There are many books, tapes, seminars, TV shows, radio programs and websites devoted to the topic of love and sexuality.
You can learn methods to select the right partner, attract a partner, polish your sexual technique and divorce yesterday's lover.
There are many therapists, ministers, journalists and even politicians ready to discuss the moral questions surrounding sexual love and prescribe for others what they see as correct sexual behavior.
Painted Photo by Jane Sherry
But virtually nowhere can we learn the spiritual laws governing the many varieties of human sexual behavior. There is little discussion of the spiritual laws governing the physical, emotional and mental energies exchanged in human love relations.
We all agree that we want love in our lives. But love is a word that means so many things it may mean nothing at all.
We say, "I love to watch The Sopranos," or "I love my BMW." And we say, "I love my wife," "I love my kids," and "I love my mistress."
We all want something different from love, it seems. Some want power, some want money, some want security, some want children, some want to be loved. Most of all, we all want love to last.
And we are disappointed when we don't get what we want.
We don't get what we want because we don't know the spiritual laws of love. We must take a more spiritual view of love.
We must get in tune with love and then we will know what love wants. When we learn what love wants, we can invite love into our life and love will be happy to stick around for a while. If we continue to get along, we will have a love that lasts. But we need to adopt a spiritual point of view toward love.
From a spiritual point of view, love wants only to love. The lover wants to become one with the Beloved. As they open their hearts and approach closer and closer to one another, the lovers experience, for one moment, the Void, an ego-less state of universal mind.
All mental considerations drop away, and only love remains between the two.
For the spiritual seeker, love means the pursuit of the Unity underlying the apparent duality of our physical reality. The seeker begins in adoration of deities and other practices designed to bring the seeker closer and closer to a direct experience of the Source.
As the seeker draws closer and closer to the goal, there is an inevitable moment of ego-less bliss.
Only love remains between the two.
It is only in a state of bliss, such as the bliss experienced by lovers, meditators and mystics, that we discover our own inner truth.
The word satya in Sanskrit means "truth" and "honesty".
The word satya also implies a unity underlying the apparent conflict and duality of the material world.
The Unity between the Self and Source of creation. The Unity of the Divine Lovers.
Photo by Jane Sherry
Thus satya implies both inner truth and Cosmic Consciousness.Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, and other great spiritual teachers of the East and the West revealed their own inner truth, and we find their Cosmic Consciousness illustrated in their life stories.
The great saints and mystics of all religions around the world have experienced the power of this truth in their own lives. Love releases this truth to work in our lives, where it manifests as compassion, joy, wisdom, fearlessness and creative activities of all kinds.
We also carry this inner truth deep within us.
But we've hidden this truth from ourselves. We've closed ourselves to love.
We've exiled ourselves from the Garden of Eden.
And now we're going to explore different ways we can travel the paths of love and relationship back to the garden. We're going to discover how we can open ourselves more and more to a divinely inspired and inspiring love. We're going to come home to our inner truth and find our Satya Center.
We all want to experience a Divine love, a love that unites us with the Beloved and through that loving union, with the Unity that is the Source of all creation.
For Unity is the soul of love. But opening our hearts to love and the experience of Satya -- Truth and Unity -- can be difficult for the modern mind. We are educated to believe that if you can't see the human aura on a radar screen, then the human aura doesn't exist.
We are taught by our politicians, our media and our corporate leaders to see the world as a war of all against all, not a training ground for the development of love in all its varieties.
Painting by J.Sherry
Our culture values strength, not love, as the ultimate virtue, and sees compassion as a sign of weakness of mind or will, a congenital defect found mainly in religious renunciants far removed from life's daily struggles.
Today, many of us have a divided consciousness.
We believe that we are no more than our minds and our material bodies, rational animals living within a material universe. We believe in what we can see, feel, hear, smell and touch.
We believe in the body and the pleasures of the body.
Universal life force energy, the Unity of creation, the aura, the Higher Self or Buddha mind, the soul, the healing power of loving compassion, the healing power of prayer, all these are very hard things for the modern mind to understand.
These things are not solid illusions, like a table, which is composed of subatomic waves or particles and a lot of empty space. There are more subtle energies than the table, more powerful, more fundamental to reality.
We understand marriage as a social contract, a convenience, a form of companionship, a celebration of mutual lust, a way to propagate our genes and extend the family name and blood line into the future.
We understand the material aspects of marriage, but we do not understand as well the subtle energy exchange between husband and wife at each of the seven chakras, at seven key levels of the human aura.
