“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one's energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.”
There is a difference between not asking too much of anyone and asking nothing. There is a difference in giving of yourself that requires some value in your eyes for what you have, a gratitude for qualities with which you live your day-to-day life.
If you are going to deal with people asking of you and your resources, you need to know what you are interested in giving, and what you are interested in getting. These decisions should come simply and in the appropriate moment, with your word offered only in the proper time and form where it will not need to be broken.
There is a dread sometimes that erects itself within our responses, when experience has taught us of the misery some person or other might inflict. We want to act---not simply react. We may occasionally make the choice not to spend time with someone who evokes reactions we deem wasteful or hurtful to ourselves or them.
Then, we may find such a person wants to spend time with us, and herein is the moment with the good qualities we love in anyone must be considered in light of the desirability of their company. This is where crucial decisions that might otherwise lend to a generous and well-humored disposition must be made, so that their doing is effortless.
So, we've gotten to the crux of understanding Chastity. Al Crow here, in his book
Little Essays Toward Truth, challenges the common sense definition of chastity, and asks us to ponder sixteen total words---Man, Memory, Sorrow, Wonder and more---fundamental to human existence.
The writer's voice has a unique, antique quality peculiar to his oratory, yet every good writer discusses people in content valuable for observing truth. The styles may change, and like fashion go in and out of favor, but Al Crow treats Truth as a direction, and since location requires mobility of a sort in order for you to participate, guru-like he suggests mental movements that may best profit your feet in the journey, from his experience. For him, it's a trip through the Quaballah, but if that's something you'd have to think twice about, consider the quality of a simple life lesson.
So, Chastity---and how it relates to will, doing, and choices.
The will to accomplish a thing is not summoned only at the moment we know we need it; foresight is how we pack our reserves, as though traveling for two different climates. Our basic needs must be considered on any vision quest, and that which we cannot reserve, we must procure. So it is with the hunt for inner peace. You must be prepared to spend time in the woods. If you wish to harvest a crop, there is a relationship of tending, and whoever weathers the days from plow to plant most associates with it as their possession, guarded nearly with their lives. Otherwise, you must be prepared to raid that which is not your own. If you find yourself throwing tantrums to regain energies, you are either feeling raided or standing against the invader of the homefront.
Yet, that for which we battle is so plentiful, we need not fight, except as we perceive it as our nature. As Crowley puts it in his rules of morality for the average man: “why would you despise someone you see as weaker than yourself?” In truth, if you want to be far more than average, you are busy with more than defending yourself all the time---for why have you attracted these seeming predators with your light? Yet a certain amount of discomfort is assured to recur, regardless of your status; accept it, own it, undergo it, take its insight into the strength of your mind.
Perhaps it seems chaste to allow others their will, completely restraining your will, as though you are given, like Sir Galahad, greater strength in this virtue. Yet, I found a provacative statement from Crowley, a known provocateur of not only men and women, detesting the chivalric chastity that made men serve without comfort or promise of reward or a mature relationship as an equal, for as he quotes sage Milton,
So dear to heaven is saintly chastity,
That when a soul is found sincerely so
A thousand liveried angles lackey it,
For, “service is but waste unless action demands it.”
His point is, if your chastity guides you into the service of others’ decisions, you must avoid what he calls “cowardice of moral attitude...which commonly denote the man called chaste by the vulgar.” Now, in these modern times, there is still a cultural segment that values, if in lip service but intentionally, sincerely, chastity in people. What was considered noble chastity is sometimes found in those who delay gratification, with the desire not to partake in any exchange that might drag some part of them down and away from their actual intentions. That is still my definition of noble chastity.
Here, Crowley wants to denote urgency to action that, for all its primal, sexual metaphor, so fundamental it is, involves the creative energy with which one engages all of one’s choices in life, “a positive passion,” “only tangentially linked...to sexual practices.” He has a busy map of possibilities to the aspirant to Holy Mysteries, but he urges a daring born of action, and not reaction.
Purity and chastity tend to be linked in the vernacular. Quickly referencing “castrum”, the Latin root meaning ‘fortified camp’, a state of Purity must be defended from outside sources. Yet understanding the world and the motives of those with whom you ally requires wisdom capable of serpentine maneuvers upon the treacherous terrain that appears, or we might, like Parsifal, find ourselves the knight-errant, bound by honor to a path in the desert of possibilities. It is an example of a quality of a virtue, Purity in Chastity, that in the darkness of wills might be used to crush our lives, all for those infamous best intentions.
Whether this is a call to think for one’s self, or is countered by the proper illumination brought about by faith to one’s pure connection to one’s Lord, I see how those two ideas can be seen in relief to one another, if not opposition. They may, in fact, be too close to the same color to exist in the picture with distinction or resolution of anything.
However, you must allow a will greater than your own to dictate what most drives your purpose; otherwise, for reasons you will attribute to those around you, you will remain driven back in your most cherished efforts. The strict observance, he chooses, of the Magical Oath, “the Light of the Law of Thelema, absolute and perfected devotion to the Holy Guardian Angel and exclusive pursuit of the Way of the True Will.
Some might naively fantasize these ideas in play in some type of mind-controlling cult, but really, it’s your own mind you’re challenged to control. You may see the resemblance, upon closer inspection, and find the colors are not complimentary, but rather lie much closer together on the spectrum of human experience. These ideas do not suggest that a philosopher bond herself to the commands and declarations of a higher-ranked initiate blindly; if you are willing to learn what is at hand, you must truly, unreservedly feel the authority coming from within your own being, back to the components of its creation, the person you here have decided, “I’ll be.”
In other words, you are being told in no uncertain terms that you will have to be bold, and especially, competent, in seeking answer’s to life’s mysteries for yourself. Check your actions and your works, not first by the will of some man, but by something stronger than the fickle gadget people often present as their willpower. The perseverance you want must belong to you, be found in you, and come from you; your life, and its service, is a gift of great value, but its nature requires it be given where it will be the worthier resource. Al Crow here is saying something about throwing your pearls before swine, making the worthy useless, and calling it chastity, is not the chaste behavior for you.
Parsifal redeems Kundry after fleeing her flower-witches, and only when he redeems her, “an act which he performs by the reunion of the Lance and the Sangraal,” is he truly chaste.
Purity here is a “static quality”; its only freedom is from contamination. Yet such an element, desirous in ideal form and in certain things of the material world, must be blended with others to attain compounded values that generate their versatility.
Thus he closes his sale:
For he is not wholly pure who is imperfect; and perfect is no man in himself without his fulfillment in all possibility. Thus then must he be instant to seek all proper adventure and achieve it, seeing well to it that by no means should such distract him or divert his purpose, polluting his true Nature and hamstringing his true Will.
And in colorful language here:
Woe, woe therefore to him the unchaste who shirks scornful the seeming-trivial, or flees fearful the desperate, adventure. And woe, thrice woe, and four times woe be to him who is allured by the adventure, slacking his Will and demitted from his Way: for as the laggard and the dastard are lost, so is the toy of circumstance dragged down to nethermost Hell.
Overflow your days, for the very sake of your existence, “with gay deeds and bold of masterful, of manful Chastity!”