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Also on this website:


Toby Johnson's books:

Toby's books are available as ebooks from smashwords.com, the Apple iBookstore, etc.


Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III


Gay Spirituality

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness


Gay Perspective


GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe


Secret Matter


SECRET MATTER, a sci-fi novel with wonderful "aliens" with an Afterword by Mark Jordan


Getting Life

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE:  A Fantastical Gay Romance set in two different time periods


The Fourth Quill

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil




Two Spirits
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams



charmed lives
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with Steve Berman and some 30 other writers


Myth of the Great Secret


THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell



In Search of God


IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: A Mystical Journey



Unpublished manuscripts


About ordering


Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series


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  Toby has done five podcasts with Harry Faddis for The Quest of Life

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  Articles and Excerpts:

Review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness


Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"


About Liberty Books, the Lesbian/Gay Bookstore for Austin, 1986-1996


The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate


A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality


Why gay people should NOT Marry


The Scriptural Basis for Same Sex Marriage


Toby and Kip Get Married


Wedding Cake Liberation


Gay Marriage in Texas


What's ironic



Shame on the American People


The "highest form of love"


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Gay Consciousness


Why homosexuality is a sin


The cause of homosexuality


The origins of homophobia


Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness


What is homosexuality?


What is Gay Spirituality?


My three messages


What Jesus said about Gay Rights


Queering religion


Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men


Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?


The purpose of homosexuality


Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality


What the Bible Says about Homosexuality


Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men



Varieties of Gay Spirituality


Waves of Gay Liberation Activity


The Gay Succession


Wouldn’t You Like to Be Uranian?


The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter


Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium


Easton Mountain Retreat Center


Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism


The Mysticism of Andrew Harvey


The upsidedown book on MSNBC


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Enlightenment


"It's Always About You"



The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara


Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara


You're Not A Wave



Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging



What is Enlightenment?



What is reincarnation?



How many lifetimes in an ego?



Emptiness & Religious Ideas



Experiencing experiencing experiencing



Going into the Light



Meditations for a Funeral



Meditation Practice



The way to get to heaven



Buddha's father was right



What Anatman means



Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal



The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika



Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva



John Boswell was Immanuel Kant



Cutting edge realization



The Myth of the Wanderer



Change: Source of Suffering & of Bliss



World Navel



What the Vows Really Mean



Manifesting from the Subtle Realms



The Three-layer Cake & the Multiverse


The est Training and Personal Intention



Effective Dreaming in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven


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Gay Spirituality


Curious Bodies


What Toby Johnson Believes


The Joseph Campbell Connection


The Mann Ranch (& Rich Gabrielson)


Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy


The Two Loves


The Nature of Religion


What's true about Religion


Being Gay is a Blessing


Drawing Long Straws


Freedom of Religion


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The Gay Agenda


Gay Saintliness


Gay Spiritual Functions



The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.


The Sinfulness of Homosexuality


Proposal for a study of gay nondualism


Priestly Sexuality


Having a Church to Leave


Harold Cole on Beauty


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Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption


Not lashed to the prayer-post


Monastic or Chaste Homosexuality


Is It Time to Grow Up? Confronting the Aging Process


Notes on Licking  (July, 1984)


Redeem Orlando


Gay Consciousness changing the world by Shokti LoveStar


Alexander Renault interviews Toby Johnson



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Mystical Vision


"The Evolution of Gay Identity"


"St. John of the Cross & the Dark Night of the Soul."


Avalokiteshvara at the Baths


 Eckhart's Eye


Let Me Tell You a Secret


Religious Articulations of the Secret


The Collective Unconscious


Driving as Spiritual Practice


Meditation


Historicity as Myth


Pilgrimage


No Stealing


Next Step in Evolution


The New Myth


The Moulting of the Holy Ghost


Gaia is a Bodhisattva


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The Hero's Journey


The Hero's Journey as archetype -- GSV 2016


The  Gay Hero Journey (shortened)


You're On Your Own


Superheroes


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Seeing Differently


Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil


Allah Hu: "God is present here"


 
Adam and Steve


The Life is in the Blood



Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"


Seeing with Different Eyes


Facing the Edge: AIDS as an occasion for spiritual wisdom


What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?


