How we can reach transcendence
Author: Ronald Engert
Especially in today’s world, sexuality is becoming more and more important and is sometimes seen as the highest thing we humans can experience. However, there are joys of the soul beyond this, which go far beyond sexuality.
Sex is not everything in the world. But sometimes it seems to be everything. Sexuality is a very strong drive, and of course on the one hand it’s about a kind of higher consciousness that one might benevolently experience in this activity, but on the other hand it’s also about drive and instinct. It’s about reproducing physical bodies.
Is it possible to transcend the material world through sexuality?
Tantra says yes.
For example, Osho recommends that we should fully embrace earthly life and be completely absorbed in action, then no karma would arise. But karma means action. Every action is a combination of action and reaction. We become attached to the result of the action and have to reap the reactions.
Karma is a part of the material world and arises when we want to enjoy the fruits of our actions. There is a difference between material consciousness and spiritual consciousness. In material consciousness, we identify with the impermanent things in space and time. In spiritual consciousness, we recognize the eternal things that are our very own and unbreakable truth. I would like to explain this with a simple example:
Once I was walking through the pedestrian zone in Frankfurt in the evening. I immersed very deeply in bhakti-yoga at that time. Bhakti-yoga/Krishna consciousness teaches that we are not this body. It’s about exposing our soul and going to the spiritual level. So I was walking through the pedestrian mall and saw a young woman there being courted by two men. It was springtime, the juices were rising. I could see how much the two men were trying to woo the woman, how they had sexual intentions.
I had the transcendental gaze and saw in the woman’s eyes a kind of desperation coupled with resignation and irritation. The men were fawning around her, obviously fully focused on her body, which was very pretty. They gazed at her breasts and buttocks and performed a kind of courtship dance, enhanced by the fact that they must have been competing for the prey. It was obvious that these men saw only the body and not the soul of the woman.
You can see the soul when you look into the eyes.
And in the woman’s eyes I saw loneliness and helplessness and the desire of recognition for her soul and as a human being. There was something embarrassing about the image of the men. They were, as they say, cock-controlled. It would have been so beautiful if this woman had been recognized as a soul and a human being. But they did not recogniz, and so she remained lonely and unfelt.
The mirror of the soul
For me, this was a very extraordinary perception. I could see the soul of this woman and I understood that it is about something completely different than sexual energy. It is about soul energy, about our soul sense of self. I owed this transcendental vision to my meditation practice and deep absorption into Krishna consciousness. It was an extraordinary time for me then, which also eventually passed. My consciousness also moved back to the material plane after that, and I could no longer experience this spiritual soul plane. Also with me the sexual impulse jumped again and I saw women again on the physical level, whereby the bodies of beautiful women attracted special attention with me. This is how I usually still feel today. But isn’t it crazy to find a person physically attractive (or repulsive) whose personality and nature you don’t even know?
Is it right to go into that energy? Is it right to go into the marketplace and no longer distinguish between up and down, as Osho thinks? Might we not be missing something essential? What is the meaning of life? And what gives the greatest joy?
THE PERCEPTION OF THE SOUL
The perception of this woman’s soul opened up to me a sense of transcendence that touched my very soul. In this case it was a sad situation, because the woman has just not been seen as a soul. But I could see her, and I realized what it is all about. We are spiritual beings beyond space and time. Our physical body is a temporary vessel or vehicle – the Bhagavad-gita calls it a yantra – that serves us well. But our body is only our dress and not what we really are. Also in the Bhagavad-gita we read: We all go through birth, old age and death. Everyone who is born is certain of death, and everyone who has died is certain of birth. But there is beyond that the level of the soul – the atman – where we are immortal. This soul is eternal, all-blissful and full of knowledge.
I can experience this soul in exchange with God-lovers and with Goddess-God. When the soul is in this experience, physical pleasures seem downright tiny. However, without experiencing this higher taste, it is not possible to know the difference. If you always eat only Holland tomatoes, you think they are real tomatoes. Our material body of flesh, bones and blood is like a space suit that we need here in the material world. However, our true destination is not the material world, but the spiritual world, the Kingdom of God. There we take on our eternal, spiritual body, and there there is sexuality. This sexuality connects to Goddess-God. It is not an enjoyment program of our ego, but a service to Goddess-God. In that sense, sexuality is not bad.
SEXUALITY AND LOVE
In the relationship with Goddess-God, this romantic-erotic mood produces spiritual ecstasy and bliss.
This love for Goddess-God is the most intense thing the soul can experience.
But to use sexuality for oneself and to exalt it as a value in oneself distracts from the real meaning of life. Then one can no longer see and feel the soul level. The soul view is really another view, which has nothing to do with the body anymore. Whether a person is old or young, beautiful or ugly, man or woman, as a soul he is lovable. Those external characteristics are temporary. They have nothing to do with the eternal truth. If one does not want to get bogged down in the material realms, one does well to direct one’s attention to the spiritual soul. That is our essential destiny and that which fully satisfies the soul. All else is but patchwork and distraction from the true.
THE WAY BEYOND SEXUALITY TO SPIRITUALITY
Unfortunately, our consciousness has a cover of materialism, and we cannot perceive this plane. We are in maya – in illusion – and that is why we suffer. We cling to transient identifications and things that we will eventually lose. The exit from illusion is done through meditation and prayer and a corresponding change of life. This is a hard and long way because we are not only in illusion but also attached to this illusion. We really think we can get joy and pleasure from these material energies. But that is ignorance. Sometimes it helps to live abstinently to overcome this strong attachment and identification with temporary forms.
Then, very slowly, a kind of compassion and affection for all living beings arises.
Then you see their pain, their confusion, their longing for love, and the desire to help them awakes. Then it is no longer a question of sex, because a completely different joy takes hold of us – a joy of soulful connection with all living beings. A joy that moves us to tears.
About the author
Ronald Engert, born 1961, studied German, Romance languages and literature, and philosophy, later Indology and religious studies at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt/M. In 1994, he co-founded the journal Tattva Viveka, and has been publisher and editor-in-chief since 1996. 2017 Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Since then, master’s degree. Currently working on his master’s thesis on “Mysticism of Language”. Author of “Gut, dass es mich gibt. Diary of a Recovery” and “The Absolute Place. Philosophy of the Subject”.
This article was originally published on the German Homepage of Tattva Viveka: The pleasure of non-sex