From Sexual Ethics to Sexual Eros Part 4
Let us give two very simple examples of the body’s knowing: diets and sexual partners. New diet books proliferate, with dozens of them being published every year. Every new diet claims to have cracked the code to easy weight loss. The well-known fact, however, is that diet books have a minimal impact on people. People cannot regulate the most visceral function of the body—eating—based on external rules. The truth is that we do not need diet books. The law of the body always knows when you have had enough to eat and what kinds of foods you should be eating. But when the wisdom of the body is drowned out in the din of our busy lives, we turn to diet books. The diet books almost inevitably fail us if we do not first reconnect to the erotic ethics of the body.
To hear the voice of the body, we need to become proficient in our discernment between Eros and pseudo Eros. Let’s say we feel hurt by some event in our lives. We fall into the hole. We are afraid to stay in the hole, so we seek to fill the emptiness with pseudo Eros. We reach for a Baby Ruth candy bar. We get an immediate rush of sugar. It is damaging to virtually every system in our body. Our consumption of sugar violates our Eros. Candy bars are pseudo Eros. But you do not need a diet book to tell you that. Just feel the experience in your body after one, two, and then three candy bars. When we deny the truths of the body, we begin to read diet books, in all the arenas of our lives. Our Eros becomes blocked, and we lose access to the living divine presence that flows through us.
In the second example, we consider our sexual partners. With whom should we have sexual relations? There are many relationship and religious books that answer this question. But actually, in order to know whom to have sex with, we need only to access the truth of our bodies. Our bodies know perfectly the distinction between sex that is an expression of our vitality and sex that is a violation of our vitality. Relationship books or laws governing sex will not get you there.
The Rejection of Body Absolutism
But that does not mean that diet books or ethical books are unnecessary. Akiva writes, “If the Torah would not have been given, we would have learned all wisdom from the Song of Solomon.” We have cited this Tantric teaching several times in order to open up the radical wisdom of the body. But that does not in any sense imply that we want to revert to the body as our sole source of ethics. The Secret of the Cherubs rejects a kind of body absolutism in which the body becomes the sole Holy Grail. This rejection of naive body absolutism is essential for three primary reasons:
In the body there are states of profound expansion that yield great wisdom. This is the natural state of the body when the character armor is shed and the force of the divine flows unobstructed.
But the body also has regressive states where it is hijacked by undiscriminating lust, psychological trauma, or emotions like rage or jealousy, all of which live in our physicality. The body itself does not speak in one voice. We need to take into account the regressive and contracted voices of the body. These voices are geniuses at self-deception. Reich would, of course, respond that his therapeutic processes, which aim to divest the body of its contracted character armor, are precisely the method through which we access the authentic voice of the divine body. That may be true, although it is far from clear how effective or even how available such processes are to the average person.
1. We are not merely body. We are body, heart, and mind. Virtually all of the body absolutists invite us in one way or another to revert to the body wisdom of the animal. We have gotten away from our natural animal state, they each say. If we would but re-eroticize the entire body, then we would be home. The body is crucial. It is true that the texts of ethics are written in the body. Indeed, that is what we meant when we said earlier that sex is ethics. But the texts of ethics are also written in the heart and mind. The human being developed a neocortex, enabling capabilities like reasoning, speech, and control of social behavior. That is not an accident of history. Our neocortex— that is to say, our evolution of consciousness—gave us access to both discernment of the heart and wisdom of the mind.
Tragically, the wisdoms of heart and mind often became alienated from the body. We lost the voice of the body sacred, without which no accurate or authentic vision of Eros and ethics is possible. We need to reclaim the text of the body, but not at the expense of the distinctions of heart and mind. We seek a holy trinity of body, heart, and mind erotically inter-included with each other.
2. The wisdom of the body state, when clarified and divested of the contraction of character armor, is a vital source of inspiration and ethics. The body itself is the holy temple. But its texts are always interpreted through the level of consciousness of the mind and heart. Said simply, sex is a state of consciousness. A state of consciousness is a temporary alteration of consciousness. There might be a drunken state or a mystical state. It might be an expanded state of wisdom or a state of rage. In each of these states, ordinary consciousness shifts and something extraordinary is born. All our states of consciousness are interpreted through the prism of our level of consciousness. Our level of consciousness includes our sense of identity, psychological maturity, vision of purpose, ethical refinement, and much more.
