Edited by Marco Ferrini
From the Book: From Eros to Love
In order to live love it is important to understand what it is, and even more to be able to distinguish it from its counterfeits. We live to give and receive love. Every time we pollute this feeling, we cheat others, we cheat ourselves; every time we betray, we betray ourselves; every time we lie, we are lying to ourselves. An individual may possess the entire world, but if he doesn't have good relationships, he remains miserable.
He can possess gold, he can be supported by a political party or be the head of a great company, have a prestigious position as university professor, but if he is not rich in feelings and does not have satisfying relationships his life will be painful. Relationships, good feelings, mutual respect, affection, esteem, friendship, and loyalty represent the real wealth of life.
Today we see an inordinate quantity of references to eroticism, both veiled and explicit. We find eroticism everywhere, from the pages of magazines to the TV commercials, and often while we surf the web looking for very different things. Even the literary production connected to eroticism is endless because of the excessive value assigned to the erotic attitude, which is creating many physiological problems, among which impotence is the best known, as well as authentic neuroses and personality disorders which end in anxiety, anguish and panic. More than 80% of crimes are triggered by passion and lust; heinous crimes and merciless killings are caused by the incapacity to properly direct the natural erotic drive. The present society is particularly fond of eroticism because it sells well — it helps the advertisement of products, it excites and allures. To little educated and very conditioned audiences, pushed to continually accept stimuli and emotional loads that they are unable to elaborate, all this causes mental agitation and stress. People are induced to think of themselves in a false way, to have an artificial perception of themselves, to pursue goals that they will never attain and which inevitably give way to disappointment, frustration and depression.
When an individual has a young and healthy body — maybe even an attractive body — eroticism does not seem that bad and the body can be used as a pleasure-generating toy. However, human life passes quickly, its four seasons rapidly following one another and, with the emergence of disease and old age, that toy that used to give so much pleasure will soon become a source of suffering, while at the same time certain behaviours will induce the individual to strongly identify with the body. The psyche will be stuck, slave of that physical dimension, and the subject will be incapable of perceiving himself in his original spiritual nature.
The journey to consciousness requires shifting one's attention from eroticism to love, from the body to the soul. Imagine you are the new Argonauts — we could say Intronauts, embarked on a journey to explore the self: eroticism constantly distracts you from the inner world, magnetizes your attention towards the external and makes you fall hostage of people and things. Someone could misunderstand and think that this body has no value, but this is a wrong understanding: the body is an instrument which can be used for our evolution.
Bhagavad-gita (XIII.22) and the whole Vedas explain that there are different dimensions or spheres of existence, and we live differently depending on the dimension of consciousness we are settled in: our level of our consciousness determines our experience of the world, a specific quality of life, with its joys and sorrows. If we raise our consciousness level and consequently our perspective, pain will decrease, uncertainties dissolve, anxiety and fear disappear. If we raise higher still we can have a darshana, a direct perception of our inner bliss and immortality. At the same time, the body we wear appears to us as it is: external to the self and temporary. This does not make it less valuable, but will help us consider it from a new viewpoint, from which we can make better use of it. The better we use it, the less illusions we’ll activate, illusions which inevitably entail disappointments and suffering.
If a child only has one toy, when you try to take it away from him he will clutch his fingers, cry and grind his teeth, refusing to give it up, no matter how good the arguments you use. But if you offer him a more attractive toy, something of a better quality, he will be ready to give up the old one. Thus it is not sufficient to say, "stop eroticism!" The secret is to sublimate this energy, elevate our perspective and deeply meditate on its real meaning, on its effects, on its transforming, enlivening and healing power, when well channelled. This is the conscious way towards transformation and evolution.