Most everyone is familiar with John Gray’s book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, which came out more than 20 years ago. It brought the issue of differences between men and women to a much wider audience than had ever happened before, and has to date sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.

John Gray is a fascinating man, and there are a lot of things that most people don’t know about him. I’ve had the good fortune to get to know John quite well in last years because we are in a mens’ group together that meets regularly in Marin County.

One really interesting thing about John Gray that very few people know is that he spent nine years of his life living in a meditation center in Switzerland. He was involved in deep spiritual practice for most of every day of that time, and became the personal secretary of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was famous as the guru to The Beatles. So all of John’s work on relationship and gender difference actually was the overflow of that time of intense spiritual practice and focus on awakening. (more…)

If you’ve been reading my stuff here for a while, you probably remember that back in the summer of 2009, I started to conduct interviews for a new publication with some very interesting people. I’ve been busy with that ever since. Finally, it’s come to some sort of completion.

In almost every tradition, there has been a split between spiritual awakening and worldly life. A sadhu in India renounces money, sexuality, and even clothes to discover “moksha.” In the Christian tradition, priests have generally been single and celibate, or even living in a monastery, secluded from the world. This remained true even 30 or 40 years ago when it was still quite popular to take a vow of celibacy or poverty, or to live away from the world in a spiritual community. But things have changed dramatically in the last few decades.

I regularly attend large conferences and events, and I’ve enjoyed conducting my own little amateur sociological project. When I get a crowd of a few hundred people, I like to ask, “How many people have a current vow of celibacy?” It’s very rare, these days, to see even one or two hands go up. Then I ask, “How many people would celebrate bringing your heart’s deepest awakening into your sexuality?” The crowd becomes a sea of hands. I can ask the same question about parenting, family, social and political action, but the most interesting to me is money and material success. “How many people,” I ask, “are living with a current vow of poverty? You’ve renounced money and material possessions?” Again, it’s rare to see a single hand. “And who,” I continue, “is interested in bringing awakening into your business life — to have a more conscious and awakened relationship to the flow of money?” Again, it’s a sea of hands. (more…)