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Goo-Goo Eyes            

*Dedicated to Ella May Damiani*

   edited by Peter Holleran

"You will come to the Sirens, who bewitch all men who come near..."Come hither, Odysseus...stop your ship so you can hear our voices. No one has ever sailed his black ship past here without listening to the honeyed sound from our lips."

   - Homer, The Odyssey, Book 12

   [Warning: contains adult content]

   "Maybe we should mention that there do arise over and over again what you might call tests. These things do happen. And I think most of us know when that's happening, we can smell it....Take an example. You're sitting and meditating and you are succeeding. You're beginning to get introverted, self-absorbed, [or enquiry deepening, self-understanding and insight increasing] and you know this is beginning to happen. You can see that you are withdrawing from [or disidentifying with] the world, or that the world is not so important to you any more...Then a man comes along and offers you a fabulous job, but you have to get completely extroverted. Or a beautiful girl [or guy] comes along and makes goo-goo eyes. Then you are out. You are out there all over again. And you have to think about it. You could say, "Wait a minute, why is this happening to me?" And maybe it would be the right thing to do, maybe not. I don't know. Because there is no way of knowing ahead of time whether this is what you should be doing or something you should be avoiding."

   But if a person is meditating, getting introverted, more and more introverted, and then like I said, a girl [or guy] comes along and makes goo-goo eyes, [he/she] knows what's happening. This has happened at this time, now, because of his introversion that's starting to take place. Because the world always wants to keep you for itself. It has a nice glamour...It says, "Come here, come here! I've got what you want!"...It doesn't want you to seek your soul...The point is that then and there your ego is showing its true colors...You have to remember that the world - we call it the dragon - the dragon always has nice little stories to tell you. "Why don't you come, live in the world, enjoy the world? Drink and be merry, don't worry about tomorrow." And there's something inside of you that says, "Wait a minute. I've got work to do. I've got other things to do." So my own experience has been that I can't do it. A sage can do it, because to him inside and outside are one thing. But when we're talking about our evolution, our development step by step, I find it very hard...The funny thing is that the adverse forces in nature will attack at a crucial time, at a time when it's possible that you may be able to make a little advance forward. And they could attack you with a goo-goo eyed girl or a handsome man, or they could attack you with, "Here's a wonderful job." Any possible way."

   [Student: It couldn't be wrong all the time to go after that girl or that job, but it might be a matter of how you do it, if you could still remain detached.]..."I can't give you any analogy. Because then this girl with the goo-goo eyes, maybe she'd make a good wife. Get married?...but you see what it comes down to. If you want a glimpse of your soul, you have to become very concentrated about it. You can't be dissipating...Even if you don't forget your aim, the test is going to be very real. And it is going to hurt. It's going to hurt...Anyone who has been on the quest for a number of years will sooner or later find the world that he lives in, the world that he knows, blowing up in his face...It's very rare that things go along smoothly for too long a time. For almost every questor, that's to be understood, in the sense that it can't be helped. It's in our very nature, because of the way we are and the way our whole past history is. Our whole history is of such a nature that when we want to get to the highest part of our being, when we want to touch the soul within us, certain changes have to be made. The way we are is not good enough, some changes have to be made. And usually things happen so that these changes are brought about in the person...These parts of ourselves that can't serve the higher purpose have to be taken up, brought up into the daylight, into your consciousness. They have to be understood for what they are and then they must be disowned, discarded, or completely dissolved."

   "The important thing is to recognize the nature of the temptation. Why are you tempted to begin with? If this girl makes goo-goo eyes at me, why am I tempted? There has to be something in me that responds to that. That's what I have to find out. What is it in me that responds to that?"...

   "To speak about becoming a sage, a man of wisdom, without having first succeeded in becoming a human being is really to talk nonsense."

  - Anthony Damiani

   "Before [the higher self] sheds the sunshine of grace upon his way, it will test his perseverence in this effort and try his faith to a point of anguish which at times seems beyond endurance...If always he returns to the right path in a humble, chastened and repentant mood, he will be given the needful help to redeem his past and safeguard his future....But it comes to this in the end - that all lesser loves have necessarily to be thrust out of the heart to make room for the supreme love which it inexorably demands of him. There is little virtue in surrendering what means nothing to him, only in surrendering what means everything to him. Consequently the test will touch his [or her] heart at the tenderest points. [~Fenelon: “When God would have us die to self, he always touches the tenderer spot, which is fullest of life. It is thus that he distributes crosses. (Spiritual Letters, #16)] Will he step out of his little ringed-in circle of personal loves, desires and attachments, into the infinite, unbounded ocean of impersonal love, self-sufficiency, satisfaction and utter freedom?"

