Scott’s Coming Out/Waking Up Story

Scott’s Coming Out/Waking Up Story

When I was a young child, I had no idea what “gay” meant.  Homosexuality was virtually never talked about in my family, except for a few tight-lipped stories of a gay friend of the family.  All that I really knew was that I was attracted to boys, not girls.  That was my experience, not my identity.  From age seven to eleven, I experimented sexually quite a bit with boys my age, all of it consensual.  But again, I never made a connection between that activity and the thought, “I’m gay.” Around age twelve, I was watching TV one afternoon.  It was the early 80s when the gay rights movement was really taking off and the AIDS epidemic was all over the media.  I saw people calling themselves gay or lesbian and holding up signs about being proud.  Others were holding up signs that said “Fags will rot in hell” and “Homosexuality is against God’s law.”  Still, I made no connection between those people on the TV and my own identity.  That had nothing to do with me, so I thought . . . .  “I’m just attracted to my friends sometimes.”    ”[Read Then, it all changed. Sitting alone one day in my house, in freshman year of high school, I had a sudden earth-shattering epiphany, “Holy Shit, I’M GAY!”  I repeated it over and over again, as if to convince myself that this is really who I am. “I’m Gay, I’m Gay.”  It didn’t feel at the time that I was convincing myself of anything.  This clearly felt like realizing who or what I was.  The identity-making mind had kicked in full throttle.  I felt liberated to finally know and yet absolutely terrified at what that meant. The next few years of high school were about hiding my identity, tucking myself neatly away into the closet, and dating girls to cover up the truth about myself.  By the time I attended Western Kentucky University, I was ready to stop hiding.  I came out of the closet and told everyone, one by one.  The experience of telling my loved ones was so terrifying that I would either throw up afterwards or medicate myself with drugs before and after to cover up the fear and shame.  That was the late 80s and early 90s in the Midwest.  Need I say more?  Gay was not quite cool back then. Now that I look back at those days of growing up, I can see what happened.  There were observed regularities happening in my experience and I took those observed regularities and made an identity out of them.  When I was a young kid, I experienced the regularity of having same sex attractions...

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Using Non-Duality to Escape Sexual Orientation?

Using Non-Duality to Escape Sexual Orientation?

I was giving a talk a few years ago and a young man approached me with a quizzical look on his face.  He said, “I have a girlfriend but I think I’m attracted to men and I really don’t like that.  I would like to use your Inquiries to get rid of this part of myself.”  Needless to say, I strongly recommended that he not use the Inquiries in that manner.  These were, apparently, very naturally-occurring thoughts, emotions and proclivities arising for him.  But the sense of shame around his sexual desires led him to non-dual teachings as a way to escape the attraction.  He may not have been aware that this is what his mind was doing.  Apparently, he was partly concerned about cheating on his girlfriend.  But I encouraged him to see that cheating deals with issues of monogamy and honesty in relationship and that sexual orientation is a different matter altogether. The gender(s) to which you are attracted is not the same as whether you lie to someone in a relationship.     This is where I think some confusion arises in non-dual teachings.  Life is a streaming river of all kinds of feelings, thoughts, energies, urges, attractions, repulsions, pain and pleasure weaving themselves temporarily in and out of experience.  It’s easy to see awakening as a way out of the river.  But I’ve found that the deepest realization is to wake up within and through these movements in life, to actually look at what is arising and to free oneself from the escaping from, and grasping for, a fixed belief in self. Negating the various eddies in the river is not transformation.  It’s the same old game of escape disguised as awakening.  For those who wish to use awakening as an escape from sexual orientation or gender identity, maybe a healthier route would be to look at the story of deficiency that is connected with the orientation.  Is there shame, fear or self-judgment running the show?  Is the belief, “There is something wrong with me,” present?  Those things can certainly drop away, as the thoughts, emotions, and sensations are no longer identified with.  But is the sexual orientation itself really the problem?  And how would you know until the shame, fear and self-judgment is released? There is a natural expression of uniqueness that can come about through no longer identifying with stories, labels, and emotions.  This is one of the most elusive and inexplicable aspects of freedom because the mind believes that “natural expression of uniqueness” is just plain ego.  It’s not.  It’s movement within and through life no longer feeling bad about who you are, no longer feeling the constraints and limitations of a thought-based...

