“In Genesis we have God declaring that what God has joined together, no man should tear asunder. This is the reference to marriage being for an entire lifetime on earth. It is also a support for monogamous sex. You had mentioned about other cultures (in history) having a much more casual view of sex. I inferred that you may think the idea of monogamy and one life partner is a symptom of our faulty judgment. Does this concept in Genesis line up with your vision of the role and use of sex? ”
[This is an extremely long response.]
I. Marriage as a Spiritual Practice
What you state is a reference in Genesis to marriage being for an entire lifetime. It is also a support for monogamous sex. In addition, it can continue to be this for as many people as need to have this support to continue with the personal/spiritual work which they do together in this particular life in which this is important for them. It is important for many of the billions of people on the planet, because it is this many that are working on growing and learning spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and socially.
I won’t get into any comments about whether these references to Genesis are literal or figurative, conservative, moral, ethical, outdated, traditional, any other label, or anything like that, because none of that is the real issue that must be addressed when confronted with this question. The paradox is: To some these words are truth about life, to others they are not. In some situations, they are real, in other situations, they are not. No one individual can determine how or what another individual is meant to grow, learn, and evolve into in their human lifetime. This is only set by God and the individual’s higher Self – and happening at levels far beyond our own everyday human consciousness. So, each soul must determine their own integration and address towards this issue.
A. Fortitude and Support for the Spiritual Path
Absolutely, holding to these beliefs can be and still is purposeful. They give people the fortitude to maintain effort when working through the relationship issues becomes very difficult. Many times it takes a commitment to God to persevere through to the healing of these issues which people have and which brings us together to be worked out in the first place. (Holding onto God=Holding onto Love, and Love is necessary.)
Relationships of all kinds are the gardens where we grow Love, and the furnaces which we “burn off” the mistakes in consciousness which we have within our consciousnesses. And as I’ve said before, Love (Love=the presence of God in the relationship) is the only bond that is strong enough to help us stay together to keep on working on the issues that we need to work on in the relationship. Sometimes, though, we shunt it away when the issues are so pronounced.
When we make a relationship commitment, we are making a commitment to work through the problems we have in our relationships, and to have love grow within the relationships. Together, we create a special relationship, which can become a helpful relationship for the spiritual path/evolution. In fact, the experience of transformation occurs when we willingly change to heal issues related to relationships. We transform spiritually when we change our own consciousness to help to heal the relationship. (Side note: We can heal or we can pretend to heal. All we need is honesty to determine which.)
B. Oneness with God and All
The statement quoted in Genesis can also mean more than just marriages. According to the Edgar Cayce readings, marriages themselves were a creation of mankind. Mankind then sanctified and spiritualized marriage through sacred channels and methods – bringing God into it. But, these words can also mean for all relationships. “What God has joined together” can also point towards our spiritual nature and be all of mankind – the relationships we have to every person – the commitment we have to help all of humankind through this journey out of the earthly plane back to our real home – the spiritual realm. What God has joined together – the oneness of mankind, as well as the Christ Spirit within our own consciousnesses – no one can take apart. In other words, the oneness of all life and our Oneness with God, cannot be undone by anyone. The marriage then becomes a microcosm of a macrocosmic truth.
For many, it serves a real purpose to strengthen the purpose of the healing of relationships, and the potential for growth that we have available within any relationship. For many, it becomes their commitment to their own spiritual path – marriage as a spiritual practice. And why not? Because it offers a whole school of learning unto itself – sometimes enough for us to experience marriage for many lifetimes.
C. Fork in the Road
But, the statement, and marriage, both, are not that for everyone. And cannot be made to be that for everyone. For many who have their spiritual practice within themselves – or through a different way, marriage is not going to be the same. For these, marriage is an opportunity to work out problems, to grow within ourselves and to learn beyond our own understanding, but these can also find that when the relationship no longer offers any learning – and this does happen – then, like a school that one is graduated from, both person’s are best to go their own ways.
I’ve seen many marriages end because the learning and growth are finished and no longer available with those other partners. Not all of them but enough to take notice. Each person has paths which offer them more, but are not together with each other anymore.
Yes, I’ve also seen many divorces happen because people want to avoid having to work on their issues. Unfortunately for them while on Earth, fortunately for their soul, they take their issues with them into the next marriage and the next, and next until they finally decide to work on themselves. Even these will eventually return to the path of their own healing and transformation. All it takes is honesty to determine which fork in the road we are choosing.
