Excerpt About Eros

Erotic Qualities in the Traditions

I am making this distinction because many of our spiritual experiences are erotic but not sexual. If you read the works of Christian mysticism, especially by some female saints, you will see that some are written in highly erotic language. The Song of Songs in the Old Testament is a good example; some of the Sufi poetry of Ibn ‘Arabi and Rumi are others. The way these individuals talk about their experience with God is very sensual, voluptuous, full of desire and excitement, full of turn-on, but it is not physical and it is not sexual. This is true also in Indian mysticism. Many spiritual traditions have an erotic quality that embraces energy, desire, dynamism, pleasure, and blissfulness, but they are not exactly sexual. Discriminating the erotic from the sexual allows us to integrate a new dimension of our spirituality. When you are meditating, for instance, you can have a meditation experience with your true nature that has a very erotic quality. You feel as though you were making love with reality, but it is not really sexual, although sometimes it has many of those same pleasurable and exciting qualities that you can even experience at the same level of intensity. The more the erotic energy is liberated, the more it is free to infuse any area of life with sensual, vibrant, pleasurable presence. The erotic quality can manifest sometimes between good friends and frequently occurs in the dialectic inquiry practice that we do. Eros can lead to further spiritual liberation if we use the energy to open the dialectic field and find new ways of expression beyond the physical.

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