We are taught to look heavenward for the best in us but I have always found that the best in us resides with us here and now. Our divine nature, the source of all our seeking lies nestled within us waiting for the moment when we are ready to see it. Our limited humanness, that often reviled part in us that we have collectively felt was what we had to transcend, holds the infinite in its deep and often unknowing embrace. By awakening, the vessel yearns to know what is filling it. Rather than looking to the heavens, look to your humanity because the answers all lie in wait in all of your impulses, no matter how dysfunctional you may think they have become. You might see as I have seen that instead of our being the result of a “demiurge” or a “fall” from grace, we are in truth expertly made and have everything we need to realize the divine within us….but we have tended in the past to have loused it up a bit, and this has led to notions of our being fundamentally flawed. So I’m going to talk a little about a dynamic that has been a part of our past that we can each heal in order to turn all of this around. Thankfully, it’s already happening for many people!
This is the challenging part for so many, which is trusting that our desire is designed to bring us closer to the divine. Or that our impulses, which we have used to wreck our lives in the past, can be used to actually save us. It means being brave and diving right into what the forbidden and the taboo is in order to liberate and heal those feelings and beliefs so that love can flow unhindered. This is what all taboos do to us when they serve to limit us. This also happens to be central to Tantra in its purest form. Before you think I am referring to s-e-x, please know that a central tenet of Tantra is how a direct realization of our true nature brings bliss and bliss heals the self of a world of shame by unhitching us from our shame and guilt, in large part because the bliss is stronger than the pain encountered in our shame. This is an experience not unlike diving straight into the briar patch of our spiritual mess or tangle. Unfortunately Tantra in the West has become synonymous with sex which is putting the cart before the horse. When we accept taboo’s without thoroughly understanding their purpose, we can become bound by a convention of behavior that distorts our authentic nature. So often a taboo does more harm than good. “Oh really?!” you might be thinking. I’m going to give you a few examples and see if you don’t see how these things twist us around. The central stumbling block of taboo is that it serves to direct behavior in an uncritical way while making it so you may not be listening to your own inner compass. It is this compass that everyone has and is in truth your very own seed or connection to the divine. When you follow a rule without fully grasping why the rule is there to begin with, you aren’t following your inner compass, you are simply taking the lazy way to being, which is a life that doesn’t understand authentically. Life becomes a shadow of what it was because your deeper connection to your inner divinity is lost, or buried. But a life that reflects vividly on this inner compass is one where one knows and acts in accord with the one true stream of guidance which is itself a river of life full of realization and boundless wonder.
There are so many of these taboos and they are almost always made as a result of fear and often out of ignorance. It was in many cultures, at various times in our history, taboo for a woman to show her body. Some cultures still hold to this way of being that involves covering the entire body of a woman. Have you asked yourself why this is so? Or maybe how it was a taboo for a man to show his emotions beyond anger and aggression? When we created these restrictions we act surprised that men became physically aggressive instead of emotionally tender or sensitive? Women, on the other end of our dysfunctional past have given up their natural aggressive nature’s and have chosen a different route. Instead of brute force women learned how to manipulate their environment by way of subtler means: through emotion. In Renaissance Europe, arguably a hotbed of liberal thinking, women were expected to go to church and to the market; it was unseemly to be seen hanging out with friends in the city square. As for middle eastern countries, it got much more repressive. If you think about it, human kind has been in this arrangement for a long time all because we have worshipped fear over freedom. Every one of us have been affected by this, and every one of us can choose to no longer be affected, too. Change is coming fast now and we have seen a lot of change over the last 100 years, but there is still more that we can do that favors listening to our inner compass instead of a rule that was created perhaps thousands of years in our past when our ancestors were at a very different place in their spiritual and cultural evolution.
The deeper truth about our divine nature is that we are not divided but contain within us aspects of both the feminine and masculine. We have each lived lives, whether we remember them or not, as women and men. Inwardly, we are composed of both and we carry a capacity of both. You can’t know your inner compass without first knowing this important truth. By reaching peace within on this one point, you can know a greater peace in your life because it grants you a more direct access to that golden compass where anything can be known.
The elephant in the room is how the masculine and feminine is in all of us. We have somehow forgotten this. Our sexes even show how divided we appear to be. Our behavior belies a fear of being the “other.”
For women who have exaggerated beliefs about femininity and the taboos that have been in place surrounding how they feel they need to behave (often responded to as what society expects of them), one predictable outcome is that their natural traits of aggression have been conditioned out of them. More accurately, they are repressed. Women have for a long time feared using their innate masculine power for fear of reprisal and a concern that it would make them seem less feminine. In the past, great value was placed on being female and this resulted in exaggerated beliefs that then served to shape the body. Just look at how values have changed and you can see how doggedly we as a species have stuck to a narrative for all women.
