|What Am I? Galen Sharp
Currently this web page focuses on sexual orientation and homelessness. What is offered here gives understanding to marginalization based on race, color, religion, nationality, age, gender, human capacity and tendencies, and other qualities that shape the Outsider.
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HUMOR, LOVE, RAMAKRISHNA
ANDROGYNY TRANSCENDS THE BODY
SEEDS FROM THE GRAPES OF WRATH
What is Sexual?
FLAGS, NO FLAGS: RUMI
THE LAST WAVE
MY INTEREST IN MARGINALIZED PEOPLE, by gen
CAIN AND SOCIETY
COMMENTS OF CAIN
THE OUTSIDER EXPERIENCE
MY TIME ON THE STREETS
HUMOR, LOVE, RAMAKRISHNA
when it comes right down to it, we all know that
i am not male
i am not female
i am not gay
i am not not-gay.
but as a person who lives in the world, i do things. one of which is to be a
little voice for the marginalized forms of god who walk among us. duality is
one of the reasons that this brand of humor is "funny." i just make it my
business to point out the separatism where i see it arise.
understand that we can only laugh at ourselves. and i understood the big
cosmic joke a long time ago. the truly funny thing is it was my forced
separation from my spiritual community because of my homosexuality that
caused me to look inside for what was real. so i am grateful for being an
"outsider." alone, alienated, my heart opened up and there is
unquantifiable peace and love.
i am an adult, and i love my self --i have spent years in solitude, and have
achieved a peace that i cannot and would not attempt to put into words.
however, there are suicides amongst the younger marginalized folks every day.
some of whom don't "get" the joke. how "innocent" were the kidding remarks
that led to the columbine and springfield tragedies? i speak in love for the
dead, the unborn, and the innocent who are facing a world which tells them
they are not welcome to participate equally. one of the big ways this
message is conveyed is through "innocent" words.
words. if we must use them, we must stop for a moment before putting them
is all i am saying.
Yes. It's been touched upon here, and it needs to be pursued
in a serious vein. Androgyny is well known in Ramakrishna,
but lesser known in the very little known Shunyata. Both
were males who spoke and acted in feminine ways. An outsider
would not know if they were men or women. The topic needs to
i love ramakrishna. if he were to appear in your neighborhood today,
many would laugh! one could only aspire to be half as "strange." i am! i
would be interested in developing this topic-- if any one would be
interested. with the understanding that ultimately we move beyond androgyny
in this thought process. there is not such thing. integrating all the sexes
(and i WILL NOT assert that there are just two) is just a mental excersize,
as is all of this talk about nonduality. letting go of all that, going into
the silence which is not-distinction and being the freedom of unified
consciousness is all that *is.* i suppose if we were to discuss, one could
start with whitman-- who transcended the body and embraced/evinced love. . .
duality causes the pain, fear and horror-- why is that so many that have been
shoved outside met the truth waiting for them when they opened their eyes?
why so many outsider mystics ?
Someone mentioned androgyny as a topic related to nonduality.
start a thread? I'll just begin by posting an observation -
If anyone has seen pictures of J. Krishnamurti as he got older, it's quite
evident that he began to look more and more androgynous as he aged. Toward
his last days (there's a book entitled "final talks" with a picture of
on the cover), it is almost impossible to tell whether he was a man or
woman by looking at his face. His voice also became progressively more
"feminine" and less "masculine" sounding, until at last it was an
I believe that the Shiva/Shakti uniting "within an individual" (sometimes
called the "union of opposites" a.k.a. nonduality) upon realization ends
the distinction between man and woman. "Of such a being, nothing can be
said." Those who are liberated are neither man nor woman anymore, and
perhaps not even "human" (this is not to be derogatory). Such are
Existence Itself, which has no sex, no species.
i think this would be an
interesting topic. the androgynous individual has been seen as sacred in
many societies and cultures. embodying fertility and power, an uncommon
unity within one body. seen as including both sexes , but transcending.
the native americans continue to revere the "berdache," basically a male
shaman in drag, although revered in a more limited way than in the past.
androgynous individuals are given, in some cultures, very special spiritual
functions which are seen as necessary to the survival of the group. (on a
practical, survivalist note here--imaging if 10 percent of the population, in
other words all the homosexuals) got up this morning and decided to have a
couple of kids. how would our planet sustain this? )
it's interesting the amount of homophobia that comes from religious
institutions, although this is, relatively speaking, a rather recent
development. i would guess this stems in part from the conformity that has
become so important in our society. anything different is seen as "wrong."
i have to think sometimes, that it is disturbing to people not to be able to
easily classify everything. i must say that, as a 40 year old woman who
looks like a twenty something guy, and who is called "sir" on a regular
basis, there is an extreme discomfort level in this confusion on the part of
the perceiver. my appearance is in part due to biology-- there are people
who are born with different chromosones than your average male/ female, and i
know many who are true hemaphrodites. most of whom won't even talk about it,
it's such a stigma, even to some extent in the gay community. but this
topic, and your statements lead me to believe you interested in the
internalization of male/female, which is something that interests me even
more. after all-- i am not this body. (but, have to admit that being called
"sir" has a certain charge of societal power to it that i just don't get from
"ma'am"-- anyway:)!!! ) but what are the qualities of male/female
unified/transcended? is it quantifiable? i think you may be dead-on with
saying it is "existence itself." i do think it's something we can discuss,
or at least "prattle" about.
