I do not experience soul as having any sexual identity. I experience ego as having a sexual identity. So souls aren’t male or female. They incarnate as men or women in different times of their incarnation journey, as far as I’m concerned. I’m just giving you my perception.
So the spiritual journey to me is not sex-linked. It’s not limited by it, or special to it. There are, however, different strokes for different folks and different practices for different people. There are certain kinds of practices or routes up the mountain, or routes that extricated your self from your ego, and put you into your soul. There are routes that are more attractive to one person than another. There are practices that are really attractive to women, and women at certain stages and so on, and there are practices men are more drawn to, and there are practices for people that are in their hearts a great deal, or people that are very much in their head, or people that are very much in their energy systems.
A lot of people can’t sit in meditation, but they can do Tai Chi, or they can run in a meditative way. Now, to the extent, somebody has had a lot of shit go down about their being gay, and has gone through a lot of suffering and so on, that which seems like a total drag when it’s happening… I look back now and I see that the seed of what is now my compassion was definitely nurtured by my experience. That’s not to say I would have asked for that experience. I hated it while it was happening. I was full of self-pity and fury, and anger and I couldn’t tell my parents. It was horrible, but when I look back now in retrospect I see how it deepened my being. It threw me back in on myself while a lot of people who stayed outside of themselves, who were loved by everybody, and were having success, stayed very external. They stayed very external in life, while I was thrown back inward, and I’ve had a very deep inward life, not just because of that, but I definitely see it configuring.
So I think that being gay in this society at this time has a psychic cost to it that can be seen from a spiritual point of view as a nurturing process in spirituality, because in a way it keeps you separate from a certain identity with the mainstream culture, and that helps free you, which is part of the whole spiritual journey.
Like, I’ve never felt comfortable going into a bar. I always felt like I was acting, whether the bar was straight or gay. I mean I can do it, but the feeling is just crap. It’s not what I would choose to do. So what I experience now with all of that is it threw me into separate space. It always pulled me into the witness or into that part of my mind which was an observer at the same time as being a participant, and I see that now as an asset. I mean, now I see my sexuality as being an asset. I didn’t ask for it, and I wouldn’t ask for it again, I want you to know I’m not gonna kid myself, but it is the way it went down. It took me many years to just say, “I am what I am, and it’s tough shit, but if you don’t like it that’s your problem. I am what I am, and that’s it.”
-Ram Dass, 1995