Spiritual Insight or Carnal Indulgence?
It is easy to get caught up in the Cayce material devoted to cures and past lives, and lose sight of the material on humankind's cosmic struggle to awaken. At this macro level, however, the readings insist that earthly sex is the biggest bar to our spiritual evolution - not because it is sinful, but because it plays havoc with our endocrine system. Let's look at how the readings explain this phenomenon.
Although spiritual rebellion preceded humankind's sojourn through matter, 1 we actually entered the material plane through carnal relationships2 and the desire to procreate as animals do.3 Our purpose was, apparently, to experience ourselves as separate from our Source, by creating the illusion that we 'make ourselves.'4
You can perceive yourself as self-creating, but you cannot do more than believe it. You cannot make it true. And, as I said before, when you finally perceive correctly you can only be glad that you cannot. Until then, however, the belief that you can is the foundation stone in your thought system, and all your defenses are used to attack ideas that might bring it to light.
Prior to this event, male and female were joined as one, and neither male nor female.5 Sexual desire is a manifestation of the Creative Forces (divinely-given life force energy), and its misuse blinds us to the spiritual element in ourselves making us think we are animals, too. 6 As Cayce put it, "Spiritual insight is lost through carnal indulgence."7
The readings refer to the choice that led to our fallen state as 'First Cause.' 'First Cause' can be defined as "the intention with which individuals perform the act of conception."8 Our decision to use each other and our Creative Forces to gratify our physical appetites put us out of alignment with Spirit. We can correct this error and reunite body, mind and soul,9 only if we spiritualize the senses 10 by ridding ourselves of the urge to gratify the carnal.
Although the readings often emphasize the need to choose service over selfishness in general, they say that mankind's use of sex is at the root of its wrong thinking. We will focus, therefore, on the solution to the fundamental problem. As we'll see, however, generosity of spirit also has definite endocrine rewards outside the bedroom, just as impulsive behavior is tied to endocrine imbalance even if the behavior isn't sexual.
The key point is that our Creative Forces are always flowing. When we use them to gratify the carnal forces of the senses they alter our perception so as to blind us to alignment with the divine. And when we rid ourselves of these elements, the "spirit of the Lord is present."11 As we'll see in a moment, there is an increasingly solid scientific basis for Cayce's claim.
Meanwhile, back to our tale. The divine purpose of physical reproduction is to permit souls to return so they can overcome the pull of animal impulses and "learn to experience a perfect understanding of oneness with God." 12 Procreation is not a duty, and should only be undertaken, as Hannah undertook it, in order to serve mankind's greater awakening. (Prior to conceiving, Hannah promised her son to God, and soon delivered him to serve in a corrupt temple, which he later restored to purity.)13 The readings also consider Isaac to be an "ideally conceived entity," because he was God's idea, not his parents'. His parents acknowledged this by being willing to sacrifice him at God's command.14
In short, if we choose to procreate, we can do it in alignment with Divine Will - or not.15 Reproduction is not a sacred end in itself; it is merely a physical activity.16 It allows souls to recycle themselves through matter until they correct the error of misusing the reproductive force to gratify earthly impulses and desires.17
In other words, the readings do not interpret "Be thou fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth" as a command to overrun the planet with our offspring for God's pleasure. Rather the interpretation seems to be "go multiply yourselves until you learn from your results - both positive and negative - how to conquer your earthly impulses."18 When asked about birth control, Cayce said that the key to birth control was the same as the key to better sexual relationships: stop the overindulgence that besmirches the best within ourselves.19
This suggests that we cannot heal our sense of separation from God by making 'good' children, or even by being 'good' people. Sooner or later, we each have to correct mankind's fundamental error of 'overindulgence.' "Crucify desire in self,"20 and do not to attempt to "go around the cross,"21 warn the readings. As the readings put it, the carnal fire must burn itself out.22
Man is not made for this world alone, which is why man may not live by bread alone, that is, by the gratifying of appetites in the material world.23 God did not intend the material plane to be our permanent home; we're here only to work out the repercussions of our misuse of free will.24 Reading 5747-3 says that sex will remain a problem until mankind understands that the biological phase of sex is merely a "stepping stone" to a greater awakening.
