[Note: Although this article is longer than usual, it all seemed so necessary. I hope you agree. Please do your best to read it slowly and thoroughly. Although it is the most personal material I have ever written, the majority of the content calls everyone to do some major soul-searching and explains how we can participate in some of humanities deepest possible healing—the healing of duality.]
Separation vs. Oneness
By now, nearly every student on the path of spirituality has heard about the concept of “separation” (versus oneness). But nobody seems to address the specifics around this. What does it mean to be separate? How does this manifest on a day-to-day basis? What can we do about it?
To be separate from God, and from each other, means to feel separate within. If we feel separate within, we will inevitably witness manifestations of this separation in our outer lives. And the most common manifestation of this separation in our outer lives comes in the form of duality—which we find everywhere in this world (and the universe for that matter). For example, we wouldn’t have arguments and wars if we didn’t have dualistic beliefs that say that one side is right and the other is wrong. Without a dualistic world, there would be no sickness and illness, no rich and poor, and no differences in race or religion. This is what John Lennon was singing about when he wrote, “Imagine all the people, living life in peace…” His song could accurately have been titled, “Imagine no Duality,” as that is what the song was about.
Healing Duality Within
It is the destiny of all human beings to confront their personal (and humanity’s collective) manifestations of duality and to bring them to healing and then embody the healing. This does not necessarily mean manifesting a balance of any two extremes or polarities. It means instead to live in the state of peace that is found in the center—beyond dualistic conflicts. So it’s wise to note the various forms of duality in which we all live—along with some possible alternatives. If we can figure out what dualities are most prevalent in our own personal lives, we might then be able to accept them as part of our mission here on earth to somehow assist in healing those particular dualities. Then, instead of manifesting the duality or conflict on each topic, we can practice embodying the healed alternative of the topic.
Many dualities are between something “spiritual” and something “non-spiritual.” But there are also several dualities that do not include spirituality at all. For example, there is duality between male and female archetypes, war and peace, and even the dietary duality between meat eaters and vegetarians. But spirituality is often on one side of the most common dualities, such as: spirituality and politics; spirituality and medicine; spirituality and vocation. For many people there is even duality between spirituality and family. And even in music and cinema, when a director or band tries to release a project that has huge spiritual content, they are usually hammered by the critics, mainly because they have dared to integrate the duality between the spiritual world and the mainstream arts. The following is a list of common beliefs that can remain as unhealed paradigms OR can be brought to healing and integration.
- We cannot reconcile the duality between the male and female psyche OR we can honor and nurture both our masculine and feminine sides in order to embody them in a harmonious way.
- We cannot reconcile the duality between Christian beliefs and metaphysics (or Buddhism, and so forth) OR we can follow the path of the Christian mystic and find the Consciousness of Christ in all great teachings.
- We cannot reconcile the duality between spirituality and sexuality OR we can learn to express God’s love—even on a sexual level.
- We cannot reconcile the duality between spirituality and success OR we can recognize that since we are made in the Abundant Image of God, we too are entitled to that abundance.
- We cannot reconcile the duality between being calm and centered and being ambitious and driven OR we can allow Spirit to Inspire us to be focused enough to get things done.
- We cannot reconcile the duality of being both attractive and intelligent OR we can embody all the archetypes, such as creative, intelligent, sexy, beautiful, prosperous, grounded, etc…
Healing Separation in Our Lives
Again, we are all on planet earth to help heal separation, which means healing the concept of duality, and we can start by healing the manifestations in and around our own lives. This involves:
- Being open and honest about all forms of duality as they show up in our lives (possibly writing a self-inventory).
- Bringing the duality or conflict courageously to the light by openly sharing our inventory (starting with people we can trust).
- Practicing forgiveness (for ourselves and others).
- Embodying a conflict-free alternative to the duality.
And, after wrestling with our personal and global issues around our chosen dualities, we usually will witness the healing of the duality in a few ways:
- We begin to feel more internal peace around the topic.
- Our ability to speak and act openly about the topic rises to a new level because, after all, “we are only as sick as our secrets.”
- Compulsive and addictive thoughts, emotions, and actions related to the duality tend to subside—meaning we don’t participate in as many of the extreme behaviors of one side or another of the duality.
