Ashram West has arisen
from a perceived need for gay-centered spiritual training that employs
proven spiritual technologies developed over millennia by mystics who have
passed their methods for direct spiritual realization down to us. Ashram West
affirms that gay persons have special spiritual aptitudes and needs related
directly to our gay identities, and that these aptitudes and needs are
rarely, if ever, acknowledged or addressed by traditional religious institutions.
Ashram West’s mission is to help meet the needs of all sincere spiritual
seekers from a gay-centered perspective, with its primary purpose being
to help gay spiritual aspirants attain direct experience of God or Self.
It’s secondary mission is to educate gay persons about their spiritual
potential, and provide much-needed hope and encouragement for people whom
society often treats as outcasts. Its tertiary mission is to educate society
at large about the unique and precious gifts gay persons offer to the world,
and to help non-gay persons expand their awareness to discover how they,
too, can become gay in the deepest, spiritual sense.
The community, which is still in its formative stages, will consist of a core of gay men dedicated to God-realization and to the spiritual edification of gay persons and others everywhere. Ashram West acknowledges the spiritual advantages in intensive, spiritually-focused, community life based primarily on ecstatic, rather than ascetic, models of spiritual development. Ecstatic models emphasize transmutation rather than renunciation of desire, and celibacy, which is the primary discipline of ascetic residents, is neither required nor preferred, although it may be practiced by individuals as desired. (See Ashram West Guidelines for Spiritual Living)
As the community has minimal financial
resources, prospective residents will need to provide their own support in
terms of a portion of living expenses until such time as Ashram West
can support them. This may require some individuals to work in outside
jobs for some time to help pay for housing, food, and other necessities.
The community will explore ways to become self-sufficient to enable residents to concentrate on their spiritual practices, in-depth study of spiritual
literature, and public teaching.
Sincere spiritual aspirants and those
seeking more information or a deeper acquaintance with the teachings of
Ashram West will be offered individual and group spiritual instruction
and opportunities for participation in various activities of Ashram West.
Non-resident members will participate in all aspects of the organization according
to their interests, talents, and time. Some people are called to communal life, but most are not; nevertheless, all people are called to God-realization regardless of vocation.
Residents will follow a daily routine that includes regular periods of meditation, study, group and individual process, work, meals, recreation, and rest. Non-resident members may join in this routine as desired. Activities open to the public could include talks, introductory classes, workshops, retreats, celebrations, performances, excursions, etc. Activities for resident and initiated non-residents, but not open to the general public, could include certain rituals, intensives, and long-term or in-depth classes.
Non-resident members located far from a center
of instruction will be encouraged to group together and to follow their
own routines on the residential model adjusted to their individual needs.
Teachers from Ashram West may travel to distant groups at their invitation
to conduct retreats, special classes, and presentations and to offer guidance.
Beginning Tantra Instruction-
2. peace meditation
3. visualization with preliminary mantra
1. Mantra Diksha—initiation with a mantra
2. Introduction to Tantric ritual
1. Gayatri initiation
3. Intermediate and advanced Tantric ritual
6. Comparative mysticism