How to be Gay and Spiritual by Tony Ortega

How to be Gay and Spiritual by Tony Ortega

How to be Gay and Spiritual by Tony Ortega

My Spiritual Journey:

It was a Friday night, November 2, 2012. I am sitting on the toilet of my Queens apartment, smoking a Marlboro light, half drunk on cheap frozen Margaritas. I was in the midst of a text message argument with the man I was in love with at the time over $40.00. As the argument ensued, I stopped myself and said, “Is this what my life has come to? Arguing on a Friday night over $40.00?” I knew at that point, something had to change. I could no longer continue living my life the way I had been. This involved feeling like I was a peice of crap and being in relationships with emotionally unavailable guys who had no idea that they were in these relationships. I didn’t know what to do to change but vowed to begin the process somehow. When I made this decision, the right people and the right books and the right programs came my way and today, I have a great life.

The obstacles I encountered to being gay and spiritual:

One of the first obstacles in developing my spiritual life as a gay man was overcoming my religious indoctrination as a child. The religion that I was raised in condemned me for being gay. I had to figure out my truth about God and my sexual orientation. By the grace of God, I came across Marianne Williamson and her teachings based on A Course In Miracles. This book talks about how only love is real and that fear is a byproduct of our ego mind. It also teaches that our only problem is our thoughts of separation from God. This was something that I could wrap my head around and practice will full regard. A Course In Miracles teaches me that who I am, which is a part of God, is whole and perfect. Once that settled in, the rest became easy.

What are some of the things my peers say about this:

For the most part, my peers have been supportive of my spirituality. I have grown to practice meditation, angel/tarot card reading, essential oils, Reiki and crystal therapy. While some of my peers on the periphery of my support system have given me sideway glances, the vast majority not only support me, but come to me for suggestions on how to do things. I teach A Course In Miracles on a regular basis and the majority of the attendees are gay men (including my ex-boyfriend). Even guys that I have gone on dates with think it is pretty cool, whether they are spiritual or not.

How do I practice spirituality:

First of all, my key component is to do something daily to promote my spiritual life. I start each morning with a short meditation combined with affirmations. I then read one of the lessons from the workbook of A Course In Miracles. I do a brief journaling exercise from the 5 minute journal and then I do a self card reading. Sometimes I combine my morning practice with incense, candles and/or crystals. Throughout the day, my ACIM app reminds me of the daily lesson on a regular basis. I try to read positive and uplifting things throughout the day. I also keep a stash of cards, oils and crystals here to assist me throughout the day. At night, I try (not always successful) to do some journaling and a card reading for myself. My nose is usually always stuck in a self-help or spiritually based book. I also have the best support system and stay in touch with them on a regular basis.

How to navigate gay social life and spirituality:

I think that the only real difference in living my so called gay life before spirituality and after spirituality are my motives. Before finding my spiritual path, my motives were usually of self-interest or promulgated by fear and a sense of lack. Today, my motives are usually based on love. Where before I would have given someone the hand and told them, “Bye Felicia,” today I just walk away from negativity. Where before I would have sex because it was validating, today I have sex because I enjoy my sexual self. There is no reason why sex and spirituality need to be separated. Sex can be a very spiritual experience depending on how you approach it.

How would I suggest to others to begin living a spiritual life:

I would suggest to my peers to find the path that works best for them. Do your best to let go of the old dogmatic beliefs that no longer work for you and go towards what feels right; not what other people tell you is right. Don’t worry about what others are going to say because they are going to talk anyway. The people that truly matter in your life will support you no matter what. Also, be cautious about overdoing it. Nothing in excess is ever good.

What would I suggest to others on overcoming obstacles:

Well, the best advice I can give is to seek professional assistance or assistance from someone you trust wholeheartedly. Or follow a 12 step philosophy about picking a sponsor and look for someone who has what you want. Once I knew I had to change my ways, I reached out to a good friend of mine who is a hot gay man but very spiritual and had his shit together. I also never gave up. Some of the things that I tried in my journey worked for a while and then stopped while others have remained a staple in my daily life.

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