The Duality Between Spirituality and Sexuality
In my own personal experience, I basically do what I can to heal any and all forms of duality that cross my path. I take this calling from Spirit (to heal duality) very seriously and consistently do personal inventory to keep myself as clear as possible of all extremes (dualities). Also, I do my best to teach and embody the peace and balance found in the center of all duality. This includes teaching and embodying a balance of masculinity versus femininity, spirituality versus sexuality, and strength versus sensitivity. And instead of doing this in a shallow or contrived way, I prefer being an honest example of integration—as best I can—which includes speaking openly about all aspects of my life. One of the global dualities that I chose to help heal and embody is the duality of spirituality versus sexuality—which is undoubtedly one of the world’s most extreme dualities to reconcile. After all, according to most western religions, sexuality caused the fall of mankind. Such thinking makes this topic seem nearly impossible to heal. The shame and guilt then associated with sexuality made it the perfect outlet for such hurtful behaviors as rape and molestation—topics that most people prefer to avoid but topics that called for my attention and assistance.
Healing the duality between spirituality and sexuality became one of the facets of my work for a couple of reasons:
- To help people heal from sexual abuse (especially since so many of my friends and clients were sexually abused, as were my ex-wife and two of my children).
- To teach people how to spiritualize their perception of sexuality from that of guilt, shame, and inhibition to that of love, respect, and sensuality.
Sadly, however, even “spiritual” people tell me that, because I am a spiritual teacher, I should avoid the topic of sexuality altogether. Their advice is actually tempting at times—particularly when so many people insist on shaming the topic or when they find it impossible to believe that there are such things as healthy techniques for sexual healing, and that there are healthy expressions of love and affection (that have no agendas or unhealthy intentions). Fortunately, however, there are also lots of people who find that safe and authentic, non-sexual expressions of love and affection are like miraculous answers to their prayers.
Healing Duality Brings Challenges
Whatever form of duality we choose to work on, will bring its own particular challenges. For example, Jesus chose to heal the duality of love and hate (or fear) and ended up being crucified by people who were hateful and afraid. John Lennon, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King all embodied peace but all were shot by people who didn’t want peace. Believe it or not, there are sincere sex surrogates (sometimes called “sacred prostitutes”) whose mission in life is to bring love and healing to men by embodying that love while sharing intimacy with their “clients.” They are not the same as prostitutes, but instead, feel authentically guided to do sexual healing work. But such women are demonized by their family members and by most health and counseling professionals, and are usually judged by the church (even though such women would probably be the best therapy for these folks, but I digress).
By including such a charged topic as that of sexuality in my work, I certainly have seen my fair share of challenges—especially since most people don’t even realize that I work with topics that seem as far apart as sexuality and Christ Consciousness. Try to imagine how hard it must be for people to hear me do a talk at a church on Christ Consciousness and then experience a private session wherein they sometimes end up sharing their most personal and private issues OR physically processing rage towards someone from their past OR even working on sexual trauma and inhibitions. It’s so hard for the human mind to allow such apparent dualities to be blended in one person or one experience. It would be far easier for people if all I did was lecture about Christ Consciousness and then only did something like “prayer-work” in my sessions, because those two things are similar enough for their minds to accept.
Dealing with Judgment and Criticism
Many years ago, when I wrote a book on sacred sexuality, one church and one metaphysical store that I had previously visited twice per year, immediately told me I was no longer welcome. But their reaction, which came from fear and judgment, was totally understandable, given that there are so many wounds and issues around sexuality. It also doesn’t help that so many of those who work with the topic of sexuality are so often “unhealed healers,” thus making people even more afraid of the topic. And since many of these unhealed teachers on sexuality seem to go to extremes to demonstrate their “openness and un-inhibitedness,” it didn’t go over too well when I suggested that they ease up on sleeping with their students. For this, I ended up being disliked by many tantra teachers. I know we are all adults and are clearly free to have sex with whomever we like, but I felt called to emphasize “quality over quantity” and the importance of feeling the greatest love and respect possible for all sexual partners—even if it is a one-time experience. The end result, and one of the greatest ironies, was that I ended up being judged as too loose for old-fashioned people with rigid boundaries and too conservative for those who prefer having no boundaries. This is what it usually looks like when we are working on the duality of a topic. We feel bliss in the center of who we truly are and yet observe the storms of human judgment all around us. So if we want to “look good” or be more accepted, we should avoid the calling to heal duality and instead choose and/or identify with one “side” or another of any dualistic topic. On either side we find half of humanity fighting against the other half of humanity who have chosen the opposite side. In the middle, however, wherein we find the healed embodiment of any topic, there is less than one-percent of humanity.
