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Spirituality is an important aspect of humanity. For many, spirituality links directly to religion and helps guide their life. For some, me included, spirituality does not link to religion, but to “subjective experience of a sacred dimension and the deepest values and meanings by which people live”, as described by Wikipedia.
It appears that spirituality means a lot of different things for people. However, in the context of this book, I will consider spirituality in the broad context of its humanistic approach and our interior life. It’s both an inner experience of peace, love and harmony, getting to our true self, and an outer experience of respect and acceptance.
Getting naked is sometimes referred as being a philosophical and spiritual experience. The rise of naked yoga and naked meditation practices, for instance, indicate that the relation between nudity and spirituality may be established, at least for some practitioners of nudism. I am one of those practitioners. Nudity participates in my spiritual practices and rituals. It is an integral part of them, as I am going to describe in the following pages.
Although, I will make a quick detour by religion, I will focus on secular practices and experiences. I will explain why and how nudity can enhance, deepen and sharpen spiritual practice and experiences. Having discussed and shared those experiences with many nudists, I believe you too can benefit from those and embrace nudism in a new and unexpected dimension.
Religion and Nudity
Note – Special thank you to one of my readers, Andrew, who helped a lot clarifying how Christians should look as nudism.
Linking nudity and religion is pretty controversial. If Islam is totally against nudity and Judaism globally against, Christianity seems to have a more ambivalent interpretation, although it is, as we will see it, not forbidding nudity. The relation between nudity and religion comes from the Garden of Eden ideal. Adam and Eve were naked and felt no shame until they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, and shame fell upon them. We then think that clothing was necessary to cover their shame and their sin.
This is the typical interpretation. Although, we can, and should, read the Holy Book in a slightly different manner. Adam and Eve’s shame did not come from them being naked. It came from the fact they had disobeyed God and eaten the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, rather than the Tree of Life. God told them that if they ate the fruit from that forbidden tree, they would die. They could have chosen Life, but instead, because the forbidden fruit looked amazingly tempting, they ended up choosing death. The shame was the result of losing their righteousness before God, not from being naked.
But why do we consider clothing being the necessary item to cover our shame? This is subtle story. God made clothes for Adam and Eve from the skin of an animal. The animal had to die, obviously, to provide this covering. Let’s fast-forward several thousand years to the time of Jesus Christ. Jesus is described as “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. He became the Lamb that had to die to restore righteousness that was lost by Adam’s sin. This “righteousness” is portrayed as “clothing” in the sense that it covers the shame caused by Adam’s disobedience.
In the Old Testament, Isaiah 61:10 says: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness!”. Adding to this, there are a lot of passages in the Bible that describe simple and plain nudity, without any references to shame.
Weaving this together, shame did not come from nudity but from the lost of righteousness, and the latter has been restored by the death of the Christ, the Lamb of God, we actually discover that religion and nudity are in fact a perfect fit. Naturist Christians can enjoy the same righteous liberty that Adam and Eve should have enjoyed.
Because of a skewed interpretation of the scriptures, Christians feel they cannot be nudists. However, they have to understand clothing as righteousness, not about linen that covers our bodies. There’s nothing inherently wrong with our bodies, as Pope Jean-Paul II had reminded us, when he wrote that “the human body is not in itself shameful… Shamelessness (just like shame and modesty) is a function of the interior of a person.”
Although Wikipedia has a complete article about religion and nudity, I encourage you to read Andrew’s article which provides a more thorough explanation about Christianity and nudity. Judaism position is slightly different as it does not recognize Jesus ans the Son of God, and its role in the restoration of righteousness. Although it does not seem there’s any ban on nudity in the Holy Book of the Torah, physical nakedness of the body is regarded by many Jews as being associated with shame. For Islam, the position is pretty clear as the article Intimate parts in Islam explains. Islam does not allow exposing “private parts” to any other person. Nudity in front of others is expressly forbidden in the Quran. Hence, nudism is a big no for Muslims.
As you can see, if, at first sight, it seems religion and nudism are not really a good fit, it’s quite the opposite in Christianity. Righteousness of thoughts and actions is not linked to physical clothing or lack thereof. By being nude and righteous, we come closer to what Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. At the same time, I believe that people realize there is more to simple nudity than physical and psychological comfort. It may help to feel connected and enlightened.
Feeling Connected and Enlightened
You often read and hear nudists saying that when they are wandering naked in nature, they feel connected. Whether you feel connected to Gaia, the Universe, God, Mother Nature or a Higher Power does not really matter. What matters is this feeling of something profound, heavenly, and not rationally explainable.
