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WHY WE'RE ATTRACTED

Shepherd Hoodwin

 

A few years ago, a friend of mine who taught college invited me to speak to her sex education classes about body types. I felt qualified to address them due to my being an International Sex Symbol and the fact that I'm having a prodigiously active sex life in several parallel universes, so I accepted. It got to be about a larger, fascinating subject: why we are attracted to other people. Since then, I've felt called to write down my thoughts on this. I finally did it, and here it is!

 

 

CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

 

SOUL

Agreements and Life Path

Soul Chemistry

Soul Families and Connections

Male/Female Energy Ratio

Roles

Soul Ages

Overleaves

Karma

Astrology

Vibrational Resonance

Celibacy and Union

 

PERSONALITY

Family Scripts, or Fetal Attraction

Finding Balance

Resolving the Past

 

BODY

Body-Type Attraction

Your "Type"

Sexual Orientation

Monogamy and Polyfidelity

 

CONCLUSION

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Being in love is one of the great highs of life, yet it is often elusive or ephemeral. Unrequited love is a common theme of songs, and almost everyone experiences it on both sides. Just why are we attracted to some people and not to others?

There are many possible reasons for attraction, and many different kinds of attraction, both within the sphere of romantic attraction and outside it. On the surface, they can all seem like the same thing--we just know that we feel attracted. For example, attraction can be primarily physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Our inner child may be attracted to someone's playfulness, while our body isn't particularly attracted to his, and our inner parent may cringe at his lack of responsibility--attraction often isn't consistent. We might have solely a friendship connection with someone but try to make it into a romantic one.

The concept of multi-causality is that often, many factors converge to create a situation. There are usually several reasons we are attracted to someone, just as there can be several reasons for a life issue, illness, or event. Forces can be at work on many levels. When we settle for just one explanation of almost anything complex, we miss much of the picture.

Being able to identify the elements of our attraction to someone can help us be clearer on what we have, and what we don't. In comparing them to our relationship priorities, we can determine whether there's enough there for a long-term relationship. No relationship will cover all the bases, but if we know ourselves well enough to know which needs are essential and which are negotiable, we are better able to decide. Ultimately, it will probably come down to a gut feeling--the overall gestalt of the relationship either works for us or it doesn't--but having an intellectual framework can help us avoid talking ourselves into something because we're tired of waiting or our buttons, emotional, mental or physical, are pushed. Biology doing its hormonal job can cast a spell that leads to choices we later regret. The spell is magical and worth enjoying while it lasts, but alone isn't enough on which to base important decisions. People who quickly fall in and out of love aren't really dealing with love, in any spiritual sense, but with shifts in body chemistry.

Ideally, a romantic relationship contains many elements of attraction. If we're attuned to energy fields, we can observe where, in general, the attractions are between a couple by looking at their energetic lines of connection. For example, if they share a soul connection, they will likely connect at their physical hearts. If a couple strongly connects at their heads and not too much at their gonads or anywhere else, their relationship is probably primarily intellectual--they might have great, enriching conversations--even if it's also a sexual relationship. If they mostly connect at their gonads, it's likely to be primarily a sexual relationship, without much intellectual or spiritual sharing.

Frequently, connections are not straight across. For example, one person's gonads may connect with the other's head. In that case, the first person might be turned on sexually by the other person's mind.

In a mature, well-balanced relationship, there's a full, strong energy exchange. The more true this is, the more the couple will feel oneness. Probably no couple connects fully on all levels, but as a relationship grows and deepens, the connections increase in both quantity and quality.

There are several "default settings" when it comes to attraction that govern unless a person has reason to override them. For example, bodies usually feel more comfortable sexually with other bodies that are roughly the same age, and that better suits biology's reproductive goals. It is usually assumed that someone who prefers much older partners is looking for a mother- or father-substitute, and someone who prefers much younger partners is seeking his youth or is stuck at a younger age. This may be the case, but not necessarily. If, for example, a younger person has a soul agreement with an older person that can best be fulfilled sexually, they may override the default. A person whose life task or lessons concern being with older or younger partners (for example, a life task of mentoring or bridging generations) may include that as part of his "type." (In addition to bucking a biological default, a man who is attracted to older women also bucks our society's pressure for men to be with at least slightly younger women as a symbol of their dominance.) Sometimes factors such as age or even gender just disappear when two people are drawn to each other.

There are also defaults that are more purely cultural, created by familiarity and perhaps prejudice: people tend to prefer partners with a similar socioeconomic and ethnic background, for example.

Many people are offended by relationships that cross these arbitrary boundaries, without really being able to say why. There is nothing intrinsically sacred about defaults; fundamentally, they are just habits, whether cultural or biological. Computers comes from the factory with many default settings, but it is our prerogative to change them.

Even with animals, there are exceptions to what might be considered defaults. For example, one source says that there are at least four hundred species that have been found to engage in homosexual activity. If true, this ruins the argument of the religious right that it isn't natural.

In a more enlightened world, we would all just focus on what is right for us and wish others well, not worrying about what they do as long as they aren't causing genuine, tangible harm, such as trauma or physical damage. Those who oppose gay marriage, for instance, believe it would harm the institution of marriage. However, others having rights would not subtract in any way from theirs. The institution of marriage is an abstract concept, and the only harm that can come to a concept is in the mind of the beholder. In someone else's imagination, gay marriage might be seen to enhance the institution, because there would be more couples partaking of it. In any case, it makes little sense that people should be so emotionally invested in their views about things that ostensibly don't concern them.

Social defaults do not remain the same. It wasn't that long ago that it was scandalous for a straight couple to live together without being married. It may take a generation or two, but gay marriage will probably eventually become accepted, along with other forms of relationship, such as polyfidelity (discussed in the final section).

This article focuses on sexual/romantic attraction, but most of what is covered applies to all kinds of relationships. Much of the terminology used is from the channeled Michael teachings. If you're new to them, my web site (http://summerjoy.com) has a glossary, bibliography, and other information, although I have also included definitions in the text. We're going to explore factors of attraction in three categories: soul, personality, and body.

 

SOUL

AGREEMENTS AND LIFE PATH

When we meet someone with whom we have an soul-level agreement (contract to do something together on the physical plane), we may have a surge of recognition and be attracted to that person. Usually agreements have nothing to do with sex, but if the person comes in the right "package" and we're in the market for a romantic relationship, it's easy to assume that the attraction is meant to be romantic. This can be a mistake. Just because we have an agreement, or we like someone a lot or get along well with him, it doesn't mean that we have the makings of a long-term relationship.

First of all, there needs to be adequate physical attraction, but people who have been waiting for a long time for the right person are sometimes willing to compromise on that, and it usually doesn't work out in the long haul. A few women have told me that physical attraction that was lacking for them grew as they bonded or fell in love, but I've never heard a man say that, and most people I've discussed this with, both male and female, say that if it's not there in the beginning, it's not going to be. However, for some people, physical attraction is a lesser priority and/or more flexible than for most, which was probably true for those women. In any case, some physical attraction is necessary glue for a sexual relationship, and it's not a good idea to enter into a long-term relationship hoping that it will follow.

Also, our life paths need to be able to fit together. If, for example, our life task calls us to live in a particular place, and the other person's calls him to a different place, it's not going to work. Someone with a high wanderlust will probably not fit with a homebody. If our path is to have several children and the other person's is to have none, it won't work well no matter how much love there is. Love is not enough. Eventually, we'll all love each other, albeit in different ways; it has to work, too.

That said, a mate relationship can be a useful framework for completing agreements that, in themselves, have nothing to do with being mated, provided that it does work. Many couples are fulfilling agreements but have no mate agreement. That doesn't make their relationship less good or satisfying, but it does probably suggest that it is not about mating per se; the mating is more a means to other ends, such as accomplishing a particular task or lesson.

Among the many kinds of soul agreements we make, both before incarnating and during a lifetime, the one that directly concerns intimate relationships is the mate agreement. We normally make several (about nine is average) because we never know for sure before incarnating how things are going to work out, who will be where, doing what. Sometimes we meet someone with whom we have a mate agreement but check him off our list because, even though the soul-level part works, the personality-level part doesn't. For example: he became an alcoholic, or she abdicated her fourth internal (midlife) monad and is sleepwalking through life. So we say, "Next!" and see if we can meet someone else on our list. Of course, we have shortcomings, too, so those with whom we have mate agreements also have the right to cross us off their list.

Validating that a relationship works on the personality level is essential. Because the feminine concerns our inner world, many women, especially, tend to fall in love with a person's soul, and make too little of personality-level failings. However, it's the personality that we live with day-to-day. Often, they hope he will change, since they can clearly see his potential. It's best to assume WYSIWYG: What you see is what you get. People generally don't change dramatically in one lifetime, discounting things like becoming sober or doing intensive psychospiritual work. For example, if someone is a slob, he's not likely to become neat, so if that's important to us, it wise to take it seriously, and consider if we can live with that never changing.

We are usually not conscious of what goes on behind the scenes (our dreams sometimes offer glimpses), but our soul and spirit guides are continually working to orchestrate our lives to fulfill our life plan. If no one else is currently available from our list of mate agreements, we go on to our backup list, or see who else is out there. Agreements offer a framework, but they aren't carved in stone. Our soul is flexible and is mainly concerned with accomplishing its life tasks in whatever ways work, sometimes reverting to Plan B, C, or D, or just winging it. Having a mate agreement is not a requirement for having a fulfilling relationship, and is not a guarantee of it either. For example, a mate agreement may be made in order to repay a karmic debt or to complete other agreements. Mate agreements aren't necessarily made because we fit hand and glove. Even if we do fit hand and glove on a soul level, that's no assurance that we will on a personality level. However, if we do have a mate agreement, we know that an intimate relationship works from the soul's point of view. It's like having a mortgage pre-approved--we won't necessarily buy the house, but if we decide to, the mortgage is in place.

I worked with someone who'd been through a large portion of her twenty mate agreements, crossing them off her list not necessarily because of their inadequacies but because of her own unavailability due to her fear of being vulnerable. She rationalized that it was their fault, but she unconsciously sabotaged each potential relationship. Being an "ideal" mate is more important than finding one, because whomever we're with, we're there, too.

Our life is a combination of our soul's loosely framed life plan and the free will of all concerned. The physical plane is, in large part, about learning to make wise choices in light of how things are, even when they don't seem to be going according to plan and we don't know what the future will bring (which we never really do anyway). It's disappointing when a relationship we had high hopes for doesn't work out, but all our experiences can teach us and make us better equipped for those that follow. The important thing is to move on, firmly grounded in our intuition about what is right for us now, and now, and now….