Don’t get me wrong, sexual issues are only one of many topics that come up in my private sessions, but I still did all I could to develop techniques that would be incredibly effective and yet less sexual and invasive to the client. And unlike the tantra healers and teachers who choose to get more physically involved in their work, in my own teaching on sacred sexuality (which began over 30 years ago), I almost never chose to personally engage—mainly to demonstrate my clean intentions and to create a sense of safety. To me there is almost nothing more gratifying than hearing that others see and appreciate the extremes that I go through to ensure the feeling of safety and integrity—especially when it comes to sexuality. Still, there is one in every hundred people that I work with on this topic that can end up confused or challenged in some way—possibly from a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of some kind or simply from working on a subject that is a bit too much for them. And when it comes to workshops, there are only a few wherein I did join-in a little more, and those were the workshops that created the greatest duality—wherein some attendees appreciated my participation and vulnerability and others judged it. So I decided to go back to refraining from involvement, as it seems to be an act of the “greatest good” and the best way to avoid tempting others to fall into judgment. I even chose to not teach any tantra workshops for several years—just to help others refrain from judgment. This was simply my way of “knowing the truth (that sexuality can be a beautiful thing) but respecting the illusion (that for many, the experience has not been beautiful).”
Ironically, keeping things “clean” around sexuality still brought judgment and criticism. I know that people often mean well but some of them have told me that I am a hypocrite if I teach the value of being sexually healed and free, but fail to personally engage more often. Others have expressed sincere concern that by not engaging as much in workshops and with friends, that I might be denying myself the very affection and intimacy that I am teaching others to nurture. But I do not feel denied at all. I am making this choice as a master, not as a victim. I am very clear that if ever I choose to experience intimacy, I then create it—just as I teach others to do.
The Call to Assist In Sexual Healing
And although I “retired” from doing this work, the “calling” to assist with this particular duality still brought me back—albeit in a limited capacity. It began with a few sincere individuals contacting me around the same time with their heart-felt desire to heal themselves and others from sexual trauma. So I decided to teach a workshop exclusively for those who were advanced and mature enough and wanting to add it to their healing skills. Then, around the same time, I was approached by a couple of film-makers who were making a movie and doing other related projects on sexual healing. They asked me to demonstrate the techniques that I have used so successfully to assist thousands of people with sexual trauma. They filmed me, loved the work, and were blown away by the results. Nevertheless, there are also a few people out there who are terrified of these techniques or anything to do with sexual healing. But the synchronicity of being asked to do this advanced workshop and a movie on the topic of sexual healing was something I chose not to ignore—as it was time to share another level of healing with one of the world’s greatest dualities. So I agreed to participate in the filming but shared my feedback with the producers that since their film was attempting to heal the duality of healthy versus unhealthy sexuality, they would end up dealing with many of their own (as well as some of humanities) unhealed issues (dualities) around sexuality. And this, in my opinion, is exactly what happened. The movie (although scheduled to be released) ended up stalled in its own unhealed dualities.
With the world being so divided on the topic of sexuality, it’s always a challenge to work in, or write about, this facet of life because we are certain to be ridiculed. I have actually heard rumors that I am gay, that I am straight, that I am celibate, and that I sleep around. How can all of these be true? The truth is, in nearly 40 years of my adult life, I was married for ten of those years and then spent approximately ten years (after marriage) with a mixture of being alone and mildly exploring. I then was in a close relationship for several years and eventually chose to have 2-3 intimate friendships on and off for another several years. And here and there within the last 25 years of my life, there were also a few individuals with whom I was honored to spend intimate time. But why does it matter to anyone? All that should matter is that I felt (and still feel) love and respect for each person with whom I spent intimate time. And besides, if a popular female author/teacher out there slept with 5-10 men over a several year period, nobody would care or comment on it. But it always seems to matter to others and they tend to make even more of a fuss when we are working on healing and integrating the duality of a topic—especially sexuality. For example, if I were only celibate or only slept around, then the people on either side of the duality would find it easier to accept (especially if I chose their side) because I would then fit into a box of one kind or another. But, when we commit to working on duality of any kind, the people on both sides will usually either turn their backs on us or attack us. This is made even more difficult because there is such a history of wounding around men being sexual, which adds to the difficulty of them doing healing work. Of course it’s not so easy for women either. But, as the saying goes, “You can’t please everyone.” Or, as both the Bible and the tantra sutras say, “To the pure in heart, all things are pure, but to the wicked, all things seem wicked.” This means that in general, when people do not see us through God’s eyes of unconditional Love, they are seeing us through the lenses of their own unhealed souls. So we must “forgive those who judge us, for they know not what they do.”
So take a moment to reflect on a few of your own most recurring issues or patterns in your life and see if you can discern the calling to heal some form of duality. For example, if you have a lot of issues with any particular gender, it’s possible that one of the reasons you are on earth is to help heal the duality between genders. Or, if you have always tried to be a “good” boy or girl, it could mean that you have to heal the duality of being “good” (or “bad”) for the sake of others. Whatever duality we discover to be a calling, they all have the same goal; we are meant to heal the personal and global conflict (duality) around the topic and then embody the presence of that healed state. In other words, “Teach only love, for that is what you are!”