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The Vision


The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside


A  Most Remarkable Synchronicity in Riverside


The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis


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The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby


Part 2: The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara


Part 3: Jesus and the Resurrection


Part 4: A Course in Miracles


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The Secret of the Clear Light


Understanding the Clear Light


Mobius Strip


Finding Your Tiger Face


How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated


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Joseph Campbell, the Hero's Journey, and the modern Gay Hero-- a five part presentation on YouTube


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About Alien Abduction


In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke


Karellen was a homosexual


The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance


Intersections with the movie When We Rise


More about Gay Mental Health


Psych Tech Training


Toby at the California Institute


The Rainbow Flag


Ideas for gay mythic stories


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People


Kip and Toby, Activists


Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.


Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement


About Hay and The New Myth


About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"


About Michael Talbot, gay mystic


About Fr. Bernard Lynch


About Richard Baltzell


About Guy Mannheimer


About David Weyrauch


About Dennis Paddie


About Ask the Fire


About Arthur Evans


About Christopher Larkin


About Mark Thompson


About Sterling Houston


About Michael Stevens


The Alamo Business Council


Our friend Tom Nash


Second March on Washington


The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"


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Book Reviews



Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook


Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer


The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter


The Gay Disciple by John Henson


Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry


Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr


Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois


Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson


Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low


Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman


The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman


Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor


Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine


The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada


The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook


The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther


The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel


Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak


Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez


Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr


Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman


Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano


The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo


The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar


Occam’s Razor by David Duncan


Grace and Demion by Mel White


Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso


The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery


The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass


Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication by Tim Clausen


War Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar


The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal


Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal


The Invitation to Love by Darren Pierre


Brain, Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A Helminiak


A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey


Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes


The Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson & Rhodes


Keys to Spiritual Being: Energy Meditation and Synchronization Exercises by Adrian Ravarour


In Walt We Trust by John Marsh


Solomon's Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary


A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary


Aelred's Sin by Lawrence Scott


Fruit Basket by Payam Ghassemlou


Internal Landscapes by John Ollom


Princes & Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks


Yes by Brad Boney


Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler


Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal


Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson


Jesus in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette


The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson


The Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire


"Sex Camp" by Brian McNaught


Out & About with Brewer & Berg
Episode One: Searching for a New Mythology



The Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons


Out on Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert


The Revotutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker


Out There by Perry Brass


The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh


The Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan


It's Never About What It's About by Krandall Kraus and Paul Borja


ReCreations, edited by Catherine Lake


Gospel: A Novel by WIlton Barnhard


Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson


Dating the Greek Gods
by Brad Gooch


Telling Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan


The Substance of God by Perry Brass


The Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols


10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives by Joe Kort


Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same Sex Love by Will Roscoe


