4. Love’s Awakening
A Course of Lessons for Advancement in the Spiritual Life
Especially dedicated to those who desire to go All the Way with Jesus Christ
A Course of Lessons for Advancement in the Spiritual Life
Especially dedicated to those who desire to go All the Way with Jesus Christ
“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up nor awake Love until it please.”—Solomon’s Song of Songs, 8:4.
THE Song, or Canticles of Solomon is a mystical Book of the Regeneration. It was considered very advanced teaching by the ancient Hebrews, and they allowed no Jew to read it until he had reached the age of thirty.
Various have been the interpretations of this wonderful book, from the ordinary announcement that it is a mere wedding song which Solomon composed for one of his many wives, to the abstract interpretation that it refers to Christ and his Church, but the truth is that it refers to the Bride and Bridegroom within each one of us, as they come to a knowledge, one of the other.
When Elohim, the great God, of whose work we read in the first chapter of Genesis, created the heavens and earth, the act is described as the Spirit moving upon the face of the Deep. We understand the Deep to be the great negative, the feminine of God, and the Spirit is the great positive, the masculine of God. Therefore, the creative act in the highest is God moving upon God and sending forth His Word.
The God-head creates in, and of, and from, its Self by moving upon itself and reproducing its own substance in what form it wills. God is the Husband and God is the Bride, and no candidate can know the full bliss of the heavenly consciousness, that abides forever, except by the union with God. Therefore, all the mystics taught that this was the way of Regeneration, to find no husband but God, and to unite with no bride but the virgin Spirit, which is God. Every candidate takes the part of the woman or the bride towards God, the Soul is counted ever feminine; therefore the saint, though he be a man, looks upon himself as the Bride of the Spirit just the same as the saint who is a woman. God is the Lover that takes us out of this maze, out of this enchantment, this delusion of an appearance the opposite to the Kingdom of Happiness.
The long training in the delusions of sex with its promises of happiness, and its conspiracies of those caught in its net, to decoy others into the same experiences, has apparently so hypnotized the race that only a firm, exalted, resolute stand can deliver such as are “well-sexed” or magnetically attractive or natural lovers from the desires of the flesh.
The Eden-serpent whispers of present joys, of being manly, of romance, of subtle doctrines of affinities and the use of sex to progress in regeneration. And the by-ways and hedges that flank The Way are filled with the failures of those who started fairly on the Christ Path but could not continue because of yielding to these seductions.
Jesus Christ teaches without equivocation that adultery is of the mind, and the one who lusts for another is already off the Straight Way. “Whoso looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart,” and “lust” signifies desire for possession as well as desire for cohabitation.
Instructing the rich young man in the laws to be fulfilled, to walk the Way of Immortality, Jesus names as the very first one (Luke 18:20), “Do not commit adultery.”
The utter abandonment of the flesh way of enjoyment is the instruction of all the Wise who point out the Way of Eternal Happiness.
Yet, the goal is the supremest bliss of which humanity is capable, the ecstasy and delight of the Lord’s own Being. But “who hath believed our report?” among the unregenerate. Only the Truth can draw us from the toy-pleasures of the mortal life to the Realities of the Heavenly Bliss.
Mortals who will not receive the Truth are like children who clasp a nickel in a tightly-closed fist and will not let go of it though a five dollar gold piece is proffered them if they will abandon the nickel.
The present pleasure (the nickel) they know, while the eternal Joy (the gold piece) they are ignorant concerning, and do not accept the instruction (not being humble enough) that what is tendered them is worth one hundred times what they so foolishly clutch. We say “foolishly” because it is a folly that terminates in death. Theirs is the folly of the wild monkeys who are caught by the same ignorance. Empty cocoanut shells with openings just large enough to let the hand of a monkey through are partly filled with nuts and chained to stakes. The monkeys climb down from their native haunts, put their hands into the cocoanut shell and grasp a fistful of nuts and when they try to withdraw their hands, the closed fists will not pass through the narrow opening. Their greed will not allow them to let go of their booty, and their captors come upon them and seize them easily, chained as they are by their own ignorance.
So death and failure waylay the poor human beings who still, in their folly, follow the ways of their dead and dying ancestry.
What a splendid opportunity we have to work out life’s problems in a new way, who will listen to the Christ and determine to lay down what has been “life” to us, even precious as our very right eye, to go on to the Real Life, the Joys that never end.
