True intimacy is union between flesh and flesh, between subtle body and subtle body, between soul and soul. Sexual energy is sacred energy. When we have restored the sexual experience to the realm of the sacred, our world will be chaste and divine, holy and healed.
~ Deepak Chopra
Recently, I read a provocative article on Elephant Journal (Pornography. Masturbation. The Spiritual Story No One Wants to Tell.) about the spiritual impact of selfish sexual practices. The author, Philip Urso, was inspired by the book The Kabbalah Book of Sex by Yehuda Berg. His article was focused primarily on the man’s responsibility in being an unselfish partner. Being loosely familiar with some Kabbalistic principles, I was interested in what knowledge the book had for women. I promptly ordered a copy and read it from cover to cover. You could call Berg’s writing a sort of Idiot’s Guide to Kabbalah because he does a fine job of simplifying 2000 year old Jewish mysticism into manageable bullet points.
Berg explains a few core Kabbalistic principles that I believe are crucial to understanding the context of his advice.
The premise of two-realities is critical to understanding the spirituality of sex.
Everything we perceive with our five senses, Kabbalah refers to as the 1% reality. This is also referred to as the 1% illusion or darkness. It is in this small percent that our individual egos are active, creating suffering and turmoil.
The other realm is the hidden 99% of reality. This reality goes by many names. Bliss. The Light. Perfection. Pleasure. Joy. Heaven. Source. Everything that has or will ever manifest in our 1% experience, already exists in the 99% reality. When an artist or musician is inspired they are tapped into the 99% reality. At the moment of inspiration a portal opens and light channels through to our relative darkness.
How do you recognize the divine 99% reality?
–When you feel something greater than you guiding your actions, words, or creative endeavors, you have made contact with the 99% reality.
–Young children are in close connection with this realm.
–A person who “lights up a room” and whom others love to be near is tapped into the 99%.
God created a vessel to receive His Light.
Berg details a thought provoking interpretation of the creation story. The Creator is a force of giving. In order for a relationship of giving to exist, there must be a receiver who desires it. The soul was created as a vessel to receive. Adam and Eve represent the male and female essence of the same soul created to receive the Light of The Creator. Every human being is a fragmented piece of this original vessel. We desire the Light available to us in the 99% reality. Our spiritual path on this earth is to access and bring the experience of that perfection over to our 1%.
Share Until It Hurts
The key to receiving divine light is by sharing and receiving joy with others.
Berg says we should “share until it hurts.” More precisely, he means sharing when it hurts because you are resisting ego. This is what reveals Light. Part of sharing joy is the very important role of receiving joy from others in order to give it back to them. This doesn’t need to be about sex. Bringing Light can mean sharing and graciously receiving loving acts in many forms. However, it is here that the author cites that sex is one of the quickest and most assured ways of accessing the divine 99% reality.
Spiritually, sex can also have the exact opposite effect. Any sexual thought, act or impulse that is selfish in nature and not 100% about giving pleasure to your partner will not access the divine and will actually repel it. Giving the highest priority to our selfish desires leaves us in the darkness of our 1% illusion.
In the Kabbalah, men are considered to be the force that can directly summon forth the divine essence of Light (semen.) And just like Spiderman, “with power comes great responsibility.” It appears men have more work to do resisting their egoic tendencies in order to achieve the highest form of sexual fulfillment.
Women are not without responsibility too.
The female energy is the one that in her highest self is to receive, just as the soul was created to receive Light. As women, we can experience a more fulfilling sexual experience when our focus is on receiving pleasure for the sake of sharing it. Two people giving and receiving in a way that compounds upon itself can experience a higher state of being.
“If a woman considers her [partner] first, receiving all the pleasure that he is giving her for the sole purpose of imparting pleasure to him, she is now a perfect model of the Soul. Her receiving is now considered to be an act of sharing.”
In Philip’s article, he points out the ways in which men may act selfishly and miss the opportunity to create Light in a sexual experience. As is typical with men and women, we behave selfishly in opposite ways. Selfish tendencies for men generally have to do with overindulgence. The ways women act selfishly are usually about avoidance. For example,
–Considering sex a chore on the to-do list.
–Fantasizing our partner is someone else.
These practices do not model the desire of the original soul, to receive for the sake of sharing. They keep us disconnected from our partner and do not invite Light into our relationship. In order to access the divine 99% we need to be receptive for the sake of our partner.
The Karmic Balance
As with all universal principles, they are universally applicable. The art of giving and receiving are not limited to activities between the sheets. How many times does someone pay us a compliment (giving) and we (selfishly) make excuses instead of graciously accepting the gift of kind words? Or someone offers us help and we decline in a vain effort to prove our independence? Accepting the compliment or help with a simple ‘thank you’ receives the kindness and gives joy back to the person that gave it to you. These little acts [of God] are pervasive in our daily life, how often do we notice, let alone appreciate it?
The concept I love most about Berg’s writing is the suggestion that the inviting of Light, or resisting of it, is cumulative across the physical human experience. We are all fragmentations of the one soul that shattered into individual human beings. Everything we do affects, not only ourselves, but also the whole of humanity. By this logic, the more people gaining access to divine through connected, committed, loving relationships, the more Light is revealed in our dark 1% experience. Considering the massive devastation of three wars and repeated natural disasters among other of our human horrors, there stands lot of karmic debt that we could all go do our best to balance out. Berg suggests that a powerful place to start is in the bedroom.
Here is the problem with my bio, I am a true Gemini and all over the place. I have a bachelor’s degree in Zoology. I raise a rare breed of dog, called Canaan Dogs. Our kennel is Renegade Canaan Dogs. I was a toxicology scientist for 10 years, a path that turned me wholly and precisely towards natural living and homeopathy. I love yoga, camping, and kayaking. I read a lot; from cookbooks to spiritual growth material to novels like Twilight (That’s right, I admit it!) My passion is mindful cooking and sometimes I blog at Renee’s Random Thoughts about my culinary adventures and other random thoughts. I live in Southern RI with my husband, son, and 4 Canaan Dogs.