Saturday, January 5, 2013

On abstinence


Abstinence is an action of ego.

I have many attributes of desire. Some are sexual; others relate to power, money, food, or various physical sensual stimulations. Taken together, these desires operate as a field that attracts my attention, and causes me to identify with the objects of desire.

Although each has, within a limited set of parameters, a legitimate validity relative to the requirements of life, each one, ultimately, takes my vision away from my instinctive, inborn, and intimate desire to return to the Lord. Having been born from the Lord, and knowing the Lord in the face that I had before I was born, this wish ought to be primary; yet I forget it.

Even so, the echoes of that primal wish oscillate lifelong through the layers of my personality. Eventually, they reach the levels of my ordinary being, causing me- perhaps- to see my attachments. This is particularly true if my Being becomes more spiritualized.

There is a twofold dilemma here, because not only do my attachments contradict the inborn holy impulse to turn towards the Lord and return to the lord, my attachments are equally not “me”- and yet I identify with them. Whether from an egoistic (lower) or spiritualized (higher) perspective, I begin to sense a need for freedom fom these impulses: selfish or unselfish. And abstinence seems to offer that path: a path of sacrifice.

Yet in the belief that I can abstain nestles the belief that I can do- that I have the power over such things. Again, to a limited extent, this is true; yet the sacrifice I can make on my own is never enough, because I think I own the sacrifice. And even the sacrifice, if I make one, ultimately belongs to the Lord, although of a certainty I will think it my own sacrifice.

In reality, the only true sacrifice is acquiesence in the Lord, and this requires not that I surrender my desire through my own will; which is what intentional suffering sounds like it ought to be; but rather that I embrace the sacrifice the Lord brings.

What this means that I deliberately (mindfully) allow- intentionally suffer- the experience of my Being, as the Lord takes my desires from me (which can only be achieved through much tribulation and prayer, asking to be relieved of whatever burden of desire God sees fit to remove) or, conversely, that I embrace and accept that which is taken from me by the Lord -- most especially those things I do not think need to be let go of, but which the Lord in His wisdom takes gently from me, as a father would gently take away a dangerous thing a child should not be playing with.

Absitinence is, when born of ego, in this way a vanity; a most insidious one, because it presumes that I can know what sacrifice the Lord requires; when in truth and patience, should I wait, He will discover and uncover the sacrifces needed.

If I trust.

May your soul be filled with light.

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