The Love of Devotion: Chapters 5 & 6

CHAPTER 5: TEACHERS

Past Teachers

One never forgets one’s past teachers or disciplines. Such allegiances are forever enshrined in our heart and continue to help, inspire, and mould us. They are pivotal to our development and our total and absolute devotion to them secures the progress which blossoms from that commitment. The cemented bond between teacher and student surpasses time and space, and the love of a teacher can be beckoned whenever requested. Further, one often has an ongoing commitment to the other students of a teacher and, indeed, the entire group of that pathway. Nevertheless, in spite of loyalties, our inner spiritual drive will take its own path through the terrain it determines is best. It will have its own timing and will guide us to whoever is most beneficial to the next stage of our growth.

Like Attracts Like

I started reading a series of metaphysical books by Dr. David Hawkins which began to have a significant impact on my spiritual growth. Dr. Hawkins’ focus was on the concepts of not juicing the ego, going into an energy field and riding it out, surrender, humility, devotion, and love for everyone and everything, including oneself, at all times. Dr. Hawkins and Dr. Hora, although appearing at quite different times in my life and with no conscious connection one-to-the-other, came from very similar terrain. We are drawn to a certain field of spiritual truth which resonates with our own inner tendencies and interests. My interest in understanding human consciousness has drawn me to teachers who, themselves, have had a deep interest in human consciousness.

Physicians of the Soul

During the early careers of Hora and Hawkins, New York was a fermenting place of much that was original, brilliant, and challenging in terms of therapy, analysis, and the understanding of the human mind. It is, thus, not surprising that from this fertile and creative ground came dedicated practitioners of mental health who later became dedicated practitioners of spiritual health. Both shared many of the same interests: Zen Buddhism, Taoism, the Christian mystics, existential philosophy, theosophy, Freudian and Jungian analysis, quantum physics, and a profound appreciation of the literature relating to spirituality, healing, consciousness, and nonduality.

Nonduality

Nonduality is a term which reflects devotion to and love of a spiritual Good which has no opposite. It is a realisation of the tremendous power of the invisible life-force of the Divine. Man and God are understood to be as One. Both are held with an attitude of devotional love and this devotion unfolds as a sincere and unrelenting walk towards greater self-realisation. The concept of nondualism is originally derived from the sacred texts of the Upanishads. It finds its source in the Advaita Vedanta tradition of the Hindu philosophy. It is a system of thought which sees the essence of the human soul as indistinguishable from the Absolute. God and man are not seen as separate entities, but as One. Nonduality does not make sense to the human mind. It is illogical and goes against everything we sense with our human capacities. One has to open the door to a different realm, and then one begins to experientially and spiritually feel it. Understanding nonduality leads naturally to healing because life is seen in a way that is spontaneously elevating.

All the schools of thought that I have seriously studied are based on an understanding of Reality as being nondualistic – there is only one Life, Life is good and only good, and Life is freely available to everyone. Metaphysical disciplines require mental boldness and a fearless and passionate spirituality. Significant suffering and dissatisfaction with the alternatives helps the spiritual flame ignite and continue to burn. The backward drag in the early stages of one’s commitment can be large. Intensity of commitment ensures that the kindling elements of devotion and dedication overcome the immense resistance to forward movement.

Spiritual Teachers

Genuine teachers tend to have, in true Zen master style, high expectations of their students. Teachers, worth their salt, take the responsibility of their students very seriously. They do not want to be held responsible for failing to set their standards high enough. As one evolves, one loses concern for being liked. One’s concern, as a teacher, is the evolution of the student. Given that human nature is intrinsically and unavoidably selfish, lazy, proud, and has a great proclivity for procrastination, there are endless opportunities to confront this ego-nature in the evolving soul.

It is this approach of, sometimes, tough love combined with the sweetness of kind and gentle caring which endears our teachers to us. It also engenders an unshakeable sense of respect towards the teacher from those around. When such an individual enters the room, all those in the room lift. When such a one speaks, people listen. When such a one says no, it is not questioned unless there is a pressing reason to do so. When such a one is around, everyone feels better and acts better. When such a one is temporarily gone, it is a struggle to keep energy at the same level. The humanness creeps in. Sometimes, it barges in.

Who Chooses Who?

One does not really choose one’s teachers. Nor do teachers choose their students. Such things are written in the heavens. It is more a matter of recognising one’s teacher. Likewise, one recognises one’s own students. This recognition is neither intellectual nor emotional, although intelligence, reason, and emotional resonance do play a part. It is something beyond that. It is a knowing rather than a decision. One feels a timeless connection which has become apparent and clear. One gladly surrenders to being given one’s guide and advocate. Such things are destined and one is, certainly, very grateful for these precious gifts. To be such a help to another person is to repay the karma of having once been taught oneself. That is the price. We pay with love for the love we have been given.

