The Penultimate Choice for True Lovers of All Varieties: Karmic Crazy Glue or Cosmic Sugar?
The Penultimate Choice for True Lovers of All Varieties:
Karmic Crazy Glue or Cosmic Sugar?
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THE HEART OF FIRE by Joan Pancoe
“A life without love is a waste. ‘Should I look for spiritual love or physical love?’ Don’t ask yourself this question. Discrimination leads to discrimination. Love doesn’t need any name, category or definition. Love is a world itself. Either you are in, at the center…or you are out, yearning.”
Shams of Tabriz
For more: Ruminations of a Timeless Mystic
If you happened to miss my last newsflash, it’s serves repeating the most important and positive astrological news of the next few months: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented period in which ALL outer planets are in forward motion, signaling full steam ahead in taking the actions necessary to manifest our dreams in our personal reality. This period of warp-speed momentum started on January 10 when Uranus stationed direct and will run until April 25 when Pluto stations retrograde, followed by Saturn and Jupiter in May.
In addition, this is the time of year when our heart/minds instinctually turn more towards love, (even if this is culturally induced by V-day:)), amped up by the fact that two of the personal planets which most affect how we operate in romance are in combustible fire signs: lover Venus just into impulsive Aries on February 7th and passionate Mars in adventurous Sagittarius through until the 16th. These energies fuel our heart-fire and make, what I call, our heart’s pilot light burn brighter than usual.
So, even though our heart’s pilot light never goes completely out, as it is fueled by an infinite supply of Divine Love, this is a time when we can allow more love to fill us from Source so that our hearts can blaze brighter and burn away any accumulated dross or debris that has blocked our heart’s love-light from shining out more brightly to nourish ourselves, all those in our lives and the earth plane itself in a natural overflow or ripple effect.
As we focus on love, which I call the gold-standard, in terms of what all human beings are ultimately seeking as the essence of true abundance, it’s important to keep in mind how many varieties of love there are: From love of plants, animals and nature, to friends and family, to the juicy romantic and erotic varieties—and, ultimately, just pure love with Being and all of Life, whether one calls it the Flow, the Tao, the Divine or Source.
In Greek philosophy the varieties of love were broken down into seven categories (this list is adapted from an article in Psychology Today magazine):
1. Eros is sexual or passionate love, and is the type most akin to our modern construct of romantic love. In Greek myth, it is a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows. The arrow breaches us and we ‘fall’ in love, (I say: “We don’t fall, but rather step in it:)”) as did Paris with Helen, leading to the Trojan War and the downfall of Troy and much of the assembled Greek army. Eros has also been contrasted with Logos or Reason, and Cupid painted as a blindfolded child.
2. Philia is love based on friendship. Aristotle believed that a person can bear goodwill to another for one of three reasons: that he is useful; that he is pleasant; and, above all, that he is good, that is, rational and virtuous. Friendships founded on goodness are associated not only with mutual benefit but also with companionship, dependability and trust.
For Plato, the best kind of friendship is that which lovers have for each other. It is a Philia born out of Eros, and that in turn feeds back into Eros to strengthen and develop it, transforming it from a lust for possession into a shared desire for a higher level of understanding of the self, the other and the world.
In short, Philia transforms Eros from mere lust into an impulse for shared growth as souls on a journey of awakening. Real friends seek together to live truer, fuller lives by relating to each other authentically and teaching each other about the limitations of their beliefs and the defects in their character, which are a far greater source of error than mere rational confusion: they are, in effect, each other’s therapist. So, it helps to find a friend with some degree of openness, insight and communication skills, both to change and to be changed.
This brings to mind a quote by M. Scott Peck which has been a guiding light for me for decades in my criterion for choosing romantic partners AND friends:
“Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth. Love is as love does. Love is an act of will—namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”
3. Storge, (‘store-gae’), or familial love, is a kind of Philia pertaining to the love between parents and their children. It differs from most Philia in that it tends, especially with younger children, to be unilateral or asymmetrical. More broadly, Storge is the fondness born out of familiarity or dependency and, unlike Eros or Philia, does not depend on personal qualities.
People in the early stages of a romance often expect unconditional Storge, but find only the need and dependency of Eros, and, if they’re lucky, the maturity and fertility of Philia. Given enough time, Eros tends to be transmuted into Storge.
4. Agape is universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature or the Divine. Unlike Storge, it does not depend on filiation or familiarity. Also called charity by Christian thinkers, Agape can be said to encompass the modern concept of altruism, defined as unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Recent studies link altruism with a number of benefits. In the short term, altruism leaves us with a euphoric feeling—the so-called ‘helper’s high.’ In the longer term, it is associated with better mental and physical health, as well as longevity.
