The Labyrinth of Seduction

Seduction implies manipulation. It can be full-on or very subtle but it lacks spontaneity. ‘Seduction is an art that is tested in the mirror’, writes Miguel el Portugues. The Conscious Activist author James O’Dea talks about the economy of seduction View Here

This article first appeared in Watkins Mind Body Spirit, Issue 45.

Seduction is about power and the thrill of wielding it. It is mimicked in play, in artful teasing and even in erotic spinning of the polarities of playful dominance and submission. But lovers play is aimed at enjoying equalization and union. Real seduction doesn’t like to play games unless the cards are stacked in its favor. It seeks more than momentary peak experiences: it bases its survival on the thrill of securing permanent control over its quarry. Equalizing power would mean sudden death for any serious seduction. It would mean feeling weakness, loss of libido and a terrifying absence of control. In this worldview equality is the jargon of losers while dominance is the strategy of winners.

Make no mistake, although shifting, the seduction worldview is still the dominant worldview. Center stage is an economy of seduction whose winners win Big, whose strategies are based on aggressive market dominance and whose psychologically tuned marketing is predicated on arousing more and more needs in more and more consumers whatever the ultimate consequences for the planet.
In this worldview equality is the jargon of losers while dominance is the strategy of winners.

We live in an Age of Seduction: it permeates media, politics, academia, business, religion and even spirituality. Its central memes are: you deserve more, you need an upgrade, financial profit trumps social gain, success in everything and got to be on the winning team. The concealed code in this worldview is don’t miss out, don’t be a loser, don’t fall behind, don’t be excluded.

So is there a way through this labyrinth of seduction? A way that is not prudish or dry? A way that consciousness can heal the gaping emptiness of materialism? A way that is deeply convivial, personally rewarding and yet attuned to collective responsibility? A way that creates value-driven economies and visionary social evolution?

To answer these questions we will have to go back and look at things like attraction, arousal and desire through a different lens – a lens free of seduction. For it is only when freed of seduction that Beauty reveals naked Truth.

To exit the labyrinth of seduction we must experience direct contact with the rich cornucopia that is at the heart of being itself. This is a place inside not outside. This is a place fecund with potential. Tune into it and it draws you toward it. The great evocateur of human capacities, Jean Houston, refers to it as ‘the lure of being and becoming’. Yes, lure—for there is a great attractor inside us that seeks to draw us out of all our stupors and lead us to the truth of who we are. Rather than bind us in a manipulation this central sun of essence, gestating in the unified field of all being, calls us to the radiant aliveness of who we are. We are not puppets or even actors on a stage assigned roles or given a script. Each one of us is free to be a creative enactment of qualities that only we can ignite into manifest expression.

This is why mystics who surrender to the pulsing of this inner reality live such intense lives and burn with longing for union with the source of all being. To listen to them you might assume they were erotically supercharged – with their trysts, aching desire, wine, songs and talk of going naked. But it is because they have discovered the universe has placed its own beloved heart within them that they use the language of ecstatic arousal. They are freed from the labyrinth of seduction because they finally understand that the universe itself wants to equalize with them in holy and complete union.
To exit the labyrinth of seduction we must experience direct contact with the rich cornucopia that is at the heart of being itself.

The exit strategy from the labyrinth of seduction lies precisely here in the mystical and scientific knowing that it is an omnicentric universe—’God is a circle whose center is everywhere, whose circumference can never be found’. Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for this idea. But we know now that it is true. There is no periphery – not in cosmos, not in consciousness and not in social evolution.

Gandhi was an impeccable embodiment of this principle. He showed deep respect for all, even to the crass colonial rulers of India caught in the seduction of empire, because he saw all as expressions of Atman. Nonviolence emerges out of this understanding—that there is no lesser being of an inferior realm to be subjugated. We are all expressions of one universal spirit. In fact, we are so inextricably woven together that harm to another is harm to self.

The emerging paradigm of healing, wholeness and transformation in both science and spirituality may seem mythic in its vast implications. But once you exit the labyrinth of seduction there is only one place to go – in our myths we call that place paradise. Paradise has nothing whatsoever to do with religion but rather with the license to be fully realized in consciousness and all the freedom and creativity that entails.

In Genesis it says that after the seduction, as Adam and Eve were exiting the Garden, an Angel was quickly sent with a flaming sword to the Eastern Gate to guard the way back. They needn’t have worried. It was clearly going to be a long lesson. Cain proved that. But myths the world over refer to a once and future golden age when we return to a paradisal state of being—once again one with Nature and with each other.

The long and arduous journey of initiation that began at the Tree of Knowledge will end at the Tree of Life. We are ready to heal, for we know now that unless we penetrate the illusion created by the seduction worldview we will destroy everything.