Energetic Attraction

Of all the religions and spiritual groups in the world, why do we end up in one or, sometimes, a few? With all the people in the world, why do we closely bond with a relative few? It is destiny, karma. It is internally driven by the need for lessons and the working out of karma from past forgotten associations, agreements prior to being born, and that which will give us specific learning opportunities. Some bonds arise and then release and some bonds remain intact. Sometimes, we cannot tell whether something is beneficial long-term. So we let time and the flow of events decide for us. There is nothing to prove. We submit to the divine process – not another and not our own ego. It is true humility and makes us invulnerable to domination by any other human. Fear cannot capture us, criticism cannot harm us, and pride cannot make us fall.

The Design of the Patchwork

We will, frequently, find that a commitment to a certain spiritual teacher will coincide with other personal relationship commitments in our life. It is as if the whole complex and intricate fabric of our lives is sewn together in an invisible pattern. Often, in retrospect, we see the design of the patchwork which, at the time, seemed unrelated or haphazard. With a little distance, the purpose and balanced nature of the pieces makes perfect sense.

Energetic Field of the Teacher

When one commits to a spiritual teacher, one automatically benefits from the energetic field of that teacher. All one has to do is to sincerely say to oneself that one is a student of a certain person and it is so. One is then entitled to that teacher’s energetic field. Likewise, if one wishes to extricate oneself from a particular teacher, all one has to do is to sincerely say so to oneself and it is so. The energetic bond is then broken. It does not matter if the teacher is living or deceased. It does not matter if one physically sees the teacher or not. Such things are invisible, beyond space and time, and are nonmaterial.

Alignment or Misalignment

Aligning with a spiritual teacher has serious implications. If one is drawn to an ethical, unselfish, mature, and dedicated teacher then rapid progress can be made by virtue of the field of that teacher. However, if one realises that the teacher has serious flaws or is no longer right for us then it is wise to cut the ties with that teacher. It is best to find teachers who are appropriate for our level and with whom there is an intuitive bond. Not only is one affected by the auric field of one’s teacher but one will also share the karma the teacher carries. In fact, one should be very careful about proclaiming one’s allegiance to any teacher or group for this reason. Such an allegiance means that you, in part, share the karma of that individual or group both good and bad. For example, in sharing a Catholic heritage, one automatically takes on board the magnificent spiritual power of all the beautiful Catholic saints, mystics, and humanitarians, as well as the very regrettable deceptions, rigidities, tyrannies, tragedies, and pain.

Dedication to Truth Not Personality

The motive of the ego is always self-centered. The love of less developed teachers is not as unselfish as it may, sometimes, seem. Teachers can love our dedication to them rather than our dedication to the Truth. We dedicate ourselves to Truth, not to a material personality. We learn to lean on the sustaining Infinite and, in this way, we trust not human persons but we trust the goodness of the Divine presence. A true teacher will encourage this. The spirit of the teacher is everything. Words are cheap. Many teachers who have large followings are internally misaligned.

God-Confirmatory Not Self-Confirmatory

Success and power are very seductive elements for less evolved spiritual teachers. A true teacher has no desire to control, needs nothing back, and will be God-confirmatory rather than self-confirmatory. Instead of seeking personal success and power, he or she will view their role as a sacred responsibility to those in need of spiritual help. For such a teacher, the joy of success is in the growth and development of others and in the fulfilment of one’s own inherent gifts and destiny. To follow one’s path and use one’s talents is to rightly fulfil one’s purpose on Earth.

Transformation

Most spiritual teachers do not consciously and intentionally deceive. However, ignorance of the ego does not make a saint. Good questions to ask about spiritual teachers are: Are there rules and regulations? Does the teacher need or want certain things back? Is the teacher asking for a lot of money? Does this teacher’s presence or writing transform me? Do I feel closer to God by listening to this teacher?

We want the attention to be drawn not to the personal teacher but to the impersonal divinity of those listening. The focus is not on the teacher but on the true spirit within each of us. We want to feel God rising within. Otherwise, the capacity of the teacher to aid our long-term transformation will be limited. Genuine teachers quickly divert attention away from themselves. They do this so that the focus is on the needs of the student and not on themselves. If they have outgrown the desire for personal attention, they will do this very naturally. Sometimes, however, a teacher recognises a lack of gratitude in a student, in which case, he or she may deliberately and repeatedly insist on a student’s profession of loyalty. It is the Zen masters stick.

