I thought I would set down everything I know on the topic of sex in its connection with mysticism. This is quite a complex topic, and I expect my thoughts to only constitute a tentative and partial sketch of the nature of the situation.
I am under the impression that there is merit to the Hindu theory of kundalini.
According to the theory of kundalini, there are seven chakras arranged along the length of the spine and into the head. These chakras exist in a subtle “energy body” which is nonphysical but exists parallel to the physical body.
It is not germane to my purpose to go into the nature of the individual chakras, but the Law of One contains an excellent discussion of the matter.
Upreaching energy enters the system at the bottom, in the root chakra. It meets with downpouring energy entering from the top, in the crown chakra. This produces various types of experience. If the two energies meet at the sacral chakra, for instance, one type of experience will be produced, while if they meet at the heart chakra, another type of experience will be produced. This variety of experience is considered in terms of how far the upreaching energy, or kundalini, is able to rise. By raising one’s kundalini, one can obtain varying degrees of mystical experience.
The connection with sexuality occurs in that sexual energy is a particular type of energy which can be incorporated into the upreaching dynamic. This creates the possibility of sublimation of sexual energy. One can transform sexual energy into higher types of spiritual energy, by raising it upwards through the chakras.
Methods of Sublimation
Most religious traditions are aware on some level of the possibility of the sublimation of sexual energy, and that it is an appropriate use of sexual energy for a spiritual seeker. There are two primary methods of sublimation of sexual energy which religious traditions recommend: continence, and energy transfer.
In continence, one refrains from outward expressions of sexual energy, in order to retain and sublimate this energy.
In energy transfer, one engages in a sex act with another, dedicating the sex act to spiritual purposes, and possibly applying various disciplines to further this aim. In this way one achieves both a sublimation of sex energy and a spiritual connection with the sex partner. The Law of One contains an excellent discussion of the process of sexual energy transfer.
It is my conjecture that these are the two most effective methods of sublimation of sexual energy. There are many other ways in which it is possible to express sexual energy, and it is my conjecture that these other ways either discharge the energy without using it to accomplish useful work, or actually use this energy to achieve counterproductive results. I quote from P.D. Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous, which gives an exquisite treatment of the topic:
“Then the other question — ‘is sexual abstinence useful for the work or not?'”
“It is useful if there is abstinence in all centers. If there is abstinence in one center and full liberty of imagination in the others, then there could be nothing worse. And still more, abstinence can be useful if a man knows what to do with the energy which he saves in this way. If he does not know what to do with it, nothing whatever can be gained by abstinence.”
“Speaking in general, what is the most correct form of life in this connection from the point of view of the work?”
“It is impossible to say. I repeat that while a man does not know it is better for him not to attempt anything. Until he has new and exact knowledge it will be quite enough if his life is guided by the usual rules and principles. If a man begins to theorize and invent in this sphere, it will lead to nothing except psychopathy. But it must again be remembered that only a person who is completely normal as regards sex has any chance in the work. Any kind of ‘originality,’ strange tastes, strange desires, or, on the other hand, fears, constantly working ‘buffers,’ must be destroyed from the very beginning. Modern education and modern life create an enormous number of sexual psychopaths. They have no chance at all in the work.”
“Speaking in general, there are only two correct ways of expending sexual energy — normal sexual life and transmutation. All inventions in this sphere are very dangerous.”
“People have tried abstinence from times beyond memory. Sometimes, very rarely, it has led to something but in most cases what is called abstinence is simply exchanging normal sensations for abnormal, because the abnormal are more easily hidden. But it is not about this that I wish to speak. You must understand where lies the chief evil and what makes for slavery. It is not in sex itself but in the abuse of sex. But what the abuse of sex means is again misunderstood. People usually take this to be either excess or perversion. But these are comparatively innocent forms of abuse of sex. And it is necessary to know the human machine very well in order to grasp what the abuse of sex in the real meaning of these words is. It means the wrong work of centers in relation to sex, that is, the action of the sex center through other centers, and the action of other centers through the sex center; or, to be still more precise, the functioning of the sex center with energy borrowed from other centers and the functioning of other centers with energy borrowed from the sex center.”