As long as we have blundered in ignorance, we are like children lost in the maze. We know not how we came in: we cannot find the goal, or the meaning of it; and we walk through useless paths and ’round in a circle, until at last we find a thread. Somebody who knew his way in, and his way out, has left it, and taking hold of that thread, we follow it until we find ourselves out of the maze. That thread is the Christ-Truth. When Jesus Christ came into the world, he brought a thread, and carried it into all the by-paths and ways of life, that any who were’lost might take hold upon it and find their way out. And one of the principal threads of this strand is the truth about that great passion, Love.
It is said that two cherubim keep the way back into the Garden of Eden to the Tree of Life or Immortality, and no one can pass their flaming swords, except those who have the Christ knowledge. Each of the cherubim stands for a certain truth and these truths might be crudely interpreted, the truth about money and the truth about sex. Whoever is free from greed and lust, and cannot be deluded by either the world or personality, can walk one with the Christ back into Eden.
The truth about money, Jesus teaches plainly, in direct counsel and by parable; non-covetousness (Luke 12:13 to 21), non-worship of Mammon (Luke 16:13), abandonment of worldly wealth for Truth’s sake (Luke 18:22), the renunciation of all possessions to press on to the Heights (Luke 14:33).
And none can go All the Way whose mind and heart are not absolutely true as to man’s right status respecting world-wealth and possessions. To this department of Regeneration we will yet give special attention in lectures, as now we are giving to the truth about sex.
For the Candidate for Regeneration becomes a magnet to riches and must be wise in dealing with the prosperity that comes to him. Also he attracts Love and he must prove himself, as to his honor and trueness, in the use of this mighty dynamo of spiritual joy.
Jesus speaking as the Christ, declared, “I came to give life and to give life more abundantly.” Life is love: therefore the saying is just the same as, “I came to give love, and to give love more abundantly.” God’s life, lived upon the earth, means to be love itself; and love-consciousness is the ecstasy that thrills the whole being; and the rising of this love-nature in the heart means the vivifying of all the organs, especially the organs of generation.
The tendency of the organs of generation is to atrophy when no longer used, just the same as the muscles of any other organ. The uterus of a woman who is living the ordinary life, when she passes the menopause, becomes small and dry, much as it was when she was a child. But when she lives the regenerate life, then it is full of life and sensitive to thought, as in the days of her reproducing expression.
The Oriental devotee, while retaining all his virility, practices austerities and renunciations until it is impossible for him ever to have an involuntary orgasm. No suggestion of sight, sound or touch can affect him and many are the tests through which he passes to prove his chastity and absolute self-control.
But while the Occidental novice is in ignorance of the results of the outpouring of this abundant Love, the vivifying of the organs of generation may result in local vibration, that sometimes gives one an alarm, if one is ignorant of what is taking place—the suggestion that one has become very unclean and under horrible temptations of a devil. Spiritually-minded men and women have sometimes suffered the agonies of hell at this point, and many prayers, struggles and self-condemnations consumed their very vitals. And here is one of the advantages of getting instruction in Generation and Regeneration, for even though such had overstepped the mark, and thought themselves insane, or others thought them so, they can be delivered by understanding the law of forgiveness which has been operated in their case. Living the spiritual life, and loving it, has delivered them from the old law of cause and effect, of suffering because of one’s past errors. All the follies of past sex mistakes committed by oneself, or by others towards one, are washed out of one’s memory by the baptism of genuine repentance. And our forgiveness of others, whose ignorance of God’s Truth must impress us as the cause of their wrongdoings, opens us to being loosed from that corruptibility so detrimental to our spiritual progress.
The many laws made concerning sex relations to keep us out of adultery, were for this purpose, that our minds should not be mixed, that we should have a clear perception concerning the relations between ourselves and Spirit, and thus to be free from false suggestions from the lawless ones on the psychic plane. There are many false doctrines given in the name of Regeneration, and most of them are suggested by entities on the psychic plane who have not known anything beyond lawless desire. The teachings of spirit-affinity or “soul-mates” are for the most part false—blind leadings of the blind, and certain results which have followed of very pernicious practices are disastrous both to mind and body.
