Self Reclamation

The centerpiece of my vacation was attending the Soul Play Fall Fest. Soul Play is a conscious living, dance and spiritual awakening experience held in the Sierras between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.

I have been re-reading Louis Cozolino’s The Neuroscience of Human Relationships. Early in the book, he explains brain laterality. The right side of the brain integrates our individual experience to identify threats and opportunities. It is emotional, intuitive, non-verbal and non-linear in its reactions. The left side of the brain abstracts experience to seek patterns and commonality.

With this re-iteration, I was shocked by the realization that I have spent most of my life in the left side of my brain – to the extent, in fact, that I have difficulty thinking of myself as an individual.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been seeking to reclaim the right side of my mind. The most immediate side-effect has been a hardening of my boundaries against women (many of them sympathetic to my plight) that have been seeking to manage that part of my mind.

My first hope was that Soul Play would stretch and shake up my personality, facilitating the reclamation of the individuality rooted in the right side of my brain. As that progressed, I hoped also to find a safe container in which to begin restructuring my experience of women.

I was conscious of the risks. Among the gypsies of the conscious living movement, sexual experience often tends to what Christian moralists would consider “licentious.” Within the movement itself, sex is viewed as a joyous celebration of the sublime gifts of our materiality. Spiritually it is seen both as a reward for virtue and a method for its propagation. That sounds pleasant, but I have yet to find a community for whom it is that simple. People – no matter how enlightened – will compete for love.

So I wasn’t certain what to expect. That expectation was fulfilled, for the outcome was, well, unexpected.

Naturally, my engagement with women began on the dance floor, and progressed rapidly into healing. On the first night, I found myself sitting on the floor, a woman laid out over the inside of my right thigh as I probed for the source of pain in her hip. This continued into the first full day of sessions, dominated by contact improv and movement lessons.

But I want to focus on the breakthrough experiences, and the first of those occurred on Saturday morning. Parmatma Cris is a Brazilian yogini and tantrika (female practitioner of Tibetan tantra). Her offering, Movement Alchemy, was physically the most challenging of the courses I took. The exercises emphasized circular movement of the feet, hips, shoulders and arms that had to be carefully coordinated to conserve balance. This was described by Parmatma as generaion of “spirals” with our bodies.

After the frustrating warm-up exercises, she had us sit on the floor and led us through breathing exercises. The first was simple: inhaling while arcing the chest up and back, and exhaling into a deep forward curve. This advanced with circular motion of the sacrum, shoulders and arms.

The breakthrough came at the end. Abandoning the complex spirals, we were asked to swing our heads around in a circle, allowing our abdomen to follow its motion, inhaling on the upward stroke and exhaling as we fell forward.

This may sound uncomfortable, and indeed I paused after a couple of minutes, feeling dizzy and nauseated. Parmatma interrupted her instructions to order “If you feel dizzy or like throwing up, keep on going. It’s only your habit patterns trying to preserve their control. Most people don’t throw up, but if you do, that’s fine.”

So I went back to it, picking up the pace at her suggestion, and finally felt a shift in the right side of my brain, as though fluid was moving into it.

In that part of my personality, I saw a cluster of woman that had taken possession of my core personality two thousand years ago, in an act of violence that I have been hiding from others for most of my life. Confronting the methods and effects of that spiritual rape, I began sobbing and weeping uncontrollably, until one of the other students bent toward me to offer support.

“No. I’ll be fine.”

Parmatma paused for us to cool down, then pulled over mattresses so that we could all lie together with our heads pointed toward the warmth of the fireplace. I tried to relax, but the memories leaked back in, and I began sobbing. Her right index finger touched the middle of my forehead, cool and soothing, and then the rest of her hand draped itself over the right side of my head.

Namaste, sweet tantrika, sweet dakini. Blessings be upon you in your journey of peace and compassion.

Divine Intercourse

At the AMP conference last month, Michelle Tepper’s topic was “breaking the silence on love, sex and relationships.” Michelle trumpeted her success reaching college students, but I found her message uncomfortable. She relies heavily on Biblical rules in framing responses to the psychological needs of individuals.