SOUL CHEMISTRY

We make agreements with other souls because of our history together in past lives and between lives. Each pair of souls develops a pattern of relating. For example, one soul may continually stimulate us and/or push our buttons, whereas another may be comforting. One soul may frequently mate with us while another is often a sibling. One soul may often be our teacher and/or student and another, our friend. There are lifetimes that are exceptions to the rule, and soul relationships evolve and change--sometimes friendly souls decide to try mating, for instance. However, knowing our soul-level chemistry with another person can add an important piece to the puzzle. Ways to access this and other arcana include meditation, regression, and working with a channel or psychic. For Michael teachings information, consulting a Michael channel is often the most reliable approach.

SOUL FAMILIES AND CONNECTIONS

Being in the same cadence (group of seven), entity (147 or so cadences) or cadre (seven entities) can be responsible for providing an instant sense of recognition and connection upon meeting someone. Within cadres, those in neighboring entities feel especially allied, and those two apart (for example, entities two and four) are particularly complementary. It's similar among the twelve cadres of a cadre group.

Ultimately, we're all one, but some connections are more direct than others. The majority of our agreements are with members of our cadre, and most of the rest are with members of other cadres of our cadre group. However, the unpredictable aspect of life means that occasionally we will meet and bond strongly with souls not in our cadre group. Any extensive past-life history with someone, regardless of soul family connections, can bring a strong sense of already knowing him upon meeting.

Our most powerful soul connection is with our essence twin, a.k.a. twin soul or twin flame. ("Soul mate" is a broader term that can refer to this, or other souls with whom we have a mate agreement, or an otherwise important and often comfortable bond.) The second most powerful is our task companion. We may also have former essence twins (known as essence mates) and task companions from previous planetary cycles; they feel similar but less intense than the current ones; we're often very close to them. These souls may or may not be incarnate when we are, and if they are, they may or may not be mate material. If we meet them at all, they could also be family members, friends, co-workers, "ships passing in the night," or even nemeses.

People tend to romanticize these connections, especially essence twins, but even if they're in the right "package" and we have mate agreements with them, there's, again, no guarantee that the personality half of the equation will work well. On the other hand, no relationship is more compelling or powerful than an essence twin mate relationship that does work well. Such relationships are rare; for one thing, essence twins can create their own insular world together and miss out on other experiences, so souls don't often set it up to be together in this way.

MALE/FEMALE ENERGY RATIO

In the Michael teachings, male energy specifically refers to linear energy that moves out into the world to achieve a goal; female energy is the opposite: it is atmospheric, process-oriented, and moves inward. For example, someone with high male energy is more likely to be career-oriented and can be a workaholic. Someone with high female energy tends to like being at home and creating an environment. A soul who has the opposite of our ratio is magnetic for us. The more extreme our ratio, the more compelling is the opposite.

I used to wonder what brought my parents together--they seemed mismatched. Then I channeled their Michael Reading charts and found that my mother's ratio was 23/77 and my father's is 77/23. They also had some body-type attraction, but not a lot. (There are also couples in which the man has higher female energy and the women, higher male, as well as same-sex couples with opposite ratios.)

My ratio is 47/53. Being so close to the middle, anyone else in the middle range can work for me, but someone at exactly 53/47 or close to that has an extra pull for me.

Role (soul type) has more to do with what we think of as masculinity or femininity than male/female energy. For example, even a higher-female-energy warrior or king will probably seem more masculine in our culture than a high-male-energy artisan or server. In a culture with a lot of warrior women and artisan men, the opposite will seem true. Imprinting, body type, and many other factors also play a part in the perception of masculinity or femininity. However, all other things being equal, a high-male-energy sage, for example, will likely seem more masculine than a high-female-energy sage.

ROLES

There are seven roles, or soul types, on four axes: server and priest (inspiration axis), artisan and sage (expression), warrior and king (action), and scholar (assimilation). We often see certain combinations together as couples. Scholars (the number four role) and warriors (the number three) may be the most common.

Many science fiction authors (and fans) are male scholars. To create those complex, detailed universes, one would almost have to be a scholar to have enough knowledge in diverse fields to pull it off. Their heroines are frequently warriors, whereas in other media such as movies, heroines are usually softer roles (although that's changing somewhat). Those scholar authors seem to look up at those strong warrior women with puppy-dog eyes; for them, they're the epitome of womanhood. Sometimes, the cover illustrations of heroines even look like warriors, demonstrating how people may associate soul types with looks, even if they don't know about roles consciously.

The other role combinations whose numbers add up to seven also are classic combinations: servers (one) and priests (six), and artisans (two) and sages (five). (Male sage writers are likely to write artisan heroines, and vice versa.) They also share their axis, which is another factor of comfort and attraction; kings and warriors also get along well by reason of both being on the action axis.

Another common combination is kings and servers (with the caveat that kings only account for about four percent of the population). Kings are already the number seven role, so the number one role is the closest another person can come to adding up to seven for them. Kings also like being served, and servers especially like to serve kings.

Scholars and priests are also commonly attracted and are frequently essence twins, although not as commonly as scholars and warriors. Scholars, being the neutral role, are naturally attracted to the two most intense roles; warriors are intense in an earthy way, and priests in a spiritual way. Priests and warriors like it that scholars can absorb their excess energy, and scholars like the stimulation. (A similar dynamic occurs between opposite body types.)

Souls of the same role tend to get along well, with the possible exception of artisans, who often seek more stabilizing partners. We also tend to be especially attracted to those who have the same role as that of our essence twin when it's different from our own. A scholar with a server essence twin, for instance, will tend to be drawn to servers, even though that's not usually a compelling combination.

Warriors, the lowest frequency role, can be fascinated by the two high-frequency roles, artisans and priests, and vice versa, so there can be a lot of "opposites attract" chemistry, but the dishes can fly in those relationships.

Artisans and kings are the most foreign combination. It's not that they conflict so much that they tend to have little ability to understand one another--it's like they're from different planets.

Servers, artisans and scholars can be pretty low key, and relationships between them can be rather flat. Of course, there are exceptions to everything written here, and essence twin bleed-through or even casting (our resonances with certain roles based on our position within our soul families) can bring in elements of attraction lacking in the roles themselves.

SOUL AGES

There are five soul ages we experience on the physical plane: infant, baby, young, mature, and old. They roughly parallel human stages of development: newborn, toddler, youngster, adolescent, and young adult. The movement from infant to young climaxes in a sense of mastery of the outer world. Then, the soul turns its biggest corner and dives in to the inner world, not unlike what occurs when adolescence hits.

There can be successful relationships between any combination of soul ages, but those of the same age have the advantage of seeing life from the same vantage point. Mature and old souls also usually get along well because both are inwardly focused; in addition, mature souls' intensity and old souls' casualness can balance one another. Similarly, baby and young souls are both outwardly focused, and the baby soul's emphasis on family and church can provide a foundation for the young soul's career orientation. A young soul's industry can also balance an old soul's laissez-faire attitude about things such as earning a living, but their difference in perspective can be stressful. Baby souls share mature souls' interest in community, although at a simpler level and without a desire to process emotions. They can have stable relationships that work fairly well, but baby souls can find mature souls complicated, and mature souls can be disappointed in baby souls' lack of emotional depth.

OVERLEAVES

Attraction due to overleaves, or personality traits, is less clear-cut, but they can be a factor, too. Especially if someone has a lot of trouble with a particular overleaf's negative pole, he may be attracted to someone with the opposite. For example, someone with a goal of discrimination who tends to be prejudiced or too rejecting may be attracted to the warm openness of someone in acceptance; however, the person in acceptance may flinch at the discriminator's rejections.

A busy person in growth may find relief and relaxation with someone in flow (a.k.a. stagnation), the neutral goal, and the person in flow may be stimulated by a partner in growth. However, they might also judge each other, especially in the negative poles. The person in growth might judge the person in flow as being lazy; the laid-back person in flow might judge the overwhelmed person in growth as being driven. Someone in growth can feel similarly about someone with the opposite goal, reevaluation (a.k.a. retardation), in which a person seeks a simple, more inward life.

We could look at all the overleaf pairs in this way: there could be either attraction or repulsion, depending on whether we see the other person as balancing our strengths with different strengths or as being weak where he "should" be strong.

Someone with the same overleaves may have a comforting similarity or might push our buttons. I could imagine a pair of cynics either getting along famously, spitting tobacco together and complaining about how the world has gone to hell, or starting World War III--it depends on the individuals.

I enjoy being with others who, like myself, are in acceptance. However, since I can be too much in my head, I find it refreshing to be with people in the emotional center and passion mode to balance my intellectual center and observation mode.

As with the other overleaves, chief feature (obstacle) combinations could go either way in terms of attraction, although they are more likely to repel, especially if they're strong. In the old paradigm, some arrogance (of either the chief feature variety or just testosterone-driven overconfidence) was considered attractive in men, and some self-deprecation attractive in women. An arrogant person may like it that someone in self-deprecation isn't threatening, and his apparent confidence may reassure her; however, his criticisms can exacerbate her sense of inadequacy. Two people greedy for the same things might align in a relationship, and two people in self-destruction might drink themselves into oblivion together. However, two people in strong arrogance or impatience can enrage each other, and two people in stubbornness easily get into stalemates. An impatient person will tend to get impatient with a martyr, making him feel more martyred. If someone in impatience pushes someone in stubbornness, the latter will likely dig in his heels. Etc. In any case, it's not a good idea to get into a relationship based on chief features, which, by definition, are fear-based.

Incidentally, those in stubbornness may find many excuses not to leave a bad relationship, dragging out the process ad nauseum. Those in impatience may not give a relationship a full chance before they're "outa here."

KARMA

When we get near someone with whom we have incomplete karma, we may start to buzz with an excitement that is similar to that of attraction, and is often confused for it if the person is of the right gender, age and look. People who are inexorably drawn into an abusive relationship and can't seem to leave are sometimes repaying a karmic debt. When the debt is repaid, the excitement goes flat, the person "returns to his senses," and can then leave the relationship, often wondering at that point what he ever saw in the other person.

True attraction delights. Completing a negative karma doesn't feel good, but it is a relief, especially at the end of it. It discharges energy rather than builds it. Sometimes repaying a karmic debt, or allowing one to be repaid us, is necessary to allow us to move on to a better relationship.

ASTROLOGY

Astrology is a whole other system that can explain attraction where others don't. However, it is more likely to reflect factors covered here than to introduce entirely new ones.

VIBRATIONAL RESONANCE

We each vibrate at a particular level based on the inner work we've done, consciously or unconsciously, to refine and purify our energy, both in this lifetime and in past lifetimes. It is not directly related to soul age and has nothing to do with frequency on the Michael chart. It's the quality of love we emanate. A lot of baggage such as stored anger or fear, or a lot of limiting beliefs, brings down this quality.

I once met Louise Hay at a book convention. Because it wasn't a new age event, she was standing alone rather than being mobbed by fans. I spoke to her for a moment to thank her for her work. Her outer style was a bit cool and distant, probably developed over the years for protection. However, I've never felt such a high-frequency energy field. Standing next to her was like being at the ocean, bathed in negative ions and fresh oxygen. She obviously had purified her thoughts and feelings to a high degree, and had the soul development behind her so as to have quite a powerfully loving presence. I imagine that many gurus feel like this, too, and it must have been extraordinary to be in the presence of someone like Jesus or Buddha, even before the Infinite Soul (a representative of a high plane) entered.

