In Spirituality, “purity” has the significance of harmony and balance. It is completeness of being. Wholesomeness.
Typically, the word “purity” has been used to refer to the practice of celibacy. However, as most religions and philosophies are mostly caught up in the physical aspects of being, as the beginning point on self-realization; then this is the common assumption.
Nevertheless, celibacy is one aspect of purity. It refers to the physical aspect, on how to channel our sexual energy to be integrated in our spiritual development. This does not mean rejection or sublimation but once again, integration. However, the achievement of this integration means, “partial purity” only. There is more to purity.
The second aspect is related with our mind and the relationship of thoughts and emotions expressing through it. A person who is practicing celibacy but represses himself/herself will not be in a healthy state of mind. His/Her emotions and thoughts will be scattered and divided between his sense of “duty” of following a celibate practice and his “desire,” to express sexuality as any “normal” human being. This inner fight is not consistent with purity.
Although, the beginning of this path has the experience of inner fight, a spiritual being, needs to understand and be integrated with that which started as a rejection.
Therefore, the practice of celibacy out of compulsion does not mean “purity,” but it means partial purity if in fact, there is no repression in the practice of celibacy. Otherwise, it could be named as a “mental case,” if repression is there under the veil of fear. That fear could take many faces: Fear of failing, fear of not being “good enough,” fear of sinning, fear of God, fear of not getting heaven, fear of his own self.
That is why, once the very important step of following celibacy is taken, a deep observation of our mind is essential. To be able to find complexes in ourselves, to be able to find “hang ups,” to be able to find conceptual ideas and how much rejection to our own self (things which we did not achieve in life or our own perception of the self which came from our past without the reference of spiritual knowledge) and rejection for others is lingering in our psyche and being covered under the name of “spirituality.”
Achieving mental clarity then, is another level of “partial purity.” That clarity may be expressed through the exercise of our own wisdom, that is to live life free of fear.
Finally, there is that purity which brings together the mind and the physical being; that is the heart. Those are the feelings.
We cannot pretend to have “pure feelings” when our mind is scattered.
We cannot pretend to have pure feelings, when we are repressing and rejecting ourselves at any level.
We need to be congruent in every aspect, when we are building our spiritual path.
The heart brings that harmony between the physical pole and the mental pole. When we have achieved that completeness, then we can speak about purity that is complete, “full” purity and not a fragmented belief of it.
It is in that harmonious living, when there is no longer struggle due to being pulled into different directions (mind, heart, physical body) that is fragmented; but there is unity, a harmonious single direction.
That is the meaning of being wholesome. Thus purity is wholesomeness. Our “normal” fragmented personality is no longer there.