Overcoming Lust: How to Gain Control Over Sexual Urge (Part I)
Overcoming sexual urge and lust is for many people one of the most difficult thing on the path to liberation. Majority of people give up the Gnostic work because they keep failing in getting control over sexual urge. The majority gives up already on the Probationary path, without actually managing to reach chastity for a significant period of time. However, there are also many people who feel a lot of longing for achieving self-realization, so they continue despite failing, and many of these do reach chastity eventually, because of their continuous efforts.
Nevertheless, lustful egos keep lurking and will try to make the person indulge in desires throughout the path to liberation. In the Gnostic work, there are also many of those who have reached chastity in thought, emotion, and will. They might have been chaste and transmuted their sexual energy for years, but after some time they give in to the hidden desires and they start to fail, slowly losing their energy and the work that they’ve done over the years.
This is a huge problem that many students of the Gnostic-esoteric teachings face; they know that the sexual energy is the key for the inner transformation, and that by giving in to lust and pleasures the inner work is being undone and the egos that have been eliminated are revived again. They know that the greater the ascent, the greater is the fall. This means that when we start incarnating parts of the inner Being (Higher Self) inside ourselves, we would lose those parts by indulging in sexual desires. However, even when we are not there yet at the point of having the Being within us, sexual falls set us back a lot.
Many people think that orgasms can also be spiritual; they believe that animalistic intercourse can in some way be spiritualized, and there are many prolific authors that have capitalized on serving those people what they want to hear, under the guise of ‘ancient tantric teachings’, however anyone who has done any serious form of the inner Gnostic-esoteric work would know that orgasms take us away from deep spiritual progress, because the sexual energy is the cornerstone on which the entire inner work is build upon – without it there is no expansion of consciousness, no death of the egos, no solar bodies created, and no mergence with the Being. Instead, we stay stuck on a level and do not create any substantial inner change. Nothing is transformed within us unless proper steps are taken.
I decided to write this article for all those who struggle with overcoming lust, and who have began and are doing the inner work, or are trying to start with it in a serious way. The suggestions that I wrote bellow can be helpful to overcome lust, but it can also be applied to overcoming some other obstacles that we encounter on the path. The suggestions are not meant for those who are not doing the inner work, who only want to get rid of their addiction (even though they may find some things mentioned here helpful), because it is with the spiritual work that the sufficient energy is build up that can take us to success in overcoming lust and achieving the inner self-realization of the Being. So the article and the suggestions are meant in the context of the spiritual path.
Sexual urge and the Probative path
When we start the inner work in a serious way, there is a large shift from our old form of life to new one. This means that we strive to be in consciousness, conscious in the present moment, to self-observe the egos and to eliminate them, to do daily practices etc. All of this creates a force and an inner momentum that can get us rolling on the Probative path. Once we pass the tests of the elements and reach the Minor initiations, we can eventually expect also a test on lust to appear, which means that desires are stirred and it’s necessary to die to them, without identification with them and without indulgence.
The role of Lucifer
However, besides the tests on lust, the lustful desires can appear at any time throughout the path, tempting us to indulge. In esoteric teaching this is referred to as the inner Lucifer, the tempter. It is said that with the inner work, with dying to lust and to other egos, Lucifer is purified or whitened, and eventually it becomes like an innocent small child, incapable of doing any more harm to us. But before that point, Lucifer is strong, and he is both the sexual impulse (or a sexual fire that a couple who practices sexual alchemy uses in order to create the solar bodies and to die to their egos), as well as temptation. It is said that the strongest temptations on the path come from Lucifer, but that the victory over them gives us light, which is a divine light of the inner Being. Thus, the Lucifer is either bringer of light (if we are victorious over temptation), or bringer of bondage and suffering (if we give in to temptation).
Letting go of past association to lust
Over the years of our life when we have given in to lust on a regular basis, we created a lot of psychological impressions that are connected to different things in life that lust finds attractive. These associations can be sparked in various ways, such as through images that come to our sense of sight, or perhaps a certain sound, smell etc. This is something that we observe when we start working on ourselves – when we are practicing self-observation we can observe all these associations. For example, if we notice that going to a certain coffee shop has an overwhelming influence on us in terms of sparking lust, then it is necessary to stop going to that place. Or if by browsing social media we keep seeing images that spark lust, it is necessary to do something about that. If certain people from our past spark a lot of lust within us, then we should limit contact with those people until the lustful impressions are worked upon and transformed.
If you want to eliminate lust, everything from the past that stirs up lust should be avoided as much as possible, until it is transformed and no longer affects us in such a way.
Being in a genuine esoteric school or group
Regardless if you are starting out your journey of the inner work or are already advancing on the First Mountain, being part of a genuine esoteric school or group (whether online or in person) that teaches about the inner work can be a great support in our work and for overcoming lust. By “genuine” I am referring to a type of school or group that has a support of an inner (non-physical) esoteric circle that consists of self-realized higher beings who are helping humanity, and who have (in many cases) already completed the Great Work. In the internal worlds we see this school as a vehicle, often time symbolized by train or bus, which is a great symbol for it because it is exactly how it is – train/bus is moving along and it has its momentum and purpose. To be inside this vehicle means that we are helped being moved along the path, simply by being part of that vehicle and by participating in it. It is important that a ‘driver’ of this vehicle is someone who has reached a significant stage in the inner work. If this is not the case, we may still benefit by being in an esoteric group or school, but it won’t have nearly as much strength and capacity to carry us along as it is the case when the driver is a person who is advanced.
