Category Archives: Spirituality and purpose

The Birth of Christo-Tantrism

I invented my own religion two days ago.

I founded it.

Or, created it.

(What phrase does one use for that, anyway?)

Why?

Because:

  1. None of the existing religions provide everything that I need for spiritual and emotional growth.
  2. I desire community and a structure for that community.
  3. I see the value of establishing some structures to be able to hold content and context and provide experience.

What am I going to do with my new religion?

Preach!

The deeper I go in my search for truth, the more different it looks than anything which is out there.

Our world is not only fake and plastic. It’s also evil, demonic, satanic, luciferian, and wrong.

So I am going to correct that.

Perhaps all alone.

Religion is able to reform everything. A religionist can and should speak about all of life. I recently read an article where the author made the point that in the Eastern languages, there is often no word for religion. Historically, this is because everything was religion.

We live in the opposite time–Where everything happens ostensibly with ‘no’ spiritual context. Not: “What would God think about this?” No: “What do I think God thinks about this?” No, “Let’s pray about it.” No, “What do the holy books or the spiritual teachers say?”

We pretend that our addiction to the types of thinking and acting that are destroying the world have nothing to do with spirituality.

In reality, we have unconscious spiritual contexts.

And that is incredibly dangerous. To not know what you are devoted to is to float upon the water with no mooring. You could arrive anywhere. And maybe there are times in life when you want to drift. But if you do that your whole life–without consciously focusing your energy and direction anywhere, where will you end up?

I feel like Goldilocks.

I have spent almost three decades in the ‘too cold’ ice bath of repressive fundamentalist religion.

I have spent another decade floating in the ‘too hot’ structureless, reactive world of New Age spirituality, with some Eastern thought and modern additions thrown in.

Both worlds have their advantages. There are ideas and concepts that are valuable to personal growth and development on both sides.

But, as Jesus said, “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life. And few there be that find it.”

The life Jesus described consists of constant course correction.

This new religion is an attempt to provide some guide rails and handholds to the straiter way. Not too rigid and not excessively, permissively anything-goes.

I find that even I need these rails and reminders.

I was aware that in leaving the institutionalized religion of my youth, I would be leaving the ‘safe road’ with guardrails and lots of signage. But that road had become too boring and limited.

As I have immersed myself deeply in one aspect of the way, I found myself bouncing back toward the opposite wall over and over.

Without any context or conceptual framework myself for my spiritual journey…I didn’t have anything safe to hold on to.

True to form, eventually, I did fall and hurt myself in the signless wilderness of exploration. And some of those wounds took quite some time to recover from.

In one way, I guess ‘my’ religion is an attempt to provide some signage and to clear paths for those who want to go off the beaten track without needing to climb Everest without a sherpa.

What’s so Great about Christianity?

Jesus is one obvious answer. A simple reading of the Gospels by any neutral person has to result in wonder for the stories about the man who populates them.

It is obvious that his character contains supreme wisdom, insight, goodness, love…indeed all of the virtues focused in a perfect life.

Our humanity sees this. It rejoices in it. And if it were only these stories, it would be a massive support to our own journey to develop our own happiness through virtue.

But there are also miracles and a resurrection, pointing to something beyond simple moral living and good ideas about living together.

Christianity does a great job of preaching Jesus and Him crucified and resurrected. Where it encourages “Christian living” as well as prayer and study of the holy word, it supports hundreds of millions in finding deeper meaning and joy in their lives.

What is Missing in Christianity?

Christianity as practiced has a couple drawbacks:

First, the context of the community in which Jesus’ messages were given did not have unlimited latitude. That is, not everything could be said to everyone. Thus, the Bible can be a fantastic start on a path to spiritual progress. And, once we unite with God, we can get whatever information we need through the Spirit. The “letter kills and the Spirit gives life” after all.

A second: the mindset, culture, and context of the current [Christian] world.

Specific strands of Christianity took over and held sway through the centuries. Their traditions became even stronger than the written text. Thus there have been periods of renewal and reformation, from peaceful to bloody.

New extensions and corrections to basic Christianity have led to the comical present where Christianity is divided into dozens of major subgroups and thousands of different denominations.

Which one holds the true authority, and correct interpretation of the Bible?

This question has plagued seekers through the ages.

Fixing Christianity

In my searches for truth, I have found that many cultural and historical inaccuracies needed to be released. I needed to ‘unlearn’ a plethora of ideas that have been bolted on or inherited, while clinging to some of the basics: becoming as a child, seeking the Kingdom of God, learning and living in love.

Curiously, the places where I find that we as a Christian culture carry the most soul and life-destroying baggage is around the ideas of sexuality, intimacy, and relationships.

In line with the “Christian Hedonist” John Piper, I believe that following God results in our happiness, and that our happiness, joy, peace, and rest is a direct result of following God’s will in our lives.  

If we are not experiencing happiness and joy, perhaps we are not following God’s will in something?