D. Not a Prison Sentence or a Feat of Endurance
The statement presented during the marriage ceremony, “What God has joined together….” is not meant to be a prison sentence or a condemning sentence put on by God. If the statement becomes that, then the issues present are not being worked on and need to be examined for consideration.
Neither is the marriage to be an endurance feat to see who can outlast the other, or who has the most stamina to stay in a marriage that is no longer based on love. Who among us wants to be in a lifetime marriage to someone we discover that we really don’t love? Who among us wants to spend their lifetime in a marriage to someone who we discover really doesn’t love us – a lifetime in a relationship with no love? We profess to marry for love, but love isn’t always there. Who does this serve to stay in this marriage? Yet, it happens often.
Make no mistake about what I’m saying. Every state of being that we create for ourselves, God can make into a situation sufficient for us to learn and grow spiritually. If we choose marriage and the lifelong commitment, till death do us part, then this will create for us the circumstances within which we can learn (or unlearn) and grow spiritually. But, many of us do not choose this particular setting to learn and grow spiritually. Some choose to have this as part of their learning, but move on to other ways of learning, too. These other ways are just as valid and the “moving on” is also valid. In today’s world, divorce is an option. Souls are coming in knowing this and equally okay with taking this option.
Marriage is still a man-made social structure spiritualized through mankind’s desire to bring God into the marriage experience – but not the only structure with this potential. It is easy to see how we have latched onto it through the eons and why – because it is a promising and worthwhile social structure, capable of providing an environment for growth of love and learning about ourselves and others.
Yet, it is an Earth- based, human race-based social structure. Made sacred through our own hearts, and intentions to make it sacred. We, humans, made it sacred through our inviting God into it, as well as our willing participation in it when holding the intention of the marriage going the distance. It was the act of inviting God into it, that brought God into it, and that made it into a place where we could grow and learn. Through the ages, as marriage became more and more based on love, and not political alignments, bloodline or money, or simple procreative continuation of the group or tribe, God became more and more a part of marriage.
In the end, marriage is obviously not the only relationship where we can demonstrate love for someone else. It is a popular one, though. But as I’ve mentioned in my workshop, Love is greater than every social construct, including marriage, and no single social structure or confine here on earth can hold all of the consciousness of Love – God. No creation of mankind, can hold all of God. That is why many who choose the paradigm that you state, can and do choose something else their next life – so as to learn those things that they were not able to learn by being married to only one person a previous life. This is also why some who can and do learn at a faster pace, will go ahead and choose to end a marriage and move on when their learning is over. Yet, I do want to acknowledge that more divorces are because people are not working on themselves rather than are working on themselves.
E. The Paradox of Marriage
How do we then balance the idea about “What God joins together, etc….”? In some cases, we also have to address the shortcomings of where this comes from. It is not a catch-all and be-all truth in the same way that “I am with you always.” is. Because humankind created marriage, this statement is a human created intention and cannot be imposed upon others from the outside group or force (because it is not originating from within the person’s own heart). The paradox being: it being true in the minds and hearts of those that believe it and hold to it, (those to whom it serves them to hold on to it) and it not necessarily being true in the minds and hearts of those that don’t hold to this belief in their heart nor their mind – (but rather something else holds true in their heart and minds.) Would you say this of those in native American marriages? or in China? Would you say this in marriages before the Christian church or Hebrew religion ever came into being – where religion is or was not part of the equation, but rather marriage to fulfill the politics of the time or when blood lineage mattered more, as well as having marriage from the desire to build wealth or a family to help tend crops?
The issue will never be whether the statement is truth – it is, but the paradox is that on a deeper level, it doesn’t always mean “marriage” for all people. It can and does mean other things. Sometimes it means “Spiritual Growth”, in the saying, “What God joins together [for our spiritual growth], let no one put asunder.”
In the end, our spiritual growth and learning is the most important thing of all – the learning of our relationship to God, to each other and to ourselves and in growing to this, then, helping each other find our way out of the earthly confines. Some find this through marriage and the support of that phrase you gave from Genesis. Others find this through marriage for a shorter while, but move on when time comes to move on, and others find this phrase to mean things way beyond the state of marriage. If we hold marriage to be a spiritual path, then it is good for us to hold to it, but we must address those interrelationship issues that come up for us as a result, since it’s also possible to stay married, not learn anything, and still not work on the issues that are the problems. This also is done by many.