Breaking the Ties

Many people instinctively wish to make breaks with certain teachers and groups in an official manner so that the bond is properly broken and the person is then freed from the invisible ties. Some people are not happy in their spiritual home but stay out of fear, laziness or ignorance. Some people clearly see the problems but stay out of love, loyalty, and duty. Spiritual freedom is a primary and essential component of a true teacher and a true group. We lose nothing by removing ourself from a situation which is not for our highest good even if, at one stage, it was. Freedom is a nonnegotiable component of spiritual love. We have our unconditional freedom to explore and go wherever is most helpful to us, whenever we feel so inspired, and to do whatever we consider to be in the highest interest of our growth and destiny.

The world is a wonderful place, full of opportunity. In this way, not only can we never be contained or destroyed but we also have complete freedom to stay, unreservedly and wholeheartedly, wherever we wish to stay and grow and help. There is no guilty, fearful or resigned staying. Rather, it is a sincere embracing of one’s right place and destiny, whatever that may be. Our devotion to all that is good and all that is good for us becomes unshakeable. The soul’s path is secure and assured. We can walk with profound peace and confidence in our hearts.

Students can be seriously let down by their teachers. It hurts when someone we really trust disappoints us, even if it is only in our own minds. However, it gives us the opportunity to trust something better or to mature in our understanding of life, and that makes it worthwhile. Movement and change is a natural and healthy part of the path. A group or teacher may not be what we thought or we may have outgrown that particular teaching situation. We don’t have to keep carrying our disappointment about moving on. We work through things as best we can and then we surrender it as soon as possible. Sometimes, we just need a change for things to settle into us and become our own. When it is a significant loss of attachment and a big disappointment, it can take a considerable time to truly get over it. We are kind to ourselves and keep working on releasing it.

Choosing Our Battles

In releasing oneself from a strong teacher or group attachment, it may be important to bravely and clearly state our disconnection. Out of respect for other’s growth or out of a karmic duty we may wish to explain why we are leaving. It may be important for our development to demonstrate courage and clarity of thought. If we get upset doing so, it is understandable. We keep working on it until the emotion is released. Explaining ourselves may create more trouble than anything else, in which case, it is wisest and kindest to say nothing and quietly depart, perhaps, with a believable excuse. We do not want to hurt people unnecessarily. We may decide not to show up or correspond anymore. Certainly, most people in a group will not want to know why we are leaving them. In order to protect their own right position they will simply reject us and find fault with what we say. After all, they are staying and want to feel that they are right to do so. One has to use one’s energy wisely and choose one’s battles. When a thing is really released within us, we do not care what others think about our departure. We are glad of our freedom and wish others the same liberty.

God is Sufficient

When one truly has God, one has no personal need for religion or spiritual groups. God is more than sufficient. However, we may still choose to remain in a religious or spiritual group. We may stay out of love. We may find that the essence of the group is beautiful, and those who are drawn to it are good. Or we may feel that the once beautiful garden of the group has become overgrown with thorny bushes, and we may wish to stay and make it a more pleasant and trouble-free place for its occupants and visitors.

Leaving the Nest

Even with the best of teachers, there is within the student an element of maintaining or reclaiming, whichever the case may be, one’s spiritual independence and power. One cannot forever reside under the wings of the great protector. One is, not infrequently, pushed or pulled to venture out and strengthen one’s own wings like children leaving the nest. This can all happen with good grace. There is a somewhat sad but resigned knowing that it is time. However, the form of departing is not always so conciliatory. It can be a breakdown of trust which forces the student to venture into new terrain. After enough years have passed, the old teacher is often seen with renewed affection, albeit, always in a different way.

Our First Spiritual Teacher

A combination of the stage of life, age, the particular approach to the spiritual path, the level of suffering, the developmental stage of the soul, and the personality of the departing student will influence the surrounding circumstances. Falling in love (in the broadest sense) with the teacher will frequently mean that the student will wholeheartedly throw him or herself into the comfort and security of the work and world of the teacher. Spiritual students with intense, enquiring, and radically-committed natures will not only devote themselves with utter abandon to the teacher but, when that nature is combined with the driving pain of human existence, such students will often tolerate little in the way of deviation from his or her expectations. One forgives such intensities when human nature is understood.

Our first serious spiritual teacher is very important to us. We tend to adore them. We, sometimes, blame them. In the end, they were the one. The first one. Many people after a first serious relationship are hurt deeply and take considerable time to heal. Future relationships are never approached in quite the same way. Hopefully, there is more independence, more forgiveness, and more wisdom about what relationships can and can’t do. Any future falling apart of relationships will be handled with less pain, quicker recovery time, and more ability to accept the ups and downs of life. The same is true of spiritual teachers. Such things evolve as they should.