“Abnormalities in the sex center require special study. In the first place it must be understood that normally in the sex center as well as in the higher emotional and higher thinking centers, there is no negative side. In all the other centers except the higher ones, in the thinking, in the emotional, in the moving, in the instinctive, in all of them there are, so to speak, two halves — the positive and the negative; affirmation and negation, or ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ in the thinking center; pleasant and unpleasant sensations in the moving and instinctive centers. There is no such division in the sex center. There are no positive or negative sides in it. There are no unpleasant sensations or unpleasant feelings in it; there is either a pleasant sensation, a pleasant feeling, or there is nothing, an absence of any sensation, complete indifference. But in consequence of the wrong work of centers it often happens that the sex center unites with the negative part of the emotional center or with the negative part of the instinctive center. And then, stimulation of a certain kind of the sex center, or even any stimulation at all of the sex center, calls forth unpleasant feelings and unpleasant sensations. People who experience unpleasant feelings and sensations which have been evoked in them through ideas and imagination connected with sex are inclined to regard them as a great virtue or as something original; in actual fact it is simply disease. Everything connected with sex should be either pleasant or indifferent. Unpleasant feelings and sensations all come from the emotional center or the instinctive center.”
“This is the ‘abuse of sex.’ It is necessary, further, to remember that the sex center works with ‘hydrogen’ 12. This means that it is stronger and quicker than all other centers. Sex, in fact, governs all other centers. The only thing in ordinary circumstances, that is, when man has neither consciousness nor will, that holds the sex center in submission is ‘buffers.’ ‘Buffers’ can entirely bring it to nought, that is, they can stop its normal manifestation. But they cannoy destroy its energy. The energy remains and passes over to other centers, finding expression for itself through them; in other words, the other centers rob the sex center of the energy which it does not use itself. The energy of the sex center in the work of the thinking, emotional, and moving centers can be recognized by a particular ‘taste,’ by a particular fervor, by a vehemence which the nature of the affair concerned does not call for. The thinking center writes books, but in making use of the energy of the sex center it does not simply occupy itself with philosophy, science, or politics — it is always fighting something, disputing, criticizing, creating new subjective theories. The emotional center preaches Christianity, abstinence, asceticism, or the fear and horror of sin, hell, the torment of sinners, eternal fire, all this with the energy of the sex center.. Or on the other hand it works up revolutions, robs, burns, kills, again with the same energy. The moving center occupies itself with sport, creates various records, climbs mountains, jumps, fences, wrestles, fights, and so on. In all these instances, that is, in the work of the thinking center as well as in the work of the emotional and the moving centers, when they work with the energy of the sex center, there is always one general characteristic and this is a certain particular vehemence and, together with it, the uselessness of the work in question. Neither the thinking nor the emotional nor the moving centers can ever create anything useful with the energy of the sex center. This is an example of the ‘abuse of sex.'”
“But this is only one aspect of it. Another aspect consists in the fact that, when the energy of the sex center is plundered by the other centers and spent on useless work, it has nothing left for itself and has to steal the energy of other centers which is much lower and coarser than its own. And yet the sex center is very important for the general activity, and particularly for the inner growth of the organism […] At the same time union with, and the use of its energy by, the thinking center creates far too great an imagination on the subject of sex, and in addition a tendency to be satisfied with this imagination. Union with the emotional center creates sentimentality or, on the contrary, jealousy, cruelty. This is again a picture of the ‘abuse of sex.'”
I see the sexual impulse as one which is ethically negative by nature, but which can be turned to the ethically positive through sublimation. The sexual impulse in its natural form is lust (in the sacral chakra), and it can become love (in the heart chakra).
Lust degrades both the one desired and one desiring. Through it one can enter into dynamics of possession, manipulation, or violence. Therefore it is negative.
Love ennobles both the one loved and the one loving. Through it one can enter into dynamics of service, mutual appreciation, and aesthetic elevation. Therefore it is positive.
Lust and love are in a reciprocal, antithetical relationship. When one lusts after another, one becomes unable to love them. When one loves another, one becomes unable to lust after them.
I recently decided to stop masturbating. This decision was due to a desire to abandon lust. Since doing this I have experienced a delightful process of sublimation of sex energy.
According to Ra, our sexual feelings are reflections of deeper feelings that we hold. Thus, for instance, my sexual feelings for Hannah were a reflection of my love for her (on the positive side) and my desire to have mastery over her (on the negative side).
I think that my desire to masturbate is driven by a lack of self-acceptance. I see my sexual feelings as an impure part of myself, and my desire to masturbate arises from my desire to expel and be rid of this impure part of myself. In order to be OK with not masturbating, I have to practice self-acceptance, and in particular I have to be OK with my own sexual feelings, rather than feeling like they are something that I need to cast out of myself.