It is true that some people learn faster than others. It is also true that generations before now, learning was at a slower pace, and marriages lasted longer because the healing, and learning and growing was slower. Finally, it’s also true that sometimes we marry people for reasons other than our inner growth.
In Part 2: Monogamy and Soul Development
II. Monogamy and Soul Development
Monogamy and having one life partner are not a symptom of any faulty judgement. They are absolutely appropriate for those whose path of spiritual growth benefits from holding to this. My view is that we can create any social construct in any society and have it be a place where God can help us to grow and learn during any one particular life. (I will also add that it’s easy to lie to ourselves on our basic human conscious level about what would benefit our spiritual path and what wouldn’t. I will also add that eventually we have to face the truth of our lying.)
But, it means that individually we have to choose, every day whether we’re going to hold to that belief, and with that, then go on to pursue working on the issues that this choice brings with it. In cases of discord, are we going to draw upon that belief and pursue working out those issues that seem to be causing problems? For those who hold this belief, this can be the support that they need to keep going. But for others, it’s not necessarily going to be the same question to address. It may not be the question of commitment vs. not commitment. It can be an entirely different question and issue appropriate for their own particular life and soul development. Souls are coming in with the awareness that marriage need not be a lifelong commitment. This can mean many things to people – one is that we can move on when needed, and another is that we can run away if we want to run away – (not generally the healthy choice, though).
When choosing a lifelong commitment in marriage in one life, our soul consciousness then must move on during other lives to other constructs or life situations to learn of other things. For example, how easy is it to spend one’s entire adult life in contemplative meditation, going deeper and deeper within, learning the wisdom of the sages, when you have 8 kids to feed and a crop to plant and harvest, and cattle that needs tending outside.
One life circumstance takes the time and resources which the other life circumstance would need in order to be fulfilled. One can join the two circumstances together and have a little of both, but not at the depth of experience that one alone would give. An example would be someone learning a great deal by not being in a marriage relationship but at the same time not having had the experience of having a spouse and children – a potentially transforming experience which brings it’s own set of things to learn, from which to grow and be enriched. We each have experiences which other lives have never had.
A. Multiple marriages as a Spiritual Path
It’s always going to come back to the individual soul’s journey through their own growth of consciousness – even to the point that we may hold to the lifelong commitment in marriage one life and then choose many marriage partners another life —–because each different circumstance is what we need in order to gain that which that life has to offer. Each offering a wholly different set of options and opportunities to learn and grow. SEE? Even multiple marriages in one life can offer unique experiences with which to grow, which a single marriage in one life cannot offer.
Isn’t it wonderful how we can experience all that life has to offer (one marriage one life, many marriages in another life, and no marriages in still another life), gain all that’s available, and experience all the different circumstances which offer learning and growth? (Just maybe not all in any one particular life.) The commitment that comes from “What God joins together….etc” offers different learning than when we choose to end a marriage and move on to the next relationship.
When “lifelong commitment” is something we want to experience, we can hold onto this phrase to help us. We need God’s help to do this. When “lifelong commitment” is not something we need to seek to experience, the paradox is that we can choose another path and another truth about God to help us down an even different path of learning. An example of this idea? When early Christians were facing the lions, many souls came into the life with the intention to seek and hold to a cause that they would die for. They found one. Other Christians weren’t facing the lions and they faced other issues which challenged them.
Just be warned, it’s not always us that makes the choice of whether to continue or end a relationship – the other person has choices to make, too. The other soul has a journey that they’re on, too. And sometimes they can make a choice that goes against the choice that we make. This can be quite a harrowing surprise sometimes.
III. Sex and Spirituality
I agree, sex is a gift. And it is a gift that we can share with each other, or give to ourselves.
Did you know that if in a married relationship, the couple’s feelings are weak for each other, and they have sex that produces a child, the child will have a spiritual energy level equal to the couple’s weak energy and feelings between them, but if a person has an affair with someone whom they feel love and passion about, where greater love is present, and they have a child, even though they are unmarried and having an affair, the child will be stronger spiritually, because of the love and energy between the two biological parents is stronger?
