I'm looking forward to my audience with the Dalai Lama (along with a few thousand others on May 23). I am a tremendous admirer of his spiritual openness to other faiths, his genuine compassion for all beings and his great respect for science.
Unfortunately, he believes that celibacy is the spiritual path to follow and that sex is dangerous.
I must part ways with him in this regard. Clearly sexuality offers challenges. Yet I regard it as a deeply spiritual gift.
From a Kabbalistic perspective the "original sin" of Adam and Eve was not sexual intercourse but disobeying God. We are not born sinners. Rather we have the power of free will to choose our actions in this world. Our own actions determine our spiritual state of being.
From a biological perspective it is an inherent quality of being alive. If we regard respiration, circulation, digestion, excretion as natural functioning, then we should regard sexuality in the same light.
In fact from an evolutionary perspective, we are the descendants of the most sexually active beings on the planet. Low libido celibates do make produce offspring so their genes fade away. That's just Darwinian forces in play.
Sexual feelings need not be viewed as inherently sinful either. That is the perspective of certain religious groups. Sex is neutral when it comes to morality. It is how one deals with these feelings and drives that results in behavior that celebrates love and connection, or domination and control.
It is not very different from other basic human drives such as eating. Compulsive behavior of any kind can be dangerous and damaging to one physically as well as spiritually.
Denying an inherently natural process leads to repression, guilt, shame and perhaps aggression and sexual predation.
Try this approach the next time you have a sexual feeling or are attracted to another individual. Rather than feel guilty or suppress the feeling, thank God or Spirit for this spiritual gift. Exercise respect and discretion for the feelings of the other individual. Action is not always needed.
Sexuality is a gift and like any beautiful experience can be transformed into a spiritual encounter with the universe. It is one more reason to be grateful for being alive.