I know some mature souls whose vibration feels much higher than that of some old souls. Our vibration isn't directly related to soul age because, although having a higher soul age might give us more potential in this regard, it's the work we do that actualizes that potential. We go through cycles of accumulating experience and then processing it. If even a seventh-level old soul has recently been though trauma and is still carrying a lot of baggage, his vibration will be weighted down. For example, if he'd been abused as a child and still harbors anger and fear, he will not shine like he will once those things are faced and healed. A lack of consistent integrity or an unwillingness to examine issues also lower one's vibration and are not directly related to soul-age.

Like attracts like. If someone who is interested in you is vibrating at a significantly lower (slower frequency) level than you are, he will either be drawn to do the work to raise his vibration or will distance himself from you, because it's uncomfortable to be around someone long-term who vibrates at a significantly different speed. More often, people choose to distance themselves rather than do the hard work of facing their "stuff."

I would imagine that someone like Louise Hay would have difficulty finding a mate. There are few people who vibrate at her level. When you add that to all the other things you need for a relationship to work, such as physical attraction, it can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Even those with whom she has mate agreements might not be available or be doing the work to become conscious.

Many of my clients and friends, male and female, straight, gay and bisexual, are in this predicament. It's not hopeless, but it can take a lot of patience to find a good match. We may be tempted to compromise. There are always compromises in relationships--no one is perfect or has everything we are looking for. However, compromising too much on vibrational clarity doesn't work. In addition, if we want to be with someone who has a high vibration, we must also develop and maintain our own, living in integrity, facing our issues, and releasing our anger and fear.

CELIBACY AND UNION

The path of evolution contains a series of separations and reunifications. When we first emerge into the dimensional universe from the Tao (the ground of all being), we fragment into individual souls, which separate further into various reincarnational personalities. These divide into a multitude of parallel selves, each of which contain myriad subpersonalities, which themselves have various aspects. It is rather like light passing through a series of prisms. These fragments were always there as potential, just as all colors are potential in light, and countless children are potential in sperm and eggs. The universe is about manifesting potential and seeing where it leads. As individuations or "children" of the Tao, we mature through having experiences as we work our way back into full union through smaller unions along the way. When we get there, we will have contributed a new level of development and expansion to the Tao.

We tend to think of sex as only a physical thing. However, sex is our physical body's way of experiencing the union that everything in the universe seeks. Souls on higher planes merge their energies in increasingly complex and powerful ways. There is no creation without the union of positive (masculine) and negative (feminine). Physical union may or may not result in the creation of new physical life, but all union creates new energies.

When we come into union with others in a clean, centered way, there is a clean creation. The more powerful the union, the more substantial the creation. This applies not only to physical sex but to any coming together. Power, obviously, can be misused, and many people are afraid of it for that reason. However, without power, there is no evolution. As we work with what we can handle well, our skill grows. Loving relationships are bound to bring up unresolved issues, but they can also provide a means for healing them.

The physical plane is the elementary school of union, and, for us, sex can be the apogee of that. The tantric tradition teaches how to include mental, emotional and spiritual union in sexual union, and those who come together in deep love may experience that intuitively. There's nothing wrong with sex that is mainly physical gratification, but when sex includes higher unions as well, it is richer.

Many religions glorify celibacy and teach people to be ashamed of their attractions, but without attractions, there would be no unions. Union with God or the All-That-Is doesn't preclude union with people; in fact, when union with people is adequately free of mental/emotional baggage, it is a vehicle for union with God--not the only one, but a valid one, and for most people, the most powerful.

Tantra teaches that energy is lost through ejaculation and that men should instead send sexual energy up their spine. Many people believe that energy expended sexually is not available for spiritual growth or creativity. However, as Michael said in one of the books by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, there's little loss of energy in sex when it's free of baggage. Also, doctors now say that about three ejaculations per week are helpful for a healthy prostate. Perhaps men could beneficially use tantric non-ejaculatory techniques in addition to, rather than in place of, regular sexual activities--finding balance in all things is a key to life. Too little and too much are equally detrimental. Some people are addicted to sex, which does lead to a loss of energy. Sex addictions can be similar to food addictions, which are often the result of a junk food diet that leaves people's needs unsatisfied, causing them to seek more. The solution may be to increase quality.

It's also been medically validated that a good sex life makes the body healthier. Surely more energy is lost in repressing natural desires and living with unfulfilled needs than through balanced sex, although temporary celibacy can help one detach from unhealthy patterns. If someone working on his spiritual growth feels that he's not yet capable of staying clear while in a relationship, celibacy might be a like the neutral gear allowing him to shift to a higher gear. Some people need to be alone earlier in life in order to heal their childhood and/or grow freely into themselves, without having to deal with another person's issues. However, sometimes the pattern becomes set and they have a difficult time breaking out of it once the need to be alone is no longer there.

Long-term celibacy can be a true and valid path for some people, but it would be hard for someone to know if that's the case for himself if he has a lot of shame about his sexuality or is running from the challenges of relationships. In those rare lifetimes that we set up to be asexual, we usually have little or no sexual desire, so abstinence is not difficult.

Eastern religions teach the value of non-attachment and freedom from desire. Many people interpret that to mean that they should repress their sexual desires. However, most healthy bodies have sexual attractions. It's true that as we evolve, we have more self control and make choices based on the whole picture rather than momentary urges. However, freedom from desire is about being at peace in the present moment, not needing anything external in order to be happy. From non-attachment (different from detachment), we can enjoy sex or anything else that naturally flows in our lives, without tightly holding on to it or making it more (or less) than it is.

The scandal in the Catholic Church regarding the child-molesting priests (which has been widely known about for years, and which involves girls as well as boys) points to the distortions that can arise from repressing a natural drive. No doubt a number of the priests are true pederasts in nature, stunted in their emotional/sexual development at the child level, but others probably resorted to that because they had the opportunity. Needless to say, any form of molestation is extremely damaging.

If religions had a healthier, more positive view of sex (and of life itself), they probably would have evolved different systems that don't require celibacy. Sex among monks and priests was actually common and tolerated throughout much of history, and there have always been alternatives to intercourse for heterosexuals, even if the Catholic Church insists on its unreasonable prohibition against birth control. Religions could still reserve positions in their contemplative orders for those who remain childless or who have finished raising their children. Perhaps the celibacy requirement is really more about maintaining control; certainly, it derives, at least in part, from a dualistic either/or consciousness that says you can't have both God and sex, as if they were separate.

In the past, people often mated shortly after adolescence. Today's expectation that "good" teenagers won't be sexually active is unrealistic and even cruel, considering that it's the body's time of greatest desire, especially in boys. Of course, no one should be pushed to have sex before he or she ready, but providing education and a safe environment for first sexual encounters, allowing them to be the sweet experiences they can be, would be a great gift and would likely reduce the acting out teenagers do in our society.

As with clerics, celibacy for unmarried people (and monogamy after marriage) may have made some sense in the past, to avoid unwanted babies and to ensure that children would have both parents on hand. However, it has been enforced through shame rather than being presented as a practical matter, and even in the past, it would have been more sensible and effective to simply teach young people how to avoid pregnancy. Shame about natural functions leads to all sorts of distortions that spill over into other areas of society. Maturing into a healthy, uncharged view of sex yields many benefits.

On one level, sex is simply a biological need; burdening it with the weight of morality warps it. Sex, like anything else, can be used irresponsibly or to harm others, but of itself, is neutral. As long as it's consensual and those involved take responsibility for their choices, it is not a moral issue. No government has a right to regulate consensual behavior between adults, and the age of consent should probably be lowered to 14 or so, as it is in Hawaii (it's 16-18 in most states). How unjust, for example, that in some states, a 19-year-old dating a 17-year-old can be charged with statutory rape.

Those who don't have a satisfying sex life and who would like one (which is probably the majority) are understandably frustrated. People have varying needs in this regard, but celibacy or chronically unsatisfying sex is not natural or healthy long-term for most people. Even more basic is the human need for touch, which, obviously, sex provides. It's been found that babies who aren't touched will die. Some African tribes view the Western tradition of having children sleep alone in their own beds as child abuse (have you noticed how children often want to get into bed with their parents?). And adults who aren't touched have more health problems. We live in a so-called civilization in which many children aren't breast-fed and grow up starved for touch, and "touchy-feely" is an eptithet. However, if we became a society unafraid of touch, it would alleviate many social ills.

On the other hand, our physical sex drive is related to our hard-wired survival instinct, and if we're feeling panicked because of the lack of a partner, it's largely because our bodies believe that if we don't have sex (and ostensibly reproduce), the whole human race will die out. Obviously, that's not going to happen, so we can reassure our body consciousness and help calm it down. The hunger for sex is as real as the hunger for food, but we won't die if we don't get sex, even though it might feel that way. It's in our interests to relax our body; for one thing, being too needy generally isn't attractive.

If our needs aren't being met, we can still work with union in the ways that are available to us until we find an appropriate partner. One is to be a good lover to ourselves when masturbating. Another is to open our hearts to union with nature. Through meditation, we can open to union with the universe. Artistic and other creativity can be an outlet for some of our sexual energies.

On a more practical level, many of us who are seeking mates aren't putting ourselves out there enough, making it harder for potential mates to find us. There's also often a lot of inner work to be done to release blocks such as the famous fear of intimacy--it's important to have a clear intent and not send out mixed messages. After we've done all the work, both inner and outer, that we know how to do, it then just might be a matter of being patient and letting go.

Some people have found their mate after deeply letting go of wanting one (not the same as giving up or becoming resigned) and becoming peaceful with being single. It's similar to what happens with some couples who desperately want to become pregnant, but finally accept their situation and adopt; surprisingly often, they then get pregnant. In both cases, wanting something too much stood as a block to having it, perhaps because so much of their energy was focusing on the lack. Paradoxically, relaxing with how things are gives us more power to create change.

Our soul and spirit guides do the best they can to bring us potential mates, but people often don't follow their spiritual impulses--from spirit's point of view, it can be like herding cats. On the other hand, spirit is persistent. If our path is to be in a happy mate relationship, we probably eventually will be; it may just take time.

 

PERSONALITY

FAMILY SCRIPTS, or FETAL ATTRACTION

There are many possible reasons that we, as souls, might choose particular parents (and why they might choose us to be their children). Sometimes, they are relatively unimportant in the scheme of our life--they just provided an appropriate body and circumstance. More often, they are highly significant. For example, we may choose them because of karma or other major life issues we need to work out.

