One of the core expressions of the erotic is orgasm. It has been playfully suggested that orgasm derives from the Hebrew word mugzam, “extreme light.” This is the hidden light to which the Zohar refers. Orgasm triggers an intensity in consciousness that is not sustainable within what we normally experience as ordinary life. Orgasm is marked by a sense of radical vulnerability and openness, an extreme sense of connection, the obliteration of ego, and the radical intensification of pleasure. All of these are at odds with our story of how ordinary reality should feel.
The word orgasm itself has been exiled to the sexual. Orgasm, however, refers to a moment of radical clarity and aliveness in which all the masks drop. In these moments the natural devotion and delight that exist between us all is nakedly revealed.
The great philosopher of dialogue Martin Buber wrote a book of Hasidic stories that he titled The Hidden Light. They are stories of rare and intense contact—of outrageous love—between human beings, and between humans and God. They are “orgasm stories,” tales of extreme light that attracts and allures us beyond ordinary consciousness. These are stories of Eros even through there is no sex in them. They are stories of Eros because they describe moments when all walls fall down, allowing for radical contact while at the same time retaining the irreducible dignity and uniqueness of every individual in the tale. In these holy stories—stories of holy Eros—the invisible lines of allurement that animate all of reality in every second become visible to the naked eye. The curtains of the Holy of Holies are drawn back, the intertwined cherubs are revealed for all the pilgrims to see. Whereas Buddhist meditation might be said to focus on awareness, many of the meditative practices of the cherub mystics might be said to focus on allurement.
To wake up is to begin to integrate the extraordinary truth of orgasm consciousness into our seemingly ordinary lives. This is the hidden light secreted in the hidden teaching of the Secret of the Cherubs.
The teaching is secret because it threatens the fabric of ordinary existence. It challenges the very core of our limited experience, with its contraction and separation. The Secret of the Cherubs locates the gravitas of our human experience in the dignity of Eros. This is the erotic realization of awakening: that we are all interconnected, that we all yearn for contact, and that we all need each other.
When we cannot access the dignity of Eros, then we experience the erotic as undermining our dignity. That is the source of our radical fear of Eros. We reject the Secret of the Cherubs because, like the intensity of orgasm, the erotic intensity of our true interconnectivity simply overwhelms us. Our dignity lies not in the posturing of a separate self but in knowing that we are an inextricable part of all that is—and all that is desperately needs our service. All that is needs our outrageous love, our erotic potency.