Let no one be deceived into sexual commerce with any invisible spirit, even though it come in the name of a departed husband or wife. If such should return for sexual satisfaction, they are on a low plane and must be taught to seek their satisfaction in the higher, lifting up their desires toward God. This field of speculation and experience is large and it is best not to enlarge upon this in a general lecture, but if one desires help in this direction a private interview is best, for sometimes one makes the mistake of thinking that it is some devil or false entity in the invisible that is inducing the vibrations, whereas it is simply a becoming more alive.
If the mind is exalted in such moments in silent prayer, saying “Thou Only,” or “Our Father,” the Lord’s Prayer, then eventually the vibrations will cease to be local, sometimes seeming to be all over the body, finally uplifted into pure rapture. If, before this stage is reached, there seems to be a great sex hunger, it must be overcome in order to go on in the Regeneration. Whenever this craving comes upon one, it is good to divert the mind toward other forms of creative energy. One may discover some special external form of diversion, which will be a great aid—engaging in some sport, which demands all of one’s attention and one’s energy; giving oneself to some constructive work. But these will be useless, unless one includes a thought of God through it all.
The candidate, who needs to overcome sex-desire and sex-demands, will find great help through overcoming the other senses, for all appetite is one. The appetite of any one sense, controlled, means the control of the other four. Our oldest sense is the sense of touch, which finds its culmination and highest degree in the sex-touch. As babes, the very first sensation that we had was upon our skin, the next was our taste, then smell, then hearing, then sight. Each of these has its special hunger, its special appetite, and if one begins early to teach even a babe true self-control and to turn these desires toward the Spirit, the result will be an easy and happy control over that last sense, the sex-touch. There is no wiser work to be done for even a babe than this control over its appetite-errors. Its impatient cry, its fierce anger, are but forms of uncontrolled desire, and when uplifted, not suppressed, become of untold value in the way of Regeneration.
We may justify our hunger for music and our impatience when it is interfered with; we may pride ourselves upon our love of beauty and our eager search after paintings and scenes that gratify the sense of sight; but we must ever remember that our aesthetic unhappiness when these senses are not gratified, signify our place in the overcoming, that we are not very far along and need to transmute our likes and dislikes into that eternal satisfaction with the God-Presence which is Heaven. Let every disappointment, every sense of inharmony, every longing for any sense gratification simply mean to us the time for control and transmutation of this great ladder of Regeneration, our appetites; for great as our human love may seem to be, Divine Love so far excels, or exceeds, it that the former is but a rush-light to the great Sun of the true passion.
If our earthly loves in their intensity are mixed with unhappiness, we are not open to the unfolding of Divine Love, which enters only where happiness abides. All unhappiness comes from a sense of inharmony, and inharmony comes from a belief in the reality of evil.
At a certain stage in the Regeneration, Divine Love begins to be poured out in floods, and fortunate are we if there are no channels or pools of old human concepts of gratification which, as it were, side-drift the candidate for the time being with puzzling and painful experiences.
When the sexual nature has been forced by any unusual methods of gratification (like masturbation), then the realm of feeling is like a field all gullied with floods of tempestuous rains, and the Spirit must redeem that nature from the effect of false habits so as to prevent the diverting of the divine flood. This work is quickly done when one turns to the Christ continually and evermore breathes the words, “Thou Only,” at every false suggestion. Otherwise the process may be long and slow. The reason why such habits seem so disastrous in their results is because they are the counterfeit of the real thing, for, in the Highest, the divine gratification is ever from itself, by itself, moving upon itself.
Freedom from such weakness does not come by condemnation or continued remorse or discouragement or gloom. Let the penitent victim lift up the heart to God and give all the feeling nature over to the Spirit, to be used by it for the conquest of this perverted habit. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” This is conquered not by mere human will-power, but by the Spirit of God, keeping one, and lifting the desires into the Highest. When sexual dreams haunt the candidate, or involuntary gratification takes place at the time of sleep, let no moment be wasted in vain regret or despondency, but let there be an immediate lifting up of the heart and mind to God in prayer for protection and for upliftment. No matter how extreme one’s experience may seem to be, even though one seems to be haunted by a visitant from the invisible, imposing his or her demands upon the victim, the way of deliverance is to remove the mind from believing in the reality of the experience, and remembering there is but One Holy Power, the power of God working in and through, around and upon us.
