The ancient Greeks liked to separate the body and soul. It’s a nice idea: holiness is for the spirit, while the body is designed for pleasure.
But the dividends of a lifestyle geared for pleasing the body as a separate entity from the spirit are lackluster at best. That’s an interesting word, lackluster, meaning without a shine or polish. Life, for those who throw everything into bodily pleasure, ends up being dull. You can see it in addicts’ hair and eyes, their skin tone. Dullness. So, right, we all know what it is to be a little bit addicted at least. Maybe a video game had your attention to the detriment of your grades, or booze had a hold on you. I’ve been there too, and it’s not fun or easy to break out of.
When we become reactionaries at a fundamental level to this, we end up denying ourselves any pleasures at all. Various religious societies have encouraged people not to have sex, even when married, unless they are intentionally procreating. They have encouraged people never to drink a drop, or to not enjoy a sporting event, or whatever it may be. Perhaps you’ve been there too, a place where the pursuit of holiness has made you a complete puritan. I submit that the same thing happens. Our life takes on a lackluster quality, we eat beans because some people in the world are poor, we never dance because it might awaken something within our hearts, we eschew anything which might lead to lust or covetousness or what have you. And we grow dull.
In the Void, God’s Spirit hovered over the waters, making fusions of Godself, perfect spirit, with the mud, the earth, forming heavenly bodies in both the literal sense as well as the figurative (pick-up-line) sense. If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? But there’s a reason we call bodies “heavenly” in this sense too. They reflect the goodness of the Truest Being.
I promoted fasting in my last blog on Fire and rain — purity. Today I promote also a step towards the sensual. Even in the depression and sadness of a void, or desert time in our lives, when we hurt spiritually and psychologically and hope and hunger for righteousness, we can get a lot out of a healthy, balanced enjoyment of physical pleasures. Jesus came out of the desert, where he’d been fasting, and performed his first miracle: he turned water into wine (how’s that for some fusion)! Even then, he said it wasn’t his time yet – he was still in many ways coming out of that desert experience, but he made time and gave energy to a party. So. Make love with your spouse. Find some good wine and cheese and share it with someone. Run until you break through the pain and find that “second wind” or runner’s high. Find a part of life that’s pleasing to your body and watch how it fuses with your spirit. It doesn’t mean the Void is over. I’m not suggesting wallowing in an addiction, and I certainly don’t think that doing these things will pull you “out of a funk” but sometimes we get so down in our spiritual quest that we forget to do something that just feels good. Let God fuse something within us; our bodies with our spirit, as we, too, become truer beings.
Previous sections of this series were published on these dates: #7 Fire and Rain on Oct 27, #6 Stone and Water on Oct 20, #5 Sword and Flesh on Oct 17, #4 Distance and Closeness on Oct 13, #3 Resting and Motion on Oct 10, #2 God and Darkness on Oct 6, #1 Fusions in the Void on Oct 3. See October archives on adamgfleming.com.