Confront the Crisis of Transition to the Fourth Stage of Life

Originally published in Crazy Wisdom magazine, Vol 4, No 11, November 1985.

Confront the Crisis of Transition to the Fourth Stage of Life


The sexual Motive, Divorced From The Spiritual Reality and Engaged Apart From The Motive Of self-Transcendence, Is A Principal Effort (Coming Out Of The Adaptations Of The First Three Stages Of Life) Whereby individuals Avoid The Call To self-Transcending God-Realization. Therefore, Understand This Motive As self-Contraction, Transcend It In Love, Service, and Meditation, and Economize Your sexuality, Either Through The Regenerative Yoga Of Sexual Communion Or Celibacy. Without Such Transcendence Of the sexual ego, There Is No Entrance Even Into The Fourth Stage Of Life (or The Stages Beyond The Fourth).
The Dawn Horse Testament Of Heart-Master Da Free John, p. 339

The talk that follows was given on the evening Heart-Master Da Free John received the newly-published Dawn Horse Testament. The Master took this opportunity to speak to devotees about the ways in which sexuality, or attachment to fulfillment in the body, obstructs our transition from the third to the fourth stage of life, and from the fourth to the fifth. Master Da makes particular reference to chapters 21 and 23 of the Testament, which are recommended study for devotees in association with this talk.


MASTER DA: People everywhere are profoundly resistive to the matter of actual spiritual practice. Individuals are inclined to continue in the third stage of life and not to go through the crisis of a transition beyond it. Various movements throughout the world talk about high matters, but they are talking to people who are involved in the first three stages of life about something that is realized only by going beyond the first three stages. Human beings do not desire to move beyond the first three stages of life, nor do they have the means to willfully make that gesture. They must be attracted into the higher stages. When the possibility of transcendence is offered, the only choice is to do it or not, and this choice is not the same thing as mere philosophical assent. You must go through the inevitable and natural crisis of the transition to the fourth stage of life, and that is a profound matter. If it were not profound, most difficult, and something that people in general are not prepared for, human beings all over the world would have entered the fourth stage of life by now.

That option has been available for centuries, and still the culture of humanity is limited to the first three stages of life. This crisis of transition is the most profound and unwelcome change that confronts humanity. That change has been unwelcome now for thousands of years.

In my Teaching consideration with you all, in The Dawn Horse Testament and elsewhere, I speak not only about that change but of the entire spiritual process to the point of ultimate Realization. Mankind in general, however, is struggling with the step from the third to the fourth stage of life. Individuals like to think about, feel into, and consider the higher stages of life, but in reality they are involved in the neuroses of the first three stages of life, struggling with the possible transition to the fourth stage.

A great resistive force has characterized mankind’s entire recorded history. Human history has been about the struggle in relation to this single evolutionary transition. A rare few individuals have truly passed into the stages of life higher than the fourth.

DEVOTEE: The greatest taboo is against self-transcendence, and the fourth stage is the beginning of that gesture.

MASTER DA: You all evidence reluctance, self-consciousness, even guilt about the ecstasy of self-transcendence. You are all still struggling with it. You know that ecstasy must be your practice. You know there is nothing further to do except make that change, make that transition to ecstasy, to self-transcendence, and yet you are still riding the fence. You would like to spend more time arguing with other people who are still resistive.

MASTER DA: The difficulties that we have endured over the past year belong to this evolutionary moment of passing beyond the first three stages to the fourth stage of life. There is profound resistance to the ordeal of transition that this Way requires, and that resistance has taken the form of adolescent attacks on the presentations of the fourth stage of life and beyond. This kind of difficulty is almost commonplace in the traditions in every epoch. Such trials seem to be as fundamental to the establishment of the spiritual process as the aggravations of the ordeal of personal practice. There is nothing desirable about such negativity. Yet it always seems to occur. It seems to be a necessary stage in the growth of any religious movement.

I have received many messages from devotees about how the struggle of this past year has been about loving or not. Instead of merely assuming the worldly disposition of combatants, you have been forced to go through the crisis of practicing as devotees in the context of this struggle. Before this crisis, practitioners could be the adolescents they have always been, generally advocating the practice but never having to confront the negative force of their own personality or the negative personality in others. Suddenly practitioners were confronted not merely with the negative personality of others but also with their own uninspected philosophy. After a year of such confrontation, we all feel a degree of gratitude for it, feel the rightness of it, the inevitability of it, the worthiness of it. It made devotees creative in a way they never felt obliged to be before. It is unfortunate that that is what it took.