So when I approached her afterwards, I began by suggesting that we sit down, bringing our eyes to the same level.

As I explained, if any of us were complete in ourselves, we would be God. He made us a duality on purpose. I expressed my concern that this aspect of the Biblical message was underrepresented in her teaching.

Having warned us in her presentation that we shouldn’t go around looking for a relationship that completed us, Michelle was hostile to the idea. I guided her away from reiteration of her message, observing that I have been advising youth on-line.

Then the conversation took a sharp twist. She asked “Do you think that Jesus was satisfied?”

I knew that she meant sexually, but I shifted to a large view of his life. “No, he wasn’t satisfied at all. He knew that his culture needed to change, with a passion that drove him to the cross.”

Michelle wasn’t to be deterred. “I meant satisfied sexually. I believe that he was beyond that need.”

Well, it was time to plunge right in. I shrugged. “Read the description of the New Jerusalem. It is a metaphor for the union of the divine masculine with the divine feminine.”

She was struck dumb, as were the onlookers.

I continued “Look, the Bible is all about men’s problems. The holy mother is in hiding, and it is time for her to be sought out and revealed.”

I know that I appear to be uptight and tortured as regard my sexuality. But the Bible describes the brutal beast of the apocalypse as possessing ten “horns.” This is an apt metaphor for the masculine approach to dominance: many men run around the world trying to stick their penis into it. The feminine beast in Revelation is red, suggestive of the menstrual cycle. The feminine beast uses sex to co-opt masculine aggression.

So the reason that I haven’t been “playing the field” (which would be easy to accomplish) is because all the women that I meet accept these conventions. They may not wish to personify them in their relationships (part of what makes me attractive to them), but they accept that bestial patterns of dominance define the world that we live in.

Being who I am, I am incapable of submission to any ethic that limits the domain in which love is expressed. So I choose not to have a relationship with any woman that brings that with her.

Sera Beak has been in my mind ever since I read “Red, Hot and Holy.” I believe that she showed up at MovinGround one Sunday after I filled out her online contact form. In that message, I suggested that if we were each who we claimed to be, that would be apparent only in relation to one another. She was clearly uncomfortable in my presence during the dance, and stood before me timidly afterwards. My thought was “Not yet.”

She lives in Texas, though, which is a hot-bed of Christian hypocrisy. Last year I felt her reaching out in concern, and I poured power into her spirit, trying to expand her range of influence.

Why? Read the book: Sera went all the way in with the Red Lady, and found wisdom waiting for her on the other side. That wisdom came from the holy mother.

Putting this all together last night, I reached out again, sending “It’s time for us to merge our powers.”

But what are those powers? What is the nature of love, and how is sex a metaphor for its operation?

Our exploration last night was complicated by pragmatic concerns, but it boils down to this: any act of love that preserves self involves penetration and yielding. A gift is offered, but room must be made for it to be received. As we are aggregates (both physically and spiritually), reception is consensual at many levels. Full acceptance requires communication of the nature of the gift, and adaptation to the perceptions of those smaller parts. That involves circulation, which is stimulated by withdrawal so that the gift of yielding may be repeated again and again until consummated.

Yeah. This is “White Hot” and Holy. This is why Jesus told the Magdalene “Do not cling to me.”

The visualization eventually evolved as a complex many-dimensional Klein bottle. A man penetrates a woman, the women connecting to the Earth that gives life to the man, the male penetrating the Earth as light from the sun, the light from the sun sheltered in the womb of space, and on and outward.

The Bible, being concerned with men, celebrates the masculine aspect of God. But that is only half the story.

Sexual Modesty

I’ve signed up with the Universal Life Church, and came across this post on female sexual modesty. It tends to emphasize the negative impact of religion as implemented in repressive cultures: I am aware that many religions have teachings that celebrate and heighten sexual experience, most commonly known through the discipline of the Tantra. But I also think that the post tends to see religion principally as a political activity, which misses its purpose.

My response follows:


Much of what is presented here is not limited to religion – modesty in dress and control of women’s bodies has a long cultural pedigree. This should not be surprising: perhaps the most powerful biological urge we have inherited from our Darwinian past is the procreative urge. Religion is not the source of the difficulty we have in managing it, nor is it surprising that people with principally secular motives (property inheritance, for example) often project their program into the religious sphere.