One Grand Brotherhood

If it is a spiritual journey, a journey drawing closer to God as we see it then the true power of the teacher is spiritual inspiration. It is the opening of Heaven’s doors. It is invisible and one knows not from whence it comes and so we say it is the Spirit of God. Some call it something else. It is good and the person is loved for their contribution to others’ lives. The terrain, as a spiritual student, is large and varied, continuously changing and expanding. One must follow one’s inner guidance about the worth and capability of the teacher while, at the same time, remaining conscious of the limitations of teachers and the pitfalls of spiritual groups. It is one grand brotherhood of learning. One way or another, we are all in this together. Not only are the connections forged with other spiritual students but, more far reaching, we have irrevocable bonds with all of our brothers and sisters who share Earth and who are, by nature of existence, part of the human family. If one suffers, we all suffer. What blesses one, blesses all.


CHAPTER 6: THE SWEETNESS OF LOVE

Scale of Consciousness

Everything in the universe radiates a specific type of energy field. Dr. Hawkins devised a Scale of Consciousness which is representative of these energy fields. Everything at the lower end of the scale has a negative, downward pulling tendency and is, essentially, harmful. The lower levels are: shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger, and pride. As one moves up the scale, one enters energy fields which are increasingly life-enhancing and truth-oriented: courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, and unconditional love.

Energy Field of Love

An important change occurs as the individual moves into the energy field of love. The person becomes an authentically caring and unselfish being. For all the religion, spirituality, humanitarian effort, and philosophical interest in the world, the actual presence of someone at a truly loving level of consciousness is not a common experience. Love and devotion are soul mates. Love is devotion and devotion is love. The quality of spiritual devotion is recognisable by the presence of goodness, beauty, harmony, and inner confidence. Compassion becomes a marked quality of presence. Such individuals have a look of serenity and peacefulness. They automatically send healing light into the world.

The height of this level is inhabited by gifted healers, saints, and spiritual leaders. It is also the domain of those who choose to remain in the world in such a way that other people do not recognise their greatness. They quietly and undetected continue their mission, purposely indistinguishable to the average person. They are known to God as bringers of light but unknown and unrecognised by most of humanity. The presence of someone at a loving level of consciousness is innately uplifting. Even the entry point of this level carries an enormous amount of spiritual power. People are instinctively drawn to such an individual and feel better around him or her. The nature of such a one is delightful and irresistible but, also, powerful. Do not underestimate the power of this level of consciousness. One with God, at this level, is a majority over opposing forces.

Glowing

How sweetly one glows when one is imbued with love. Some time ago, I attended a talk given by a swami. A swami is the equivalent of a monk or nun, one who has renounced ordinary social life for the dedicated following of a religious path or teacher. I instantly liked her. She radiated calmness, intelligence, and kindness. Her talk was on love and sweetness. One of the endearing things she said was that when we have developed our capacity to love, we will not need to wear perfume because the body will have a beautiful, sweet smell. Love is demonstrated by our undivided attention and genuine interest in another’s well-being. The loving individual has the capacity to look people in the eye with quiet confidence and sincere concern. Whenever we move into a loving space, we lift our consciousness and become a beacon of light. Our aim is to be that consistently – a truly healing presence.

An interesting response to someone who authentically loves is tears. It is a grateful, relieved, emotional reaction to being in a situation of safety and trust. Tears are a natural response to being in a healing environment. Our psyche grabs the opportunity to release built up stress, emotional charge, and damage. Tears help to heal internal, energetic scarring from all the myriad of pains one suffers from life, karma, and evolution. The soul feels relief from being uplifted, rescued, and encouraged. Tears are also an alignment with spiritual clarity, purity, and integrity. There is a feeling of being at home. We have an instinctive, deep response to goodness, beauty, and enduring love.

Willingness

Part of love is willingness. Willingness to serve others and generosity of spirit are returned to us as generosity from life. Money, happiness, friendships, purpose, and freedom from suffering are some of the rewards. Even if we had all the money and free time in the world which is the ultimate goal of many people, there is, nevertheless, an intrinsic need in humankind to serve a higher purpose and to love. One of the most frequent illnesses of middle-aged, professional people is depression stemming from an achievement of their financial and professional goals and a consequent emptiness. To offer what we are capable of offering will transform our life. Wherever we are, whatever we understand, whatever level of consciousness we are living from, we can willingly give. And, of course, the essence of giving is the desire to love.

