Let me tell you a Secret

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Also on this website:

Toby Johnson's books:

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

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

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

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

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

CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story


About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 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

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

The Gay Succession

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

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

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

"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

You're Not A Wave

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

Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

The Two Loves

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

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

 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

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

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

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

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

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

The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

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

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

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

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 Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash

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

He will open a door you've always known was there…

cosmic keyhole

The greater reality reveals itself as strange things that make you think there’s something you ought to know, but don’t. Sometimes this greater reality may actually impinge into your everyday reality and give you a sign.

Such an experience can be stunning. It can cause the world of everyday reality suddenly to appear like a stage set. Then, it seems, someone opens a door for you, a door you’ve always known was there but which you’ve known you weren’t supposed to open. And through that door, to your surprise, you see the scaffolding that holds up the sets and painted surfaces that you have been taking for granted and have been taking for reality. To your surprise, perhaps you even see the stagehands waiting distractedly, sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes, waiting to change the sets, and behind them the supernumeraries awaiting their cues to come onstage to keep alive for you the illusion of the world. To your surprise, you see through that door and the universe changes. And you must change your attitude toward it. For suddenly, to your surprise, you discover that the whole thing is going on for your entertainment.

Occasionally, perhaps after a fine dinner with a glass or two of wine in the company of good friends, during conversation over coffee, when the feelings at the table are very jovial and you are most comfortable and at home, there will be a lull in the conversation, a quieting of laughter after a particularly well appreciated joke. And one of the guests will lean across the table and say softly to you, “Listen, let me tell you a secret... ”

And he will tell you what you have known all along, but never dared to believe.

He will open that door you’ve known was there. He will tell you that, after all, you are the only one here; you are the reason for it all. He will tell you that the rest of them are actors who have been hired to entertain you and to play out your life before you. He will tell you that you are different from all the others, for they are only surfaces, projections of your own thoughts and feelings; that they conspire to be the universe for you; and that they seldom, very seldom, ever let you in on the secret. And he will tell you, with a conspiratorial tone in his voice, that he is taking a liberty with you and, for a moment, stepping out of character to tell you who you really are.

And then he will smile and toast you with his glass or pour you another cup of coffee. And the conversation will suddenly resume, and the room will ring with laughter again, and your friend will seem as he has always seemed to you, but you will feel a chill. And you will wonder what just happened. You will wonder if it really happened at all. You will wonder.

The next morning, when in a more sober and skeptical state of mind, you might doubt the significance of such an event. You might think your friend was playing a joke on you. But you might also realize the bald truth of it. And you might realize that that revelation of centrality can be made to each and every person. And that realization might, indeed, be more a source of wonder than the previous evening’s curious intermission.

This realization of centrality is familiar in mystical literature. It founds Gerard Manley Hopkins’ notion of inscape. It culminates C.S. Lewis’s mystical message in his wonderful novel Perelandra in which the protagonist discovers that, in what he call the Great Dance, all events are intricately interwoven so that each thing is at the center and for it all else was made. This same image appears in Hindu myth as the Net of Indra (a favorite of Joseph Campbell’s, by the way). And it is what  the holographic model of the universe suggests is the real character of the universe outside the perceptual categories of the human mind.

To each of us it can be said that we are at the center of the universe and for us it was all made. We, in turn, have created one another and have created God as the dispenser of clues to remind us, now and then, of who we really are. But of course, even when we are reminded--as you were just now, dear Reader--the reminders remain always imprecise and indefinite metaphors. Still, they have the power to evoke wonder and they can call us to change our lives.

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

All my life I have been fascinated by this idea (myth) that there is a "Great Secret" that underlies all of reality and all of human experience.

I've tried to come up with just the right way of articulating the secret.

One way of saying it is "This is the
Great Secret: that the universe is ultimately benign."

Another is: "This is heaven now."

In ways, I think, one of the Secret's fundamental manifestations is the question: "What do I look like to other people?" (This parallels, but is certainly different from, the Zen koan: What is your original face?)

The world's various religions are all really about articulating and/or manifesting the Great Secret. Click here for the religious answers.

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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight 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, three 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. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.

Johnson's Lammy Award winning book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.

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