Avoiding everything that can stimulate lust
Besides avoiding lustful associations that stem from our past, it is also necessary to avoid any and all things that can make lust manifest. It is of course not always possible to avoid everything completely, sometimes things are beyond our control. For example if you pass by a billboard that your lust reacts to, you don’t have to close your eyes, but you can look the other way and die to lust within yourself. There are things that we can avoid, however, such as going to certain places, or avoid watching movies or videos that can spark lust, lessen the amount of social media (or cut it down completely) if it has such reactions on us etc. We all know for ourselves what our lust latches on to, and then it is simply a matter of letting that go; not giving it opportunity to feed on those external impressions that reach our mind through the physical senses. It is also necessary to avoid dwelling on any form of memories that can take us in direction of lustful indulgence.
Building up spiritual energy
When we do spiritual practices, we create force within ourselves. The more we practice self-remembrance, self-observation, meditation, transmutation etc., the more we wake up our consciousness and with it we bring the inflow of a high form of energy. This type of energy, together with energy that comes up by doing esoteric practices and from activating spiritual centres and channels within us, as well as the energy that comes as result of mystical experiences, all of that creates a strong vehicle that moves us along the path. All of that helps us to have the center of gravity within the inner work, and to have mind focus on our goal.
Building up of spiritual energy within us is essential to overcome giving in to lust; it is essential to have this energy if we wish to reach chastity in thought, feeling and action.
Having concrete goal and purpose
Every great thing in life that is to be achieved needs to be imagined first, and above all we need to know what we even want to achieve. That’s why it is crucial to have goals. In order for spiritual work to succeed, it is often not enough to just want to reach peace and happiness. The reason for that is because those two things can be fleeting, and something that to a degree can also be achieved from time to time in normal course of life. Our mind and ego can over time convince us that such states are simply not worth fighting for.
Therefore, it is better to have more concrete goals, such as getting to a specific initiation on the path, like the incarnation of the Human Soul, or finishing the First Mountain etc. We can set those larger goals as long term goals, writing them down in a notebook, and then also write down short term goals that would lead us towards the big goal. Short term goals could be daily, weekly, and monthly; or for whatever period of time that we decide; but important thing is that we are going towards achieving them. This creates a structure in our mind that keeps us focused on the inner work.
Alchemy and transmutation
The practices of sexual alchemy and transmutation of sexual energies can be of help to build up a type of energy that will make it easier to deal with lust. However, if someone is practicing alchemy but at the same time gives in to identification with lust, he or she would benefit by taking a break from the practice until the problem is diminished or solved. Transmutation (as a sit down practice) can be done daily, as long as there aren’t sexual falls taking place, because if the falls keep happening then there is nothing to be transmuted to.
The energy that comes from transmutation is a marvellous power that helps us interiorize, self-observe more, and provides with a higher presence in our heart that can protect us from lustful thoughts and emotions.
Like Samael Aun Weor has stated, in this Great Work we need to be like ‘a watchman in the time of war’, always vigilant and keeping guard. In practical terms this means not allowing egos to settle in our interior. Normally, when they manifest, they are on the periphery of our consciousness, and as soon as we identify with them they enter in to our inner house, our inner temple, and they pollute it with their low vibrations which increases the risk of giving in to lust. That’s why it is necessary to see lust (and egos in general) when it is still on the periphery, and eliminating it while it is still there. The more we do it like that, the more will we strengthen our willpower and we will be able to ‘fight the enemy outside of the city walls’.
If problem of dealing with lust gets out of control, it might be a good idea to consider relocation to another place, where there is no association with lust. This is mostly valid in cases when in the first location is a very strong association to lust, which might have come about as the result of indulging to lust. This relocation could be temporary, it could for example be related to a longer visit to relatives in countryside, or anything else that is suitable to our circumstances and that would entail being in location that does not bring about lustful associations.
Spending time in a spiritually uplifting place and/or pilgrimage
Following on the last point, in case there is very little control over lustful desires, it can be beneficial to move to a place that is spiritually uplifting. This can be related to volunteering in a retreat centre where there is a high focus on spiritual development among visitors who visit it. Being in such environment can help keep the inner state high and mind focused on the inner work.
Another thing that can help is going on a pilgrimage. It can be several hours, to a day, a week, or even longer. Walking towards a spiritual place while having a spiritual goal in mind (such as being open to receive an answer or an insight regarding how to overcome lust) could be very beneficial, and at the same time it would keep desires of indulging to lust at bay. This is suitable if you don’t mind walking and if the region where you would be walking is safe.
Continued in Part II
HDP, June 2020.