   "From the first momentary glimpse of the soul till the final rest in it, he is being led to accept the truth that the love which he wants and hopes to find outside himself must be found within himself. The true beloved is not a person but a presence. When genuine love in its most intense form utterly overwhelms him, he will find that its physical form is a mere caricature of it and that its human form is a pale reflection from it. Instead of having to beg some woman or some man for crumbs of affection from their table, he will find a veritable fountain of everflowing love deep within his heart, and therefore ever available to him in its fullest measure. This is the one beloved who can never desert him, the unique soul-mate who will remain with him, the only twin soul he can seek with the absolute certainty that it is truly his own." (2)

   "All desire is really mental. Were it not for the images which it forms in the mind, no desired object would attract him. When a young man falls deeply in love with a particular young woman, he is really in love with his idea of her...Man's quest for ideal love, let alone perfect companionship, can never be satisfied by any woman but only by the soul within himself. She indeed is the true Beloved who, ever patient and ever faithful, waits for the time when he shall discover and woo her. The love which he can find in his soul will not depend on a changeable human mood for its existence, will not be affected by the conditions or accident of human flesh, but will be perfectly trustworthy and serenely sure...If he passes from this world into another, or even fifty other worlds, still it will remain his loyal companion. It must be. For it comes not from a different, a separate entity; it comes from his inmost self and is an eternal attribute of his eternal soul." (3)

   "There comes a moment in the life of the earnest disciple when he will be impelled to draw the sword of Detachment from the sheath of Aspiration, and with it cut the last hankerings for the alluring things of sensual life."

   "The Overself waits with deepest patience for him - man - to prefer it completely to everything and everyone else. It waits for the time when longings for the soul will leave the true aspirant no rest, when love for the divine will outlast and outweigh all other loves. When he feels that he needs it more than he needs anything else in the world, the Overself will unfailingly reveal its presence to him. Therefore, a yearning devotion is one of the most important qualities he can possess." (4)

  - Paul Brunton

   "If the longing is there, Realization will be forced on you even if you do not want it." (5)

  - Ramana Maharshi

M: Yes, once you say ‘I want to find Truth,’ all your life will be deeply affected by it. All your mental and physical habits, feelings and emotions, desires and fears, plans and decisions will undergo a most radical transformation.
Q: Once I have made up my mind to find The Reality, what do I do next?
M: It depends on your temperament. If you are earnest, whatever way you choose will take you to your goal. It is the earnestness that is the decisive factor.
Q: What is the source of earnestness?
M: It is the homing instinct, which makes the bird return to its nest and the fish to the mountain stream where it was born. The seed returns to the earth, when the fruit is ripe. Ripeness is all.
Q: And what will ripen me? Do I need experience?
M: You already have all the experience you need, otherwise you would not have come here.

  - Sri Nisargadatta


   The point of this article is not to be "old-school" , or life and sex negative. Nor need the experience of meeting "goo-goo eyes’ be looked at merely as a fierce moral or ethical test. It may actually be a blessing in disguise, to activate an anima or animus projection one needs to call on unconscious resources to help draw one closer to the soul within, or to rejuvenate a life that has become dry and withered. The actual response in each case can not be predetermined, though it will likely be difficult or painful to go through. There is, however, no necessarily right or wrong answer or action for passing the "test". Nor does one necessarily even pass. In some cases, from the viewpoint of the soul, failure may be a form of success. It is entirely an individual matter. A toxic relationship, for instance, held onto for the wrong reasons, such as fear or guilt, all things being equal and all karma considered, may require the impulse of such projections to get one moving, or to move on, the better to fulfill a purpose of ones soul in this life. Astrology may be helpful during these periods.

   For instance, consider someone having a transit of Uranus conjunct natal Venus, probably one of the most likely instigators of a “goo-goo eyes” experience as could be (Neptune on Moon or Venus would be another good one, or perhaps even Pluto, which might really put you through the ringer). Here is what astrologer Robert Hand had to say in 1976:

   ”During the transits of Uranus [which, as one of the outer or transpersonal planets, is basically a “god” which cannot be ignored]...you will experience phenomena that are out of accord with your everyday life. The events that occur will be unusual, upsetting, sudden, and unexpected.

   But the transits of Uranus are not malefic in the traditional sense, except to the extent that you are unwilling to accept newness and change in your life. Uranus challenges the rigid structures in life that most people work so hard to build
[including, I would add, the ego itself]. Many people value regularity and predictability so much that they will even sacrifice personal happiness to get it. Think of all the unhappy marriages that continue only because both persons are afraid of the insecurity that breaking up would bring.

