Healing Is Vital: World AIDS Day 2016

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3000 gay men per year becoming HIV+ in the UK

In a materialist paradigm HIV is a virus to be defeated

In a spiritual worldview it’s a wake-up call

HEALING IS VITAL

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/10/04/hiv-infections-in-gay-men-remain-at-record-high-levels/

 

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HIV was the catalyst that led to my interest in spirituality: the threat of death led me to search for meaning in life.  Given a positive diagnosis in 1990, by ’95 I was becoming symptomatic and was given an AIDS diagnosis.  I left my job, got my debts written off by telling the bank I was leaving the world, and turned my mind to the big question – why, I asked for the first time in my life, did I exist in the first place?  I had held a firmly rational, atheistic view since the age of 12, but now, at 30, an understandably urgent need for spiritual answers arose in me.  I plunged into a study of the worlds’ religions, into pagan magic and new age teachings, soon sensing a mystical core common to all.  I began to open my mind and heart to the possibility of something more, to a purpose to our apparently random existence, to the idea of a beneficent divine presence giving rise to existence.

I had expected to be miserable about dying but instead I became fascinated and inspired – writing, drawing, living in dreamtime for long periods, surging with energies I had never encountered before, except perhaps on lsd, meeting an overwhelming, feminine, presence of divine love that I came to realise is everywhere all the time, holding us constantly, but which our mental confusion and emotional baggage prevent us from properly knowing.  I took on the notion that I was growing beyond the ego-mind and into the consciousness of the soul, starting to encounter the energy of spirit in all things.  Facing death was the trigger for this journey, which has entirely transformed my life, opening me up to a multidimensional reality in which life is a story of souls finding our way back home.  That HOME is the internal and eternal place of connection, love and peace that is our divine right as human beings – and facing death, overcoming fear of dying, is the fastest way to get there.

HIV pushed me to the point of asking the most important question there is, and it was a catalyst for a rapid spiritual awakening – for an Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self.   By surrendering to the prospect of annihilation I experienced Self beyond the limits of my individuality.  This is what Ayahuasca also does for people, taking them to a place beyond their own ego, beyond identification with the little Self, revealing just how much more to our existence there really is.  Facing death had that effect for me.

Many positive men went through spiritual transformations during the plague years, but most of them took their discoveries and epiphanies with them to spirit.  Only a few people get to experience a journey to the edge of life now thanks to the effectiveness of the medications available, but it does still happen.  Attitudes towards becoming positive have changed so much that today you can administer your own HIV test at home, it is no longer regarded as a terrifying death sentence.  HIV is ‘normalised’ and positive people are expected to take the tablets and continue to go to work and lead normal lives.  But even so HIV is still a huge emotional challenge for anyone becoming positive, it will push many into darkness, fear and depression.  As a survivor of that journey I want my voice to be heard… I am here to say that HIV can still be a catalyst to self-discovery, growth and awakening, even without a trip to death’s edge.  It is still likely to push us to question our lives, attitudes and behaviours. It might push us into explorations of sexual extremes as we lose the fear of becoming infected, discover the thrill of uninhibited bareback sex.  There is a lot of searching going in gay life, but unfortunately little awareness of what we are truly, at the deepest level, searching for.

It took some years before I came across writings that connected gay sexuality with spiritual matters.  But when I found out that the queer folk had been shamans and healers in tribes across the planet through human history a piece of the jigsaw fell into place.  We have also been deeply involved in all the world’s religions, whatever the scriptures might say. Islam was a much gayer religion until recent times. Christian and Buddhist monasteries were always havens for gay men, and convents for women who loved women.  Hinduism is the campest religion on the planet – its colourful deities are known for changing gender and sex was long honoured in Indian tantric temples as a pathway to heavenly experiences (as it had been in the Middle East for millennia until the rise of the patriarchal war god).

