This was a significant talk for me because I’ve got some compulsions, and I work on making them conscious because I don’t like doing ritual behaviors that create pain in relationships. I want to be free. A compulsion is not a desire, although it feels like one. A compulsion does not desire pleasure. A compulsion is about being whole, being unified, being One. A compulsion is a ritualized desire for God. The yearning of unity in whatever form, at whatever level is the yearning for God (not as an object but as Unity, the One without a second.) A ritual compulsion, however, never finished the job because it seeks unity in form and time, and God is not in form and time…and yet God exist immanently and transcendently. A compulsive ritual tries to capture God as immanent in form, but this misses the Transcendent. God is not there. Just half of God is there. God is the One that is both transcendent and immanent. God is a mystery.
The ritualized compulsion cannot be repressed or avoided because it is a divine commandment seeking God in form, in time and space. Caught in the compulsion we are caught in a new dilemma: How can I give up this compulsion when I know it is a desire for God. If I give up the compulsion I give up God.
So many people get caught in a ritual that gives them creativity, so they can’t give up the ritual, even thought it creates pain, because they have to give up the creativity related temporally by the ritual compulsion.
Risky sex is a ritual compulsion that brings creative energy and destruction. Think Bill Clinton. Think Tiger Woods. One is composed to return again and again to the ritualized creation of energy that comes from the temporal release from the internal inconsistency, the unresolved internal double-bind of contradictory commandments that must be obeyed.