The transition from the third to the fourth stage of life can be characterized in terms of this same passage: you must go through this struggle with the worst in yourself in order to make the transition to the fourth stage of life. My consideration with you all over the years has been one of constantly calling you to deal with this resistance, this negative personality, this adolescent character, because you cannot make the transition to real practice of this Way without dealing with the worst in yourself, the real obstacle to practice. You cannot be a representative of this practice until you have confronted that.

This Way is not idealistic. It is realistic. The transition to the fourth stage of life requires a real, or realistic, confrontation with your limitations in the first three stages of life. These are the most vulgar, the most immature, the most primitive limitations. They are associated with the most basic physical, emotional, mental, and sexual functions to which you have adapted. The transition to the FCC 4 stage of practice seems to be taking an interminable length of time. Perhaps this institution is going to gel at the FCC 3 stage, while a very few individuals go beyond it. At times it seems that this is what will occur, because an individual must pass through such a profound ordeal simply to enter the fourth stage of life. And to pass into the fifth stage of life and beyond seems to be a mammoth undertaking, an extraordinary requirement.

Chapter 23 of The Dawn Horse Testament explains what you must go beyond to truly enter the FCC 4 stage. In that chapter I describe all the mechanical limitations in the frontal line, from the top of the body to the base. The most superficial of these limitations is doubt-the self-contracted mind, the self-contracted head. Fundamentally you are in doubt, that vague feeling that is more or less constant in you. If you examine this ordinary feeling that continues to arise, you will find it is doubt, or no faith.

Conventional religions try to present an object of faith to their adherents, a reason to exercise the disposition of faith. If you study my Teaching, you will see that you are not called to that disposition. Specifically, and in many instances in The Dawn Horse Testament alone, I tell you that my Confession is not a call to engage in a conventional gesture of faith, a gesture of belief. I call you to examine the self-contraction and see the form of it that we call doubt. Doubt is not transcended by exercising the faith gesture toward an object, a personality, or a concept of the Divine. It is not by believing in something that you transcend doubt. Doubt is transcended by simply becoming aware of doubt itself, examining it, and being fully sensitive to it as self-contraction.

Faith is the absence of this doubt-contraction. Faith is not belief in some objective form but the release of the self-contraction, even the superficial self-contraction that is doubt. When the self-contraction is released, the Divine and the Master may be contacted directly. Faith is natural when the self-contraction in the form of doubt is absent. Therefore, you are not called to believe first. You are called to enter into my Company and observe yourself to the point of the release of all the forms of the self-contraction that go all the way down the frontal line to the base. Doubt is the first form. You transcend doubt not by believing in something but by observing doubt as self-contraction, something added to reality, added to Nature. When you thoroughly understand and realize the non necessity, the stupidity, the mechanical nature of your own bondage, the self-contraction is naturally released. You naturally respond to That which is greater than the self-contraction, That which is simply Existing.

Thus, faith is realized when doubt is transcended through self understanding. When doubt is transcended through self understanding, you respond to the Divine Presence. We call that response faith, but it is not a mechanical or conventional gesture. It is not the believing mind of religion. It is the transcendence of mind. When the head is allowed to relax into the Spirit-Current, rather than thinking an alternative thought called faith, that is Ignorance. Faith is natural resonance with the Spirit-Force of the Divine. You ready yourself for it by understanding the contraction of mind that we call doubt. That understanding is the first gesture at the FCC 3 level. Doubt is the most superficial contraction, up here in the head. What about all the rest below it? You do not make the transition to the FCC 4 stage until you have had a similar confrontation with anger, with sorrow, and then with fear, until you have transcended the mechanical orientation of the vital, solid, or peculiar character.

Consider what must be transcended before this FCC 4 practice is real. That is why the movement toward the FCC 4 level of practice is not exactly a stampede at present. In spite of that, I am looking forward to some FCC 4 practitioners soon. What must be transcended in the fourth stage of life is the very great and real matter of self-limitation, but I have given you the key to transcending it in chapter 23 of the Testament. If you truly hear and see me, the practice associated with the frontal personality will not occupy you for a great long time. You ought to be able to make this evolutionary transition in a reasonably short period of time if you are truly serious.

