I was traumatized by my time in church. The years of sitting in pews, Bible studies, and coffee shops with Christian leaders, listening to variation upon variation of how wrong homosexuality is, slowly eroded me. Words might not seem that powerful, but if they are a steady trickle, coursing over your young mind which is porous as fresh soil, they carve out whole canyons of self loathing.
As I struggle with the darkness of our world, the uncertainty of the future, and the gross, volatile excesses of our leaders, I come to only one solution. It’s a small solution, no doubt, and it often feels insufficient. It may change nothing in our world, but it is the only thing I know to do: to live with integrity.
I have several not-so-secret ambitions in life; one is de-stigmatize the use of Tarot as a meditative and creative practice. I’ve already written at length on Tarot: on how I can be a Christian who practices it, my personal method for reading it, and a meditation on the first Major Arcanum, the Magician. This article will explore the method of Tarot meditation I use most regularly.
Before we get into the meditation technique, however, we need to talk briefly about why Tarot is so effective as a Meditation practice.
Every morning, I haul myself out of bed, make breakfast, and then sit down at my computer to dedicate a portion of my day – 30 to 90 minutes – to writing. This is my Deep Work practice, and to me, it is sacred.
Over two years ago, I met the love of my life. Gentle, intelligent, and incredibly present, I knew from the first phone conversation that we would be together. I had only been fully out of the closet for about two or three years – not nearly long enough to reverse a lifetime of training that homosexuality is intrinsically bad, disordered, and ugly. When I met my partner, those tapes were still playing deep in my subconscious. When J and I got together, those voices exploded from the nether realms of my brain. They came out like vengeful spirits, torturing me. This is what, in part, sparked my total meltdown at the beginning of 2015.
I’ve spent years of my life sorting through what I believe about homosexuality. I’ve been all over the map in this rugged terrain of theological belief, from ex-gay, to “Side B” to accomodationist, to affirming. Now, mercifully, I’ve journeyed beyond the gay Christian debate. I’m happy with my life and I’ve dedicated myself to what are, in my view, better, nobler things than a life-devouring obsession over my sexual orientation.
However, as I struggled with what I believed about homosexuality, I started to learn about people, and why we believe what we believe. The greatest things I’ve learned from the gay debate have little to do with homosexuality, and much more to do with human nature.
For my entire life, I’ve been driven by success. I measured success by the number of eyes that were watching me, by the number of mouths who sang my praises, by the number of laurels I collected. This blind, obsessive drive for success ranks as one of the top silent torturers of my psyche. It didn’t matter how many people read my work – it was never enough. It didn’t matter how perfected my vocal technique was when I was a lyric baritone, I was always more aware of the microscopic flaw than my general improvement.
I am a child of the internet, and as such, I’ve also learned to think on the internet. School aided me, but mostly I learned from youtube videos, forums, and blogs. There are great advantages to this, and I am grateful to the internet for all that I have learned and all that I have access to. However, as I have focused on continuing my education, I have stumbled across a huge chasm in my intellectual life: understanding the difference between information and understanding. This chasm is exacerbated by online life.Continue reading →
Last year, I wrote an article called Talking About LGBT People: A Tutorial. The basic gist of the article was that, when it comes to straight, conservative Christians trying to understand gay people, listening is better than talking. This thesis is obviously a good one: we should all listen more intently, and be less willing to offer hair-trigger responses to difficult situations. I stand by that central thesis.
But, for the past year, this article has been a grain of sand in my conscience, irritating and troubling me. I’ve meditated a great deal on my words in this post, and I now believe that an amendment is in order.
Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling sick to my stomach. I instantly knew what it was: I had ingested so much news, so much anxiety about the world, that I was making myself sick.
I felt trapped in my illness: I felt obligated to stay engaged with the news, to stay glued to the screen of my computer, to witness each horrifying executive order, each breakdown of democracy. Yesterday, I realized that I was killing myself, quite literally: my cortisol levels were in overdrive, flooding my blood stream. If I allowed that to continue, it would cripple every system in my body. I was allowing myself to get lost in anxiety, losing the anchor of my soul.