The Third Appearance by Walter Starcke


The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann


Surviving and Thriving After a Life-Threatening Diagnosis by Bev Hall


Men, Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long

An Interview with Ron Long


Queering Creole Spiritual Traditons by Randy Conner & David Sparks

An Interview with Randy Conner


Pain, Sex and Time by Gerald Heard


Sex and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak


Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan


Rising Up by Joe Perez


Soulfully Gay by Joe Perez


That Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco


Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman


Wisdom for the Soul by Larry Chang


MM4M a DVD by Bruce Grether


Double Cross by David Ranan


The Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak


Jesus in Love by Kittredge Cherry


In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson


The Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson


Life in Paradox by Fr Paul Murray


Spirituality for Our Global Community by Daniel Helminiak


Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society by Robert A. Minor


Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences by Glen O'Brien


Queering Christ by Robert Goss


Skipping Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage


The Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato


Catland by David Garrett Izzo


Tantra for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson


Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main


Simple Grace by Malcolm Boyd


Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza


What Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett


Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans


Gift of the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen


Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden


The Liar's Prayer by Gregory Flood


Lovely are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman


The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak


3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke


Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak


Only the Good Parts by Daniel Curzon


Four Short Reviews of Books with a Message


Life Interrupted by Michael Parise


Confessions of a Murdered Pope by Lucien Gregoire


The Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman


Conscious Living, Conscious Aging by Ron Pevny


Footprints Through the Desert by Joshua Kauffman


True Religion by J.L. Weinberg


The Mediterranean Universe by John Newmeyer


Everything is God by Jay Michaelson


Reflection by Dennis Merritt


Everywhere Home by Fenton Johnson


Hard Lesson by James Gaston


God vs Gay? by Jay Michaelson


The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path by Jay Michaelson


Roxie & Fred by Richard Alther


Not the Son He Expected by Tim Clausen


The 9 Realities of Stardust by Bruce P. Grether


The Afterlife Revolution by Anne & Whitley Strieber


AIDS Shaman: Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar


Facing the Truth of Your Life by Merle Yost


The Super Natural by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J Kripal


Secret Body by Jeffrey J Kripal


In Hitler's House by Jonathan Lane


Walking on Glory by Edward Swift


The Paradox of Porn by Don Shewey


Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire


Enigma by Lloyd Meeker


Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson




Toby Johnson's Books on Gay Men's Spiritualities:




Gay
Perspective cover
Gay Perspective

Things Our [Homo]sexuality
Tells Us about the
Nature of God and
the Universe


Gay Perspective audiobook
Gay Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Matthew Whitfield. Click here







Gay
Spirituality cover
Gay Spirituality

Gay Identity and 
the Transformation of
Human Consciousness



gay-spirituality-audiobook
Gay Spirituality   is now available as an audiobook, beautifully narrated by John Sipple. Click here








charmed lives
Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling

edited by
Toby Johnson
& Steve Berman







secret matter
Secret Matter

Lammy Award Winner for Gay Science Fiction

updated







Getting Life
Getting Life in Perspective

A Fantastical Romance





Getting
Life in Perspective audiobook
Getting Life in Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Alex Beckham. Click here 






The Fourth Quill

The Fourth Quill

originally published as PLAGUE




johnson-the-fourth-quill-audiobook
The Fourth Quill is available as an audiobook, narrated by Jimmie Moreland. Click here






Two
Two Spirits: A Story of Life with the Navajo

with Walter L. Williams




Two Spirits
audiobookTwo Spirits  is available as an audiobook  narrated by Arthur Raymond. Click here






Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III
Finding Your Own True Myth:
What I Learned from Joseph Campbell

The Myth of the Great Secret III








In
Search of God in the Sexual Underworld
In Search of God  in the Sexual Underworld










The Myth of the Great Secret II

The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell.

This was the second edition of this book.




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Toby Johnson's titles are available in other ebook formats from Smashwords.



The Nature of Evil


in search of god in the sexual underworld 

The following is from In Search of God in the Sexual Underworld, a book published by William Morrow in 1983, reporting on a federally-funded study, conducted by URSA Consulting on behalf of Youth Development Bureau of the Dept. of Health and Human Services, of teenage prostitution and social service agencies for runaway youth that Toby Johnson worked in with his friend, nicknamesake, and social service mentor Toby Marotta.

This excerpt, from the book's epilogue titled The Boon, describes Johnson's realization of the spiritual wisdom conveyed by the enlightening, fascinating, and at times frightening adventures he and Marotta shared in researching this highly-charged and difficult to understand social phenomenon. The wisdom suggests the paradoxical nature of human intention and the necessity for all people to look beyond their simplistic beliefs and opinions--especially regarding other people's sexual lives.

(Used copies of In Search of God are available from Internet resellers. Click here.



Suffering is the weight that keeps us grounded. It is what keeps God from waking up too quickly and recognizing who he, and we, all really are. It is also the goad and reminder that we can and should wake up. It forces us to reach out, to change our lives, to keep the perspectives always changing. We are all sailors drowning in the sea, hapless victims thrashing about in fear. What every drowning victim must remember is that when you stop thrashing about, you can float. But to do so, you must overcome your fear and stop resisting. That was my spiritual discovery in the sexual underworld.