The younger the soul, the more uncomfortable with the interval between lives and the hastier in planning them it tends to be. The more there is yet to experienced, the less important planning is, because many different scenarios can provide needed lessons. The older the soul, the fewer the items remaining on its "to do" list and the stronger the need to complete unfinished business. Therefore, older souls tend to be more exacting in planning their lives. They also take a more active role in it, whereas younger souls often allow their guides to make arrangements. Even with very young souls, however, the choice of parents is not arbitrary.

Typically, older souls make an agreement with a particular soul to be its child well in advance, and the other parent, as well as siblings, comes along as part of the package, although agreements can also be negotiated between the other parties who later come into the picture. A couple who has more than one child generally alternates between fulfilling the mother's and father's child agreements. However, which soul incarnates into a particular baby is negotiable and plans can change at the last minute as circumstances shift. Suppose that before a birth, the parents decide to divorce. The soul slated to incarnate may not want to take on that situation, opening the way for another soul who was also interested in that body. As with mate agreements, souls often make more than one child agreement. If, for example, we were hoping to be the child of someone who decided not to have children, we go to plan B or C.

The parent with whom we have our child agreement is likely to be particularly catalytic for us, and it's not necessarily the one we like better or feel closer to on a personality level. This parent can be especially influential on our attractions and the patterns we repeat, not necessarily so much their cause as a trigger for latent issues we carry from past lives.

When we're children, our parents represent the masculine and feminine aspects of God to us. They are the Source for us, and we want them to be perfect (just as we want God to be perfect) so that we can feel safe in relying on them to provide for us and show us the way to be. I suspect that the breakdown of the family and religion is responsible for the ascendancy of our society's worship of movie stars and royalty; the child in each of us has an inborn need for heroes to emulate, and if we can't find them at home or church, we look elsewhere. Unfortunately, what we find is usually pretty shallow.

When we mature spiritually, we ourselves become a hero, a representative of father/mother God in our life, embodying traits such as compassion, integrity, and character. We no longer need external symbols of it because we manifest our soul and therefore connect with God (the whole) directly. Role models have successfully fulfilled their function for us and may no longer be needed, although there are always higher levels to attain, and we can find inspiration in the strengths that others embody. If we've been hung up on our parents, it's easier to release that and know what we genuinely want, rather than following imprinted scripts. However, probably nobody is fully mature in all areas--we all have pockets of unhealed emotions that keep us partly stuck in the past. This is illustrated when powerful adults visit their parents and become twelve-years-old again. Such experiences show us what we still need to work on in order to experience more wholeness.

Some societies have community rites of initiation, which say to young people, "You have passed the hero's test and are no longer children. Now you take your place among the men or women and show the way to the younger ones." Our society mostly lacks this passage, although such things as graduations, confirmations, and bar/bat mitzvahs may provide elements of it. If we manage to mature without it and without good parenting, it's often because we found our way ourselves through the school of hard knocks, perhaps with a little help from our friends; if we're lucky, we had a mentor or two.

Bringing children into the world is obviously not something to undertake casually. The family values conservatives are right that it is ideal for children to grow up with both parents in a healthy, loving home; children instinctively want that. However, considering the state of human consciousness, the ideal has probably always been far less common than nostalgia would indicate, even when the divorce rate was lower. In addition, it cannot be legislated: one cannot force couples to be mature and loving. At a certain point, the benefit to children of a couple staying together is outweighed by conflict. Having just one parent on hand is hard for all concerned, but children are adaptable and resilient; the important thing is that they are cared for as lovingly and wisely as possible. Alternative family structures can work fine, including those with two same-sex parents. However, when both biological parents aren't on hand, it's very helpful to have good, stable role models of both sexes in children's lives.

Although it's more comfortable to grow up in an ideal family situation, or something close to it, many of us didn't choose to be born into a maturely loving nuclear family. For one thing, the waiting lists are long! For another, they are not necessarily the most growthful. It's the irritating sand in oysters that makes pearls grow. People from "Leave It to Beaver" families may not develop the depth they otherwise might, because they don't have to. There's an archetype called the "wounded healer"--those of us who went through rough childhoods may have accessed resources we can use to more effectively help others. That said, there's no need to manufacture extra challenges for children to toughen them up--the world provides enough. A loving home can help create a solid foundation of self-esteem and life skills to help deal with them. If a soul hungers for growth and deepening, it will attract the necessary tools, whatever they may be.

Our pictures of reality are extremely powerful; we create our lives from them. That gives us the opportunity to examine them, and change them if we don't like what we've created. They develop from the conclusions we draw about our experiences over many lifetimes. We are often drawn to our family, in part, because its pictures match ours to some degree--like attracts like. At least, the pictures that stick most strongly from our family imprinting are usually those that echo the ones we already held and wanted to work on. On the other hand, when we incarnate into a family, we take on its energy, which includes pictures that can go back several generations. These occupy the top layer of our subconscious and are therefore the most accessible. These tend to govern in the absence of stronger opposing pictures from before this lifetime, or may set up a conflict that we can resolve through life experiences.

For example, if several family members committed suicide, either consciously or through a death wish, we will tend to carry a picture that says that when life is hard, we should escape it through death. If our soul also holds that picture from other lifetimes, it will likely manifest strongly, making it obvious that this is something we need to work on. If it doesn't, the picture may still emerge in more subtle, self-sabotaging ways. In either case, it is our responsibility to change the picture if we wish to be joyful and life-affirming. Simply being aware that we carry a picture and have a choice about it is a powerful first step in changing it. Holding a new picture when the old one comes up can gradually erase it.

It is disorienting when reality doesn't match our pictures. For example, if someone's picture is that men are abusive, because her father was, and she gets involved with a man who is kind to her, it can be confusing--he's not following her script. To make reality match her picture, she may unconsciously manipulate him in order to try to get him to be abusive, or she may turn off her attraction to him and move on until she finds someone who fits her picture. Or, she may wake up and change her picture. With positive, healthy pictures of reality, we are unlikely to end up in abusive relationships.

As children, our parents are our role models for what it is to be a man or woman. We desperately want to be able to admire them and grow up to be like them, especially our same-sex parent. We also want to view them as ideal mates, especially our opposite-sex parent. Therefore, we tend to believe their pictures of reality. Even if, as adults, we can see that their pictures of reality were distorted in various ways, our subconscious may still hold them and be creating our reality accordingly.

It is often said that a woman married her father or a man married his mother. If we're fortunate, we might be attracted to someone like our opposite sex parent (or, less frequently, our same-sex parent) because he or she really was a good role model for a mate. As the old song goes, "I want a girl just like the girl who married dear old dad." A son usually identifies with his father and therefore may look for someone like his mother. He got that picture of reality early on and may have seen no reason to change it. Vice-versa for a girl. A gay son may look for a male partner who is like his mother for the same reason. However, if a child identifies more with his opposite-sex parent, he may look for someone like his same-sex parent.

We can also attract mates who are like the parent with whom we're more unresolved if there were major issues. A gay friend who has been unsuccessfully trying to extricate himself from his domineering mother all his life still ended up with a long-term partner much like her (and who gets along with her famously).

One friend has had three long-term relationships that followed a pattern established by her father. He had been pretty kindly before her mother (his essence twin) died when she was eight years old. After that, he went off the deep end and became abusive and rather crazy at home. Similarly, the three mates were loving until she had given up other options to be with them; then they turned abusive and irrational. Sadly, many people show their worst side to their significant other once courting is over, whereas ideally, we would give our highest and best. However, the abuse she received went beyond their merely being mean--in each case, they seemed to have lost touch with reality. It's not that she created their behavior, but that her picture of reality drew those who would naturally play the part that matched her picture. She did have one happy relationship, but after a few years, he came to feel like a brother; their sexual attraction faded. Perhaps, at least in part, she turned off her attraction because he was not following the script--he remained kind.

Of course, attraction often fades in time, for many possible reasons. It may be that a couple completed their work together, or that they fell into a rut and went on automatic pilot. Once the biological imperatives have been satisfied by successfully bringing mates together, there is less assistance from the chemical highs with which the body rewards them. If we have been doing the work of building a relationship, a deeper and more subtle love can develop. One indication of loving someone in this way is enjoying being with him even when we're not getting something. In my experience, it takes at least six months to develop an energetic bond with someone on a personality level, and it's been said that it takes seven years to become actually married to someone. In any case, it takes time to grow mature love for a person.

The oedipal complex is not universal, but it is fairly common in our society when boys feel that they have to compete with their father for their mother's affections. Usually the boy is picking up on his father's immature unwillingness to share his wife with him. A boy might fantasize about killing his father in order to get him out of the way so that he can get what he needs from his mother. The mirror image of that can also occur, with a girl competing with her mother for her father's affections. Less commonly, a boy might compete with his mother for his father's affections, or a girl with her father for her mother's, which can be a factor in homosexuality. In some cases, children have to compete with both parents for the love of the other.

When there is a lack of solidarity between a child's representatives of father/mother God in their love for him, he grows up with a shaky foundation, feeling that there is war in heaven. He may wonder if he deserves their love or if he is causing the conflict.

A pattern of competition can repeat for generations, since children who feel deprived of adequate love may grow up not wanting to share their spouse with their own children, and another generation grows up feeling that it didn't get enough. This makes for stunted emotional development, also due, in part, to not bonding well with the parent they're competing with, and is another reason someone may "marry his mother" or father--he is still trying to get what he didn't get as a child from the other parent. In this situation, there are too many children and not enough parents--maybe one and a half or less rather than two full parents.

Misplaced loyalty or a lack of completion with, particularly, the dominant parent can lead to an inability to commit to a mate. Especially if the parent has died, loving a mate can seem like a betrayal, as if it means we no longer love the parent. Finding a sense of completion and letting go can be more difficult in that case, but we can always speak with our loved ones in spirit. They want completion as much as we do.

Scripts can work in more specific ways--for example, relative to the timing of life events. A king I know married his server task companion, who also had blond hair and a nurturing personality like his mother (again, there are often several elements of attraction at work). The reasons they gave for divorcing later were the roles' negative poles: he was tyrannical and she reacted to her sense of bondage by being manipulative. It was by the book, and in my view could easily have been fixed with awareness, but his father had divorced at that age, and he seemed to have a need to follow the same script. It's as if he looked at his inner watch and said, "It's time to get divorced." Many subsequent events also eerily paralleled those of his childhood. It was an unconscious way of exploring his unresolved issues; he re-experienced those events from the other side, as father rather than as son.

A scholar friend first married when she was past 40, just like her scholar father, whom she adores. She married a scholar, too, in a similar business. Her relationship with her mother is extremely problematic, but after years of therapy, she managed not to marry someone like her--she had worked it out enough, fortunately, to not have to reenact those dynamics.

Some people even die at the same age as their dominant parent because they don't feel it would right to live longer than he did, or because their picture is that that's the right time to die. Such patterns can be hidden under the guise of apparently hereditary diseases.

