Four Primary Principles of Conscious Childrearing, Chapter Four: The Principle of Attraction



Four Primary Principles of Conscious Childrearing

Chapter Four

Transcending Sexual Neurosis in
Childhood

Thus, sexuality is inherently right and good and
necessary. Conflict about rightness, goodness, and necessity of
sexual play in the life of a human individual is essentially an
expression of retarded adaptation.
(Love of the Two-Armed
Form)

Session One

The Pleasurable Alternative to a Secret
Life

Close your eyes for a few minutes and feel into
your experience of this moment through the following questions: Is
life about pleasure? Can you abide in a simple but constant state of
pleasure without sacrificing your intellectual, “productive,” and
even “spiritual” capacities? Do you notice a separation in your being
between the bodily feeling of pleasure and the mental tendency to
abstract and detach yourself from pleasurable states? You are not
alone in having adapted to experience in this way. We all have
developed this functional schism in the body-mind because of the
presumptions we make based on vital shock. Recoil from the
presumption of pleasure as the condition of existence is bodily
recoil from love. Recoil from love and relatedness is recoil from the
Real, the Divine Reality, the Truth of every body.

Thus, “only men of pleasure know the Truth.”
(Crazy Da Must Sing, Inclined to His Weaker Side, p.
65.) Only those who have become fully human, not
recoiled upon themselves through guilt and every other form of
lovelessness, and who thus do not recoil from the inherent pleasures
of life can Realize the Divine Condition of manifest existence. As
Adi Da writes, “Enjoyment, or prior Happiness is, the foundation of
the fulfillment of the law in the true man.”
(Breath and Name,
4.7, p. 77). And only spiritual practitioners who are
already full in such enjoyment can enter into true sexual intimacy,
founded in the feeling-recognition of love as the Condition and
Circumstance of life. Those who seek for God generally make taboos
out of sexual experience and sensual pleasures. Sex is the greatest
pleasure that the body-mind can enjoy below the heart. Precisely
because of its powerful capacity to distract the being from pursuit
of “higher” or other-worldly goals of mystical union or the
conventional goals of worldly society, it has been manipulated or
avoided by the spiritual and religious traditions of Man. The radical
Teaching of Adi Da reveals the error of sex-negativity or
manipulation and offers a Way of present, whole-bodily enjoyment,
leading to the natural transcendence of the neurotic, or
stress-based, motivation to engage in sex.

We are called to bring this same freedom and
wisdom to our children from their very earliest years. This requires
that we be at peace with our own sexuality and with theirs. The
principle of coming to rest with sexuality is—as always in this
Way—relationship. When, for example, we observe our children
exploring by themselves or with others in a sexual or merely sensual
way, we must encourage them to bring this experience into
relationship. In other words, children should be encouraged to talk
about their experience and feel that ordinary pleasure need not be
concealed from others. This understanding and openness can begin in
them at a very young age. Sexuality becomes relational if we can
fully accept our children’s explorations and be at ease with them as
they talk about the sensations and feelings they
experience.

In the following excerpt, Adi Da describes the
liberating consequences of the freedom of sexual
expression:

But if we are bodily confessed, then we are also
inherently at peace, one with the bodily organs and functions. In
that case “I” has no fear of being seen, of expressing love, of
accepting help, or fear of any other form of our necessary sacrifice
and voluntary death.
(Love of the Two-Armed Form)

Before you read further, consider and write a
response to the following consideration:

1. What occurred in your own childhood when you
involved yourself in sexual exploration, with your own body or with
friends? How did you feel about the incident? How did your parents or
others respond? What are the signs in your own thinking, feeling, and
physical adaptation to sexuality that reflect that sex-negativity is
still an influence in your life? Be specific about what you tend to
communicate bodily and emotionally and how this might change were you
free of social conditioning in relation to sex.

