The Rewards of Spiritualizing Desire
The good news is that sexual desire used for loftier ends has limitless possibilities. 1 According to the readings, the sexes are like two electrical poles which, energizing each other, make possible the greater, better development of each. 2 During sex one can exercise the highest emotions possible, 3 and attain greater understanding and advancement. 4
In fact, Cayce is very clear about the many benefits of what he calls 'godly desire.' He says it brings sexual self-control, patience, gentleness and kindness. It also relieves suffering, mental anguish and disturbances, enhances individual growth, and brings healing. 5 Moreover, when we educate our bodies to unite in true oneness, authentic monogamy is natural.6
It turns out there is a growing body of scientific knowledge to back up Cayce's broad assertions. Once again, the secret lies in our hormones/neurochemicals. For example, it appears that the hormone known as oxytocin is a key physiological mechanism by which love and companionship positively affect health.
Once believed to confine its effects to inducing labor and milk ejection, oxytocin actually has far-reaching effects on both sexes. We could not fall in love without its release in the hypothalamus of the brain. These days it goes by nicknames such as 'the bonding hormone,' 'the cuddle hormone,' and even 'the love hormone.' We see one of its most powerful effects at birth - when the mother and father bond with their child. At that moment, oxytocin surges causing a rewiring of both parents' brains so that they will do anything for their little one. Under ordinary circumstances they remain permanently in love with their child.
We use this mechanism to bond with each other in romantic relationships, too. Unfortunately, passion tends to erode this bond at a neurochemical level. In short, if we want better results we have to do something differently.
How can we enhance the effects of our neurochemisty to protect our intimate unions so they become spiritual vehicles to higher states of awareness? Exactly as Cayce advised,7 that is, we purify our inborn urge through expressions of love, service to others in a shared vision, generosity, kindness, meditation, prayer, and making sex a sacred and selfless experience rather than a short-lived thrill. Research confirms that nurturing another, appreciation, generous touch, and trusted companionship raise oxytocin levels. (8)
Oxytocin is one of the neurochemicals behind many of the health benefits from meditation, massage and acupuncture. This may help explain why companionship can increase longevity - even among those who are HIV positive (Young, 2004). Or speed recovery: wounded hamsters heal twice as fast when they are paired with a sibling, rather than left in isolation (Detilliona, 2004). It may also explain why, among various species of primates, care-giving parents (whether male or female) live significantly longer. (Cal Tech, 1998) My husband and I suspect it is also the reason why people with pets tend to recover more quickly from illness, why married people statistically live longer and have lower rates of illness, and why support groups benefit those with cancer, addictions and chronic disorders.
How can oxytocin contribute to such remarkable health benefits? The exact mechanism is not certain, but the key seems to be oxytocin's ability to counteract the effects of stress (cortisol). To state this differently, if we listed all the conditions and diseases related to stress or aggravated by stress, we would have to list nearly every known ailment. By countering stress, oxytocin helps to heal them all. As one of nature's antidepressant and anti-anxiety hormones, naturally produced oxytocin creates feelings of calm and a sense of connection.
This may be the key to experiencing the 'sea of glass,' referred to in Revelation. Calm emotions make it easier to pray and meditate, and the readings say that by listening within, we can know the answer to every problem. 9 In any event, as our brain chemistry comes into a more ideal balance, it actually shapes how we view the world. Again, as "thoughts are deeds,"10 our world becomes a better place when we feel tranquil, loving and contented. Increased self-control also means wiser choices on every level.
Alas, to sustain the benefits of balance we may have to stay off of the passion roller coaster described above. Both dopamine and oxytocin are important for bonding, so when dopamine drops after orgasm, desire does too - at least desire for our partner. 11 This may be the main reason passion tends to erode emotional bonds over time. We are better served by neurochemical equilibrium. Dopamine at ideal, moderate levels, helps keep us cheerful, curious and attracted to each other.
Incidentally, the saying, "the more you give, the more you get" applies to oxytocin. The more you nurture and connect with others, the more responsive your body and brain become to this hormone. (Uvnas-Moberg, 2005) Oxytocin is unusual in this regard. For example, compare this result with the results from using substances like alcohol or caffeine, or engaging in passion: the more you indulge, the more you require for the same effect. Oxytocin is the opposite. The more you give and nurture, the more strongly you respond to any affection, generosity, opportunity to serve, meditation, and so forth.
In other words, self-control grows easier, and the feeling of connection with others, with your lover, and with the divine strengthens as you choose oxytocin-promoting behaviors. Could this be why the readings advise that treating others kindly is the source of life, the source of love, the source of peace, the source of harmony, and the way in which we receive these benefits ourselves?12 As the readings point out, there are two ways to clean up our karmic debts. We can either experience the equivalent of the effects of our past mistakes until we learn not to make them, or we can forgive others their misdeeds, thereby earning ourselves similar reprieves.13 Needless to say, forgiveness is a lot easier with balanced brain chemistry than it is when our 'beasts are loose.'
More balanced neurochemistry may be one reason that conscious, controlled lovemaking has important spiritual implications. In any case, Cayce said that the Creative Forces of the body (when they are not abused) give rise to a more spiritually-minded individual.14
Spiritualize the physical desires. In making the physical desire and the will of the Father one, there may be a cleansing in the soul that may bring consciousness of the Oneness with the Father.15
Thy body is the Temple of the Living God. Use it as such, and not as a place for the lowest of earth and low thinking. Rather treat it as the altar of God. Sacrifice therein thine own appetites.16
Our other sages (mentioned above) also described the health and spiritual benefits of making love without seeking orgasm:
In the physical union of male and female there may be a soul communion giving not only supreme happiness, but in turn [leading] to soul growth and development….As the creative potency of man becomes understood, and this knowledge is applied, men and women will grow in virtue, in love, in power, and will gladly and naturally devote this power to the world's interests and development. Karezza: Ethics of Marriage 17
The result of this [practice] is improved health, harmonized emotions, the cessation of cravings and impulses, and, at the highest level, the transcendent integration of the entire energy body. Hua Hu Ching: Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu 18
Seek the experience of the pure embrace; it has great power. Gospel of Philip19
- 1. Commentary, p. 155
- 2. 5439-1
- 3. 826-6
- 4. 2054-2
- 5. Ungodly desire, on the other hand, brings pain, sorrow, hate and fear. (1947-3) Similarly, the book A Course in Miracles contrasts "holy instant" with "unholy instant."
- 6. 826-6
- 7. 5747-3
- 8. To add confusion, oxytocin usually rises briefly (at least in the bloodstream) at the moment of orgasm. However, research suggests that this surge of oxytocin may have little to do with emotional bonding (because it soon drops back down), and more to do with inducing other events associated with orgasm.
- 9. 2174-3
- 10. 3744-4
- 11. Again, scientists record a phenomenon known as the Coolidge Effect. It is the tendency to lose interest in a mate after sexual satiation while continuing to find novel partners enticing.
- 12. 4082-1
- 13. 5233-1, 5901-1
- 14. 294-141
- 15. 262-64
- 16. 3492-1
- 17. p. 13, p. 21
- 18. p. 85
- 19. p. 93