As we continue discussing queer spirituality let’s take a look at gay enlightenment. Is there any reason that queer men can’t follow the path to spiritual awakening?
What is Enlightenment?
Deep at the core of our being is something I like to refer to as the spark. There are many ways it’s described in mystical traditions. It’s the life force, God, in every individual.
The aim of traditional Buddhist and Hindu spiritual practice is to overcome the ego in order to achieve spiritual liberation. Enlightenment is achieved when the ego, the individuated self, is completely overcome by Source. The ego is more or less destroyed on the process.
What is Evolutionary Enlightenment?
Andrew Cohen has proposed a new way to look at enlightenment. If we view ourselves as part of the evolution of consciousness itself, perhaps even at its leading edge. We see a new possibility. What if individuation is important. If we have unique contributions to make once we awaken.
In this model, which I follow, the ego is not destroyed but rather put in it’s proper place within your consciousness. You then serve a higher purpose. The evolution of consciousness itself. It isn’t the ego that’s the issue, but its dominance over your psyche.
Obstacles to Spiritual Awakening for Queer Men.
As a queer man you face unique obstacles in creating a healthier relationship to your ego. The most obvious is the pain that you’ve suffered as a result of being different.
The ego is a defense stricture. It was created to protect you and enforce a positive self-image. The more difficult your life has been, the more powerful it becomes. Our individual, and group, trauma make it a powerful force in queer culture.
The ego tries to soothe your sense of lack, of not being good enough. This soothing can lead to issues with sex, drug and alcohol abuse, and escapism that are so common among queer men. It distracts our bruised selves rather than helping us heal our wounds.
Your ego is running the show. It has been since you were a child. It provided you with a secure sense of self that was critical to your survival. But, the self you believe is you is false. Becoming your true self is what enlightenment is about.
Forging Your Path Forward.
You truest self is always present. It’s hiding deep inside you, blocked by your ego and your pain. But, there two things you can do to escape this paralyzing trap.
The first is meditation. The meditation practices most suitable for this work lead you to recognize the reality of your deepest spark and to experience it while your mind, emotions, and ego run wild at the surface. It isn’t a matter of stopping the chatter. It’s about paying attention to the infinite consciousness just below it all.
The second is to doing your emotional healing work. Spiritual practice can bring relief from the troublesome emotions that you may experience. But, if you only use it for this purpose,“spiritual bypassing”, will undermine your efforts by strengthening your ego and keeping you trapped.
In a way, gay enlightenment isn’t different. Awakened consciousness is a oneness that supersedes everything else. But, the path you take to awaken will be informed by your experiences as a queer man. Once liberated everything that has made you who you are will serve the greater good, and the ongoing evolution of the Universe. You have something unique to contribute that only you can. Which is why it’s so important for you to figure out who you really are and show up as him in the world.