consider the transsexual, who feels they are in the wrong sexed body. would
this be a person who possesses divine traits, but due to societal pressure
has been driven to self alteration? i know it goes deeper than this, but
from my point of view, the body is not ultimately important. open minds can
have this discussion, and i feel confindent that there are many of those
what is this male and female that contain and transcend a godlike power? i
often hear statements about men being rational and women being emotional--
about men being warlike and women being nurturing. do you think there is any
basis for this, or are these more societal constructs? men are physically
stronger in upper body tasks. women have the potential to have more lower
body strength, but women have to "work out" eight times as long as men to
achieve the same muscle mass. as far as qualities-- i know some men who have
possess what --imho-- are the worst of "feminine" qualities, and some women
who become "nightmare" men. what do you think is shiva/ shakti??-- because,
i agree, i think that is the key to this discussion. i agree about
Krishnamurti, and others, like yogananda. .. to me it isn't so much an
appearance thing, but a quality which "i " project on them. but what is it,
Shunyata, though he is known for his silence, did
write something called
Memory, which I happen to have. The portion I'm quoting
below, at length, is an important contribution to the
androgyny thread. Nonduality, as it may exist as a
'movement', is open to increasing understanding of and
welcoming those living their lives on the society's margin,
and that apparently includes those whose sexual orientation
is not strictly heterosexual, but of one of any number of
Before the excerpt from Memory, please note that there is a
link a Sunyata page:
Father never asserted nor preached in words. He was a
wordless mystic, who simply was. In regard to the rightness
of fellow-pilgrims who vibrated in a different and even
contrary rhythm, he lived his truth with the least possible
fuss and interference. Mother both talked and asserted her
feminine truth, and the usual subtly willful shakti-business
in her rhythm, but it was neither vicious nor persistent.
She could also be clear and silent and still.
The feminine elements happened to be the most vocal and most
playful on the surface of things in my childhood setting.
The women vibrated noisily and I came to accept them and
learned their language, which is spoken and lived by half of
our humanity. Two grown up sisters, 12 and 14 years older in
body than I, wer not 'remembered' until I was about7, though
they must have been an unconscious influence. There was the
managing mother and a succession of servant-girls (farmers'
daughters and considered by my mother our 'equals'). As I
was not very conscious of sexual differences, for me there
was no war of the sexes.
In Viking land, there was co-education and sex equality in
sharing, play, and work. Although the males were rarely
found to be rearing children, preparing meals, or serving
food, and the women joined the miniature army only as
healers and nurses, there was widespread sex equality. So
from childhood, the feminine rhythm was no more strange to
me than was the masculine one, different in quality but not
in kind, and each individual rhythm varied. I saw each
person as a beautifully different variation of the same
life. At school we all shared in games and in lessons, and
at home we shared in work and in leisure. At one time a
neighboring girl (also a late and lonely child) was often my
play-fellow, and for years a city-boy was my intimate
companion on the farm.
And so it happened that I was not conscious of any great
difference between the male and the female rhtythms, which
in other lands seems not only to be different in degree, but
also of kind and species. There were no clashes in the
household because Father did not react impatiently or
violently, and was not easily provoked; he was easy in
humoring whims, yet firm and steadfast in hiw own Self when
essential and important decisions had to be made. He had the
generosity of strength, and rarely fought and argued; are
not most of our squabbles due to weakness and ignorance of
It did not occur to me that there is a feminine truth,
complementary, but often contrating and seemingly at war
with the masculine truth. The division was not clear in my
consciousness. Truly, I felt that the girls and women around
me were often more noisy with their tongues and desires than
were the boys and men, more emotional, more volatile, more
silly, but also more gentle, sensitive and feeling.
Vicariously I lived in their feminine rhythms, vibrating
with them in unitive, direct, and un-mental harmonies. I was
no stranger to their subtly willful passive waiting --
similar to a cat lying in wait for a mouse -- nor to their
seemingly insincere play and poses, the flutter and
wordiness, which often hides their true purpose and meaning.
Intuitively and vibrationally, I came to 'know' the feminine
language of being, though I myself had no desire to speak
Is not the highest type of manhood really that which
includes womanhood? Are not the feminine and masculine
rhythms complementary? When the complementary opposite
rhythms are harmonized and functioning at ease within, the
individual can be calmly aware of his Individuum. As the
Bible says: '...and they shall again become one flesh.'
In the ancient garden of pure consciousness, two falls
occurred: the first was when man was divided and woman
formed from his lost rib; and this caused and conditioned
the second -- when both became self-critical and 'saw that
they were naked' and divided, and so descended into the play
of opposites. Good and evil for what?
Aesthetically the hermaphrodite is a type of perfection, an
idea or truth, which has haunted the imagination of men like
Michaelangelo, Shelley, and Whitman. Physiologically we all
still have the rudiments of the other sex, we have developed
from some hermaphroditic organism in the dim past, and it
may be that we are being carried along to some
hermaphroditic fulfillment in the not too far-off future.
Meanwhile, those among us to whom the time-scale is not of
supreme importance, can have glimpses and sensations of
these past and future states in the present, the Eternal
Now. Perhaps we cannot stay calm and balanced in unitive
modes of experiencing unless that harmonious, hermaphroditic
Wholeness is achieved within. We meet physically
hermaphroditic types among fellow pilgrims. Are they
reversions, freaks, or hints of future perfection? Even
though now they are often pitied, soo they may be envied.
... The hermaphroditic psyche seems to be the one thing most
necessary for inner peace. How easy it would be to avoid the
war of the sexes and the agonies of readjustment if our
psyches were whole and did not need to flutter in search of
their other halves, their lost integral Wholeness! How easy
to eliminate fears and jealousies, the efforts to bind and
possess -- if only the individual could find within himSelf
or herSelf that pearl of great prize: the memory of what and
of who we really Are!
The rhythm of inner psychic wholeness is what egos would
term 'andorgynous.' When the male and female truths function
in a complementary harmony within one psyche, the body (as a
tool) will remain male or female, but the psyche will aware
the harmonious wholeness of itSelf, freely functioning in
the unitive mode of experiencing.
Only in the Light of the Whole can memory emerge freely,
simply, and purely; and is not the (conscious or
unconscious) aim and purpose, meaning and goal of all of our
strivings, all our shakti-antics, and all our yoga practices
to be aware and to remain aware of our integral Wholeness,
the hermaphrodite androgyne, the mystically united twin
within our Self? The magic force in the golden unitive
thread of intuitive memory reveals to us our Self, and leads
and draws us onward with dharmic speed to the Beyond (which
is within) of Eternity's ever-present Sunrise.
ANDROGYNY TRANSCENDS THE BODY
U.G. also speaks of
androgyny resulting from his "enlightened" state.
When concepts are dropped one's view of bodies in
general tends to alter and become less dependent upon
cultural "norms" and expectations. Saniel Bonder also
deals with this issue when he speaks of transcending
Spiritualized people also, I've noticed, appear to be
ambisexual or unusually sensual to the mundane
consciousness, and oftentimes this is simply an
innocent "openness" or easiness with one's body and
one's space. The average person in the workaday world
is so tightly wound up, so suspicious of any invasion
of "personal space," that this spiritual openness can
be misinterpreted as sensuality when that is not the
message one is intending to send.
this brings up an important point-- the socialization of sex roles
/concepts. i think of gender as i do the enneagram type-- a set of
strategies which, once one knows that they are not the true self simply do
not exist. ("simply" not implying that this is simple. . .) but back to
"square zero," it is an eternity beyond all that pink for girls and blue for
i like what petros says about perception of openness. those who do not
"know" this openess can only project what they *do* know on a "spiritualized"
androgynous person. & oh, how outside the margins entities can upset
someone's view of reality! i have often been witness to the approach of a
woman--with obvious sexual intent-- then she'll stop dead in her tracks--
suddenly looks confused, shocked, embarrassed and swerves like she wasn't
looking at me at all. one woman was so bold as to confront me. "i wish
y'all wouldn't do that." what? i said. "look like guys-- it's so
(and i was feeling kinda pretty that day! had waxed my mustache and
i told her maybe she ought to redefine what she was attracted to. :)
i bought her a cup of coffee anyway, and told her i have a brother.
in the ashram, the men and women shaved their heads, and though we girls were
called "nonks" (mostly kiddingly), the lack of distinction was evident to
anyone who visited our little "order." and as petros points out above, the
distinction ran deeper than how it "looked. . ."
beyond all of this stuff that we do/ encounter with androgynous bodies, what
petros points out is that androgyny *transcends* the body, and what is
perceived in *the world.* "Openness with one's space." being space?
SEEDS FROM THE GRAPES OF WRATH
to you who are truth,
as i have expressed in previous posts, it has been interesting to note the
number of mystics and realizers that emerge from the marginalized of society.
i speak to you
as a homosexual person, but do not wish to limit a discussion along these
lines to a specific marginalized "group," but wish to include all outsiders.
There's a wealth of evidence and writing, and a myriad of approaches, so to
narrow it down and to dive right in , i offer a few seeds from John
Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." I choose this book, as i think it may be
one that most are familiar with.
A nondual reading of this book suggests a spiritual migration from concern
for individual ego to a realization of the *one.* The *that* which lasts.
The migrants are outsiders. They are stripped of identity, and must shed
tradition and even their own definitions of sin and holiness. It is my
opinion that a divine unity is portrayed in these characters, and that this
is what Steinbeck was trying to convey. in terms of "oversoul," he
out-emerson'd the monistic emerson.
check out Casy, the former preacher. he has realized his own hypocrasy in
the church and turned to nature, where he finds the formless god:
"'Maybe,' I figgered, 'maybe it's all men an' all women we love; maybe
that's the Holy Sperit--the human sperit--the whole shebang. Maybe all men
got one big soul ever'body's a part of.'" (p. 24)
Casy is an outsider. His separation from his community is self directed, but
it is from a sense that he doesn't belong. here is Casy's expression of his
"There was hills, an' there was me, an' we wasn't separate no more. We was
one thing. An' that one thing was holy." (p. 88)
in them there hills, a "guru" is born. He tells Tom Joad that "there ain't no
sin and there ain't no virtue. there's just stuff people do.." (p. 24) Tom
is an outsider. Not just a migrant, but just out of prison. He learns from
Casy and begins to realize some stuff for himself, even defending Casy like a
good devotee. Casy tries to tell a service station owner why he thinks
everyone's moving, and the owner dismisses Casy, saying , "Yeah, but what's
it coming to?" (p.138) Tom, in defense says:
"Casy tries to tell ya an' you jest ast the same thing over. . . . You ain't
askin' nothin'; you're jus' singin a kinda song." (p. 138-9)
Tom realizes the unreality of the song, and eventually carries on in the
spirit of Casy's vision. The migrants, in short, become a collective soul
here in steinbeck's vision:
"For here, 'I lost my land' is changed; a cell is split and from its
splitting grows the thing you hate--'we lost our land.'" (p. 165)
and from that grows?
there never was any land.
there is only the self.
anyone who is excluded is at risk. at risk of sadness, anger,
self-destruction-- or better
at risk of finding the true self.
The above is a brief look at a rich, rich book. Words that had great reverb
Hardship, ignorance, random acts of nature, and hatred shove some of us out
the door, off of our land, out of religious orders and on and on. The way we
choose to "see" these events can change everything.
