Love on The Spiritual Path
Posted by addisethiopia on October 14, 2013
- Traditional spiritual self-culture
- How various aspects of self-culture work — and work together
- Using self-culture to improve love ability
- The importance of True Love practice in spiritual becoming
- Why is True Love so challenging?
- The call to True Love
Every human being wants to be loved personally — for who they are — and every human being wants to love personally. These desires are part of our social nature as children of God. However, in many of the great spiritual traditions of man, personal love has been downplayed, and even strongly criticized. So, even while popular religions generally promote “family values,” serious spiritual seekers have been warned throughout the ages against the dangers of “women and gold,” “special relationships,” even desire in all of its forms. Entry level practices on the spiritual path almost invariably steer aspirants toward impersonal forms of self-culture, and away from involvement in personal human relationships.
Although generally wise and well-intentioned, any apparent bias against human love tends make spiritually-oriented people feel guilty or wrong for wanting/needing personal love. We are here to say, that conclusion is an unfortunate misinterpretation of traditional wisdom. Human, personal love is not necessarily sinful, lowly, or unspiritual. Quite the contrary! Human, personal love is spiritually CRUCIAL — crucial to our self-esteem, crucial to our unfolding and spiritual ascent, crucial to living as God created us to be.
Realistically, however, many people’s experience with personal love is far from Godly, or even confidence inspiring. It is true that people tend to behave badly when they are romantically involved. Often, lovers treat each other worse than they would treat a stranger. That does no credit whatsoever to the virtue of LOVE.
Therefore, even as we revalidate human love, we also affirm some of the cautions and the recommendations of the great spiritual traditions. Here’s how we would reconcile this apparent contradiction:
Humanity’s practical and intuitive need for human love is ETERNALLY right. But, HERE AND NOW, for many people — perhaps MOST people — real competence in human love may require some preparatory self-culture first, exactly as tradition suggests. Certainly, to raise human love to the heights of its spiritual potential is worth working for!
Rightly viewed, the traditional recommendations actually SUPPORT our ultimate evolution into spiritually appropriate forms of personal love. No matter how badly we want an intimate loving relationship, if we aren’t ready for it, we’re going to mess it up. Then we’re going to become afraid of the very thing we want so badly. Therefore, in order protect the tender shoot of our native desire to relate socially, we are well-advised to put to fewer eggs in the basket of relating, and more eggs in the basket of self-improvement. So, we work on ourselves FIRST — while at the same time taking care to avoid the dangers of becoming socially atrophied and excessively self-oriented.
If we can humbly and realistically acknowledge the need to prepare ourselves for the challenging adventure of personal human love, we can happily construe time-honored spiritual practices NOT as permanent SUBSTITUTES for human love, but rather as STEPS on the path TO IT. We can wholeheartedly embrace the traditional spiritual recommendations without denying our God-given social yearnings.
Why Kissing Is So Important: Kissing Helps Us Find The Right Partner And Keep Them
‘Kissing in human sexual relationships is incredibly prevalent in various forms across just about every society and culture,’ said Rafael Wlodarski, the DPhil student who carried out the research in the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University. ‘Kissing is seen in our closest primate relatives, chimps and bonobos, but it is much less intense and less commonly used.
Rafael Wlodarski explained: ‘There are three main theories about the role that kissing plays in sexual relationships: that it somehow helps assess the genetic quality of potential mates; that it is used to increase arousal (to initiate sex for example); and that it is useful in keeping relationships together. We wanted to see which of these theories held up under closer scrutiny.’
The survey responses showed that women rated kissing as generally more important in relationships than men. Furthermore, men and women who rated themselves as being attractive, or who tended to have more short-term relationships and casual encounters, also rated kissing as being more important.
It has been suggested previously that kissing may allow people to subconsciously assess a potential partner through taste or smell, picking up on biological cues for compatibility, genetic fitness or general health.