The attempt on the part of certain blind teachers to awaken sexual desire in themselves or others, or to increase this desire is a mistake. “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you wake not Love until it please.” The forcing process is like the eating of green fruit, and it sickens. This is one reason why so many marriages on the old plane are unsuccessful and inharmonious. Many women, even of advanced years, are like little children—immature, and they should not enter into marriage where they are ignorantly outraged, plucked before they are ripe. Spiritually-minded men often develop very slowly, and to force themselves into marriage relations before they feel the full consent of their inner nature, is to outrage themselves. In the unmanned state, curiosity, disobedience to the interior Voice and greed, seize the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil before it is ripe, and there follows a spoiling.
“How hardly things go right,
How easily things go wrong;
A sigh too deep and a kiss too long
And there follows a mist and a weeping rain
And things are never the same again.”
The Sun of Divine Love is the legitimate ripener of this fruit. And to our great Lord, our God, belongs the first fruit, the last fruit and all the fruit of this mighty Love.
“Among all the disasters that can happen to mortals, there is none so lamented, and so powerful to move compassion, as the flower of virtue cropped with too sudden a mischance.”—Bacon.
Occasionally the following takes place in the Regeneration, when the Divine Love is being poured out, that there comes someone into one’s life who is altogether lovable and fulfills one’s ideal. And a very natural conclusion is apt to follow, that this is the marriage appointed of God, “made in Heaven,” into which one is now to enter.
If the love is not reciprocated, then there seems much sorrow and much internal strife, and yet it may be the most fortunate thing that could take place, inasmuch as a requited love, at this stage, is a kind of an arrest in the Regeneration.
If the candidate can see that the one who is really loved in this person is the Soul or God, then there can follow the divine perception that all the joy and bliss that is realized in this love may be realized with the Soul of every person upon the face of the whole earth. Then there will be no hunger for marriage or appreciation or reciprocation, but a kind of spiritual revelry in the unity with this Soul which may not be expressed in any outward form. This passion may not be for one of the opposite sex, but for one of the same sex as the one who loves, and the association and companionship can be as that which is between angels.
It is always the Soul that is loved and the Soul is not sexed, but is free and independent of sex. The less the recognition of sex and the more the recognition of Soul, the more sweetness and satisfaction and innocence is there in an association or intimacy. We often admire in another what does not appear as yet in ourselves. The woman admires the soul-qualities that are manly, such as strength, courage, intellectuality, energy, etc., because she feels the need of these in her own expression. The man admires the gentleness, intuition, purity, etc., which he finds the Soul expressing in a feminine body. Happy the day when all companionship will be as free and sweet and satisfactory between those of opposite sex, as now is between certain ones of the same sex.
When the Divine Love begins to flow along the human channels toward one who is fulfilling the ideal, it may be that one is at the same stage in the Regeneration, and a like stream of human love is met, then if these two lovers will seek the will of God before their own will or the will of each other, there may follow one of those rare, spiritual romances which are among the fairest jewels that shine in the expression of heaven here upon the earth. They become yoke-fellows for the expression of God’s presence in the midst of the earthly love, and though they go under the form of marriage, which the law of Caesar requires, they do not enter into generation, but are lovers forever. Such marriages are recorded in the annals of the Church as “celibate marriages.”
St. Cecilia told Valerian on their bridal night that an angel was set over her to preserve her in chastity. Valerian asked to see this angel and Cecelia told him that by baptism and by talking with the Pope Urban, he might be able to see it. Valerian, who was very close to the Spirit, was changed in mind and heart so that his eyes were opened, and he saw this angel with two garlands, one of roses and the other of lilies, and the one he gave to Valerian and the other to Cecilia, saying as he did so,
“These garlands I brought from the garden of Paradise. They will never wither, for there is no death there. To you they are sweet and beautiful, but to those whose virginity is soiled, they not only yield no perfume, but they are not even visible.”
St. Gombert and St. Bertha were celibates in married life. When Gombert was of a marriageable age, his parents urged him to take Bertha to wife. The young prince hesitated because he wished to live to Christ, but a voice from heaven said to him,
“Fear not, Gombert, to take Bertha for thy wife, for God designs great things from this union.”
So they were married, but vowed to God by mutual consent to live together as brother and sister and to love each other only with platonic love.
