These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Physicality and Sensuality

Posted on December 9, 2010 by Michael

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I think there is a general misunderstanding about the difference between physicality and sensuality.

The physical world is extremely holy. The elements fire, water, air, earth are absolutely mysterious in Origin, as they come directly from the creation of Gd’s word.

It is the improper orientation towards physicality that is sensuality, in other words being ruled by one’s senses; whether that is expressed through uncontrolled physical desire, or in terms of a world view that does not look beyond the physical senses and towards the deep inner truths that are easily accessible.

We are all moving, upright beings made of the four holy elements: fire, air, water, earth. We have breath and speech, heat and electrical nerve impulses, water and blood, and the dust of the earth: all under our command.

It is not wise to be ruled by these elements, however. We have no choice but to learn to rule these elements with the MIND and then the SELF, the Knower who has infinite possibility of experience.

I think that the number one principle in life is to just stay calm. Know that you lack nothing because with consciousness you have everything you need. Do not listen to the cultural voices that tell you that you do not have enough, in whatever form that lie may take. You have the I AM, and that is all you need. I think we all know this deep down; that there is nothing lacking in our lives, because time will always march on to a new day. The key is to find a place of calm in your mind, to embody the Observer who is happy to experience the blessings of sight and proper hearing and near perfect health, friendship and love, experiences on planet earth in this age of unprecedented mental and spiritual awakening via communication technology and a general improvement in humankind.

But with these awakenings, the evil inclination grows stronger. We see that with all of our advances there is a strong pull in the opposite direction towards sensuality. But all we have to do, first of all, is to have RIGHT AWARENESS. It is simply crucial that we wake up from the illusion that the body is not a holy instrument, that speech is not an absolutely astounding ability; and therefore it is crucial that we begin to treat our bodies and our power of speech with great care, diligence, and honor.

And I think it is equally important to remember, on the other hand, that this task does not have to be like a battle. I think it is possible to say that the greatest warrior is the one who has actually won the war, meaning that the battle against sensuality–which is only the battle against forgetting your own holy self–is easily won through the blessing of a calm and steady mind. I have a direct connection to Gd through the holiness of the elements of my body, through the inexplicable gift of self-awareness: the only reason to be overtly sensual is that there is a vacuum caused by not understanding who I AM, and therefore looking for something in physical pleasure that will fill that gap. If you look at it, you’ll see it very simply that the desire for physical pleasure is the desire for union. What we really thirst for above all else is union with Gd. An overabundance of sex, food, or entertainment; these are all different faces on our desire to achieve a union that at its deepest core is inherently the Mystical union.

I think we can be that state of Unity all day long by simply being grateful and calm, always.

My favorite holiday of Hanukah is over.

But then again, when I can reside in tranquility and gratitude, then every week is a festival; a chance to observe and participate in the Global Awakening of the One Gd inside of us ALL