What are we to do in order to reestablish Sacred Relationship as the center, as a key path to knowing the Divine and activating the planetary consciousness into the peace of experiencing the Divine Presence? In the Kabbalistic paradigm, it is As Above, so Below; so Below, as Above.” When a man (male essence, which may be a physical male or female) and a woman (female essence, which may be a physical male or female) make love, they are invoking the Divine. When Abba and Ima face each other, there is a healing on the cosmic plane, which then becomes a healing on the physical plane.
In this way, when YOU are making love, it is making love with the whole universe and healing the whole universe. We teach that it is not only for your sexual pleasure, or for the merging of two people, but that you make love to become a healed unit—a He-Adam and She-Adam becoming one. We are healing the whole universe when we heal the male/female split. You are invoking all the power of God, and, in that way, it becomes a spiritual path.
Tikkun ha’nefesh means healing your personal self, and tikkun ha’olam, healing the world, or Universal Self. Inhaling sends love downwards and within. When you exhale, you are sending love out to the whole universe. You are healing at microcosmic levels that heal at the macrocosmic level.
Erotic living only partially includes sexuality. There are five aspects of Eros, and one is being on the inside of the experience. What this means is that most of the time we aren’t really on the inside of an experience; we are on the outside. We know about, but do not know. Erotic living is really being there, taking part in the subjective reality of experience. To live in an erotic way is to be fully present on the inside of the experience.
The opposite of eros is alienation, It is emptiness or being on the outside. To live on the inside of the experience means that we feel the aspects of God in all of life as they manifest. When we are not feeling this, we have an emptiness. Everything comes from emptiness, but most people are uncomfortable with it. So, we have addiction and all the activities we do in order to avoid the emptiness: sex, food, public acclaim, drugs, work, gambling, whatever—that is called pseudo-eros.
Eros is the feeling of fullness in the other. Only when you can hold the emptiness can you be filled with eros. It is like in meditation, when you go into the Nothing. The deep secret of the cherubim is that sex activates living our lives in a fuller way. It is experiencing the beauty and wonder of God in all of creation. Sexual union is the great mystical act that heals all the worlds.
To live erotically means to be and celebrate God in all things. This is the key to living erotically in the non-sexual areas of our lives. That is the point! The erotic becomes the Living Kiss that powers our desire for God, and at the same time is the result of God-Merging. This is the first face of Eros.
The sad aspect is the intense yearning that comes out of the Divine Kiss. It is the yearning for God. Experiencing eros is the one thing we can do on the physical plane that activates this yearning. Once the yearning starts, we are willing to take it to higher and higher levels, which the author, in his book, Spiritual Nutrition: Six Foundations for Spiritual Life and the Awakening of Kundalini, calls the Six Foundations:
- Spiritual nutrition (food) and spiritual fasting
- Building the life force (prana) with pranayama. Yoga, sacred dance, etc.
- Service and charity (when we give, we are connecting)
- Being inspired by a spiritual teacher (satsang), support by a spiritual group, reading the great literature, jnana yoga
- Silence, meditation, praying, mantra repetition, and chanting
- Shaktipat and the awakening of Kundalini energy.
The third aspect of Eros is called Presence. If we aren’t present, we can’t really experience eros. To be present we have to let go of the past, all of our baggage, the goal-oriented present, and the anxiety and fear-filled future. Female essence loves the male to be present and the male appreciates the female who is present. This is critical in relationship.
To be present is to be in the now, to let go of all control, all ideas of how the other person should be, and to let go of intense perfectionist consciousness. As Emerson said, “God made everything with a crack in it.” It is important to understand that, when you are really present in your self, you create the space for the other to exist. If you are narcissistic there is no room, and the other only exists as a projection of your needs. They will only become what you are trying to shape them into. Both are trying to get the other to act in a certain way, but neither is trying to help the other to be his or her full essence, or full, original self.
The key to presence is an inner state of letting go of control and of the idea of how things ‘should be’, it means giving up your position. There is a wonderful story:
Rabbi Michael and his wife were very, very poor, always struggling to get by. Just before Sukkot, a man gave him a beautiful donation. He looked at it; it was so much money. He said, “Wow!” and he counted it. He’d been eyeing this esrog in town (a citrus fruit used in the festival of Sukkot). It came from Israel and it was worth a lot of money. He said, “I’m just gonna to do it,” and he put it down and bought the esrog, which took all the money. He went home and told his wife how excited he was—this was the best, most beautiful esrog. She asked, “Where, where did you get the money?’ He said, “Well, it was donated to me.” She started to think about it, and it started to compute in her mind:
Now, wait a second—that money could have gone to supporting our kids and taking care of our household. Her practical side linked in. She got angrier and angrier the happier he got—and finally, after she exploded at him and said, “How could you do this! We’re so poor, and we have no money, and you spent it on an esrog!” She took the esrog, bit off the tip, and smashed it against the wall.