“When St. Julian was eighteen years of age, his parents urged him to marry, and he requested to be allowed seven days to think the matter over. He spent these seven days of grace in prayer and fasting, and on the seventh day Christ appeared in a vision and said to him, ‘Fear not, Julian, to take to thyself a wife, for as virgins ye shall still serve me.’ So he married Basilissa, but when they entered the bridal chamber, both were struck with the sweet odor of roses and lilies which pervaded it, and clasping their hands together, they vowed to serve the Lord in virgin chastity.
All true lovers in the spirit, whether they be in marriage or out of it, begin to rise into the realm of gratification on the heavenly plane, and receive light upon new joys which have never entered into the earthly plane. In the interior realm, there are ecstatic experiences which correspond to the acts of generation upon the physical plane. These are as reproductive in their own plane as that of the physical, and, according to Hindu mystical teaching, every child that is born upon the physical plane has been reproduced in its interior nature by beings, just as literally as their physical bodies have been brought forth through physical parents. Each child that is born has enfolded within itself at least five other bodies which are the offspring of divine union in the invisible. Though a candidate in the Regeneration may take part in these conceptions (not always consciously), yet each, in turn, is abandoned, just as the physical generation was left behind because of the advancing consciousness, until finally there is a perfect identity with the great Creator itself. Passing through these realms, a simple embrace, a kiss, the slightest touch is accompanied by the thrill of reproduction. Thoughts and desires are created and new powers are unfolded, as older forms are abandoned and the new received through the direction and guidance of the Spirit.
The final renunciation in love’s awakening is portrayed in the experience of Jesus Christ with Mary Magdalen in the Garden of the Sepulcher. It was the morning of the Resurrection, and Mary Magdalen had discovered that her Lord’s body had disappeared. Full of tears, and full of consternation, not knowing which way to turn, she could not even recognize the voice of Jesus Christ, as he called her and asked her why she wept. Not until he pronounced her name with that wonderful love voice-tone, which she knew, was she able to recognize his presence in the flesh before her. Then throwing herself at his feet and clasping them with her arms, she called forth from him the tender remonstrance, “Touch me not!” which was of the Spirit, and which must be said that he may be able to go on to perfect identity with his God. For, without doubt, her human love drew him into expression, causing him to appear in the Garden even before he was ready to manifest himself before men.
For it is a well known fact that human love can seem to hold one back from going onward and upward. Even those who have passed on are held down by the human attachments that follow them and bind them. The Magdalen’s adoring love must be turned into other directions: she must be given avenues into which her strong feelings and thoughts were turned while he went on to make his identity with God.
This beautiful woman who was Mary of Bethany, as well as Mary Magdalen, doubtless is the one who would have been the natural wife of the Master, had he lived the ordinary life. Her abandonment had been the lawlessness of the child united with that of the sage who is above the law; but not being grounded in principle, it had gone off into harlotry and she had, therefore, become type of the renegade church.
Jesus would have been justified, from the world’s standpoint, in sitting down and consoling her after a human fashion, and explaining to her what was taking place. But no. This human way would have been a temptation to him, and would have put him aside from the straight, impersonal way upon which he was walking. Therefore, he spoke the words which have seemed to be cold and heartless to many,
“Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, unto my God and your God.”—John 20:17. The first three words, rightly translated, should be, “Detain me not,” or “Be not clinging to me.” Removing her loving, clinging thoughts, this Master was able to go on and make his absolute identity with God.
We have here an instance of how Jesus Christ surmounted that temptation of sex, how he, who knew all men and women as his Bride, was able to put aside the pleasures of this one who, according to the law of man, if he had lived the ordinary life, might have been his lawful wife; not even would he turn aside to express his sympathy and his unity, but ever lifting his eyes to the Highest, he drew her up into the same impersonal place, where she knew him in love, as one with God and never separated, yet not her own more than that of others.
This is the joy and victory of your Soul. In making your union with God, you are lifting up all those who look to you, so that they, too, shall know the Love Divine, which makes Heaven for themselves and for everyone else upon the earth. In the happy ongoing of the Regeneration, love never grows less, never grows cold or indifferent, but it grows great and universal, all-comprehending and all-inclusive, and this is the way of happiness, the freedom that belongs to Godhood in the flesh.