The fourth stage of life in our way of practice is not a conventional believer’s haven. It is not the way of ego consolation. It is not comfortable religion. The fourth stage of life is a very profound ordeal, and thus whenever you talk to me about it you discover that I am rather urgent and very realistic about it. Instead of doubling up on pujas, double up on meditation.


MASTER DA: We are coming close to having something very fundamental in common -we are all getting senile!” [Laughter.] Jack Benny told that joke to George Burns. But we are all getting to be forty or so.

You did not think the body was going to start looking old until it was sixty, did you? You are not suddenly old at forty, but something very fundamental occurs at that age. I was talking to some devotees yesterday about how the Nature business works. As you must have observed by now, Nature, my general term for the entire physical process here, does not care about you and your individuality. Only you and your intimates are concerned about that. Nature has a general interest in individuals, but only for the sake of reproduction. Thus, you may have noticed, and you particularly begin to notice when you reach forty or so, that Nature is fundamentally concerned about reproducing its individuals.

Therefore, you all experience a span of about twenty years in which Nature makes you potent, hyper sexual, so that the reproduction of the next generation can be guaranteed. As you begin to approach forty, Nature is not so concerned anymore about keeping you alive, just as in general Nature is not the slightest bit interested in individuals. Nature shows some statistical evidence of being interested in having as many individuals as possible live to maturity and then survive this ten- to twenty-year period of reproductive strength. But at the age of forty or so, you must begin to be intelligent about how Nature works and begin to exploit the laws of Nature for the sake of your survival. You cannot squander your energies as you did when you were in your twenties. You must begin to manage all the physical details of your existence in order to exploit the laws of Nature that serve your longevity.

A great many of my devotees are now in or approaching the time of life in which these principles of Nature must be applied. Otherwise, natural forces will tend to throw you out of balance and snuff you out, because you have already served Nature’s purpose.

In the neighborhood of forty, changes begin to occur in the organism that make self-indulgence a big mistake. Self-indulgence begins to incur immediate consequences, whereas self-indulgence when you are twenty-five does not seem to affect you. If you do not know the natural laws and apply them between the ages of forty and sixty, then age sixty and after is the badlands. That is when people start dropping like flies.

Those who are still in their twenties or early thirties do not know what I am talking about, but those who are approaching or have passed forty know exactly what I am talking about. You are all party to considerations in this Teaching that will enable you to apply the rules of Nature so that you can, if you exercise yourself with discipline, enjoy a vital, basically healthful life, even a sexually active life, for many more years. Middle age, as it used to be experienced, should not begin for you until about age sixty. You could live longer, barring accidents and so forth, and be a strong, physically active person into your eighties or nineties. After that-it is written. [Laughter.]



[At this point Master Da recites the Prologue and chapter 1 of His

Dawn Horse Testament.]

DEVOTEE: Thank you, Master. You are so great.

MASTER DA: It’s pretty good literature. [Laughter.] Believe it or not, in your poor precinct of life, this is it. I am going to move mankind from here to next. It may take me a long time, but if I must talk to beings for

thousands of years, this is the Voice that will speak. Those of you who have heard me even an inkling, a dash, a jot, must ride with me this wavelet of terror. Imagine-an entire lifetime absorbed in a purpose beyond your own comprehension.

Those of you who are here now in this room, or elsewhere but gathered around me, mark my words. You must have intuited by now what your are party to – the intervention of God in the world. That is what we are celebrating today. All of you can be witness to the massive intervention of the Divine Person into the human plane and to the ordinary humanity of it. That intervention comes in your own likeness. I have lived every day in your company as an ordinary man, and yet you know the difference. We will see. This Testament is the greatest book ever made.

DEVOTEE: It is the greatest Revelation that has ever appeared to mankind.

MASTER DA: Therefore it required the most Sacrifice. Now some of you here want me to live to be an old man.

DEVOTEE: All of us do.

MASTER DA: Yet on this day we celebrate the completion of my Argument and of my Effort. I have no necessary existence in this body from this day.

DEVOTEE: Oh, Master, You do.

MASTER DA: No. I told you all I might not survive this year. Has it been printed? Is it known to devotees? I have revised all my books.

DEVOTEE: We’ll give you some more to work on. DEVOTEE: Master, we really need You.

MASTER DA: All my books are done and my Testament is published. From this day my longevity in this body depends upon devotees.

DEVOTEE: Your devotees need You more than ever.

