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"Do I have to let go of my sexual desires to really make progress spiritually?"

Dear Ayal

Question: Do I have to let go of my sexual desires to really make progress spiritually?

I am finding that as I progress on my spiritual path that sexual desires have a negative affect, it is hard as my partner does not understand how I am changing. The more I do spiritual practice the more I become sensitive to the fact that the sexual desires based in the lower chakras have a downward pull, whereas my aspiration and practice has an upward pull.

He has noticed that after meditation I am less interested in sex. It is hard for him, he feels rejected when I try and explain. My goals are changing from material, romantic and sensual ones to just wanting to be close to God.

Last year my boyfriend joined me for 3 days with my guru (after my numerous prayers) and our hearts were opened greatly during that time. Interestingly we had a very platonic relationship over those days and it showed that he could also be influenced by something other than desire.

As time goes on I see that love has nothing to do with desire although it is often confused.

When I was in India last year a tantric yogi taught how tantra is an ancient tradition that has nothing to do with what we think it is in the west and nothing to do with sexual desires at all.

In the west I find myself bombarded by the ideal of a sexual, romantic relationship in all the media, music etc etc... but I am slowly seeing through it.

So as time goes on what shall I do, compromise to keep my boyfriend happy or be true to myself. This would strain my relationship and make any relationship difficult... it is hard for someone to understand unless they have spiritual aspiration.

I don't know what the answer is but am scared to be alone... although maybe I have to be.

Hi - I totally understand this process you're in, I went through it myself. Everyone must, of course, make up their own minds about this... what I found for myself is that everything is God. I think that if we bring Love to any act, be it "spiritual" or "physical", we are in the presence and energy of God. I don't see the difference anymore between the physical and the spiritual - they are one and the same. If there's nowhere where God is not, how can we do that? For me, at this point, to see them as separate is to separate God off into some parts that are holy and some that aren't. God is in the Now, and the Now is where we have the opportunity to give Love, whatever that Now may be. I think that there is a time during our spiritual process where we may need to focus more on the meditative aspects, and not focus on the physical, and each person needs to discern if they are needing that for awhile, or for their whole lives, or months, or years - whatever... I found I needed to do it for a while. Now, I don't need to do that.

There's a great line in 'The Sound of Music' that I love, when the Mother Superior says to Maria, when Maria is agonizing about staying in the abbey or loving the captain... The Mother Superior says: "Just because you love this man doesn't mean that you love God any less." In fact, if we are all individualized sparks of God, then loving your partner is also a way of loving and connecting with God, if you view it in that light. I think that to deny any part of life is to deny that part of life which is also God. We are here as God to experience life - to grow in wisdom and light, and clarity - and one of the ways we do that is to experience the joy of being - the experience of being human - learning to be able to feel love in all that we do. We can learn from everything. We can become enlightened at any moment. There's the wonderful story of a sage who became enlightened while watching the beauty of a flock of geese flying overhead. That's a physical act, within which he finally got the Glory of God.

Be true to yourself, wherever you are at in the process. That's Loving yourself. No decision has to be "the final" one. If you need to be celibate for a while, be celibate. If you find that you don't need to do that, then enjoy your lovemaking as God loving God. Love yourself for whatever you decide.

Blessings, Ayal

199. "Better to get medical treatment than mess with shamanism!"

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