We do not understand how the nature of that unique, subtle energy exchange determines the degree of their compatibility and even whether their love can last.
Here's a preliminary lovers' guide to understanding the interactions of the seven subtle bodies.
Holistic health and energy healing techniques, such as yoga, Reiki , homeopathy, acupuncture, acupressure, healing touch, creative visualization, and tai chi, have re-introduced the modern Western world to the ancient wisdom of energy medicine which was originally developed in India, China, Japan, and Africa, by the indigenous peoples of the Americas-- and by peasants and healers in medieval Europe.
Martial arts students of tai chi, karate, and judo have learned from their teachers that proficiency depends upon development of chi, the subtle energy that infuses the human body and aura, and generates strength, power, health and mental focus. Merely developing large muscles and doing aerobic exercises is not enough to reach the highest levels of achievement.
Little by little, the general public in the West is discovering that there is more to our beautiful, complex Universe than meets the eye. There is more to health than chemistry and there is more to love than physical attraction.
In general, in the West, we understand the material world; it's a known quantity we can control. We don't understand subtle energy as well and we don't understand very well the way our own actions, our own everyday routines, interact with the greater web of life around the world.
Artist Book Page by Jane Sherry
We see ourselves as separated from Nature, from the Divine, and from one another. We fail to acknowledge the subtle energy exchanges that connect us with one another and with all of Nature. We quite often find ourselves in conflict with Nature, at war with one another, straying far indeed from our own true path of Spirit. At these times, we are far from love.
Yet in the course of a lifetime, almost everyone feels love of some kind. Love for our Mother and Dad, our first sweetheart, our spouses, children, a spiritual teacher, someone. It is almost inevitable that love will touch us all. In one way or another, if we co-operate, love will lead us on a path out of conflict, away from the divided self, and toward Unity, health, community and self-realization.
When we experience love for our parents, our teachers, our lovers, our wives and husbands, and our children, we wish to become one with them, to share their lives completely, to feel what they feel and have them feel exactly what we are feeling.
Sometimes, in love relationships, we succeed for a moment in connecting with another person in a way that opens up our hearts and dissolves any normal sense of self, time and space, and in those rare moments we know that we two are one.
When, as spiritual aspirants, we wish to know and love God or Goddess, to experience enlightenment, or self-realization, we wish to merge completely with the object of our adoration, we wish to become one with the Divine, to lose our identities and at least for a moment of ecstatic mystical contemplation, to experience that immense, incomprehensible Unity of which the Vedas speak, saying, "Thou art That", "Tat Tvam Asi."
All the paths of Love lead eventually to Cosmic Consciousness, to an experience of Oneness. All the ways of Love connect us to the Source of all creation, because the Source is the inexhaustible wellspring of all forms of Love.
That Source of subtle energies may not be visible to the untrained eye, but it generates the true reality. It sparks the inner flame that keeps us alive and maintains the connecting web that unites all people with one another, with the natural world, and with unseen spiritual worlds that exist all around us.
As we begin to re-connect with the ancient wisdom teachings concerning the human energetic system and its relationship to the rest of the Universe, we open ourselves to an experience of that Divine energy which manifests as love and light, an energy we share with one another and with the rest of creation, seen and unseen.
That energy is an intelligent, loving energy, and those who want to know love will learn to focus upon its manifestations within their own bodies, their auras, the natural world, and the greater Universe.
In this way, we can attune ourselves to the harmonies of love. We can synchronize our hearts and minds and bodies with the frequencies of love. And by synchronizing ourselves to the heartbeat of Universal love, we will attract love into our lives.
This will attract to us the sublime experience of loving union with another human being, through a series of meaningful co-incidences, synchronicities and fortuitous occurrences. This has been how lovers have always met one another, and how spiritual aspirants have always met their destined teachers.
This is how soulmates find one another in this material world. This is how we go about healing the divided self.
In the face of death, and the apparent impermanence of all human relations, human beings feel tremendous pain and longing. This pain and longing prompts in us three great desires.
A desire to transcend the personal ego and unify with God, a desire to share with our brothers and sisters, and a desire to unite with another human being in a love relationship.
from Venus Unbound
The desire to love is synonymous with the desire to transcend the limitations of the ego and the physical body, and thus the desire to transcend death itself.
In Plato's Symposium Aristophanes gives his famous history of the origins of human love and the nature of soulmates.
Aristophanes says that human love arose in response to an act of Divine retribution for the human sin of pride.