That was also the political and social service discovery. There is pain and suffering in the underworld. Prostitution does irreparable damage to some lives. No one should have to have sex in order to survive. But prostitution can't be isolated from all the other problems in society. For some people the alternatives are worse than prostitution. What people imagine about prostitution is far worse than it really is. We can't stop prostitution by resisting it. Given the realities of our world we must accept it and understand it as the chosen life-style of some people whose rights are just as sacred as ours and who are, just as much as we, eyes of God in the world. Only then can we begin to change it, or better said, to watch it change. We can see the best of all possible worlds grow up where we least expected when we begin to allow that the best of all possible worlds doesn't look like what I-or you-think, but what a vast multitude of us, with many different opinions all create together when we wish the best for one another.

It may seem naive to say that in the end all we really need is love, and that love alone is capable of solving social problems. But that is the advice of higher authorities than I. Almost all the spiritual and philosophical teachers of East and West have agreed in the end that the saving power is love: love of life and love of one another. Love doesn't mean feeling maudlin sentimentality and it doesn't mean being free from pain and conflict. Love means finding the wonder in those we love. It means recognizing our mutuality and the common intention, however peculiarly inflected by its particular perspective, of the radical Self in each of us to be happy. In that sense, love means "raising our consciousness" and changing our attitudes.

We need police and we need social services; we need government and institutions. But the proliferation of programs and institutions won't solve our problems. These will not work unless we change our attitudes. Not law enforcement, family reunification, or social service provision, but only a change in the way they are perceived by society at large and treated by their customers will really alleviate the plight of the juvenile prostitutes.

In a way I am sorry I cannot end this book by saying that the solution to prostitution is contained in the following five point program. I could then detail the steps. But we don't know enough about the way things really work to design the perfect program: we don't know simple facts about life in the sexual underworld; we don't understand the role of sex in our physiological and psychological functioning; we certainly don't understand the dynamics of nonphysical reality (how prayer sometimes works and where miracles and healings come from); we don't understand the nature of truth. As society becomes more and more complex and we struggle to find institutional solutions, more and more five-point or ten-point or one-hundred-point programs are going to be suggested. And though I'm sure they'll all be wise, they won't work by themselves.

 

One night I was talking with Harry Nivens. I was about to leave San Francisco, my work on the research completed. I was working on the recommendations to be included in the final reports. I admitted to Harry that, while I thought the practical suggestions I was making good and even insightful, they were still too superficial. It was useful to suggest to social service agencies that they focus on kids in the sex-trade zones, using outreach workers in street work programs, that they hire gay-identified and ex-hooker personnel, that they seek non-government funding, that they cooperate with gay community agencies and cultivate relations with police and city government. "Those suggestions might help some individuals, but they really won't affect the social problem," I said, with a tone of resignation in my voice.

"Of course not," responded this paradoxical Wise Old Man, a patient I'd seen in the Tenderloin community mental health clinic where I'd worked, who, because he was so familiar with how this demimonde worked had become Toby's and my informant and guide in our research. "The problem isn't a problem with the system. You can't solve it by changing the system. Prostitution is a problem of consciousness."

I asked him to explain that.

"Well, people's basic attitudes toward life are what manifest as their reality. We're all worried about the future; we're all scared; we're all on the edge of survival. We believe in a world that is totally hung up on money. And most of us have stopped believing anything else matters. So what we see in the world is a lot of prostitution, because prostitution is equating basic human emotions like sex and love with money."

 

Harry had been a major source of information for me about life in the underworld. It was he who had pointed out to me in the first place that most of the street kids aren't really prostitutes in the usual sense. It was he who had made me realize that the social patterns of the low-life class are so radically different from those of the middle class that they really can't be explained in terms of middle-class patterns.

"Look, Toby," he said gently but firmly, "what you're calling 'the social problem of prostitution' for the kids is just getting by, making some bucks, and surviving. You may not like it, and it may not be good for them, but you can't ask them to stop surviving."

"But what did you mean when you said it was a problem of consciousness?"