2. If a seven-year-old child were to ask, “What is
sex?” (referring to sex-play), what would you say? What emotional
response should be present? We serve our children in and with this
freedom of feeling not merely so that they will grow to their full
human potential in the conventional sense. Rather, our service is an
expression of our understanding of the spiritual process of
incarnation that takes place via the descent of the Life-Current.
Sexual taboos prevent the full descent of Life-Feeling, and we must
not introduce them. The real, functional connection to the Divine as
Spirit-Presence, which stabilizes as a whole-body responsibility in
the fourth stage, depends upon right adaptation to this descending
process. This cannot occur without an open, positive orientation to
the life-functions, and particularly to the sexual function, lived in
the context of an intimate culture of spiritual
practitioners.

The Taboo against the Superior
Man

(excerpt) (Love of the Two-Armed Form).

Adi Da: Sexual taboos and the generalized
sense that anti-sexual views and habits are humanly and even
cosmically obligatory and correct are passed on from generation to
generation by many means. The most influential means are those of the
withholding of bodily and sexual communications. We only show and
tell our children what we ourselves are not afraid to be and know.
The rest is hidden behind the withholding of bodily and emotional
intimacy as well as the absence of positive verbal communication
about the whole affair of incarnate human experience, including
sexuality. The entire social and cultural game of antisexual, “spirit
against flesh” education is so monstrous, so opposed to incarnate
happiness and human responsibility, as well as the ultimate
transcendental sacrifice of the individual body-mind through moral
and spiritual processes, that it must be considered the primary
social and even philosophical issue of our time. We must all awaken
from our loveless one-sidedness. The deluded religious and spiritual
cultists are perpetually at war with the bodily life, choosing the
brain-mind as if it were the Infinite. And the equally deluded
anti-religionists, salt-of-the-earth political fanatics, and worldly
humanistic social mechanics or scientific technocrats are perpetually
at war with the higher, psychic, and spiritual dimensions of human
experience. Children of parents of the “spirit” are deprived of the
energy of their incarnation, fastened to inward nonsense and the
vision of a self-divided mortality that has no pleasure except away
from here. And children of parents of the “flesh” are deprived of the
powers of higher adaptation, fastened to cycles of endless work and
reproduction, and the vision of utopian solutions that only serve
those who happen to be alive when the great Future State comes. We
must awaken and adapt to the conditions of the whole and entire
body-mind, and to the Way of truly human existence, which is made
through personal, moral, and higher mental or spiritual sacrifice, or
love. Then we will not only live in Truth, but we will withhold
nothing from our children, who must always be permitted a complete
bodily understanding that corresponds to their level of functional
awareness, and who must be included in a culture of truly human
adaptation, in which not exploitation but gradual responsibility is
the key to human growth.

No Praise, No Blame

(excerpts from a talk by Adi Da, 1/11/83)

The entire matter of the study of the implications
of sexuality, emotional-sexual relationships, sexual identity, sexual
practice, eventual marriage or intimate living with others, and
casual versus formal association between the sexes are important
considerations for individuals in the third stage and, to varying
degrees, for children in the earlier stages of life. All this should
be part of the continuous education of young people. However, it is
not merely a matter of informing them about it. The Teaching itself
and all of the primary attitudes associated with the disposition of a
devotee tend to be communicated to children verbally, and we expect
them to conform to these attitudes or demonstrate this disposition on
that basis alone. Thus, the imparting of sexual understanding to
young people cannot merely take the form of conversations, lectures,
courses, and adult monologues about what they are supposed to be
involved in or not involved in. Such communication must be made in
the context of a community where people are practicing the wisdom of
the sexual discipline in all of its forms—really practicing it,
really demonstrating it, living it as a matter of behavior and
attitude altogether. In other words, that cultural form must be
there, and then communications can take place within that
form.

The most useful conversations for young people are
those that take place with individuals with when they have an
intimate, human association. Within the context of such intimacy,
conversation can include everything that is on the young person’s
mind, everything that bothers him, everything he does or would do
secretly. There is no need for a secret life for children because we
do not function on the basis of taboos that enforce a distinction
between authority (or the adult world) and children (or those who are
supposed to be followers or duplicators of the ideal). In a
suppressive household, for instance, or in a childhood that is not
truly human, a child develops a secret life, a secret mind, secret
attitudes, secret talk with other children, secret sex indulgence,
secret indulgences of all kinds—an essentially dissociative
character. Sexual understanding must develop in relationship and
therefore in the context of relatedness—not merely talking to
somebody, but in the context of open, free relatedness to other
people. Children who have a secret life find other people relatively
unreal. Just so, a neurotic sexual life is generally based on a
feeling of the unreality of other people.

