Eros on the Spiritual Path
Psyche, the beloved of Eros. The “animating spirit, the human spirit or mind,” from Latin psyche, from Greek psykhē “the soul, mind, spirit; life, one’s life, the invisible animating principle or entity which occupies and directs the physical body.
Eros: god of love, from Greek eros (plural erotes), “god or personification of love,” literally “love,” from eran “to love, “erasthai ” to love, desire. Ancient Greek distinguished four ways of love: erao “to be in love with, to desire passionately or sexually;” phileo “have affection for;” agapao “have regard for, be contented with;” and stergo, used especially of the love of parents and children or a ruler and his subjects.
Realization of Eros
Eros is a god, and the true mission of eros is to bring us to the experience and realization of what real love can be in all its dimensions. Eros shows us how love unifies not only spirit and body, but also desire with selfless giving. In wanting your partner, lover, husband or wife, you are giving them your heart. But this is not the kind of wanting that most people know. When we feel wanting and desire, we experience it at the level of the first mountain, which most people call eros. But in our exploration, we want to know the true nature of divine eros,
The Power of Divine Eros, ch. 3
Eros is Life
Eros is an expression of our basic life force, arising from the pelvis and belly center and experienced as a pulsating, throbbing, sensual vitality. Normally we experience erotic energy as sexual, but it need not be. You can be turned on by someone or something without being genitally aroused. So erotic relationship is a larger category of relationship that includes the sexual. In this teaching we have been exploring divine eros, which is when the erotic force, the dynamism of passion and desire, is combined with the selfless love of our heart. This combination reveals more of the full potential of eros, the life force, as an expression of our true nature. As with the erotic, the divine erotic can be sexual or not. Though sexual relationships are always erotic, they are not always an expression of divine eros, for there can be sex without love or an inner sense of presence, and divine eros always includes love. More specifically, divine eros requires the presence of selfless love, which is unusual in relationships of any kind.
We tend to think of eros as always being sexual because conventional understanding cannot differentiate the erotic (or the divine erotic) from the sexually erotic. The result is that people repress the living force of eros in most relationships in order for those relationships to fit the conventions of friendship or family. Or if they feel the eros in the relationship, they believe they must express it sexually, with all its potential complications, for they cannot imagine eros being other than sexual energy.
Perhaps you are beginning to understand what we mean by “divine eros.” When you love another person, you also want him or her—but what is it that you love and what is it that you want? Their body? Yes or no? Yes, but not only. If it’s just the body, that would mean wanting an empty shell. If you only want their spirit, there would be no possibility of complete relating on this level of existence that we are living this moment. You need both, and that is what brings about true divine eros. So, what does “eros” mean? And why do we say that eros is divine? Because it forcefully divulges the true nature of love.
Divine eros refers to a particular quality, a particular energy, a particular way of experiencing the nature of our consciousness. At the same time, it is a way of experiencing, feeling, and knowing our consciousness that becomes significant for being open to the depth of our nature.
Love and Eros
What do we need in order to learn about love and eros—divine eros—and about the role of love and wanting and desire? How can we embrace the excitement of life with all its pleasure and enjoyment? We need to experience and express all of these things, and this happens mostly in relationship with other people. You can definitely have an enjoyable experience with your cat or your dog. Many people have wonderful experiences with nature and with animals. But with human beings, relating is more difficult, though the potential is far greater.
Erotic is Divine.
The erotic is divine. Divine eros is your birthright and it was present in its purity upon your entrance into this world. It was all there, coemergent—your naked body and the intense, bursting energetic life force of the divine. To awaken to this beauty and magnificence once again through the spiritual gate is one of the splendid blessings of this life.