But I think that there’s also a talking past the point of the religious proscriptions. Let me offer a definition: taking religion as management of our spirituality, and spirituality as the negotiation of the boundaries between the “I” and the “we,” the proscriptions have to do with preventing our spiritual landscape from being polluted by lust.

Our society tends to facilitate that pollution in two ways: by celebrating adolescent sexual license, and by limiting our opportunities to express self-love. Intercourse is often the only time that we are allowed to really enjoy our bodies. Even in exercise, our culture has so objectified the outcomes of that effort (both in terms of our self-image and competition) that we rarely enjoy sports.

Here’s an experience: I was doing child-care at a battered woman’s shelter, and the children liked to have me push them on the swing. One night, I was pushing a seven-year-old on the swing, and began to get a distinct feeling of sexual arousal. I stopped pushing the swing and said “I would appreciate it if you would keep your energy HERE” – placing my hands on her heart – “and HERE” – putting my hands on either side of here cranium. The sexual feelings evaporated, and when I began pushing her again, she shook her head and laughed with joy.

You see, she was managing me in the same way that her mother managed her abusive father. I was mature enough to recognize that and demonstrate that a caring man encourages women to manifest other potentials.

So I tend to side with the Rabbi here: little girls should cover their bodies. I also understand why some women in orthodox religions wish to avoid revealing their bodies to lust-filled men. On the other side, I have explained to my sons how to manage unwanted attentions coming from women.

As science currently offers us no explanation or tools for managing our spirituality (except drugs, unfortunately), we need religion. I would also agree that we need religion to do better that command prohibition. But I don’t think that the spiritual aspect of the problem can be ignored. I recommend the chakra model in the vedantic traditions

Oh Woman! Oh Beauty! Oh Life!

One of the burdens of healing sin is to take it into yourself from those not yet strong enough to resist it. The selfish would hope simply to dispel it, but as sin is nothing but selfishness – the imposition of our image upon a spirit no less sacred than our own – to  cast out sin is an error. That would be to allow it the booty of its conquest. Rather, we must separate the essential from the vile, and return what was taken to the victim.

So for a long time I thought of my antagonists as my “supply chain.” But in every endeavor of grace, there is a time to heal, and a moment to inspire. I have suffered under the weakness of those that assail me for long enough. It is time to claim that which is good and strong.

So I found myself, at Good Friday services yesterday, focusing on the connection between the Cross and the future of love that arises upon his return. In that process, I found my hand guiding Christ around this era into that future. In considering that manifestation, I found myself excluded from it.

I am not disconsolate. In conserving its hold over us, sin has claimed much that is sacred. I have written about that elsewhere, how the loss of Eden was not limited to the breaking of trust with Unconditional Love, but the loss of trust between Man and Woman. Through that corruption, the Darwinian procreative urge reasserted itself. Rather than an act of loving spiritual connection that unleashes our shadowed glory upon the world, sex has been claimed for shame.

I recoiled from this fundamental misconception, so common in Christian teaching, in the sermon of the Lutheran minister during the interregnum in the reading of the Passion. We are creatures of sin, he claimed, and only Christ’s sacrifice redeems us. No, sir, we are not creatures of sin. We are creatures of choice, and even death on the Cross could not dispel the loving forgiveness that Christ brought to the world. In choosing to live wholly within it, every part of us will manifest the grace of God’s imagining of us. There is no aspect of our humanity that cannot be made sacred by love.

Yet I recall, now, the words I spoke from the pedestal in Oakland: “My name is Brian. I am from the future, reaching into the past. And I am an open heart.” It was a presaging of yesterday’s bypass.

My father was a prolifically sexual man. During our teen years, the boys had ready access to Playboy magazine. That instilled a perception of women as objects of pleasure, and a fascination with idealized feminine forms that covered the shallowness of their spiritual investment in the world.

My mother could not compete with this conditioning, and perhaps that is in part why she now decries the “patriarchal dominance” of our culture.