Adults cannot be useful to children if adults have
sex conflicts. If adults themselves are sex neurotics, it will be
impossible for them to communicate a truly human disposition toward
sexuality to younger people. On the contrary, they will communicate
in both overt and subtle ways a feeling of “sex complication” and a
need to hide certain features of their interest, or fascination, with
sex. If adults are to serve young people, they must be sane,
uncomplicated, and loving. Otherwise, they will be turning children
into standard, middle-class neurotics. The secret of it all is to
develop the lives of our children in intimate, concrete, and
relational terms. We must not force them to become self-involved,
self-contained, and secretive, thinking of the adult world as a kind
of abstract or unreal norm that is hypocritical and unavailable to
the kind of consideration that they are involved in. Do not force
children into that mode. That is the mode we were all forced into. We
should learn from that lesson. All of you have grown up to be
sexually neurotic, and it is very important not to be sexually
neurotic if you are going to practice a spiritual Way of life. You
know how much time and energy you all are having to spend as adults
merely straightening out your emotional problems.

It is so important to transcend neurotic sexuality
because it affects not merely certain kinds of social relations but
your entire being, your entire nervous system. Your lovelessness, or
sexual neurosis, limits your capacity emotionally, as well as the
capacity of the nervous system altogether, to participate in the
spiritual process. You do not wish to force that on your children,
but you are doing that even now by not fully understanding what the
appropriate cultural form for their growth and their living is. In
other words, you must consciously introduce principles, life
structures, and relational structures into their lives. You must do
this if you are going to avoid introducing other attitudes, invisibly
and arbitrarily, that reinforce their separate, nonrelational
quality, their Narcissism, their hiddenness.

Cultures that have a sex-suppressive orientation
to children tend to be characterized by aggression, as in our
society. If there is a sex-negative attitude and a vital-negative and
life-negative attitude or orientation enforced upon children, they
cannot adapt fully to the descending circuit from head to base, from
head to foot. If the sex function is attacked with negative attitudes
and punishments and all the other manipulations that arise from a
suppressive orientation, then individuals do not adapt to the fully
descending Life-Current. They tend to become anxious at the solar
plexus, or above the vital mechanism. Thus, sex, excreting, and vital
functions altogether become the subject of guilt, shame, and taboos.
In this way, the child’s adaptation to the Life-Current is retarded,
and he or she develops a contraction in the solar plexus that is
critical. When the contraction at the solar plexus or at the navel
center is strong, then what emotion is magnified? The emotion of
anger or aggression. It is a violent emotion. Such emotion is a sign
of retarded adaptation to the Life-Current. Therefore, you must not
introduce these taboos, these life-negative views. You must introduce
a life-positive economy based on intelligent understanding of the
life process.

Therefore, permit children to adapt to the
Life-Current, but do not reinforce any tendencies toward
self-indulgence because suppression and indulgence have the same
effect: They do not permit children to adapt to the Living Current in
its descending form. They mutilate it and develop a self-contracted
or self-possessed orientation to the descending life-function. In
that case, too, human beings become aggressive and their sexuality is
aggressive. Therefore, we must develop an intelligent economy in our
children without taboos or negative views, by establishing a very
positive human association with them. Permit them to gradually adapt
from infancy through the third stage of life to this descending
frontal life-circuit so that the Life-Current can be fully adapted to
all of the functions of the manifest personality from head to base
without shame, guilt, sorrow, fear, anger, and all the rest of it
becoming chronic attitudes. Those attitudes, you see, are simply the
signs of contractions in the descending life-circuit. During their
childhood individuals are also drawn into spiritual and religious
attitudes that enable them to use the ascending life-circuit as well
as the descending life-circuit. But children do not adapt to the
ascending circuit and to the subtler aspects of the nervous system
until later in life. They use them in some rudimentary sense, but
human beings adapt progressively. Children can only adapt to the
subtler aspects of the personality once they have adapted to the
grosser aspects. Therefore, they adapt to this descending process
first, even though they use the ascending process in some rudimentary
sense. When that adaptation is complete, then individuals can adapt
to the ascending half of the life-circuit, the subtler activities of
the being, and the self-transcending orientation in its fullest sense
altogether. It is after the third stage of life, then, during adult
life, that people truly begin to adapt to the subtler aspects of the
human circuitry and contact the Divine functionally—not merely
in rudimentary terms, but in very sophisticated terms as real
spiritual practitioners.

Summary Points

1. Imparting sexual understanding to young people
cannot merely take the form of conversation but must be made in the
context of a community where people are practicing the wisdom of the
sexual discipline.

2. The most useful conversations for young people
are those that take place with individuals with whom they have an
intimate, human association. Within the context of such intimacy,
conversation can include everything that is on the young person’s
mind, everything that bothers him, everything he does or would do
secretly.

3. The secret of right sexual orientation in
children is to develop the lives of our children in intimate,
concrete, and relational terms. We must not force them to become
self-involved, self-contained, and secretive.

4. Sexual neurosis limits your emotional capacity,
as well as the capacity of the nervous system altogether, to
participate in the spiritual process.

5. We must consciously introduce principles, life
structures, and relational structures into our children’s lives.
Otherwise, we will reinforce their separate, nonrelational
qualities.

6. If the sex function is attacked with negative
attitudes and punishments, individuals do not adapt to the fully
descending Life-Current. Guilt and shame follow with anxiety. The
contraction in the solar plexus strengthens, and anger and aggression
result.

Session Two

Eliminating the Sex-Negative
Mind

No introduction is necessary to these practical
discussions by Adi Da on serving the truly human development of
sexuality in children. As you read, relax into the Adept’s criticism
of our sex- and life-negativity. Do not recoil upon yourself in the
process of seeing your sex-negativity and how it may have influenced
your children. Rather, as Adi Da Instructs us:

Have no regrets. Resort to the Divine in Truth and
in the present. All that has ever been done by anyone had its logic
in its time. Only God avails. Whatever is your habit in this moment
is not wrong. It is simply a beginning. No habit is necessary, but it
is only tending to persist, because it has not yet been replaced by
further growth. Hear the Teaching of Truth, and understand what is
the right, ultimate, and regenerative pattern of each function of
Man. Feel free of all negative judgments about what you have done and
what you tend to do. Turn with full feeling-attention to the creative
affair of new adaptation in most positive Communion with the God who
is Life, and who is Alive as all beings.
(LOOK, pp.
111-12)

Eliminate the Sex-Negative Mind

an essay based on conversations with Adi Da

Sex-negative people bring sex-negativity to
children. All adults should examine their own sex-negative notions
and not pass them on to their children. It is absolutely wrong to
suppress life in children, as this will only serve to create internal
conflicts later in life they will tend to interpret religion as
asceticism or body-negativity. They will become divided people with
divided minds. People generally think like Puritans and act like
whores. Everyone has a double mind, but sex is much simpler than
that. It must be based on intelligence, it must be based on
understanding, and we must appreciate it as a yoga of the body. At
some point almost all adults have to overcome the sex-negative
attitude that comes from being educated in Western society. Teachers
and parents should discuss ways to artfully deal with this matter so
as to best serve the culture of children.

The two important principles relative to
children’s sexuality are: 1) It should not be suppressed, and 2) It
should be communicated about and be openly acknowledged. Sexuality
should be discussed with them in positive terms. We must teach them
how to explore sex and sexual feeling while at the same time
socialize them. If we are socializing them, moving them beyond
chronic self-involvement, then attention to sex will tend to dissolve
as a chronic matter.

