What is passion? It is surely the becoming of a person.
--John Boorman

A man I know describes the ultimate sensual (or is it sensuous?) experience: on a moonlit night, he mounts Ricky, his sleek Morgan quarterhorse, rides her out into the middle of a freshly mown meadow, and, while she grazes, stretches out across her back, his head resting on her hindquarters. The air sweetly perfumed by horse sweat and timothy hay, the visible universe pricked by the white light of a trillion distant suns, his head woggling on the horse's rear end as she shifts her weight, he falls into a swoon. Eros and the spirit mingle, and there is only joy.

And you thought horses were a woman's thing. Joy, we too often think, is an event we await, a mood that just comes upon us; if we're lucky, a reward for righteous living. But those who cultivate joy, who actively demand it, who look for that distinctive mingling of sex and the spirit at the heart of every positive human experience... well, they get what they're looking for. It is all around them; they only have to open themselves up to it. Joyfulness is a choice we make, says author Thomas Moore. And an easy one, at that.

[In an excerpt from his essay on joy, Moore urges us to "be Human. Let us be individuals. Let us be together. Let us each be free of criticism and constraint in our honesty to sort out our values and our meanings." He observes that there are several "qualities of sex: desire, pleasure, sensuality, fantasy, indulgence, physicality, love and union. There are many others, but these suffice to show how any activity in a day's time could be sexual if these qualities were present. How can you live all day long in a mechanical, functional society, perhaps work in a drab and inhumane environment, and then come home to make love? Can a person be so compartmentalized?" He goes on to tell us that joy is preferable to entertainment, and that holiness is preferable to health. His assertion is that "our sexuality will bring us joy and spirituality holiness. We don't need anything else." His conclusion: "Let us be free to be outrageously spiritual and outrageously sexual, to the point where the two will seem inseparable and a deep division in the human heart will have been healed." - Michael]

Thomas Moore's exquisite essay on the soul of our sexuality reinforces my own deeply cherished belief that our deepest longings, unexpressed desires, and romantic impulses are sacred invitations to know Divine intimacy through a spirituality of the senses. Ancient spiritual traditions - from the Egyptians to the Celts - have always recognized the sacredness of sensuality and looked to the senses as the Sacred's private portals to reverence and redemption. To be spiritual is to be passionate. To be passionate is to honor God. Passion is holy - a profound Mystery that transcends and transforms through rapture. We need to accept that a sacred fire burns within us whether we are comfortable with this truth or not. If we don't give outward expression to our passions through reveling in our senses, the fires of hell present no problem - we'll experience self-immolation in the spontaneous combustion of our souls.

As Oscar Wilde reminds us, "Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul."

-Sarah Ban Breathnach and Friends, A Man's Journey to Simple Abundance, Edited by Michael Segell © 2000

The gift of touch is an incredibly wonderful gift. One of the reasons we are here is to touch each other physically as well as Spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Touch is not bad or shameful. Our creator did not give us sensual and sexual sensations that feel so wonderful just to set us up to fail some perverted, sadistic life test. Any concept of god that includes the belief that the flesh and the Spirit cannot be integrated, that we will be punished for honoring our powerful human desires and needs, is - in my belief - a sadly twisted, distorted, and false concept that is reversed to the Truth of a Loving God-Force.

We need to strive for balance and integration in our relationships. We need to touch in healthy, appropriate, emotionally honest ways - so that we can honor our human bodies and the gift that is physical touch.

Making Love is a celebration and a way of honoring the Masculine and Feminine Energy of the Universe (and the masculine and feminine energy within no matter what genders are involved), a way of honoring its perfect interaction and harmony. It is a blessed way of honoring the Creative Source.

One of the most blessed and beautiful gifts of being in body is the ability to feel on a sensual level. Because we have been doing human backwards, we have been deprived of the pleasure of enjoying our bodies in a guilt-free, shame-free, manner. By striving for integration and balance we can start to enjoy our human experience - on a sensual level as well as on the emotional, mental, and Spiritual levels.

-Robert Burney, selected excerpts from Codepenence: The Dance of Wounded Souls © 1995

This healing is a long gradual process - the goal is progress, not perfection. What we are learning about is unconditional Love. Unconditional Love means no judgment, no shame.
--Robert Burney

This week's topic is one that needs some healing in my life, so I began searching for some inspiration on the subject. I recommend that you, too, search for enlightenment on this and other subjects, and find what you need. Here is a link to a good place to start: Robert Burney's website, which was a wonderful discovery for me this week.

Those relationships that are the best in our life are those which not only start, but continue as friends. Close friends. The relationships which are the very worst in our lives are those that are not friendly in nature. Especially in a marital relationship, or with your children. If that relationship would be based first upon friendship, all else would fall into place, would it not? Think about it.

If my spouse is my friend, I would not expect her to make all the wrong things in my life right. I would not have to like everything about my children in order to be their friend, because I know that my friends have defects and shortcomings, and so do I - but, that doesn't stop us from being friends. I don't expect my sisters to entertain me, to keep me laughing all the time, and I allow them to go through their ups and downs, too - but we are still friends. Friends don't hit us, wreak havoc in our life, talk mean to us or turn our life upside down. They don't have to feel healthy and energetic in order to be our friend. They are not desirous of being with us every minute, or needing to always know what we are doing and trying to control us. Friends don't do that to each other.

We encourage friends. We pray for our friends. We know that they walk a Path that is different than ours, and allow them to learn and grow at their pace, not ours. We give them time to focus on their own personal growth, and let them deal with their issues. We equate ourself with them in terms of equals, and we devote as much time and energy as we have available to that friendship. Sometimes, we are comfortable just sitting in silence together, verbal communication not being necessary. And when we have an issue with a friend, we carefully consider how we are going to deal with the issue, because we care about the feelings of our friends. We weigh our words, and state our feelings clearly with friends. We are honest and forthright with each other, forgiving and understanding, generous and thoughtful, mindful of what they feel, and contrite when we have hurt them. We trust them, and they trust us.

When all of the relationships in our lives are like friendships, how can they be anything but loving and richly rewarding? Seeking this with our our family members, our spouse and our children, is a natural part of that balance for which we are all striving.



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