Sexuality and Spirituality - Our Bodily Constitution

Sexuality and Spirituality - Our Bodily Constitution

03 April 2016 168 views

by Dr. Constanza Kaliks

February Days 2016

Repeatedly in recent times, in groups and in conversation, the relationship between spirituality and sexuality has been raised. And around this central question a group of some 60 young people met at the Goetheanum at the end of February during the “February Days”. If we strive in the cultivation of our inner life, how does this relate to the ever-present circumstance of our bodily constitution as we go through life? How can we ground this life on an experience of the I that is formed through and determined by our direct confrontation with the world? By means of contributions and discussion, artistic activity, study of written content and appreciation of works of art, we attempted to understand how the human being lives in both Body and Spirit; how both of these live in accordance with one another and the soul is able to unfold and act as a human entity. Eros and the love of truth; shame or modesty as an experience of the Threshold and intimacy as our way of dealing with ourselves and with God, were three aspects that arose from the lectures and fired the discussions that took place around this theme. In contemplating the painting and sculpture of different ages, from Rembrandt to James Koons, the question became increasingly concrete in its many facets, its beauty, and its complexity. Questions became precise – first steps towards understanding two fields of contemporary life that require and define our humanity.

Unsere leibliche KonstitutionIn der letzten Zeit wurde in Gesprächen und Gruppen immer wieder die Frage nach dem Verhältnis von Spiritualität und Sexualität gestellt. Im Rahmen der ‹Februartage› der Jugendsektion trafen sich zu dieser Frage Ende Februar 60 junge Menschen am Goe- theanum. Wie verhält sich das Streben nach einer Pflege des inneren Lebens mit der Tat- sächlichkeit des Lebens unserer leiblichen Konstitution? Wie kann dieses Leben sich auf eine Ich-Erfahrung gründen, die sich in und aus der Begegnung mit der Welt gestaltet? Durch Beiträge und Gespräche, künstlerische Aktivität, Textstudium und Bildbetrachtungen ist der Versuch gemacht worden, zu verstehen, wie der Mensch in Leib und Geist lebt, wie beide zusammen- leben und die Seele sich menschlich ent- falten und wirken kann. Eros und die Liebe zur Wahrheit, Scham als Schwellenerlebnis und Intimität als Umgang mit sich und Gott waren drei Gesichtspunkte aus den Vorträ- gen, die eine Besprechbarkeit des Themas zu ermöglichen versuchten. Durch die Be- trachtung von Bildern und Skulpturen ver- schiedener Zeiten, von Rembrandt bis Jeff Koons, konnte sich die Frage immer konkre- ter artikulieren – in ihrer Vielschichtigkeit, ihrer Schönheit und ihrer Komplexität. Ein zunehmend sich präzisierendes Fragen wur- de möglich, ein Anfang einer Verständnis- suche in zwei Feldern heutigen Lebens, die Menschlichkeit benötigen und ausmachen.

By Paul Zebhauser / Dornach, March 2016

What is really spiritual? Sexuality and Spirituality – two fields of contemporary life that are at once able to so estrange our fellow human beings from one another, and at the same time bring me and us so close together through their intimate proximity, through that which they are in themselves. Yet something is missing? It is the soul that listens, that speaks to itself gaining thereby the capacity for self-conscious integration. For it is integration that overcomes homelessness. In an ongoing exchange with oneself and the art to mould in freedom the relationship to the self, depends my friendship with my self and to that which is around me. I come to myself. The earth and my own body become my home. Strangely enough, if we succeed in this, it colours already the space where we meet others in conversation, as we have done in these last days. The light of consciousness falls on forces within, guiding us to pay attention to how we deal with such an existential question that affects every one of us today. As if enlightened, one of the participants spoke of our bodily self as the essentially spiritual within us. If we are able to lift ourselves into this realm, we are on the road to the highest of the arts: the unity of body and soul.

Das eigentlich GeistigsteSexualität und Spiritualität, zwei Bereiche im Leben des heutigen Menschen, welche auf mich oder auf den Mitmenschen so befremdend wirken können, oder aber mich mir und uns so nahebringen können, durch nächste Nähe, durch sich selbst. Je- doch was fehlt? Die Seele, welche zu sich selbst zu lauschen und sprechen beginnt und daraus fähig wird, selbstbewusste In- tegration zu vollziehen. Integration hebt Heimatlosigkeit auf. Vom fortwährenden Gespräch mit mir selbst und von der Kunst, aus Freiheit das eigene Verhältnis zu sich selbst zu gestalten, hängt Freundschaft zu mir selbst und meiner Umgebung ab. Ich komme zu mir selbst: Die Erde, der eigene Körper wird zur Heimat. Erstaunlicherwei- se färbt dieses Gelingen selbst schon den sprachlichen Umgang im Begegnungsraum mit anderen, wie eben in diesen Tagen. Be- wusstseinslicht fällt in noch unerkannte Kräftebereiche und wird dann erst ein rechter Wegweiser zur Achtsamkeit im Austausch mit diesen heute jeden Men- schen betreffenden existenziellen Fragen. Erhellt sprach eine Teilnehmerin von der Leiblichkeit als dem eigentlich Geistigs- ten an uns. Wenn diese Erhebung gesche- hen kann, dann befinden wir uns auf dem Weg zur höchsten Kunst: die Vereinigung von Leib und Geist.