Given the increasing anger, fear and division in our society, as well as the state of our planet, we could all do with quite a bit more Agape. In the Buddhist traditions, Agape equates with the cultivation of bodhichitta, or loving kindness and compassion as expressed through the Bodhisattva Vow:
“With a wish to free all beings
I shall always go for refuge
To the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha,
Until I reach full enlightenment.
Enthused by wisdom and compassion,
today in the Buddhas’ presence I generate
the Mind for Full Awakening
For the benefit of all sentient beings.
As long as space remains,
As long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
And dispel the miseries of the world”
“Beings are numberless, I vow to awaken with them. Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to end them. Dharma gates are endless, I vow to enter them. Buddha’s Way is unsurpassable, I vow to become it.”
5. Ludus is playful or uncommitted love. It can involve activities such as teasing and dancing, or more overt flirting, seducing, and sexual relations. The focus is on fun, and sometimes also on conquest, with no strings attached. Ludus relationships are casual, undemanding and uncomplicated but, for all that, can be very long-lasting. Ludus works best when both parties are mature and self-sufficient. Problems arise when one party mistakes Ludus for Eros, whereas Ludus is in fact much more compatible with Philia. Friends with benefits, indeed!
6. Pragma is a kind of practical love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests. Sexual attraction takes a back seat in favor of personal qualities and compatibilities, shared goals and making it work. In the days of arranged marriages, Pragma was very common. And, although out-of-fashion these days, it remains widespread, most visibly in certain high-profile celebrity and political pairings.
Many relationships that start off as Eros or Ludus end up as various combinations of Storge and Pragma. Pragma may seem opposed to Ludus, but the two can co-exist, with the one providing a counterpoint to the other. In the best of cases, the partners in the pragma relationship agree to turn a blind eye—or even a sympathetic eye, as in the case of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, or Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson.
7. Philautia is self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy. Unhealthy self-love is akin to hubris, overweening pride and narcissism. In Ancient Greece, a person could be accused of hubris if he placed himself above the gods, or, like certain modern politicians, above the greater good. Many believed that hubris led to destruction, or nemesis. Today, hubris has come to mean an inflated sense of one’s status, abilities or accomplishments, especially when accompanied by haughtiness or arrogance. As it disregards truth, hubris promotes injustice, conflict, and enmity.
Healthy self-love is similar to self-esteem, which is our cognitive and, above all, emotional appraisal of our own worth relative to that of others. More than that, it’s the matrix through which we think, feel, and act and reflects and determines our relationship to ourselves, to others and to the world.
When the Dalai Lama first came to the West, he was astonished to hear of a uniquely American phenomena: how many people suffer from low self-esteem. He said that, in the traditional society of Tibet, low self-esteem is virtually unheard of as children are naturally raised to feel loved and self-worth as one’s innate goodness is a given from birth.
Self-esteem and self-confidence do not always go hand in hand. In particular, it’s possible to be highly self-confident and yet to have profoundly low self-esteem, as is the case with many performers and celebrities and now, one president.
People with high self-esteem do not need to prop themselves up with externals such as income, status or notoriety, or lean on crutches such as alcohol, drugs or sex. They’re able to invest themselves completely in projects and people because they do not fear failure or rejection. Of course, they suffer hurt and disappointment, but their setbacks neither damage nor diminish them. Owing to their resilience, they are open to growth experiences and relationships, tolerant of risk, quick to joy and delight and are accepting and forgiving of themselves and others.
I’m huge proponent of what I call “healthy selfishness” which I describe metaphorically as to always remember when on an airplane to place the oxygen mask on oneself before on the baby in our lap. I also believe that what we choose to do for the highest good for our own soul growth is ultimately for the highest good of all concerned. For, how could it not be, if we are ONE Being with billions of faces?
There is, of course, a kind of permeability between the seven types of love, which continuously, over time, keep morphing back and forth between all varieties, helping us expand the emotional range of our humanness like nothing lesser ever could.
When it comes to romantic or erotic love there’s always a warning label attached, but this month especially, with the poor impulse control of Venus in Aries, and that is the potential for attracting some Karmic Crazy Glue. What is karmic crazy glue? It’s when one or both partners have an unrequited burning desire carried from past lives to hook up again and finish what they started—culminating in a mutual auto–da–fé. But, ah, what a way to go!