Real love is not just soft. It is, also, strong. To be loving does not equate with being nice. Sometimes, to be nice is loving. Sometimes, to be nice is not what is needed. Niceness can be ineffectual weakness. It is not love to condone mediocrity or to allow destructiveness. It would not be loving to allow someone to hurt our child. It would not be loving to allow our friend to go down a destructive path without being honest with them. It would not be loving to ourselves to accept abuse, harm or negativity. We stand steadfastly for the protection of our own being. We also take very seriously the guardianship of those in our care.

Nice is Not Always Nice

Being nice may seem loving but it can be driven by a diverse range of underlying motives such as wanting to be liked, fear of rejection or wanting a favour. All of these motives are weak and inherently do not work. Trying to be popular never gets the result. Trying to be loved never makes us loved. Trying to get respect never makes us respected. Pacifying and being conciliatory towards damaging people does not turn them into well-intended, trustworthy creatures.

Intention is everything. Is there love in what a person says or is there underlying ill-will in their words? Intention will determine the destined outcome of any situation. The same kind words from one person can be a healing balm and from another person, a sweet poison. The same harsh words from one person can be malice and from another person, save a life. The intention behind the action or thought is always what makes it weak or strong, effective or ineffective, healing or powerless.

To be truly loving and kind means to honestly and genuinely have the highest good of the person at heart. This can manifest as soft or confrontational. It depends on what is being dealt with at the time. In the end, anything which carries the power of true, unselfish, and courageous love will have the power to protect, heal, and transform. Everything else is fraught with problems. The way that a spiritually-oriented person offers love may not always be conventional. He or she may say things that other people do not understand. They may, sometimes, seem strange or harsh. They may, other times, seem very soft and kind when other people do not think it is appropriate. People can find such a person unpredictable and even illogical. A spiritually-directed person sees so much more than other people. He or she sees the intentions behind other people’s words and actions and responds to that. Generally, others cannot see the same thing and so they can neither understand nor predict the actions of the developed soul. There is a certain respect and, sometimes, nervousness which develops as a result.

Contentment

A self-contained person has no need for idle conversation. Idle conversation is the fabric and hallmark of socialising. Others may not understand one’s lack of enthusiasm about engaging in socially acceptable but, generally, trivial conversations, dinners, get-togethers, and outings. However, when the situation calls for it, such a person can be the master of human convention and conversation. One of the attributes of Abraham Maslow’s self-actualised person is that while capable of creating excellent quality relationships, he or she will often choose a small group of a trusted few.

In terms of happiness, the great requirement is fulfilment of our own destiny, to do our best with what we have, and to meet the challenges we are called upon to meet in this lifetime. That will bring us happiness and contentment. Add to that a growing capacity to love and accept love, and one’s happiness and contentment simply magnify. It is enough to be oneself, do what we can, like what we instinctively like, learn what is within our grasp, and practice what is in our own heart. There are always many behind us and many before us. To look either way too much will only make us proud or hopeless. We are who we are. That is enough and God asks nothing more.

Family Tension

Many people think that it is only their own family that is dysfunctional and try to keep such things secret. Holiday periods, in particular, are notorious for family friction. If the tension gets strained enough, it will erupt leaving those in its wake battered and bewildered. The first step to healing such feuds and tensions is to be honest about their existence. The second is to discern the underlying issues which are beneath the, usually, trivial setting-off of the conflict. The third is to let wisdom and common sense speak about either boundary setting or, if it is possible, an honest and sincere reconciliation. Fourth, regardless of one’s decisions and actions, without forgiveness we will accumulate yet another grudge, adding to the many that are already part of a normal human consciousness. To carry a grudge is to shorten one’s life, poison one’s health, and contract one’s heart. Knowing this makes forgiveness an easier choice.

In many cases, under the guise of righteousness or entitlement or supposed care for another’s well-being, people will seek their own perceived victory. It may be driven by the desire for money, power seeking or jealousy. Silent but poisonous jealousy compares itself to another, comes out worse, and then seeks to undermine the other in order to make itself feel better about its own mistakes and shortcomings. Of course, in most people, all this is entirely unconscious and rarely acknowledged. They are ugly qualities and few will face and seek to eliminate them. What seems sweet to the ego is poison to the fulfilment of one’s soul and to true happiness. If people knew this, they would not be so tempted to betray that which is truly good for short-term gains which have the smell of sickness and duplicity.