The same happens after being clothed for a long time when you undress and get entirely naked. You feel like an anvil was on your shoulder and just vanished. Lightness becomes part of you. It’s no coincidence that the word light is the opposite of heavy and of darkness. By being a nudist, you are lighter and feel enlightened.
It seems a new dimension opens when you embrace nudism. That dimension can be mystic for some. Nudism brings that “union or communication with ultimate reality”, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Of course, you may think that I’m going a little bit too far and that nudism is just getting naked, nothing more. However, when you incorporate nudity into meditative activities, like meditation or prayer, you feel the world surrounding you, and in your mind and body, in a different and more connected way.
A personal example concerns this chapter and book about nudism. I write it entirely naked, like my posts and my other books about nudism. I tried to write some words or paragraphs while travelling in trains or planes, for instance, fully clothed. I struggle! The words don’t come easily, the sentences don’t flow, the ideas seem blocked. The moment I undress, I’m in the flow, I’m embracing the moment.
Embracing the Moment
Being naked makes you fully aware, open, and more prone to fully embrace the present. Philosophers and scientists explain that nothing exists at the exception of the present. The past does not exist any more and the future is not existing yet. A few milliseconds and the present has gone, a few milliseconds and the future has transformed into the present, a few milliseconds and you feel here and now.
This is what nudism helps to appreciate. That moment of bliss, of cheerful delight, of enhanced presence. Being present at that moment helps us to enjoy life and live with joy in our heart. This is what being nude helps me achieve and helps many nudists to achieve as well.
Some may argue that you can embrace the moment, reach spiritual heights and feel connected while being clothed. Mystics, churchgoers and believers are, for a vast majority, entirely clothed. If it’s true, one may forget that one of the most well-known mystics and Saints, who understood and respected nature and all living creatures, Saint Francis of Assisi, preached naked. As it’s written in a beautiful article about Saint Francis, “Leaving clothing behind was not a mental exercise for St Francis… Maybe it is time to get naked with St Francis.” There’s a lot to learn from the Holy Man.
When you start enjoying being naked without the shame that many attached to nudity, your awareness level increases. You feel the air differently. You feel the rays of the sun on your body differently. You feel differently. Ask any nude hikers why he or she hikes nude and they will mention they feel connected to nature in a different way. The moment you start wandering in nature entirely naked, new sensations come and life changes.
The first thought that came when I started to hike naked was that the joy I was feeling was probably enhanced by the fact that I was doing something that was forbidden. I thought I had that shot of adrenaline. However, adrenaline decreases with time. And I still feel this elation every time I hike or just wander outside entirely naked. It’s not adrenaline, it’s not about doing forbidden activities, it’s all about embracing the moment at a different level of awareness and comfort. It may be making one with the Universe.
Making One With the Universe
I particularly love meditating naked in front of the rising sun. I feel the rays of the sun radiating on my body, warming and lighting it. It feels so good and my meditation is so deep in those moments, I easily stay for thirty minutes to an hour without realizing it. I feel complete in those moments.
The same happens when I am strolling in a forest, totally naked, barefoot, feeling the grass and the earth under my soles. It’s a reminiscence of our animal nature. Animals live naked, covered by their fur, feathers or skin. When we step outside totally undressed, we embrace our natural, non-intellectual, way of being. The way natural evolution created us. Life is incredibly complex. Even a worm is a complex animal, though it appears to us very basic. The reality is life created us, we did not create life.
With a universe created a few billion years ago, we appeared on planet Earth only a few hundreds of thousands years ago. If we equalled those billion years to full 24-hour day, this would mean that our ancestors would have appeared on Earth a few minutes ago. A speck of sand on a beach! This simple time comparison keeps me humble and allows me to keep life in perspective.
I used to say that being atheist makes me a non-spiritual person. But, with thinking and experience, I discovered that meditation, humanism and nudism bring that spirituality that all human beings need. I don’t believe in the Gods that religions worship. I believe in humanity and feel deeply connected to a wider universe when I’m naked. Nudity has recreated this link to the Universe.
It’s accepted that the world religion comes the Latin religare, which means to bind. A religion binds humans to God. Nudism binds humans to the Universe. I’m not saying nudism should be made a religion, because religion comes with dogma, rules and obligations. But nudism helps deepen spirituality and the faith in humanity. At least, it has done so for me and does the same for many nudists across the planet.
This leads us gently and naturally to the last part of this chapter. If nudity has so many benefits, it becomes complete when shared with others. This is what we call social nudity and is the topic of the next part. Let’s go and share our nudity with friends, family and strangers!
Next part – Social Nudity
Strip Nude, Stay Nude, Live Nude and Share the Nude Love!