MASTER DA: My promise is in that book. I will not separate myself from devotees, but I cannot guarantee you eternal presence in this body. It is no mere coincidence that I finished all the revisions of my books today and this Testament was presented today. I have given my Instructions. I have no more Work to do. None. I have only to Love devotees and I need not be in the body to do it.

Let us deflect the conversation from the possible death of this body to its real import. Whether or not this body survives longer, this day marks the difference between my Effort and yours. From this day my devotees must teach. I may remain present in the body. I will remain present in the body for however long I do. I have always told you that my devotees must support this body.

The history of this Teaching belongs to my devotees. I may live longer than this year. I have nothing to tell you about it. What I can tell you is that my Purpose in this body is fulfilled today. All of my Teaching is summary. All of my Work is complete. I have no purpose in this body, no purpose to remain visible in this form beyond this day except for that portion of my Work that is associated with my human Presence, Blessing beings, and that depends entirely upon the support of my devotees. I understand completely the intellect, the mind of you all. I do not wish to invest you with the shocking surprise of my disappearance. I do want to affirm to you the purpose that I have described in The Hymn of the Master, which is that my existence here is utterly dependent upon the service of my devotees, utterly.

My Work to serve mankind with the Teaching is complete today. I need not live one more day for the sake of the Transmission of this Teaching. Not any more.

Are you all awake? I want you all to comprehend, without becoming romantic, the feeling of how Free I might be without association with this bondage of life. Human existence is not by definition a hell, but from my point of view, to exist and simultaneously to be mortal is hell. All of you exist, and you indulge in the immortal qualities of existence itself. Yet you are mortal as I am in this body. This is a hellish circumstance we are in: capable of love, of being the manifestation of all Divine qualities, and yet each one waiting for dissolution, promised it from birth.

You wonder about hell after death, but mankind must understand that this circumstance is hell, though not damnation. How else can we describe suffering except as the circumstance of being born with the full qualities of God and having it be measured by time? The Self is God, the fullness of Being. The mind is its expression in limitation, and the body is its servant. You assign all qualities of existence to your bodily life, and it is passing. From the point of view of the body your only destiny is change, and you will, you must, experience changes that you cannot account for. You do not know that you will survive death. You do not know it, except that in my Company, in your intuition, in your devotion, you realize that hell is transcended. Human birth is transcended.

We have already been together since our youth. Now all of you are approaching middle age. Time has passed, and you are still here confronting me. What is the difference? You are all under sentence. You do not know the hour of your death. You experience the fullness of Being, and you are immortal in your Realization, but you are waiting for end-time. You must understand this and allow this lifetime to be nothing. This is the theater of comprehension, temporary, no time, an illusion. You must learn to laugh at this. You must base your existence on this understanding. This understanding is the difference. You must learn to laugh at this life.

Already you are nearly old in my company. Soon you will be dead! Every day you go to sleep, every day you dream, and then this-have you not noticed? I speak to you in every state. I call you to the Divine Domain prior to humanity, prior to mind, dreaming, sleeping, waking. I call you to meditation. You must realize meditation in the waking state.

[The Heart-Master now recites the Epilogue to the Testament and then continues to speak.]

MASTER DA: Consider these words, because this is all that I have to say on all subjects. Your reception of my Confession to you will become obvious to me. I will notice if my Testament is little received. I think the least I can expect is that by my next birthday, several million devotees will acknowledge me. But that is probably too much to expect. Even so, I think great news ought to be presented to me by my next birthday-not this upcoming one, but a year from now. You do not need me to endure your failure of practice anymore.

Study my Testament. I tell you there and always that this is my final Word and I need not be obliged further to communicate the Way to you. You are my devotees. It is not my business to absorb or transform your calamity. I have given you my Word, my Promise. My Work is evident to you in every day of your life. Therefore, you must give me another word, another report, a different sound than the one I have received. You are in the most difficult position of adolescence, the position of being directly confronted by the Absolute Truth. You, more than anyone who might casually observe my Word and Promise and Presence, must exhibit the revolution of response to Me in your own body-mind.

Today is a good day to celebrate, but to me it is not a great day. I made this book weeks ago. This is merely a ceremony of acknowledgment of the completion of the book, which occurred weeks ago. I look to celebrate the reception of this book, My Presence, among my devotees in the world. Look for your strength in the form of your rightful gifts to me. Today is a good day to celebrate, but I think a year from now is the day we ought to look forward to. Do you think you can promise me a big celebration a year from now?