Good Grace

In the end, in spite of ugly human traits, we must forgive it all, let it go, and release it from our preoccupied thoughts. After all, what is an ego to do? It is programmed for self-preservation. It sees personal gain as pivotal to its survival and success. It is only by dedicated, inward searching and the practice of embarrassing honesty with ourselves that we see these qualities or the seeds of these qualities in ourselves and thereby recognise them in others. We know what jealousy feels like. We know what the desire for power looks like. We know the prickly touch of resentment. We know the smell of money with its seductive call to a better, less stressful, and happier life. If we are human, we know these things.

If we are fortunate enough to be on a mental and spiritual path which clearly recognises these human foibles, we will gradually correct them. They will be replaced with a more mature, sincere, and loving approach to life. Surely, then, we can have the good grace to understand that those who are not yet on that path, do not have the ability to make the choices which are obvious to us from where we are standing. In the valley, some things which seemed like a great choice or even the only choice, look ridiculous from higher up the mountain path. Pain is the fuel of growth and each must suffer from unwise choices until the consciousness has matured enough to choose otherwise. Let us not be too hasty to damn those who do not yet have the good fortune of being on a path which leads to peace, success, and safety. The price of that path is willingness to share it with others and willingness to forgive those who do not yet know it is there.

Taking the Lead

It is best for the more spiritually advanced person in a relationship to take the lead in areas which require spiritual wisdom. In this way, both people will benefit and be free to continue their development unfettered. Many pitfalls will be avoided. If the lesser evolved person takes the lead then the other person will become frustrated in his or her being. The lesser evolved person will also have a tendency to remain at the level they feel comfortable with. To be spiritually more evolved is not synonymous with calling oneself spiritual. Many so-called spiritual people radiate superiority. Contrary to having a genuinely superior nature their lives are full of problems, relationship breakdowns, illness, and financial incompetence. Personal weaknesses such as pride, anger, emotional immaturity, jealousy, and denial about the state of one’s own being are frequently overlooked. Self-righteousness, moral superiority, and desire for control do not belong in the realm of the spiritually trustworthy.

The true spiritual student is humble, gracious, patient, kind, wise, brave, protective, direct, and intelligent. He or she seeks the good of God above all else. He or she has a deep understanding of human nature which comes from much time looking into one’s own thoughts. Seeking attention and approval will have been outgrown. There will be an emotional and spiritual independence. The combination of love, compassion, wisdom, and courage makes such an individual safe to follow. Whichever of the two people more closely resembles this then it is best for that person to take the lead in areas which need that type of wisdom. Taking the lead, far from putting one in a position of personal advantage, means to take on the sacred responsibility to protect the soul of the other person. This is in addition to one’s automatic responsibility to care for oneself.

Spoiling

Spoiling someone is not love. It creates misery for those who live the illusion that life rotates around them, that they are entitled. Spoiling loved ones is not an endearing quality of loving. It is a disservice to oneself and the loved one. This also applies to dogs. We may believe that we are unselfishly caring for our loved ones by putting their needs and desires before our own but, actually, we may simply be spoiling them. Love does what is truly best for the others’ long-term development and happiness. Spoiling someone is driven by insecurity – a desire to be liked, loved, approved of, and accepted. True love is driven by wisdom, self-confidence, unselfishness, and common sense. It seeks to encourage the growth of independence in the other so that true self-respect can germinate.

It is a mistake to dishonour our own happiness in favour of another. There is a certain type of person – good and self-sacrificing but lacking in self-worth – who can, and frequently does, make this mistake to their great personal detriment. They have been mentally programmed to value others above themselves and so will put the needs and desires of others first in the belief that it is the right and caring thing to do. To put others’ needs before our own and to disregard our own needs is to misunderstand what love is and how life works. Out of loyalty to a relative, friend or colleague, we may dishonour our own destiny because we feel uncomfortable about claiming what is ours. Not only will we destroy our future happiness and destiny but the other person will, almost inevitably, not appreciate the sacrifice we have made. They can easily become the ungrateful brat or the precious princess. Or, at least, they may take on that persona in their relationship with us.

Our Primary Responsibility

We include ourselves in the right for happiness as an equally worthy recipient of good. Not only do we include ourselves but our first responsibility is to our own well-being because that is the life that God has given us to care for. However, we do so with the balance of knowing that part of caring for ourselves is caring for others. It is certainly true that the greater one’s capacity to honour one’s own being with truth, passion, dedication, and respect then the greater is one’s capacity to honour the nature of all other beings. The higher form of love is to understand that we are all one, that our own good is equal to and part of another’s good. It is an understanding of the higher spiritual principles. What is good for one is good for all. What blesses one, blesses all. If one suffers, we all suffer. If one awakens spiritually, it will radiate out into the entire world. In this way, to follow one’s own path of happiness is neither selfish nor unselfish. It is the natural way to harmonise with the life principle of good attracts good.

