The inclusivity of waking up

By Lisa Meuser   You know how the old lineage of non-duality disavowed the body with such success? it makes sense- because when culture propagates dissociation, one doesn’t actually know what one isn’t including. All those head openings, going up and out, were perfectly delightful. Exclusion came easy. Non duality upholds “no separation”. But until one looks thoroughly in every nook and cranny, to see what might possibly not be included (subconsciously), there will be exclusion. Those old white men didn’t know how to include their looking into that which they’d separated so deeply from. It’s similar w/ the black lives matter and rape culture and homophobia and fear machine politics. It’s why we can’t just be “humanists”- because for centuries humanism excluded women. It just can’t be “all lives matter”- because for centuries that meant white lives. It can’t just be all life/love matters because GBLT lives and love have not been valued. Until we strip back all the entitlement and heavy duty power structures and propaganda, we can’t understand that white, heterosexual, male supremacy is what is largely running the world. It’s more than the 3%, because the 3% has infiltrated every nook and cranny of culture to get people to do their bidding. And we’re doing it, without knowing we are. We’ve got to wake up! We can’t see the dynamics when we’re so busy defending, hiding, pretending. “Oh, not me! that’s the other men. Oh not me! That’s the other white people! Oh not me! That’s other straight people!” Oh, but it is me. It is ME that is the problem. I must deeply look into me. And you must look into you. And, into “we.” Waking up includes exploring and journeying into everything. Every bit of entitlement we’ve gained from being white. From being men. From having money to feed and shelter ourselves and our children. From not fearing bombs dropped on us. It includes diving into every emotion, feeling, belief, addition, and assumption wrt who we are/what we take ourselves to be/what we take others to be. Inner and outer. Waking up is inclusive. It includes everything. It includes looking into everything you think you are, and into everything you think you aren’t. Thoughts, sensations/energies/feelings, ideas, mental fixations, memories of past, visions of future. Explore. Rest. Inquire. AND enjoy...

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The Deepest Work of Civil Rights Happens Within

The Deepest Work of Civil Rights Happens Within

      BY SCOTT KILOBY     I really don’t like the word homophobia because I don’t like labels generally – at least the kind that are used to put people in boxes. This is the same reason that I don’t walk around each day thinking of myself as gay. No thanks. Take your box somewhere else. Yes, for conventional purposes, I am gay. But the word is not what I am. Nor is the word “homophobic” what other people are who do not like or who fear gay people. But the word homophobia does, at least, speak to the fear underneath the issue. Phobia means fear. Some of my gay and lesbian friends do not understand why I do not get upset or outraged when I see homophobia in the world. I used to get really upset. But my work in the last decade or so has been about meeting my own fear directly. I cannot fix others. It is not my job. Certainly, the discrimination and hate crimes against the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community cannot be condoned in a civilized society. The laws are changing in favor of protection. And that is great. But the deeper issues cannot be changed fully by laws. Just as racism continues (largely out of fear) decades after the civil rights movement in the 60s, fear or ignorance around LGBT people will continue for a long time despite the recent changes in law. The real work is not just on the side of those who fear or do not understand those in the LGBT community. It is also on the side of the LGBT community. Very few of my gay brothers and sisters actually investigate fully their own deficiency stories and internalized homophobia. Being gay or lesbian, we grew up in a world that contained many people who thought we were disgusting, sinful or just plain freaks. Many, or I should say, most of us in the LGBT internalized all of that. It’s similar to when young black children internalize the sense of being less worthy than white children (this was noted in the Brown v. Board of Education case – ending segregation). In my view, the real work in civil rights issues happens within. Until people see that they are not these stories of deficiences and until they let go of the internalized fear, we will never see the full acceptance of the LGBT community in society. How can society accept us if we do not accept ourselves first? The same kind of work has to be done, of course, on the side of those who fear or who do not understand the LGBT community. Those who bullied...