Adults must understand that in a sense children
have a sexual life, but they are not involved in reproduction. At
ages five and six there is nothing wrong with their touching
themselves or playing with one another. You can discuss their sexual
exploration by asking, “What does it feel like?” or “What are you
doing?” If it is not discussed, it will tend to become chronic and
secret and thus neurotic. Children should talk about their pleasure.
This will produce natural involvement in the sexual process. We must
bring children to a moral disposition, not one that is sex-negative.
Sexuality should be open, acknowledged, permitted, and talked about.
At the end of the first stage, at about age seven, children can begin
to come to an understanding about sexual energy, about their bodies,
and about how to use sexual energy. At this point disciplines must be
introduced, but there should never be a prohibition or taboo. There
should normally never be prohibitions about sex. The only case in
which prohibition against masturbation or sexual play might serve is
among children who have been brought up with profoundly sex-negative
ideas or who have not been given the occasion to talk about their
sexual feelings and consequently whose involvement with sex is so
chronic and aberrated that it would have to be
disciplined.

In the case of children who have not been rightly
socialized, there my be chronic masturbation and extreme, secretive
inversion. This is usually a symptom of a social problem in
relationship. Wherever you see aberration and inversion in relation
to the life-functions of the body, you should talk to the child, but
not in the context of sex-negativity. Help them to be free to develop
their energy socially in many relationships and in relationship to
the Divine. In general, people want to do something about sex. They
want to attack it as a problem and try to change it, either by
suppressing or enhancing it. Whenever they notice any kind of
aberrated pattern or sexual

desire in themselves or their children, they want
to suppress it. This is in general the ineffective and unenlightened
approach, the result of an emotional contraction in relationships,
and especially in relationship to the Ultimate Reality. In other
words, aberrated sex is a symptom of a dis-ease of the emotional
being. Sex becomes normalized when dealt with intimately in
relationship and when the primary relationship of the child to the
Ultimate Divine Reality is restored.

During the transition to the second stage from the
first stage (at about seven), there is a time of very open bodily
self-exploration. The second stage, then, will lead toward an
understanding of the discipline of sexuality. In general, it is a
time in which children enlarge their sensitivity beyond their own
bodies into Nature and aesthetics, but it should not be made into an
issue if they masturbate. If they are trained properly, sex will
develop naturally. It is a very artful process.

Gradual control of masturbation should develop,
but it should not be prohibited. Masturbation is self-exploration,
and it has no negative effect prior to puberty. At puberty, hormonal
activity makes discipline appropriate because the hormones at that
age that are required to strengthen the body are developing and it is
appropriate for the energy of the body to be used for growth. But
even then, masturbation should not be taboo. There should never be
negative communications about sexuality at any stage. It is the
educators’ and parents’ responsibility to socialize the child, to
draw him into relational life, into the spiritual feeling for life
and the embrace of moral habits. In the later years of the second
stage, from nine upward, children should be instructed to relate to
sex and the body with understanding and with the expectation of
assuming the discipline of self-regulation. It is through their
understanding, however, and not through prohibition or any
negativity, that they choose not to exploit themselves.

Summary Points

1. All adults should examine their own
sex-negativity and discuss ways to artfully deal with it so as to
best serve the culture of children in the area of
sexuality.

2. When children are socialized, sex naturally
ceases to be an obsessive focus of attention in children.

3. Having children talk about pleasure allow them
a natural involvement with the sexual process.

4. There should never be prohibitions or taboos
against sex in the first two stages of life unless the child’s
involvement is chronic and aberrated. Serve the child to develop his
energy socially in relationships and in relationship to the
Divine.

5. Sex-negativity, expressed as suppression and
exploitation, is the result of an emotional contraction in
relationships, especially in relationship to the Divine. It is
nomalized when dealt with intimately in relationship and through
restoration of the child’s primary relationship to the
Divine.

6. Do not make negative communications about sex
at any stage.

7. Instruct children after about age nine to
relate to sex and the body with understanding. Only through
understanding, and not through prohibition or any negativity, will
children choose not to exploit themselves.

Surrender of the Body in God

(a talk by Adi Da, 8/11/80, LOOK)

Adi Da: It is very easy to introduce a
sex-negative, body-negative, and self-negative attitude in children
through little punishment rituals, because we have all been
indoctrinated in one way or another into a sex-negative, or at least
an ambivalent, view of sexuality. On the one hand sex is affirmed, on
the other hand it is denied. I can remember receiving basically
sex-negative signals throughout my childhood. Sex was something you
were not supposed to do unless you were married, but even then it was
better if you didn’t! (Laughter.) In the culture of my childhood,
there was no systematic development of a positive body-sense relative
to all one’s functions. Therefore, in order to raise our children
with a positive body-sense, everyone in our community must understand
how he or she tends to reinforce a body-negative and sex-negative
self-image, and then they must avoid dealing with children in those
ways.