In processing wounds about what our parents didn't give us, it's good to keep in mind that no one can give what he doesn't have. Most parents love in the ways they know how. Given the relatively low level of human consciousness, it's not surprising that that's usually pretty limited. Acknowledging the truth about our parenting is healthy, but blaming our parents for where we now find ourselves is not; we are responsible for ourselves. Being responsible is not the same as blaming ourselves, either--it simply means that we accept how things are, as a starting point, and then roll up our sleeves and do something about them.

This is not to suggest that we should gloss over painful feelings--they all need to be acknowledged and loved in order to be healed. Also, we're all responsible for our acts, even when we are ignorant, so this doesn't let our parents off the hook if they were abusive or neglectful. However, the ultimate solution to our parents' shortcomings is to be what was lacking. For example, if our parents didn't believe in us, we can believe in ourselves now. One of the primary ways we grow on the physical plane is by overcoming the limitations into which we're born.

Mainstream psychology, lacking understanding of the soul, is quick to attribute most personality defects to bad parenting, which places a burden of fear and guilt on parents. However, knowledge of past lives makes clear that parenting is only part of the picture.

We all long to share love, but faulty notions of what love looks like can sabotage it. For example, if a person's mate doesn't magically know and do what she wants without being told, she may begin to feel confused and disappointed, and that maybe he's not "the one" afterall.

It's never too late to acquire pictures of what a truly loving and happy life can look life, and without such pictures, we cannot create that reality. Perhaps the world's biggest problem is a lack of vision. We cannot have peace, freedom, or anything else we long for if we cannot specifically imagine it. Many people simply have no idea what a mature expression of love looks like, so they have no way to experience it.

That's why the greatest gift we can give is to embody love, in the highest way we know how; as we live our highest vision, it grows higher. We change the world just by being who we are. We teach by example, but, more importantly, by bringing a higher vibration into the world. As with the hundredth monkey, enough people transmitting it conditions the consciousness of humanity, helping it leap to a new level. Whether living a solitary, contemplative life, or being highly active in the mainstream, expressing mature love, and its attendant qualities such as truth, life and creativity, is the highest achievement.

FINDING BALANCE

When we cut ourselves off from any part of ourselves, we then long for it. For example, if we've denied our body, we long to feel one with it and are likely to be highly attracted to people who are strongly physical. It may look like they have something unattainable to us, such as physical self-confidence or athleticism, but what we long for is actually something available within ourselves, a potential we are called to actualize. If it weren't our potential, we probably wouldn't long for it--it wouldn't even be on our radar. The shadow of such attraction is judgment and rejection, due to the reasons we denied our body in the first place--we may, for example, believe that the body is dirty or sinful. Denial sets up a polarity, and attraction can flip-flop with rejection. When we own and reintegrate our body, that kind of attraction fades, along with the rejection.

People who repress their emotions tend to attract partners who are over-emotional, or who at least become over-emotional in the relationship, in an unconscious attempt to balance it. In many couples, the feminine partner carries not only her own emotions but those of her partner, who leaves her the job out of his unwillingness to feel his. However, since he's denying his own emotions, he also denies hers, and may accuse her of being a "hysterical female." Sometimes, she leaves him the job of carrying her intellect if she hasn't developed it, perhaps because she has been too busy carrying all the emotions in the relationship. In this way, natural strengths are exaggerated, and relationships become excessively polarized. Some people are more emotional and some, more intellectual or physical, but we all need to think, feel and act for ourselves if we are to be whole.

If we're cut off from our creativity and that's an important part of who we are, then someone who is wildly creative will be compelling. If we worship that person, putting him on a pedestal, we might be really expressing how much we long to express our own creativity. We may think that we don't have much, but that's probably not the case.

If our masculine or feminine side is underdeveloped, we may be attracted to someone in whom that side is overdeveloped, at the expense of the opposite energy. This can be the case whether we're male or female, and whether our soul is higher in male or female energy. Most of us have at least some of both energies and need free access to both in order to be in balance. The place of balance is different for each person--most of us won't be in our male and female energies exactly half the time--but being able to use both energies when needed allows us to feel whole. When we're in balance, we're still attracted to our opposite, but it doesn't come from a place of trying to get something we think we don't have. Rather, it's one of allowing each person to do what comes naturally and finding that that complements. (For some fascinating, original thinking on this, see http://www.deida.com/.)

There are elements of projection in most relationships, projecting both the gifts we deny and long for, which can result in idolizing the other person, and the traits we deny and judge about ourselves, which usually results in fault-finding. In either case, we are unable to see the other person for who he is. Relationships based more on projection than on real connection are bound to fail; where there is illusion, disillusionment comes sooner or later. The answer is taking responsibility for being who we want to be and dealing with our own issues, revealing ourselves as we are and seeing our partner in a fair and balanced way. What our partner does is up to him--we cannot make someone see us clearly. However, if someone consistently doesn't, he's not good mate material for us.

Developing any part of ourselves makes that part more attractive. Athletes make their body more attractive by putting energy, and therefore consciousness (light), into it. The shape and tone they develop are beautiful, but they are, in part, a result of increased physical consciousness. People who are healthy and vigorous have a kind of light in their eyes that demonstrates that. Mental, emotional, and spiritual development likewise make those aspects of self shinier and more attractive. Rarely are all levels of self developed equally, and that's not necessarily a person's path--many of us specialize in one area of development in a given lifetime--but it's helpful to attain as much balance as possible.

It's easy to rest on our strengths, and it takes discipline to develop our weaker areas, but increased balance has many rewards: it makes everything we do more efficient (it's easier to think clearly, for example, if we're physically active) and helps us feel more whole. It also makes us attractive in more ways and, therefore, to more people. Athletes might find balance by reading or making music. An intellectual can benefit from exercising or meditating.

RESOLVING THE PAST

Our past is our past, whether in this lifetime, past lifetimes, or even previous planetary cycles. We are always seeking to work out unresolved issues. Having experiences is the raw material of growth, but until we process them, becoming conscious of what we learned and transforming our wounds into strengths, the growth isn't realized. Anything we do in life may be used for resolving issues.

We've been exploring how sexual relationships are often used to resolve large life challenges, such as those catalyzed by our parents. Specific practices may be used to resolve specific issues. Again, there are many possible reasons for any behavior or proclivity, so it's important not to jump to conclusions. However, for example, people who are into the dungeon scene may be working out past-life imprisonment experiences, as either victim, victimizer, or both. On the other hand, they may simply find it a fun and interesting game. Or, they may be studying issues of power. Or all of the above. If a person's involvement in it is obsessive and highly emotional, it's likely that he's working out trauma, whatever else might be going on for him as well. If it's fairly neutral, it's might more akin to a hobby. Someone who previously worked out most of the trauma may either lose interest in it or now view it as a game, reminding him of past lessons.

Our subconscious operates in part through associating things that are similar or seem similar; that is a principle behind fetishes. If, for example, an article of clothing was present at a time of strong arousal, especially in our youth, it may become sexualized. Or if a person at one time happened to become excited while being whipped, he might carry the idea that being whipped was the cause of being turned on. Therefore, it continues to turn him on, like Pavlov's dog. If the initial experience was traumatic, it allows him to revisit the wound (the more traumatic an experience, the more likely it is to be carried forward into future lifetimes until it is resolved). If someone was whipped by a parent who showed him little other attention, he might equate being whipped with love. If a person numbed himself to survive, and can only experiences feeling under great intensity, such as while being whipped, he may now need that to feel anything sexually. With any of these scenarios, re-experiencing being whipped in a safe manner, with boundaries he controls, can be a way of healing the wound, gradually taking the charge out of it, releasing fear, anger, confusion, or whatever other emotions it carries. The original events can also be re-experienced mentally, through regression or other forms of therapy.

Those exploring dualities often eventually switch roles; for instance, a dominant person may become submissive, or vice versa. When they thoroughly learn the lessons of both sides, they can balance and integrate them internally, perhaps no longer needing to experience either extreme. On the other hand, being dominant or submissive might be a part of someone's true personality; a submissive person, for example, might find genuine joy in playing a subordinate role. In either case, the overleaves of dominance or submission may be chosen by souls attracted to this arena.

Acting out fantasies sometimes reveals that the reality isn't as exciting as the fantasy, releasing some of the charge around them. At the same time, there's nothing wrong with role-playing or other games to "spice up" sex. The expression roles, artisans and sages, especially tend to enjoy playing in this way. It's no coincidence that the second chakra is said to govern both sexuality and creativity. Sex that loses creativity and spontaneity also tends to lose its intensity. Any sexual form can introduce variety and establish a framework for relating. However, the real power and satisfaction come from connecting fully in the moment; if one is focused on the form or is just replaying the past, the experience is not likely to be deeply satisfying.

Today, there are many fast and powerful psychospiritual techniques for healing traumas and releasing blocks of all kinds, including problematic fetishes. For example, past-life regression can be especially useful when examining the current lifetime doesn't yield results. The key is to bring consciousness to what has been unconscious. Consciousness brings light and movement to what was dark and stuck. All healing involves an expansion of consciousness. Acting out issues in our outer life is sometimes necessary, but it's relatively slow and unconscious. Whenever we're able to bring consciousness directly to bear, healing is much faster. Advanced students are sometimes able to go directly into the energy that holds a pattern and heal it without a lot of analysis or expression, simply by consciously being with it in love.

For example, a woman might carry frozen energy containing fear and anger as a result of having been raped in either the present or a past life. In meditation, she could ask her body to "light up" where she is holding the dysfunctional pattern (in her genitals, for instance). Then, by directly feeling and enfolding it, and staying with it as it responds to her awareness, it may clear. She may get pictures of what happened, or she may simply be aware of changing sensations. If her meditation is not able to fully clear what she's holding, she could try it again later. In the least, such work would help other forms of therapy be more effective.

Some imprints go so deep that no matter how much good work we do, we don't entirely erase them. This is where self-acceptance comes in.

 

BODY

BODY-TYPE ATTRACTION

Body types are one of the least discussed and most interesting and useful parts of the Michael teachings. They are physical and psychological traits stemming from the influences of celestial bodies on our physical bodies. This elegantly symmetrical system is also part of the Gurdjieff teachings, and has been taught for thousands of years in various esoteric schools. There are loose, indirect correlations between our body type and astrological influences. Body types are an important factor in sexual attraction.

As with other typologies, body type categories give us a shorthand for understanding forces at work in ourselves and others. We are each complex, with many different influences, so there are always exceptions to any generality. In addition, people combine two to four body types influences. For example, my body is 53% lunar, 36% martial, and 11% venusian, according to my channeling.

Below are the seven major body types. (There are also three minor body-type influences--neptunian, uranian, and plutonian--that are never one's dominant body type.) They are followed by their positive and negative poles (summaries of how they manifest at their best and worst), construction (active or passive, positive or negative charge, and masculine or feminine), physical and psychological traits, and examples, both human and cartoon. Each opposite pair is under its axis (fundamental quality): inspiration, expression, action, and assimilation.