I’ve had some personal experience in this area, having been in one of these karmic bondages for over eleven years—off and on—beginning at age twenty-seven. And while this type of passion does make one feel intensely alive with the pleasure of at least temporarily sated desire—again and again and again—this ride also frequently dips into excruciating pain—like when you try to rip apart two objects that have been crazy-glued together.
In this type of karmic dance, neither partner ultimately gets out fully in one piece—and usually one is lucky to survive emotionally enough to rebuild one’s psychic integrity and rise again from the ashes.
Adding to this, Karmic Teacher Saturn is pressuring us to get our lessons in this area once and for all, by “encouraging” us to go for the high road of choosing the growing pains of unhooking, rather than another go-round of merging and ripping apart. There’s a certain urgency to this test as Saturn is in the penultimate degrees of Capricorn through March 21st when he moves into Aquarius and will not return to his home sign for almost thirty years.
So, if you’re currently with a partner (or have an unrequited desire to be with one) who is incapable of nurturing your heart and soul to an equal measure of your own capacity, but rather is feeding you sense pleasures with increasingly diminishing returns—and yet you keep going back or wanting more—be aware that you are shortchanging yourself with what I call “poisoned candy.” (You know whom I’m talkin to:))
This could present as all the externals looking or feeling good on paper (or in your delusion)—i.e. aesthetically pleasing visuals and promises of future safety and security. But, intuitively, you may be feeling as if you’re subtly being slimed by negative, toxic or lower-frequency energies that will ultimately drain your life force. And, of course, this delusion is almost always fed by the karmic crazy glue of unrequited desire from past incarnations.
One of the lessons of coming out the other side of karmic crazy glue is: Be careful what you desire because, sooner or later—in this life or some future incantation—you will manifest what or who you desire.
This means that even if we have outgrown the karmic desire in this life—it still feels real until we choose to unhook it and go through the growing pains of pulling apart your energetically merged 2nd chakras of desire and become strong enough to not go back for more ad infinitum. For more on this:
So, what is on the other side of karmic crazy glue after we definitively choose to not play at the level of the lower chakras anymore, with all the power struggles of trying to make “the other” your food supply energetically?
What is on the other side is what I call Cosmic Sugar, which comes from Agape or Divine Love when our primary relationship is with the Tao, Source or all of Life. Then, when we do choose to be in a love relationship with a significant other, it is as a means to merge into Oneness using the vehicle of our partnership. In the Taoist tradition, this is called dual cultivation practices.
No matter how good our primary love relationship is, most of us have, at some point or another, wished it were different than it is. And for those of us currently “in-between engagements,” some will desire to be partnered anew after their dance cards have been empty long enough. Then, they too may wish for their mate to be somehow different than he or she is.
How do we get out of this seemingly endless loop of “the grass is always greener” or “if only” cycles of not embracing reality whole-heartedly just as it is in the present moment?
The ancient mystics had the answer. They knew that their primary relationship is always with All of Life. Then Life itself becomes not only our most important guru or teacher, but also our Lover. The Taoists call it becoming One with the Tao or the Flow of Life. In Tantra, it’s called merging with Source or the Divine—and there are literally hundreds of practices within each of these spiritual traditions which allow us to make Love with all of Life.
In Taoism, there are five forms of meditation: sitting, standing, moving, lying down and sexual practices. Except the last, all are greater vehicles for becoming one with the Tao directly, without the necessity of having a partner.
So too, in Tantra, about 80% of the spiritual techniques involve using one’s perceptions, emotions and senses without any intermediary. In both, we can experience a non-ephemeral blissful merging with All of Life that is totally within our empowered choice to make.
For most of us, the easiest way to start on this path is by opening our hearts to the Soul of the Earth through communing with Nature. To start, pick a beautiful place to sit. As you breathe in the energy of a tree, a flowing river or the sun rising in front of you— simultaneously open your heart and just smile. Then repeat. When we do this daily, as expansively and as often as possible, we’ll begin to be in Love with Life again—as we spontaneously remember how good this feels.
While this technique is also taught in Buddhism as a form of mindfulness meditation, all variations originally come from the most ancient paths of Taoism and Tantra. If you find this intriguing, here’s a reading list to get you started:
The next step, if you’re ready to delve more deeply, may be in seeking out a spiritual teacher of these types of meditation near you. If you’re in the NYC area, please explore more here:
Once we’re maintaining our primary Love relationship with All of Life on a daily basis, we have what I call our “cake.” Then, if we also have a preference for enjoying playing the game of life by sharing it with another, as many of us do, we would call that the icing on our cake. Either way—it’s yummy.
Once we’re filled with cake, and not overly attached to needing the icing—which comes and goes and is beyond our control after all—then a love relationship with another soul incarnate—is raised to a whole new level.
