Where there is fear, there will be no love.
Where there is no love for oneself, there can be no love for another.
Where there is love for another, there is no desire to exhaust oneself; but instead, the desire is to strengthen the other.
Where there is love, there can be no fear.
It is indeed Spirit that imparts the motive force to all things. Although spirit can be quantified and it can be qualified, it defies apprehension. Spirit cannot be grasped, nor can it be seen; but its presence can be recognized through movement.
Spirit binds things together.
Spirit breaks things apart.
In a perfect world
In The New Testament, a thought similar to the verse that opens this chapter is expressed in First John 4:18 NASB as:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
The biblical rendering is beautiful in its simplicity, as it calls us to rely upon perfection to allay our fears. Written almost 2000 years ago, First John is concerned with love and fellowship with God. If we look just slightly beneath the veneer of the religious nature of the text, we find that it is the containment of fear that is the cause of imperfection. This is because the destructive nature of fear serves to impede one’s ability to correctly assess the potentials of a given situation. We learned in the preceding chapter that fear is nothing more than a state in which a negatively charged will is coincident with inhibited receptivity. Fear breaks one’s connection to the moment at-hand. Although it might be useful as an instantaneous impulse (as in fight-or-flight situations), fear is a dangerous thing to store and to cultivate.
Fear that persists for more than an instant, such as does foreboding, is usually not rational. Nor is it intuitional – for, the intuition (being itself a natural phenomenon) is rooted in the moment in which it occurs. When fear’s “moment-severing” dynamic is in effect, the perception that is intuition is simply not available to one. More often than not, irrational fear is that which has been intentionally cultivated in one’s mind by outside sources that seek to gain some measure of control over one. Because the suggestions which are the seeds of such fears are based upon that which is not real, one’s mind becomes clouded; and eventually it is consumed in a vain attempt to resolve the fears against that which is known to be real. Such fears grow rapidly.
The cultivation of fear, either within oneself or within another, is the truest form of evil. However, banishment of fear (i.e., shifting the polarity of one’s will and receptivity) makes available to one the myriad possibilities contained in any given moment.
Fear creates the illusion that we live in an imperfect world. We are not possessed of perfect knowledge. The complete picture of neither the past, nor the future, is available to us. In fact, we lack a perfect perspective of even the present moment. However, by simply abolishing fear, perfection becomes approachable. Perfection in the moment is present when one is attuned to the laws that govern one’s immediate environment — and when one operates within the boundaries thereof. In an imperfect world, this is indeed tricky business!
Command vs Control
Before we proceed further, we must develop a firm understanding of the distinction between two important (but very misunderstood) concepts: i.) Command, and ii.) Control.
Command is the foundation of the Masculine Principle of mind. It is best understood as being that which sets the tone and direction for subsequent actions. Command is impulsive in nature, as it is not concerned with how something occurs; instead, its concern is that something occurs (or does not occur).
On the other hand, Control is the fundamental agency through which manifestation is accomplished; thus, it is the province of the Feminine Principle of mind. Control is intensive in nature. Its concern is with how, when, where, and why something occurs, or does not occur.
It was stated earlier that everything has gender, and this truth is presented to us in Genesis 1:26-27 NASB:
26. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
The discerning mind will notice in the above verses the implication that intrinsic to God are both the Masculine Principle and the Feminine Principle. A closer inspection will reveal the subtle distinction between those principles, as Genesis 1:26 provides the directive impulse (i.e., Command) and Genesis 1:27 follows with the manifestation (Control).
To make matters even more complex for us, here on Earth, even though the minds of male and female are each possessed of both the Masculine Principle and the Feminine Principle, our physical natures are separate and distinct. Despite much discussion of these principles in the preceding chapter, the concept of the pervasiveness of gender (particularly mental gender) bears repeating: it is fundamental to our existence.
As we continue our discussion, this distinction between the concepts of command and control will be employed to lessen the complexities introduced by the recursive influence of gender throughout all aspects of Creation.