What tragedy currently in India that gay men are being persecuted and prosecuted because of laws introduced by the uptight Christian British. There is a long and rich history of connection between same sex erotic love and the sacred around the whole planet going back over 10000 years.  The religious folk of today do not know this, and nor do the vast majority of the gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals.  Nor do most of us even want to.  Hated and abused by religion, the question of spirit struggles to get a look in the busy, glamorous world of the gay.  However, high levels of addictions, diseases, mental illness, suicides spoil our beautiful, camp or butch façade.  So does the way that queer people are viewed and treated in so much of the world still.  What can we in the comfortable, privileged West do about it?  We can heal ourselves of the wounds inflicted in centuries of spiritual and physical war on our kind and emerge into our power as the true magicians, priest/priestesses, shamans, healers of the human race.  We are coming back into the picture at this time because the world needs us, the planet needs us, to wake up to our power and our purpose.  HIV is a wake up call, as are so many other of life’s challenges… a wake up call to know ourselves, to engage life, more deeply, more consciously, more lovingly.  That kind of engagement will trigger our own personal evolution, and an evolution for gay life.  

Gay liberation has started in the sexual, social and political spheres, but has to go all the way to the spiritual level before lgbtq+ people find their place in the human family.   That prospect is furthered by each individual queer who grows out of mindless, selfish, unconscious behaviours, chooses a path of self-discovery, and finds their own way to be of service to creation, in touch with the holiness of life.  HIV is, for some of us, the kick to start this transformation.

 

HIV I propose is a call from the soul to seek healing and understanding of who we are, as spirits waking up in the rat race of a blinkered civilisation… waking up to the discovery and formation of a bigger, brighter, braver, and much more conscious, future for gay people and all people on the Earth.  We become positive because nature and the heavens want us to face up to the challenge of facing and knowing ourselves, to wake up to the magnificence and potential of what we really are, to break through the illusions of the materialist world, to break down the walls between death and life, to embrace, that at this point in our lives, HEALING IS VITAL.

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HIV comes to ask…

Do you know who you are?

Are you living in the shallows or fulfilling your soul?

Do you have love in your life, are you pursuing a goal?

What is the meaning you give to your life?

Cos you won’t have it forever, get wise.

Are you lost in the mental illusion of lonely isolation?

Healing is Vital, wake up to Creation.

 

We are not these bodies, we are not our thoughts

We are something eternal, mysterious and bright

The fastest way to wake up to Life

Is to lose the fear of losing your self

Healing is Vital, and Queer is the Way

Don’t get distressed that you are going to die one day

That’s coming to everyone

And life goes on, sings its song

As will you

For it’s to life

That you belong.

 

 

 

 

The Missing Element

Disease, War, Crime, Crisis

the 21st century world does not seem a happy place

Chaos, Confusion, Corruption, Calamity

things looking rough for the human race

but there’s one missing element

one missing truth

that the world denies and won’t see

the one thing underlying all our crises

is our separation from eternity

OUR LACK OF EXPERIENCE OF UNITY

all illness and abuse arise from the split

between humanity and the LOVEFORCE that created it

this is not about religion, not even about god

this is about us discovering what’s been going on all along

my discovery came through facing death

opening my heart and mind to see

the presence of creation around and within me

this disease we call HIV

took me to the core of the matter

for HIV is the middle name of SHIVA

IT INVITES US TO RETHINK DEATH

TO OPEN TO KNOW OUR ETERNAL SOULS

A REVOLUTION IN HOW WE UNDERSTAND LIFE ON EARTH

THE ULTIMATE, ESSENTIAL, URGENT GOAL

HIV CAME TO US TO BE

THE END OF DISEASE

A GATEWAY TO ETERNITY

this is my message and I will say it over and over

THERE IS NO DEATH

THERE IS NO SEPARATION

the time has come to break down the old paradigms

and defeat the darkness that grips the world

the time has come to birth a new humanity

that puts love, cooperation and peace at the centre of the play

the world is gripped by darkness and fear

but the solution to all our woes has always been here

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HIV IS THE KEY

HIV IS THE KEY

THAT HUMANITY HAS YET TO SEE

THAT GAY LIFE URGENTLY NEEDS TO TURN

FOR ME HIV WAS THE KEY

TO THE EXPERIENCE OF ETERNITY:

FACING OUR MORTALITY IS THE QUICKEST WAY OUT OF LIFE’S ILLUSIONS

BEFRIENDING DEATH IS THE KEY TO ESCAPING THE CONFUSION

ABOUT WHY WE FIND OUR SELVES HERE

BUDDHISTS, HINDUS, PAGANS KNOW THIS

MYSTICAL CHRISTIANS JEWS AND MOSLEMS KNOW THIS

BUT THE MODERN WORLD DOESN’T WANT TO KNOW

IT PREFERS TO MEDICATE AWAY ALL PAIN

KEEPS US OBSESSED WITH THE TRIVIAL AND INANE

GAY LIFE DOESN’T WANT TO KNOW THIS

WE PREFER TO TAKE MORE DRUGS

HAVE MORE SEX PARTIES

DEVOUR MORE FLESH

DESIRE MORE MEN

FOR SOME THIS LEADS TO BODY/SOUL BREAK DOWN

HAS A SECOND PLAGUE COME UPON OUR KIND

BUT THIS TIME THE SICKNESS IN THE HEART AND MIND?

MORE AND MORE BECOME INFECTED

BECAUSE WE STILL TOTALLY MISSING THE MESSAGE

THAT IF WE GET OVER THE FEAR OF DEATH

WE BEGIN A BRAND NEW LIFE

HIV IS THE UNIVERSE TEACHING US TO LOOK INSIDE

OVERCOME OUR EGOIC PRIDE

SURRENDER TO THE WHOLE

THAT WAY GAY LIBERATION CAN COME HOME

SO MANY ARE CHASING A FORM OF LIBERATION

CLAIMING IT THROUGH DRUGS

INDULGING OUR EXTREME DESIRES

EVER SEEKING TO BE HIGHER

WE CHASE CONNECTION

BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT LIFE IS

WE CHASE ECSTATIC THRILLS

COS THERE’S MORE TO LIFE THAN PAYING BILLS

BUT WE DON’T OPEN OURSELVES TO ETERNITY

WE KEEP QUIET ABOUT OUR IMMORTAL SOULS

PEOPLE ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN YOLO (you only live once)

WHEN THE FAR LIKELIER STORY IS YALA (you always live again)

WE’RE MISSING THE GIFT HIV CAME TO GIVE US

A WINDOW INTO ETERNITY

AND THE ABILITY TO SEE

THAT WE CAME HERE TO FIND WHOLENESS

AND INCARNATE DIVINITY

HIV CAME TO SHAKE US UP

AND MAKE US LEARN TO CARE FOR EACH OTHER

BUT WE’VE FORGOTTEN THE LESSONS

AND WE SHOULD BE AWARE

A SECOND PLAGUE MAY BE UPON OUR KIND

MORE INVISIBLE THIS TIME

SCREWING US IN THE HEART AND MIND

IN THE 80S AND 90S WE MET DEATH UP CLOSE

WE LEARNT TO FACE OUR FEARS

THAT WAY SOME OF US SAW THERE’S MORE TO THE MYSTERY

THAN THE MODERN WORLD WANTS US TO BELIEVE

NOW WE TAKE PILLS TO STEM THE VIRUS

NOW WE CAN TAKE ONE TO PREVENT IT GETTING A HOLD IN THE FIRST PLACE

AND WE SELF MEDICATE TO HOLD OFF HARD FEELINGS AND FEARS

IT’S SO LONG SINCE THE DYING DAYS ENDED

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO US IN THESE YEARS?

I SURVIVED THE FIRST PLAGUE

I TURNED THE KEY

AND NOW I WONDER

WHEN WILL GAY LIFE STOP LIVING IN THE SHALLOW END

HOW MANY MORE CASUALTIES WILL THERE BE?

WE ARE BORN TO BE WHOLE

WE ARE BORN TO BE FREE

WE ARE BORN TO BECOME ALL WE CAN BE

BEINGS OF ETERNITY

BUT WE HAVE TO WAKE UP!!!