Look out: you see the "perpetrators", and you give strength to their words
and acts. you eat them. you become them.
Look within: here is that which always is. always was. that which is
beyond words but annihilates suffering. eat blessed nothin! become nothin.'
and that nothing is everything.
Can somebody call you a name?
I must first ask, "Who am i?"
What is it that lasts when seeming all has been denied to my personality?
i suspect that a great number of *seekers* have been shoved out one door or
the other. i'd like to, from time to time, drop in with some fellow
outsiders-- those who found their way inward to the truth. 'cause i care.
i wish to share the grateful heart with all.
What is sexual?
When light enters a leaf on a tree
is that sexual?
When I look at the tree
is my awareness having intercourse
with the tree's being?
As all receive and give,
all include "male" and "female" energy;
the different proportions
"contained" by each
are actually an ever-changing dynamic balance.
proportions of maleness and femaleness often do,
but sometimes don't
correlate with the outer appearance and behavior
FLAGS, NO FLAGS: RUMI
happy monday. this morning i was
watering the lawn against 104 degree heat, sending thought forms to tim g,
and knowing it is frustrating not to be able to touch the earth and not to
seem to be in the arms of the beloved either. to be in possession of divine
intellect and these seeming contraries can be hell. much love to you, your
awareness, brother. this is beautiful and hard discrimination.
got to thinking about all of these prayer flags i see all over when i go into
town. they are colorful, and i like the idea of the wind carrying prayers on
its way. i like the idea of disintegration of the fabric field. i looked
at one closely, and i can't read it. i don't understand the language that's
i think i would like pure white prayerflags of surrender in my yard.
since we're rumi-nating, here's one that tears me apart and reassembles me
all in one blow:
tr. by coleman barks
"I used to want buyers for my words.
Now i wish someone would buy me away from words.
I've made a lot of charmingly profound images,
scenes with Abraham, and Abraham's father, Azar,
who was also famous for icons.
I'm so tired of what I've been doing.
Then one image without form came,
and i quit.
Look for someone else to tend the shop.
I'm out of the image-making business.
Finally I know the freedom
A random image arrives. I scream,
"Get out!" It disintegrates.
Only the holder the flag fits into,
and wind. No flag. "
gen: and all of that white linen flying just past my window shall signify
she's doing her laundry today.
THE LAST WAVE
i got to thinking more about outsiders-- marginalized members
of society, and
how they come to find the true self. i rented Peter Weir's "The Last Wave,"
sat back, and let it wash over me.
upon an umpteenth viewing of The Last Wave, i have now more than an open
mouthed and speechless reaction. if you haven' t seen this video--
disintegrate this post! delete delete delete-- you may fall into it one of
these days, and i wouldn't want to impose my own meaning on *your* movie!
that said, here are just a few random, disorganized thoughts:
David, the attorney is as much an outsider as the tribal aborigines he is
defending on a charge of murder. He's from south america (not only that,
played by an american, a detail i believe was intended by Peter Weir to
enhance the "alien" quality of this character), parentless, Not a defense
attorney, and he's not one of the "tribe."
he's not a snake. he's not a man. . . he doesn't seem to be connected to his
wife and family either. . .enentually, they leave him, obstensibly til the
end of the "trial"--there is a distinct sense that he is one set apart by
there's also a scene in which he's accused of being a priveleged middle class
bleeding heart for taking up the cause of the aboriginals. he doesn't
respond, and at this point, it's evident that he's on a quest which he cannot
quit. driven for truth.
i particularly enjoy this cinema trip, because it portrays the inside (dream
time) running simultaneously with "real time." if it possible to put in
pictures this experience, Peter Weir masterfully makes an attempt.) from the
point of view of the viewer, the symbol of water clues us in long before the
protaganist is aware that he's about to enter the unknown. we're on the
inside--he's out there in the land of reason.
david's search for whoami (great scene with tribal elder, charlie, who
repeatedly chants: "who ARE you who ARE you? )is escalated by the events
around which the plot evolves-- but his search is universal. as a child he
had dreams. ..premonitions and visions. always felt different? he is
seemingly *rational* about the unusual rain, the taps of the tub that turn
themselves on. . . .
later, and my favorite scene, he asks his step father (minister) "why didn't
you tell me there were mysteries?" Claiming that from the pulpit, he had
been pointed to rationality-- to explain it all away.
having lost the trial, his association with the tribe cannot be broken.
there is no turning back. . . and where does he go to find what he is looking
kris, the aborigine who takes him there can only point the way. the outsider
is now truly an outsider. he must face the knowledge he seeks alone/within.
there he understands the glyphs on the walls, but upon leaving, cannot escape
by the way he came. . . the new route takes him to the ocean and *the last
**the ultimate margin**-- to be eclipsed, immersed, merged, *unified?*
i love the last scene, because we view the last wave through our own eyes and
those of the protaganist. we don't see david's reaction. we become it. i
love this movie because it's anti-rational. There are no words explaining
away the experience.
i'm gonna watch this film again, paying close attention to david's glasses--
when he is wearing them, he is seeing with his eyes. when he's not. . . he's
seeing through his eyes.
just sharing, cause it's the first time this film did anything besides make
my mind hummmmmmmmm. ...
anyone else love or despise this movie?
blessings and deep, deep water,
i mainly posted my thoughts on this film, because i'm questioning this idea
of marginalized people. why so many marginalized people become realized.
early on in this discussion, bruce said something like, "aren't we all in a
sense marginalized?" i concur. i selected this film to watch, as i thought
aboriginals would be my focus. . .but it is this "marginalized group" who
have gone beyond.
ultimately, if the margins be the *edge*-- where the sea meets the shore
those who have not been eclipsed by the wave are on the margins. . . i like
the sea margin as metaphor for the *edge*, as it is always shifting. . ..
alas. . .being an outsider-- is this a cosmic head start program? :)
it is grace which "pushes us out the door"--sets us apart. it is grace that
shows us that's where the action is! outside the boundaries. . . the
outsider, the marginalized-- is there less fear of the unknown, as the
quality of life has prepared one to *expect* less or nothing? less effort?