Relationship Status

In life, there are so many people who need love but we cannot personally love everyone. We must find those who belong to our own particular karmic groupings. How do we make such important decisions? Whenever we decide to invest a considerable amount of time in one person or a group of people, we can make that choice based on a feeling of rightness in our soul. The rightness may be recognisable by a sense of peace or happiness or balance. It may be recognisable by a sense of destiny unfolding as it should. It could be that the thought of leaving someone or something, in some form, feels distinctly unsatisfactory. Many of our human connections are not logically explainable. They come from the unconscious. The unconscious, karma, and destiny are all siblings. Karmic connectedness means that we are destined to play a part in certain people’s lives because we have a higher connection which cannot be easily broken.

A mature person feels complete in all stages of life and personal relationship status. The soul is happy single, as well as in a relationship. It is a mistake to think that we need a certain type of relationship to be happy. If we crave a relationship when we are single, we will bring that wanting into any relationship with the consequent problems. To feel that destiny will provide us with what best meets our deepest needs is to be able to enter into any stage of life with confidence and a sense of completeness, not a sense of lack which someone else is supposed to fill.

Transitions

Relationship transitions are an inevitable part of human life, in one form or another. However, in the grand scheme of things they are nothing to be concerned about. Souls come and go, in various ways, in and out of our life over great eons of time. We never lose someone we love. The bond is eternal. As relationships transform, the door is opened to new developments which are very important for our spiritual progress. Nothing is lost. When we are on the spiritual path, everything is a gain. Every stage of life is perfect when we look for the genuine blessing in it. By practicing to be loving, not only do we become more loving but we also find that much love is returned to us. We find love by being loving. We need not ever feel alone, afraid or rejected because love is, indeed, everywhere around us. A confident and fearless attitude to life and a knowledge that we will always be taken care of, allows us to extend a generosity of spirit to all our dear ones.

Intimacy

In order to enjoy a close and intimate bond with our partner, we need to be mindful of the emotional state of the relationship. Without an honest and genuine emotional bond of trust, a high quality sexual relationship will never be achieved. Sex will become non-existent or the domain of one controlling partner over one submissive partner or a mutual using of each other person’s body. Each individual brings with them all that they are outside the bedroom walls into the sanctity of the enclosed bedroom space. With humour, goodwill, and enthusiasm the skill level of both people can improve rapidly. A few good sex books can do wonders for a couple. We cannot assume that our partner understands the sexual needs of a body that has a different physical and emotional functioning to our own. Even gay couples cannot assume to know how a different person functions sexually, though it is the same structural type of body. Every good-natured experiment is one step closer to a more satisfying experience. A couple may even choose to investigate such ideas as the meridians and pressure points of Taoist foreplay if they would like their sexual relationship to become more holistic and healing.

Currents of the Sea

An individual’s sexual energy level can alter dramatically with illness and tensions, well-being and happiness, alternate interests, and the ongoing cycles of life. The ebb and flow of sexual interest is as changeable and, sometimes, unpredictable as the currents of the sea. Like everything else in life, spiritual students respond to sexual matters through the eyes of love and wisdom. It is no secret that men are usually more driven by sex than women. However, this can vary over the years with stress, age, personality, the state of the relationship, and other issues. Communication and a desire to make the relationship work are important. Compromise is a good path if it helps another and does not harm us. If one person feels that they need more sex than the other, a regular and mutually agreed quota is sometimes enough to fix the problem. The one needing more sex will find the patience to wait. The other will relax, knowing that they will not be consistently harassed and they will put their energy into making the night special.

A quota may not seem very romantic but the reality of sex is, often, far from romantic. It is, frequently, the stewing pot of friction. It is so fragile that the smallest things can sabotage the whole event. For most people, it has innumerable problems. Yet, in spite of this, it has a naked, mystical essence that relentlessly and, almost, ruthlessly draws together those souls that have a secret to share with each other. While the romantic looks a little soppy and self-absorbed to me, the true lover has a healthy, robust, earthy, strong, and loving attractor field which automatically asks for a like response in his or her partner. Do not underestimate the capacity of your partner to grow through the intimacy of sexual union. Both men and women need to be strong, confident, forthright, kind, gentle, and nurturing. In the bedroom, three are present – the partners and the Divine. Use the openness and vulnerability of the sexual arena to grow closer to God and give that same gift to your loved one.

