All We Need is Her
I don’t recall when I learned that we are all biological fusions of male and female. If it happened in my school years, there was certainly no requirement or encouragement to look deeper. I remember how, as a young man, I gave almost no space to anything female in my nature. To be a man meant being male, to be a woman meant being female. That was that. So for example, when things happened that offended or upset me, as a man all I knew to do was argue, attack, defend, prove my point and do everything I could to win. I took being told how male I was as a compliment. To be considered at all female would have been insulting. That is still the way it is for many men, especially in the corporate and political realms. For women to be regarded as male is nowadays probably more socially acceptable because it at least implies that they have some power. But look, there’s an elephant in the drawing room, and it’s been there for a very, very long time. What would our world be like if we were all educated — not just knowledgeable but actually connected from childhood on — with what is male and what is female in us? What would we be like as men and women if from our boyhood and girlhood we grew up learning not only to be aware of our male and our female nature, but so friendly and trusting with both that we could intuitively allow each to lead or follow the other, or dance in step together simply depending on what best served our well-being, our happiness, and above all our warm regard for all humanity and the planet? But it isn’t like this because nobody ever showed us to ourselves this way, and the consequences of our ignorance are pretty disastrous.
It wasn’t until I spent 8 years as a disciple of Osho Rajneesh, living in his wildly unorthodox ashrams, first in Poona, India in the 70’s and then in Oregon, USA in the 80’s, that I discovered first-hand what was male and what was female in me. It went hand-in-hand with realising how deeply mistrustful I was of surrender and receptivity. Perhaps only making love did I allow myself any surrender at all. Until my mid-thirties, losing felt always like defeat. Only through my years with Osho did I discover surrender as the entrance into life’s deepest mysteries. It gradually became clear that defeat, like victory, belongs to maleness. Surrender and receptivity belong to the female. Female power sounds to me like an oxymoron. A woman in her power is playing in her male energy, just as a man in surrender is entrusting himself to his female nature.
A more appropriate counterpart to male power is the trust that belongs to being female. There is intrinsic trust in being receptive, and in surrender too — totally different from resignation or capitulation, where there is no trust at all. Remember, I am not describing men and women, but male and female essence as they manifest in all of us. Women expressing their power can be magnificent — witness any number of contemporary female singers, actresses or dancers for example, giving as much of themselves as Mick Jagger at full tilt. When they wish to convey female mystique, it is not their power that expresses it. It is all the intimations of surrender and receptivity — yes, wildly fused with their power, but take away these qualities and all that is left is the one-dimensional male power that epitomises so many female as well as male politicians. Donald Trump is a prime example of rampant male power. Most significantly, there is no mystery in his being. Why? He has no soul-awareness. Like everybody who lives only their maleness, he is completely alienated from his soul. It has to be so because our soul life is only available to us when we are surrendered to all that is here and now. That means having a trusting and friendly connection with all our feelings, including the vulnerable, the tender, the not-knowing, the fearful. If we have to shun and deny things that we are experiencing, we cannot let be what is, which means we cannot be here now. No presence, no soul. To be here now means being open to all and everything: no resistance, no conditions, no ego-trips, no agenda. While this puts it virtually off-limits to politicians, it is worth a brief aside to note that they are not beyond feigning the female receptivity and empathy that belong to real presence: “Vote for me because I hear you, I care about you.” Connected only with their maleness, men and women can act with impunity, ready to use female qualities for their own gratification as callously as a pimp uses a prostitute. One of the sad and telling facts of our world is that so many people are taken in by this self-serving masquerade. As George Gurdjieff, one of the great mystics of the last century put it, “Life is real only then, when I am”. Once we become self-aware, we can’t be fooled. The elephant really needs our attention!
To wake up for the very first time into being simply and fully present is only possible in a state of receptive surrender. It rarely happens easily. People have to first get really tired of their personality games and ego-trips and that seems to require being drastically upended by existence: the proverbial wake-up call finally makes clear that it’s time to give up and bring the curtain down on all the pretending. It is a critical moment in a person’s life, one that can lead to self-realisation or to suicide. No wonder people choose to play safe and keep their personality shows on the road!