As we shall see, Aristophanes sees human love as a quest for lost unity of spirit. As in the myth of the Garden of Eden, the gods punish humanity's prideful nature by cutting us off from the experience of Unity, which is our own inner truth.
By finding a true soulmate, human beings can help one another recover their original, exalted nature, at one with the Universe, as Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden before the Fall.
The early ancestors of today's human beings were very powerful spiritual beings, and the gods feared them. According to Plato's Symposium, "... The gods could not suffer their insolence to be unrestrained. At last, after a good deal of reflection, Zeus discovered a way.
"He said: 'Methinks I have a plan which will humble their pride and improve their manners; men shall continue to exist, but I will cut them in two and then they will be diminished in strength and increased in numbers; this will have the advantage of making them more profitable to us. They shall walk upright on two legs, and if they continue insolent and will not be quiet, I will split them again and they shall hop about on a single leg'. He spoke and cut men in two, like a sorb-apple which is halved for picking, or as you might divide an egg with a hair.' "
Such is our current predicament. Each of us living on Earth today is a soul that has been split in two.
We have been split in two by our beliefs, by the internalized patriarch who judges and controls us through guilt and shame, by Zeus, father of the egoistic self.
Drawing by Jane Sherry
We believe that we are our egos, our bodies, but in our hearts we ask ourselves, "Who am I, really?" and "Why do I feel incomplete?"
Each human being has a deep desire for completion, for self-realization, for unity, equal in power to the fear and longing felt when first confronting the fact of death and impermanence, and that desire impels each one of us into the arms of another, into a love relationship in one form or another.
Aristophanes spoke of love between a man and a youth. Same sex love. But this ancient wisdom applies equally to all love relationships of choice and desire, whether platonic and mental, erotic or sexual in nature.
Aristophanes continued his discourse on love with this description of what happens when soulmates meet. "And when one of them meets with his other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and will not be out of the other's sight, as I may say, even for a moment: these are the people who pass their whole lives together; yet they could not explain what they desire of one another. For the intense yearning which each of them has toward the other does not appear to be the desire of lover's intercourse, but of something else which the soul of either evidently desires and cannot tell..."
Photo by Jane Sherry
This is the Western Classical origin of the notion of "soulmates", individuals who are destined to meet and complete one another in an enduring love relationship. Each soulmate has the positive qualities lacking in the other, so that through their interaction they transmit to one another these positive qualities, and heal the wounds inflicted by Zeus, when he split men and women like apples, in his long ago garden.
Aristophanes makes it clear that the "soulmates" have a relationship based not upon rational calculation, or sexual desire, but upon subtle energy exchanges of a very intimate kind, and that their love union takes them to a place beyond words and ego, a place where two become one.
"If Hephaestus, son of Zeus, were to ask the pair; 'do you desire to be wholly one, always day and night to be in one another's company? For if this is what you desire, I am ready to melt you into one and let you grow together, so that being two you shall become one, and after your death in the world beyond you will still be one departed soul instead of two — I ask whether this is what you lovingly desire?' — and there is not a man or woman of them who, when they heard the proposal, would not acknowledge that this melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of their ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love."
The love relationship is for many human beings, the very first conscious experience of unity, when defenses fall away, masks drop off and we truly feel united with our loved one in a surging exchange of energy that opens us up to our true nature, and allows us to see mysterious depths within our Beloved -- often for the first time.
At that moment we experience one another as beings without qualities. Where there had been mind, ego, personality is now just energy, just a Void. In that moment, we know Love for the first time, we touch Buddha Mind, we partake of Cosmic Consciousness, and the door opens to Self-Realization.
There is an esoteric meaning to Plato's story about love.
The great Twentieth Century psychologist Carl Jung understood the wisdom teachings of the great Masters of the East and West, and the fundamental truths expressed by Plato and by later Western spiritual masters, such as the alchemists and the Hermetic Kabbalists of medieval Europe. Jung went so far as to say that the alchemists created the “forerunner of our modern philosophy of the unconscious.”
Jung’s work describes intense, complex interactions between the male and female aspects of the psyche, leading to a state of “individuation” comparable to enlightenment or Unity with the Divine.
Jung stated that each man has a female personality within his psyche, called the Anima, and each woman has a male personality within her psyche, called the Animus. Psychologically, each of us strives to reconcile these opposites within our psyche, and to achieve the ultimate goal, the state of Oneness described by mystics of the East and west alike.