WE HAVE REALLY TO FACE ONLY ONE THING

LIFE ISN’T ABOUT ECONOMICS, GRADES, MONEY AND FAME

IT’S ABOUT PLAYING OUR PART IN THE CONSCIOUSNESS GAME

WE ARE EACH A PART OF A DIVINE DREAM

HIV IS A TRIGGER TO OUR AWAKENING

HIV COMES TO TEACH US LIFE IS MORE THAN IT SEEMS

IF WE FAIL TO HEAR IT NATURE MIGHT SEND US HEP C

OR THE TRIALS OF ADDICTION AND DEPENDENCY

UNTIL WE LISTEN TO THE SOUL INSIDE

AND FIND OUR CALLING, FIND OUT WHO WE CAME HERE TO BE

I’m writing this now because I know some get it, most don’t

but if I don’t say it, and again and again

will my survival have been in vain?

leo OFFERED AT THE LEO NEW MOON 2015

The beginning of the end for HIV?

World Aids Day 2014: as i travelled in to central London to speak at a ‘Let’s Talk About Gay Men, Sex and Drugs’ event at the Charing Cross Road Manbar, there were only a few red ribbons around on the tube – and only on gay men it seemed – with no acknowledgement of the day on the front page of the Evening Standard.  They missed the scoop, which i found on the BBC website when i got back home:  “HIV evolving into milder form” – a team of scientists in Oxford are telling us their research reveals “the virus is being “watered down” as it adapts to our immune systems.”  They even speculate “the virus may eventually become “almost harmless” as it continues to evolve.”   Apparently the antiretroviral drugs are targetting the more virulent forms of the virus and encouraging the milder ones to survive.

The scientists are keen to point out HIV is still deadly and isn’t going away in a hurry – but also saying: “We are observing evolution happening in front of us and it is surprising how quickly the process is happening.”

I want to say the same about gay life based on some of the things i heard at the Manbar last night.  The community gathered on Charing Cross Road, a cross generational event and it was a relief to be at a World Aids Day event that made room for the expression of our intellect, emotion and creativity – rather than being just another fundraiser, where we are encouraged to drink beer and throw money in buckets.  It was actually more than a little bizarre to be in the former 79CXR, once known as a haunt of lustful and sleazy pick up vibes, hearing intelligent, witty and insightful words from so many men.  Pubs have been hugely important in gay culture during recent decades, but they can rather reduce us all to a low common denominator of predatory, drunken behaviour.  Speaking to each other, about things that matter, is not the norm on our gay scene which often provides us a wordless escape from our lives into altered queer realities.  On this night however I felt the potential of our social spaces to serve as community hubs.  I remembered how AIDS brought us together as a community – the slow response from the authorities forcing us to become more organised, more militant and more compassionate with each other – and i felt some of that spirit last night.

I also saw how COMPLEX our situation has become.  There are so many levels to our situation: every speaker last night had something different and something fascinating to say to the crowd in their 5 minute slot.  Dan from ACTUP spoke proudly of their action to deliver a load of bullshit to the door of UKIP that had happened that very day.  Scene podcasters Dylan and Jack, poet Alexis Gregory and several open mike contributors presented tales of gay party life, which comes over as ecstatic, hilarious and tragic at the same time.  In just a few years things have changed enormously, and those that would deny that there is a massive drug use crisis in gay London have got their heads in the sand.  Two decades ago injecting drugs was unheard of on the scene, but now slamming parties are quite normalised; the inability many experience to have sex without drugs came up a lot – also the difficulty of finding someone to play with who doesn’t use chems.  Grindr was compared to cottaging – it used to be that gay men went into public toilets to find strangers to have sex with, now we sit at home and do it.  (My memory of cottaging suggests that the adrenalin of fear – of attack or arrest – was great enough to get the ecstatic juices flowing.  Although you would see the occasional drunken man in a cottage, taking drugs was not going to work, you needed your wits about you to indulge in this dangerous game.)

