has four new books out: an updated, revised and expanded edition of
classic soft sci fi romance novel
SECRET MATTER -- with its quirky and mystical spin on what it means to be gay. Click on the title for info.
An historical novel, written in collaboration with historian/anthropologist Walter L. Williams,
set in the Old West TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life With the Navajo. And a collection of gay positive stories
contributed by more than 30 writers titled CHARMED LIVES. And his beloved spiritual romance novel
GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE has just been rereleased by Lethe Press.
Table of Contents
Also on this website:
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the
Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams
GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The
Dimensional Structure of
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
You're Not A Wave
What is Enlightenment?
What is reincarnation?
Emptiness & Religious Ideas
Experiencing experiencing experiencing
Going into the Light
Meditations for a Funeral
The way to get to heaven
Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal
Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva
John Boswell was Immanuel Kant
Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook
Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer
The Way Out by Christopher L Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson
Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry
Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr
Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bougeois
Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson
Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low
Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman
The Kairos by Paul E. H=rtman
Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor
Here's a way of understanding the notion of the "Clear
In the afterlife state (called the bardo), for instance,
you might see a smoky light off to the left and a bright white
light beside it. These lights lead to the loka of hell. These lights
look especially attractive if your karma is full of anger. If you enter
there, you'll reincarnate as a denizen of hell. It will be hard to get
out of there. You'll have to wait to be reincarnated as a human to ever
get another try at Buddhahood.
A dull red light leads to the loka of the hungry ghosts.
Red looks attractive to souls whose karma is full of attachment. A
green light leads to the loka of the angry gods. It looks attractive to
souls whose karma is full of jealousy.
It's always better to choose the brighter light than the duller, but ideally you won't choose any of these lights (blue, white, yellow, red, green, or rainbow) and so avoid reincarnation at all. If you can hold out long enough and pass all the way through the bardo, you can get back to the clear light. But most souls end up at a place where they see their old lives and get reattached to having a body and then inadvertently get reincarnated again. (There's an interesting twist on this image that's presented in the short essay How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated.)
Indeed, before any of these colored lights were seen, you
were given a chance to enter buddhahood directly. That's what called
the experience of the Clear Light at the moment of death.
What's "clear light"?
It's not white light. White comes later; it actually leads
to hell. And white isn't "clear." It's white. "Clear" means you can't
see it at all. You see right through it.
The "clear light" that we're seeing through all the time
throughout our lives is the light we're giving off ourselves, i.e., the
light other people see us by.
We see right through this light as though it weren't there,
but it is really surrounding us, isn't it? To all the other people in
the world, it's us. It's what others see us as.
Mixing a little Catholic Purgatory mythology into this
understanding, we might consider that what Purgatory means is seeing
the truth of what was really going on during one's life. People live in
delusions. They don't know what other people are thinking, especially
about them. So maybe Purgatory is getting to know what others were
thinking, what was really motivating them in their dealings with you,
what was really going on in your dealings with them.
It might really be quite purgative--even punishing--to see
what was really going on during one's life.
Maybe that is what the "Clear Light" refers to. It's seeing
ourselves as others see us.
In the poem "To a Louse," the poet Robert Burns expresses
this wisdom like this:
Oh, that God would give us the very smallest of giftsThe Clear Light is the truth.
Perhaps the image functions on an even deeper reality. In esoteric physiology, it's said human beings have several layers or sheathes or bodies in which we reside. The physical body is the most obvious; it is enlivened by the vital body, which in turn is experienced and directed by the mental body, etc.
The last and most subtle of these bodies is the radiant body; it's that "organ of consciousness" that radiates karmic vibes. It's what some people see as the aura, and maybe what psychics experience as telepathy.
The radiant body is giving off an even clearer light. It's so clear nobody sees it. It's the karma of our lives and it shows up in the lives of people who live after us. It's our spiritual effect on the world.
To see the Clear Light, then, would mean to realize the karma you're transmitting out into the collective consciousness of Earth.
According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, if you choose the Clear Light at the moment of death, you avoid the bardo altogether. You go right into Buddhahood and are freed from reincarnation. You become the bliss of the Buddha.
At every moment in our lives, we can make the effort to see ourselves as others see us, we can make the effort to see what kind of karma we're incurring for future generations.
This would change the way we live. It would make our lives blissful, it would make life "heaven on earth."
How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated
Seeing with Different Eyes
Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.
Johnson's Lammy Award winning book
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book GAY
PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature
of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.