I never meant to be celibate. Teen life is all about parties and play. Abstinence is an extinct idea. Sex sells, even in the supermarket aisles. Bottomless, topless passion prevails. Clutching promiscuity, society places pressure on you to perform—you’re a failure if you don’t.
There was no peace growing up in the oldest Marist boys’ school in New Zealand. Chastity was sacrilege. Pumped to meet girls from neighbouring high schools, we were thrilled at the chance to hook up. Every teen carries this burden, because life isn’t fun without sex.
Think of your high school dance. Mine was an embarrassment, my mind anxious, excited, and fearful.
Risking humiliation, young predators stalk the game for a score, while girls sneer, smirk, whisper, and giggle. I’m tipsy, disoriented, and full of nerves, as my eyes scan the dance floor for a prospective hit.
As night wanders away, dimmed lights and relaxed grooves signal a time to pounce on prey for a slow dance. It’s a dire test of courage. But in no time, success! Victim to my gyrating swirls, a girl lands in my arms, glancing approvingly at me.
Gracefully locked in slow, synchronised moves, moments seem to last all night, and I poise myself for a first kiss. It’s a nervous, sloppy mess, disturbed by fetid whiffs of meat pies and Baileys reeking from her breath.
A tap on my back surprises me. It’s my English teacher scowling at my conquest. Mixed with teenage passion and shame, I abandon my prized possession. She is lost forever—I never find her again.
Our society seeks instant gratification. People are becoming addicted to giving in to their senses—our mind and senses renew with vigour no matter how we try to fill these material cravings, hooking us into a cycle of self-victimisation.
Believing we will find happiness only in bodily interactions and sensual delights, our urges drive us, pacified only by orgasms and consumables, as we chase a buzz lacking any sublime purpose.
Like carnivorous creatures, our mind and senses are careless of their victim’s silent cry for love, acceptance, and self-worth. Watch your mind hunger for bodies to devour as it delights in all parts, types, and bits. A fierce inner struggle against bodily pleasure begins.
This exploitative attitude limits our perception of people and ourselves to mere objects meant for entertainment and disposal. Like a predator, we anticipate enjoying our catch, and we become habituated to depersonalising others.
Access To Freedom
No matter how freakishly we may try to gratify our passions, to justify our self-indulgent fixations would be to misuse our intelligence.
Renowned teacher and scholar, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada explains:
“For all this hardship, a person’s only happiness is a little sex . . . human life is not meant for this kind of existence, which dogs and hogs enjoy. Indeed, dogs and hogs do not have to work so hard for sex. A human being should try to live in a different way and should not imitate the dogs and hogs.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.5.1 commentary).
What people are really yearning for is love that helps each other grow in spiritual conscious-ness. Human intelligence is meant to access this kind of love, not the fleeting phys-ical pleasure readily avail-able to animals.
Sages describe human beings as multidimensional beings who experience reality through:
1) a gross matter-based body 2) a subtle, mental state3) a nonmaterial consciousness.
The deepest love is accessible in the nonmaterial reality, and educating ourselves in how to interact on this plane, rather than on the whims of our body and mind, will serve our greatest interest.
Being freed from the constraints of a materialistic mindset, those in a committed spiritual relationship share a friendship and bond so deep that they break the chain of victimisation and shatter the pangs of exploitation and discontent. Such a conscious, nonmaterial relationship empowers each person to experience a reality above the mundane and solve the problems of life together.
Before diving into physical entanglement, consider the effects. Just to skim the surface: research shows that people who are not as sensually driven are less likely to suffer depression or anxiety disorders, attempt suicide, or live in poverty. They are also likely to do better in school, as they double their chances of graduating from tertiary education than those on the merry-go-round of shallow relationships.
When you hold out from the hook-up itch, self-empow-erment and freedom emerge from the undermined art of controlling the mind and senses. Just as accomplished yogis direct their sex-energy to exceed higher and higher levels of ecstasy, our determined choices to control our mind and senses will result in heightened perceptivity.
Enough of this slavery!
Having picked up a Bhagavad Gita from an old bookshop, I began to consider the ultimate benefits of an alternative lifestyle based on higher knowledge. Krishna’s words, immortalised in this yoga classic, offer a process of yoga to reconnect our nonmaterial consciousness to the highest platform of love.
Krishna, who is known as Hrishikesha, the master of the senses, elaborates a scientific system of sensory stimulation outdoing any worldly pleasure. Also celebrated as Yogeshvara, the master of mystics, Krishna demonstrates a pleasure far greater than what our lust burns for.
The best yoga is found in accessing nonmaterial love, with Krishna’s assistance, as he guides us in experiencing a taste in relationships outside our body’s gross and subtle coverings. From this superior taste of love comes the topmost benefit of resisting temporary physical encounters: romance beyond time and space.
Krishna explains that by perceiving this taste, a person can overcome base animal instincts and become steady and undisturbed:
“A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still, can alone achieve peace, and not the person who strives to satisfy such desires.” (Bhagavad Gita 2.70)
Sentimental affirmations won’t withstand the jostle of the body’s urges, but a genuine spiritual practitioner, absorbed in union with a reservoir of pleasure, isn’t bothered by these bodily demands.
“In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless nonmaterial happiness, realized through nonmaterial senses. Established in this state, a person never departs from the truth, and on gaining this he or she thinks there is no greater gain. In this state, a person is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.” (Bhagavad Gita 6.20-23)
Now, pushing my mid-thirties, life has a defined meaning, and I couldn’t imagine being fettered by pressures of the hook-up culture. It was never a question of becoming a celibate. One day I just asked myself: how could anyone call a zoological romp an expression of the deepest love?