MY INTEREST IN MARGINALIZED PEOPLE
I am curious about your interest in marginalized people. I
wonder if it
is the same as what I refer to as the experience of being "the other." Could
you tell me more, not about the movie, which I would like to see, but about
your thoughts, interests and perceptions in people on the outside? This
is an abiding interest, and experience of mine, and I've never heard anyone
else mention it as a specific aspect for consideration.
my interest began when i was a geeky little kid--social disaster-- searching
for books, movies other outsiders etc. as a child, looking at a world which
did not reflect my self, i turned to the external world in search of
comrades. (i was the one dressed in black reading sylvia plath in a remote
corner of the playground!) also, as a child, there was a desire to be
included-- a fight against the alienation which caused, at that time, pain
and loneliness. in the search for "others like me" i essentially began my
trip toward unity-- seeing all as one-- all as *me*
this may well concur/collide whatever with your sense is of the "other. " a
place to take off when discussing our separation and eventual unification.
it begins in the objective world. i felt *separate* because i was a
"different" child-- very androgynous, and subject to much teasing and even
more abuse to my self by myself because of it. i felt separate because of my
attraction to women instead of the usual heterosexual thing-- more abuse to
my self by myself. later, was asked to leave a religious order because of my
sexual orientation. the greatest push of all! i am grateful for it! it
forced me to reach for truth in a new way. and that way went way beyond the
very society i thought i wanted to be part of. it was moving beyond these
ways of defining self that pointed me inward, and i feel i had a great push
in the direction of truth *because* of my initial sense of separation.
how have you felt "other" or different? or have you just observed this in *
:) do you think that has anything to do with your desire to find truth?
CAIN AND SOCIETY
Dan wrote to gen:
Yes - Your thoughts on "marginalization" are getting
at something. It
reminds me of a Qabalistic discussion I ran across which addressed the Biblical
theme of Cain and Abel. Qabalistically, Cain can be interpreted as the
creative one whose destiny was to express universal potential. Although
Cain received a "curse" from YHVH to wander and never be accepted, he also
received protection from YHVH and was told that no one could harm him.
Abel was the one who lived in formulas, who needed a predetermined
structure. The very energy of Cain was destructive to Abel's way of
securing his being to familiar markers.
more seeds from my garden. . .i am unfamiliar with qabala, yet
appreciate these different ways of looking. i follow this, due to my
familiarity with the text .
it is the unexpected vision-- (like my students' tendency to side with satan
when we were reading paradise lost) that opens us up. . . :) i like this
one. . . "creative potential"-- to create what we see/ experience without the illusory
rules and constructs of society. sounds like freedom to me. .. :)
Marginalization can occur for all kinds of reasons - some are more easily
observable (skin color, ethnic group, religion), others may be less visible
(past abuse, sexual orientation, disabilities such as LD or ADHD).
and yet, i note, though it would seem logical, marginalized groups do
not band together-- do not see the common heart in the matter-- which leads
to eventual total separation?
Not being included in the "Abel reality" of secure, predictable "fitting
in" can be a catalyst for the creativity of some. I remember reading a saying
about the Jews, which went something like, "we wish you didn't love us
like you do, although we know this suffering is good for us. would that you rejected us as you
do the Gentiles, so we could live in wealth and peace."
I hear in your discussion of Peter Weir movies a double theme - being marginalized from
a society by a society, and marginalizing oneself as one repudiates society's
frame of reference for reality, values, and meaning.
marginalizing oneself as well-- yeah, you're right, that's in my thought
jumble! marginalizing oneself-- that leap that comes when one realizes the
wealth that may be gleaned from the suffering--expanded vision. outside the
lines finding the truth about structure and the stale world view. . . . and
being marginalized from society by society leads me to think that perhaps it
is necessary that some are pushed out the door to look at the big picture.
as you say, "to express universal potential. . ." creating creating!
becoming. . .
as you can see, i not only like to explode the margins, but i defy
punctuation and the rules of grammar as well. (what a release!) sometimes
rational discourse is impossible for me, but i'm giving it my best shot.
COMMENTS ON CAIN
I have some comments about Cain and Abel; and the Garden of Eden in general.
I will preface these remarks by noting that I am either obtuse and stubborn
to the point of ignorance or hopelessly naive and optimistic about the
nature of God, and the greater liklihood that we have misinterpreted His
nature, than that his nature is as we read it in holy texts. To wit: I do
not get, from the bible, that God cursed either Adam and Eve or Cain. I do
get that God revealed to them the natural consequences of their choices.
This is very different.
If nakedness, in the Garden, is understood as standing revealed, exposed,
without hiding, i.e., in honesty and clarity, "knowing the Self" and eating
the apple of knowledge is understood as the acquisitin of self-awareness as
opposed to Self-Awareness, then God simply makes clear to them that they
have chosen, against His advice, the path to deal with the ego, or the
If you interpret this nondualistically, the whole story represents a scenario
developing in "the Self." The Big Self and little self are the self, or
being. The tree of knowledge can be experience in time. Nakedness can be
vulnerability. Awareness of vulnerability, willingness to carry through the "adventure,"
these are important. Any curse can be viewed as having a positive side to it, if
you're willing to see the "big picture."