In this regard, the readings hint that there are two types of conception, physical conception and true conception. Both permit humankind to serve as channels through which spirit can be made manifest in the material world.25 Physical conception can take place purely from carnal influences. True conception, however, is spiritual and mental, and requires both mates to hold a spiritual ideal.26 Conception is not necessarily physical. It is the return of two elements to oneness.27 Physical conception is an activity for the gratification of the flesh. The other is mysteriously referred to as "the fulfilling of a complete relationship to the Creative Forces." 28 I believe this is a reference to overcoming the split between the genders, also referred to as meeting the desire for at-one-ment.29 This is an experience of our primordial androgyny.30
They lay close together, entirely relaxed, delighting in this bodily contact. And then, after about half an hour, Fred told me, something indescribable began to flow in them, making them feel that every single cell of their skin was alive and joyful. This produced in Fred rapture and delight such as he had never before experienced. … He had the impression that all these million sources of delight merged into one and streamed to the skin of those parts of his body which were in contact with Mary. His body seemed to dissolve; space and time dropped away; and all thoughts disappeared, so consumed was he by a voluptuous rapture which he could find no words to describe. Mary's words for it were "superhuman," "divine." They both, he said, lost at that moment all fear of death. This, they felt, must be a prevision of the afterlife; they were already on the bridge between the material world and the spiritual universe. They had tasted heaven. …
The next day they were both extremely happy and relaxed, full of life and energy, strangers to all forms of anxiety, pettiness or anger.
In comparing the kind of satisfaction he had previously known in normal intercourse, with this new rapture experienced with Mary, Fred said that the difference was that between earthly and celestial love. Compared with the continuous, lasting and superhuman happiness induced by his new experience, the temporary delight, during spontaneous ejaculation, was hardly worth mentioning.
Ten years passed. Mary changed from a self-centered, anti-social, cold-hearted girl to a woman, warm, thoughtful and kind. They were both as deeply devoted to each other as they had been at the beginning….
Mary's maternal instinct awoke. She was now thirty-seven years old and had been married for fourteen years. …Then, for the first time in her life, Mary had normal intercourse with Fred. It was some time before they could learn to direct their streams to their sex organs. But, even though Fred at last secured a normal reaction, his potency was still weak and did not last long enough to bring Mary to full satisfaction. Deeply disappointed they wanted to return to the beautiful sex life they had enjoyed before. They tried, but could not. The gate to that paradise was closed. The delivered streams in their bodies now flowed automatically to the sex organs, instead of directly to each other. No amount of will power could stop them.
Thus they repeated the story of Adam and Eve and their lost Paradise.
Could it be that this couple's selflessness completely attuned them with spirit for the first part of their relationship? And that when they gratified their urge to procreate to indulge their own urges, they fell out of attunement? As Cayce's source put it, "How much greater is a moment in God's presence than a thousand years in carnal forces?"32
I mention these hints of a possible non-physical conception, or union of great spiritual significance, because the Gospel of Philip, an ancient Gnostic Christian text discovered in Upper Egypt over 60 years ago, says that Jesus taught a mystery called the Sacrament of the Bridal Chamber, which calls for 'a pure embrace' (also translated as 'undefiled intercourse') that reunites male and female, allowing them to enter the kingdom of heaven. 33
Jesus said to them, 'When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].'
