Let me preface by saying that Taoism has a dual nature- as both philosophy and religion.  Both reach their root back into ancient China.  However, much of the traditional “religious” teachings have become hopelessly outdated, and include ideas like conserving a man’s life essence by not ejaculating and attempting to have the woman orgasm 9 times in each session because it echoes the balance of the 9 lines in the I Ching.  These ideas don’t really make any sense to me as a modern woman.  HOWEVER, the supposedly “philosophical” teachings of Taoism- those of non-action, following the Tao, and being at peace with the rhythm of the universe which are found in the Tao Te Ching- still resonates strongly.  I consider these to be religious ideas, because they incorporate an eternal spirit (Tao) and a code of ethics.  So I’m kind of arguing that I have made peace with my sexuality through a religious philosophy.

For starters, if you don’t know what Taoism is, this is a brief rundown:

Taoists believe the existence of the Tao, a life force or energy that exists in and around everything in our world.  It creates a natural order, which when human beings listen to and cooperate with it, life is peaceful and good.  When we contradict the Tao, by disrupting nature or being disrespectful to the harmony of the world, we get problems like war, pollution, and hate.

Taoists try to follow this teaching:

The Master allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out of the way
and lets the Tao speak for itself.

The beautiful thing about philosophical Taoism is the simplicity of its “doctrine.”  Listen to the universe.  Listen to yourself, because the Tao resides in you and will guide you in the ways of the universe.  So when I “came out to myself” as bisexual (…and then later as pansexual, and again as queer), I didn’t face the struggle that many religious people do.  My religion puts a lot of faith in its followers- that they know who they are and what is best for them as a part of a greater whole in this world.  My sexuality has never hurt anyone.  It does not disrupt nature’s order for the world.

In fact, I would argue that my sexuality, through my relationships with others, is a very good thing religiously.  Even if I personally am following the Tao and have made peace with my sexuality, there are others out there with hate in their hearts, hate which interrupts the work of the Tao.  If they know me, if they speak to me, learn with me, then their anger might be abated and order slowly restored to their life and the universe as a whole.

In addition, the deep love that I feel for another actually nourishes my spiritual growth.  Through love, I learn to listen to my heart, to use it with respect.  I may be born with the innate ability to love and to care, yet only through practice can I uncover the depth of emotion, tap into the essence of connectedness, and begin to see the underlying patterns the Tao weaves.  Verse 34 of the Tao Te Ching states that the Tao is hidden in the hearts of all things; by connecting and using my heart to love others, I become closer to the Tao within myself.  And this kind of growth occurs no matter who you love- gay, straight, bi, pan, queer, questioning, the labels are irrelevant when you reach that core emotion.  My sexuality is only one version of many which feeds the source, the Tao.

In the end, I think all religions will agree that love triumphs over all.  Taoist would say that those who forget this essential teaching simply need to stop for a moment and listen to the spirit inside of them.  It will always tell you the harmonious way to live.

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