“Unguard your heart, over and over, even when you don’t want to–especially when you don’t want to. Continue practicing many short moments of total surrender. Eventually, the habit of guarding wears thin and your heart is courageously exposed to the world, shining with great brightness and demonstrating a perpetual willingness to suffer others’ oblivious rancour without closing. Love prevails. But it takes practice.” – David Deida
I was trying to get this article finished in time for the deadline when, in a raving fit of logic, I drank coffee. It was so hard to find the right words to convey what I meant and my brain wasn’t functioning well. “Coffee aids thought”, I thought – and whammo! I was thinking so hard that I couldn’t relax enough to feel what I wanted to write. And the really cute thing was, I was writing of the importance of the deep feeling field, and how our thinking and doing need to arise out of our being and feeling. I made the very same mistake that I was writing about!
It is so easy to do. I am so conditioned by my culture to focus on thinking and doing that it’s as though I need to schedule in an appointment for the feeling and being parts of myself, or wait till retirement. What I really needed to do was find a beautiful spot, relax and feel, and the right thoughts in the right way would have flowed just as they are now. When I was a young man there was all sorts of advice on how to ‘think before you act’ and cartoons of office workers with ‘Think’ written up on the walls. Indeed the whole education system was geared around thinking, and the sense of ‘being’ was never referred to except if one took philosophy at uni and wandered into existentialism.
This whole business of living a life of thinking and doing as the focus of life is quite recent in history, and people at other times were raised very differently.
The Africans say that it takes a whole village to raise a child. Well, we started off raising our children as a tribe, then as a village, then an extended family, a nuclear family and then particle families of single parents. This movement of the whole to parts is a shift from the feminine to the masculine principle. It began as tribal life, gave way to village life, then the beginnings of civilisation, city states and nations and so on. As the culture got bigger in physical size, it took more of the masculine archetype to hold it together and to administer it.
The whole feeling mode of tribal relationship with the land was related to the highly developed, and opened deeper chakras. The relationship with the earth happens through the base chakra. The passionate relationship with the world is through the sacral chakra, and our sense of power, related to the emotions, is centred in the solar plexus chakra.
The movement of authority in tribal culture is circular – feminine, whereas in civilisation it is more hierarchical – masculine. In the tribes there were not many people, and important decisions were taken to the whole tribe or village. As farming technology advanced, and villages became bigger and more numerous, the ability to make decisions in a different way was needed. One person could not know everyone, so they had to rely on others for their information about what was going on. So a hierarchy was built. People would not have known how to do this at first and you can imagine the kind of trial and error that went on to find a way that worked. Having a society that moved with a more hierarchical style of authority meant that there was a different balance of the masculine and feminine needed at the cultural level.
The masculine archetype strengthens
There were many strange methods tried to bring this changing balance into being. The harvest king, for example, was a man elected (or volunteered) to be eventually sacrificed, and his blood and body parts spread over the land to nourish it and bring the balance of the masculine and feminine. In the Bible, the priests of Baal tried to build a tower that went all the way to God (the Masculine Principle). Of course that one fell apart rather rapidly with some dire biblical consequences.
The masculine archetype, Logos, is only 2500 years old. Our cultural mode of thinking, rich with logic, is very new in history. The Greeks began its development and it has held a pride of place since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Computers are a natural outgrowth of this thinking mode.
Indeed, the march forward of the masculine archetype has been progressively stronger as civilisation advanced.
The Celts were one of the few civilisations which kept a balance of the masculine and feminine during its development. There were both Druid and Priestess strains in the religious orders and they held complementary and equal roles. Authority was both circular and hierarchical depending on the situation. Village life had its own local authority but in times of need such as warfare, a high king was elected for the duration of the crisis and then the position lapsed.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Romans were building a nuggetty little city state (Rome) in a very masculine fashion. They had an elected senate (elected by the aristocratic men) at the head of which was Caesar, who was said to have a divine right to rule. Competition is masculine (feminine = cooperation) and, when they were powerful enough, they looked around and decided that their neighbours had to be Romanised. Sound familiar? Next thing you know Julius Caesar has committed genocide in Brittany and the Celtic civilisation ended up in small pockets in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. So it became obvious that, simply in order to survive, the cultures needed to develop a strong masculine presence to ward off the predators. Of course, they then became the very thing that they feared – an aspect of karmic law that is as applicable to societies as it is to individuals.
