Coming Out as an Angel
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I am not a "queen," I am a king.
I am not a "queer," I am an angel.
I am not "gay," I am a man who loves men&emdash;as well as women.
The key to my sexual identity was made clear to me by a deep brother who pointed me in the direction of brotherhood itself. There I found that celibacy awaits us all. Celibacy, however, is a sign of enlightenment, not a path to enlightenment. There is, in the realm of brotherhood, a relationship of "deep brotherhood" in which all distinctions between brother and brother are erased. It is the sense of oneness, not the orgasm, which defines "deep brotherhood." The mystic union of brother and brother is a spiritual event. It can potentially be a source of great healing for the brothers and for the world. It can potentially invoke beneficial energies that repair and transform the natural order. It has not, in the past, been seen or used in this way. It will, in the future, fulfill its potential.
Buckminster Fuller taught that homosexuality is a reaction to overpopulation. He saw it as a biological adaptation to environ-mental stress that furthered the human condition. He proclaimed from the stage with his wife in attendance, "I know I am not homosexual because I have tried it." Similarly, I know that I am bisexual because I have tried it. I have experienced deep brotherhood so strongly and so often that I am convinced of its existence and its beneficial possibilities. It is a state of being in which all boundaries dissolve into nothingness. It is a form of prayer in which the body of the brother becomes the holy place of worship. It is an initiation into the mysteries of love.
There is a great deal of trust when one man allows another man to touch his most private places. There is a great deal of risk in even broaching the subject with someone who is not well known. The introduction of AIDS into the equation (it did not exist when I was young) makes the statement of a deep sister even more compelling: "Serial monogamy is the only ethical way in which to conduct a love life."
A deep brother once asked me what I thought of homosexuality. The question came as a surprise and I had to think about it for a long time. I finally said, "It's an addiction." He was surprised at my answer. "It's so pleasurable," I explained, "that it becomes difficult to move on to the next stage." That is true, but I now see that people stay at whatever stage they are at for as long as they have to. Life and the universe have a way of hurrying us along the path. There are compulsions to spiritual growth within the universe itself. Trusting in these compulsions, we can enjoy each stage of growth or step on the journey without endangering the final result. There are many paths up the mountain and we will all meet at the top if we stop quarreling about which path to take.
My Italian soulmate taught me from his experience that homosexuality corrupts monastic fraternities. There are two horrible circumstances in his tales: brothers who deny and hate themselves and brothers who think their unique sexual status makes them superior to others. Both situations are disturbing. Those who deny and hate themselves and those who feel superior often treat others with cruelty and disdain. This is a source of evil in the world that my Italian soulmate confronted with great courage. Fortunately, there was a third example in his tales: brothers who used the state of deep brotherhood as a stepping stone on the path to manifestation of the monastic ideal.
My sexuality is only a part, an important part but not the major part, of who I am. There is great courage and freedom in "coming out of the closet," but the process of "coming out" is never-ending and does not stop with a revelation about sexual preference. There is even greater courage and freedom in coming out as an angel, in recognizing, accepting and revealing one's own spiritual nature. This allows the sexual aspect to be put in proper perspective. Philosophy, the love of wisdom, always takes the long view.
To be an angel is to be a bridge between the world as it is and the world as it could be if everyone followed their inner light and listened to their conscience. To be an angel is to maintain an open heart in the face of all opposition. To be an angel is to stay true to oneself in spite of social pressure. To be an angel is to behave honestly in all relationships from the most casual to the most intimate. To be an angel is to recognize and honor the divinity within and without. To be an angel is to manifest the beauty that is our holy heritage. To be an angel is to channel healing into the world. To be an angel is to practice non-violence and exhibit compassion. To be an angel is to participate in the sacred process whereby our Mother Earth becomes a sacred planet.
God is love and, in its purest state, is indivisible. In order to manifest in the world, however, love divides into lover and beloved. The process of returning to God, to our common source, is the process of finding and uniting the lover and the beloved within ourselves and within our relationships.
Spirit and matter are essentially one; matter is spirit at its densest and spirit is matter at its most subtle. But we are born into a world in which spirit and matter appear to be opposed, in which they dance with each other as if they were separate, distinct and solitary. The spiritual quest is the search for union, unity, yoga. The yogi is yoked to God (the English word "yoke" is rooted in the Sanskrit yuga which means "to join"). After lifetimes of wandering deeper and deeper into the dense forest of matter, the individualized soul reverses course and begins "The Path of Conscious Return" towards its true home, its true desire, the bliss and rapture of God consciousness.
Love exists on four levels: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. In our relationships with others, we experience one or more levels and find happiness in that. On rare occasions, we experience all four levels and find the joy that sets our soul on its journey back to Godhead. As plants turn toward light, as moths are attracted to flame, as rivers flow into the ocean, so does the soul seek the ecstasy of union with the Infinite. In this world, the process often begins with the embrace of one human being with another leading to an opening of the heart. Once the heart is open, it cannot close. Like a bird escaping from a shell or a flower blossoming, there is no going back. Through magnetic attraction, one open heart recognizes and connects with another forming a net-work of compassion that encircles and illuminates the earth.
Coming out as an angel, then, is the process of opening the heart. Living openly according to one's sexual orientation is only a first step in peeling away the masks that obscure the true self. Once the pilgrim steps upon The Path, there is no going back.
Dr. Li is the pseudonym of a man who hitchhiked from Scotland to India when he was 20 years old and has been a world traveler ever since. He sees the "angel" in himself and others. He currently works for the U.S. government, but looks forward to the day when he can devote all of his waking hours to poetry and music.
Last update Sept 21 2000