Attractiveness as an Energy Field

One of the quickest ways to destroy a sexual relationship is neediness. Without doubt, neediness in sex will rebound into some form of rejection. What a paradox – the thing that is desired must be released in order to be gained. The more we want it, the less we will have it. Some men and women seem to have mastered the genuine, non-needy approach to sex. Independence is a highly attractive quality. It may not be the highest human quality but, rest assured, without independence and lack of neediness the individual will not be able to progress past a certain point on the emotional and spiritual path.

There is a direct correlation between the level of neediness and the level of attractiveness, regardless of age and physical appearance. As we become emotionally and spiritually independent, we automatically radiate a stronger auric field. This is interpreted as attractiveness by other people. Fortunately, as we progress we have less desire to use individual qualities such as attractiveness as a means of controlling others for personal gain. The person who is desired must learn to love others in a way which is helpful and kind but without taking advantage of the interest other people have in them. Many fallen-gurus have fallen because of this seduction. The lure of using personal attractiveness for selfish gain is significant. However, to do so means an instant fall from grace in the Divine hierarchy. Part of the responsibility of spiritual power is to not use it selfishly. Of course, people make mistakes with this issue but no mistake is permanent if the error is seen and sincerely corrected.

Transforming Sexual Energy

At various times in our life, we may wish to transform sexual energy into higher energy which is useful for spiritual development. This can happen spontaneously and unconsciously such as when it is not possible to discharge sexual energy in a normal, healthy sexual relationship. It can, sometimes, happen that those in the process of intensive, creative work will temporarily cease sexual activity in order to channel all of their energy into their work. Top level athletes will often refrain from sexual activity before an important event in order to save their life-force for the task at hand. The lack of a suitable mate can trigger the automatic transfer of frustrated sexual energy into the higher energy centres where it will be used for the mental, creative, and spiritual progress of that individual.

To an extent, transforming sexual energy is an inbuilt and independent function of our being. Some physical activities can have the tendency to transfer sexual energy just by our participation in them. Physical activities which have a parallel higher purpose are most conducive to this process. Thoughtful contemplation and peaceful awareness can be practiced while walking. Harmony of body, mind, and spirit is engendered in yoga. A sincere, heartfelt connection is foundational to beautiful dancing, music, and art. It encourages the heart to focus on love and things invisible. It invites the soul to listen to the silent music of the interwoven notes of human existence. Challenging mental work or any work done in the right spirit, including housework and gardening, can have the same effect. In fact, those in the habit of continuous prayer know that everything is an opportunity for communion with God and inner consciousness work.

Rising Life-Force

For many thousands of years, Eastern spiritual traditions have spoken of the life-force of the body as running up the spine through the energy centres and through the etheric body. The etheric body, auric field or energy around a person has the imprint of all that occurs at the physical level of that person’s unique body and experiences. It is possible and, at times, desirable to aid the movement of the life-force upwards to higher planes. The base level energy is visualised as moving upwards in the body and auric field. Such a practice is possible when one has healthy, strong, and positive energy at the lower energy centres. If one is depressed, unwell, unhealthy or lethargic then there will be no available energy to move to the higher energy centres.

At a basic, primitive level of functioning, mankind’s sexual behaviour is both unconscious and only minimally controlled. It is driven by natural instinct and controlled only by whatever social conventions the individual accepts as mandatory. The drive is fuelled by the desire to release pent-up sexual energy which, if not released, feels unpleasant. Love is neither desired nor sought. Even liking the mate is not a high priority. At this level, suitable partners are, at least theoretically, innumerable because the requirements are so low. As the individual develops, he or she develops the desire for a more suitable mate, with more compatible qualities. The person’s own qualities, by this stage, have considerably developed and so they are capable of attracting a higher level mate into their life.

Servants of God

However, if the individual continues to mature to an unusually high level of development, they will find that the availability of suitable mates reduces dramatically as the requirements of the person become more and more sophisticated and specialised. In fact, at this level of consciousness, the person relies heavily on Universal guidance to find the right partner as so few individuals are actually suitable. In the meantime, however, they will use the opportunity of, perhaps, long periods of sexual abstinence to channel the energy into spiritual growth and so no loss is overly felt, if it is felt at all.

For some advanced spiritual beings, the sexual life-force seems to remain dormant. Its potential is not realised in an active form but is retained within the individual adding to the energetic power of the individual. It is consciously used for other purposes. Above those who use their energy for creative and intellectual pursuits are those few advanced beings whose very presence on Earth balances and heals the calibration of Earth’s energy field. They bless us with their presence and protect, what is still, a primitive planet from further self-harm until such time as we seek healing, health, and harmony as a collective totality.

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