springs up from so deep inside our minds and spirits?

Well...truly I hate to rain on the sexy parade, but we aren't trees; we aren't sparrows; we're people. We're capable of understanding that there's a time and a place for all things: a season and a purpose to all things under Heaven, or so they say. Spring may well seem like the season for sex, but if that's the case, when was your season for not sex? When was the last time the opportunity for a roll in the hay presented itself and you turned it down? When was the last time you weighed the pros and cons, the potential harm to yourself or the other person, before hopping into a sexual encounter?

Part 1 of this topic was written in a pretty stream-of-conscious way, and going back to reread it and read the responses I got to it really got the wheels turning. When was the last time I contemplated or practiced brahmacharya? Brahmacharya doesn't mean not having sex. It means practicing celibacy: holding sex as something beautiful and sacred and worth treating with reverence - not as a game, a toy, a recreational activity, a right, an entitlement, something you'd do if you could but lately it hasn't been in the cards and doesn't that really suck. What treating it that way means in daily practice will vary widely from person to person, culture to culture, etc., but the attitude should be present for anyone who practices yoga as more than a mentally soothing workout. Being married definitely has lent itself to my treating sex as a right and an entitlement at times. Even when practicing abstinence, sex was still something that I would be entitled to, just not yet.

So, maybe it matters even less than I thought whether you're doing it or not doing it, because it's just as easy to fail to practice brahmacharya as a virgin or celibate person as it is as a sexually active person.

There is deep value in choosing to step out of the intercourse arena and sit quietly with your body and mind's responses to that step. I definitely think a lot of people, myself included, could benefit from that. But whether that seems impossible or crazy, or just not something you're ready for right now, you can still practice brahmacharya by slowing down, and being fully present to the sex in your life: making a decision to take part in a given sexual exchange, or not, based on what's in your heart, the other person, and the circumstances.

All that said, it is Spring. If ever there was a time to fully assess a situation, enter it with the proper sense of reverence and joy, and then go at it till the cows come home, this is it!

Happy Spring!
Live Omily!

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