I already see multitudes assembling (beneath the radar screen of the corporate media) at that Eastern Gate calling out, ‘We are one, all is one’. We are close. So close.James O’Dea

In the meantime, juicy apple anyone?

Meet the Author: James O’Dea has trained over a thousand peace ambassadors from thirty countries. He is a well-known figure in international social healing who has conducted reconciliation dialogues for 15 years. He is on the extended faculty of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and its former President. The former Washington office director of Amnesty International and CEO of the Seva Foundation, he is also a member of the Evolutionary Leaders Group. His books include Cultivating Peace and Creative Stress.

The Conscious Activist with James O’Dea

Published on Sep 3, 2015

Where activism meets mysticism.

Sitting at the Open Door of the Heart by John M. Grenafege (Author)

“Every moment is an opportunity, every moment is an invitation from Parabrahman. The opportunity that is being presented is to know the Self… there is no other reason to be here.”

This book is a collection of timeless teachings from Advaita teacher John Grenafege of San Francisco, CA. The book’s chapters are taken directly from his Satsangs, and also include two of his writings.

John’s message does not differ from that of Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, H.W.L. Poonja (Papaji) or other well-known Sages, but he does present it in his own unique way that keeps the serious spiritual seeker ‘looking’ in the right direction.

In this book, we are clearly reminded that if we wish to awaken in this lifetime, the commitment to knowing the truth has to be the highest. After awakening, which is truly the beginning, if one’s attention remains firmly planted in presence, pure consciousness, the I Am will naturally dissolve, evaporate, revealing what is prior to consciousness, in what is called Realization.

Each chapter begins with a pointer for reflection and meditation. It is a book that can be picked up and opened at any point for reading and contemplating the message within that chapter.

Pointer from the chapter You Don’t Have to Suffer: “It’s a dream of a thing called enlightenment. The more narrow one’s focus as believing in a body, in a world, in a someone — the more suffering. What if none of this existed?”

In addition to pointers, this book contains a number of black and white photos taken of the beautiful murals and artwork of Erin Tajime Castelan.

It is recognized that, as with all spiritual books, this book may make absolutely no sense to some, and yet be the ‘key’ for another. It is John’s wish that it be the key for you.

From the back cover: “My deepest wish is for you to realize the Truth of your Being. Know that the search and the one who searches are imaginary. When the mind is still, you are on the threshold. Abide there until The Only reveals and the imaginary evaporates.”

This is a book to be kept and savoured, for each reading brings a new depth of understanding, even after one has awakened.


Dweller on the Threshold
All Language is Metaphor
The Mystery of This!
The Self is Idle and Unitary
The Absolute is No
The Unreal is Created With Language
The I-Thought Belongs to No One
The Knower and Known Arise as One, Not Two
You Don’t Have to Suffer
It’s a Dream
Don’t Be Afraid
How Does One, Speak to One?
Advaita – One Substance, Not Two
Life is Living You
The Mind Likes to Label
I Am-ness is the First Illusion
Bitten By A Scorpion
Let’s Unravel This!
No ‘Thing’ Will Bring Relief
Let It Go!
Consciousness Moves as a Whole
One Dreamer, Many Apparent Bodies
Freedom is Beyond All Experiences
Let It All Blow Away
Everything Goes
It’s So Close That We Miss It
Addicted to the Illusion
The Ocean of The Absolute
We Are Wonderful Mirages – A Ray of the Absolute
You’re Ready to Know
How Can One Find What Has Not Been Lost?

nirgun john was born John M. Grenafege. The name “nirgun” means ‘without attributes’, and was given to John by his students. John began his spiritual search at age 16 after he was given the book “Be Here Now” by his older brother. At age 19, he spent a brief period with Transcendental Meditation (TM). In the following years, he learned many other meditation techniques from various teachers.

John later took a monthly correspondence course from Siddha Yoga. As Muktananda had passed, John was initiated by Gurumayi, whom he still loves and honors as his Guru. This initiation gave his practice a new momentum, and shortly afterwards he discovered the teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, whom he also considers his Guru.

Following his Awakening, nirgun john spent four years in silent meditation until Realization. A small group of friends then convinced him to start holding public Satsangs. nirgun john does not affiliate himself with any particular group or religion, but instead he transmits spontaneously to anyone open to receive.

nirgun john currently lives in San Francisco, where he has formed ‘A Bridge to Awareness’. nirgun john welcomes online and personal meetings with all spiritual seekers. All are welcome to attend the free online Satsangs he offers through this website.


nirgun john – The Divine Spark Is In You … It Just Needs To Be Lit

To join nirgun john, a.k.a. John Grenafege in a free online Satsang, please visit

%d bloggers like this: