Fear is the chief emotion that keeps us from reaching for self-actualization. It creates coping mechanisms that are subconscious in nature. These fears and mechanisms eventually become ingrained to form our belief systems. These are extensive neural pathways that subconsciously are activated by stress that impede our natural body and soul desires. To live with fear we create group and individual stories to make sense of our chaotic world. Once we understand our own story and how we use that story to survive, we can begin to understand how everyone else is living in their own illusions and fears. Thriving is this environment is not easy, but once we master the virtue of discernment, we can actually enjoy living in the chaos.
Animals are so lucky. They mainly live in the moment through instinctual reactions to their senses. They have some memory, particularly for smells, faces, and some rudimentary signs, but they simply respond according to their instincts. They do not have to evaluate and judge before making a decision. We humans, however, have a control mechanism in the frontal cortex that we can refer to as the administration center, the mind, or the ego. The mind directs the brain to create neural pathways in our amazing cerebral cortex, linking new sensory information with past memories to create a platform for interpretation of the information coming from the senses. Important new information that is needed for survival or excelling is then linked to emotions and stored in memory. The accumulation of information leads to the forming of concepts which we link together to create beliefs, attitudes and values. In our own reality, every thought is grounded in a collection of experiences and memories that create a story and as such is more like a fantasy novel than a real life experience. This has been a good thing for surviving and avoiding saber-toothed tigers, but too much of a good think can become a bad thing, and perhaps even a curse.
In a sense, we are no better than the animals in that we automatically respond through our subconscious beliefs. Because we live in a complex society with complex relationships and feelings, the mind is forever on the alert, always judging and deciding the best route to avoid danger, and forging the best path to becoming alphas in our pack. Because of the immense anxieties related to our new roles, we have lost the ability to act and adapt. We are stuck in the circle of thought that is governed by our beliefs; we are living in an on-going fiction novel. We no longer have the ability to perceive reality naturally, let go of the mind, and just experience life through our senses. We now have to find ways to do this consciously while avoiding the saber-tooth tigers in our minds.
The hardest part about discernment is being able to discern between the truth and the fiction coming from our own minds. The only way we can do this is through developing the powers of discernment. In order to live contented and peaceful lives we have to stop the insanity of the never ending story. To do this we simply stop the mind and open up all our senses without judgement or the need to react. We just let ourselves relax into the moment. Only then do we begin to perceive reality. Only then do we begin to see ourselves as beautiful creatures endowed with tremendous physical, mental, and spiritual power and beauty. Only then are we able to decipher between the chaos of the story and the order and peace of reality, and only then are we able to judge and make decisions based on this true reality.
The key then is to use the power of discernment to become aware of these negative feelings and vibrations coming from within, and from others, and take measures to understand and counter balance them with positive vibrations from our higher self. The rational mind cannot be trusted as it will inevitably channel its decisions through the emotions and through memory of past experiences. We cannot trust our emotions. When we are branching out to new territory there will always be an element of uneasiness and even fear. At times like these, we have to rely on the tools of the higher self which are imagination and intuition or discernment. We can learn to trust our “gut feeling” by listening to our feelings. Our feeling are always binary in nature. We will either have a positive or negative feeling about a situation. If it is negative we should examine it to be sure that it is not just the work of our mind and its emotions. We subdue our emotions then ask our higher self for clarity, empty our mind, and wait for a response. If it is still negative we stop or put the decision on hold. If it is positive we forge ahead with power and confidence thereby setting out with our whole being (body, mind, and spirit), towards the next challenge in our never-ending process towards self-actualization.
Discernment and Sex.
Once we have mastered control over our own story, we can begin to understand our sexuality and our sexual relationships. But before we do that, we have to realize that we are also a part of a group story. Society is composed of group stories and fears resulting in a group mind-set designed to desperately hold onto the safety of the status quo. To maintain the status quo, society depends on control and power exercised through the institutions of family, church, education, the media, and the government. When our sexual desires threaten these basic structures of society, we can expect a negative reaction in the form of prejudice and discrimination. Fear will turn to shunning, marginalizing, or anger and hate for anyone that threatens that security.
There are two views coming from society and neither is true or healthy. Society’s views on sex, especially from the media is one of sexual freedom regardless of the effect on the soul. We are encouraged to explore sex just for the pleasure without seeking deeper levels of intimacy. Having multiple partners is not only accepted but held up as the natural standard of human behavior. This sexual freedom suggests that all forms of pleasure can be indulged in without thought of consequence. This includes pornography, prostitution and the wide range of fetishes. If we use our power of discernment and rely on our gut feeling, most of us would feel uneasy in indulging in some of these behaviors.
The second comes through family and religion and is based on the need to control sexual behavior for the good of the group. It is based on the concept that sexual freedom is dangerous and unhealthy. It relies on the church to establish guidelines that we can refer to as mores or morals. The key is to restrict sexuality which usually becomes the responsibility on women to control where and when sexual relationships are allowed. The idea is often conveyed that sexual behavior is somehow dirty and should be reserved for human procreation and preferably under the confines of family values. If we use the power of discernment, we realize that human sexual experiences are also the property of the mind and soul as well as the body. There is an element of pleasure for the body, happiness from the heart, and intimacy from the spirit. These forms of joy may be experienced in isolation or together. There are no restrictions from the body on the number of relationships or experiences; however, we only arrive at true bliss through a combination of all three.