   But this kind of rigidity is ultimately destructive to life in its highest sense
[ie., the soul]. Life is or should be a constant, ongoing confrontation between yourself and the world, with an energy that keeps everything fresh and lively. The problem with the confrontation, however, is that there is always the danger of losing, so most people avoid the confrontation if they can. To survive half-dead, they reason, is better than to lose,. But those are not the only alternatives; it is only fear that makes it seem that way.” (6)

   “The effects of this transit
[Uranus on Venus] are often quite spectacular. You are likely to seek out new freedom and excitement through your relationships, especially with the opposite sex. You may even decide to break away from an old, steady marriage or other relationship or other relationship and seek a second youth through a new affair...The means by which you revive and renew a relationship will vary according to your temperament. If a relationship is quite unsatisfactory and you are naturally impulsive, you may respond in the “classic” manner by seeking a new love affair. If you are more conservative and also happier in an existing relationship, you will go through a period of tension that will lead you to reexamine the relationship and make necessary changes...

   If you are not married, you may become involved in a relationship that is completely different from anything you have experienced before. However, in this case, you should be aware that the excitement and newness of such a relationship may be a large factor in making it work, and when it becomes older and more routine it might not last. But it could, for you cannot tell with Uranus on Venus! Make no permanent plans in such a relationship until after the transit is over.
” (7)

   A brilliant and incisive analysis, but, of course, also no promise of an easy, pain-free solution to real, living problems. One male questor summed up his response to such situations as follows:

   "In general the way I look at goo-goo eyed women is that I inwardly thank them for showing me a part of myself that I had not been aware of. The feelings that I swim in in their presence are so delicious and wonderful, as we know. I try and hold back the projection and focus on the inner state and thank them for being the gateway to this wonderful experience.  I'm not always successful, but this seems to help."

   The temptation or projection is often subtle, even seemingly spiritual. Often one cannot help to succomb to it, and may feel compelled to do so. And he will not be wrong, if he is sincere. Everything is a teaching lesson and act of grace when viewed in the proper light.

   The graphic and humorous images in this article were not intended to promote a fixed point of view, such as a disgust with life itself followed by a motivated asceticism. They were meant to provoke a varied range of feelings, as well as a true desire for the soul above all things. Each person's gut reaction to the pictures, whether of desire, need, pain, laughter, or revulsion, will be different in different moments. The reaction produced has its own value, and carries its own clue about something one needs to understand, feel, or do. One will probably go through a furnace, but with the end result an increase in wisdom. [Of course, the non-dual paradox is that there is "no one", no fixed entity, to understand, feel, or do anything. Sri Nisargadatta reminds us, "A man's desire for a woman is innocence itself compared to the lusting for an everlasting personal bliss."]. The important thing is to continue to seek the soul throughout any ordeal, and not rest content with merely an improved settlement for the psyche.

   Ramakrishna, in one of his less ascetic moments, spoke of how ideally men and women can help each other:

   “A women who has awakened in her body and mind the energy of transcendent wisdom, which is the brilliant healing and enlightening presence of the Goddess, can be a tremendous blessing for a male practitioner - as a tantric consort, as consecrated wife, or simply as the inspiring friend of his soul. But a woman who has developed exclusively her biological and social drives is filled with a subtle energy that can be detrimental to the progress of a male aspirant. Eventually - without either person recognizing any danger - she can stifle his aspiration by drowning him in the forces of the limited ego world. Precisely the same facts must be explained to women concerning men...The brilliant feminine energy of wisdom, which incarnates through the bodies and minds of both men and women, cultivates the refined taste for sweet spiritual companionship, for knowledge of oneness, for tears of pure love, for ecstatic union with various revealed forms of Divinity, and for refreshing renunciation of all deceptive, habitual expectations. By contrast, the energy of limitation consists of the random, compulsive play of the mind and senses with their objects-an instinctual drive for experience that lacks both subtlety and harmony and causes the heart to forget the delight of Divine Reality, the communion that is natural to the human soul.” (8)

   Gangaji describes how to face neurotic, pain-inducing forms of desire, in order to regain one's soul. This approach is essentially what is referred to traditionally as tapas (or "heat"):

   "You need the willingness to stop right in the middle of the desire and to burn in the fire of desire without taking any action to fulfill it. You may have very sophisticated justifications as to why it is perfectly okay to act on a desire - this time, one more time, for the last time - and in the middle of these justifications, you can stop. If you don't give yourself an exit, a kind of crucifixion occurs where an inner resolve arises and says, "Even if it kills me, I am not going to move in this moment." Not moving offers the possibility of discovering the peace of surrender, resurrection, redemption. With that discovery, the bondage of the desire or addictive habit is naturally weakened."

   "Allow yourself to fully experience your desire for an object of pleasure. Even though you may know intellectually that it will lead you down the same old path, you may have never fully and consciously acknowledged your attachment to it. There is energy in that infatuation. The pure force of your own desire may subject you to cellular shaking. Be willing to experience the whole of that force and not go numb or dissociate. Experience the burning of being awake and conscious in a bonfire of desire."