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Love your body; just say no to cultural conditioning

Love your body; just say no to cultural conditioning

      By Lisa Meuser     I came across this article today and it got me thinking about the work I’ve done with clients and myself regarding body images- how we see our own body as well as other bodies. In the article, the author asks the question: “Does geography influence the body types we idealize and are attracted to?” The author goes on to talk about the research done, and the results.  First, the research: “There’s a lot written about the effects of culture and media on the bodily standards we uphold. But the International Body Project, a survey of 7,434 people worldwide, aimed to investigate whether there were more base-level factors motivating our ideal body types, too.”  Then the results: 
The researchers found that places with low socioeconomic status tended to value heavier female body types, while places with high socioeconomic status tended to favor thinner bodies—possibly because body fat acts as an indicator of status when resources are scarce. And the effect of media shouldn’t be underestimated: “Our results show that body dissatisfaction and desire for thinness is commonplace in high-SES (socioeconomic status) settings across world regions, highlighting the need for international attention to this problem,” the researchers write. I happened to be reading something[1] that further suggests that geography influences how we see our body, but contradicts the above study. In studying an Amazonian jungle tribe, Daniel Everett learned that those with body fat were viewed as lazy and untrustworthy (“fat means corruption”), because hard work and a strict work ethic were very much a part of their cultural norms. So even though there was a low socioeconomic status, they valued thinner body types, but for different reasons. There are many variables that lead people to consider certain bodies as attractive, and others as unattractive, but it seems clear: geography and the cultural norms of the area are directly linked to body image. The ideas related to body image are passed down generationally, and literally become part of the culture and are taken as “truth”. If I look to my own familial norms and beliefs, as well as the culture I associate myself with, I notice that how I view my own body (as well as other bodies) is tainted with biases and viewpoints expressed by my parents, relatives and the culture I most connect with. Here comes the value of inquiry: if not examined, those biases will continue to hold “true”, and I will judge myself and others accordingly. Body image is literally the way I imagine or remember my body to look like. If you have ever done inquiry, if you’ve ever looked at images coming from the mind, you will know that all images...

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Sex Isn’t Bad, Bad Sex is Bad

Sex Isn’t Bad, Bad Sex is Bad

        By Scott Kiloby    Ken Wilber stated in one of his books, “Sex isn’t bad, only bad sex is bad,” as a way to speak to how some spiritual/religious traditions and other therapeutic models make sweeping statements that condemn sex as a whole. Sex is made into a dirty and wrongful act.  This is a topic worth discussing when it comes to sex addiction/recovery and how our personal and cultural views play into it. In my years of working with men and women on sex addiction, I’ve noticed that most of the addictive or compulsive behaviors around sex have to do with stories of deficiencies such as “I’m not good enough,” “I’m unlovable,” “I’m unsafe,” or “I’m not man enough.”  These stories have a way of making people feel bad about themselves and then look to sexual behavior as a way to medicate the negative thoughts and feelings that come with these stories.  In addition, there are general beliefs around sex as being bad, wrong, dirty or perverted that seem to fuel addictive behavior. I’ve noticed that many who come to work with me at the Kiloby Center on sex addiction take an extreme view around sex generally, judging or resisting the sexual impulse itself, whenever it arises.  They have a desire to extinguish all sexual impulses instead of limiting their inquiry only to addictive and compulsive behaviors that are fueled by the beliefs above.  Even non-addictive or non-compulsive sexual attraction is deemed “wrong” or “problematic.”  This view, I think, is not healthy for us.  It takes the spiritual/therapeutic quest too far and creates unneeded turmoil and self-judgment in our lives.  When I see a preacher or pastor on TV condemning sex, I think it actually creates a cultural taboo around the topic, which has the effect of fueling sexually addictive or risky behavior.  Sex becomes the forbidden fruit.  And we all know that fruit that is forbidden is even more tempting and tasty! How do we find a healthy balance with sex?  How do we discern the difference between healthy sexual impulses and sex addiction?  Let’s start with my definition of addiction:  Addiction is using a substance or engaging in an activity, repetitively or compulsively, for the purpose of avoiding having to feel emotion or sensation, and in a manner that is not necessary for physical survival. Procreative sex is needed for our survival as a species.  Does this make all sex outside of procreation wrong, as some religions state?  Does it mean that all non-procreative sex is addictive by nature?  No.  Addiction involves engaging in activities in order to avoid or medicate certain uncomfortable emotions or sensations.  Not all sex is about avoiding...

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