Have you ever run into this question before? Perhaps not as directly put, but I’m pretty sure you have your own ideas of what is and isn’t spiritual.
What actually started me off on this train of thought was that I realized I’d heard more than one person declare on more than one forum that “spiritual” is the very antithesis of “sexy” or “exciting” or the like. This was especially poignant when discussed in the context of married sex being a “spiritual union” and spiritually becoming one of husband and wife. The bluntest of them said, that any thought of the sort took the fun and excitement right out of sex.
Really? I do understand that there is a lot of irreverent school-boy level below-the-belt humor, that evokes anything but spirituality. But can such immature giggling drain all of the innocent excitement produced by the very idea that a person you love finds you attractive, even sexually inviting? To deny that we are sexual beings, too, is to deny reality. And let’s not forget that sometimes it’s healthy to engage in some silliness and laugh at ourselves. Someone said, that if one can laugh at oneself, one is guaranteed an endless source of mirth.
What about some other, shall we say, everyday needs we have? Do they have anything to do with spirituality?
Our need of calories, vitamins, minerals and what have you is very mundane, by most accounts. Yet it seems that it can be made into a spiritual experience with a bit of spiritual preparation. The food itself can be a sumptuous feast or a humble bowl of oatmeal; what counts is not what we eat, but how we approach the “ritual” of eating. We all seem to have our habits, which tend to turn our meals into some kinds of rituals. I would suggest that we take an honest look about ourselves in our world, and realize that we’re blessed if we have enough on our plate. More than half of human population starve, if not for calories, at least for anything besides–and “there, but for the grace of God, go I” whoever I am. If we think we have somehow deserved to be born into wealth (and thus usually health), we are kidding ourselves, and need to read the Scriptures with more thought.
Our need for sleep is one thing that some satisfy without giving it a second thought, while some lie awake at night, waiting in vain for the Sandman (or whatever it is you’re waiting for). What makes a difference, what decides whether you sleep or lie awake? I know enough people, who do everything right without getting a good night’s sleep into each week, to know it isn’t always bad habits or bad conscience that keeps you up. Sometimes it’s just something we don’t know. The least we can do is to be grateful for the sleep we get, be it more or less.
Now, I’d suppose the last couple of paragraphs sound almost smarmy “count-your-blessings” type of stuff? I’m about to say something that some of you will find controversial: If you are having considerable challenges in fulfilling any of the above or any other needs, be grateful for that! Because that means you have an opportunity to learn something about yourself, your own resources and the love of your Heavenly Father, if you are at all open to that sort of experiences. Myself, having been challenged in some things, have found that it is something to be grateful for to have challenges. They have taught me the love that Heavenly Father has for me better than anything that has gone right in my life.
And I suppose some will say that is a distorted view of the world. And I will say to that, that view is symptomatic of the problems that the people in the “developed” world are having these days; that they expect everything to be easy, unchallenging, undemanding and all sorts of things in that province.
Look at the 50+ per cent of marriages solemnized in Western Europe and North America that end in divorce. And take into account the fact that the ones, who actually bother to get married, are the ones who are somewhat committed, and you realize the heartache and pain involved in the countless “common-law” cohabiting partnerships where anything you say that might be considered challenging to the other, may end in his/her walking out the door (given, of course, that you’re the one who’s liable for the rent or mortgage payments, and if it is not the case, that means you’ll get thrown out on the sidewalk on your bare bottom).
This system of serial polygamy is also a system of serial heartache. It turns human relationships into a commodity, and drains all too many people of the already lacking self-esteem.
So, thank God for challenges that help us stop and think, and feel with our hearts.
And what does all that have to do with the spirituality of sex? Consider: God has told us himself in the Doctrine & Covenants that he has never given a commandment that wasn’t spiritual. So “thou shalt not commit adultery” is a spiritual commandment, presumably meaning that adultery breaks something of great spiritual value rather than that adultery itself is spiritual (although, in a sense, it is). And if that is the case, then a relationship that is healthy is also spiritual. And that is quite understandable. When we engage in the act of procreation (even if we have no thoughts of procreating) we are also acting as co-creators with God; at least we are perpetuating the creative impetus he started.
In other words, I’m saying that everything is spiritual, thus answering the question in the title. Thank you for your attention.