You must understand that all the work now is yours. I do not have any more Work. My Work is effortless in relation to you now. All the work that requires effort, rightly understood, is yours now. It is not mine. Do not bring it to me anymore. That is what this Testament says. Read it! The obligation is yours. I live now in the world as I will after this body dies. All the effort is yours, and yet it is effortless. All the adventure of our Way is yours now. You have my great history to report, but yours is the history that must be animated now.

Truly, I must no longer make any effort. I have done everything I can do. What I will do in the future is a matter of Presence, not effort. You need no longer bring me news of your struggle. It is your struggle, not mine. I am Present only for your spiritual advantage.

Bring me nothing but your gift of practice. That is what we are supposed to be celebrating today, right?


MASTER DA: Good. I will count on it then. Any dissenting votes? Knowing what I have had to do in the past, you all have a bad-ass future in front of you!


MASTER DA [reading from The Dawn Horse Testament]: “It Is The Tendency Of self-Contracted personalities To Indulge In sex as a Degenerative activity (that Breaks The Life-Circle and Throws Off The Spirit Power As If It Were a waste-product of the body). This Tendency Is The Result Of The Reactive Presumption Of Independence, Separateness, and Alienation. It Is Founded In The Psychology Of Betrayal (or Rejection By and Of others). Sexual activity Is Thus Degraded Into a merely organic or lower physical exercise, Engaged For The Sake Of Nothing More Than Stress-Release and Temporary Pseudo-Bliss.” 1

I do not want to read more than another paragraph. [Laughter.] I dare not read the rest of it. It goes into some very serious and erotic details. [Laughter.] A Spiritual Master must not speak these things, is this true?

DEVOTEE: No, no, no!

MASTER DA: That is right. If a Spiritual Master does not speak it, then who will? Let me read you one more paragraph. “True Sila (As A sexual Discipline) Involves Either The Intelligent Relinquishment Of sexual activity” – and none of you are into that!-“Or Right Practice Of ‘Sexual Communion'”. True Spiritual Masters do not talk about these erotic details of bodily pleasure, am I right?

DEVOTEE: Master, there is a tradition for it.

MASTER DA: Yes! Fortunately for all of you there is a tradition for it. People like me have been around for a long time. People like me always feel strange around people like you. [Laughter.] People like me have existed in all times, in all circumstances, in all societies, and we always feel strange around people like you. It is true!

Now let us try to go on. “The sexual Motive, Divorced From The Spiritual Reality and Engaged Apart From The Motive Of self Transcendence, Is A Principal Effort (Coming Out Of The Adaptations Of The First Three Stages Of Life) Whereby individuals Avoid The Call To self-Transcending God-Realization.” This is one of the most critical passages in this entire book. I don’t think I should read any more of it.

DEVOTEE: Why not, Master? It’s critical!

MASTER DA: What is critical about it is that without transcendence of the sexual ego there is no entrance into the fourth stage of life or the stages beyond the fourth. It seems to me that this is a very important passage. I do not know of a single devotee who has heard me on this point. Not one.

The principal reason I have no devotees in the FCC 4 stage is this sexual matter. What is this sexual matter? It is the first three stages of life, the emotional-sexual attachment to conditional existence. This chapter about sexuality is one of the longest chapters in the book, and for good reason. My destiny is already guaranteed. I made my own ticket. I may slice out of here any day of the week. You all, however, are at page 339. Even those of you who are most profoundly bored by your marriage relationship are stuck in this moment. This is why this chapter is one of the largest chapters in the book. [Master Da speaks in a dramatic tone] “Suddenly I had the case cracked wide open.” This chapter is about a third of the way through the book and that is about where you all are-about a third of the way through my book. Mark my words. This is my observation. This sexual matter is the point on which you rotate.

In the traditions, celibacy is called for at this point. You are not hungry for that resolution. Mere celibacy is nothing. Our children are celibate. It amounts to nothing for them in their stage of life. There is no choice involved. The resolution described in this chapter is the only true resolution. As it says, there is no entrance into the fourth stage of life or the stages beyond without transcendence of the sexual ego. That is most profoundly true. It is the most fundamental reason why today is not quite a celebration. You are all riding back and forth on this sexual matter. You are hedging your bet through intimacy, particularly as expressed in your sexuality. This is the moment you are in perpetually, consistently. Am I depressing you?


