This opinion was originally titled Entry 2: Gay, Pagan, and Proud
A Gay Opinion 8/26/99
by R.A. Melos
A lot of this journal, my introduction into the metaphysical realms and my
journey of self-discovery as a gay man, will seem to overlap. Events in my life
happen that way, as they do in everyone's life. If this is confusing to you,
learn to accept the gray areas, as I have, and try to get beyond a linear time
frame of mind. I suggest this for several reasons, the first being in many pagan
belief systems, it is possible to be living in the past, present and future
all in the same moment.
Okay, I may have lost you here. If you are in need of a point of reference, I suggest you research some Celtic and, in particular, Druid religious pathways. While I do believe all religious pathways, even those worshiping a single deity, lead to the same eventual end in total spiritual fulfillment, it is important for us to understand all religious systems and respect others rights to worship as they please.
While I personally disagree with organized religious practices as we currently know them, I find it most helpful in life to know and understand them. I also recommend a study in psychology, even though this will not fully help you to understand your fellow man. A study in psychology may, at the very least, help you to accept that which you do not understand.
I know this is beginning to sound like I'm talking in riddles, and in a way I am. As I said earlier, my first real confirmation of the existence of universal energy was the entry of Mr. Right into my life. You may question why I call him Mr. Right, when for all intensive purposes his actions seemed so wrong? I call him Mr. Right because the universe always gives you exactly what you need for your life lessons, so he was right for me at that moment. Maybe, someday, he'll be right for me again, but in the meantime, if the universe chooses, I will have someone else who will be right for me for this particular moment or life lesson.
I fully believe the universal energy (God or Goddess) controls every decision, every movement, every breath we take. Life is one big amusement park ride, sometimes stopping at the land of Wishes, Hopes and Dreams, and other times ejecting us in the Land of Hopelessness and Despair. It is all part of the life adventure. If you allow the universal energy into your heart and mind, and open yourself up to the possibility of the power of the universe guiding you to the decisions you make, you will find your life taking you on some very entertaining paths. This belief requires a lot of meditation.
Okay, my next lesson in the metaphysical realm, back in the end of 1994, was meditation. Now I am not the most single minded person in the universe. In fact, possibly because I'm a Gemini, I find it hard to concentrate on only one thing at a time even when I am in meditations states. The concept of opening my mind and cleaning it out, emptying it of all the cluttered thoughts of the day was as foreign to me as the concept of jogging. (Note to health and exercise oriented people, I'm not against physical fitness. I'm just more of an observer when it comes to the physical aspects of life. I don't like to sweat unless there is an intimate partner involved and we are both receiving mutual gratification from the experience).
Back to meditation. I found the most helpful form of meditation to be intense concentration. I've tried guided meditations, listening to someone talk about envisioning a garden or wooded path, and castles in the air, and those meditations are, for me, just that; castles in the air. If you can get more into meditation with the rhythm of a good drum beat, which will take you into a semi-trance like state, or the white noise of a waterfall or ocean wave leading you to this state, use these methods. We each have to take this step in our own ways.
I'm not easily relaxed with envisioning someone else's words. Therefore, I suggest you create within your own mind the meditation you want to achieve. If you are looking to reach a state of relaxation, the most common form of meditation, I would recommend the mantra. A word, or phrase repeated over and over until you are oblivious to the outside world, yet a complete part of the world. You will recognize this energized feeling when you reach this level. The feeling is that of being part of , and apart from, everything. It is knowing, feeling, being, accepting, and relaxing all at once. I don't pretend to understand it or try to explain it, but I know it works.
Again, we are coming to faith. I have faith in everything I do. By faith I mean, I believe the universe is guiding everything I do, and it tells me when I must make a move. When I rebel against the universe, I can feel the lack of control I really have in a situation. It is at those points in my life, when I feel the lack of faith, that I realize the universe is truly leading me, and I am not faithless after all. The daily grind of day to day life can leave anyone feeling totally hopeless. Even those people who claim to have total belief in something, anything, have their faith shaken at least once a day.
