Gender and Spirit

Originally published in ‘The Free Daist’ Magazine

The Quarterly Journal of The Heart-Word and Blessing Work of Adi Da (The Da Avatar)



the state of Contemplation is beyond sexuality, therefore beyond gender, even beyond person


AVATARA ADI DA: Freud was not just philosophizing about the oedipal complex. He thoroughly examined people, reported his evidence, and then made judgments and interpretations on its basis. His view of life was limited philosophically, but he did develop clinical evidence about the origins of people’s lives as sexual personalities. This evidence is confirmed in My experience, not only in My personal Life but in My observation of everyone. Everyone has a characteristic way of demonstrating what Freud called the oedipal complex, just as everyone demonstrates the character of “Narcissus” in a unique fashion, through a unique history.

If you enter into this direct investigation of yourself, you will begin to observe the evidence of an unwritten script, an undescribed character. You are this oedipal character, but you do not identify yourself as such. You think you make free choices and that the possibility of an unconscious force operating in relation to your mother and father is bullshit. You do not want to hear about it. You do not want to deal with it. It sounds absurd to you, because from the point of view of the thinking mind, it is absurd! You never thought up anything like that—how could it possibly be true? The waking mind, you see, thinks of itself as being very much in charge of its own act. But it is just a reflection of something that is premental. The thinking mind is not in charge at all.

Therefore, from the point of view of this conscious, thinking mind, it seems that this oedipal script does not exist. Thus, you look for concrete evidence of it. Dreams, reveries, thoughts give you evidence of it. But far more direcdy than that, patterns of behavior show it to you. It is there to be observed in any moment of existence. The signs are everywhere. They are in what you are doing, what you want to do, your typical patterns, your behaviors, your emotional reactions. These are all signs of what is called the unconscious. But this evidence is not hidden. It is right there all the time. You simply have to observe yourself, moment to moment, day after day. [May 5,1983]


Beloved Adi Da has also vastly extended Freud’s observations and their implications for human beings in the first three stages of life. (See Sidebar excerpt from Chapter 21 o/The Dawn Horse Testament Of Adi Da.) Because the oedipal dynamic is such a primary element in the behavior of every individual, it is also a (or the) principal impediment to Spiritual growth beyond the first three stages of life. It is on the basis of this understanding that Beloved Adi Da has conducted emotional-sexual “Considerations” with His devotees, including those on the night of February 24.

Beyond Gender

FEMALE DEVOTEE: Beloved, I had an experience in meditation when I felt that gender seemed to disappear, and I was wondering, where did it go. . .


FEMALE DEVOTEE:. . . and what happens when you’re in Contemplation?


FEMALE DEVOTEE: It seemed to disappear. I did not feel identified with gender.

AVATARA ADI DA: What would there be to relate gender to, in such a moment? It’s a surrendered state, not a conventionally related state in which you exercise the male or female character. So all the feeling, sensation, and so forth, in the state of Contemplation is beyond sexuality, therefore beyond gender, even beyond person—as it is, ultimately, beyond egoity, therefore. But nonetheless, in your active daily life—hm?— gender, the emotional-sexual character, and so forth, is noticed and must be addressed.

Children experience this gender awareness, emotional-sexual awareness, and so forth, early in life, in a situation where the principal noticing of the playing out of such things is with the parents. So the individual’s first noticing of emotional-sexual polarization, sexual suggestions, all kinds of matter relative to emotional-sexual character—the first noticings are in relationship to the parents. But the child is naive, you see, has no discrimination, no present-lifetime learning about it all and so makes naive judgments, which are almost invariably misjudgments. And then they are associating obviously with incestuous ideas and complications. In some unfortunate cases there may be some incestuous gestures made by parents, but in general parents do not do this. In most cases they do not. But it doesn’t make any difference. Children interpret it to be incestuous.
Children presume a certain kind of relationship to the parent of the opposite sex and the parent of the same sex, feel betrayed by the love and even the sexual signs that may be observed between the parents, react to all kinds of things naively, make judgments that have nothing to do with the parental incestuous interest, in the usual case anyway. But nonetheless, when the individual becomes a teenager and then comes to adult age, those naive observations and presumptions remain intact as the very basis for anything they’re going to do in emotional-sexual terms. And every individual coming to adolescence and then adult age is complicated by incestuous problems. The whole plan of your emotional-sexual life, the whole force of it, is based on incest, until you truly achieve adulthood, get out of your parents’ house but get out of your own naive misinterpretations of the emotional-sexual life that you’ve generated there.

Until you clarify all of that, you simply reenact the patterning based on those naive judgements. And when you enter into emotional-sexual relations with others as a presumed adult, you are complicated by the fact that it’s all incestuous theatre. In the typical case, for the woman any male is daddy. In the typical case for males every woman is mommy. Everything that you learned or reacted to about the parent of the opposite sex you bring to adult relations with the opposite sex. And like
wise, then with the same sex. The male is in competition with daddy, so the male is in competition with all males. The female wants to be in embrace with daddy, and she’s doing something like that with all males, and she feels in competition with mommy and therefore all females.