Children inevitably explore their bodies and feel
them in various ways. To take the position that there is something
wrong with all that is foolish. Nor do you have to make children
explore and feel their bodies; they will do this naturally. When you
find them doing it, what will be your response? You do not want to
encourage habitual masturbating, but you also do not want to slap
their hands and tell them that what they are doing is nasty or dirty.
Rather, you must establish a more positive and ordinary education for
children in which they become directly, feelingly, and sensually
related to the world altogether. When they begin to notice things
about their bodies, there should be no suppressive attack on them.
That exploration is just a sign that they have reached a certain
stage in self-observation, and you should help them. By the time they
are capable of making such observations, they are usually old enough
to engage in a discussion that will lead to an understanding of the
body and its sensations.

As soon as children discover their bodies as
terminals of sensation, they will tend to address them as instruments
of sensation, and they will develop habits like masturbation and
other kinds of private games, and in this way develop a dissociative
character. The discovery of one’s bodily and sexual sensations is
obviously a positive aspect of children’s development, and when
children begin to make this discovery, we must lead them to an
understanding that will make it unnecessary for them to choose to
exploit the terminal of sensation in their own bodies. Instead, they
should relate the body to the real world through sensual and
perceptual awareness. By entering into that related connection to the
world, the bodily energies attain a state of natural equanimity.
However, as soon as individuals start stimulating the body for the
sake of sensation, they develop a habitual mode of dissociation from
others and from the world. They also get the idea that there is
something wrong with bodily pleasure, that it is bad. So, their
self-stimulation has to become secret. Generally, children who begin
to exploit themselves sexually at an early age have sexual problems
well into adulthood, until they are able to break out of the mode of
privacy into sensual and sexual expression that is
relational.

Therefore it is important that children in the
first and second stages of life come to a positive understanding of
their bodily discoveries. Instruction about sexuality and about the
third or brahmacharya stage of life is useful. We should not cut
children off, bodily, from life. Rather, we should lead them further
into bodily forms of existence and perceptual association with the
world. We should help them to develop an understanding of their
sexual character and the sexual mechanism, and of how their early
years are an initiation into the functions of the body in
relationship to all kinds of potential experience. Sexuality has a
great deal of learning associated with it. However, the fact that
children are discovering sex as a possibility at an early age does
not mean that they are ready for it. Rather, at that point their
cultural initiation must begin, and in this manner they will be
prepared for the sexual yoga in their later married life.

It is helpful for children to be massaged
throughout their years prior to marriage, and for them to massage
others. This kind of bodily intimacy reinforces the positive sense of
bodily existence. Thus, massaging, the development of unobstructed
feeling, and positive bodily association with the world and with
other people are all necessary aspects of character development. A
lot of what becomes the adolescent crisis is based on the discovery
of one’s own body as a terminal of experience, and that discovery
occurs during childhood prior to the full development of relational
life and relational experience. The usual adolescent, who is not
drawn into the culture of such relational development and real
learning, becomes reactive based on the principle of self-discovery.
This is the root of the kind of obnoxious independence game that
adolescents begin to exploit. This adolescent game of independence is
based entirely on the discovery of the body as a principle of
separative, egoic experience rather than a medium of association or
relationship.

STUDENT: It seems that there would be different
levels of instruction for children, based on the stages of life,
which would specifically address the whole range of their life and
functioning at different levels of maturity. And maybe there could
also be a progressive teaching about how to relate to the Life-Force.
For instance, children would learn about the awakening of the
Life-Force in their own body, and then learn about it in relation to
others, and, at a later stage, in regard to their marriage
relationship.