 

INSPIRATION

 

LUNAR: + Luminous - Pallid

Passive, negative, and feminine

Pale, "baby fat," round-faced

Calm, introspective, mathematical

Andy Warhol, Emily Dickenson; Pillsbury Doughboy

 

SATURNIAN: + Rugged - Gaunt

Active, positive, and masculine

Tall, strong bones, high forehead

Enduring, self- control, leadership

Sam Shepard, Vanessa Redgrave; Uncle Sam

 

EXPRESSION

JOVIAL: + Grand - Extravagant

Passive, positive, and masculine

Large, short, male-pattern baldness, wide-necked

Magnanimous, knowledgeable, pleasure-oriented

Orson Welles, Ethel Merman; Santa Claus

 

MERCURIAL: + Agile - Frenetic

Active, negative, and feminine

Dark hair & eyes, slender, compact

Clever, quick, extroverted

George Gershwin, Debra Winger; Bugs Bunny

 

ACTION

 

VENUSIAN: + Voluptuous - Obese

Passive, positive, and feminine

Dark & thick hair, olive skin, wide hands

Easygoing, sensual, loyal, nonjudgmental

Roseanne, Tom Selleck; Jessica Rabbit

 

MARTIAL: + Wiry - Muscle-bound

Active, negative, and masculine

Reddish coloring, sinewy, broad

Direct, decisive, volatile

Richard Burton, Katharine Hepburn; Yosemite Sam

 

ASSIMILATION

 

SOLAR: + Radiant - Ethereal

Active, positive, and androgynous

Delicate, slight, young-looking

Light-hearted, elegant, creative

Judy Garland, Michael Jackson; Peter Pan

 

The body itself has a personality based on its makeup, as opposed to the overleaves (the soul's chosen personality traits, as described in the Michael teachings) or the nature of the incarnating soul (which may be at odds with it--for example, my soul is more expressive than my passive, low-key lunar body). The behavior of the fetus prior to incarnation is derived mainly from body type; for example, martial bodies kick the most. The influence of body type in children's behavior continues to be strong, especially in their first seven years before their overleaves are fully manifested and solidified.

The personalities of the body types are evident in the way we use some of the terms in common parlance. The stereotype of the jolly fat person comes from the jovial body type, which tends to be large. Saturnians can be saturnine, i.e., sullen or stolid. Mercurials can be volatile and swift.

There are three pairs that are opposite: lunar/saturnian, jovial/mercurial, and venusian/martial. (Solar is neutral, in the sense of not having an opposite.) Body-type attraction between opposites can provide a "zing" in both sexual and non-sexual relationships--our bodies feel stimulated just by being together; they form a kind of electrical circuit. The pairs are opposite in three respects: active/passive, positive/negative (like the poles of a magnet), and masculine/feminine. (See the list above.)

According to the Michael teachings, the first pair is on the inspiration axis, meaning that they are internal. The second is on the expression axis, which bridges the internal and external (as in communication and creativity). The third is on the action axis, more purely concerned with the external. Solar is on the assimilation axis, which stands aside and observes the others, reminiscent of atavistic art in which the sun has a face, "observing" the planets.

If a person is heavily solar, any of the body types may work for him since solar is neutral. However, it is positive and active (like saturnian, although in a different way), so that might give a slight edge to lunar, which is the only body type that is both negative and passive. People with other body types tend to like solar, too--it has a delicate quality that brings out a feeling in them of wanting to take care of it. A person with solar as his main body type can also look to his secondaries for body-type attraction; for example, a solar/jovial is especially attracted to mercurials.

 

Body types progress along a circle in this order: lunar, venusian, mercurial, saturnian, martial, and jovial (solar, being neutral, doesn't participate). They alternate between positive and negative. The positive types are more like the day: brighter, more optimistic, emphasizing the outer, and tending to overlook flaws. The negative types are more like the night: darker, more pessimistic, emphasizing the inner, and tending to notice what needs correction. Positive is not "better" than negative here--both kinds of charge are needed. It is easy to see why solar is positive, since the sun creates daylight, and lunar is negative, since the moon and the night are so closely connected. Solar types tend to be radiant and light-hearted, and lunar types tend to be sensitive and thoughtful. The traits of other positive types are, like solar, brighter--the jovial type, known for its mirth, is an example. The traits of other negative types are, like lunar, darker--for example, the mercurial type can be given to sarcasm.

Each body type is also active or passive. Activity and passivity refer to whether the body's tendency is more to do or to be. For instance, if someone has a free day with nothing he "has to" do, he is likely to do something athletic or take on a project if he has an active type, whereas someone with a passive type might choose to read quietly or watch a movie (although it's not cut-and-dried--the soul type is also a big influence in this).

Unlike positive/negative, active/passive isn't either/or; there are degrees of activity and passivity. Body types wax and wane in this regard around the circle. The first body type, lunar, is the most passive, the calm epitome of being (femininity). The second, venusian, is also passive but less so; it is moving in the direction of the active types, and becomes more active by absorbing the explosive energy of its opposite, martial. The third, mercurial, is active, increasingly so, winding up by receiving the energy unwinding from its opposite, jovial. The fourth, saturnian, is the most active, the calm, competent epitome of doing (masculinity). The fifth, martial, is also active but less so than saturnian; it releases energy through its explosiveness. The sixth, jovial, is passive, completing martial's dissipation of energy. Movement comes to a halt as the progression arrives back at the stillness of lunar, the first, which begins the progression anew. Solar, which, again, is not part of the progression, is also active, but lightly or neutrally so: neither wound-up (mercurial), stolid (saturnian), nor explosive (martial). Its activity is reminiscent of that of a bird, as opposed to the lumbering strength of the saturnian. Solar types are fine-boned, whereas saturnians are big-boned.

The first three body types in the progression are predominantly feminine (moving from most feminine to least)--they receive. The second three are predominantly masculine (moving from most masculine to least)--they emanate.

Positive and active are also both masculine traits. Saturnian, both positive and the most active of types, is considered the most masculine body type. Astrologically, Saturn is the father figure, meting out discipline. Negative and passive are also both considered feminine traits. Since lunar is both negative and the most passive of types, it is considered the most feminine body type. This is not surprising, since the moon is a prevalent symbol of femininity, and women's bodies are particularly affected by the lunar cycle. Lunar men and saturnian women are more likely to be homosexual or bisexual than when the reverse is true, although body type is only one of many factors influencing sexuality. (The percentage of lunar or saturnian influence and the secondary body-type influences determine how strong a factor the lunar or saturnian influence is.)

In the pair mercurial (active/negative) and jovial (passive/positive), both have one masculine and one feminine trait. However, since in their dynamic, mercurial winds up (receives) and jovial unwinds (emanates), mercurial, the active type, is the more feminine. The opposite is true with the other pair that has one masculine and one feminine trait, martial (active/negative) and venusian (passive/positive). Martial explodes (emanates) and venusian absorbs (receives), making martial, the active type, the more masculine. If you compare jovial and venusian bodies, which both tend to be round and large, it's clear that venusians feel more feminine. Martials feel more masculine than mercurials, even though both tend to be compact and muscular. In the progression, the feminine types begin with the ultimate feminine, lunar, and the masculine types begin with the ultimate masculine, saturnian.

I know a gay man with a saturnian/martial body. He is very tall and is a body builder. He looks like the epitome of masculinity. However, his soul is higher in female energy and he has a somewhat feminine manner. Higher female energy doesn't necessarily result in a feminine manner--in the Michael teachings, it simply indicates being more process- and less goal-oriented. However, before this lifetime, he hadn't been in a male body for a while, and is identified more with femininity. Souls seek balance, including the ability to effectively use both male and female energies, so he is rebalancing himself. He is currently fascinated by masculinity, so he is studying it both within his own body and in those of his highly masculine-appearing partners. He chose a body that only wants to do (saturnian and martial are both active), yet his underlying nature is more receptive.

Active types easily muscle up with exercise; passive types don't. A woman I know has a saturnian type, and martial and mercurial secondaries--again, all active types. She's afraid to exercise because she gets so muscular. That would be great if she were a body builder, but she is an actress, and too much muscle could limit her ability to get the parts she wants. Active types also tend to be thinner, even without exercise, whereas passive types tend to be larger, softer, and rounder (although the active-type actress just mentioned is also large-breasted, a genetic exception to her normal body-type influences). I know a man with a jovial type whom others often perceive as being too thin. If he were predominantly mercurial and had the same weight and frame, he would be perceived as being at his normal weight. The passive types are meant to have a little more "meat on their bones." Any body type can be fat or thin, but active bodies have a "boxier," less-round look even when they're fat.

The opposites of all our body type influences can contribute to body-type attraction. I have maximum body-type attraction with someone who has 53% saturnian, 36% venusian, and 11% martial (my opposites). However, anyone with a significant amount of saturnian influence would provide meaningful body-type attraction. Also having some venusian, especially, and martial adds to it, but the saturnian energy is the most compelling and essential, in part because I have half again more lunar than martial, and relatively little venusian.

In addition, venusian and martial are opposites, and I have both influences in my body. When we have opposites internally, they cancel one another out, in a sense, so having them externally is less compelling. (Since I have three times as much martial as venusian, that's less true for me than if they were equal.) If someone has, say, 52% jovial and 48% mercurial, it's still helpful if his partner has some mercurial and/or jovial, although, for him, body-type attraction may not be as important as other factors.

Body-type attraction is not the same as thinking that someone is beautiful or handsome, or even that someone is our "type" (covered in the next section) or someone we'd ever want to be with. Beauty is, in part, a function of health, grooming, genetics, and self-expression. It is also, of course, in the eye of the beholder, which is influenced by our conditioning. Our image of beauty may relate to what advertising and the media in general promote; our type may be someone who reminds us of one of our parents or an important earlier lover. Body-type attraction is more subtle. It is our body's fascination with its opposite. Simply sitting next to someone with an opposite body type can excite or stimulate your body, even if he's not your type or of interest as a sexual partner.

Incidentally, souls do not necessarily want to be in a body that would be considered handsome or beautiful. The soul craves a variety of experiences and lessons. For example, being beautiful might be considered a nuisance when the soul wishes to have a lifetime quietly observing life. Being good-looking may make sex more accessible but not necessarily a good mate; it doesn't solve all one's problems, despite the fantasies around it.

Body-type attraction can also account for our being drawn sexually to someone who doesn't seem to be our "type" or conform to our image of "good-looking." In addition, it can account for some of those "odd couple" relationships, such as a thin, wiry mercurial type in relationship with a large jovial type. Body-type attraction was a factor in the oft-commented-upon relationship between Lyle Lovett (lunar) and Julia Roberts (saturnian).

If there is not some body-type attraction between people in a romantic relationship, there are probably other elements of attraction between them, such as opposite male/female energy ratios, compatible overleaves, or close essence (soul) bonds. However, if someone is our type, plus we also have body-type attraction, that can be very compelling. One doesn't need to have body-type attraction to have a good sexual relationship, but it is an enhancement.