In the Victorian era, women were their most fertile when they had some weight to them. In fact, skinny undernourished women skip periods, don’t conceive readily, and have trouble taking a baby to term. So naturally the “Rubenesque” woman was prized by all of human kind during a large swath of our history. If you fast forward to the turn of the century, you see women active in fighting for, and obtaining rights like voting, as well as being able to free themselves from being baby making machines through the advent of birth control. This, and a growing awareness and desire for greater rights helped to bring a change that resulted in the evolution of the perception of the feminine form away from the voluptuous and chunky earth goddess to a thin and more svelte version of herself. I am not suggesting that all of this was good, just that this change came with a swing of the pendulum and that we are working through the value of it. The change of the idealized female form has in large part been driven by the fashion industry, but it takes a public to buy onto this look in order for it to take hold, and take hold it did. Whether thick or thin, the changing face of femininity is drawn along by our own changes brought about by each of us individually and en masse. In either case, the value placed on women being submissive and tender remained even as how the physical image began to change. The change that women fought for, which was for better equality was itself an expression of women’s more aggressive nature, and only came about because women were willing to tap this nature that was and is always within them. Women in this way began stepping out of the shadows.
The same is also true for men, of course, but in opposite fashion. Men remain hard and stoic because of conditioning and taboo’s about men showing emotion. What is true, at the core of all of this behavior, is that men suppress their feminine sides because they fear that when the feminine energy is joined consciously to their masculine that they will lose themselves, which of course is true.
Women were also doing exactly the same thing out of a fear that they too would appear less feminine. But it is only the fear of this unknown state that men once projected onto women and sought to control and limit them as has happened in our past. It’s more than just men fearing women’s power to nurture new life, it’s that men fundamentally were uneasy with what this kind of creativity involved on a spiritual or energetic level within themselves. This fear was then projected outward onto women. Any time anyone is unable to deal with an inner fault they project it onto another person. This tendency has been widely observed by psychologists such as Freud and Jung. In this case, the fear that they could not face was projected onto women. The same is also true for women, and both sexes have done their part in keeping the sexes divided inwardly and outwardly. This type of division no longer serves us, and we are seeing a much greater flexibility in sexual roles and identity as a result. None of this has destroyed what it means to be male or female, it has enhanced it.
While you might wonder what I am getting at, I am not suggesting an end to male and female identity. I am suggesting that our roles don’t serve us as humans as they once did, which was a more limited perspective in our past. I am for the change that happens when the curtain is pulled back and we can be really honest about who we are deeper down. I am for being aware of our compass, which leads us to our divine nature here and now. This isn’t about wrecking the past and destroying our future, but getting honest about who we really are. When we do this, in the words of the ancients, we do not taste death but know life in abundance. We are, in truth, emancipated from our prisons of belief.
I’m about to take a leap, here, and I want you to bear with me…
The Role Of Bliss In Healing The Rift
We call orgasm “petite morte” because it involves a deep letting go of control of the self. This is what we do when we die, it is the same. Of course, we don’t really die, we merely shed the body. It isn’t a conditional letting go, it is a deep release and a subsequent encounter with the larger self and all that it’s connected to (all that is). In Tantra, for example, work often leads to losing fear of death for the simple reason that one stares in the face of it so often when experiencing the bliss that can be found in such a deep state of letting go. Many teachings discuss how those who are not ready to let go in this way suffer through death and often wind up as ghosts, stuck in an “in-between” realm for various reasons. This bliss also just happens to be an energetic state that accompanies awakenings (once you can get the hang of it), and bliss is a powerful way of allowing our emotional armoring to fall away so that the inner self can shine forth. This is what is central to Tantra as a way to heal very quickly (if you are ready and honest in your approach). It is here that I give you The Man, whose channel to his own bliss has been so incredibly attenuated….
Men have learned to be controlled in order to survive. It may have served a purpose once in the past but it no longer serves us now. But this kind of death is what men are uneasy about. When men come close to women, they can behave badly for the very reason that they have become so estranged from that part within themselves that could give them, moment by moment, the same thing they feel when they behold or are near a woman: death. This death, for those who live in it is known as orgasmic bliss. In an awakened man, this bliss can be constant, but in everyman who is not awakened, it is experienced as a brief explosive event that he can only get with a woman, and it is much more physically encountered. In truth, he can and does get it alone (sometimes multiple times in a day in his younger years!). The desire for something when it’s forbidden only makes the desire riotously powerful. Add to this a man so estranged from his feminine side that the only way to feel it is to be in the full embrace of a woman, and you can perhaps see just how all of this has conspired to create an unhealthy situation for all involved. Pile onto this the double standard of women needing to be chaste and virtuous and you can begin to see how hilariously messed up that we have all become! Men sow their wild oats and women are to be virtuous and chaste! Pray tell me; how is this supposed to work?
Once a man awakens, he gets the briefing from the energy which shows him that this energy has arisen in him because of the forces of opposites now merged. I’m joking here because there is no “brief” as such, just a self that comes to the truth of the matter, which is a significant event in a man’s life. Orgasmic bliss is now no longer limited to those fevered moments beneath the sheets, but now pours all through the body in a continuous stream as a direct result of the union of opposites which is the source of the power of kundalini or awakening. As long as we don’t try to fiddle with the cosmic switches inside, we will feel a continual flow of this energy.
