Thoughts on the concept of 'God'

The process of healing and self realization occurs in relationship with actual others. It is in the mutual intimacy between two actual people who freely choose each other. Practice of intimate relationship, including sex is the process of all psychological insight and correction, self-discovery and understanding. It cannot be by passed.

In Yoga of Heart I wrote that when we are truly intimate with another by name and form we no longer can tell the difference between that person and God, the absolute condition of reality. We have been sold however that surrender or conversion to an abstract God or Guru is the human way. Our cultures have concentrated on this assumption to the cost of denying the actual flesh, the actual embodiment of self and other. I am always saying that this living flesh and the appearance of anything is as much a wonder, profound intelligence and beauty as any proposed higher consciousness or God. 

The ancient dharmic debate can be resolved in the statement, “source and seen are one, therefore the ordinary seen condition of reality is full and sufficient.” So be the body. Obey the body. Follow the body and its real needs. An emotional conversion to the body and the body’s natural relatedness to all conditions including sex is what we need. Not the surrender to an abstract idea of God or Jesus etc. This is the very means of God realization. 

Such phenomena as Jesus, the Guru function is universally arising and is absolutely useful in releasing obstruction. It is the universal means of all wisdom tradition. But this too is an actual relationship between two actual people who love each other. And is not a replacement or superior to all other intimate relationships, including male female union.

Because of millennium of the brain washing by power structures to convert to an abstract "God as other," humanity is dissociated from the intelligence, beauty and function of our own reality. Equally and insidiously so is the cultural celebration of female deities whose transcendent and sexual perfection represents a biological impossibility. Real women hood and manhood are denied and sexual aberration is the norm. There needs to be a practical means to embrace what is real. 

In relationship we release what is not needed to receive what is needed. The natural flow of feelings from anger, to its cause, pain, to grief, to compassion and forgiveness is enacted and practiced, in that order. The next, more basic emotion is predicted and permitted. Practitioners learn to speed this process, and the overwhelming whole body heart connection to all things is understood to be the point of human life. 

Love brings up everything that is unloved to be seen and understood. So the process of relationship can be disturbing. All of society's dysfunction and the pain in one's family lineage is released and this can be painful. Therefore the practical means to practice intimacy need to be given to people. It is the comfort we can depend upon as we speed through release cycles. 

But our world is full of spiritual and psychological processes that do not fulfil this most fundamental need. It is shocking how so many great spiritual teachers never even mention sex and relationship, or acknowledge it as the basic method of transformation. Such teachers are often seen as the model of human attainment, so their sexlessness is passed on as the norm or regarded as a superior state. On the other side of this sleazy equation so called tantric "sacred sex” teachers sell exaggerations, false desires and cause the public confusion without giving the practical help.

The means is an actual yoga (union), intimacy with life via all ordinary conditions, body, breath and relationship, in that order. Whether it is new or old world religion, mindfulness meditation, popularized yoga, dance, shamanic medicine ceremonies or the myriad offerings of our secular world, there is scarce training for successful intimacy and sexuality. Nor is there acknowledgement that intimacy is the means to know reality or “God.” In fact, these usual spiritual offerings teach processes for the individual's internal reveries that result in dissociation from reality and such culture has created society's sexual dysfunction in the first place. These practices only belong in the context of a robust prior practice of intimate connection. Otherwise they cause delusion and separation.

How do we emotionally convert to a real life? As we push out and away from ourselves our sense of self comes to rest more on the perceived achievement of external goals and less on the simple feeling of connection with all manifestations of life. It becomes increasingly difficult for us to receive the tender strength that is already there in the world around us, in others, and, ultimately, in ourselves. We are exhausted by our efforts, rather than nurtured. Like shallow breathing, we operate from a space of contraction, rather than realizing the depth and potential that our natural functioning allows. 

Yet phoenixes rise from ashes. The masculine and feminine are always perfectly integrated in union as the substance of life itself. It is waiting for us to loosen up so that what is already there, our natural state, can come to full expression. It is simply given. To move beyond a superficial experience of self – that is, living on the surface, without the depths embraced through feminine receptivity – is as natural as breathing. So, let us proceed from the simple acknowledgement that the more we struggle, the harder it is to breathe. It is in the paradox that to be strong we must first be soft, so that the mutuality of masculine and feminine, in our selves and our society, is clearly enjoyed.

We cannot bypass the life of intimacy and take heaven by storm, so to speak. Having spiritual ideals is futile without first establishing a human life of caring affection. This is the means of realization, and attempting to circumvent it for imagined high ideals causes only trouble. 

The primary practice is the embrace of all ordinary conditions. Always, in all ways, the main spiritual method of humanity (in all faiths) has been the personal and mutual intimacy between real people. The Christian focus on Jesus as a personal friend, for example, can be powerful. The personal intimacy in the Eastern traditions between guru and student, Avatar and devotee, carries the same transformative power. Even when there is sophisticated, refined teaching, such as in Vedanta or Buddhism, the personal intimacy with the teacher is the primary transforming agent in these traditions. These profound relationships were not a replacement or substitute for all other relationships but were there to help students in all their connections to life. The teacher gave everyone the core intimacy with life via each body and breath as their key to transform all other relationships. In the ancient wisdom world of Judaism, there is no exclusive Avatar, yet all appearance is Reality or God, so it is another cultural expression of the same wonder of all.

Mark Whitwell
Heart Of Yoga