Monday, November 9, 2009
Continence: exercising sexual self-restraint. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this Yama was initially a call to sexual abstinence, as it is believed that a man's semen can be reabsorbed as spiritual energy, and that spilling it needlessly leads to a backward slide on the spiritual path. This is something I may explore a little more and post on at a later date. Maybe. No promises. For the meantime, let's examine Bramacharya from the Average-Joe perspective, rather than the ascetic view. Sexual energy is intense and emotional. It does rob us of some energy. However, denying sexual gratification tends to lead to more problems than it solves. It is up to each individual then to restrain sexual activity to a level that allows gratification and release yet does not become an obsession. Excessive sexual activity can lead to addiction, and like all addictions, will contribute to the spiritual back-slide. Bramacharya is essentially a moral imperative: take what you need but don't be sleazy.