As we raise our game, it moves us higher up on the “energy food chain,” allowing us to choose a partner from a place of overflowing juicy heart energy rather than a lonely, half-empty space of needing to be fed, which only creates power struggles sooner or later.
This place of fullness on the heart levels naturally shines out through our eyes and is the definition of true soul-level charisma. And, let us not forget, water seeks its own level—and self is always meeting Self.
Here are some of my personal guidelines for making the most out of this season’s karmic love lessons:
I. What you choose to do with your life is your karmic business . . . and what I do with my life is mine.
II. What you choose to believe in creates your dream (aka personal reality) . . . just as my beliefs create mine.
III. I don’t have to allow anyone else’s dream of suffering (of which there are infinite levels) affect my dream of joy in Being—right here and right now.
IV. I only allow others into my dream if I enjoy the way we play together and the sides of my nature they bring out in me. YAY!
Now is the perfect time to reboot our perspective in terms of how we view those whom we hold to be most precious in our hearts. Many times, in long-term relationships with loved ones— friends, family and, especially, romantic partners—so much baggage and history get accumulated, that we lose the objective capacity of viewing them with a totally fresh eye.
One of the most pertinent Tantric practices for us to utilize now teaches us to maintain the witnessing perspective in all our relationships: “See all friends as strangers and all strangers as old friends.” This means seeing loved ones as if we’re meeting them for the very first time with no history or baggage. Conversely, it also means seeing all newcomers in our life with an open heart as old soul friends, without resorting to any preconceived notions or judgments that we may habitually use to give us an illusion of control.
In addition, and perhaps even more relevant now, please consider trying the Tantric practice I live by every day with my mate: “Be with your loved ones as if: This is the first time, the last time, the only time.”
If we make our daily mantra: “First time, last time, only time” when we look into each other’s eyes, it becomes the sweetest, most precious thing we can do for our self and our partner as it keeps our soul-level bond completely fresh in the Eternal Now.
Before the acceleration of planetary energies in the last decade or so, which I call the Quickening, that has sped up all of our opportunities for conscious awakening, it was harder to break out of emotional and mental habitual karmic patterns of relating.
In fact, it might’ve taken something such as going on a long journey far away from those we hold dear or a near-death experience to give us enough perspective and distance to clear the screen of our perceptions so that we could appreciate all that we have in life anew. And sometimes, it is only after we’ve lost our loved ones, one way or another, that we fully realize how truly priceless our deepest karmic heart bonds are.
We always have a rare opening to see clearly the imperfect perfection of our loved ones in the present moment. This reboot of the screen of our perception also applies not just to whomever we love, but also to whatever we love—be it our work, hobbies, pets, homes, nature, ad infinitem. This is the ideal time to focus on not taking any of what we love for granted.
We get to choose whether to allow our heart/mind, (the Taoists see these as one operating system), to become stagnate, stale and plateau out, or embrace the “fresh eye” Tantric practices I’ve shared as the key to making the most of these unique energies coming our way.
Lastly, here are some ideas to ponder:
1. The Universe is made up of energy that never dies but is continuously changing from form to formless and back again in an infinite loop.
2. All energy is CONSCIOUS.
3. If the currency that runs all things is energy—than heart energy is the gold standard—as it is what we all really want.
4. Since there is an infinite supply of love (aka heart energy) available from the Divine, the question we need to ask ourselves is: “How much of this gold standard of abundance can I handle?”
5. And if the answer, is not “A LOT,’ then this is the season to look within and figure out what limiting beliefs of worthiness are blocking this flow.
Wishing us all a totally new, rebooted, fresh perspective on the varieties of love in all our affairs!
J o a n
“There’s no situation where you can be without a partner. If you have no human partner, then the whole of phenomenal reality is your partner.”
For more: THE WISDOM OF DZOGCHEN
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The perspective on Life shared in this newsletter comes from personal experiences which are explored in-depth in my erotic/psychic memoir, written under the pen name, Leela Jones.
So, if you’re in the mood for some seriously delectable entertainment that will blow your mind wide open, please enjoy:
“A Sweet and Tasty Cosmic Feast for the Body, Mind & Spirit!” Ruben Gabriel
“Cosmic Sugar is a sumptuous book, like a meal you won’t forget. I haven’t read a better memoir—beautifully compassionate, utterly honest and seriously profound.” Matthew Newnham
To check out more great reviews:
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The ever-savvy Jesse Kornbluth, of Vanity Fair and New York Magazine fame, just posted about his personal experience with my work:
“I’m no seer. But Joan Pancoe just might be.”
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