Masculine and feminine spirituality
Tribal cultures have a very earth-based spirituality, and the pagan religions are often called ‘discovered’ religions. The development of the deeper chakras is paramount since it is through the base chakra that we feel the earth and have our connection with her and where spiritual truth is discovered in deep communion with nature.
The spirituality of civilisations is more upper chakra based and is described as ‘revealed’ religion, where spiritual truths are revealed by higher beings. What is called ‘spiritual’ in our culture is mostly the activation of those chakras above the heart, the ones to do with expression, thought, inner sight and transcendence. In one context, these are considered masculine. The ones below the heart, the deeper centres, are feminine and are the ones where we have our passion, the centre of our chi, survival, power, sex and earth connection. This is where our culture is missing in action. We as a society have been training for centuries to control these deeper centres (lower chakras) rather than integrate them with the upper ones. As a consequence we have a society that has very little relationship with the land, indeed where we are actively destroying the land for profit, where the women have just erupted in savage discontent for 25 years and where our children, far from receiving the love and upbringing from a whole village, get the attention of electronic baby sitters.
Finding the balance
Since the root spirituality of the feminine is in community and family and the land, while the root spirituality of the masculine is in solitude, it is here that we seem to have lost the plot. Our society has lost its relationship with the earth and our species is in imminent danger of overshooting its niche, while we move away from community toward ever-decreasing islands of self. In the movement toward more and more isolation and separation, we keep reinforcing the masculine qualities – becoming more separate from each other and from the land. The masculine aspects of individuality and solitude become, without enough of the feminine to enrich them, separation and loneliness.
I see the masculine and feminine archetypes, the yin and yang, as something deeper than women and men. In most cultures, the dual principle holds, and the dance between them is considered wholeness when it is in harmony. Not only the Taoist system but also the Tantric system of thought and its principles on how to live, are deeply embedded in this notion of the divine dance. The Hindu deities characterise Shiva as the active principle (masculine), representing ‘matter’, and Shakti as the passive principle (feminine), representing energy. Many tribal world views also see the universe as being made of the relationship of the masculine and feminine. We all embody these two great archetypes in more or less degree. We all have two hemispheres of the brain and a left and a right side and we are all either in male or female bodies except a very few hermaphrodites, who have both in one body. We all have sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and we all have thoughts and emotions and can be hard or soft or analytical or emotional. Only the archetypes may be described as being only feminine or masculine and, even then, they exist in relation to one another. I think it is time for us as a culture to really own that we have these two huge forces at work in us.
The feminist influence
A strong and recent movement of the masculine archetype was the rise of the feminist part of the women’s movement. Women were the homemakers and keepers of the hearth. The women’s role was to keep the feminine – to keep the door to the feeling field open. Men find it so easy to climb mountains or go to Mars, but the women help to keep them anchored to the earth. Why go to the moon when there are children starving?
Feminism championed the masculisation of women so they could compete in the workplace or in the political arena. To do this they became more competitive, more aggressive and more goal-oriented. Traditional women’s roles were derided. In a time when we are discovering the horrific cost to society of under-fathering, the women have been seduced by ‘quality time’ psychology and are spending less and less time with their children who are being increasingly parented by ‘professionals’ or the ubiquitous television. Children get less and less time in the loving feeling field, and so get pushed into stronger states of thinking.
