Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Libidinal Soul
Drivers of the Libidinal Soul
The animal or libidinal soul is driven by two primary instincts or drives: the aggressive and the libidinal. The aggressive drive includes the soul’s power and energy directed toward survival and all of its correlates: dominance, rivalry, territoriality, etc. The libidinal drive includes sexual and erotic energy and impulses, animalistic wanting and desire, and the desires for togetherness, connection, and so on. These two drives appear in the animal soul within the context of two primitive object relations, again split off from each other. The first contains the aggressive drive and we refer to it as the “rejection object relation,” and the second contains the libidinal drive and we refer to it as the “libidinal and/or frustrating object relation.”
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 204
Experiencing Ourselves as the Libidinal Soul
Under normal circumstances, when we experience this deep, hidden part of our soul, it does not feel negative. We actually feel full of life and full of vigor when we experience ourselves as the libidinal soul. We are strong, full of passion, full of energy, brimming with a zest for life. But we are not going to let go of what we want and what we believe we have. We passionately hold on, wanting the riches of life and all the objects that promise gratification. If you become aware of the deepest image that this libidinal ego is holding on to, you see the image of a luscious breast. This is the initial image, the core image that the libidinal ego doesn’t want to let go of. It is a wonderful golden image, which we see full of all the essential qualities. At this early age, the spiritual and the animal forms of experience are not yet differentiated; they are interpenetrating. We find we have a deep lust for this object of gratification. The lust has a sense of wanting. The wanting we feel is powerful, passionate wanting, strong and robust. Because it is such a powerful force, many spiritual traditions, like Sufis or Christian mystics, try to direct that wanting toward God. If you truly manage to direct the libidinal impulse toward God, then realization becomes easy. That’s one reason why Sufi poetry talks about God as the Beloved, as though he is a woman or man with whom we are besotted. The soul is able to channel all that libidinal energy toward the transcendent reality.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 27
Libidinal Object Relation
The libidinal object relation is the structure of this desire soul wanting a wonderful, yummy, and completely desirable object. The object appears here as beautiful and desirable in an animal instinctual way, full and luscious. Its prototype is the engorged, youthful, and turned-on breast, full of milk, thick juicy nectars, robust energy, and aliveness. It is a full and gleaming breast, desirable and inviting. It promises to give the soul the object she needs, the object that will satisfy her hunger and bring her erotic pleasure. The libidinal soul loves this object passionately and wants to gobble it up with gusto and total satisfaction.
It is clear that the dominant genetic stage for this structure is the early oral stage, the characteristics of which pattern this early structure. What makes this structure become split off is not only its unabashedly animal and instinctual nature, but the frustration that results when the soul is unable to get the desired object. The affect coloring the libidinal object relation is the combination of total libidinal desire combined with the intolerable frustration of unrequited love and desire. The soul wants, but for various reasons cannot have, the object of her desire. It might be that the unconstrained animal nature of the desire makes the original object, the mother, unable or unwilling to receive such passionate desire; or that the good and desirable breast is not available when wanted; or that a sibling or husband has it, or whatever. The frustration in turn increases the desire, as happens with animal desires in general. The environment's disapproval of the animal nature of the wanting combined with the intolerable frustration lead to the soul splitting off this part of herself and the corresponding object relation.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 207
If we inquire into our various relationships, especially the object relationships we enact in the world, we find many varieties, but underneath them, much more hidden than most forms of relationships, is the libidinal relationship. This is the powerful part of the ego-self that embodies the animal soul and all her tendencies, which becomes constellated around the infantile desire, hope, and wish for the wonderful object, the libidinal object that will gratify all of the soul’s needs and desires. The libidinal ego is the instinctual and infantile source of attachments and desires, and typically is split off from our conscious experience.
Under normal circumstances, when we experience this deep, hidden part of our soul, it does not feel negative. We actually feel full of life and full of vigor when we experience ourselves as the libidinal soul. We are strong, full of passion, full of energy, brimming with a zest for life. \ But we are not going to let go of what we want and what we believe we have. We passionately hold on, wanting the riches of life, and all the objects that promise gratification. If you become aware of the deepest image that this libidinal ego is holding on to, you see the image of a luscious breast. This is the initial image, the core image that the libidinal ego doesn't want to let go of. It is a wonderful golden image, which we see full of all the essential qualities. At this early age, the spiritual and the animal forms of experience are not yet differentiated; they are interpenetrating.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 27
This is the animal soul at the beginning of ego structuring, where the soul’s animal potential is all contained in one structure.This is a much more primitive structure than the soul child, for it is not patterned by the human body image. This structure forms the more primitive ground of the soul child, and hence will generally arise as we make the soul child more transparent. It is a structure of a living entity, shapeless and formless, but has individual boundaries, for it appears as an entity. It feels like a primitive animalistic creature that is completely run by the instinctual drives and appetites. Its aliveness and dynamism are much more total than those of the soul child, appearing frequently as a writhing, wiggling, but powerful organism with no fixed shape or size.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 203
Love and the Animal Soul
The next issue we're going to deal with is how objects of desire compete with the truth for our heart's love. The objects we crave compete for our attention, our interest, our time, and our commitment. This is because of what we call the libidinal soul, the primitive and animal level of our soul, the part that is run by instinctual drives. At some point, we recognize the libidinal soul as one of the main barriers to the love of truth.
Love of truth is a subtle thing; it is the illumination, the radiance, and the melting sweetness of the heart. The animal soul, however, doesn't love the truth. Not only that, it doesn't even recognize love. This soul is dominated by cravings, by animal desires: "I want it because I gotta have it. What has love got to do with it?" This is just like when an animal feels, "I gotta have this meat." It's not out of appreciation or love. It's more like, "If I don't have it, I'm going to die."