"That in a world in which almost everybody is willing to prostitute themselves-I mean that they'll lie and cheat and they'll work godawful jobs that turn their brains to mush just for money and advancement-you're gonna see prostitution everywhere. Even religion prostitutes itself. All these TV preachers ever do is ask for money; they'll say anything if it'll keep the checks rolling in. In all these people are willing to sell their souls, it's not surprising they see that their children are willing to sell their bodies. Do you think in that kind of a world it's possible to see sex in any other way but as prostitution?"

"So, Harry, what do you do about it?" I asked.

"You have to look at things a different way." He paused, then asked, "Do you know what blessing is?"

I had a feeling that Harry was about to ratify the mystical notions I'd been thinking about in the past months, but been pushing back because they seemed a little crazy.

"To bless something is to make it holy," he went on without giving me time to answer. "But that doesn't change the object. It changes the way you see it. It means you see it in the light of God.

"That's what miracles and healing have always been about. The way to cure disease is to see it was an illusion in the first place and then to put love and holiness into it. I don't suppose you can put this in your report for the feds, but the way to solve prostitution is for all the do-gooders to go down to the Tenderloin and walk around blessing the kids for being there."

"But Harry," I objected, "the Tenderloin is full of evangelists, Jesus freaks, and Moral Majority missionaries already. They stand on the street corners and sing hymns about repentance. The kids just laugh at them. I don't think that does any good for anybody,"

"But I don't mean doing that. If those people are going to be down there, they ought to be practicing compassion, not preaching at the kids." They ought to be learning what makes the kids happy and feeling happy with them, wishing them well.

"That's what I meant about blessing. You don't change what you bless, you change the way you see it. It's the religious people who have to change. They're the ones responsible for all the problems. They've got to stop judging and disapproving. God created a beautiful world, God created sex for us to enjoy, It wasn't God that started religion, It was people. And they've used it to ruin God's beautiful world. They started fighting over whose opinion was correct and they turned the world into hell."

Harry's point may have been overstated, but in a way he was right. And insufi winged heart a way the whole purpose of this book has been to expand on that point. We live in "the best of all possible worlds" because this one is the only one that's real, because this one is a projection into three-dimensional space of the greater reality our religions hint at, and because from this one every other world is possible. But when we spend all our time condemning this world and praising some afterlife that nobody knows anything about, we just ruin the life we've got. The mystical teachings have always been about how to discover the Kingdom here and now, how to forgive sin--how to forgive God--and how to bless the world in spite of all the apparent suffering.

 

The problems that we face in the modern world are, more than anything else, a result of the freedom we have struggled so to attain: freedom from tyranny, freedom from ignorance, freedom from mere convention. That freedom means there is a greater range of possibility in our lives. And whenever there is greater possibility there will be some who choose even the ugliest alternative. But, in the long run, the freedom is more important than the individuals who make bad choices or are forced into unfortunate situations. For without the freedom we cannot fully love our lives.

All of us approach the world from a specific history, a specific place in time and space, a specific set of experiences. We are who we are. We each have a station. The goal of the religious life must be less to change our station to that of someone else (in order to live in that reality) than to work to sanctify and save the reality we perceive as our own. We do this by loving our own experience and by willing that all others love theirs. Thus we must not impose our reality on the others, but respect the rights of each to live the reality of his or her own choice. In fact, we must love their realities, or at least love that they have their own realities separate from ours. Judging another's life vulgar or stupid only makes our own life seem vulgar and stupid, for we must live in the world we create by our judgments.

The station from which some people will experience the world may seem to us terrible, sinful, immoral. But if, rather than hating them, we love them for choosing their lives their way, our world will change: we will see it peopled with responsible seekers of life experience, not with sinners. And curiously, I suspect, we will see the content of their searches actually change. The things we now think of as cruel, disrespectable, and disrespectful will gradually disappear, The solution to the modern narcissism is precisely the pluralism that is the necessary result of radical, enlightened individualism, For the pluralism demands that we respect one another's rights to lead different lives and hold different values and opinions-even about sex.