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Lyndsey’s Story

Lyndsey’s Story

I knew I was gay when I was nine years old. Though I didn’t have the word for it yet, I had thoughts of kissing my best friend in third grade. I had sensations pulsating throughout my prepubescent body whenever I was near her. And I had feelings that I longed to express but didn’t quite know how. The terms gay, lesbian or homosexuality weren’t even on my radar. But the feelings, sensations and thoughts never went away. In fact, they grew stronger. By the time I was a teenager, I learned through the eyes of society that those feelings, sensations and thoughts were wrong. I also learned that there was a word to describe them. That word was “gay.” At first I distanced myself from the word. I didn’t want to be different. I didn’t want to be an outcast. Gay? Not me! That’s not my identity. Of course, by the time I graduated from college and moved to Boston, MA, that changed over time. I came out, met other gay individuals and met my first girlfriend. Suddenly, the word “gay” was appealing. Sure. I’m gay. Yep … that’s me. The truth is, I’ve never been the “ra, ra, I’m gay” type of individual. I’ve gone to pride parades for the experience of it but you wouldn’t see me marching in the procession. Maybe it’s because I never glued myself to the word “gay” itself. Yes, it gave me a sense of understanding in regards to those feelings, sensations and thoughts I often had. But I never attached my identity to it. I never thought it was the be-all-end-all of “me.” Words are funny. We can wrap our entire human identity into something as simple as a word. Why is that? Some words even have multiple meanings, which one is right? For example, do I tie myself to the word “gay” because I am attracted to the same sex or because I am innocently happy? So many of us in the LGBT community take being gay so seriously that it overshadows everything else. In defining my sexuality, I can nod my head and say, “yes, I am gay.” But in defining who I am in totality, a simple three-letter word is too limiting. How can three little letters define anyone? They can’t. Word can never truly describe who we really are. Once the letters drop away, what’s left to identify with? Lyndsey www.lyndseydarcangelo.com    ...

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I’m Ashamed of My Gay Son – An Inquiry

I’m Ashamed of My Gay Son – An Inquiry

In this inquiry from the book, I help Tom to use the UI on his son, Brandon, who has just announced to the family that he is gay. Tom challenges his most deeply held assumptions about his son, and about gay people and women in general. Tom: My son, Brandon, just told me he is gay and I believe that homosexuality is wrong. I knew when he was a kid that he was more feminine than other boys. I put it out of my mind. I wanted him to “man up.” But he didn’t. I’m wondering if I did something wrong, if I didn’t father him correctly. Scott: Can you find your son? Tom: Yes, he’s my son, of course I can. He has lived with me all his life. I know him really well. Scott: I didn’t ask whether you know him or have lived with him. I asked whether you can find him. Is the thought “Brandon” your son, Brandon? Tom: No, that’s just the name we gave him at birth. Scott: Is the thought “son” him? Tom: No, just a word. Scott: Is the thought, “Brandon is gay” your son? Tom: Yes, that feels like him. And it doesn’t feel good at all. Scott: Whenever a thought feels like your son, it just means you are referring to a memory of him. And as that thought comes up, there is some emotion or sensation happening in your body along with it. These emotions and sensations are not always conscious. In other words, we aren’t directly aware of them. So become aware of them now. What emotion or sensation happens when you think the thought, “Brandon is gay?” Tom: Sadness and a bit of embarrassment, and shame for feeling embarrassed. Scott: Is the word “sadness” your son, Brandon. Tom: No, that’s just a word. Scott: How about the words “embarrassment” and “shame?” Are those words your son? Take your time. Really stare at each thought until it begins to fade. Tom: No, just words. Scott: Then just let those words fall away. Bring attention into your body and really feel directly what shame and embarrassment feel like when you aren’t placing words on those energies. Tom: Yeah, I’m feeling that. It feels very uncomfortable. I can see myself wanting to escape these feelings. Scott: When you aren’t labeling it, is that energy in your body your son, Brandon? Tom: No, those are just feelings. Scott: Let those feelings relax on their own, as if you have no agenda to push them away or make them stay. Tom: As soon as I felt them, they became more intense. I saw a desire to get out of my body...

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