Like attracts like – there is no getting around this Law of the Universe. A weak bond of love attracts a soul like it. A strong bond of love attracts a soul like it. A bond of love is the strongest of bonds and attracts the strongest presence of God. If the bond of Love is also joined by the bond of marriage, then that is a great place to be. But, if the bond of marriage is not joined with the bond of love, then other issues will arise.
In our world today, divorce is one answer for that. Believe me, people still do get married for reasons other than love – lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of times. They can grow yet more love in the marriage or they can choose to not grow more love in the marriage.
A. Sex and the Internal Conflict
I’ve taken the position that sex is an act best performed within a love relationship. The creative energies then can go towards helping the relationship to grow even more. I recommend this because sex and relationships are so intertwined that an emotional package comes along with sex. Even in connections that happen based solely on the pursuit of sex – no participant can enter into this and leave their emotions, feelings, thoughts – both conscious and subconscious, heart and mind behind.
In society, we place so much emphasis on the role of sex that it impacts us when circumstances go contrary to how we hold sex within ourselves.
In this case, our sex paradigm in our society here in the US is relevant because in general, it impacts our emotional and psychological growth and our spiritual beliefs for us as United States citizens. Other cultures being either more casual or more strict about sex is just that – their emotional, psychological and spiritual paradigms allowed for more casual or strict state of mind toward sex.
B. Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual
Sex by itself is not an answer to what we seek in our lives, even though some may pursue it as such. Sex is driven by physical elements (hormones), as is libido. Sex is also driven by psychological elements and emotional elements – both positively and negatively. (Examples are infinite and seen all the time, i.e. desire for children, desire to express love, sharing an emotional connection, as well as fantasies about love, sex and marriage, advertising, movies, addictions, using sex as a weapon, etc. – some positive and some negative.)
Sex is also driven by spiritual elements. While the physical act/element is associated with the first chakra, the emotional/psychological element/act is associated with the 2nd chakra. Sex is not just a 1st chakra act. Fear, understanding of human experiences, and adrenaline also contribute to the sexual experience and are 3rd chakra aspects to sex.
How is sex spiritually driven? When a relationship holds the factors which are helping the people grow spiritually within the relationship – especially Love (Love=the presence of God in a relationship). And when it is the intention of the two people, to share a loving/giving act between them, without guile, dishonesty, or any other negative factors. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s driven, but rather it includes that aspect – a 4th chakra factor – the heart chakra. In addition, we can also use the 5th, 6th, and 7th, chakras within the sexual experience.
I would say that sex is something that needs to be learned, because it involves the potential for including so many levels of the psyche and body of the individuals participating. In the same way that we don’t automatically know how to meditate, we also don’t automatically know many, many things – including about sex.
C. Sex reflecting the marriage
I haven’t mentioned marriage with regards to sex, because I want to make room for relationships based on love, not based on marriage. For some, marriage is the container for sex, for others, love is the container for sex. For still others, opportunity is the container for sex, but this last example is usually because they are being driven by bodily, libidinal, emotional, social or psychological factors. (Of course this can also be said about marriage or can be thought to be and therefore claimed to be “love”.)
If the marriage is truly based on love, then love is part of the sexual experience. If the marriage is based on spirituality, then spirituality is part of the sexual experience. If marriage is based on psychological or emotional issues, or on avoidance of other issues, then sex will have these as part of their sexual experiences etc. etc. etc.
If marriage is based on money, based on sex, based on social factors, based on anything else, then the sex between the two will hold that “based-upon” factor also. This can be a real influencing factor, because it only means the love bond wasn’t that strong to begin with and this will have to be addressed eventually within the relationship. This principle can end relationships or it can bring people to find a way for the love to grow.
D. Sex and Life’s Choices
Finally, sex can also pull us into those circumstances which require us to work on our issues. For example, some have sex as a drive from their hormones (both male and female), then the female gets pregnant. The couple get married because of the pregnancy, then find themselves in a situation where they have to work on themselves to have a good marriage, or else not work on themselves and divorce.
Because the person didn’t go deeper within themselves at the beginning, the paradigm they were in, pulled them into a situation where they almost had no choice but to go deeper within themselves – to address whether their marriage will work or end.
Even though it’s common, divorce is rarely entered into at a superficial level in the way sex is. People do enter within themselves, in order to address the factors that brings a person to this point – a forced situation bringing them to a place where they’re willing to go inward to figure out what to do with their life. If a child is involved, many times, the love or obligations to the child will be the opening for them to go deeper into themselves to find a way to deal with their situation.