Then there was a big silence. A minute or two passed. Reb Michael was stunned; his face turned red, and turned white, and he just didn’t know what to do. And his wife was worrying, Oh my God; look what I just did.
And then he started to laugh. He said. “Before money, there was no esrog. And now, with money, there’s no money, and there’s no esrog. We have only each other.”
And so they danced the night in love.
What happened is that they gave up their positions. Her position was, we need money to do the practical things. His position was, we’re mystics and we need money for the rituals. When they both gave up their positions regarding how the family should run, each against the will of the other, the gates of love opened. That is being in the presence.
The fourth aspect of eros is what we call the interconnectivity of all being. It is a celebration of the Divine in all things. When you can celebrate the Divine in your relationship, you make love and are turned on to seeing the Divine in all things—not just other men and women, but all of life. Again, in this way, you are making love with the whole universe.
The fifth aspect of eros, seeing the other, depends on all the first four, and is the essence of what both need. If the man cannot see the woman, the relationship is missing the most important thing. It is also really important for the male to be seen: to be appreciated for his thoughts and ideas, for the Nothing, and for the willingness to have a purpose and direction in life. This seeing and being able to see the other person comes from being on the inside. It means connecting. It means having that sense of presence to allow each other to be who they are, and giving up control of how you believe they should be.
In seeing the other’s face, we must return to the power of naming. Our name is the face of God. We are that unique expression of God, expressed through us in our lives. In slavery there is no name. In the Torah, the slaves in Egypt are freed. It is then that they are named in the book of Shemot, which means “names,” (Exodus) and therefore exist. Your name is a part of God, and you are a part of God! We are not our personalities; we are that deeper essence of God expressing. Humans have been trying to be the expression of God, but it is really the other way around-God is trying to express through humans. The embracing cheribim represent the unity of the Name. Another story comes to mind, about the importance of being seen.
The Harlot By The Sea
There once was a man who was a very spiritual person, but he had this emptiness. There was a harlot that lived by the sea. This harlot charged 400 gold pieces for sexual interactions. She had six silver beds and one golden bed. So when he came to her, she walked up the bed nude, up the different ladders, and he climbed up the bed after her. But then his ritual fringes magically climbed up the different ladders, and they slapped him in the face. He stopped and he said, “I cannot be in this relationship with you this way.” He slid down the ladders, and she came down asking “what is my defect, why is it you cannot be with me?”
I never saw a woman as beautiful as you, but the ritual of fringes reminded me that there is a higher order or ethos. I can’t be with you in this condition; if I am going to be with you, I have to be with you as a full human being.”
She said, “I won’t let you go until you tell me the name of your teacher, your village, and your name.” At that point, she broke the code, meaning, ‘you now have a face, I now have a face; we have become real people. We have become vulnerable and fragile and open to intimacy.”
So he went away, and she sold everything except her bed sheets. She kept a third of the money for herself, and she went looking for the man’s master, Chaya. When she found him, she said, “You must help me, because I want to convert and marry this man. Master Chaya realized that this was a major transformation for her, so he converted her and married them. They sleep on the same bed sheets, now as husband and wife.
Here is a man caught in his struggle with emptiness, with pseudo-eros, who is not seeing the Shekhinah in all of Life. He goes to the seaside, where there is passion, and he meets the harlot. He doesn’t know a thing about intimacy or relationship. Meanwhile, she is just dealing with fantasy-world pseudo-eros, helping men with their emptiness by giving them their peak experiences. She is the example of the Shekhinah in exile. When he says, “I cannot be with you except to be with you fully,” the whole field is shifted. She experiences being seen the first time in her whole life. Then she asks him for his name.
At that point the harlot becomes authentic, real, and sacred. She is no longer naked of body, but of soul. At that eternal point, they are married for the sake of heaven. She has now claimed her name. She is married truly for the sake of the name.
To be seen is to be loved. Love is the perception of the beauty of the other. Life is about moving toward claiming our name—so, we manifest God’s name when we personalize and live our story. The good news is that the harlot keeps the satin sheets, because she still remains as beautiful and as sexual as before; but her sexuality is upgraded by her spiritual transformation.
Eros, intimacy, and sacred relationship is all about the consciousness that you take into your sexuality. It is more about the living room than the bedroom. When we let go and allow intimacy to show us the way to Sacred Relationship, the healing is expanded from the self to the relationship, to the world. Making love is a microcosm that heals the macrocosm. The healing of the world is a result of living a fully erotic life through celebrating the Divine in all of creation, including and perhaps activated by one’s sacred partner, is that we create world peace by being peace within ourselves and our relationships.