11 of 31 Questions for Reflection. Today’s question is inspired by reading Dṛg Dṛsya Viveka: An Inquiry Into the Seer and the Seen alongside listening to Padraig O Tuama tell the story about the first time he kissed a man. You can hear this story on the tenX9 podcast.
What questions arise when I focus on “men kissing” as an object of Vedanta meditation?
In 2002, Padraig O Tuama moved back to Dublin, Ireland from living abroad, and he was determined to kiss a man for the first time. He identified as gay but had only shared this with a few people. At that time, homosexuality had not yet been decriminalized in Ireland, and Padraig had not yet decided whether or not he was going to become a priest. In Dublin, he reached out and found a gay support network and was casually connecting with a man named Jimmy. At this time, Padraig was also hosting an anti-gay houseguest, a very religious friend who was visiting him from abroad. To escape from the social pressure of hosting this intrusive houseguest, Padraig snuck out on a date with Jimmy. Padraig and Jimmy had a drink at a pub. When Jimmy said, “You want to do something else?” Padraig said, “Should we take a walk on the North Strand?” The men learned nice things about each other: Jimmy liked Michael Jackson; Padraig liked poetry. Jimmy liked Maeve Binchy; Padraig liked theology. They didn’t have much in common. No matter. They kissed. After the kiss, Padraig, nervous, talked on and on about his life and his fears and his ambitions and his concerns. He realized, much later, that he talked like this because he was both elated and nervous, having just shared his first kiss with a man. Jimmy, being kind and understanding, responded to Padraig’s existential passion by simply saying, “let’s go have some tea.” And so, they did. They talked and all was friendly and gentle. The two men ended the date with a hug. That was the end of it. Later, Padraig realized that though he and Jimmy had little in common, they both really liked that kiss. He also realized that when Jimmy had said “you want to do something else,” he might have had a certain imagination about what something else might mean. That meaning was lost on Padraig at that time. But that kiss meant so much to him. Mostly, he remembers Jimmy’s kindness.
Meditating on men kissing, a Jnana yogi might ask, “Is a kiss a shared intimacy between two hearts? Or, is a kiss a gentle reminder that we are one pure being?”
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