the flesh of swine

the taking of pleasure “in something higher” is tied to relinquishing a pleasure in something, by reason of something else being higher, lower. I can take pleasure in X. period. But if i come to realize that there are two kinds, not one kind, of pleasure to be had – lets say a physical pleasure that perishes and a higher pleasure that is tied to something abiding and thus an unending pleasure ( a realm of meaning/spirit thatis connected it to a divine or abiding, everlasting being because otherwise even meaning perishes for me with the body) – then the higher pleasure (which is still tied the body) comes at the expense of the pleasure that is lower (only bodily) pleasure. you see, there aren’t two pleasures – one tied to body and one not tied to body. There are two approaches to the body – one that takes the body to be pleasurable and the other that takes the divine meaning indicated by the same body to be pleasurable.

I take it that when God tells me to not eat the flesh of swine, it is to be a sign for me that nothing is to be eaten as a body. He asks me to forgo one kind of flesh (thankfully) as a sign for me that all other flesh i consume for pleasure (fulfilling some need) should be consumed not as a body but for the sake of divine meaning and for the pleasure of the spirit – to become aware of a compassionate sustainer.

Watching porn, masturbation, having sex as only a passing pleasure of the body through another body without a lasting relation that involves compassion, mutual care and love, drinking intoxicating wine, eating the flesh of swine – these are all inimical to the spirit’s abiding pleasure because they are empty of divine meaning. they lead to guilt and disappointment and self-loathing as they give the appearance that one is a pathetic body with only bodily needs for non-lasting, perishing pleasures. One’s divine spirit, which is too dignified to be reduced to the desire for such passing and faint pleasure, is filled with embarrassment, loathing and condemnation for such a “bodification” of its divinely given potentials needs. It feels shame that, for instance, a few moments of losing (and loosening) of its mental capacities is something to be taken pleasure in. It feels sad that a proper consciousness of divine existence, instead of being a relief, has turned consciousness of (mere bodily/perishing existence) into such a burden that relief is sought in becoming less, rather than more, conscious of existence and its mysteries.

This is how I have felt when I have consumed flesh for flesh’s sake. It has always been a descent into what I have felt as a premonition of hell – an existence so deprived of meaning, so empty and so full of regret and remorse that it is worse than non-existence.

So thats why i dont eat the flesh of swine. It is one of the few bodily things that I do not consume so that I can reflect on this as a sign to remind me that the consumption of all bodies and all that is bodily is, in reality, forbidden to my soul (it is inimical to the soul’s safety and dignity) if i were to consume those bodies for their own sake. It reminds me to consume all bodies and all that is bodily for the sake of and in the name of the divine sustainer and take pleasure in being aware of Him, not in the bodily things themselves. I am decreed to consume bodily things. But whether I consume bodies for their own sake or consume them in the name of their sustainer, is something I choose. I have a say in the matter and the consequences are mine to bear.

Published by Faraz Sheikh

Faraz Sheikh

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