If we find the trust and courage to surrender into being, our awareness is no longer limited to things of this world. Coming into the present, because it is timeless, we are not only one with all that is happening here and now. We open to the eternal; we become soul-conscious.
It isn’t only ego-maniacs who cannot be present. All kinds of very normal people too, perhaps because soul is scary, intimate as it is with death and eternity. This is a pity, because living with soul, death loses its sting and life becomes infinitely more mysterious. To discover this we need our female. Male on his own cannot; he is the active principle — always doing. She comes into being when he gives up. Isn’t this beautifully symbolised in all the stories of the quest after enlightenment? The seeker tries everything, reads all the texts, visits all the gurus, practises a thousand meditations. Finally, accepting the humbling fact that none of it works, he sits under a tree and surrenders. Voilà! It happens.
Never mind enlightenment. Living life in touch with soul is good enough. And it isn’t angelic fairyland. Soul is where we engage with the innermost realm of our being. It is where we meet ourselves in unadulterated truth, which in itself requires surrender and receptivity. This is our bridge with the eternal, with the boundless mystery that transcends mortal life and the material world. It is often referred to as the spiritual plane; I prefer mystery because spiritual is such a belief-laden term, and because eternity really is unfathomable mystery.
The most formidable obstacle in the way of being one with eternity is the mind. Thinking is a form of action, as anyone knows who has ever sat in meditation wishing that their relentlessly busy mind would just shut the f… up. Intuitively we know that our mind is the maze we can’t get free of, but the knowing doesn’t help; it just promotes more running round the maze. Whether it is our mind or our body that is active, the activity itself is male power doing its thing. It may be creative or destructive, and which is the case is either purely accidental, or depends on male’s connection with the female. He can act with or without her. Acting with her is making love in existence; being here now is being in love. Romantic as this may sound, it simply is so. If our heart is not included, we are not fully present. Without her, he is unconstrained action, moving in existence with no qualms of conscience or compassion. This does not make him intrinsically bad. Capricious rather, ungoverned — a dynamic force that shapes, makes, breaks without concern for consequences.
The subject of masculinity and femininity is another matter entirely. Whereas male and female describe a universal duality in existence, masculine and feminine relate specifically to people; they are terms that describe human social and personality attributes. There is much rescue and reconciliation work needed — and fortunately much now in progress — regarding issues of gender, and where the link between the universal and the human is of profound significance. For now, I wish simply to clarify the distinction.
Since this is really all about male and female, it is worth considering their most basic sexual features — the erect penis that is strong and powerful enough to penetrate, and the vagina that opens and moistens to receive. Literally and as symbols they speak so eloquently of male and female essence. He is energy seeking action, and where can he act but in existence? She is the infinitely desirable and all-encompassing existence that calls him into his power and draws him into her secret garden. In existence he plays. If he stays locked into his male as he plays, he is power fulfilling itself with no awareness of being. Not only is he reckless. He has no clue what he is missing. Unknown to him, she is the missing element he needs to wake up to the wonder and mystery of being; and the only way he can receive her is to surrender his male, to let go of doing and become receptive, female. This means feeling, it means being touched by life, it means heart opening which in turn means loving. And all of this together is how waking up to being happens. Now, reclaiming his male, he is the fusion of male and female. His actions are tempered by all that she is. He cares about what he is doing and how it affects existence.
It isn’t that presence is female. There is male, there is female, and there is presence. To be here now is not gender-dependent, but the way in is.
To come full circle, how different would our world be if children were raised and educated to know and be in friendly connection with their inner male and female! Imagine, it could give rise to a new festival day in everyone’s life — an initiation into adulthood signifying that they have truly woven male and female into their way of being. In short, whatever they do in life, they do with loving regard for all humanity and for the planet that sustains us. This would naturally be the essential attribute of anyone seeking any kind of leadership role. Without it, a sane and healthy society would never dream of permitting anyone to preside over its people.