This was a shocking thought…but I knew after 27 years of conventional religion that I could not just white-knuckle it through another 27+ miserable years to get to heaven. I didn’t think God wanted me to do that, and so I considered that those who claimed to be teaching me His commands did not know as much as they said they did.

The journey to learn about such basic things as my body, my emotions, my sensations, and my relationships took me to places which I would have never been able to reach within almost any Christian context.

Yes, I made many mistakes along that path as well, but isn’t that part of learning?

I wish I had had more guidance and information in exploring the worlds which my Christian upbringing had been curiously silent about. That said, I did find what I was looking for.

“I am come that they might have life, and that more abundantly.”

What is an abundant life if not for joy, happiness, even pleasure and connection and meaning and depth with others?

In what ways have our interpretations of holy writ limited the joy in our lives and in which ways can we learn to listen to God to reclaim them?

Not only do I not believe that we must believe God to find joy, connection, and pleasure–but God wants us to both individually and as a community learn from Him to find these.

What is right with Eastern Religions and the New Age movement?

Although they are by no means synonymous, Eastern Religion and the New Age world (as one experiences it in the West) has one overriding attraction to those of us damaged by the judgement of Christians: no judgements.

The message there is that, whatever you do (and whoever you are), You Are OK. Whatever your desires, identity, labels, or actions–you can be alright just as you are.

That is a fantastic breath of fresh air from those of us who have been choked in the repressive and judgmental closets of fundamentalist Christianity.

No one really asked me who I was or what I wanted there. No one encouraged me to express myself. No one really liked it when I did: I was once censured for playing air guitar at a church dance. Some aren’t allowed to dance at all.

Within such narrow confines: Short hair, white shirt, black suit…and a litany of confusing “rules”,

it was hard to find myself or express myself in ways that would give me joy.

After a decade of it, I had to admit my own unhappiness.

So, welcome the world of tie-dye and pot brownies and gender fluidity and acceptance for alternative lifestyles…

I was free! At last.

No one cared what I wore or how long my hair was or whether I said ‘bad’ words in my search for myself or who I had sex with (I wasn’t even allowed to have sex with myself in the old place).

Free!

Where do E. Religions and the New Age hit their limits?

Precisely because there was no code of conduct, no standards whatsoever, this resulted in other problems.

Concepts such as ‘honesty’ and ‘truth’ were often very flexible. How do you build a safe community if you have no clear definition of lying or stealing or even sexual assault?

The result is that some people used the extreme license of these communities for abusive and violent actions. Worse, when they were called upon by members of the community to fess up, make amends, or change, they simply moved to the next similar community to find more victims.

In addition, the values of each person still existed in the NA world, but were radically different. They were unspoken and generally unconscious.

So, in the New Age world, I saw people who were constantly being offended and violated by others with no way to move toward understanding or reconciliation.

There was no yardstick of behavior at all to compare to.

What first appeared as so inclusive and loving ended up being dangerous and exclusive, with small cliques building up walled gardens around their particular (unspoken) value sets and all of the goals of personal development and expression taking a backseat to trying to defend these small fiefdoms against the constant encroachment of those who would violate said boundaries.

As a result, the New Age world was even more lonely for me than the institutionalized religious one. I suspect that is true for many people.

Without some shared values, methods of conflict resolution, or even intended path and goals, it is quite confusing and difficult to build a community of love. Deep wisdom and some structure is required.

Combining the Two

So, what if we combine the acceptance and non-judgement of the Eastern religious world with the clarity and perfect standards of Jesus?

What if we unite prayer and meditation?

Sacrifice with allowance?

Faith with patience?

Love with discipline?

Would we then have the strait and narrow way Jesus spoke about?

Could we have the best of both worlds?

Let’s find out together.

Psalm Isadora and Suicide

Dear Fellow Tantrikas, Sacred Sexuality practitioners, educators and friends,

My heart hurts. There has been a death in the family.

One of the best of us has not just been extinguished, but has chosen to extinguish her own light. Psalm Isadora is gone.

How has this happened? How can this happen?

I remember when I first found tantra. A new world opened up to me. I thought that I had found the solution to everything–the golden key.

With my new powers, nothing should be denied me!

And, for certain I had new, deeper access to the powers of God–the powers of love and life.

And I dove in completely for years…as many of us have.

And still…I found myself…empty.

Why?

I think a clue might be found in one of Psalm’s videos. One of the last she made. It was about suicide, a tragic irony.

A man had committed suicide in the hotel she was staying in and she commented on the whole affair. She said (paraphrasing), “I used to say that there, but for the grace of God, go I…but now I say, thank you to myself and my healers and my teachers…”

I felt at the very bottom of despair this past summer. There were thoughts inspired by painful feelings that could have taken me to total self-betrayal.

Then, as during all the deepest and most painful times in my life, the final and only thing I have found to deliver me from deepest despair, hopelessness, and desperation has been my relationship and connection to God.

In fact, much of my despair came precisely from me searching for solutions to problems that I could not solve.

To take responsibility to heal wounds I cannot heal.

There is a time when I admit my own limitations (and what is my power, really?) and lack of knowledge, wisdom and intelligence and step back and let God handle everything I do not know how to handle.