He then tells them that the result of that will to live be to
live in pain and suffering. I think it is only our own cultural bias, the
tacit, invisible, meta-ethics which govern the pardigm of our cultural
consciousness that leads us to interpret this as punishment instead of
explanation. This distinction is critical, in an analytical sense, which is
only partial as it deals with separating out elements rather than
There is a "fall" into time from eternity. A fall into self-consciousness
and awareness of death, fragility and loss.
The idea that God cursed anyone is anthropomorphic; it imputes to the
divine...human qualities...yet, if we are to understand that we have been
made in God's image, which is spirit, then enlightenment and growth and
healing is to relinquish self-awareness unto Self-Awareness and
return/remember our natures, which are not punitive or in error (sinful)
but: expansive, abundant, generous, forgiving, loving, uniting and tender.
When we "fell" we "forgot." I see our task as being to remember and forget.
To remember while we forget. In other words, I think there is meaning to the
"adventure." Time is not a mistake, but needs to be reconciled with eternity.
This, for me is symbolized by the Biblical ideas of Apacolypse, Messiah,
Adam Qadmon, and the sayings of Jesus.
Indeed, God provides them with clothing to cover THEIR embarrassment, not
His, and sends them on their way; evidence of an accepting, forgiving,
helpful Divinity, who loves his children no matter what they do; as opposed
to a capricious, punitive, Divinity who abandons his children to their own
The Father and the children are of the same Origin.
In the same way, I do not read that God cursed Cain. Rather, I see that God
said to Cain, that his offerings cannot be received...we interpret this
readily as....the form of his offering was not received, implying some order
of preference on the part of the Divinity, that He prefers meat to
vegetables! I believe it is more likely that Cain's offerings were not
received because the essence of the offering not the form. Perhaps God could
see in Cain's heart that he did not give joyously, with gratitude, but out
of obligation and guilt. Those who operate out of guilt and obligation,
sacrifice norms, rather than gratitude and joy, will suffer!
Perhaps his destiny was to live creatively. He had to be "pushed" to break
away from the norm, the expected. This push was from Self. Abel is another
aspect of Self. The destruction of Abel is the ending of the familiar way of
doing things. The curse of Cain is also a blessing, meaning that creativity
now becomes the Way, the unexpected instead of the expected, no where to
call home. This is like Jesus saying, "The Son of Adam has no where to lay
There is too little in the text of the bible to know exactly what God responded to, but
it seems to me the bible and all other texts and belief systems that I know
of, ask us again and again, to become aware of the distinction between form
and substance, between the material and the spiritual, to find the sublime
in the mundane, not reduce the sublime to the mundane....
The Bible also says that spirit and matter originate from One, One with no
second, One which is not a number, One which includes infinity. The Bible
is symbolic in the sense that no language can really point to "what is" or "the Self" or
"Being," so symbol, imagination, creative exploration of meaning must be used.
THE OUTSIDER EXPERIENCE
witness: a bunch of social outcasts banding together to become
a revolutionary force.
all bring their own drumbeat, but for a time try to work together to achieve,
say,* freedom* from oppression/hatred. within this new group factions form.
labels are created for the different kinds of people in each faction.
eventually, one either conforms, becomes exactly what they were resisting to
begin with! or grows to detest/resist the labels. then there is the walking
alone. this occured in my own life as part of the gay community as an
activist. then there was a day when i walked away from the "struggle--" it
was one of those "i'm not that" moments that eventually led to the whoami
instant. (i'm not a duckling! i'm a swan! :)
there was a sense of separation-- total aloneness until i began to look very
deeply at where the drumbeat came from to begin with. i found massive
*company*. a journey that had begun railing against alienation had landed me
in a place where i stood in perfect solitary peace. and then i was free to
go where i liked-- and things looked a lot different ! found this peace to
be portable. it is everywhere -- everything-- everyone. . .
this (outsider) experience often begins in childhood, and as other children seem to intuit
*exactly* who the outsiders are. it seems like a most natural occurance.
back to (dan's) cain example-- the creative individual seems to manifest these
characteristics. the visionaries. like blake's ancient poets, seeking to
escape the manacles forged by reason. some seem to "have ears."
What does it mean to be "chosen?" Can a group be "chosen" too? Can it happen as one walks to
the beat of a tribal drum?
i have only a daydream/vision of one tribe-- one beat. . .only a
rather childlike wish that all are chosen. . . in *reality*, the tribal beat
is a cacophony--harsh and conflicting--to me, this is my unfinished symphony.
Or is it individuals who are chosen as they walk to the drummer that they
Can we who are walking our alone walk commune as we walk?
on a lone walk this afternoon, i took my favorite route into town.
the road runs perpendicular to a snow capped mountain (for cool thoughts on a
hot day). today, beyond the mountain was a cloud that made me laugh. it was
in the shape of one of those conversation bubbles, like in cartoons. yes, i
thought, the sky is trying to say something here! but of course it was
filled with cloud. as i walked i kept my eye on the cloud, as the pattern
swirled within-- occasionally passing other walkers who would signify
greetings in the expected way, "hi." "hello" "great day, eh?" on some
level, i believe we are communing in the language of that cloud.
but the answer to your question is: i don't know, and yet i have a sense
that we are deeply communing at all times at a very deep level.
MY TIME ON THE STREETS
I have always been an outsider looking in - as a consequence I
myself as a sentimental iconoclast always searching for tribal and
traditional roots. I grew up an American in a German village, not really
a part of the American military community or the German community. Although
I was accepted (reasonably well), I still always felt "different."