Of Like Mind(s)…
The concept of spirit is difficult to grasp. This is because a single word is used to describe phenomena that are universes apart, not only in their various levels of manifestation, but also in their essential natures. A trip to any dictionary with the term “spirit” at-hand will yield results ranging from “The Creator” to “a volatile liquid” — from “the real meaning or the intention behind something as opposed to its strict verbal interpretation” to “a person’s mood.” In one reference, there are at least twenty-five separate definitions for the noun form alone — and then there’s the verb form! Generally speaking, we use the term spirit to make reference to a force that imparts itself upon human actions while it operates outside the influence of immediate human control.
God, The Creator, is of course the ultimate Spirit, the source of all life — and all things. However, there are lesser integral spirit beings that operate at vibrational levels well beyond our human abilities of comprehension. And though it is said that “spirit” is an elemental aspect of human beings, even one’s own spirit lies beyond one’s immediate control. Simply put, it is the presence of spirit that is defined as life — and the absence of spirit is death. However — and this may come as a surprise to you — spirit is within our ability to command.
Our every thought has a mind of its own
An often misunderstood problem is how easily a single impulse will set into motion a chain of events that seems to spin wildly out of control. In reality, it’s not that things have gone awry; quite to the contrary, it’s that actions are following upon implicit commands that were issued by one who is unaware of having done so. A command can arise from either conscious or unconscious sources. Our every thought is capable of becoming a command — if that thought survives the journey from being just a fleeting mental impulse to become manifest in the form of a physical resonance or action. Such actions could be so subtle as a twitch, a wink, or a nod. Or they could be much more conspicuous: a touch, a spoken word, or some other overt action.
By the time one’s thoughts and/or emotions are recognizable, they must have already become distinct vibrations (actually, vibrational bodies) in one’s mind — and as such, these thoughts and emotions are integral beings. All integral beings possess a form of mind. And most integral beings are capable of reproduction. Although many are rather short-lived, when a thought finds its expression in the form of a physical action (or a resonant change in one’s internal physical state), it is because of the energy generated by successive reproductive cycles of its distinctive vibration. If the thought is cultivated for longer periods, it approaches spirit: it begins to take on a life of its own — serving as an unconscious influence upon one’s actions. Operating under-the-influence, the human mind will act in a manner that perpetuates and reinforces the influencing “thought/spirit.” Left unchecked, the invading influence can overtake even one’s true spirit.
Fools rush in… (Transmutation 101)
Thus, it is through the practice of avoiding the cultivation of unwanted thoughts that one develops the ability to actually command spirit (within oneself). This is accomplished by rapidly shifting the polarity of an unwanted thought to its opposite state. For example, if a state of fear begins to envelope one, the individual can abolish the presence of the fearful state by placing constant focus upon Peace + Engagement (i.e., the Masculine + Feminine polar opposites to the constituents of Fear). Writer Marshall Jones, Jr. describes an aspect of the situation that is rarely considered:
Fear describes a state, not an action. Courage describes an action.
If you’re afraid, you’re in a state of fear, like in that moment right before you’re called up to the platform to give a speech. You’re sitting there, trembling, rehearsing again and again the reasons you’re afraid, trying to justify that fear.
But then you’re called, your feet walk you to the podium, and you begin. That’s courage. You’re still trembling, your voice might even crack as you start to speak, but you’re going ahead anyway. You’re acting despite the fear.
Fear is the state you’re in. Courageous is how you’re acting in that state.
But what if you could change that state entirely? What if you could move beyond fear? What if you didn’t have to do anything courageous because you just were no longer afraid?
That would be the true opposite of fear. And that I call peace.
Peace is the state where you no longer have to act courageously because there’s no need. It’s the calm, the rest, the inner tranquility where you don’t just kill the resistance, you realize it doesn’t even exist.
And all this time I was shooting for courage. No wonder I didn’t get anywhere. Courage is only the path, not the destination.
It’s like I woke up: the destination is peace. Peace, Marshall!
The opposite of fear is peace. The other point of the line is peace. The state is peace.