Adi Da: Marriage is the ultimate
fulfillment of one aspect of a process of learning that should have
occurred all through life up to that point. In other words, the
actual exercise of one’s capacity for sexual experience comes only
after a long period of learning and submission of the body into all
relations, into the total field of experience in God. Children and
teenagers who begin to exploit potentials for pleasure based on the
self-principle, the body-principle independent of the development of
a relational character, are people who have dissociative problems in
later life. You see, it is quite typical for teenagers and even
younger children in the common world today to develop all kinds of
ways of enjoying themselves through stimulation of the self-body.
From early childhood and certainly from adolescence, they use
intoxicants, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and forms of sexual
exploitation. And when an individual has developed a culture of
self-pleasure as profoundly as adolescents tend to develop it in our
society, it becomes very difficult for them later on to live a
harmonious life of relational culture, which is the obligation of
mature humanity. For this reason, we must prevent the creation of a
self-culture in childhood and adolescence. Until a person enters into
the fourth stage of life, they should always be progressing in this
general process of submitting the body to the field of relations in
order to learn. Therefore, sexual activity should only begin after
that preparation has taken place, and marriage is the ceremony of
that initiation or ultimate development.

Student: In the conventional society in which we
grew up there was no sense of relationship at all. And so we turned
to ourselves, our own bodies, to find pleasure. But in our spiritual
culture, we live by a different principle.

Adi Da: Well, the self-body is the
principle of conventional living because people are, in common
society, basically dramatizing the level of development that is
characteristic of the third stage of life, particularly the
problematic development of that stage. Common society is basically an
adolescent culture in which the self-body is the principle and
everybody is, therefore, seeking some sort of self-enjoyment,
self-fulfillment, and self-pleasure. The fullest dimension of their
actual humanity does not have the opportunity to be expressed,
because there is no culture or cultural demand for it. There is no
demand for self-transcendence and submission of the body into the
field of relations in God. That wisdom-culture is missing.

Thus, the self-body, rather than the surrender of
the body in God and in all relationships, is the principle of
conventional society. Therefore, conventional society is an
adolescent, prehuman or subhuman culture. Human culture begins with
the culture of the fourth stage of life. It is the culture that
develops on the basis of the surrender of the whole body, or bodily
surrender in God and in all relations. When the self-body itself
becomes the principle of experience prior to the development of that
elaborated relational culture, then the individual becomes fixed in
the self mode, the Narcissistic culture of adolescence. And that is
what typifies all of you! In fact, this description is characteristic
of society in general. People are fixed in the principle of the
self-body, and are therefore Narcissistic and dissociative and
disturbed.

Student: I think that is why it is difficult even
to consider bringing this kind of premarital consideration to most
teenagers. Because they have learned and adapted to so little wisdom
in the earlier stages, talking about the “yoga of sexual communion”
with them would be just like bringing them some kind of conventional
sex instruction. If the whole emotional adaptation in relationship
hasn’t already occurred, they are not really prepared to enter into a
mature consideration of human sexuality.

Adi Da: In our community, as children
progress through the stages of growth, we must, develop orderly forms
of cultural experience that will make the period of life which
becomes adolescence in the common world into a positive cultural
epoch for each individual. This has traditionally been called the
brahmacharya stage.

The third stage of life is not supposed to be
adolescence! Adolescence is a crisis of reactive collapse upon the
self-body and all of the problems, desires, and complications that
accompany that collapse. The third stage of life, truly lived, is not
expressed in the form of that adolescent crisis, but rather it is a
life-positive, relation-positive period of learning and preparation
for mature adult life and all of its conditions, including sexuality
in marriage. But if specific and positive cultural circumstances are
not provided for young people in that stage of life, they will tend
to develop this adolescent crisis character, this Narcissistic
orientation to the principle of the self-body.

Children are always tending to develop this
Narcissistic character in one or another way throughout the first
three stages of life. Therefore, you must not make their discoveries
of the self-body incidents for punishment and reinforcement of
negative attitudes. Rather, consider them to be moments of learning,
moments of increased awareness. Then, through that sense of
awareness, lead the individual into the relational field of
life—to greater sensitivity, energy, and attention for real
growth rather than the exploitation of self. There is a natural and
positive way to use all these incidents of self-discovery and the
various events of developing childhood so that you do not suppress
the personality of children and ultimately force them into an
adolescent, self-involved crisis. Instead, you should enable them to
become more life-positive, more sensitive, more expanded, more full
of understanding and mature responsibility.

