Celebrated author and speaker, David Deida is a best-selling author and an acknowledged spiritual leader who steps beyond the comfortable and polite and presents his message in a straightforward, sometimes controversial manner. His workshops lead right to the heart of a true spiritual life with a mixture of honesty and humor that opens participants to personal and spiritual growth. His many works on intimacy and relationships are transforming the manner in which both men and women interrelate as spiritual and sexual beings.
YT: In your writing you speak of the change in the constructs of masculine and feminine identities over the generations. Where do you see the progression of the identifying roles moving next?
Culture can be looked at in terms of a bell curve. There are some people at the leading edge of culture, some people are behind the main part of the cultural bell curve and then there’s a majority of people who we can say are in the middle; they’re not leading edge and they are not behind.
So, when you ask where the culture is going I guess you are asking where is the majority, where is the middle of the bell curve going? And I would say it’s going toward balance and integration, a kind of metrosexual thing for men and greater autonomy for women; a kind of androgyny essentially, a balancing out of the masculine and feminine in men and women. You know, I sometimes talk about three stages. In the first stage I talk about, men only identified with the masculine, whom we could caricaturize as the “macho jerk” archetype, and women only identified with the feminine, a kind of “submissive housewife” image from the 1950s. That’s the image of first-stage relationships
A lot of people are moving into a second stage where they are balancing their internal masculine and feminine and I think that is where the majority of people are still going. Women as a whole are becoming more balanced, more masculine, and men are becoming more balanced, more feminine, which these days is called the metrosexual approach. Women are ahead of men in general. So as a group women are more evolved than men.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any evolved men. At the edges of the bell curve there are plenty of both men and women. But as a group, women are a little ahead, so women became balanced first, and that was shown during the first wave of the feminist movement or women’s liberation in the ’60s and ’70s. Men followed that with “the men’s movement”: learning to access emotions, singing, banging on drums, communing with nature, and dancing in the woods. It helped feminize men, put them in touch with their feelings, with the power of nature, and especially with the power of relationship with other men and women.
My work is really for people who have already achieved this masculine/feminine balance to some degree and want to take the next step. And that step is complete fluidity in masculine and feminine depending on the needs of the situation and the expression of the individual. So sometimes you would be extremely masculine or extremely feminine, sometimes a more balanced expression. So the middle of the curve is going towards androgyny and the people who have already achieved that are taking the next step towards true freedom in sexual expression and enjoyment.
YT: Many of the practices for sexual fulfillment that you promote seem to draw from the Tantric lineage? What teachers have inspired and educated you in these techniques?
DD: Everything I write about is based on my direct experience—and I’ve had great teachers! So I don’t try to write anything that I have learned but haven’t lived to some degree. I take responsibility for all the errors I have in there but on the other hand if I hadn’t come across some teachers I either never would have had these experiences and understandings or would have come upon them much more haphazardly and slowly. In general, my main teachers have been people who are not public people. Most of them don’t want anyone to know who they are so I’m not going to talk about them. But I’m not representing any particular lineage if that’s what you’re asking. I’m doing my best to take the usable parts of what I’ve learned and metabolized myself and offer them to others. It’s like I’ve been given a torch and I’m passing that torch on the best I can.
YT: Sometimes the desire for sexual fulfillment can become a driving force that distracts people from staying focused on their life path. How does one find a balance between using sex as a distraction and using it as a life force?
I wouldn’t want to tell someone what the point of their life is, that’s up to them, that’s their discovery. But once someone discovers their highest priority in life, then it becomes their responsibility to organize everything in their life to support that highest priority. There may be some people whose highest priority is sex. However, if you asked most people, very few would say that sex is their highest priority. Some might say their family is their highest priority, in which case I would say use sex to support your family. Some people might say their spiritual practice is their highest priority, in which case I would say use sex to support your spiritual practice. You know some people would say earning a living is their highest priority, I’d say use sex to earn a living. So its important I think for people to organize everything, not just sex, but also their diet, their exercise, their sexuality in such a way that it supports whatever their highest priority is.
YT: You offer methods for moving into the quiet self throughout your book, perhaps as a means to find one’s highest priorities. Is this moment of silence one of the ways to move into a deeper connection with intuition?
DD: Certainly. Although, many people seem to require a kind of disillusionment with the world before they are ready to source their life more deeply. If you connect with your heart’s depth deeply enough, then you might not require any kind of worldly disillusionment because the true source of fulfillment would be obvious. When you feel the depth of being in this moment, everything else in the moment—your relationships, your finances, your sexuality, your family, everything—is felt as an emanation or a display of your heart’s depth and light, and therefore. secondary to love itself. Worldly disillusionment is only necessary for those of us who haven’t been disillusioned of conditions simply by meditating on or feeling the truth of our hearts. Dipping deeply into the depth of your heart immediately reveals the love that is primary and the conditions of life that are secondary. This kind of practice sensitizes one to the dissatisfaction in just pursuing worldly goals. This place has a lot of action happening, but still the nature of it is openness, love, light, emptiness, aliveness, and awareness. The more you source yourself in the deep qualities of your heart, the more these qualities are obvious as your qualities, as the qualities that you experience and the qualities that you offer. By continually relaxing into these qualities, the divine or the mystery of life can really come through your daily life much more fully.
YT: So, in the idea of this movement of both men and women into these new levels of being, how do you see your role in this shift that’s going on?
DD: You know I never look at “my role” at all. I’m basically a practitioner
, and I’m recording my practice so that others can learn from my mistakes. I’m recording what works, what doesn’t work, doing my best for the sake of others to share what I’ve learned, to share the fruits of my practice as well as my mistakes. I would say a lot of what I have learned has been through mistakes, failing and then going “oops” and realizing how to correct. I’ve found that this is one of the best ways to learn. Looking back it can look like one’s life is an ongoing mistake, when you look backwards. But that’s no reason not to continue living life. It means you’re growing and you see that everything you’ve done has been a mistake once you’ve grown beyond it. So I don’t know what my role is, and I never knew this would be my role now.
YT: One of the things that you talk about in The Way of the Superior Man is this idea of staying true to one’s purpose and not settling for anything less than your highest self. Any other books you recommend?
Instant Enlightenment is a collection of exercises that can be done in any moment. Each chapter is one exercise and I don’t think it would take more than a minute or two to read a chapter. They are little exercises to do that reveal the depth of the moment, so when you’re shopping for clothes, how do you open spiritually then? When you’re giving oral sex, how do you open spiritually then? When you feel uptight in public, how do you open spiritually then? Instant Enlightenment takes various kinds of situations and gives precise exercises for people to do; you could call them emotional asanas
that are done in response to various moments that reveal instant enlightenment. The view being that realization is always instantaneous. So, Instant Enlightenment refers to that sudden flash or recognition of the depth of love or being right now, in the present moment. Instant Enlightenment is a collection of short practices for awakening in the midst of all these kinds of moments.
David Deida is the best-selling author of numerous books on sexuality and spirituality that are published in more than 20 languages worldwide, including The Way of the Superior Man and Instant Enlightenment
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