THE FORCES OF LOVE, EROS AND SEX
Key Extracts from Lecture 44
© The Pathwork® Foundation 1999
It is easy to see why eros is so often confused with love. Why then is it different from love? Because love is a permanent state in the soul. Love can only exist if, through development and purification, the basis for it is prepared. Love does not come and go at random. But eros does. Eros hits with a sudden force, finding the person often unawares and even unwilling to go through this experience. And only if the soul is prepared to love, has built the foundations for it, will eros be the bridge to that particular form of love as it manifests between the sexes.
Another possibility, particularly in relationships of long standing, is the combination of a certain kind of love (it cannot be perfect unless all three forces blend together, but let us say the nearest thing to it) and sex, but without eros. There is a certain amount of affection, companionship, fondness, mutual respect, and a sex relationship that is crudely sexual without the erotic spark that has evaporated some time ago. When eros is missing, the sex relationship must eventually suffer. Now this is the problem with most marriages, my friends. And there is hardly a human being who is not puzzled by this question of what to do to maintain that spark in a relationship that seems to evaporate the more habit and knowledge of one another sets in.
Let us first see what is the main element in the erotic force. When you analyze it, you will find that it is the adventure, the search for the knowledge of the other soul. This desire lives in every created spirit. This inherent life force must bring the entity finally out of separation. Eros strengthens the curiosity to find the other being. As long as there is something new to find in the other soul and as long as you reveal yourself, eros will live. The moment you believe you have found all there is to find and have revealed all there is to reveal, or all you are willing to reveal, eros will leave. It is as simple as that with eros. But where your great error comes in is that you believe there is a limit to the revealing of any soul, yours or another's. When a certain point of revealing is reached, usually a quite superficial one, one is under the impression this is all there is to it, and one settles down to a placid life without further searching. This far, eros carries you with his strong impact. But after this point is reached, your further will to search the unlimited depths of the other person and voluntarily reveal and share of your own inward search within yourself determines the fact that you have used eros as a bridge to love – which is always determined by your will to learn how to love. And in that way, you will maintain the spark of eros contained in your love. Only in this way you will continue to find the other and let yourself be found. There is no limit, for the soul is endless and eternal; a whole lifetime would not suffice to know it… If man had the wisdom, he would realize that and make of marriage this marvelous journey of adventure it is supposed to be, forever finding new vistas instead of simply being carried as far as the first momentum of eros.
The spiritual idea of marriage is to enable the soul to reveal itself and to be constantly on the search for the other soul, to discover ever and ever new vistas of the other being. The more this happens, the happier the marriage will be, the firmer and safer it will be rooted, the less danger of an unhappy ending, and the more it fulfills spiritually its purpose. In practice, however, it hardly ever works that way. You reach a certain familiarity and habit, and you think you know the other, and it does not even occur to you that the other does not know you by any means. He or she may know certain facets of you, but that is all. And since this search for the other being, as well as one's own revelation, requires a certain amount of inner activity and alertness, and since man is often tempted into inner inactivity (outer activity may be all the stronger as an overcompensation), he is tempted into a state of restfulness under the delusion of already knowing each other fully. And this is the pitfall. It is the beginning of the end at worst, or it is compromise and second-best because of the gnawing unfulfilled longing. At this point, your relationship begins to become static. It is no longer alive even though it may have its very pleasant facets. Habit is a great temptress. The temptation of it is the sluggishness and inertia in which one does not have to try and work, the comfort of not having to be alert anymore.
Each one of you should think deeply if you are afraid to leave the four walls of your own separateness. Some of my friends are unaware that this wish is almost a conscious one. With many of you it is this way: you desire marriage because one part of you yearns for it – and also because you do not want to be alone. Quite superficial and vain reasons may be added to the deep yearning of your soul. But aside from this yearning and aside from the superficial selfish reasons of your unfulfilled desire for partnership, there must also be an unwillingness to share your life really in its deepest sense, an unwillingness to risk the journey and adventure of revealing yourself. An integral part of the life experience remains to be fulfilled by you, if not in this life, then in future ones. Only when you meet love, life, and the other being in such readiness, will you be able to bestow the greatest gift on your beloved – namely yourself, your true self, your real self. And then you must inevitably receive the same gift from your beloved. But in order to do that, a certain emotional and spiritual maturity has to exist. If this maturity is present, you will intuitively choose the right partner who has in essence the same maturity and readiness to embark on this journey. The choice of partners who are unwilling to do so evolves out of the hidden fear to do it yourself. You magnetically draw people and situations towards you who correspond to your subconscious desires and fears – you know that. Humanity is, on the whole, very far from this ideal. But that does not change the idea or the ideal. In the meantime, you have to learn to make the best of it. And you who are fortunate enough to be on this path can learn so much wherever you stand, be it only in understanding why you cannot realize the happiness which a part of your soul is yearning for. To learn that is already a great deal and will enable you in times to come – in this life or in future ones – to get a step nearer to the realization. Whatever your situation is, whether you have a partner or whether you are alone, search your heart, and it will furnish you with the answer for your conflict.
…the erotic principle… helps many who may be unprepared and unwilling for the love experience. It is that which you call ‘falling in love’ or ‘romance.’ In this way, the personality gets a taste of what the ideal love could be. Thus, as said before, many use this feeling of happiness arbitrarily and greedily, never passing the threshold into true love by which much more is demanded of the person in a spiritual sense – thus forfeiting the aim their soul is striving for. This extreme is as wrong as the other where a person locks the doors so strongly that even the potent force of eros cannot penetrate. But unless the door is too tightly closed, it comes to you at certain stages of your life. If you can then bridge eros into love, that depends on you, on your development, on your willingness, on your courage, on your humility to reveal yourself.
Personal love and fulfillment is man's and woman's destiny in most cases, for so much can be learned in it that cannot be attained in any other way. And to make a durable and solid relationship in a marriage is the greatest victory man can achieve, for it is one of the most difficult things there is, as you can well see in your world. This life experience will bring the soul closer to God than the lukewarm good deed.