Body-type attraction is reciprocal: martial attracts venusian, and vice-versa. However, it's only one factor in what draws people together, so if we're attracted to someone because of body-type attraction but don't fit the other person's type, he may disregard the body-type attraction. One highly martial man I know is a fitness buff who isn't attracted to women who are even slightly overweight, yet venusian is his opposite, and they put on weight relatively easily (think Elizabeth Taylor), so he has always had trouble finding women to whom he's strongly attracted.

Periodically, different body types come into fashion. Jovials were popular in the 1890s, as they were in the artist Reuben's time. The pale, moon-faced flapper look of the 1920s owed much to the lunar type. In the 1930s and 40s, mercurial's oval face and lithe body, exemplified by Fred Astaire, and pugnacious martial tough guys such as James Cagney, were popular. (Mars, the red planet, is also known as the god of war). The voluptuous sex symbols of the 50s such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley embodied venusian influence (Venus is the mythological goddess of love). Twiggy's child-like solar look set the tone for the late 60s. Since the 80s or so, saturnians have been in fashion, so models tend to be tall, athletic and thin. It's hard to believe today that often in the past, tall people were thought to look ungainly and thin people were considered bony

In our society, we carry an almost religious conviction that being slender is required to be attractive; it's hard to imagine the possibility of seeing things any other way. However, in cultures in which getting enough food was a problem and only the rich could afford to be fat, being heavy was considered beautiful or handsome. In conditions of famine, a healthy fat person tends to survive longer than a thin person. Now, it's relatively hard to be thin because of our sedentary lifestyle, so being thin is prized, and the active body types, which are more likely to be thin, are more popular. Even when a passive body type, such as venusian, is in vogue, it is still expected to have a slim, if not flat, waist. However, our stout Presidents of the late 19th century, for instance, were considered fine specimens of manhood. Even today, not all cultures share our values: A very heavyset man I know visited an African tribe who asked him if he was royalty.

In Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda wrote about his sister in India about 100 years ago being thin and unable to gain weight no matter what she did (she probably had a predominantly active type), and her husband wasn't attracted to her. Yogananda did a healing on her, she was able to gain 30 pounds, and was thrilled. It would be rare for a woman in our society today to go to a healer to get help gaining weight. Just about the only people happy to gain weight are male body builders putting on muscle.

Despite the incessant programming we receive that makes it harder to think of large people as attractive, sometimes body type influence wins out. Mercurials are attracted to jovials, who tend to be the largest of the types, and sometimes compact mercurials buck the trend and adore large, sometimes very large, jovials. The same can be true of martials and venusians. People whose dominant parent was large or who feel themselves to be overly slight may also be attracted to large partners.

Jovials and venusians are not necessarily overweight, but the passive types don't have an inborn need to be in frequent movement, and these two types especially tend to like to indulge in the pleasures of good food and drink. Passive types also tend to have a slower metabolism, so it can be difficult for them to lose weight. The active types can be overweight, too--psychological factors, such as a need for protection, can override body-type influences. In addition, health issues such as glandular problems or enforced sedentariness due to, say, an accident, can be a factor with anyone. If a person died of starvation in a past life vowing that that would never happen again, he may have a hard time controlling his subconscious need to put on excess. However, active types generally put on weight more slowly and take it off more easily than passive types.

Body type is largely hereditary. I take after my mother, and her body type was also lunar/martial, although her third influence was solar rather than venusian (which I got from my father). My older brother is the tintype of my father, who is venusian/martial/jovial; my brother is martial/venusian. Since he has more martial than my father, he's slimmer and more active.

Every type has pros and cons. For example, a soul who intends to be a writer might not want a highly active body type that can't bear to be "tied to a desk." There is usually enough wiggle room for our soul to create what it needs for that lifetime from the genetic raw material that parents provide.

Computer nerds often have a high lunar influence, which is the most passive and inward of the types. The moon is out at night, and lunars often like to work at night and sleep during the day. Lunar males can be more affected by the lunar cycle than other males--for instance, I can sometimes sense without looking at the sky when it's a full moon, because I feel emotionally full then--it's my favorite time. The moon makes you dream and reflect, and the lunar type can give rise to brilliant thinkers. On the other hand, lunars aren't athletic, tend to be pudgy, don't show much muscle even if they work out, and their pale complexion doesn't tan easily. To be a lunar male today is to be out of fashion. However, no tool does everything well. A hammer doesn't function well as a screwdriver, and vice versa--you can't have it all. And if there were no lunars, there would be no one with whom saturnians could have body-type attraction. ("Will the geek finally get the supermodel? Stay tuned.")

Stereotypical opera singers are heavyset passive types, because larger, relaxed bodies make for a more resonant voice. People with a rich, beautiful speaking voice are also likely to have a predominantly passive body type.

Mercurial types tend to have high energy and be quick and flexible, but they can also be nervous and high-strung, especially if they don't get plenty of exercise. Saturnians can be strong and muscular but also tend to have back and joint problems.

We all need exercise. Passive types may need to be more disciplined and deliberate about getting it, just as active types may need to be more deliberate about relaxing.

People who combine active and passive, and positive and negative types in roughly equal amounts avoid the extremes both in their pros and cons.

Some body types repel: mercurial and martial, for example. Both are negative and active, but they function differently: mercurial winds up and martial explodes; they can get on each other's nerves. (This is less of a problem when someone has both influences internally; they tend to blend, giving the person some traits of both.) Jovial and venusian are both passive and positive, but jovial unwinds while venusian absorbs, so they don't have much to bring them together. When two people have the same body type, it's pretty neutral, with neither attraction nor repulsion.

As mentioned, body types progress along a circle. Lunar very slowly moves toward venusian--it morphs into it. Therefore, a person isn't merely lunar; he could be lunar closer to jovial, in the middle of lunar, or lunar closer to venusian (as I am). A lunar closer to venusian will be especially comfortable with venusians closer to lunar, and vice versa, and will be repelled by jovials, because he's moving away from jovial. On the other hand, a lunar closer to jovial will be comfortable with jovials. This is a different, milder kind of attraction than that of opposites, and is often found in couples. Sometimes couples have one opposite and one neighboring (or same) influence.

For more information on body types, see my book, The Journey of Your Soul, Michael--The Basic Teachings by Aaron Christeaan et al, or Joel Friedlander's out-of-print Body Types. The two latter books have useful illustrations. Your body type information can be channeled as part of your Michael Reading chart; you can also figure it out by studying the material.

YOUR "TYPE"

Many people have a "type," a physical and sometimes personality style that turns them on, a picture of what their ideal mate would look like. This can come from many places, including body-type attraction and many of the other factors covered in this series. For example, someone with a lunar body type might be attracted to people who are tall, because the opposite body type, saturnian, tends to be tall (although there are also short saturnians).

However, often our type is an imprint that isn't necessarily related to anything organic. It can be similar to a fetish in that our sexuality becomes linked to a certain tangible thing, only it's a trait rather than an object. For example, someone might be attracted to blonds because her father was one, and she's working out issues relative to her father in her relationships, so she looks for blonds. There can be a body type element, too--hair color isn't directly tied to body types, but there are some tendencies: Red hair color and skin tones are especially linked to martial bodies. There are also an above average number of solars with blond hair and venusians with dark. Hair color can also represent an emotional quality we like: blond feels cooler, and red, hotter.

There are several possible reasons someone might only be strongly attracted to women with large breasts: His mother, or another adult such as a movie star on whom he fixated as the ideal of femininity when he was young, might have had them. They might represent extreme femininity that balances his identification with extreme masculinity, just as a large penis (or wallet) can symbolize extreme masculinity to those who identify with extreme femininity. Large breasts may also symbolize nurturing he didn't get as a child. On a crude level, these things seem to communicate, "You're going to get your needs met." Of course, it doesn't always work out that way.

On a personality level, someone's type may be quiet people with a wry sense of humor because her father was like that, or extroverts because his mother was one (or because he's an introvert and it balances him).

If a relationship ended in a way that left us feeling incomplete, we might continue to look for someone resembling the person we lost so that we can find a sense of completion. Traumatic incompletions can be carried forward from past lives. For example, if the love of someone's life died right after they were married and she missed him for the rest of that lifetime, she might continue to look for him reincarnated, or someone like him.

I have a Caucasian friend who is most strongly attracted to black men: she feels safe with them, and doesn't with white men. In her experience, white men have been abusive, and black men, kind. Her first love was black, and, no doubt, there's also a past-life story or two here. Many metaphysical teachers say that we create our reality from our beliefs. Perhaps her beliefs about black and white men have drawn experiences that support them.

It's also possible that in order to help us find the person with whom we have our primary mate agreement (covered in the first installment of this series), our soul implanted some clues, and we keep falling for people who look or feel similar until we find the right one. A friend said that she always knew she would marry a man with a deep voice, and sure enough, she's with an entity mate (a member of her spiritual family) who's a basso profundo. Pheromones (chemicals our body secretes) and other body scents can be more subtle clues that our subconscious picks up.

There's a Rodgers and Hart song called "You Always Love the Same Girl." Have you ever noticed how people's significant others tend to resemble one another in certain ways? My brother's first and second wives were born three days apart, for example, and are both blondes (as was our mother). Observing repetitive patterns in our life can be illuminating.

A person's type can simply be someone like him. Couples who do well together often look alike, perhaps like male and female versions of the same person. They seem to belong together, a matched set like salt and pepper shakers. The similarities most often show up in their faces. Couples can also increasingly resemble each other the longer they're together, as they blend their energies. Opposites attract, but similarities bring comfort. Every relationship is a combination of opposites and similarities, although the portion of each varies. Perhaps those who like more opposite traits like more excitement. Even couples who look alike in many ways can also have some striking opposites, such as one being tall and the other, short.

We sometimes hear of people falling in love with someone who isn't their type, or of people who don't have a type (or who have more than one), which illustrates that there are many other factors that can bring people together. To some degree, we can transcend a lack of body-type attraction or the fact that someone isn't our type if there's enough that's compelling on other levels, but the physical perks are nice to have.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION

The most basic question of attraction is whether we're attracted to male or female bodies, or both.

Biology's default is heterosexuality, because, obviously, that suits its reproductive goals. When the world's population was much lower and it seemed important to increase it, the heterosexual default setting was a stronger imperative and harder to override. In times of overpopulation, the imperative is weaker. In experiments with laboratory rats, homosexual activity increases with crowding, probably as part of an instinctive urge to reduce it. We'll likely see a large increase of gay people if the population continues to grow, not merely more people coming out of the closet.

There's usually more than one factor in someone being gay. Souls who need the experience of being gay, for example, may chose to incarnate when the heterosexual imperative is weaker, and may choose parents and body type that support that (males with feminine body types, and females with masculine ones, are slightly more inclined to be gay).

