I have nothing against masturbation. In fact, I have been a practitioner of the art for half a century now; and, with all due modesty, I can claim to be an adept. I can attest to its many benefits; but will refrain from mentioning them here. However, even the most ardent fan of self-gratification must admit that it is not anywhere near as fulfilling as making love to another human being.
Likewise, I have nothing against any form of spiritual self-gratification. In fact, I have practiced meditation for almost as long, and with more frequency, as I have practiced masturbation and I highly recommend it. The many benefits of meditation are well documented, so there is no need for me to catalogue them here. I was introduced to meditation in 1969 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. If you are curious, the official TM website lists some of the benefits.
Any solitary form of spiritual pursuit, such as prayer in a cathedral, meditation in a Zen monastery, chanting Om in an ashram, trance dancing in a rave club, induced states of altered perception in a shaman’s care, fasting in a desert for 30 days or solitary walks in the woods, although enormously gratifying, can never be as spiritually fulfilling as finding and practicing a way to be intentionally and consciously of service to your fellow human beings.
Meditating in a cave in the Himalayas, or beneath a Bodhi tree, until you achieve satori is not the “be all and end all” of spiritual practice. The noblest rationale behind any form of self-realization, self-actualization or spiritual practice of any kind is to become more in order to be more creatively contributory.
All human souls are on a journey of self-discovery. All are an aspect of divine consciousness. Your willingness to be of service, to contribute, to be creatively offering of yourself, is to honor the divine. It is the best way you can show your reverence for the sacred source of all that is made manifest by the infinite and ineffable.
The spiritual urge to connect to the sacredness can be pursued in solitude. There is nothing wrong with that approach. And, for many, it is a necessary precursor to further development. However, the purest expression of spiritual growth is one’s way of walking through life. What one does, how one demonstrates compassion, how one commits to being contributory, is the spiritual pathway that leads to real fulfillment and lasting bliss.
Bliss is a sublime state of being. It is to be revered in any form, no matter how fleeting. Achieving orgasm or achieving satori in isolation is an honorable pursuit; but, just as true sexual fulfillment comes from intimate congress with a beloved partner, real and lasting spiritual fulfillment comes from practicing compassion towards all life; and in, in an attempt to emulate the creative source of all that exists, being as enabling, empowering and enriching as possible in each moment, in each act, in each intention.
I believe that you will achieve the highest form of spiritual expression in discovering how you can enlighten, enrich and empower your fellow human souls as they journey through life; and, in being reverent of all creation.
Passion is the force that is behind sexual (and creative) energy. Compassion (and creativity) is the force that is behind spiritual energy. They are both expressions of love. Love, sweet love, is your source, is your power, is your true beingness.
Finally, ponder this: gratification and gratitude are related words (concepts). I begin each day with a prayer of gratitude for the new opportunity to revere, to relish and to contribute. Try it out for thirty days. I believe you will find it most efficacious and gratifying.