An example of this roller coaster effect is the feeling of joy or expectation you have each time you awake to start your day. Some days, I will leapt out of bed and am ready to take on the world. Throughout those days I find I am able to meet many challenges. It is on those days I am more aware of my faith and my abilities to emotionally handle life. There are also the days when I don't want to get out of bed. More often than not, these are the days when I feel the universe has abandon me, until I remind myself I am part of the energy of the universe, and as such the universe never abandons me.
I can never stress the point of being a part of the universal energy enough. This is a concept you must come to in your own time, but it is essential to a complete understanding and acceptance, or feeling of faith, in your life.
Now I know you are questioning what faith has got to do with paganism. After all, the word faith conjures up images of organized religions in the minds of many people. However, look at faith as another word for belief. As my late father used to tell me, "if you believe in yourself, you can do anything you set your mind to do." If you question your abilities, you are undermining those abilities. Being part of the universal energy, and accepting it's guidance can seem like a contradiction, but it isn't.
The guidance of the universe is a form of self guidance. If you are meditating; not thinking about a dilemma, but opening yourself up to the possibilities of solving a dilemma you will conceive of a solution within yourself. Not everyone is capable of solving problems on their own, and many seek the advice of a professional. On some level, this is actually self-guidance telling you team work is required for the solution to your dilemma. Team work could just be asking someone else what they think, or it could be working with a therapist or some other from of advisor. This is very productive in your growth as a person.
Prior to my discovery of paganism, I was extremely depressed. In the years after my father died, 1989 and 1990, I spent almost all of my time, when not working, in bed. I would get up, go to work, come home and vegetate in bed. Mostly what I remember of that time, especially in hindsight, was how it just crept up on me. I don't remember exactly when I started shutting down, but I do remember lying in bed one evening, watching a PBS special on the Civil War, and realizing I had been in bed for almost two years. I had shut myself off from the world as best I could, and I did not know why I was doing it. I wasn't even tired, except when I went to work.
I began to force myself out of bed, and to stay out of bed when I was at home. I began redirecting my energies toward my interests in writing, finishing two novels I had begun back in college. My next step was to go about attempting to get those novels published, which has yet to happen; however, I am hopeful. (It happened. Check out the site map.)
I now realize the universe was directing me at that time, and I was resisting. I'm very good at resisting, but as they say on Star Trek: The Next Generation "Resistance is futile". If you resist the universe's direction from one way, it will redirect you in another way which will lead you to the same conclusion, only you've taken the scenic detour which took more time. Now in the time conscious society most of us live in, detours annoy us. We all want instant gratification. I know I do, but faith, and belief in yourself, is not about instant gratification.
Faith is about self acceptance, and the acceptance of that which you can't see but somehow know it exists. It's an inner feeling of calm, even in the face of adversity. This is the state many try to reach through meditation, and it is possible. However, if you don't reach this state on your first try at meditation, don't worry, and don't give up. There are many types of meditations you can try.
One of the most popular is the deep breathing exercises. I'm not into breath control, but it does work for many. Again, the goal is not to relax to the point of sleep, but to the point of total control. A lot of this can be achieved through visual or audio meditations. My favorite meditations are those involving music. Certain songs have beats to them, or are sung by people who have a voice with which I connect. The best voice for me to connect with, (now don't turn on me here) is Cher. (Hey, I also like Melissa Etheridge, Elton John, Gewn Stefani and Blu Cantrell, but Cher worked best when I originally wrote this.)
I admit Cher's voice may not work form everyone, but a lot of her songs, in conjunction with the beat of the music itself, can now put me in a meditative state, which is not always good when I'm driving, but that's another topic. I also find, for energy raising spells, (again don't knock it till you've tried it), disco and sometimes rap (the nonviolent type) helps me to feel the energy. I use this in conjunction with mantras, sometimes almost singing the spell to the beat of the music.
Continued in Inner Peace Spell in BOS section