I stood up to offer some poetic insights into the situation, based on my 25 journey with the virus and the internal, spiritual, transformation it provoked in me.  Telling the pub that my lowest cd4 count back in the 90s was 3 earned me their focussed attention.  I was not the only one bringing some spirituality into the night – young poet Nasser spoke of how we need faith in something in order to steer our personal ship through life’s waters: in ourselves, in a god, in Cher – something!   In the contributions i saw how this complex situation of lust, drugs and disease forces us a gay community to move beyond judgement.  There were several pleas for this last night, and I felt the call resonated in the crowd.   The drugs open the gates to great times, there is no point in denying that.  Condom free sex is glorified in porn and in life as the best thing on earth (though other perspectives were expressed last night, were given some much needed air).  If we judge each other’s behaviours the conversation will go nowhere.  It’s not hard to see that many men are using each other like commodities to be enjoyed and discarded.  it’s clear that drug use gets out of hand for some, and that underlying our behaviours is our old friend SHAME.  We are only a few decades into our gay liberation, we are still inventing, re-inventing, what it is to be a same sex lover on this planet.  We clearly need to love each other, and ourselves, more. As a community, a tribe within the human family, we have some serious healing to address.  What has encouraged me after attending this gathering of scene queens who care is that there are signs of that healing, of expanded love and some spiritual awareness emerging from many angles and from every age group.

The night’s revelations peaked for me when Gregory Mitchell, writer and activist on PrEP, presented a vision of the future where a daily Truvada pill would provide protection against infection from HIV.  Greg, who was growing up when homosexuality was still illegal, and remembers pre-aids sexual  freedom, has remained hiv negative and enjoyed an active sex life over the decades (though in the 80s he said he stopped having sex all together, it just became too scary).  He proudly sported a #TruvadaWhore t shirt and painted a picture of happier times to come.  So far, PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis, is showing a 99% success rate.  A two year trial is currently underway in the UK.  It is estimated that if men who are at risk of infection use PrEP it could be possible to eradicate the virus from the gay community within two to three decades.

Is there a sense growing amongst us, a wisdom emerging, that understands that nothing is ever entirely dark or light?  There are two sides (at least) to every story.  The drug mania, like HIV, is part of our evolution as a sub-tribe of humanity freed from centuries of repression.  In some parts of the world we are still persecuted – African presidents call us Satanic – and still live in abject fear.  Here in the west we have gained some freedom – including the freedom to destroy ourselves through unbridled excesses. I believe we owe it to our brethren and sisters around the world to rapidly evolve through our collective crises and become powerful examples to the world of the LOVE, LIGHT AND HEALING we bring to the human family.  The powers that be are not going to stop us throwing ourselves off the cliffs of insane addictions and incurable diseases, as in the 80s and 90s if we want to create a better, stronger, more caring, more creative, queer community we have to do it for ourselves.

Congratulations to Pat Cash, David Stuart and the Manbar for hosting a World Aids Day event with brain, heart and balls.aidsribbons

Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self

It’s WORLD AIDS DAY again and in the UK we hear that rate of infection amongst gay men is at an all time high!  Bars around the country bizarrely offer WAD ‘celebrations’ and it is even possible to pop down to the GAY bar in Soho to get an on the spot test. So I guess if the result is positive there is plenty of booze on hand to help you drown your sorrows and deplete your immune system further. HIV is not going away, and to treat it as a minor problem that can be managed by medications is missing the point entirely. HIV changes lives and challenges on every level possible – perhaps it will not go away until we have understood what it is trying to teach us.

 

HIV = Healing is Vital, healing of the legacy of guilt, shame, low self-worth etc that are still the normal baggage that gay men carry.

 

AIDS = Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self

 

I remember finding this interpretation of the dreaded acronym about 15 years ago, but cannot find it again now, or remember who came up with it. I know it was an American writer, but the phrase made so little impact on the mass consciousness that even typing it into google produces no helpful result.

 

Yes this definition of AIDS is exactly what I found the disease to be. Actually ‘disease’ feels like the wrong word – AIDS was so much more. It was a complete breakdown of normal function on every level possible. It was more than a physical ailment, it was also a mental, emotional and spiritual wipe out. AIDS was, it seems to me now, a soul condition – that could be regarded as an utter tragedy, or as a bizarre kind of ‘grace’ that blew away all the preconceptions about life that our society propagated and opened the door to revelation and understanding about life and death on an unexpectedly profound level.