So, in that case, they took an easy road – to have sex without thinking – but it put them in a tough situation. This then can lead to other doors (problems in the marriage, a child’s presence, or the issue of divorce, etc.) for them to start doing their thinking about their consequences and actions – “introspection” is what we call it.
There’s a statement that goes, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It’s true almost 100% of the time. (There is the rare life that occurs for the purpose of having a “vacation”, but that’s another blog.) When we live our life without ever asking questions or examining ourselves so that we can bring forth more of the Spirit of God and the fruits of such, it’s been a waste of time.
Marriage, sex, and every relationship are like this, too. The unexamined marriage, the unexamined relationship, and even the unexamined “circumstance” is not worth having, because we’ve not gained the food for our greater understanding. We’ve avoided that which we were meant to address – not just within the relationship between the two people, but within ourselves, alone. We’ve not gained/learned or grown in the way that opportunity was offering us. You’ll see this with co-dependent relationships a lot, or co-dependent moments within relationships – not addressing their issues until it is so prevalent that it cannot be ignored. We then have to do the whole thing over in order to eventually start addressing the issues related to our circumstance/relationship that we’re in.
The greater purpose of any relationship is not to have a relationship. Having a relationship is not the end goal of what we are striving for. It’s the beginning. Like the greater purpose of marriage is not just to have a spouse. The purpose of every relationship including marriage is for our spiritual growth – to grow in loving, to examine our self, to face and heal OUR OWN personal issues, to address our shortcomings, our fears, our misconceptions, and misunderstandings, to help heal relationships, to face our own emotional and psychological problems, to practice the fruits of the spirit – patience, forgiveness, mercy, kindness, love, and more.
Every state we find ourselves in has this purpose, because the truth is that we need each other – in the big sense of the word. WE NEED ONE ANOTHER. We are all part and parcel of God. We are designed to need one another, because we are designed to need all of God.
Marriage is one container for this, and when that is not the path, creating other loving relationships can then serve as containers, too. Even bachelorhood (or bachelorette-hood) is a container for this, because each situation and circumstance we find ourselves in, God can make into a learning circumstance – God can make into a classroom for us to learn – and no state we’re in is void of relationships in some way. Sex, then, is just one more classroom in which God can help us learn and grow.
V. Marriage, Love and Ego
Now at the end of this, I’ll add one more thing to the subject of marriage and lifelong commitments.
We can also stay together, joined for this life, in order to satisfy our own ego, holding an unconscious attitude of “Look what I can do.” or “Look what I accomplished”. This brings forth the question, are we making this commitment for “our own glory” – to prove that we can do it? To put it in religious terms, ideally, even marriage and the commitment we are making in marriage, is “for God’s Glory” or put another way, for the purpose of Love.
In looking at this question, we then must address whether we remain in the relationship to develop love, or do we remain in the relationship in order to endure a challenge and to abide by the statement “What God has brought together, let no one put asunder”? The issue becomes not whether we should stay in the marriage for the whole lifetime, but whether we are developing love within this relationship, for the whole lifetime. (Besides, who wants to be married to someone who is married for the purpose of helping their own ego. This isn’t a love-based marriage.)
The statement from the Bible, “What does it benefit a person to gain [anything], if we lose our soul in the process?” must be brought into the discussion. This addresses any action we undertake if we undertake it for egoistic purposes. Marriage can be this, too, if we’ve entered into it or are in it for our own selfish purposes.
What does it benefit a person to stay in a marriage or any relationship, if we lose our soul in the process? Contrary to the thought, just because a marriage isn’t happy or is going through difficulties does not in any way mean that we are losing our own soul by staying in it. Some could use this as an excuse to not work on themselves or not work on their relationship. So, it is also worth asking, “what does it benefit a person to leave a relationship, if we lose our soul in the process?”
The issue will always come down to one factor only – love. Did we enter into it because of our love, are we still in it because of our love, do we seek to stay in it because we love the other person? If the answer was ‘yes’ at any time, then it can be again, with the working on oneself leading to the development of love in a relationship that began from love. And if the marriage ends, can we say that this also is being done from a place to give honor to love? (Yes, it’s true, whether believed or not, that we can end a marriage because of love.)
The final question, then, is a question we can ask ourselves every day with regards to our relationships, “When it comes time for the other person to leave this earth, – will they, from our relating to them, know that they were loved?”