Toby Johnson's books:
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
Articles and Excerpts:You're Not A Wave
Driving as Spiritual Practice
Driving a car is an example of a modern state of consciousness that religion should probably be dealing with but does not know how to, and so simply ignores.
Riding in a moving automobile--especially driving alone--can produce an altered state of consciousness, a reverie that ranges from road hypnosis to euphoric singalong to interior dialogue to cathartic emotional release (“screaming in the car in the twenty mile zone”) to great calm and vision and openness to enlightened realization.
None of the meditation traditions discuss this at all. How could they? It has only begun to happen in the last century. Meditation traditions take centuries to form. Except for an occasional sermon on road safety or driving courtesy, the mainstream religions have nothing to say about automobile consciousness.
Yet, in fact, driving is one of the dominant experiences of modern life. It is potentially a life and death confrontation; every driver has experiences of just barely avoiding a major accident (a sign of grace, perhaps?; this is how psychotherapy superstar Scott Peck exemplifies “grace” in The Road Less Traveled).
And because of its tremendous potential for harm, shouldn’t driving be guided by moral laws and virtuous attitudes? Shouldn’t courtesy to other drivers, taking maneuvers to calm people in road rage, entertaining good intentions for other drivers be important religious/spiritual issues?
At any rate, driving is a behavior that calls out for mythologization and spiritual interpretation. These are truly religious issues. But they have virtually nothing to do with the stories of mythological heroes. (The fastest Jesus ever went, at least on land according to the Scriptures, was at the speed of a donkey parading into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.) Dealing with automobile consciousness begins with the realization things have changed.
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 GAY 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.