Review: Keys to Spiritual Being: Energy Meditation & Synchronization Exercises

by Adrian Ravarour, Ph.D.

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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


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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

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

Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson

Learning to See Beyond the Ordinary


Keys to Spiritual Being:
Energy Meditation & Synchronization Exercises

By Adrian Ravarour, Ph.D.

iUniverse, Inc, 2007
108 pages, Trade paperback, $12.95

Available from

5 stars

Reviewed by Toby Johnson, author of The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell

In a Foreword, noted scientist, artist, parapsychologist Dr. Jose Arguelles proposes that “…what we refer to as the body is actually a biopsychic organism that feeds on various kinds of impressions and transmutes them into different states of energy. In fact, we both (1) receive energy—electromagnetic vibrations and, at a more subtle level, solar and cosmic frequencies—and we (2) emit energy, biopsychic energy, the energy our organism produces, having transformed the electromagnetic and solar-cosmic frequencies it is constantly receiving.”

Adrian Ravarour was a dancer, choreographer and, more importantly, a spiritual seeker in San Francisco from the 1960s.
He developed a dance form he called Energy Flow Dance. Ravarour was part of the rise of gay consciousness in that city during those heady days of the birth of the New Age. Though this term has been ridiculed and coopted by merchandising and popularizing, the so-called "New Age" really did usher into modern culture a whole awareness of psychic energies and larger patterns of which human beings are indivdual manifestations. The description of the body that Arguelles proposes is radically different from the traditional Christian model of body and soul and from the biological/scientific model of humans beings as intelligent animals consisting simply of a fleshly body with a nervous system that responds to sensory stimulus. From the practices, writing and teaching and theorizing of spiritual seekers and meditators like Adrian Ravarour, and of course the perhaps more famous Jose Arguelles, "New Age" insights into the nature of energy have become a staple in post-religious spiritualities.

I personally find the idea that human beings receive and emit energy--hopefully improved by the process--explains a great swath of unexplained, fringe, paranormal phenomena from reincarnation, past life memories and karma to auras, telepathy, clairvoyance, spiritual healing and even things like UFOs, alien abduction and apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What "spirituality" means is becoming conscious of this greater flow we're always living within like fish in water, but, like the fish, we're seldom aware of this all-pervasive psychic environment though it is acting on us all the time. To become aware of it, one must focus and practice perceiving it.

That is what Keys to Spiritual Being is about: how to focus and become aware of energy patterns and then, even more audacious, to use this awareness to synchronize vibrations with lovers and partners to increase intimacy and enhance relationship.

Ravarour's exercises are relatively simple, and he's very good about describing what one should be expecting and looking for, for instance, that as you open and relax the field of vision you might notice colors washing out in peripheral sight and a white silver light appearing to envelope everything. The first set of exercises bring attention to the energy field between the hands. The center of the palm is a sensor and subtly feels warmth, electricity or repelling force as you consciously move your hands together and apart. The next set of exercises are performed gazing into a mirror and developing what Ravarour calls "eye tunnels," the tight focused beam of eye reflecting back into eye. The instruction I mentioned above about peripheral vision is in this practice.

I particularly like the reference to peripheral vision; it's long been a part of my own mythical/magical vision of the world. Years ago when I was in college, outside my dorm window, in the distance there was an aircraft beacon, like a lighthouse, that rotated a beam of light into the night sky. I noticed that if I wasn't looking directly at it I could sometimes see the faint reflection of the beam in the clouds, but if I tried to look closely, the light in the distant clouds would disappear. This is because the rods in the periphery of the retina are more sensitive, though only see in black and white, than the rods in the center of the retina that see color but require more light to register. This is called the Purkinje Effect after the Czech anatomist who discovered it. While it's just a consequence of cell function, even back then in college I took it to have mystical, metaphorical meaning: Some things you can only perceive by not looking at them directly; some ideas you can only understand by not thinking about them, i.e., you have to let your intuition reveal them indirectly, a little like the faint light that the Purkinje cells can see that the attentive center of the eye just can't. I think the truth of Adrian Ravarour's energy perception is like the Purkinje Effect: our normal, waking, rational consciousness doesn't perceive the subtle biopsychic energy field we're surrounded by. We have to intentionally being our attention to it—intention and attention.

The second half of the book concerns synchronizing energy with another person and includes an excellent explanation of the chakras of Indian Tantric myth along with guidance in aligning chakra energy flow between two people.

Adrian Ravarour is present in the book not only as the author and instructor of the techniques, but also as the model in photographs showing him doing the practice. He's barechested or nude, a tall, thin, nicely-muscled, long curly-haired, pretty hippie with deep, loving eyes—an ideal type in those days. (You can see such a photo on the cover.) That he showed his body so openly was a little daring in the late 60s/early 70s. And it was part of the New Age revolution that we should honor our bodies and find our spirituality and our goodness by embracing our human embodiment and finding our psychic energy therein instead of denying the body and seeking spirit in an ethereal, disembodied heaven far from our real and embodied world.

The book is pretty to look at just because of the photos, and the photos are alluring and evocative enough to pull the reader into participating. Of course, I'm intentionally projecting myself into Adrian in the photos, but I can say I can feel his body energy coming through to me as I study the book.

My partner, Kip, and I are students of T'ai Chi, the gentle, slow version of Chinese martial arts that is intended to teach balance, core strength, and muscle awareness. Since I've been reading Keys to Spiritual Being, I been more attentive than ever to energy flow in our practice of the T'ai Chi form. It's added a whole level of awareness to the practice.

I think it is our responsibility as well-intentioned and good and moral human beings to transform the energy that we receive from the past and from the world around us so that we emit happier, healthier, more loving and compassionate patterns than we received. This is how we save the world

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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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