In The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Jung said, “I use the term ‘individuation’ to denote the process by which a person becomes a psychological ‘in-dividual’, that is, a separate, indivisible unity, or whole.”
The highest goal of human existence is surely to experience a Divine Love, union with the Source. Jung agreed with the European alchemists who perfected the study of the Hermetic Kabbalah that the resolution of the duality within the psyche of the individual results in the “loss” of the egoistic personality, which we each identify as our separate selves, and the blossoming of a state of consciousness described in the Western mystery school tradition as the “Higher Self”.
New Age mystery school teachings of the West hold that when our bifurcated souls incarnate on Earth, in the vast majority of cases, only one of the twin souls incarnates.
The other half of the soul, which is of opposite sexual polarity, resides in the invisible world of spirit.
Painting by Jane Sherry
Mystery teachings of the East tend to emphasize the androgynous nature of the Higher Self, but in both East and West, the basic idea of the mystics is the same.
There is an Earth-bound soul, identified with body and Ego and Mind, and there is a Higher Self living in the invisible world of spirit, which contains the finest qualities of spirit, including those we lack which are found in the opposite sex.
So there is a war within human beings between the ego and the Higher Self. Mystics of East and West have taught that we must subdue (or extinguish) the ego and establish a strong link with the Higher Self to attain our spiritual goals.
When we can subdue the ego, let it go, put it on hold somehow, and surrender to the Higher Self, we contact our own inner truth, our Satya Center. From that point on in our spiritual development, we have access to inner spiritual guidance from our own center of inner truth.
Through meditation and other practices, we can learn to quiet the mind and listen to the voice of inner truth; we can learn to act upon the quiet promptings of our own inner spiritual guidance to perform compassionate works in the world. As our capacity to tune in to inner truth increases, our capacity for love grows and grows.
For mystics of both Eastern and Western traditions, close study of sacred texts, meditation, austerities, celibacy, fasting, yoga, and other spiritual practices helped practitioners to let go of the ego, surrender to the Universe, and experience the Truth of Universal Unity, which Aristophanes claimed to be the true goal of human love.
Another path to that same goal is surely to experience the Oneness of a spiritual love union, the unity of two human beings who share a conscious intent to help one another attain Oneness with their Higher Selves.
In some instances, twin souls will incarnate in different bodies at the same time on Earth, and their meeting is a rare and magical moment -- when soulmates find themselves.
In other cases, affinity and repulsion that exist among individuals bound tightly by marriage, family and friendship stems from shared karma of one kind or another, a shared proclivity to act out certain types of psycho-dramas, with assigned roles and seemingly pre-ordained outcomes.
Magic Lantern by Jane Sherry
Karmic soulmates often incarnate at the same time on Earth, in circumstances that would allow for them to meet during a given lifetime, to work out their mutual karma by learning the lessons their interaction will provide.
The truth is that karmic soulmates can improve their relationship by working together in a shared spiritual practice designed to subordinate the ego to the Higher Self and enhance their access to inner spiritual truth and guidance.
By learning about the laws of love, and by creating a shared intent to heal their relationship and align their relationship with the unconditional love twin souls and angels know and feel, karmic soulmates free themselves from the burdens of their histories, and give themselves permission to love one another in perfect freedom.
All paths of love lead to the one goal, the center of the circle, which is in each one of us, our Satya Center.
As Jesus said, we must lose ourselves to find the Divine within ourselves. We must lose our over identification with our bodies, our minds, our egos, our personalities, which keep us trapped in a state of alienation, unable to truly open our hearts, and unable to sustain a love relationship that lasts.
The more that we identify with our Higher Self, with the Divine Lover who watches over us, our own Holy Guardian Angel, if you will, the more love will be attracted to us in our lives.
For the Higher Self exists in a perpetual state of love, where inner truth and Universal Bliss become one.
Individuals and couples with a sincere desire to experience higher states of love must diligently pursue a spiritual practice designed to unify the ego personality and the Higher Self, for in this way they will open themselves to a transforming experience of Self-Love.
As we shall see in the next article about Self-Love, without Self-Love we have nothing to offer the Beloved. To attract love to you, you must be in a loving state, a state of self-love, and you must have a willingness to share the abundance of that loving state with another being.
So develop a more intimate relationship with your own Higher Self, search diligently for your own Satya Center, your own inner truth, and you will surely become both a radiant being, lit with self-love, and an irresistible magnet of love.
Photo by Jane Sherry