This trend has always continued. I went to school in Berkeley, became a
lesbian separatist very radical feminist - disengaged from that when I
discovered a plan for a "boys only" tent at a separatist gathering - to
separate out our sons could not be the end result, for me, of an ideology
which sought my own sense of wholeness...
amazing how the vision can clear up when you are an open mind among
closed ones. such clarity! i passed on a gig at the michigan women's music
fest because they were refusing transex male to female musicians. i have yet
to leap past my attraction to women--and why fight it? it's fun. :) only
revulsion from the organizations and such. hey! we probably trashed some
of the same government offices though. . .:) ( said this smiley former
berkeley lesbian terrorist from hell)
I then, in typical fashion, got married, had my own children and became
a stay at home, homeschooling mother. I lost most of my friends when I did
this, although for me one followed from the other as naturally as day
follows night. Loving women had healed alot of my wounds around loving
in general and taught me to love people for the who they are, not the bodies
oh boy- i've seen this happen. you lose all your friends , cause you are
seen as a traitor by those who see only two sides to every issue. but
you're still the same outsider you've always been. that's painful and
Anyway, the list of such "opposite" choices and lifestyles goes on for
me. I never perceived of them as opposite, although I saw how they might appear
so to others; to me they were like walking along a spiral, appearing to change
course, but always moving in the same direction; the capacity to love
unconditionally, to accept healing into my life, and to share the effects
this is the most concise description of "a life" i've read in quite a while.
the eternal integrity of "you"-- beautiful truth.
As I was always clear about my choices, I experienced no trauma from these
changes or the rejections that accompanied them, until the time I became
homeless, as a result of a divorce related to domestic violence.
Being the "other" is no where better exemplified, I believe, than to walk
the walk of one who inspires fear in others. This was a profoundly life
altering experience for me; to become the despised, the castaway, the
disposable and the feared and hated. I do not mean to hyperbolize or
overstate the case; people literally cross the street to get away from
you....this really gets your attention and must draw thought to the
difference between form and substance, perception and "reality", self and
other. Internalizing these reactions is, of course, the greatest danger.
No one who spends any time on the streets can escape this, some never do.
It is the condition of "institutionalized poverty mindset" that traps so many
people in lives that appear to go nowhere.
As a cultural archetype, poverty is a mirror that reflects back to us all
our basic cultural values about the nature and value of human beings. This
goes without saying, I suppose.
For myself, my time in the streets, at least initially, was the most
profound spiritual event of my life, after childbirth. Until the
internalized self-hatred set in, it was a time of profound freedom. The
circumstances that got me there had been so traumatizing, I was ego dead,
and open to the experience of miraculous, unmitigated, tenderness and love
for the people who gathered around me and tended to me; in this case heroin
addicts, alcoholics, outlaws and other "bad people." I was on a "walkabout"
and open to the mysteries of how the universe provides for every need;
how all things that appear "evil" are good....it was the ultimate non-dual
experience. It lasted for about two months, faded away, and I was back
to serious hard core dual thinking, about how to get the hell out of there.
I am grateful for my experiences. I think they have pushed me hard to "know
myself", have pushed past the "petty" and "trivial" concerns with which
I used to concern myself. On the other hand, in the end, they point back
to an innocent perception and a trusting, faithful regard for all people....I'm
not sure I needed the hardship to get back to what I once had naturally
when I was about 17!
It doesn't matter where or how we walk, the lessons are all the same. There
is no harm in choosing an easy path, no ultimate harm in choosing a
difficult one, and there is always, always, the choice to simply dance.
did you choose a path? follow open doors? kick some doors open?
i agree-- dancing is all there is here. dancing in place, here.
If you are interested in any more of what I have to say try
"seekermagazine.com" [editor's note: the article follows]
i'll check the link out. thank you. this is exactly the kind of experience
i have had in mind as i pondered this topic. i saw many, many buddha's
homeless on the street when i lived in the city. i learned many profound
truths from my existence among them. your story is a triumph on surface
level-- but it goes deeper than that. you are led from innocence through
experience and on to informed experience. and you ended up right back where
you were at 17-- and always. you always were there. and you are grateful
for the experience and for awareness. namaste.
thank you so much for sharing your story.
From Seeker Magazine
by Kristi Shelloner
When I was homeless I had to cross the panhandling bridge. This wasn't too difficult for me since I had given away
hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars to panhandlers in my many years in the Bay Area. I used to stuff my pockets
with change, every day, to pass out to those who mingled on Berkeley street corners or slept in the Powell BART
station entry-way. I can remember feeling a sense of joy and privilege at being in a position to give.
Being on the other side of that exchange is an entirely different experience. I didn't feel the shame of it for a long
time. I was simply relieved that so many chance encounters that coughed up pennies, bedside table change, fed me
and kept gas in my car, for the treks from town to our camp and back. The flash of silver, as someone's hand
withdrew from their pocket, nickels and dimes and, glory be, a quarter, was as satisfying as Christmas morning when
I was a kid.
I'm relieved that my panhandling days are over, but it did teach me gratitude and perspective. It also taught me how
difficult it is for some people to hand over even spare change. I felt sorry for them. I may have been poor in worldly
ways but those who are poor in spirit have a much harder row to hoe.
I had a lot of resistance at first. But the need to survive will overcome even the most ingrained social habits of
"civility." I thought about all the holy men in other cultures, India in particular, who survive only by begging, as they
are not allowed to provide for themselves in any other way. I thought about what it means to be at the mercy of the
beneficence of the universe every day, the generosity of strangers. It still fills me with a sense of wonder and awe,
that for many months so many people I didn't know and would never see again, cared enough about this unknown
human to help me survive. Thank you.
