True religion is the empowerment of every person to enjoy the sacredness of their life and relationships.

What is the Root Cause and Solution to the Iran Question?

Mark Whitwell | Yoga Teacher at Heart of Yoga

Mark Whitwell
5 min readDec 16, 2022
The Truth cannot be defeated. Orthodoxy must give way and start to serve everybody’s freedom. True religion is the empowerment of every person to enjoy the sacredness of their Life and relationships | Mark Whitwell

Religion becomes true and useful as the ideas of separation and hierarchy dissolve.

The brave young women of Iran burning the head scarfs are burning down orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is those who use religious/ spiritual/ Yoga ideals as power mechanisms to control others. These instruments of civilization are out of control whereby imagined knowledge authorities in every field are telling others how to live their lives. The actual wisdom and grace of the pre-14th century wisdom cultures has been hidden beneath wisdom that is used to claim social power. Spirituality as a power mechanism comes in many forms. On the surface they seem benign and true, but actually they are subtly denying your intrinsic beauty and power.

The brave people in Iran are doing this for all of us. There is no going back. This youthful uprising is fuelled by an intrinsic movement of Life, Truth and understanding. The fire will have its way. Kali is dancing. She is killing the demons and correcting the cultural faults of mankind.

The inevitable collapse of orthodox belief systems will occur. What has been birthed must come forth. The Truth cannot be defeated. That said, there is a redemptive way out of this for orthodoxy. And that is they must understand that God is not “other.” God is not elsewhere. But is Here as everything that is happening: as you, me and the trees; as this ordinariness; as this sex. The thought structures which place God in heaven and humans on Earth and the promotion of a great pathway of return obliterates our ability to perceive that we are God. It prevents us from honouring our own mother as the divine mother, who formed the cells of our body from her own.

With immense sympathy to all those who have inherited the burden of patriarchy — its misogyny, sexual abuse, control, and life-denial — I propose that we do no give up but commit to a daily practice of intimacy with body, breath, and relationship in that order.| Mark Whitwell

True religious practice (which just means true enjoyment and free participation in life) is embodied. It is not about transcending the world, but is about participation in the union of opposites within and without, where one empowers the other in endless mutual exchange. Religious life requires right relationship and rightful sexuality — simply because they are a part of life. Or rather, Sex is the substance of Reality Itself, the male-female collaboration that creates and nurtures all life. No living form has arrived here without Sex. Is this not God’s method on Earth?

Yet the dreadful weight of religious and spiritual teachings has been an attempt to overcome this natural force, as if it is an obstacle to the realization of higher matters. From this fundamental division, the misogyny we see all around us and the desecration of the Earth has been born. Patriarchal religions of all countries and points-of-view (Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu) have long associated women, sex, nature and the body, with that which is “not-Divine.” Hence the religious obsession with controlling and abusing women.

Click here for free access to the Heart of Yoga Teaching Standards, a set of principles you can use to judge whether a teacher is empowering or disempowering their students.

The heart is the place of perfect giving and receiving. Yoga is participation in the heart | Mark Whitwell
The heart is the place of perfect giving and receiving. Yoga is participation in the heart | Mark Whitwell

We must urgently put a practice of intimacy with all tangible conditions into our daily lives so that we are unqualified by the limitations of patriarchal power structures. We need a practical and personal means of participating in our own Godhood and in the sacredness of our chosen relationship. The means for restoring intimacy into religious life and dissolving hierarchy is Yoga.

Yoga, the daily embrace of body and breath, is acknowledged in the wisdom traditions as the Mother’s Milk of spiritual life. Conscious moving and breathing is the literal enactment of giving and receiving, which is the basis of all life. In the giving of life there is immediate and synchronistic receiving of life. In the receiving of life there is the synchronistic ability to give life. This is how Reality is functioning, how life creates and sustains all forms, the male-female power and polarity of the natural state.

The separation of God and Sex is the root cause of humanity’s misery and dysfunction around sex, predatory behaviours, and pervasive sexual abuse. The separation of God from Sex vulgarises both and makes them useless to our lives | Mark Whitwell

Via intimacy with our own breath and body, we naturally find that our sensitivity to another develops and deepens. Right relationship can occur on this basis. What is right relationship? It is the association of two autonomous people who choose to be with each other and practice intimacy even in the pain that is inherited and felt around sexual relationship. We all carry the trauma of history within us — and so avoid relationship. But it is the purpose of life — religious or no — to love as the whole body, so it is essential that we actually do that.

The brave women and men in Iran are ushering in a new world in the control and abuse of women in the name of a future God idea is thrown out. The deadly intellectual mistake that separates God from Sex can now dissolve. May the conflict resolve as quickly as possible into Peace. May religious life in Iran, and everywhere, soon resolve into loving collaboration within and without. It is our birthright no less.

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Mark Whitwell

Mark Whitwell has worked as a Yoga teacher around the world for the last 45 years and is the author of 4 books on Yoga. He lives in Fiji with his wife Rosalind.