While I have not been a sexual libertine in this life, in my youth I explored vicariously many of its manifestations.  Over the years, that fed potent dreams that I realize now were participatory with women that were enamored of me. I understood this only late in my life: while some have dropped references to “porn star” in my hearing, I have never had my dreaming interrupted by other couples – except once when a pair in Africa peeked over the edge of their mattress to offer sympathy for my loneliness. I seem to be completely in control of my sexual imagination.

I see now, however, that my descent into the cesspool of corruption that men created for woman has left me vulnerable to the claim that my relationships with women are dominated by prurient interest. I see it differently, of course: over the last fifteen years, all of my dreaming has ended “Yes, but what about this part of you that you are ignoring?” Bliss was merely the method of achieving intimacy, with the goal of penetrating the lie that our carnality is a perversion that cannot be redeemed by love. Rather, like any other aspect of human nature, it is a tool, suitable to specific places and times, that allows us to reach Life in its most elemental level, and thereby to accomplish acts of healing and creation that are inaccessible through any other means. It has been my goal to propagate this understanding, to attempt to redeem woman’s self-esteem without insisting that they engage the world in the modality of men. It was to look deeply into them and offer them the paean that heads this post.

How long will it be before you assimilate it, before Mystery surrenders her resistance to the grace of feminine sexuality, and so allows loving couples to suffuse every particle of the world with Love in all its power?

For this is what I ask, and what they resist. Not simply bliss, but a reaching through into the world, and to command pleasure and consummation as an act of healing. It is this that Mystery seems to fear most, and whenever I come close to manifesting it with a woman, the most vile images and paranoid thoughts invade the relationship.

In this Easter’s meditations then, I gather that the hoped-for manifestation will not come in my lifetime. I have spent my manhood on my hopes for you, ladies. It is time for you to make them your own. For until one of you matches strength with Christ, his strength cannot be received by the world.

Inner Purge

I apologize to those who find that this is “too much information.” I am more aware of my spiritual process than most, and part of the purpose of this blog is to help others understand the nature of personality. One of our biggest challenges is figuring out how to get our parts to work together, and encouraging discordant elements to seek opportunities elsewhere.


After the sudden departure of the embedded systems supervisor in November, after winter break the team arrived back at work to learn that the senior hardware designer had accepted a position elsewhere. The last two weeks have been a scramble, and I’ve been pretty brutal about testing others in assessing whether I believe that the company can survive.

Strangely, that process has been accompanied by a deep-rooted sense of joy. It has no specific source that I can identify.

So I had plenty to process last night, and found it hard to nod off. I had activated Microsoft Solitaire early this week, and got involved in trying to catch up on the daily challenges. I’m used to the Sudoku challenges which I often polish off in under ten minutes. Solitaire has an element of chance to it, and I found myself simply unable to complete some of the more difficult puzzles. I’m sure it’s possible, and I indulged myself in playing the same challenges again and again. Giving up around 11:30, I settled in to sleep.

As a man, I have found that the greatest temptation of unconditional love is (as I have alleged elsewhere) to have women offer you many opportunities to bind love to the world. Of course, it’s not that simple. Most of them want to bind that love to them personally, maybe extending to the children that will enter the world through them. I keep on sending out to them “Yes, thank-you, but what about all this?” I conclude with a projection of personality that makes them aware of just how deeply and broadly love is embedded in the world.

But we all dream, of course, and so I wake up in the middle of most nights to throbbing arousal. Until recently, a specific woman was always presented as the focus of desire. Early on they were media personalities linked to my deep past, but more recently there has been a kaleidoscope of ladies that I encounter at dance celebrations, yoga and in coffee shops, many of whom I haven’t even engaged in conversation.

I’ve been slowly boring through that facade, and recently encountered the admiration of a woman without form. She tried to hide from me, but I pinned her down and got a good look into her before turning my attention elsewhere.

Last night’s encounter was something similar. A powerful arousal without focus, just the sense of a feminine personality. I tried to pin it down to push it away, thinking about being able to function at work today, but it was too diffuse. Frustrated, I engaged in the mechanical process of release.

