QA192 QUESTION: Can you explain to us how it is that in many religions and in traditions like initiation, the idea of sexual abstinence is linked with spiritual development?
ANSWER: Yes. Some of the explanations that you already have discovered for yourself are quite true and quite valid, but there is more to it than that. Now, what you know is the truth, that in former times – thousands of years ago – the development of man, his inner state, his instinctual side, was truly in such a low scale that he was indeed – I would not say like a beast, because animals do not have the pollution of mind that any entity in the human state can have – so much worse than animals.
There was bestiality, cruelty, and hate mixed in and utter selfishness, unloving attitudes in man’s sexuality in former times. The will was so little developed that whenever the instinctual side came out spontaneously, this bestiality manifested and diluted the spiritual energies, whose influx was still weak and could not afford this pollution from the bestial side of man.
Now, you know even in today’s state of consciousness, when you go deep enough in your self-search, in your self-exploration, in the deepest hidden regions of your soul, that to the degree there is unexpressed, denied, held back evil and destructiveness, it manifests and is caught in the sexual urge so that often the only place the negativity manifests is in a perhaps sublimated or deviated way.
Nevertheless, in its essence, the sexuality shows selfish, cruel, sadistic or masochistic tendencies wherever the total personality is not yet integrated and whole. However, thousands of years ago, the will was so weak and the mind capacity so limited, that in order to develop spiritually, spontaneity could not exist.
Spiritual development, nurturing and opening the channels for spiritual energy, was only possible when the entity learned willpower, self-discipline, discipline of mind, and clear thinking. So these attributes stood in cross-counter distinction to the spontaneous letting go of the emotional side. This meant that for thousands of years, in order to catch up with the evolutionary process, the instinctual side had to be kept in abeyance and the conscious side of will, of discipline, and of thinking capacity had to be cultivated. So in that sense, the teachings were quite correct at that particular time.
Where the error existed was, number one, to believe it is that way per se, and that sexuality is per se a contradiction to spirituality. The error was also in not realizing that this is a question of changing aspects and levels of consciousness. What is, at one period, the only possible way in order to attain development becomes, at another period where evolution has already fulfilled itself, a disastrous thing that splits off the personality further.
So it is therefore that in today’s time the exact opposite approach must be taken. The will and the thinking process have advanced so considerably that the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction and people are too much geared on thinking, on repressing, on self-discipline in a wrong kind of way, and the spontaneous nature has lagged behind.
It is now important that the instinctual side catches up in the evolutionary ages to come, so that the spiritualization of all levels of being can proceed. Spiritualization was concerned thousands of years ago with the levels of will and of thinking. Spiritualization now moves into the levels of feeling and instincts. And for that the instinctual side must be exposed with its evil, with its destructiveness, because only then can it become spiritualized. And this, of course, includes the sexuality.
The sexual urges which are still trapped in negative ways of being, in destructive aspects, must expose themselves; the meaning must be understood by the entity so that the spiritualization of the whole of human consciousness can proceed.
In former times, religion was concerned with the action of man, which is the will. Then came the time of Jesus, which was that thinking was as important as the action. And now, in the New Age, as psychology and the unconscious and instinctual nature are being brought into the foreground, we move into the level of the feeling, so that the purification of the total being, the total manifest person, can take place. It is now no longer a question of keeping anything in abeyance in order to bring spiritual power into the system.