Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Pleasure
Divine eros sounds so good. It is goodness. It is pure goodness. It is the presence of purity, of energy, and an awesome pleasure beyond anything you can ever imagine. It’s a powerful motivation and drive for being yourself and being willing to feel the truth of whatever you’re feeling, regardless of circumstances. Divine eros is a way you can experience your inner nature. How much do you want that for yourself? For another? We have the opportunity to enjoy the connection on the various levels of relating, but some of us find that our lover is in our friend because he or she loves the same thing that we love, and that is what we share. And when we share the love for the depth of truth, it creates the foundation that the relationship connection needs in order to continue to spiral to ever greater depths.
The Power of Divine Eros, pg. 167
One cannot seek happiness, for it is the result of realizing the Truth. The personality, which has security and pleasure as its aims, cannot be happy. Pursuing pleasure or safety will entail covering up any unpleasant or frightening truths. This automatically closes Joy. For Joy is the radiance of the heart when Truth is appreciated.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 312
Knowing Pleasure Distinct from the Drive for Pleasure
Thus the drive for pleasure can become the energy that opens us up to a new arena in our development. As we discussed earlier, to fully know ourselves as mature beings means that we become individuals who are able to fully be and express our true nature in a pure and simple way. We learned that the pleasure we seek comes from our nature and that we do not have to find it in the physical realm, although we can. We can know pleasure as distinct from the drive for pleasure or from the drive to procreate, and in this way feel the pleasure of being. We are a being of presence with the ability to know ourselves completely in the now, without being defined by our own or someone else’s ideas of who we are. This is deeply blissful. When we are in touch with the depth of our essential heart, we are able to be filled with the presence of sweet nectars. It is possible for us to not only feel the effect of these nectars, as in the usual experience of emotional love, but also to feel the heart in its natural condition as the presence of a loving, fluid richness. The heart that has reconnected with its depth is a fountain of bliss.
The Power of Divine Eros, pg. 164
Pleasure and Sex
On the sexual level, the work is primarily to understand pleasure and to reveal all the illusions and unconsciousness about it. Not only sexual pleasure but all the kinds of pleasure, inner and outer, become understood and seen in their relation to essence and its life. This clarifies the issues of intimate relations between the sexes and their place in essential life and development. All essential aspects rise to a new dimension, where they are all seen and experienced as pleasure, as all kinds of joys and delights. The pearl reaches a new integration, and its relation to this dimension of pleasure is clarified. Both outer and inner pleasures are understood objectively and harmonized with each other and with the rest of one's life.
Pleasure and the Body
When the body cannot accommodate the presence of essence, a person might attempt to get the pleasure and freedom he seeks through involvement in various physical activities. But whatever pleasure results involves either tension, friction, exertion, discharge, or physical contact. These are good on their own merit, but they fail to reach the richness of essence in its qualities of pleasure. They don't come close to the sweetness, exquisiteness, smoothness, refinement, and delicacy of essential experience. In a sense, essence is pure pleasure, a pleasure that exists in itself, and not a reaction, a response, or a result of anything. Our true nature, in one of its many facets, is pure unadulterated pleasure and delight.
Pleasure and the Markabah
Thus the soul has a much deeper loyalty to her initial object of gratification than most of us suspect. The power of this attachment does not become clear until it is brought up in deep levels of the soul's inner journey. In our work this issue arises in connection with the experience and integration of the diamond vehicle called the Markabah, the diamond vehicle having to do with pleasure. The soul's loyalty to the historical object of gratification and to the orientation associated with it is libidinal, emotional, and philosophical. The mother, or breast, was the first external object and hence the prototype of such objects. Each time the soul relates to an object of gratification, or a love object, the soul cannot help but relate to it in a way that is similar to how she related to her mother. She values it as a source of pleasurable satisfaction and fulfillment; at the same time, she has a deep and committed allegiance to it. But the fact that the first object of gratification is an object that the soul comes to recognize as separate from her and outside her, deeply conditions her to expect pleasure, satisfaction, and fulfillment only from external objects. This expectation becomes the libidinal foundation of the materialistic and worldly view of reality, the view that the animal soul adheres to totally. The first instinctual object and love object, the mother, becomes projected onto later objects, and onto the world, for mother was not only the first object but, at the beginning, the whole world for the infant. The externality of the first object makes the soul, at some point, project this onto all objects that she considers outside herself, onto the totality of manifestation.
