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YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned
from Joseph Campbell: The
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, a sci-fi novel with wonderful "aliens" with an Afterword by Mark Jordan
LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE:
Fantastical Gay Romance set in two different time periods
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: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with Steve Berman and some 30 other writers
THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell
IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: A Mystical Journey
Books on Gay Spirituality:
White Crane Gay Spirituality Series
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
Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness
What Jesus said about Gay Rights
Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men
Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?
Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality
What the Bible Says about Homosexuality
Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men
Waves of Gay Liberation Activity
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
Joseph Campbell's description of AvalokiteshvaraYou'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
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
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
Keys to Spiritual Being:
Energy Meditation & Synchronization Exercises
By Adrian Ravarour, Ph.D.
iUniverse, Inc, 2007
108 pages, Trade paperback, $12.95
Available from amazon.com
Keys to Spiritual Being: Energy Meditation & Synchronization Exercises
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
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.
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness won a Lambda Literary Award in 2000.
PERSPECTIVE: Things Our [Homo]sexuality Tells Us about the Nature
of God and the Universe was nominated for a Lammy in 2003. They
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