Impressions from the participants

By Paméla Brugerolles / France, March 2016

The theatres are currently showing a commercial for Dior’s new perfume. Its slogan is: “I’m not a girl, I’m poison”. I discovered it a few days ago and I am shocked and ashamed that our society promotes such a destructive vision of man, woman and sexuality. In this commercial, there aren’t two individualities but only sexual organs. Masculinity and femininity are shown through a single prism: erotic lust. I asked myself: is this the image our society proposes to youth nowadays? Where are there Humans who search for the essential? Where is Love? Where is the Communion between two souls? What kind of future do we want? Is the Human Being going to become an instinctual animal or a robot disconnected from his senses? How can we reconnect with our spiritual identity?

I came to the February Days, one of sixty young people coming from different parts of Europe bearing in myself those questions and hoping to meet people who shared them,. While we were meeting to discuss the theme “sexuality and spirituality”, in Paris and Los Angeles the paroxysm of the Awards Season for the Film Industry with the Cesar’s and Oscars ceremonies. What a paradox. On one hand, sixty young people have questioned themselves deeply about intimacy and love, trying to find a higher way to live relationships…and on another hand, at those award ceremonies, I have the feeling of a huge masquerade where people walk with masks and in which a gold statuette represents the achievement of a lifetime and a career. But is this a real achievement that had transformed our society?

During the February Days, we have entered with devotion and awareness into the sacred temple of the Human Being. It was such a beautiful experiment to be surrounded by persons who see the Human Being as a Spiritual and Eternal Entity incarnated into a physical body… Aware of this reality, how am I to live in my body then? As we heard in the lecture from Bodo von Plato: “I am this spirit…and still I am not yet this spirit. I am this body…but not really”. What a mystery is contained in this sentence. Each one of us is a bridge between the spiritual world and this materialistic life on earth. What kind of bridge do we want to be? Is it a bridge of light that can reveal the reality of the spiritual world? Or is it a bridge so dark and ashamed of its own potential that instead of revealing its spiritual identity, it hides and even corrupts it?

Thanks to Dr. Constanza Kaliks who told us in her lecture how the denial of the body was an old path that brought the human being closer to the spiritual world, I have understood the necessity to really incarnate myself in the 21st Century. But how to find the right balance in this “pornographic society” as Robin Schmidt called it, that claims we can learn everything about ourselves from the outside? Through the contemplation of art, Marianne Schubert helped us to realize how our humanity is revealed far rather through intimacy than total exposure of the human body where shapes, contrasts and its inherent mystery are non-existent. We observed how another person can help us to know ourself if love and respect are at the center of the relationship.

Fortified by the lectures we have heard, the conversations we shared, the works of art we have contemplated, the Eurythmy and singing lessons, what can we do now that we are back home?

If we start to act today, even though the change seems small, we sow seeds for the future. Let’s carry in our hearts this living hope. Let’s be another kind of human being, let’s take off our masks, and let us be courageous, armed with Michael’s sword: Thought. Let us face ourselves to transform our personalities, let’s act with dignity and let’s create a wave of artistic impulses all over the world. It was my first time at the Goetheanum and I really felt home in this Michaelic fortress that reveals the dignity of the Human Being. We too must be fortresses for our Higher Self and be transformed by the substance of Christ, to build together a fortress of love and freedom on earth.

By Rosalie Paas / The Nederlands, March 2016

The February Days 2016 were my first. I have been to other anthroposophic events and organized one in Holland, but this was my first international event. I came home speechless. In the days that followed I experienced a feeling of ‘wholeness’. Writing this down, I wonder what has made me feel that way.

About fifty enthusiastic young people from six countries, between the age of 15 - 35 and some older ones, were gathered together to talk about shame, intimacy, Schiller, about the four stages of the human being, and how all that was related to our own life. After the lectures, we tried in group conversations to get close to these big issues and to each other. It was during breakfast, the dinners and the walks in between that we really met. Language didn’t matter. The group was very dynamic. I felt comfortably at home with them! Something that happens very quickly when anthroposophic people come together. Perhaps we might have something in common?

It was not only the international dimension that has made this different. The February Days were located at the Goetheanum of course. And we walked around the hill during the conference. It gave it a special glow. You could just feel the history squeaking under your feet, snow couldn’t cover it. It’s in the air too. And then there are these hills behind it, full of old castles with stories of their own, or shared with the stories of the Goetheanum. This all gave the conference a bit of an oldish character too. It didn’t have the sparkle that I have experienced at the Dutch events, for example.

Not that it mattered. We enjoyed the singing in the mornings, practising Eurythmy, watching some nice shows in the evening by YEP and some acts of the Faust. We have observed art, read texts and listened to the lectures of Constanza Kaliks, Robin Schmidt and Bodo von Plato. A full programme. The Youth Section wants to invite people to become the human beings as they are, according to Paul’s closing words. I think bringing people together this way, where borders and language don’t matter, where current topics are discussed, aside from the somehow elitist attitude, is a very nice invitation to try to reach that goal. Because to me, it was primarily the social meetings, not the theory, that made this conference a success!

By Andrea de la Cruz / Dornach, March 2016

Love, Shame and Intimacy came together this year at the Spirituality and Sexuality conference organized by the Youth Section at the Goetheanum. Together with other young people from all over the world, I was able to delve into these topics that surround us in our daily life, and are often too scary to unwrap and speak of. The conference was inspiring, eye-opening and broke social barriers as well as personal ones. The gathering became an open space for questions and ideas to bloom in – what part does sexuality play in the development of the human being? What relationship is there between shame, intimacy and freedom? In a society based on instant knowledge, where we no longer cherish processes, changes and transformations in ourselves and the world, I think events like this are key in order to bring back a sense of questioning and wondering into any individual’s life.