We like to revel in the pleasures of the body, except that our body has several dimensions, each characterized by its level of subtlety (emotional body, Buddhist body, aura etc.).
The Aim Of All The Initiatory Sciences Is To Teach Us To Revel In Higher Pleasures
You could say that spirituality is like oenology. The aim of oenology is to educate our mouth (i.e. tongue, palate), sight and smell to recognize and appreciate good wines, rather like parents who take their children to museums to learn about beauty and art. The purpose of spiritual science is to teach us to let ourselves be guided by our soul, our highest dimension. Most of the time, we let ourselves be directed by the lower dimensions of our being: the physical body (lust, covetousness, even predation, etc.), the emotional body (fear, greed, etc.), and we don’t always call upon the nobler qualities that lie dormant within us all.
How Do You Begin To Listen To Your Soul?
The soul is your deepest conscience, the one that knows right from wrong. It’s what sometimes urges you to act even when your reason or emotions tell you otherwise. To listen to your soul, you must first admit that it exists and that you need to open up to it. The soul manifests itself when we have prepared ourselves in the best possible way, i.e. when we have maintained a certain degree of purity so that it feels good.
Purity, A Prerequisite For Soul Expression
The soul needs a receptacle, and it’s purity that best guarantees its expression. There is bodily purity (cleanliness), emotional purity (positive emotions), intellectual purity (constructive ideas) and Buddhist purity (the quality of our daily actions). The purer the whole of the receptacle that is our being, the more clearly our soul will manifest itself within us. We can reinforce our inner purity through prayer and meditation, for example.
The Soul Is Our Guide
Given that the soul is our most subtle dimension, it would be natural to let it guide us in all our life choices, starting with what brings us pleasure. Instead of seeking to eat well, for example, the soul would seek to perform noble deeds. For it is these that bring fulfillment and contentment.
Educate Yourself So That The Soul Takes Over
There are many ways to reinforce the soul’s pre-eminence in our existence. One radical but effective way is asceticism. It consists in voluntarily depriving ourselves of bodily pleasures in order to awaken the pleasures of the soul. There are several observable degrees and forms of asceticism. They can be combined or practiced separately. Here are a few ascetic practices you can try out:
– fasting: the aim is to accustom your body to being empty, so that it can be filled with light. By doing so, when your stomach is empty, you can give more room to your soul. You’ll gradually see things you never knew you could see before as you engage in fasting, whether intermittent or complete.
– Sexual restraint: this means keeping seminal fluid in your gonads (for men) or abstaining from intercourse (for women). Controlling the body through sexual abstinence preserves a great deal of energy which can then be devoted to the spiritual life, which also consumes a great deal of our strength.
– the truth: getting into the habit of systematically telling the truth, regardless of the personal consequences, is a guarantee of spiritual fidelity. Indeed, the spiritual life can be summed up as the search for truth. Practising sincerity on a daily basis brings us closer to the spiritual ideal.
– Material detachment* (see below): one way to get rid of one’s impregnation with the physical world is to cultivate real detachment from objects. In concrete terms, this can mean showing sincere generosity or living with little, why not by cultivating a minimalist lifestyle.
There are, of course, other forms of asceticism: it’s up to you to discover them and see which ones suit you best.
Those Who Know How To Satisfy Their Soul Need Almost Nothing
Most of today’s ills are linked to the torment of human souls. Whether it’s the destruction of nature or armed conflict, it’s first and foremost a lack of expression of the qualities of the soul. Greed and violence are symptomatic of an individual who has not learned to satisfy his soul. When physical or material identity takes the upper hand, human beings commit the worst kinds of exactions.
Conversely, someone who has learned to live by serving the pleasures of his soul will never be a burden or a threat to others. The soul needs little from a material point of view, yet it is through the soul that we experience the most intense joys.
The Goal Of Life: Ecstasy
The word ecstasy (from the Latin ecstasis borrowed from the Greek ἔκστασις, ékstasis “transport” ) designates the rapture of spirit which, through intense contemplation, transports a being out of the life of the senses. Ecstasy is spiritual in essence, and it’s unfortunate that the word has taken on a sexual meaning in common parlance. Everyone’s goal is to be able to experience ecstasy on a daily basis, the fruit of contemplation of the divine, itself the result of a constant effort to tame one’s impulses and go beyond the purely physical dimension of being. Babies come into the world with a capacity to be ecstatic about everything. In adulthood, we must learn to rediscover this capacity for ecstasy, through asceticism or other forms of spiritual discipline.
*Material Detachment: There’s More Happiness In Giving Than In Receiving
When it comes to choosing a profession or vocation, we’re often at a loss. We try to find what will fill us the most, what will bring us the most. In reality, we need to think in the opposite direction. Everything worth living for on earth is the result of an act of self-sacrifice and self-giving. We are never satisfied until we have given.
The Joy Of Giving Is Greater Than The Joy Of Receiving
There are many degrees of happiness. To put it simply, there is selfish happiness and altruistic happiness. Altruistic happiness being superior to selfish happiness. Why is this so? Why is the pleasure of giving superior to the pleasure of receiving?
When You Give, You Nourish The Subtle Parts Of Your Being
The act of receiving usually involves physical enjoyment, hedonistic or narcissistic satisfaction. When we give, we are dispossessing ourselves of something, but if we do it sincerely and with an open heart, we obtain compensation in our soul. The enjoyment of dispossession and sacrifice implies a moral counterpart. The laws of nature are unstoppable, like equations in chemistry. What’s on the right of the equation is on the left of the equation from an atomic point of view, even though the molecules are different. The same applies to the acts of receiving and giving: what we lose from a material point of view we gain back from the point of view of the soul, if the act is performed with joy.
The Hierarchy Of Happiness
If, of course, the act of giving is superior to the act of receiving, it’s because there is a hierarchy of dimensions of being. The physical body is important, but it is subordinate to other aspects of our being, such as the soul and spirit. This is true because the soul, unlike the body, is permanent. Besides, if you had to choose, it’s better to have a good soul or a strong mind than a strong body. Of course, a healthy body helps to welcome your soul in the best possible conditions.