It’s so easy to feel bad about our thirst. Our thirst to be seen. Our thirst to see and to be with others. Guilt and shame can riddle our relationship with our naked bodies and wreck havoc with our ability to articulate and act upon desire. I believe this comes from a western separation of the Spirit and the body. We are most often taught about all things spiritual through dogma created by imperfect humans, while fully clothed, and the body is rarely mentioned, certainly not our erotic body.
The western religious world keeps this divide, when in fact, some of the early writers of the Hebrew scriptures and also what would later be known as the New Testament is filled with love and intimacy, and maybe even sex. A favorite passage of mine is from Psalm 63. Take a read through this psalm, as commonly found in the Liturgy of Hours Morning Prayer. It might be a familiar passage to some. But then, take a deep breath, and give yourself permission to bring your erotic body to this passage. For what it’s worth, I don’t see how this writer was not completely horny when writing this. The writer seems to bring these feelings to whom they named God but also potentially anyone else they consider a Sacred friend/lover/partner. I imagine the writer laying in bed at night and thinking of their Sacred lover that they haven’t seen in awhile. A lover that brings divine healing. A lover that is full of God. They imagine their sacred lover’s body, as they say “my soul is thirsting. My body pines for you, like a dry, weary land without water…” No matter what entity this person is pining for, the body and it’s desires are mingling with the spiritual. And so why not, us?
We can give ourselves permission to pine after someone. We can notice the beauty and even the sacredness and holiness of another person. Our bodies can be temples of God. We can pine, yearn, fantasize, and connect with someone that we saw, someone who posted a picture, a lover, or a partner. Tom Daley once took the selfie that is pictured in this post. He enjoys being seen. I see. I love it. I find it to be Sacred beauty. I’m thirsty for it.
But also… My body is not like’s Tom Daley. And that’s okay too. I love my hairy chest, big nipples and my tummy. And I love sharing it. And we can give ourselves permission to be seen as well. In however and wherever we want. We can be proud of our body. Not hide our body, but rather share it, as we are ready. Our bodies are each holy and divine. Our body is a temple. Let us share freely and proudly.
And anyway, where does the Bible instruct to stay clothed, and to lock your erotic body away from the spiritual journey?
Do not be afraid. Be who you want to be. Share what you want to share. Pine and yearn for what you want to pine and yearn for. Be thirsty. Just like David shares in his psalms. What is your soul thirsting for?