Then they began to arrive, woman after woman, as though the goal was to find someone to attach this passion to, a material manifestation that would be sympathetic to the goals of the originator. I simply pushed them all away, one by one.

As I laid in my bed afterwards, a powerful sense of unease entered me. I had a vision of another room, decorated with bright colors. I focused more and more intently, and then something emerged from the center of my chest – a sickening brown vapor that disappeared reluctantly into the ground.

The vision disappeared, and I was left with a powerful sense of energy along the parasympathetic nodes that line the spine. It was accompanied by a great warmth in the muscles lying over my shoulder blades. And I thought:

I’m getting my wings back.

T-Shirt Heaven

I prepared an experiment last week by creating some t-shirts that tried to explain what is going on with the energy that surrounds me. It was pretty much an act of desperation. I accepted long ago that when you send love out into the world, you surrender control over what is done with it.

In the specific context of the dance celebrations that I enjoy so much, what happens is that people channel it into sex. I’ve gotten to be much better, over the years, at controlling the reflection of that corrupted energy, but it’s been pretty exhausting. The political consequences are also disruptive to my life. A lot of men are visibly angry when I come into a club and start dancing by myself while the women stare in wonder at me. My son shared with me once that his female friends described it as “like discovering fire.” I kept on hoping that the men would be inspired by the beauty that wells up in a woman when she encounters a man that doesn’t want to dump poison into her, but in most cases the male reaction is rather to try and beat me down.

I thought that I was going to have to postpone the first trial this Sunday. I’ve been shifting energy in my yoga practice. It started three weeks ago when I held balancing stick posture beyond my normal point of collapse, and I felt energy emanating from my root Chaka and flushing up along my obliques, the wave cresting just under my ribs where the nerves erupted in burning. I knew that I had displaced something, and it manifested more recently in vertigo focused on the right side of my head. It was different from the normal cochlear vertigo (stimulated by a trapped air bubble), and finally shifted to the top of my head, directly over my foremen. I was a little panicked by that change, and was relieved when one of the ladies in class reassured me that “It’s just trying to work its way out.”

But with my obliques fully active, I’ve been building strength in them, which has led to stiffness in the area. That culminated on Saturday when I strained my right side during standing head-to-knee posture.

I wasn’t sure that I could actually dance – I could barely get in and out of the car on Sunday morning – but I went down to Culver City anyways. When an acquaintance asked me how I was doing, I explained my situation, and he jumped right in, rubbing, pulling, and massaging the right side of my back from hip to shoulder. I didn’t realize how much blockage I was dealing with, and when he was done, I was far looser that when he started.

So I went in to change and came out with my t-shirt on. He approached me almost immediately, sharing that he was an engineer and offering where he had heard similar thoughts. It was the first meaningful conversation that I have had in that community.

But what was most amazing was that people didn’t struggle against the energy that I organize when I dance. This was most evident in a young Filipina. She caught my attention, and we kind of skirted each other for a while. When I left the center of the room to rest against the stage, she took up the space I had vacated and began waving her arms gracefully in the energy there. Surprised, I pointed my finger to push energy into her heart, stilled the sexual response that came back, and then connected her cerebral cortex to the community of thoughts that was celebrating her courage.

When I had done this in the past, one among a group of men always approaches the woman to steal the gift from her. This happened next, and this lady just ignored him, staying focused on her dance. Finally, she turned to me, building a ball of energy in the air with her right hand, and pushed it back my way.

There was more – much more – and some of it wandered down the familiar pathways to sex. But as I laid Sunday evening on the couch trying to relax my abused muscles, I felt this great glow of energy enter my heart through the channel of the world. I’ve just kept on sending this message out: “Don’t focus on me. I don’t need more of it. Look rather into the world, and liberate people into the healing of it. It’s from there that the energy is magnified.”

Lost Girls

My friend over at Insanity Bytes has taken on caring for the Lost Boys – the angry and abusive cohorts that populate the gaming sites. Recent studies suggest that these are vulnerable men. They identify with the leaders of their communities and so take pride in their success, but are those most likely to be displaced by new competitors. They combat that vulnerability with abuse that drives away those that don’t match their social profile.