[Actually, the writer of the above passage is only partially correct — because fear is such a complex dynamic. Remembering that the state of fear rests at the intersection of a destructive sense of command with an inhibited receptivity, one must first ascertain whether one’s state of fear is rational. Courage has to do merely with shifting polarization along the plane of receptivity and engagement. However, peacefully and creatively engaging that which will bring about one’s certain destruction is foolhardy. As we emerge from an evolutionary state in which we are plagued by irrational fear — while there exists much that provides a basis for rational fears — we will for some time be dealing with the issue.]
The key to command of one’s own Spirit is the maintenance of an awareness of incursions by thoughts/spirits that are directed toward a state contrary to one’s intentions. Once such an invader is perceived, one should expunge it (by focusing upon the antithesis to the thought) before it begins to reproduce and approach the level of spirit. It can be dreadfully difficult to correct a situation in which a thought-invasion is allowed reach the level of spirit. However, the method of correction remains the same — one must shift one’s focus to the polarization that is opposite that of the offending thought.
A similar technique is used in the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that supports recovery from addiction. The addict learns to replace any illusions of comfort that derive from ingesting a substance with a recognition of the actual damage that use of the substance has wrought upon him or her. If such a method has proven successful in treating a mind that has been completely invaded and ravaged by addiction, imagine how powerful a maintenance tool our more informed process can be for the mind and spirit of a healthy individual!
Having the will to accomplish something is of no consequence if one has not the means through which to bring about its manifestation. Likewise, when one has access to boundless resources, while lacking will and direction, there will be no substantial result. Such is also the case where Spirit and the flesh (matter) are concerned. Perhaps the single greatest challenge for humankind is the development of a firm ability to rein the various instincts and impulses that arise from our animal nature, in a way that renders them subject to a higher form of command. Between one’s body and the spirit that animates it lives the mind. The mind regulates the exchange of energies that continuously occurs between a person’s spiritual and material aspects. And of these energies, sexual energy is simultaneously the most potent and the most volatile.
Beyond the veil
Ever since the Council of Nicaea was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 AD, the accepted scriptural foundation of Christianity has been curiously lacking in practical guidance related to one of humankind’s most pressing day-to-day concerns — namely, human sexuality. However, many are the admonitions for one to work ever toward placing one’s focus upon cultivating the spirit, while resisting the urges of the flesh. In Romans 8:5-8 NASB, we read:
5. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7. because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
8. and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
In the spiritual traditions of the Far East, spiritual cultivation and physical (particularly sexual) refinement are seen as being of mutual benefit: one process fuels the other. That which is good for the spirit is also good for the body — with the converse also being true. Interestingly, one often gleans references to the benefit to be gained by reconciling these two aspects of our nature (perhaps) encoded even in the more austere biblical scripture. A revisit to the above excerpt from Romans yields a fascinating insight hidden in verse seven. The reinterpretation follows:
The sexual urges of the body must be brought under the command of the mind, in accordance with the intentions of the Spirit. If instead, the mind becomes subject to the urges of the body, then mind, body and spirit will become depleted.
Based upon the discovery in 1896 of a previously unknown scriptural fragment, it is conjectured that the historical Jesus of Nazareth was actually married to Mary of Magdala (Mary Magdalene). However, there are no references to such a relationship between them (nor any direct references whatsoever to Jesus’ sexuality) contained in the biblical canon. In addition to its containing ideas that were deemed heretical by the early leaders of the church, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (an apocryphal Gnostic Christian text) also contains a rather curious discourse on sexuality and the universality of gender:
22. The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots.
23. For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone.
24. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
25. Peter said to him, Since you have explained everything to us, tell us this also: What is the sin of the world?
26. The Savior said There is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called sin.
27. That is why the Good came into your midst, to the essence of every nature in order to restore it to its root.
28. Then He continued and said, That is why you become sick and die, for you are deprived of the one who can heal you.
29. He who has a mind to understand, let him understand.
30. Matter gave birth to a passion that has no equal, which proceeded from something contrary to nature. Then there arises a disturbance in its whole body.
31. That is why I said to you, Be of good courage, and if you are discouraged be encouraged in the presence of the different forms of nature.
32. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Here again, particularly in verses twenty-eight to thirty-two above, the text makes striking reference to the concepts of seminal retention and the subsequent internal transmutation of seminal energy.
Throughout Judeo-Christian scripture, although the concept of Sacred Sexuality is reserved to the state of marriage (and even then, it’s not employed as a method of strengthening one’s spirit, but rather as a limiting concession to one’s animal nature), there are hints that it was not necessarily a foreign concept; for, in Genesis 38:15-24 NASB, we find a reference to the temple prostitute:
15. When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, for she had covered her face.
16. So he turned aside to her by the road, and said, “Here now, let me come in to you”; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?”
17. He said, therefore, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” She said, moreover, “Will you give a pledge until you send it?”
18. He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” And she said, “Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him.
19. Then she arose and departed, and removed her veil and put on her widow’s garments.
20. When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her.
21. He asked the men of her place, saying, “Where is the temple prostitute who was by the road at Enaim?” But they said, “There has been no temple prostitute here.”
22. So he returned to Judah, and said, “I did not find her; and furthermore, the men of the place said, ‘There has been no temple prostitute here.’ “
23. Then Judah said, “Let her keep them, otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I sent this young goat, but you did not find her.”
24. Now it was about three months later that Judah was informed, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry.” Then Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!”
Interestingly, it is but a few verses earlier in the same chapter of Genesis that the primary recognized (but very thickly veiled) proscription against masturbation is found. At Genesis 38:8-10 NASB, we read:
8. Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.”
9. Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother.
10. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also.
Although the above is far from being a blanket prohibition against masturbation, it can be immediately recognized that avoidance of the wasting of semen must be of great importance. What the author(s) didn’t make evident was just why and how the semen was so important.
Front and center
In the Taoist spiritual tradition, there is not a sense of shame attached to the sexual exercise, as is the case in the Western religions. Instead, sexual energy is recognized as a tonic — one through which the individual might increase one’s vitality and thereby extend one’s life. In the Taoist classic, Su Nu Ching, one encounters a beautifully fashioned conversation between the Yellow Emperor and the goddess Su Nu, regarding the merits of refinement of one’s sexual energies:
The Yellow Emperor addressed a question to Su Nu saying, “My ch’i [energy] is weak and out of harmony. There is no joy in my heart and I live in constant fear. What is to be done?” Su Nu answered:
All debility in man is due to violation of the tao of intercourse between yin and yang [the two polarities in all dualistic phenomena]. Women are superior to men in the same way that water is superior to fire. This knowledge is like the ability to blend the “five flavors” in a pot to make delicious soup. Those who know the tao of yin and yang can fully realize the “five pleasures” [of the senses]; those who do not will die before their time without ever knowing this joy. Can you afford not to view this with the utmost seriousness?
Su Nu continued: “There is one called Ts’ai Nu [another goddess] who has a wondrous knowledge of the arts of the tao.” The King sent Ts’ai Nu to inquire of P’eng Tsu into the methods of attaining longevity and P’eng Tsu replied:
By treasuring his Ching [physical and energetic sexual matter], cultivating his spirit, and consuming herbs a man may indeed attain long life. However, if he is ignorant of the tao of intercourse, the taking of herbs will be of no benefit. The mutual fulfillment of man and woman is like the mutual dependence of heaven and earth. Because heaven and earth have attained the tao of union, they are eternal; because mankind has lost the tao of intercourse, he suffers the onset of early death. If we could but avoid those things that gradually injure our bodies and learn the art of yin and yang, this would truly be the tao of immortality.
Ts’ai Nu bowed twice and said: “Will you instruct me in the essential teachings?” P’eng Tsu answered:
This tao is easily understood; it is just that men fail to practice it faithfully. Today the Emperor controls the complex machinery of rulership and cannot be a master of all the arts. However, his responsibilities in the seraglio are many and it is important that he know the proper method of intercourse. Its essence lies in frequently mounting young girls but never ejaculating.* This makes a man’s body light and eliminates the hundred ailments.