Aboriginal Indians in Australia go on walkabouts. They head out into the desert, elders, kids, men and women, with,
perhaps, no particular destination in mind. They take virtually nothing with them even though they may be traveling
for months at a time. It is a form of worship to enter into the world, trusting that everything you need will come.
In our culture it is a great taboo to ask for help in the way of panhandling, to beg. It is a gesture filled with shame and
loathing: an admission of abject failure in the ways of a world steeped in the primacy of things rather than people. I
recognized this every time I asked for spare change. I somehow moved beyond the stigma and greeted this time as a
form of worship: the opportunity to receive from the universe, when I had always been a giver; the opportunity to
learn what it is like to be on the other side of the helping hand; the chance to refuse to meet refusal or hostility or
rejection with anything other than sweetness and light.
I think in many of those exchanges I gave as much as I received. It is a wondrous event to relieve someone of guilt
or anger by saying, "no, it's ok, I can see it's not a good day for you to give;" to bless them with acceptance of
whatever way they are. I have watched panhandlers (and experienced this myself) turn around and give everything in
their pocket to someone who needed it more, whether it was because they were cash poor, even though they had a
car and a home, or because they had meager spirit and simply needed an unexpected gift from the universe.
I learned to receive with joy, and without guilt or shame, and I have learned to give until it feels good. I am grateful
for these lessons.
(Copyright by Kristi Shelloner, 1999 - No reproduction without express permission from the author)
I mean let's face it.. men and women have this history wherein
women have been
"marginalized", which brings up the underdog issues and that is
perhaps more what I have been reacting to than gender identity per se.
(When the outcast one buys into that fear of truly being
unacceptable, all is lost, huh? If I feel like an underdog, its
only because I "see" smart ass men, when none are intended.
Really, these are some of the nicest, most aware men on the
planet, what IS my problem?) What you said about marginalized
people being driven to realization seems so very important. You
either break free or die. And I think a large part of "homophobia"
is envy of that freedom, hard won as it may be.
i love that! freedom envy. . .very interesting. when i lived in san
francisco, co-workers would complain about our freedom parade. they'd say,
"when's the straight parade?" well, i would just think, it's every day. but
maybe not. maybe you need to see that you're in prison, before you think to
ask to be bailed out. very cool, gloria. and you are so right about your
perceptions altering reality-- "seeing" smart ass men. it took me years to
realize that not everyone that looked at me was thinking , "stooopid
lesbian." (the guys are actually just wondering where i get my hair cut !)
Well, I have understood many of my
issues about this before, and I truly want men to be able to
safely intellectualize in my presence - even if I do sometimes
feel excluded by that. ( among other things they may do.. honest..
I am very permissive :)
just an observation of "my growing up" and watching kids where i've
taught-- girls seem to be *more* confident than boys until about age twelve. Then we
lose it. it's like-- i'm a woman now, so my brain must ooze from my ears. i bought
into this. there was a silent understanding that girls didn't one-up boys,
beat them at one on one basketball and etc. i remember getting alot of
positive feedback for being reserved,too.
That is not the only issue, but I can't get
everything into one post.) I'm sure men must feel excluded by some
things women do, they just don't seem to mind or even want to be
included in our world much. Again, no one is really doing anything
all that horrible to me here, I "see rejection" mostly because I
feel inadequate to join in the game here, .. I should just go
away..oh, I can create all sorts of hells to put myself thru. I
have never felt so stupid in my life as I do here, but I cannot
leave. Where else can I learn about nonduality? And I really do
have a passion for that.
beginning at zero point, aka stupidity, is my morning ritual. it's
best just after i've spent the night with my subconscious mind, which isn't
nearly as hard on my self as the mind-by-day. you could learn nonduality
from your goldfish, but it wouldn't be as much fun. plus we wouldn't get
your posts. my first weeks in grad school, i went home every day feeling
sick. the guys in the class expressed themselves with such confidence and
clarity. i felt like an idiot. they wrote stories about their experiences
in vietnam--they knew philosophy, and how to debate. i wrote about my dog
and didn't say a word. but i hung in there, secretly feeling that i'd be
found out for the imposter scholar that i was. the fear and the sickness
aside, *passion* carried me through. i got the only A in the class. you're
just the secret A student, gloria. think about how many people don't even
HAVE a passion.
yikes! go girl!
I only wanted to confess I did the same stupid reaction thing once
again to Tim. And I do know better. I don't seem to know how to
CONNECT with him his way, and I think this communication problem
gets in the way of my having any relationship with him. And I do
want that. If I just tell him how I feel, he thinks I'm being too
nondual and its ego-based. :)
Androgyny is also totally beyond my understanding and imagination,
so I will likely feel excluded from that discussion as well.. :)
I spent a great deal of time talking to a transexual last year,
hoping to understand what that was about. I mean there must be
something really important about a gender identity to go to that
much trouble to change it. I think people should be free to do
whatever makes them happy or whatever they need to do and I
appreciate how open she was to discussing this with me. I can take
her word for it, yet I cannot myself imagine wanting to change my
sexual identity. (It was hard enough learning this one, why start
on another one?) This is, in part, why I feel that "total
understanding" is sometimes a poor basis for acceptance and love. It was easy to
just love her...
"it was easy to just love her" is transcendent and beautiful. thank
you. it goes beyond the bondage of societal rules and names. once you start
playing this game, you start seeing the traps-- there's one! you clearly see
this-- i admire what you are doing. i'm doing my homework on shiva/shakti
right now-- cause i don't understand androgeny to the extent that i'd like
to. thanks for your words.
|What Am I? Galen Sharp