This is the basis on which human beings in general are trying to create an emotional-sexual life. Some are made even more complicated if there were some actual incestuous happenings in their childhood. This has a gross and an extremely negative influence on people. But as I Said, even if that doesn’t occur, it’s still what people do. So this “oedipal consideration” is a very important one, to get in touch with and clarify your understanding of these naive judgments made in childhood, and the complicated, reactive, adolescent disposition you generated on the base of it. And then as a supposed adult you find yourself doing all of that in relations that are supposed to be free, individual, emotional-sexual choices, you see, based on love and straightforward desiring. But nothing of the kind actually happens. It rarely even gets to that point. Most people just suffer the oedipal, or incestuous, complications for their entire adult lives—for their entire lives.
You’re not free to live an individual life, emotionally-sexually responsive, until you transcend your childhood patterning, and are no longer confusing your emotional-sexual life with your mother-father relationships. I My Self experience this in relation to devotees. I find devotees dramatizing this oedipal relationship to Me. You all tend to fall into a disposition toward Me in which you regard Me psychologically to be your father. And therefore males tend to be in competition with Me, and females try to develop some sort of a girlfriend relationship with Me. You see? I’ve had twenty-three years of it, I know what I’m talking about!

But that has nothing to do with right relationship to Me, you see. I’m not your father! Women don’t understand this about men in general— psychologically, inwardly. They act as if all men are their father. Likewise all men act as if all women are their mother. Then you enter into this relationship with Me, and of course you do the same. But the devotee relationship to Me has got nothing to do with this oedipal business, anymore than right emotional-sexual intimacies have anything to do with it.

So how can you truly practice as My devotee, or otherwise enter into emotional-sexual intimacies as My devotee, if you haven’t come to a point of real clarity, if you haven’t gotten psychologically out of your parent’s house? I’m not suggesting, however, that you need to go through some long, rather psychiatric course about all of this. But it is something that should be “considered” seriously, full of right confession, straightforwardness, as part of your emotional-sexual consideration, especially in the listening beginning.

FEMALE DEVOTEE: Beloved, it’s really clear to me that the only way that we ever actually get beyond this oedipal thing is through our practice of the Way of the Heart, and through our devotion to You, and our submission to You as our Guru. Because there is no way we can do it on our own. Because it is so deep-seated, you know, just by being in the body. It’s so deep-seated that it’s so clear to me just in my own life and practice in relationship to You that the only way that it all becomes clear is through my devotion to You and my resort to You. The history of my growing up, and whatever, only becomes clear in my relationship to You. And that You give all this understanding, and You reveal it all throughout the process of our practice.

AVATARA ADI DA: Love of Me is truly in-Love, and therefore truly selfsurrendering, self-forgetting, with all of the faculties of the body-mind, moment by moment, you see. Then you make all that oedipal misjudgment obsolete by not using it.


AVATARA ADI DA: But if you make your relationship to Me just sort of
enthusiastic or fan-like, or even just an excuse to dramatize your oedipal problems, then there is no purification. You don’t make all of that patterning obsolete by not using it—you reinforce it by actually using it.

FEMALE DEVOTEE: Beloved, what I also felt is how important it is for us to have compassion and love for our parents, and for all fellow humans even, because that is what brings about that adult maturity that You’re speaking of, to get out of that disposition of even being a victim or being in that childish place, but to actually have compassion and love for them.

AVATARA ADI DA: Yes. That’s one of the limitations of the case approach, or the merely psychological approach, you see. All this blaming and being the victim stuff is also standard, you see. Don’t you know?

DEVOTEES: Yes, Beloved.

FEMALE DEVOTEE: Beloved, they need our love too—our parents. And through Your compassion and Work with us and our growth, they’re being healed too. I feel that occurring backwards and forwards through the whole family tree, through my resort to You, and through Your love and compassion.

AVATARA ADI DA: Yes, you must exhibit this in all relations. If you have been lucky enough to have parents who exhibit at least some basic signs of being in love with one another and in some fundamental terms happy with one another, then part of your healing of your oedipal problem is just the acceptance of the fact that you weren’t betrayed by anybody!. The fact that your mother loved your father, your father loved your mother, doesn’t mean that they rejected you! It didn’t have anything to do with rejection. It didn’t have anything to do with you! They loved you as their child, but the girl wasn’t rejected by daddy because he loved mommy, and the boy wasn’t rejected by mommy because she loved daddy. The misinterpretation is made by the child, but it’s got nothing to do with it. If you can acknowledge the fact that they simply loved one another and were with one another, and that then when the time came they let you go to find your own intimacy if that was what you were going to do, that’s clarifying and healing, just finding out you weren’t the victim, you weren’t betrayed, you weren’t rejected by the fact that your parents loved one another. Hm?
Of course there’s a lot of business that parents do that’s not about loving one another and all kinds of aberrations, perhaps even infidelity and so forth. And that’s where the compassion part comes in. Even in that case, you were still not betrayed, rejected, and so on. So you see how emotionally complicated people are based on naive judgments coming out of early life. And that’s everyone, and very few people work out anything much about it.

FEMALE DEVOTEE: We’re so fortunate, we’re so fortunate to have You, Your example, Your love, and also to have the sacred relationship with You at heart that heals all of it.

AVATARA ADI DA: You see, this relationship is the cure, not an opportunity for you to continue your dramatization. Therefore, you must participate in this relationship with Me rightly. You must understand what it’s really all about, you see. Men, rather than competing with Me, should truly be My self-surrendering, self-forgetting devotees. I don’t compete with them, but they often compete with Me, or relate to Me as the male other in a competition disposition. And women, instead of trying to relate to Me as the girlfriend somehow or other, should truly surrender and forget themselves, you see, relate to Me as My devotees, with great respect, great love, great clarity. Mm? Then you’re using Me rightly. So you must transcend this oedipal disposition actively in order to relate to Me rightly moment to moment.