 

Before the onset of aids-related symptoms, which started for me around 1995, I had never been inclined to seek answers to the big questions of life. I had rejected religion as a teenager and was content to accept the scientific view that life was a chance evolution, one that I considered should be enjoyed as much as possible while it lasted. A couple of years after my diagnosis I sat down and considered my lot, coming to the conclusion that since I had no feelings about my lack of awareness before birth, it was not going to be a bother to me that I would cease to be after death. It simply would not matter, to me or to the greater scheme of things, so why be upset about it? If my time was up my time was up.

 

A year or two later I had to face a feeling that had arisen in me. The feeling was that this existentialist viewpoint was simply not enough. It felt like an opt-out. Something inside me wanted to know more. I reflected that humanity had been asking questions about life and death for thousands of years – cultures, religions, philosophies, magical paths and mystery schools had emerged from the search for answers. There was so much here to explore, a vast area of knowledge and experience I knew nothing about, and which it seemed both irrational and unhelpful to dismiss just because mainstream science, the new kid on the existential block, seemed to do so.

 

I felt that I was changing on every level. I was experiencing emotions I had never felt before, both highly enjoyable ones and darker forms; my mind seemed to be running in pathways that I did not recognise, except perhaps from lsd trips. I started to experience that I had a spirit that could expand and fill with energy, or contract and take me on inner visionary journeys. It suddenly hit me that my assumption that I was a lump of meat with the ability to think was completely wrong, I began to know myself as an energy being with unexplored powers and a desire for knowledge that I had hardly tapped into, connected somehow to life itself in ways I had not imagined.

 

I wondered if I was undergoing a rapid evolution of the human condition, brought on by the imminent threat of death, my mind expanding and revealing new levels of awareness, my spirit coming to life. Psychic abilities, inspired creative surges, euphoric periods of intense excitement were suddenly part of my life. I felt I was becoming conscious of energy flows and how to direct them, feeling healing energy pouring through my hands, through others and from nature. I started to sense that on some deep level our souls were pushing us into life experiences that were going to wake us all up to a higher dimension of reality, where we would see the profound connections going on between all things as it became clear that life is an intricate dance, which normally our overactive thought processes and self-obsessive attitudes prevent us from detecting.

 

Getting out of the mind and into other forms of perception seemed to be the goal. I started to communicate with beings who had no physical form, I entertained the notion that consciousness can not be destroyed – our bodies might fail, but the sense of self, the ability to be aware, did not depend on the body. I stopped being afraid of death.

 

Around me my friends were dropping fast. Everybody I knew who took the only drug on offer to treat AIDS, the dreaded AZT, left the planet. I refused the drug and tried to hold back the advance of physical deterioration with herbal treatments, chinese medicine, spiritual healing. As my body got weaker and I succumbed to pneumonia, karposi’s sarcoma and sank down to a weight of 45 kg, I continued my spiritual quest. My inner eye had been opened to a much bigger reality than my senses had previously revealed to me. If I was about to leave my body I wanted to be ready to consciously merge my individual soul with the great spirit of creation, which I was now convinced was real. I saw all religions as attempts by humans to explain and relate to the great mystery that we are part of. Each faith limited in its view, but pointing to an aspect of the ultimate truth. The mystical voices from every path however all attested to the possibility of direct communication with source consciousness, and seemed always to point to an underlying unity of creation, held together and manifesting through the power of love.

 

Mystical writings from every corner of the world, plus my own inner journeys and visions and voices, led me to see my individual journey as part of a massive evolutionary surge. With all the world’s religions and magical paths available to be studied as the 21st century approached, it became certain to me that humanity was on the verge of a leap in consciousness to a greater understanding of who we are and what life is. The negations of the rational scientific outlook were just a phase we had to go through, to free the world of the domineering grip of religious dogma and to make us learn to think for ourselves.