Su Nu said:
In engaging the enemy a man should regard her as so much tiles or stone and himself as gold or jade. When his Ching is aroused, he should immediately withdraw from her territory. One should mount a woman as if riding a galloping horse with rotten reins or as if fearful of falling into a deep pit lined with knife blades. If you treasure your Ching, your life will have no limit.
The Yellow Emperor addressed a question to Su Nu saying: “If I were to refrain for a long time from intercourse, what would be the result?” Su Nu answered:
That would be a grave mistake. Heaven and earth have their opening and closing, and yin and yang their activities and transformations. Man must conform to yin and yang and follow the four seasons. If you were to abstain from intercourse, your spirit would have no opportunity for expansiveness, and yin and yang would be blocked and cut off from one another. How could you thus strengthen yourself? You must cultivate your ch’i through frequent practice and “eliminate the old while absorbing the new” to improve yourself. If the “jade stalk” does not stir, it dies in its lair. So you must engage frequently in intercourse as a way of exercising the body. To be aroused but not ejaculate is what is called “returning the Ching.” When the Ching is returned to benefit the body, then the tao of life has been realized.
The Yellow Emperor said: “How then should man and woman regulate their sexual relations?” Su Nu answered:
The tao of intercourse has definite characteristics that enable man to preserve his health and woman to be free of all illness. They will be happy in their hearts and the power of their ch’i will be strong. Those who are ignorant of its practice will gradually grow weaker. If you wish to know this tao, it consists in settling the ch’i, calming the mind, and harmonizing the emotions. When the “three ch’i” are awakened and the spirit is focused, then when you are neither cold nor hot, neither hungry nor full, completely settle the whole body. Now relax, penetrate shallowly, and move slowly with infrequent thrusts and withdrawls [sic]. In this way the woman will be satisfied and the man retain his vigor. These are the principles by which to regulate one’s sexual relations.
Ts’ai Nu asked: “The pleasure of intercourse lies in ejaculation. Now if a man locks himself and refrains from emission [orgasm], where is the pleasure?” P’eng Tsu answered:
When Ching is emitted the whole body feels weary. One suffers buzzing in the ears and drowsiness in the eyes; the throat is parched and the joints heavy. Although there is brief pleasure, in the end there is discomfort. If, however, one engages in sex without emission, then the strength of our ch’i will be more than sufficient and our bodies at ease. One’s hearing will be acute and vision clear. Although exercising self-control and calming the passion, love actually increases, and one remains unsatiated. How can this be considered unpleasurable?
The Yellow Emperor said: “I wish to hear of the advantages of sex without emission.” Su Nu replied:
One act without emission makes the ch’i strong. Two acts without emission makes the hearing acute and the vision clear. Three acts without emission makes all ailments disappear. Four acts without emission and the “five spirits” are all at peace. Five acts without emission makes the pulse full and relaxed. Six acts without emission strengthens the waist and back. Seven acts without emission gives power to the buttocks and thigh. Eight acts without emission causes the whole body to be radiant. Nine acts without emission and one will enjoy unlimited longevity. Ten acts without emission and one attains the realm of the immortals.
Excerpted from The Classic of Su Nu (ca. 200-500 AD) as translated by Douglas Wile and included in The Art of the Bedchamber (SUNY, 1992)
The astute reader will detect a bit of predatory posturing in the statement “[i]ts essence lies in frequently mounting young girls…”; that was indeed the attitude of the ancient Taoists. And in the section that immediately follows, the fearful image of “falling into a deep a pit lined with knife blades” is conjured. Unfortunately, the social climate of the ancients left much to be desired with respect to the value that was afforded women. They were not at all considered to be “whole” individuals who were equal, although complementary, to men. Whether in the East or in the West, women have been treated oppressively for far too long — and to the detriment of all humanity. Although there is great benefit to be realized from the practices and aims of the Taoist methods, one should remain keenly aware of (and strongly opposed to) those nuances that suggest a furtherance of unnecessary oppression. It is much more beneficial to consider one’s partner in the sexual experience to be a collaborator, rather than an opponent.
One Spirit, One Mind
Imagine the wonders that will become available to us
When the spirits of male and female finally begin to resonate in a positive accord.
It will be as if Heaven and Earth have become One.
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