To be queer is to be on a quest to find the Self.
Coming out is the first step of Self Realisation.
Mainstream western culture has a very mechanical, functional, biological, competitive view of the self, but is this turning us into successful shiny beings with no soul – with guarded hearts, confused minds, drug dependencies so strong that the simplest, oldest and most exciting of loving human interactions – sex – becomes impossible without chemicals to alter our state of consciousness.
Eastern philosophies.. and indeed western magical practices and religious mystics… see the Self as something much more. It is the religious, political and scientific hierarchies that have sold us all down the river, convincing us that we are nothing more than helpless sinners/wage earners and cannon fodder/ biological accidents. People go about their lives more or less believing in one of these versions of reality, arguing with each other about who is getting it right.
When the HIndus accepted the influx of modernisation from the west C19 they offered us in return a spiritual wisdom, an understanding of the human and divine cosmos developed over millennia. It is taking a long time for the West to catch on to the concept of the divine Self permeating all creation, despite the surge of interest in all things mystical and transcendent from the 1960s hippies onwards. We in the west are so attached to our egos that a spiritual culture that says relinquish ego and identify with something bigger has not found its way to really infiltrate our thinking. Yet this culture, this understanding of the self, is exactly the knowledge that could make sense of the many mysteries and dilemmas of gay life today.
Hinduism teaches that the true nature of the divine reality we are in is Bliss, Jesus called it Love. We access spiritual consciousness through love. The sexual revolution has brought the freedom to pursue bliss sexually, but its when we bring love to the sexual act it takes us into heaven. Tantra, unlike western religion, explores sexuality as a pathway to spiritual freedom. Drugs are a short cut to connection, a substitute for love, they are also a good way of opening connections between people but when we have sex with someone we share our whole energy field with them, we expose each other to much more than our viruses. Sex joins us together body and soul, although we might like to pretend it doesn’t. The proof of that comes when love is in the equation, that’s when we see how making love is indeed opening up our own internal access to heaven.
I believe gay men need to wake up to the fact that the bliss and union we chase so fervently is the call of the soul within us to open our minds, hearts and bodies to the incredible miracle, the adventure of consciousness we are on, the potential for heaven inside us, to the possibility that we are capable of doing much more with this awesome power of love within us than imitate hetero models of relationship!
Two great lies of the 20th century: that we are separate material beings and that science will provide all the answers.
After 5 decades of sexual revolution, widening spiritual exploration and mass drug use aren’t we ready as a western culture now to say YES THERE IS MORE …. we do not have all the answers… we are conscious beings exploring existence in a multidimensional creation. Drugs give us a taste of it, sex takes us there too, and LOVE IS A HEADLONG DIVE INTO THE INTENSITY OF OUR TRUE NATURE.
We know religion gives very biassed and unsatisfying answers to our existential questions, but why do gay people turn so much to scientific or humanistic ideas to explain life away and not listen to our own pioneers, scouts and prophets? Walt Whitman, Edward Carpenter, Harry Hay, Arthur Evans, Andrew Ramer, Andrew Harvey, Ram Dass, Judy Grahn, Starhawk to name a few. Maybe our gay publications could be informing us much more about these voices and about the many gay people getting involved in activities like naked yoga, meditation, gay tantra, shamanism, 5 rhythms, faerie gatherings etc?
It’s the 21st century and gay culture is ignoring something obvious: there is more to us than good looks, good sex and good parties. Is gay life getting sucked into a consumerist, materialist, conformist cul de sac, creating a soulless drug dependent sex party culture that could be generating a health crisis bigger and nastier than aids. Have we learnt anything? At least we are starting to listen to each other. Perhaps we are at a different evolutionary stage to the hetero masses? One of our prophets and martyrs, Oscar Wilde, said that while in the ancient world the words above the entrance to the temple were Know Thyself, in the new world it will say Be Thyself.
Coming out is the start not the end of the process, being queer is a quest, and as we approach 50 years of legal emancipation in this country gay culture has chance to develop in ways that encourage holistic self discovery and realisation. The key to all this is LOVE. We dont need a god necessarily in this, but we do need love, that is the food of the soul. We were labelled homo sexuals, perhaps its time we found a new label for ourselves, putting Love at the centre of who we are, because as I go round the world meeting queers of every nation and faith I am totally convinced that love is what drives us to come out and be proud, not sex. We are the children of love, born to discover and show the world just how powerful and divine Love really is.