 

AIDS had become for me a doorway to reviewing my understanding of life and to overcome the fear of death, plus it seemed an invitation to experience transcendent awareness, not as a drug induced trip but as part of normal life. AIDS had led me on a path that revealed to me that the SELF I felt myself to be, was a reflection of the one BEING that existed, of BEINGNESS ITSELF. My revelations showed me that there is only SELF in the universe, manifesting through everything, in an infinite variety of ways. I understood that I AM YOU AND YOU ARE ME, that we are all one and always will be. When we fight and kill and destroy our planet, we are destroying ourselves. When we love and nurture and respect each other we are furthering the cause of the evolution of life itself, we are bringing the leap in human consciousness closer. As a sensitive, peace loving gay man these realisations made simple plain sense, they were the values I had always lived by, quite naturally, without naming them.

 

I believe that many of my brothers on the journey of AIDS discovered the same thing. Most of them died however, leaving only some who can carry this knowledge forwards. But who wants to listen to us? Gay life soon switched to a hedonistic (perhaps head-in-the-sand) attitude unlike anything previously known on this planet, questions around death and the meaning of life gladly pushed aside as the suffering of the epidemic abated. Medications are given to HIV+ people way before they get to the point where facing serious illness and possible death are on the agenda. This makes it easy to ignore challenging questions and keeps us ‘in the system’: working, consuming and playing. Meanwhile the world rocks as one crisis builds on top of another, until it seems our ‘civilisation’, the eco-system and human life itself is in some sort of AIDS crisis that it has no idea how to solve.

 

All around me I see people in various states of confusion and denial about what is going on. This seems particularly to be the case amongst many of my queer tribe, and is reflected I believe in the HIV statistics. It is easy to run away from the pressures of life into sexual adventure, but the result so often is the crisis comes right home. A crucial wounding our tribe carries in common stems from the hatred poured onto us in the name of god. This prevents many of us from exploring spirituality in any form. Yet in gay people I see souls who are born to love, who accept and celebrate diversity, who seek peace and harmony with others and do not impose dictates despite the amount of shit that has been laid on us. Many of us seek transcendence on a frequent basis through drugs, dance and sexual adventure. We are born this way because we are ready for a new world – we are ready for Oneness – but for most of us the blinkers are still on, we do not see the light we carry, we do not see how much the world needs us to heal ourselves of the wounds society has inflicted on us, so that the powerful love we bear can bring change to this crisis-riddled planet. We do not see that the SELF in us is the SELF in all beings, though to be honest, I think we feel it, and on a deep level we know it. We are just not fully conscious of it yet.

 

Therefore, along with the notion that Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self was the potential underlying the suffering of the AIDS years, I offer the notion that HIV has not gone away because we have not yet heard its message – a message I would sum up as HEALING IS VITAL. Healing of the human condition of separation, fear and anxiety, finding wholeness.

 

When we strip away the layers of fear, shame, guilt, pain and confusion that have been the story of human life, and especially gay life, for so very long, we will get to the SELF. Harry Hay, one of the originators of the radical faerie culture, believed gay men were naturally attuned to ‘subject-subject consciousness’ – ie we empathise with others as being the same as ourselves, not as ‘objects’ separate from us. It is hard to find evidence that this is the case – gay life seems to be built on objectification these days, with gay media and cruise sites reducing us all to little more than beautiful sexual creatures and magnifying our feelings of inadequacy. But the potential is in us to break through such illusions. Great visionaries of gay love such as Walt Whitman and Edward Carpenter saw our potential as warriors of love and peace in the human family. These are the people we should be talking about, every young gay man ought to know about their ideas. And they also ought to know that gay people have been the spiritual leaders of humanity across the globe since ancient times, then we might be more inclined to explore our own spirit, instead of denying our souls at the same time as reaching for the tina pipe or syringe (which takes us into our soul energy, where all the bliss we seeks resides). The objectification and cold-heartedness of gay life needs to be revealed as the sham it is. We are a people born to love and to evolve, it is time our queer culture supported us to find out exactly who we are.

 

Yet gay press sites will not feature a blog like this. None of them would feature the LoveSpirit Festival that took place in London in September. Spirituality is taboo, and totally misunderstood, due to the suspicion we carry about religion. This has to change, because Healing Is Vital, and the pressure of evolution is for us to pursue Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self, although it is about time that discovery became a COLLECTIVE one.

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