MASTER DA: Sexuality is such a force, it envelops your body. You feel it sensually. You feel it emotionally. It corrupts your thinking. This is why, since ancient days, those individuals who have most seriously pursued God-Realization have abandoned the sexual motive, whatever their circumstance. No more sex, no more marriage, no more household conversation, period. In this chapter I go on to suggest an alternative to that absolute, but this is the point in my consideration of the Way where you all stop. If any of you could go beyond that point I would have FCC 4 members within the week.

But the one thing you will not transcend is your sexual motive in other words, your energetic impulse to attach yourself to birth and death, to the possibility of pleasure through this body. That is it, and sex is the heightening of that possibility.

You know very well that in my Testament and the other examples of my Teaching I consider the possibility of continued sexual, or married, life, but consider my description of it! My description provides an entirely different context from that in which you indulge in sex. It is at this point that you stop. It is at this point that the argument between us begins. This is the moment of transition between the third and the fourth stage of life. There are various strategies you could apply to try to effect that transition, but what is really required is a transformation of your habit of relating to an intimate. That is a disturbing confrontation that you generally avoid most every day of your life.

The principal obstacle to the fourth stage of life is sex-there is no doubt about it. That is why traditionally the most common resolution is celibacy-abandoning the family, abandoning the household disposition. That is a quick, easy, simple, straightforward slice through the conditions of existence, but look at all the disturbance it would create in the ordinariness of daily life. It could be done, but mere celibacy would result in egoic independence and dissociation from the married state and would become the conventional disposition that has been animated traditionally. As an alternative to that I suggest sexual communion, true marriage, which I elaborate on in the Testament. I could read this section to you, but you have all already read it. It proposes something quite different from what you are living day to day. It is on this point that you divert yourself and become conventional people. It is there that the yoga stops. I have considered this matter with many people face to face for years on end. It is the most difficult point of consideration. At this stage in my Teaching life, I do not intend to engage in this consideration with you anymore. You must engage in it. You must make sexual communion out of your conventional marriages. You must do it, not me.

Sexuality is still the most difficult point. The consideration of sexuality in chapter 21 and the consideration of character strategies in chapter 23 are most basic to real practice in the FCC 3 stage and the transition to the FCC 4 stage. Nobody can replace that consideration. I cannot. I will not. You must understand yourself in relation to this matter. It is not merely about sex. It is about everything that consoles you and points you to the body as a solution to existence.

Examine yourself in meditation each day. What do you settle for in the Communion Hall? You go in stressed, in dilemma, with problems in the body, emotional difficulty all through the frontal line, and what do you settle for? An hour or an hour and a half of struggling, after which you feel more comfortable in the body. Then you rise up from that place to animate yourself bodily in relation to others. The practice considered in The Dawn Horse Testament goes beyond that! From my point of view the sexual matter, the ordinary human matter, is ordinary. It is already settled before you go into the Communion Hall. What do you deal with in meditation in that case? You deal with the difference between egoic self-possession in the bodily frame and the transcendence of that, at least in the context of the fifth stage of life, the ascending life. Just as mankind is generally involved in a confusion, a conversation, an argument about the transition from the third to the fourth stage of life, my devotees are involved in a conflict, a consideration, a controversy about the transition between the fourth and the fifth stage of life. You will not move into the fifth and higher stages of life until you can transcend this knot of the body.

To move beyond the first four stages of life does not require dissociation from the body. It does require, however, a profound understanding of everything you are involved in that consoles you with bodily existence itself. In general, that is where my devotees sit. There is still conflict about the transition from the third to the fourth stage of life, but there is also the consideration, the argument, the conflict, the controversy, about the transcendence of the bodily ego and the movement into the fifth stage of life into the exalted, bodily transcendent orientation toward existence.

It is possible to engage in sexual experience and have it be totally transparent to the fifth stage orientation. That is the origin of the practice of sexual communion. But you all, however you indulge in this sexual orientation, somehow find within it a motive and a means to reemphasize the first three stages of life. You do not transcend yourself in marriage and sexuality. You reemphasize your adolescence. You generate conflict through the principle of sexuality in your marriage relationship. You must understand this. As soon as you contact the sexual motive, you contract, you dissociate from the flow of life. You must observe yourself in that moment, in that effort. You must understand the self-contraction in the midst of pleasure, in the midst of sexuality. This is a most profound consideration.