Let’s give a simple example. Enlightenment is a state of consciousness. Let’s posit that you are experiencing an enlightened state of consciousness. Your state will be interpreted through the prism of your level of consciousness. If your level of consciousness is ethnocentric—that is to say, you have a felt sense of love and caring only for your family and your country, tribe, or religion—then you will experience your enlightenment as telling you that your people are the chosen people. You might hear a calling to a mission to support your tribe. But if you have the same enlightened state of consciousness, resulting from the same spiritual practice, and you have world-centric consciousness—a felt sense of love and concern for every human being—then your enlightened state will deepen your love for the entire world and not just your tribe. You might hear a calling to do something to end world hunger instead of being called to only serve your people. Your enlightened experience is a state. Your level of consciousness—in this example, either ethnocentric or world-centric—is a prism through which your state experience is interpreted.
In a similar sense, sex is a state of consciousness. Your sexual body state has its own revelation just like an enlightened state has its revelation. That state experience, however, is interpreted by you through the prism of your emotional, ethical, and psychological level of consciousness. That is why body absolutism is as dangerous and naive as either heart or mind absolutism. It is only mind, heart, and body in right relationship that yield a revelation we can trust. A true Eros for the new human requires this holy trinity. It includes not only the neo-paganism of the romantics and their successors but also the ethics of the erotically God-intoxicated prophets as well as the rational ethics of Western freedom. In that holy trinity, we can find erotic and ethical liberation. Eros and ethos fuse into one.
Until now, the revelation of the body has been left out of our sacred texts. We need to reclaim the text of the body in order to re-eroticize our lives and transform our world. The body sacred adds a new ethical text, the text of the body, to our sacred canon—not just sexual ethics but sex is ethics.
Without reclaiming the erotic force of the living body, we become stunted and distorted. The armoring of the body actually allows us to perpetuate violence on each other. We lose access to the full divinity that is imprinted on the body. This is what allows for what Reich called “the murder of Christ.” By “Christ” he meant Eros or life force. The more disconnected we are from the living presence of our bodies, the more we want to murder someone who incarnates that life force. This is the source of an enormous amount of both physical and social violence. We need to bring together our pelvis, heart, and mind—and our reason, will, and emotion—to create an inspired life. Platonic friendship, animated by shared purpose and passion, needs to merge with erotic sensuality to create the new human, the new relationship, and the new society.
We will explore in upcoming chapters the twelve faces of Eros. Each of these is fundamentally subversive of the conventional context of identity, relationship, and social structure. Eros modeled by the sexual points us toward playing a larger game with our lives and a fundamentally better way to live.
End of the Series
A Return to Eros: On Sex, Love, and Eroticism in Every Dimension of Life, from Drs. Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid, reveals the radical secret tenets of relationship between the sexual, the erotic, and the holy. They reveal what Eros actually means and share the ten core qualities of the Erotic, which are modeled by the sexual. These include being on the inside, fullness of presence, yearning, allurement, fantasy, surrender, creativity, pleasure, and more.
A Return to Eros shows why these qualities of the erotic modeled by the sexual are actually the same core qualities of the sacred. The relationship between the sexual and the erotic becomes clear, teaching you how to live an erotically suffused existence charged with purpose, potency and power.
To be an Outrageous Lover—not just in sex but also in all facets of your life–you must listen deeply to the simple yet elegant whisperings of the sexual. This book will forever transform your understanding and experience of love, sex, and Eros.
with Dr. Marc Gafni
Imagine being fully expressed with an unstoppable life force that aligned you with the will, the desire, the knowledge and the creative impulse to engage ALL areas of your life full-on; without fear or shame stopping you from moving forward. Imagine the transformative power and positive impact you’d have on your personal relationships and potentially be a major influence in the world.
This is the ideal companion to our think tank book A Return to Eros by Dr. Marc Gafni and Dr. Kristina Kincaid.