The soul comes up against this deeply entrenched view of reality when she begins to learn to love truth for its own sake, especially when this truth turns out to be inside her, for it is the truth of her nature. She experiences a deep conflict between her love of truth and her love of pleasure and allegiance to its external sources. When the soul learns at some point to make this significant shift, and turns toward the truth, this turn becomes the state or station that invites the descent of the Markabah. This is the diamond body of pleasure, bliss, delight, and celebration, which arises as the soul’s love of truth deepens and becomes a true turning away from the habitual egoic orientation and toward authentic loyalty and allegiance to the truth. The turn of the soul's heart is not a turn away from pleasure; it is simply the shift of allegiance from the pleasure of gratification and its sources, to the inner truth of the soul and Reality. The soul moves her allegiance toward truth, understanding its centrality and value irrespective of whether the truth is pleasurable or painful. This turn is the necessary condition for the descent of this diamond vehicle, which turns out to be what gives the soul the desire and the capacity to transcend her egoic pleasure orientation.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 237
Pleasure and the World
Each diamond vehicle is associated with a presenting issue, whose resolution opens the soul in a particular way, correcting her orientation so that she can assume the necessary attitude and state for the descent of the particular vehicle. The issue for the Markabah is the pleasure principle, and in general the external orientation that dominates the ego-self. Because the soul is structured in a way that dissociates her from her essential nature, in the normal course of ego development the soul becomes predominantly an animal soul with a civilized veneer. She inherits from the animal soul its external orientation, which is reinforced by the early dependency of the human infant, as we discussed in chapters 10 and 11. The soul is powerfully driven by the animal instincts, dominated by the need for gratification. Gratification is the pleasurable satisfaction of her desires, whether they are for safety and security, company and intimacy, sexual and physical pleasure, or for anything else she craves. Structured thus, the soul grows up adhering to two deep delusions: that the purpose of life is the gratification of her desires; and that the objects of gratification exist outside her in the physical world. She becomes enmeshed in a life of seeking instinctual gratification, ruled by the pleasure principle, which is seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
The love of truth, which the soul has learned in the course of her inner journey and through which she has invited the assistance of the diamond guidance, comes up against this basic human orientation. The soul recognizes that to continue to love truth selflessly requires a huge shift in her view of life and her orientation in living it. She sees that truth must come before pleasure, and that she must look inward for what she needs. Most human beings are not willing to make this shift, and are not even convinced of its truth or necessity. The conventionally conditioned soul is not only wedded to the orientation of seeking pleasure externally, but this orientation is part of a larger one, which is her allegiance to the world and loyalty to its view. This orientation has its roots in the soul’s very early experience of receiving pleasurable gratification from her mother. This early gratification creates an amazingly deep bond, such that the soul grows up deeply loyal to the mother who satisfied her needs and desires. Every soul with normal ego development grows up deeply, though often unconsciously, loyal to her mothering person, the first love object and object of gratification.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 236
The Exquisiteness of Contact, of Intimacy
Life first begins to reveal its mystery in primitive, biological ways, then advances to the level of the emotions, and ultimately appears in mystical union itself, consciously. This unity is more than the joining of bodies; the physical unity of intercourse is merely an approximation of something far more intimate. That is why the unity we are talking about requires so much maturity. It requires much development, much refinement, for human beings to appreciate that the erotic encounter is not just for pleasure, not just to have orgasm, but to experience the exquisiteness of contact, of intimacy, to experience the bliss of coming to know the mystery together. By coming together, we are able to know the unity of reality. When divine eros consummates, we are helping each other to know this deepest of all mysteries. But the intimacy of union does not have to be sexual, because the unity is beyond the physical, beyond time and space.