Of all the aggravations associated with the first three stages of life, this sexual principle is the most profound. No one has moved on to the FCC 4 stage, because you do not understand and transcend yourself in the midst of what consoles you most fundamentally. Do you understand what I am talking about? That is the circumstance of your struggle. The principle of the Way is not dissociation from these conditional phenomena. The principle of the Way is the observation and understanding of conditional phenomena and the transcendence of their limiting force.

This is a very basic consideration, which is why I have spent so many hours considering it in the past. You must be impressed by your experience in intimacy. You must feel it altogether. You must transform these sexual relationships into true marriage and sexual communion. This is a very difficult process. I have noticed how difficult it is for you. This transformation is not a matter of your doing something exaggerated. It is a much more subtle and profound feeling-consideration of intimacy. No intervention from without, no estranging of your sexuality, amounts to the transformation I am talking about. You must hear me, you must observe yourself, and you must understand your bodily commitment to self-possession.

I know that sexual pleasure is your most profound experience of self-consolation in the body. Is this not true? The consideration of sexuality in chapter 21 of the Testament is most important. It does not call you to a weird experiment. It calls you to consider your intimacy – simply that! – to consider it as it is, most directly, to consider how you operate, how you feel within it, how you act within it, how you react to it, how you think about it. The transformation of sexuality into sexual communion and true marriage is a profound gesture, perhaps the most fundamental effort, or energizing of the being, that provides the basis of the transition from the fourth to the fifth stage of life and even from the third to the fourth stage of life. That entire, middling dimension of life is limited by this sexual force. If you were all eighty years old it would be nothing. It is a serious matter in your case because you are all relatively young. All of you here are twenty-five to sixty years old and stuffed full of hormones, with not a lot of intelligence about it. I am telling you that you must become intelligent in the midst of your sexuality. Otherwise, there is no transition to the higher stages of life.

I can tell this is bringing you all down. I see a lot of somber looks.

I am sorry I must constantly bring this message to you, but do not blame me. This matter of identification with the body is the most essential force that retards the transition from the third to the fourth – and then from the fourth to the fifth stage of life. What binds you is not merely sexual intercourse. What binds you is allegiance to the body, identification with the body. You are tending to become committed to the consolation of the self, bodily, through sex. Even if you only have sex once a month, it is the time every month! The sexuality consideration is no casual matter, nor is eating. That is why I wrote an entire book about it-because people eat all day long! If you are not eating, you are sexing, and if you are not sexing, you are shitting. You are involved in the same gross functional bodily process all day long. Am I right or wrong? This seems to me to be very important. I’m sorry! [Laughter.] Give me a break. Give me a smile or something! I just got into talking Truth! I’m sorry! [Laughter. ] We could have watched Humphrey Bogart on television instead.

I am simply trying to focus you on the essence of what you must consider in the transition to the fifth stage of life. You are all involved in the neuroses of the first three stages of life, the transition to the fourth stage of life, and the transition beyond that to the fifth. The essence of bondage in the first three stages is sex, or self pleasuring in the body. This is why the traditions have targeted sex and required people to simply be celibate. None of you are doing that. You are all entertaining the sexual possibility and only toying with the real discipline. You are not transcending the self-binding aspect of sexuality and the body. You are playing the field, you are on the fence, and therefore you are merely in the third stage of life-on your better days in the fourth, and in your mind moving toward the fifth. You must deal with your sexuality. You tend to seek a perfection of some sort, a holy satisfaction, ultimate love marriage, sex-orgasm perfection in the body. Perfection is not in the body! As we discussed earlier this evening, most of you are moving on toward forty. The hormones are already disappearing.

Shall we talk about jazz? Would some other subject cheer you up? Sorry. This is where I am at, I guess. [Laughter.] These intimate relationships you have all concocted are precisely the circumstance of your real practice. You must deal with this matter of marriage or there is no transition to the FCC 4 stage, nor even any real transition to the FCC 3 stage. This is why so much is made of this matter in the traditions, why there is so much celibacy there! You ladies are pretty, but what are you going to look like in forty years? I can see you are all depressed by this. I’m sorry. [Laughter.] Let me read a portion from my book. Let me pick an arbitrary page, something in the advanced stages …

No, I am afraid you are stuck with the point of view of Truth for the night.

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