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a meditation on sexual conduct

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Andrew Harvey was born in India, schooled in England, became the youngest Fellow ever at All Souls College, Oxford University, and is one of the pioneers of what he calls “sacred activism.” He’s spent three decades studying the world’s mystical traditions*, from Buddhism to the Kabbalah. In his book The direct path he lays out “the Path to andrew-harveyGod without dogma or priests or gurus, the Path of direct self-empowerment and self-awakening in and under God in the heart of your life” (p.3).

He describes dozens of spiritual practices step by step, among them a contemplation on five of the Buddhist precepts including sexual conduct (see my previous two posts). Harvey instructs us to sit in a quiet place, light a candle, pay attention to our breath, and observe as body and mind settle into meditation and the heart opens. He invites us to recite the precept several time, paying great attention to each word. “I undertake the precept of refraining from causing harm through sexual conduct.” He tells us that–

This is a concept about responsible and “conscious” sexuality. As you say this precept out loud again and again, remember the times you have not been responsible sexually or when you have hurt someone; face the selfishness in yourself without fear. Then try and face the roots of that selfishness … Call out to the Divine to heal whatever in you can cause pain to others.

Try, too, to look honestly at how often sexual feelings and thoughts arise in your consciousness unconnected to any ethical or caring motivation. Whenever they do arise, make a commitment to note what particular mind states you find linked to them, such as passion, tension, loneliness, aggression, hunger for companionship, etc.

Becoming more mindful will itself help you become more responsible with your sexuality and personal relations. Being more responsible will help you “consecrate” your sexuality and its expression to the Divine in you (and your partner), and so begin an initiation into the divine possibilities of human love that will irradiate your being.

source: Harvey, A. (2000). The direct path: creating a personal journey to the Divine using the world’s spiritual traditions. New York: Broadway Books, p. 72. *Harvey has authored 30+ books on such topics as the mystical path of Christ, a celebration of Rumi, and the Tibetan book of living and dying.


One response »

  1. … for me this quote contains truth: “decency is absence of strategy” … for all behavior, including our sexual behavior


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