This generation of boys has much stacked against it. Automation is chewing up many of the entry-level jobs. And as resources have been drained from our educational system, tolerance for “out-of-the-box” thinking has decreased. Girls mature socially faster than boys, and (at least until puberty) tend to sustain harmony. Girls also mature faster linguistically, and so benefit from renewed emphasis on written communication. Boys in my sons’ generation are seen by the educational system as defective girls.

But that doesn’t mean that girls aren’t challenged by technology. One aspect of the problem manifested for me through an introduction to the “surnamepending” forum here on WordPress.

Women generate and thrive in social structure, and that structure is being obliterated by the proliferation of new choices. Predatory men wander the globe, whether the Slavik slavers that hunt the Russian hinterland or the foreign sex tourists that invade Thailand. Young girls raised with the expectation that survival depends upon bonding to a man don’t realize that pattern was sustained by regulation of a stable community. The predators exploit this disconnect, offering promises of devotion while flaunting their wealth. Vulnerable girls are swept up by passion, and drawn away into evil that consumes them.

I didn’t understand the psychological drive that motivates women until I read “Raising Ophelia.” The author, a therapist and counsellor, observed that little girls are perfectly rational creatures, as are crones (women after menopause). In between, women are driven by the need to become a “we.” Biologically, this originated as a tolerance for the nine-month parasitic invasion known as pregnancy. When allowed to enjoy it, the spiritual bond established in the womb is indeed beautiful and uplifting. The procreative impulse is buttressed by the benefits of social networks that help weak women weather a crisis – whether the loss of a breadwinner or illness in the home.

Back in the ‘80s, the Wilson Quarterly published a report that indicated that the American epidemic of anxiety coincided with the rise of suburbia, and the isolation of women behind fences. If the devil makes work for idle male hands, he preys more insidiously upon the isolated female mind.

It is often through religion that women reconstruct their social network. I have observed previously that many of the spiritual communities I navigate are in fact dominated by women – even when a man stands in the pulpit on Sunday. But those communities famously lack the intimacy of the 19th-century village or borough, often drawing people together only on weekends. The mega-church attracts young women because it offers a smorgasbord of suitors, but actually getting to know someone well requires observing them in relationship with others in an informal setting. Modern “worship-as-entertainment”, with everyone rooted to their seats, is much too structured for natural interaction.

So where are the answers? I have asserted that most modern religion – Christianity not excepted, although one can point to recidivism – originates in practices that help us liberate our spirituality from emotion into reason. Understanding is essential to our psychological survival. As I finally encapsulated it:

The heart guides the head, and the head protects the heart.

The wisdom that I have to offer young women begins with that received from F. Scott Peck in The Road Less Travelled: recognize that “love” is different from “cathecting,” the latter being the uncontrolled merging of personalities that we know as “falling in love.” The confusion arises because we feel really wonderful while cathecting, particularly in the intimacy of sex. Trying to achieve that state is naturally part of loving ourselves. However, it’s not necessarily loving the other person.

So when a man finishes masturbating in you, there’s a reason that you feel empty afterwards. And when he leaves you with a “broken heart”, it’s because you’ve let him make off with a big chunk of your soul. Then when you recover through a relationship with somebody that actually loves you, the bastard shows up again to suck more energy out of you. Yes it feels good in the short term, because there’s always a rush when two spirits choose to make way for each other, and certainly it’s nice to be reunited with all those missing pieces of yourself, but the purpose on his side is to rip your soul apart (literally) so that he can feed his ego.

Given that warning, my sense of what finding yourself in love should be like was encapsulated (along with a lot of other wisdom about science and Christianity and raising my sons) in a poem called “Yearnings.” It began:

The Earth, at night, dances with the moon
Cadence and rhythm, their persons speaking
Of love, with power, purpose and strength,
Fluttering towards kindred recognitions.

The interpretation as a father to a daughter was:

When you find yourself moving in the same circles,
Creating success for yourself and others,
Then you will know that you have found your man.

Until then, as Sarah McClachlan put it “Hold on to Your Self.” And if it’s too late, open your suffering heart and proclaim, “That’s my energy, meant for my future, and I’m taking it back.”