Women will experience much the same, but from the opposite end of the social/sexual spectrum. To awaken is to join the masculine and feminine currents in consciousness together, which will bring bliss. This is nature’s way of rewarding you for taking one more step closer to being a full person, a more whole being!
In fact, all traditions that have awakening as an understood experience (nearly all), you will find a balancing effect as a result of of its activation. In the Hindu tradition the awakened person is shown as equal parts Shakti and Shiva, merged right down the middle of the body. The Taoists more obliquely refer to this in the Yin and Yang. In the early Christian texts this is called a syzygy. This is an equal part male and female person who has awakened the sleeping energy of transformation. They were known as androgynous in a spiritual sense. During awakening the lines between these two aspects blur and they merge more and more as the awakening unfolds. This does not confuse sexuality, but rather informs it in a deep and substantive way if the person so affected allows for this to creep into their awareness.
This is a moment by moment experience of bliss pouring through all parts of the body, it is not a singular event like a physical orgasm. It is a “standing wave” that does not crash, does not subside. It endures. And the reason for this is because those who know this experience are in varying degrees learning to awaken and merge their twin energies of both their masculine and feminine in their bodies and in their consciousness. Men, though, have been fearful of even going there. Taboo. They had to be strong. They had to provide by using muscle to hunt and create from the land. They believed there was no way they could survive and let that feminine flow into them. Men who were seen as effeminate were picked on. Gay men were known to be lynched, tied to fences to die, or beaten up in alleys outside of gay bars. The fear and programming went hand in hand. Somehow, we each have persevered through all of this. And what men refused in themselves they refused in their world. The way they created themselves was how they created their world. The pressures placed on women were no less restrictive than their male counterparts. Both were taught to hide their opposites while expecting the house to stand. The way we have managed this traditionally has been for the man and the woman separately but together to hold each other up. While this has had asocial function it has extremely limited use spiritually and personally.
Our society in the last 15 years has been going through a sea change as it relates to greater and greater equality for people from all walks of life. Women have become more assertive and are beginning to see greater equity in the work place than a hundred years ago (we have more to go!) has I think been concurrent with men realizing they don’t need to be the sole breadwinners but can be a stay at home Dad. Men are learning that they can be more sensitive and nurturing while still retaining their masculinity. Gays are not beaten in the streets or killed, and we are experiencing an opening, a flowering which is in its early stages still, but will help to push society to a much more egalitarian place. What it will do is it will fuel more and more awakenings for the simple reason that we won’t fear touching the opposite in our nature’s. Men won’t lose their masculinity anymore than a woman will lose her femininity by embracing the opposites within themselves. They will open the channels so that bliss will pour through.
This is to my mind the briar patch we should dive into, not fearing it or what it will do to us. This will happen when we stop listening to what the collective has created on a mass scale and begin listening to our own inner compass. When you are a woman and feel attracted to a man, what man is moving in you? Is it the man in front of you, or is it the man within you? No man makes you feel, you alone must participate and become moved by your own innate understanding of what this glorious energy is about and be willing not to make the man in front of you into the man who is really the one you feel that is inside of you. If you do this, you risk projecting onto the man before you the image and presence that is not with him but that is with you. In the same way, men must be careful not to put onto the woman before him the woman that is inside him, lest the two not fit well, or will be forced together in a hopeful effort made by both people with the likely result that no peace and union can hope to endure. A woman, just like a man, will feel innately the force of your expectation that they should be something that they are not. Why make chameleons of ourselves? Are we not perfect within? Are we really afraid of seeing our gloriously human and divine selves in their truest light?
This is precisely what is brought to bear in so-called “twin” unions. The energy is often so strong because of the subconscious (now more conscious) desire to merge with an inner unrecognized aspect of the self (our opposite) that is projected outward to another person. While these can work, they will always labor under whatever karma and inner issues that remain and they will be felt more keenly. This is good for people willing to engage in rapid healing, but such change can mean that each are left without a common point of reference once the karmic glitches are healed. The reality is that twins DO NOT heal in perfect synchronization.It isn’t that love goes away, it is more that the change when one heals a glitch can be so profound that the foundation for that love can change faster than what most people can keep up with. One twin can, and most often does, move more quickly than the other, resulting in one feeling left behind in one way or the other. In the myth, the two live happily ever after, but in the reality they are having to deal with every emotion highlighted and amplified. Every challenge can then be so much more of a challenge. In a world such as this, there is often a gulf between the real and infinite potential. We often mistake the potential as being what is real in our world, which isn’t. We must work to create in such a way that this potential manifests itself, and this can only happen through radical self honesty. In the end, the true twin resides within each of us as a misperceived other that we seek to project onto a loved one.
Perhaps, for now, the wise approach might be to honor and see ourselves as we are and see others as they are and begin to learn a new way which is to appreciate each other’s wholeness as precious and love based on that instead of our yearning to touch the opposite that resides within. Perhaps we then merge our individual yearnings together in what might be an utterly new arrangement with regard for our true selves instead of allowing societal rules and taboo’s to guide us in an unknowing and unnatural way. When we follow our compass fully, we become innocent and cease being contrived by our ideas about how we think the world wants us to be.