Son of Man . . .
Do you feel therefore that the audience of interested people for Son of Man is necessarily small?
AH: No, I don’t. I actually think it’s large because there are many Christians deeply disappointed by what they have been sold by the churches—yet they still love the Christ. They want to connect with the Christ more than ever because they are awake to the horror of what is happening in this world. There are a great many people who are fed up with the mysticism-lite that is offered by the New Age. And there are refugees from the ‘saint gurus,’ if you will—people who have been disillusioned by the Eastern path. I think the combination of these three provides an enormous audience.
You believe people are eager for a spirituality far more rigorous?
AH: I think they are because, once you have tried mysticism-lite for awhile, you realize it just doesn’t do it. It doesn’t save you from your darkest self. It doesn’t really reveal the divine essence of things. It doesn’t make you a fundamentally transformed and better human being, more in connection with the love that sustains the universe—it just doesn’t.
Your demons remain your demons?
AH: And your shadow remains your shadow. Your boredom with yourself remains your boredom with yourself. There are a great many people who are sick of a spirituality that has no focus on justice and no focus on transformation of really appalling conditions.
I think what is needed is to combine prayer and meditation with political action, with a sustained critique of the power structures—exactly as Jesus did. That is why Jesus is such a thrilling example. He prayed, he meditated and saw light. Jesus was profoundly awake to the divine essence of things. But he didn’t sit about joining hands, he went out there and healed people. He fought against oppressive structures, didn’t he. So I think he found the combination.
Imagine what prayer and political action would do together. Imagine what deep meditation and deep prayer and really concerned critical power-dissolving critiques would do together.
If you only have the inner realization— that you are one with the Godhead and that everybody else and nature is also one—if you have that realization without realizing that there is a responsibility to put what you discover inside into practice in the actual relationships of power outside, then you only have one half of a mystical truth. The other half is that truth has to be made actual, it must be enacted. And that is dangerous because, when you do that, you will meet all the corporations, all the power corruptions that are trying to keep people enslaved.
The politicians and the corporations don’t mind all sorts of New Agers joining hands over the internet. What they do mind is a sustained and vibrant critique of what they are up to.
The problem is that people have such a demeaning vision of what God is. God is not just there to be tapped into. God is there to be enacted and co-created with. We are not here to be slaves and servants of some omnipotent power, we’re here as divine children of that power, gifted immensely. With extraordinary powers to enact love and justice in the world in the name of that power, to transform existing conditions. So that the poor do not live an abominable life, animals are not tortured in cosmetic experiments, forests are not burned and nature is not destroyed for the profit of the few.
That’s a very compelling vision.
AH: I think it’s Jesus’ great contribution to the mystical life of the world. All of the other great mystical liberators have essentially been beings who revealed the divine nature of reality but not stressed the necessity of bringing that divine nature into actual living conditions and justice. Think of the Buddha. The Buddha taught a great deal about liberating oneself from illusion. But he didn’t teach about transforming the illusion, so that it would become reality. Yet such a transformation constitutes Jesus’ tremendous challenge and enterprise. That is what makes him so scary. Because he didn’t just say float off, float out, leave, abandon, ‘this is all illusion.’ He said, this is terribly real, it demands everything. If you really love you will give absolutely all, you are to make sure that nobody starves again. It’s a passionate plea to make love real, which is what everybody is terrified of doing.
How does that translate to love between the sexes?
AH: How many sexes do we want to bring into this discussion? All nine biological sexes? Of course it means that. I think one of the things I have tried to point out in the Son of Man is that conventional Christianity’s dismissal of the body is a total disaster. Body-hatred is a total disaster because it conspires with the death of nature. And the hatred of the external world and an etheralization of Jesus’ very concrete, very earthy fleshy message. Jesus’ message is ‘take, eat, this is my body; drink, this is my blood.’ This is not about floating off into some heavenly other world, it’s about realizing the sacred passion of life here. And important aspects of that are in consecrated sexuality and Tantric sexuality.