As stated in previous blog entries, in affective terms, my experience of Level 2 (Band 3) was characterised by very spiritually refined archetypal fantasies.
The earlier type related largely to the transcendent aspect in the adoration, as it were, of a new found God with a feminine face (that radiated the platonic notion of beauty).
The later type however related in complementary fashion to the more immanent aspect in deep attraction to an Earth Mother (with hopes of the most intimate physical fulfilment).
And here, I began to better understand what an important contribution Freud had made with his Oedipus Complex.
For the original most intimate relationship of a child is with its mother (in both physical and emotional terms). Therefore the root nature of sexual desire - especially for male children - expresses the primitive desire to be united physically and emotionally with the mother.
However, quite rightly most cultures treat incest as taboo. So the young child in gaining independence from the mother. is thereby culturally conditioned to quickly repress this desire.
However if one is to properly get to the root of sexual repression later in one's spiritual journey, one has to learn to honestly face the unconscious nature of such desire.
Then its more refined holistic expression is in becoming united with the whole Earth (and by extension everything in creation) where all physical nature is now experienced as one's Mother.
Thus it is interesting how in Western culture the transcendent aspect of spirit (where sexual desire is sublimated in platonic fashion) is viewed almost exclusively in male terms.
Then the immanent aspect (where sexual desire can be freely released) is viewed in corresponding female terms (as the Earth Mother).
However these two strands have rarely been successfully united with each other with the transcendent religious emphasis dominating the immanent (often viewed as representing mere "pagan" influences).
Not surprisingly the need to reconcile both of these poles created a considerable amount of emotional conflict in my life.
Without the transcendent direction, the desire for sexual and emotional fulfilment can become too localised and unduly identified with a restricted range of symbols.
Likewise, without the immanent direction, the desire for ultimate fulfilment can become unduly impersonal (entailing a degree of repression of one's basic physical instincts).
So the big challenge is to increasingly balance both aspects successfully with each other.
In this way the most complete fulfilment of one's romantic longings, in a physical manner, can become equally compatible with the true platonic quest, in the pure adoration of spiritual beauty.
Though the complete attainment of one's mystical identity (in complete union with spirit) does not necessarily exclude the accepted notion of a physical marriage to one special person, frequently however it does in practice become associated with a commitment to celibacy.
Therefore we have perhaps the surprising paradox that the full attainment of one's sexual longings (whereby one becomes spiritually united in a sense with the whole world) can require that one completely forego any lesser expression in attempting to fulfil such longing through any one individual.
Even in the case of a committed couple who both share the strong mystical desire for total union, realisation of this goal may subsequently require the transformation of their relationship beyond its more limited physical expression.
For the ultimate challenge is to be able to relate to everything in physical creation (without possessive attachment). Only in this way can the sexual energy of all creation be then experienced in full freedom (where each physical phenomenon can preserve its unique spiritual beauty without lessening in any way the unique beauty of everything else in nature).
However progressing along this path does require confronting one's primitive instincts in a very open fashion. For without proper understanding and acceptance of their nature, one will always remain a slave in some measure to their involuntary promptings.
I have stated many time before how in my own Christian tradition, I have never seen this crucial issue properly addressed in explicit manner by any of the great mystics.
However indirectly we are left perhaps with some telling hints. Therefore when the saints frequently referred to themselves as the greatest sinners of all, it is likely that they were perhaps referring to the primitive nature of their sexual desires, which they had been required to face in the most stark fashion on the road to eventual sanctity.
In other words they had thereby to confront the root nature of all sin (sexual and otherwise) in a much deeper fashion than the rest of humanity.
Again in my own life at this time there was initially an external focus, through social relationships whereby the archetypal nature of sexual longing could for a while be successfully projected on to certain women of my choosing.
Initially, these longings expressed themselves in a more platonic fashion (expressive of transcendent affective desire) and then gradually in a more physical emotional fashion (reflecting the complementary immanent direction).
However I soon realised that a considerable layer of repressed instinct hindered further progress.
So eventually this required a lengthy withdrawal from external relationships (as the focus of projection of involuntary desires) to a continual battle within that lasted several years.
Though not as arduous as the extended "dark night" of the previous level, daily life at such time did become extremely monotonous and colourless due to so much affective energy now being turned inwards.
Indeed I would liken it in weather terms to facing a continual cold North wind or alternatively to a cyclist continually required to pedal up a steep hill.
All in all, it seemed then to spell the complete death of romance in my life (with unconscious sexual desires now prevented from finding any rest in external phenomena).