Yes, support from others has been key to this process. They are God with us. But my own honesty, borne of desperation in crying out, whether in rage, overwhelm, terror or grief–to God–has been the lifeline that has pulled me from the pit that felt eternal.

I echo what others have said. I am grateful we are gathering around this tragedy to look inside at how we are really doing and to consider new ways of being together.

And, if we don’t find our solutions or if all of our supports fail, I hope we can call out to God in faith for that last lifeline–and find it.

Yes, there are many corrupted forms of religion. But our personal connection to Divinity is always available.

I do not know what happened to Psalm. I am sharing my own story and what I have learned from others during the few years I have experienced “this life”.

No matter what we learn or how powerful we become, we are always just at the beginning.

God bless and keep us all.

In Love,
Ryan Orrock

A few people asked for the link to that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLXdkQJh4ls

Erotic vs Spiritual

One huge problem in our world is that we separate the spiritual and the erotic. It’s sometimes called The Lilith Complex. It is the source of untold suffering.

Very few are able to master all 7 chakras. We either contemplate God, the universe, meaning, spirituality, and religion. Or, we look for the so-called “baser” things in life. Pleasure. Sex. Celebration. Decadence. Fast cars. Big houses.

We don’t think of the Dalai Lama as a guy who is erotically charged. We see him as one connected to God. The same with the Pope. And the Pope is a virgin, right?

I spent many years in spiritual community. We didn’t talk about sex. We never approached it practically. We didn’t talk about how to enjoy our bodies.

Most spiritual communities are this way.

The Amish even create a false dichotomy of this. They send their youth out on a “rumspringa” where they encourage them to engage in excess with ‘the sinful world’. To them, you are either God-fearing or on Girls Gone Wild.

But there is more.

How do we experience sexuality, pleasure, and sensation in any sort of conscious, meaningful way? What structures even exist in our society to learn that? We learn reading, writing, and arithmetic for 12 years. Where do we learn about relationships, connection, emotions, touch, and sex?

I had to search very hard to find capable teachers about life’s essentials. The best teachers are virtually unknown. Yet, for me, they hold the keys of humanity’s future.

After my spiritual search didn’t make me happy, I turned inward. I turned to my body.

I began studying ancient practices and ideas around touch, connection, pleasure, and sexuality.

That was a journey of many years. Only now am I beginning to reconcile both my spiritual and physical and erotic journeys into a holistic life.

And I am always looking for people who are trying to do that as well.

I was surprised, then, when someone approached me who had spent years in a spiritual community and understood the core of what it means to be connected to the Divine, and who had left all of that, as a modern-day female Buddha–to research in ways that no teacher could show her what her body was capable of. Her experience took her to the depths of erotic exploration.

Her courage is awe inspiring. People close to her both warned and threatened her for her journey. And yet she has remained true to her search.

And she gives us a glimpse of what we might know by deeply understanding our bodies and our physical, human experience, with an integration of spirituality and meaning.

I consider it a privilege to be one of the first to bow down to give her the respect and the honor that she deserves.

The results of her dedication to the path herself are evident for me. I never speak to her without being my body being awakened and alive.

She now lives an example of a complete life. And she has only just begun.

Let me introduce you to her.

Meet Amy.

Tomorrow at 4:30 PST, I will be interviewing Amy about her amazing journey. get to know a woman who understands Bhakti (devotion) in the deepest of ways and who has worked professionally in the world of sexuality–I’ll let her tell you about that tomorrow.

You can be there, ask questions, and get to know her as well.

If, you subscribe here: https://sparkmk.leadpages.co/amy-s-webinar/

Some replay may be available (though it may be censored compared to the original, so I suggest being there in person to get all the details).

This will be fun. Join us! 🙂

What is a “Spiritually Evolved Person”?

“Religion is for people who believe in hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there.” – anon.

Off the Beaten PathA spiritually evolved person is someone who has suffered intensely as a result of a break between their spiritual identity or purpose and have gone through a major life shift as a result.

For instance:

  • Switching their religious label
  • Or “giving up on religion” entirely
  • Changing a major label of themselves of ‘Who I am’
  • …or a similar tectonic shift in their “map” of understanding themselves and the universe

I left the religion I was deeply involved in for 27 years. This was like ‘throwing away the map of my life’ and starting again from scratch.

Anyone who has done this knows what a scary, painful experience that is. And, yet they have committed to the truth, even if it does trigger this pain.

It takes great courage to make such a change. And once we have, the question of ‘reinventing ourselves’ and our spirituality becomes a powerful yet often treacherous journey. Especially if you go it alone.

I am dedicated to serving those who have, or are in the midst of, ‘reinventing themselves’ for a new life journey while creating a new map. As someone who has done it a few times, I’ve learned a thing or two about this process, including how to follow your own path when the “fog of life” is so thick we can’t see our own metaphorical feet and follow our own “silent voice of truth” when distracting masses seem to be shouting so loudly we can barely hear anything.