The Sublimation of Love

By George A. Boyd ©2023

Q: Why do some people equate love with sex? Isn’t real love spiritual?

A: Many people start out in their experience of love viewing it as Eros, or sexual passion. However, love sublimates through seven levels:

  1. Sexual desire and romance (Eros)
  2. Infatuation, romantic fantasy
  3. Idealization, making your object of love larger than life
  4. Caring and compassion for others (Agape)
  5. Spiritual love and devotion (Bhakti)
  6. Unconditional love of the Soul (Karuna)
  7. The fiery, healing, Divine Love (Shakti)

These seven levels of love express in distinct ways:

In sexual and romantic love, there is primarily a desire for conjugal relations to release and satisfy libidinous passions.

In infatuation, you look to your partner as someone who will fulfill your dreams and complete your life. The popularity of romance novels testifies to the fascination with the dream of finding their ideal partner.

In idealization, you cast the object of your love as a perfect, godlike being. Here you see your partner as an ethereal or spiritual being; someone who is flawless and radiantly beautiful. Those who idealize their partners—but who live with him or her for any period of time—realize their idealization of their partner was a delusion.

In caring and compassion, you respond to another’s needs. This may take the form of parenting, caring for the sick or infirm, or doing volunteer service to assist the needy. This is love in action that seeks to help others and assuage their pain and misery.

Spiritual love and devotion comes from your spiritual heart. To experience this type of love, you need to contemplate your spirit and enter into union with it. Many people are cut off from their spirit, so they never experience this level of love.

Unconditional love streams forth from your Soul. When you are able to tap into this inner fountainhead of love and compassion, it becomes a powerful force for healing and releasing your emotional pain.

The fire of Divine Love—some call it the Holy Spirit, Shakti, or Grace—you send as an attunement to the Soul or spirit in others, and to connect them with the Divine Will, the Illumined Mind, the Loving Heart of God, the healing force within, and to bring remembrance and to reawaken their connection with the Soul. To access this level of love, your attentional principle receives a beam of the Light from an Initiate or Master; you, in turn, send this Light to others through an attunement.

The spiritual love of which you speak requires sublimation of love to levels five through seven:

  • To sublimate your love to level five, you need to tune into the experience of your spirit and regard others from its perspective.
  • Sublimation to level six requires that you gain union with the Soul and allow the Soul’s unconditional love to pour forth through you to others.
  • In order to sublimate love to level seven, you need to function as your attentional principle and be able to receive the Light from your Supervising Initiate.

We teach you how to activate the spirit, Soul, and attentional principle in our intermediate mediation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. This enables you to experience and express these deepest wellsprings of spiritual love within you. Without being able to contact these three immortal principles, you never experience these three highest aspects of love.

We encourage you to study these levels of love within yourself and what evokes that aspect of love in you. You might like to regard another person through these different frames of love and see how you perceive them and relate to them in each perspective.

Signs of Spiritual Awakening

By George A. Boyd © 2022

Q: People in recovery speak of having a spiritual awakening. What are some of the changes in character that go along with this?

A: We see a shift into the expression of spiritual emotions:

  • Patience
  • Forgiveness
  • Humility
  • Asking for help from God and the Holy Spirit
  • Gratitude
  • Awe and wonder at the beauty and majesty of Creation
  • Inner quietness and peace

When the negative patterns that comprised their addiction and their negative character traits are worked out—through their twelve-step program or psychotherapy—these inner emotions emerge. When the darkness is removed, the inner light that was hidden behind it comes forth.

You can evaluate whether you are having a spiritual awakening through examining whether you are experiencing these states or not. If these emotions do not arise, you are having an inner experience; it just might not be spiritual awakening.

Another marker that accompanies spiritual awakening is spontaneous love, caring, and compassion that you feel towards others. You see the beauty, the goodness, and the potential in others, and you wish to support them have their own spiritual awakening and to blossom into what they can become.

We encourage you to reflect on these spiritual emotions and to find their wellsprings in you. Notice what blocks it from expressing through you: work on these issues until you resolve them—then spiritual awakening will arise in you.

Those of you who are working on your recovery from addiction and are working on your 11th step may find our book, Meditation for Recovery: Key Techniques for Maintaining Sobriety, Sanity, and Serenity, helpful in activating your spiritual life.

If you are serious about getting to the bottom of your addiction, you may wish to take our Addiction Recovery Coaching Program, which will help you uncover the patterns that keep your addiction in place and begin the process of transforming them.