Because society’s obsession with sexuality, members of the LGBQT still face discrimination and hate. Because hate has now been stifled by popular opinion, it has gone underground and resurfaced in inappropriate humor, indifference, or even pity, all of which contribute to our feelings of isolation and helplessness. We are even willing to accept the label of “queer” out of defiance and misplaced pride. The gay movement, however, has made huge inroads in the basic institutions, to the point where the external fight appears to be basically over. Most families have accepted their gay children, most of the churches have welcomed us back into their folds, the media is trying to exorcise its demons by giving us special treatment, and the laws have been changed. However, the suicide and depression rates are actually increasing. We have won the right to marry but our divorce rates for lesbians (gay men seem to do better than heterosexuals but there is some controversy about the results) are twice that of the heterosexual population . We are still suffering from extreme loneliness and many (and perhaps most) of us feel or have felt some degree of helplessness and hopelessness. Why?
I think it is probably because we are being tolerated and not really accepted by society. The fear often turns to indifference and even pity, both of which tend to make us feel isolated and misunderstood. This includes those we love the most. Our loved ones tend to avoid the issue of our gay or lesbian side or they question us as if they are trying desperately and unsuccessfully to understand our behavior. The uneasiness, intricate voice tones, and the body language that we perceive subconsciously are wearing us down. In one article I read, our mental-emotional state is being compared to soldiers who are suffering from PTSD. Subconsciously we are in a battle for survival. It is not one big trauma but a lifetime of small traumas that have worn us down. We are constantly receiving negative vibrations from our heterosexual friends and family, and even from our own tortured gay and lesbian companions. These vibrations wear on our nervous systems until we crash.
Here are my five steps on developing the power of discernment:
- We take time to build up our self-image and self-esteem before going to work, or church, or visiting members of our family. We take time to stay physically and emotionally healthy through diet, exercise, and scheduled quiet times. A healthy body and mind will make discernment and clarity mush more likely.
- We have to be 100% sure that we are indeed beautiful and wonderful spiritual human beings. This provides a constant flow of positive energy that can balance the negative energy coming our way throughout the day.
- If we have trouble changing the story, we persist. We use repetition until the new story replaces the old story. We need time to do this. After mediation I like to take time (while my mind is at rest and my spirit is active) to contemplate, challenge, and change, if necessary, my belief systems. I like the mornings. I simply review my experiences and beliefs of the previous day. I then set a new course for the new day.
- It is usually not a good idea to ask others about our beliefs as they will respond from their own mind set. It is better to trust our inner self which will respond to our own needs out of genuine self-concern and self-love.
- We seek knowledge. We become a student of life, especially our own life. If there is an area of concern, we find reliable information from books and other programs. We learn to discern where the authors are coming from with their own traits and biases. We try to integrate this information into our own new belief systems.
Here are my five suggestion for discernment and sexuality:
- We acknowledge that our sex drive is a good thing. It is healthy and natural. No ifs or buts. No blame or shame. If we do not have a healthy and enjoyable sex life it is probably because we do not have a good healthy story. We do not destroy the story; we simply rebuild it with checks and balances. In other words we control it; it does not control us.
- We seek those who are like-minded and like-souled for intimate relationships. It can be sexual or nonsexual, but it has to be within the higher self, beyond the urges of the body and the sorrows of the ego.
- We shut down the control center to step outside the story and just respond to the beauty and the energy of our sex drive. We set out to deliberately live an active and satisfying sex life.
- W realize that sex is not just the sensuous pleasures of the body but also includes the oxytocin bonding that forms the happiness feeling from the heart, and those wonderful spiritual feeling s of joy that we can feel as we lie in close contact with our lover after orgasm.
- And finally, we enjoy! The purpose of life is to enjoy, to be spontaneous.
Here are my five suggestion on discernment for the LGBQT community
- We are not just “queers”; we are beautiful people. We are the ones who can see both sides of the equation. We are the ones with answers to some of life’s most difficult questions. We are the ones with the genes that need to be passed on to the next generation if this species is to survive.
- We have to see and understand the reality of our sexuality. It is a biological process of copulation and reproduction, and yes, if we take our cues from the animal kingdom, that includes same sex attraction. But we have made it part of our story. We have created theories of orientation and gender. We don’t need it and if we employ the powers of discernment we will come to the conclusion that we don’t want it. It robs us of our ability to be spontaneous and to enjoy the wonderful senses associated with sex and relationship.
- As members of LGBQT community, we have developed a very complex story in order to survive. We can stop the story. Whenever we hear the cues like, “I will never be good enough”, or, “it’s no use”, or, “it’s all my fault”, we stop the story immediately, recognize the belief or lie, and then state the true reality: “I am a magnificent human being”, “I am always good enough”, “I can do anything worth doing”, “there is no fault, there is only trial, error, and the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom”.
- Because our sex drives are different, the straight population will experience some degree of uneasiness when we are around them or their children. We must understand that their uneasiness is based on fear and is subconsciously a threat to their beliefs and mindset, and therefore to their ego’s sense of survival. We must recognize their struggle and conflict of beliefs and emotions. We accept the uneasiness and try to eliminate the fears. We send our positive energy to them in the form of love to balance the negative energy of fear. We continue our relationships and perhaps even increase the time we spend with them. We use the time to naturally express our own feelings and encourage them to express and unconditionally accept theirs, while maintaining the positive flow of love energy from the higher self. Eventually the fears will break down allowing genuine bonds of love.
- If we are bisexual with a heterosexual partner, we have to understand they may be struggling to understand and accept us just the way we are. We have to be patient with their struggles and realize they are trying to settle some of their subconscious fears. We respond gently and lovingly. Sometimes we or they may break down because of the triggers that may reopen old wounds. We have to accept that these will happen and that they are an opportunity to heal and even to go deeper in the relationship.