Cayce reading 5749-14 says that Gnosticism was the commonly accepted form of Christianity until another sect began setting rules that were "attempts to take shortcuts." Therefore, Gnostic sources, such as the Gospel of Philip may be especially enlightening:
The bridal chamber is not for animals, nor for slaves, nor for the impure…. We are reborn by the Christ two by two. In his Breath, we experience a new embrace; we are no longer in duality, but in unity…. All will be clothed in light when they enter into the mystery of the sacred embrace…. Man and woman unite in the bridal chamber, and those who have known this sacred embrace will never be separated. Eve separated from Adam because she did not unite with him in the bridal chamber…. The embrace that incarnates the hidden union is not only a reality of the flesh, for there is silence in this embrace. It does not arise from impulse or desire; it is an act of will.34
And, from another of the Nag Hammadi gnostic texts:
Since that marriage is not like the carnal marriage, those who are to have intercourse with one another will be satisfied with that intercourse. And as if it were a burden they leave behind them the annoyance of physical desire.35
Some suggest that the only correct use of sex must be for procreation. The Cayce readings flatly deny this suggestion, advising instead that sex should be used in a creative and spiritual way, whether for physical union or inspired creativity on another level.36 Rather than total abstinence, the readings say that we need education about how to redirect our reproductive vitality (which is now lost in gratifying the emotions) in order to create 'spiritual blessings.'37
The solution to our cosmic dilemma is literally within us. When we use sex correctly, it lessens the desire for the carnal relationship that dims our spiritual vision.38 In fact, reading 281-48 39 asserts that desire can be alleviated, when intention toward one's mate is spiritualized.
In the personal experience of my husband and myself, this approach to lovemaking indeed alleviates sexual frustration when our intention is strictly to nurture each other rather than to seek sexual gratification. At the same time, making love this way sustains a mutual magnetism. We'll look at the science behind these results later as we consider how sex interacts with the endocrine system.
- 1. Mankind's rebellious forces are a physical manifestation of the spiritual rebellion that preceded them. (p. 21, 281-33)
- 2. Mankind's desire for material expression manifested through carnal relationships. (p. 26, 281-36)
- 3. Biologically, man makes himself an animal of the physical, with desires based on the animal instincts. (262-63)
- 4. Man separates himself through the desire to become a procreator, like the beasts. (p. 2, 281-16) See also, A Course in Miracles (T-3.VII.4):
- 5. 364-7, 5747-3, 5749-7
- 6. Man has an element that is not part of the mineral, vegetable or animal kingdoms. Yet man is considered part of the animal kingdom due to the "spiritual negative in the serpent brought about by acceding to desire." This was due to man's own will to experience the animal kingdom. p. 49, 281-54
- 7. 900-268
- 8. p. 281-48
- 9. p. 36, 281-48
- 10. [p. 1, 281-16, 364-7]
- 11. 364-7
- 12. 364-7, 900-429
- 13. 457-10
- 14. p. 35, 281-48
- 15. Man's purpose and desire show up in his offspring. The purpose can range from purely animal or carnal to more spiritual expression. The ideal manner of procreation is to serve as a channel for the spirit of truth, hope, and divine knowledge and purpose. (p. 32, 281-46) And Cayce points out that even the best parental intentions are no guarantee that one's child will maintain a high vibration. (p. 33, 281-46)
- 16. 457-10
- 17. 1158-5
- 18. 364-7
- 19. 826-6
- 20. 2475-1
- 21. 5749-14
- 22. 826-6
- 23. 4082-1
- 24. 5749-14
- 25. p. 32, 281-46
- 26. True conception, SPIRITUAL conception, MENTAL conception takes place only when the spiritual ideal is set by both mates. Physical conception, however, can take place from purely carnal influences.
(p. 51, 281-55)
- 27. (p. 50, 281-55)
- 28. 457-10
- 29. 5749-14
- 30. 262-86
- 31. Sex, Perfection and Marital Happiness by Rudolf Von Urban, MD, The Dial Press, NY (1949), pp. 94-97
- 32. 262-57
- 33. See also the Gospel of Thomas:
- 34. Gospel of Philip, trans. by Jean-Yves Leloup, pp. 105, 109, 111, 157
- 35. The Exegesis on the Soul, trans. by William C. Robinson Jr.
- 36. 2072-16, 911-2
- 37. 826-6
- 38. 2072-16
- 39. p. 37