   "Acting out a desire takes some effort. It takes imagining and thinking about what you want or what you have lost. It takes comparing the present moment with some idealized moment of the past or future. It takes attempting to either grasp at something or avoid something. It is a practice. Is it your practice?"

   "What are you spending your lifetime practicing? If you are practicing desire, you are suffering. If you are suffering, see for yourself if you are practicing desire."

   And for a trenchant cross-cultural perspective, reknown Theravada master Anagarika Munindra said:

   "In India, if somebody doesn't have strong sexual desire, they thank God. But in your country, if people don't have desire, they think something's wrong with them, so they go to therapists to solve their problem, to be able to create great lust so they can enjoy their lives." ! (10)

   The sage Raphael, in the website Ashram Vidya Order, states:

   "Eros according to Plato, what he really meant, Eros is that fire, that thirst for the Divine. This fire, this love, is a driving force let’s say that takes off and leads to the realization of the Divine. Because the Platonic Eros is different from the affectionate and sexual energy love which is directed towards the individuated world. Therefore the Eros transforms this energy from the lower chakras and gives it to the higher chakras, to talk in chakra terms. Without Eros we cannot become philosophers!"

   Plotinus also addressed this issue quite eloquently, such that even if the following be difficult to understand it will create a sublime feeling in the heart:

   "Those that desire earthly procreation [and let us dare update or modify that to include love-making without such purpose] are satisfied with the beauty found on earth, the beauty of image and body; it is because they are strangers to the Archtype, the source of even the attraction they feel towards what is lovely here. There are souls to whom earthly beauty is a leading to the memory of that in the higher realm and these love the earthly as an image; those that have not attained to this memory do not understand what is happening within them, and take the image for the reality. Once there is perfect self-control, it is no fault to enjoy the beauty of earth; where appreciation degenerates into carnality, there is sin."

   "To us Aphrodite is twofold; there is the heavenly Aphrodite, the daughter of Ouranos or Heaven: and there is the other daughter of Zeus and Dione, this is the Aphrodite who presides over earthly unions; the higher was not born of a mother and has no part in marriages, for in Heaven there is no marrying."

   "The Heavenly Aphrodite, daughter of Kronos - who is no other than the Intellectual Principle - must be Soul at its divinest: unmingled as the immediate emanation of the unmingled; remaining ever Above, as neither desirous nor capable of descending to this sphere, never having developed the downward tendency, a divine Hypostasis essentially aloof, so unreservedly an Authentic Being as to have no part with Matter - and therefore mythically ‘the unmothered’ - justly called not the Celestial Spirit but God, as knowing no admixture, gathered cleanly within itself."

   "But following upon Kronos - or, if you will, upon Heaven (Ouranos), the father of Kronos - the Soul directs its Act towards him and holds closely to him and in that love brings forth the Eros through whom it continues to look towards him. This Act of the Soul has produced an Hypostasis, a Real-Being; and the mother and this Hypostasis - her offspring, noble Love - gaze together upon Divine Mind. Love, thus, is ever intent upon that other loveliness, and exists to be the medium between desire and that object of desire. It is in the eye of the desirer ; by its power what loves is enabled to see the loved thing. But it is first; before it becomes the vehicle of vision, it is itself filled with the sight; it is first, therefore, and not even in the same order - for desire attains to vision only through the efficacy of Love, while Love, in its own Act, harvests the spectacle of beauty playing immediately above it.”

   "Alone in immunity from magic is he who, though drawn by the alien parts of his total being, withholds his assent to their standards of worth, recognizing the good only where his authentic self sees and knows it, neither drawn nor pursuing, but tranquilly possessing and so never charmed away." (12)

(1) Anthony Damiani, Looking Into Mind (Burdett, New York: Larson Publications, 1990), p. 130-132, 134-136, 143
(2) The Notebooks of Paul Brunton(Burdett, New York: Larson Publications, 1986), Vol. 2, 5.406
(3) Paul Brunton Essays on the Quest (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1985), p. 203, 171-172
(4) The Notebooks of Paul Brunton, op. cit., Vol. 15, Part 2, 3.182, 2.176
(5) Talks with Ramana Maharshi (Carlsbad, California: Inner Traditions Publications, 2001), p. 182
(6) Robert Hand, Planets in Transit (Rockport, Massachusetts: Para Research, Inc., 1976), p. 371
(7) Ibid, p. 392
(8) Lex Hixon, Great Swan: Meetings with Ramakrishna (Burdett, New York: Larson Publications, 1997), p.
(9) Gangaji, The Diamond in Your Pocket (Boulder, Colorado: Sounds True, Inc., 2007), p. 186-187
(10 Mirka Knaster, Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra (Boston: Shambhala, 2010), p. 88
(11) Stephen MacKenna, trans., Plotinus: The Enneads (Burdett, New York: Larson Publications, 1992), p. 216-218
(12) Ibid, p. 372