For 40 years I have supported and worked toward the equality of men and women and fully support women in politics and in the workforce. That they need to become more masculine to do so is part of the price. Yet the consequences of a society that places thinking and doing over being and feeling are now patently obvious to just about anyone who goes deeply into such arenas.
This year I had no car for a while and needed to get the train to the city and then a bus to work. While I was waiting I saw an amazing sight – legions of women in business suits with padded shoulders clop, clop, clopping to work – beautiful women wrapped up in their masculine. I wonder who holds the space for them to be fully feminine when they get home?
The feminists were mistaken to claim the feminine attributes for themselves and to deride the masculine ones and blaming men for the ills of the world. Satyen Raja, who is a Kung Fu master teacher, would say to the men, “If you need to kill a man, you need to be able to feel him. How else can you come to such a decision?” This is why the army will brutalise the men in boot camp before sending them off to war. So that they can NOT feel. It is not the masculine qualities in men that cause them to do these things. It is the lack of the feminine ones!
If the men did not make the world safe, and they haven’t, then the women did not keep them in the earth, all of us seduced by the materialism that is the hallmark of our discontent.
Surely, the thinking and doing MUST arise out of the being and feeling if we are to find the natural, harmonious balance of the masculine and feminine. Our society must, very soon, reconnect with our deeper chakras and connect with the earth – and create a dominant cultural paradigm that supports this.
This includes the cultural level. Politically we have a left and a right wing that are in perpetual opposition. The left wing is very much to do with nurturing the society with social services and plenty of jobs, keeping things safe, and the good of the community (feminine). The right wing is to do with individual effort, taking risk, entrepreneurial activity and progress (masculine). These two need to work together so that the body politic can learn to fly!
So. We see the problem. We see the danger. What next? Just as those long-ago folk invoked the Great Masculine to be able to form civilisation, this is the time to invoke the Great Feminine to create one world, one people.
In my own inner life, the development of my feminine side has enriched the man that I am. And I see this in men all over. There are many ways to live more fully in the deep feeling field. The thing is to become disciplined and enjoy it!
Here are some rich and fast methods to integrate the Great Feminine.
I asked Wirruunga, an Indigenous Elder, how to get a deeper relationship with nature. “The same way I do”, he said, “go out in it, sleep in it, lie on the ground and talk to her. Hug trees and feel what they give to you. Let nature give you your energy.”
Sit on cushions. Not only is sitting in chairs the major cause of lower back pain in the history of the world, but they separate us from the earth and make our bowels sluggish and elimination weak while at the same time severely limiting our mobility. Sitting on the floor and the ground connects us and means that we are constantly moving around to get comfortable and therefore stretching and flexing our muscles and organs. This makes us more sensuous and more in our bodies.
AND get this: plenty of sex. Not just in the masculine way of the release of sexual tension in external orgasms, mental fantasy and the old humpy-humpy baby making, but in lots of the feminine ways. This is in relaxation, sensuality, with no goals in mind and using sex to drop deeply into the feeling field. This way of sexuality generates love, which is a supreme property of the Divine Feminine. Indeed, possibly the greatest attempt to invoke the Goddess into civilisation was with the development of Tantra. This was the very beginning of yoga and was designed by women (the first yoginis) as a way of bringing a harmonious balance of the feminine and masculine principles into society.
Eat with your fingers. Keep the direct, tactile relationship with your food. My Ayurvedic cooking teacher, Falu, says, “Rudran, eat with your fingers. You will love it. Put the bliss bombs in your mouth with your own fingers!”
Engage in any activity that encourages flow over reason. Play music rather than just listen to it. Dance rather than go to the gym. Explore the possibility of wearing more colour, natural fibres and softer lines.
And avoid coffee.
The dance is joined. The war of the sexes is over!
“Know the masculine; keep to the feminine.” Lao Tzu
Rudran Brannock is trained in yoga, aikido, rebirthing, counselling, energy and bodywork, shamanism and tantra. He is an acknowledged elder of the men’s movement in S.E. Queensland.
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