Summary Points

1. We must establish a positive and ordinary
education for children in which they become directly, feelingly, and
sensually related to the world altogether.

2. Exploration is simply a sign that they have
come to a certain stage of self-observation. Help them to make their
observations by engaging them in a discussion that leads to
understanding of the body and its sensations.

3. Children should learn to relate the body to the
real world through sensual and perceptual awareness. This allows the
bodily energies to attain a state of natural equanimity.

4. Massage is the kind of bodily intimacy that
reinforces the positive sense of bodily existence.

5. Conventional adolescence is based on the
discovery of the body as a principle of experience rather than as a
medium of association, of relationship.

The Process of Socialization

(excerpt from a talk by Adi Da)

As soon as infants begin to become aware of their
bodies, the body becomes a principal object for them. This happens
very early in life, and it is the very true that infants should begin
to socialize or adapt to the total environment through the bodily
senses. In that case, the whole world becomes an object of interest
and play to them, and obsessive attention to their own bodies will
become obsolete over time. The kinds of activities that should occupy
children are not those that emphasize obsession with their own
self-touching and self-sense. Children should be socializing,
adapting to life functionally by doing things with other children,
with other people, with the natural environment. Go on a picnic!
(Laughter.)

There is no need to orient children toward
focusing attention on their own bodies. As a person with a body, they
should simply be around others and have no special event take place
as a result of that, have that be very ordinary. That ordinariness
will make them point at themselves less. They will not always be
sizing people up in terms of protruding bodily parts, and they will
be able to adapt naturally to the fact that every individual is a
vital, physical person.

It is this process of socialization that permits
open sexual development. That is what I mean by sexual development. I
do not mean having intercourse when you are four years old! What I
mean by sexual development is that in the second stage of life, you
are able to come freely alive as a vital being and in the third stage
of life, you comprehend your vitality, including your sexuality, in
many specific ways. In that stage you gain control with the mind over
how you use your life.

Thus, at the end of the third stage, individuals
can begin to court and even marry after eighteen to twenty-one. If
you have matured in the third stage, that is an appropriate time to
engage the process of sexuality. Prior to that time, there is no
value in it. In fact, it is negative to be exploiting sexuality as a
teenager. Such exploitation can only work against them, and later on
they will have a great deal of difficulty being mature in the stage
of life to which their age corresponds. In that case, individuals
will go through life still stuck in all the earlier stages, and they
will dramatize emotions that belong to seven and eight year olds.
They will use sexuality as if they were ten years old because they
will not have adapted to or inspected and become responsible for the
functional level that is being revealed to them at their present age.
The community must become a culture that understands this process and
makes it possible for each of these stages to be lived in an
appropriate form.

Further Summary Points on Sexuality

(by The Education Department of the Free Daist Communion)

1. Sexuality is not taboo in our Way of life. It
is not to be suppressed or exploited but progressively adapted to in
life-positive terms and lived as a spiritual yoga in
maturity.

2. Sexual engagement must be founded on the prior
achievement of full maturity in the first three stages. Ideally,
sexuality begins in the fourth stage of life as the yoga of sexual
communion.

3. Children should be taught how to relate to
their sexuality, not how to avoid or suppress these feelings and
impulses. In the third stage, they must learn its true and higher
purpose; they must not view it as a means of relieving stress or
merely as a reproductive function.

4. Adults must be open and freely communicative
with children so that the adults can be instructive about the various
developments of sexual awakening as they appear in each stage of
growth.

5. The process of socialization, which is
adaptation to human intimacy, permits right and open sexual
development.

6. Attention stimulated by the awakening to
sense-functions should be naturally directed outward into
relationship so that it does not become obsession with the
self-body.

7. The second stage is the time of developing a
conscious relationship to the descending aspect of the Life-Force and
feeling-sensitivity to the polarities of male and female.

8. We must not introduce taboos that prevent full
descent of the Life-feeling. The typical reactions of adolescence and
frustrated egoic adulthood—anger, shame, guilt, etc.—will
be the only result.

——————————————————————————————————–

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