A body's memory can be imprinted by parental issues and expectations while still in the womb, before the soul incarnates. It's like applications installed on a computer's hard drive at the factory, before you've used it, that run in the background. The soul might be able to clear those once it enters, but usually it just works around them, provided that enough space on the drive is available for its purposes, since that's less trouble. An example is a male carried by a mother who wanted a girl. The prenatal imprint, if strong, may result in a tendency to be gay and/or feminine. That may suit the soul's purposes, but if it doesn't, he may end up straight, and any feminine traits may recede as his soul manifests, illustrating how a soul might erase or override an imprint. Alternately, being bisexual and/or mildly feminine might still allow him to complete his soul-level tasks, illustrating how a soul might dilute or work around an imprint. Sometimes, however, a soul isn't strong enough or otherwise able to override imprinting--it may have underestimated the task or not foreseen other factors involved, such as the absence of suitable male role models--and must therefore adapt its plans. It's all good, because each scenario can bring valuable lessons, but the latter is the most problematic and uncomfortable; it can be a factor in someone who is mostly really gay trying to be straight, creating a lot of tension in the personality.

The soul usually has a good idea what it's getting itself into when incarnating, at least during the first few years of life. However, there are always compromises; if the "package" mostly works, the soul may be willing to accept and deal with some elements that don't.

Imprinting that begins as early as conception may, and often does, continue after birth. However, once the soul incarnates the child has more power to interact with his parents and, to some degree, reduce the impact of imprinting for which he has no affinity. The imprinting for which he does have affinity is that which is most likely to stick, wanted or not.

Psychology usually attributes same-sex orientation to early-childhood imprinting, and certainly that can be a powerful influence. For example, a boy with a missing or withdrawn father may so long for him that he fixates sexually on males. Or if the mother was repellant and the father wasn't, he might do the same. If both parents were repellant, he might become either bisexual or asexual, depending on whether he continues to seek something from both sexes or gives up on both.

Identification isn't the same as orientation. A male can identify as feminine and still be attracted to women (perhaps similar to being a lesbian). Some male-to-female transsexuals are attracted to men, and some to women. Vice versa for women.

Sometimes, a person fixates emotionally on the same sex, but physically on the opposite sex, or vice versa. For instance, a woman may emotionally want to be mated with another woman, but her body responds more to men; she may experience this as sexual dysfunction or a low sex drive in her relationships with women. Conversely, she may be more physically excited by women but feel that something is missing and find men more fulfilling emotionally and/or intellectually. If this can't be worked out in therapy or otherwise, one solution might be to mate with a male/female couple in which the female is bisexual (see the section on "Polyfidelity," which follows).

The most significant factor in sexual orientation is what the soul brings into that lifetime. Some souls prefer being male, for example, but need to occasionally get into balance by being female. Their previous attractions may not turn on a dime, and they may continue to be attracted to females. After a lifetime of getting more comfortable in the female body and learning more about the feminine by having it mirrored, they might later come back as a heterosexual or bisexual female.

A soul may have had traumatic experiences that damaged its masculine or feminine side. Therefore, it may, for example, incarnate as a male carrying the belief that males are violent and that it's bad to be a man. Being in a male body but identifying as female sets up a conflict that encourages him to deal with the issue. Illustrating multi-causality, it may also choose a dominant mother, making it easier to identify with her. Someone without that issue might not be as susceptible to her influence. Psychologists see the dominant mother and assume that she is the cause of her son's homosexuality, and that might be the case, or part of it. However, if they lack knowledge of the soul, they may not have a basis for understanding why that child resonated with her and accepted her imprinting in that way, whereas his brother didn't. There is always at least some symbiosis in such things.

There is a higher incidence of homosexuality in identical twins, because they are used to bonding strongly with each other. However, sometimes one twin is gay and the other is straight, which shows that imprinting or biology doesn't necessarily govern. Incidentally, identical twins don't always have identical body types, either, showing how our soul can meet different needs from the same raw material.

A study found that the hypothalamus (in the brain) is smaller in women and gay men than it is in heterosexual men. Some people concluded that sexual orientation is biological. Although biology can be a factor, it's likely that the size of the hypothalamus as well as hormone levels more reflect how much they're used than the other way around. Other factors are usually more influential in orientation, but once the pattern is set, both biologically and mentally, it is hard to change it. If, later in life, a new soul who wants a different orientation walks in to the body, it may not be able to achieve it. So-called reparative therapy is rarely successful in changing orientation among gays, and when it is, it's probably mainly with those who were at least latently bisexual to begin with, and whose soul has agreements to mate with the opposite sex.

There are vast numbers of people somewhere on the spectrum of bisexuality, from being a little bit bi but mostly straight or gay, to being 50/50. Their place on that spectrum is not necessarily fixed--it can fluctuate depending upon the circumstances and what's happening internally. Some can easily be monogamous with either a male or female, and some need to have both (similar with straight or gay people: some are suited to monogamy, and others aren't). Many people's bisexuality is unconscious until something activates it and brings it to the surface. It can be limited to one or a few sexual activities or it can be as fully engaged as the sexuality of a straight or gay person. For example, some women like to be with other women only above the waist. Some men won't kiss another man--it has to be purely sexual, without emotional attachment or romanticism, which they reserve for women. This may help them preserve the idea that they're not gay--they're just fooling around--or it may indicate that they have physical but not emotional attraction to men.

Some gay and straight people don't like to kiss or be romantic, either, often due to fear of intimacy. Many sex workers won't kiss their clients because they reserve that for someone with whom they're emotionally involved. Kissing suggests a union of minds, not just bodies. In general, artisans, sages, and priests are more romantic than the other roles. Warriors and kings tend to be matter-of-fact about sex and most other things, and can distrust what they perceive as excessive floridity. Scholars are often game for anything, but their neutrality doesn't naturally lean them toward romanticism. Servers appreciate romanticism--a small gesture often means a lot to them--but they're big on "first things first": basic needs take precedence for them.

A surprising number of people who identify as being gay or straight have enjoyed bisexual experiences that they think "don't count" or feel they need to keep secret so as not to jeopardize their standing in their community. For example, some politically active feminist lesbians fear they would be ostracized if it was discovered that they sometimes slept with men. Many people are truly only straight or gay, but some are bisexual despite their identification.

The definition of bisexuality is hard to pin down. Most people could derive some pleasure from the touch of either sex, such as in receiving a massage. There's a gray area between the therapeutic and the sensual. If someone is aroused when receiving a massage from someone of the same sex, does that alone make her bisexual (or gay)? Probably not. If someone enjoys it when a person of the same sex performs oral sex on him, does that make him bisexual? Maybe not. Perhaps a realistic definition of bisexuality is that a person can be naturally aroused by the bodies of either sex, as opposed to simply deriving pleasure from being stimulated.

Probably more people are gay or bisexual than is commonly thought; the stigma often leads to people not being honest about it, even with themselves, and certainly not with polling organizations. Gay men who are feminine and women who are masculine cannot easily hide it and flock to the urban gay ghettos. However, it is likely that the majority of gay people do not fit the stereotypes and are not discerned by the average person. The world of professional sports, for example, is seen as being ultra-straight. However, a male friend of mine dated an NFL football player and said that about 30% of his team is gay. Maybe there was some wishful thinking involved, but chances are that in any group of people, some of them are not straight. A surprising number of movie stars are also quietly known to be gay or bi. When a critical mass of celebrities comes out, it will have a large impact on society's acceptance of non-straight sexuality.

Sarah Chambers channeled Michael as saying that all females are intrinsically bisexual, perhaps because the feminine is responsive and can respond to either male or female. If that is the case, however, many women are not in touch with it. The same channeling stated that 25% of males are also intrinsically bisexual (in addition to those who are gay, I assume). The channeling did not define bisexuality.

In one of the Yarbro books, Michael said that older souls are often bisexual because, after all their lifetimes as both male and female, they are less identified with the body they happen to wear at the moment, and they respond to the soul in other people rather than to the body. That might be the ideal. We can't make ourselves feel that way if we don't, but I know some predominantly straight and gay people who have deliberately opened themselves to bisexuality in an attempt to break down their barriers. They didn't stick with it long-term, but feel that it enriched them, helping them become more balanced.

MONOGAMY AND POLYFIDELITY

Polyfidelity is a new term that refers to committed long-term relationships with more than one person, as an alternative to monogamy, promiscuity, and swinging. These units of three or more can be straight, bisexual or gay. (For more information on it, go to http://lovemore.com.)

Many people aren't suited to monogamy. There is much lip service given to it in our society, but in practice, often people "cheat." The use of that word shows how emotionally charged our imprinting is, but the idea that monogamy is the only moral lifestyle is a social construct; many societies feel differently. In some tribes, for instance, a woman may feel cheated if her husband has only one wife--she has to do all the housework! Although it's been historically more common for a man to have more than one wife rather than the other way around, today there are increasing instances of a woman with more than one man, or two or more couples mated to each other. If someone is agonizing about choosing from more than one mate possibility, sometimes the answer might be "and" rather than "or." However, it takes a great deal of maturity to make such relationships work.

There's brainwashing in our society that brings, unquestioningly, the assumption that a partner being "unfaithful" is the greatest of betrayals. Therefore, someone who has committed to monogamy but who is not suited to it or who is drawn to share something intimate outside his primary relationship, perhaps because of soul-level agreements or because his needs aren't being met, is in a tough quandary. Deceit is poisonous to a relationship, yet telling the truth can also destroy it, as can not being true to oneself. It might be cleaner to renegotiate agreements, try to solve the problems, or end the relationship before seeking outside it.

Still, affairs are seldom premeditated, and expecting people, especially when they feel their needs aren't being met, to consistently have the self-discipline to decline a strong attraction may not be realistic. Making too much out of it only aggravates the problem. The best way to avoid it is to let a potential partner know at the beginning our stand on monogamy, whether we require it, aren't suited to it, or are open on the subject. If his stand is opposite, it might be better not to pursue the relationship further. Of course, a person may not realize his true needs when he's young, and they can change over time. However, when people are honest and realistic about their needs before embarking upon a relationship, a lot of heartache can be avoided.

 

CONCLUSION

When we find someone attractive who doesn't reciprocate, it's easy to doubt our attractiveness, but, as we've been exploring, what turns on another person is complex and isn't something we can control. When people are fortunate enough to find each other highly attractive and are able to make a relationship work, there's more than a little bit of luck involved.

Attraction is what brings people together; it's not necessarily what keeps them together. Common interests allow for things to discuss and do together, and common values are even more important for relationship longevity. Unresolved issues between people can kill attraction as anger and resentment build up. Creating a strong relationship takes commitment, a mature ability to resolve conflicts and communicate clearly, and an alignment of purpose. A sense of humor helps, too.

May you find joy in your relating!

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sgh (at) summerjoy (dot) com. [Please replace (at) with @, etc.]

http://summerjoy.com

 

© 2002 Shepherd Hoodwin

Feel free to distribute with attribution to the author and web site:

http://summerjoy.com/attraction.html

 


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