Several religious traditions regard celibacy as a requirement for advanced spiritual progress and healthy premarital relationships. And married seekers primarily concerned with God realization are often counseled to practice celibacy or, depending on their psychological makeup and related calling, sexual moderation.
In contrast to Sigmund Freud‘s theories about so-called normal psychosexual development¹ and C. G. Jung‘s advocacy of a mind/body holism, some celibates claim that unspent sexual energy is transmuted to higher forms of psycho-spiritual awareness.
Aspects of popular culture and many ordinary people tend to characterize celibacy as something odd or deviant but the devout monastic, saint or guru and many non-denominational spiritual persons say it’s essential not only for personal development but also for the universal work of spiritual ‘liberation’ or, depending one one’s path, ‘salvation.’
This spiritual work is said to be just that—work. But it’s not the kind of immediately visible work that everyone can easily understand. Rather, it’s arguably more subtle and inwardly demanding. The work of salvation is said to involve meditation, contemplation and intercession. These practices apparently facilitate others’ ability to recognize and respond to God as an active force of love in their lives.
In Catholic and Hindu mysticism, the transpersonal connecting principles are, respectively, the ‘taking of sin’ and ‘karma transfer.’
Celibacy combined with higher forms of contemplation is said to elevate all concerned individuals, but this is probably a best-case scenario. In actual practice it seems that some individuals react in a hostile manner toward deeply spiritual persons, this being a possible explanation for the well-known phenomena of religious persecution, scapegoating and martyrdom.
And while some contemplative celibates may seem like socially inept or repressed “losers” to those predominantly concerned with worldly rewards, the celibates themselves often say they are regularly in touch with helpful spiritual powers (e.g. The Holy Spirit, The Goddess), intermediaries (e.g. angels, deceased relatives and saints) and other saintly living people—i.e. those whose inner relationship with God invisibly reaches out to others.
For a discussion on the notion of healthy vs. unhealthy types of celibacy, see “Celibacy, Sex and Spirituality.”
¹ From the entry “Cathexis” at earthpages.ca:
Freud never considers the possibility that pent up libidinal energy could be redirected to the spiritual life. On this score, many saints and mystics attest to the importance of celibacy. Without it, they say, their spiritual work (e.g. intercession) just can’t get done. Many go even further, describing chastity not as a kind of unavoidable necessity but as a great gift and virtue. This positive attitude lead St. Frances de Sales to say
Chastity is the lily among virtues and makes men almost equal to angels.
Sadly, many people still on a materialistic level of consciousness find this difficult to understand. As a result, some predominantly spiritual people may suffer ridicule and persecution, even by their apparently religious peers. Even more sad, it seems that some potential spiritual sensitives are, themselves, duped by the status quo viewpoint. So instead of flowering into sainthood, they may end up in psychiatric wards.
- Cathexis (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Christian Actress Tamera Mowry Explains Why She and Husband Chose Celibacy (christculturenews.com)
- Sex, Celibacy, and Priesthood: A Bishop’s Provocative Inquisition (prweb.com)
- New: “Married Priests? 30 Crucial Questions About Celibacy” (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- Help Me Be Celibate! (theelectladies.wordpress.com)
- Buzz Bites (4/12/10): Lady Gaga Advocates For Celibacy (buzzworthy.mtv.com)
- A Life of Celibacy – Revelation, Suffering or Gateway to Higher Experience? (elephantjournal.com)
- Tamera Mowery & Devon Franklin Promote Celibacy Until Marriage (missaleck.com)
- Jesus’ wife theory skates on mighty thin papyrus (rep-am.com)
- SensiblyCelibate.com Encourages Relationships Without the Pressures of Becoming Intimate Too Prematurely (prweb.com)