The sexual revolution isn't going to go away, teenagers are not going to stop having sex, prostitutes are not going to repent and go home, abortions won't stop, lesbians and gay men are not going to go back in the closet, women are not going to become subservient second-class citizens again, the nuclear family isn't going to be saved. Jesus isn't going to appear and champion the cause of the Moral Majority. But the Moral Majority is right that we have to keep the world from falling apart and we have to do something to alleviate some of the suffering in our world.

This suffering is, more than anything else, a symptom of "future shock." To those with psychological and spiritual insight it is obvious that we have to change our attitudes. We have to adjust to the future. We have to embrace it. And we have to invest it with meaning. My own experience has shown me that the meaning that can save the world is found when we discover God--the central Self, the Hero/Savior, the planetary Mind, the Great Companion and fellow-sufferer--incarnated in our own flesh and heaven manifested here and now.

 

The truth is that God is not so an external personality watching human life from above. Such primitive formulations simply don't make sense. God is intricately tied up with the human experience of consciousness. God is my experience of the greater reality of which my day-to-day perceptions are but an inkling. And I am God's experience of the greater reality--God's own being--as perceived from my particular vantage point. God's opinion of me is my opinion of myself. God's experience of me is my experience of myself. God's love of me is my love of myself. God's love of creation is my love of creation. And God's love of himself is my love of my own experience.

That is why all of existence deserves to be loved just as it is. In fact, it must be loved all the more where it seems unlovable. Jesus said there were two great commandments. The first is that we love God. The second, which he said is just the same, is that we love one another with the love of God. God's love of his creatures is his creatures' love of one another. What saves the world is God's love of the world. And God only loves the world in us, as us, through us. We save the world by loving it.

To love God and to love the world is a commandment precisely because it is not automatic or easy. Often the world does not appear lovable at all. That is when it needs saving. That is when it needs loving. We must remind ourselves that we bear the responsibility for saving the world by loving it no matter how appalled we are at it. (Though, of course, we must also love ourselves for being appalled.)

 

The best of all possible worlds is not how the world should be according to our opinions and standards, but how it would be if we stopped evaluating it and pushing it to meet those standards. More than the imperatives of moralists trying to get other people to live their way, what will save the world and make it Paradise is our loving and unconditional acceptance of our lives and our conditions just as they are right now, seeing them as manifestations of the divine activity creating and maintaining the universe, For, almost against common sense, if we began to love more and judge less, to be compassionate of others' lives, feeling their feelings, assumptions, views, likes, and dislikes as though they were our own, recognizing the others as reflexes of the same consciousness as we ourselves, gradually becoming detached from and unconcerned about views, values, and the like, beginning to affirm the right of every person to live just the way he or she wants to--if we did this, almost unbelievably, step by step, gradually at first and then faster and faster, we would be reversing the sin and fall of Adam and Eve, we would be transcending the knowledge of good and evil, and we would be restoring to its original visibility the goodness of the Garden.

 Our world is beautiful beyond words. Our notions of morality and virtue describe not the conditions we must impose upon other people, but the quality of the world's beauty when we recognize it, when we close our eyes to the notions of good and evil, desirable and fearful, when we break from the Tar-baby and crucify our senses on the cross of space and time and grow eyes that see out of the wounds into Paradise. For behind all the suffering in the world of space and time, all the suffering inherent to incarnation, we are still in Paradise. We bring on all the evil in the world, all the pain in the sexual underworld by our resistance to being embodied. The way to get things to be the way we've always wanted is to take things just the way they are. The way to advance is to stop resisting. When we stop trying to pull it down to us, heaven will fall right on top of our heads.



Used copies of In Search of God are available from Internet resellers. Click on title In search of God in the sexual underworld: A mystical journey




More about the URSA Hustler Study

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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of nine books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, four gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality and editor of a collection of "myths" of gay men's consciousness. 

Johnson's book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness won a Lambda Literary Award in 2000.

His  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our [Homo]sexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was nominated for a Lammy in 2003. They remain in print.

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III tells the story of Johnson's learning the real nature of religion and myth and discovering the spiritual qualities of gay male consciousness.

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