Written By: Alan McAllister
A Jumping Spark is Birthed
A photon birthed in a star in the early universe, ten billion years ago, radiates outward into expanding space. Crossing all the time and space we know of, it reaches Earth and the Hubble telescope yesterday or today. Light is stable and coherent, traveling unchanged until it encounters an atom or molecule.
Physical light is made of electro-magnetic waves, quantized as photons. It is a single phenomenon, made up of two aspects. You may think I mean the particle/wave duality, and you are right. Light sometimes behaves as a both waves and particles simultaneously.
But I want to explore the electro-magnetic duality. There are energetic fields in the universe that are generated by electrical charges, extending outward with diminished affect but unlimited extent. Shuffling your socks across a carpet in winter creates a static electric charge. This charge generates a field, which then connects to other conducting objects: a metal door nob, a friend, or your cat.
When a spark jumps from your hand to that nearby object, something happens besides the ‘ouch’ you may feel as the current moves through your skin. There is visible light emitted. The moving electric charge has created its partner: the magnetic field. It does this whenever it moves. The lightening of a summer storm is a similar process on a much larger scale.
There are stationary magnetic fields as well. A bar magnet creates a simple magnetic field, as does the spinning molten metal core of our planet Earth. When the magnet moves, it also creates a corresponding electric field. Move a magnet near the wires that lead to a light bulb and the bulb lights up, at least faintly. This brings us back to why there is a visible spark when you touch your cat after charging your self on the carpet. Light is an electro-magnetic field in play.
Potential Arises for Creation
In the layers of consciousness that are Brahma, that source from which we and the rest of the manifest universe emerge, there are dual aspects: Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is the witness, and Shakti takes the action of creation. They are paired like the electric and magnetic fields, two aspects of one larger entity. Shakti and Shiva dance together, creating levels of denser and denser consciousness, energy, and finally matter.
In this manifest universe there are various forms of duality. Many of them, like hot and cold, are only experienced relative to each other. Whatever has more thermal energy than something else will seem warm or hot while the other will seem cool or cold.
As human beings, our gender is perhaps the most obvious duality in our daily experience. We generalize this to Feminine and Masculine. In this way, Shiva is said to be masculine and Shakti feminine, although being two aspects of an inseparable Unity, they are beyond gender.
Similarly, traditions often talk of Spirit and Matter as having gender. While there may be Spirit without Matter, there is never Matter without Spirit. But a masculine Spirit does not do something to a feminine Matter to bring it to life. Substance and form arise together out of the same level of the unmanifest.
The Spiritual levels of the world – Brahma, the Tao, Consciousness or Spirit – are unitary like light. When an idea forms inside, a quantum potential arises which then can physically manifest as energy or matter. This materialized level is where polarity forms structures, atoms, molecules, crystals, and plasmas. Differences in charge, temperature, and many other types of energy cause motion, flows, and orbits. Yet there is a unity even in material polarity. All these forms are comprised of energy, even a rock.
Unlike the Indians and the Chinese, the Greeks postulated independent ideals which could be separated. In the early Christian centuries, Spirit came to be seen as opposed to Matter. Rather than co-creating the world and ourselves, Spirit and Matter were placed in opposition and conflict. To attain salvation (Spirit) one had to overcome the physical (Matter). That Spirit is alive in Matter was either forgotten or denied.
In believing that Divinity lay in “heaven” (i.e. elsewhere than within), the early Christians who became the Fathers of the institutionalized Church associated the feminine with Matter and Nature, including their own bodies, and the masculine with Spirit and Heaven.
This overarching judgment led to the suppression and oppression of the feminine in general , and the consequences of this belief have cascaded detrimentally through two thousand years of history, negatively impacting nature, men, women and the whole of our culture .
Have you ever had a really great massage where you can feel both firmness and gentleness in the touch? It takes strength to massage in that way – not applied strength, but potential strength that holds the softness. Is this masculine or feminine? Perhaps it is both: attention and strength, awareness and action. The physical world, like Spirit, is always a combination of both.
We partake of and have within us all the attributes, qualities and potentials of both feminine and masculine. Focusing on being exclusively one or the other, we lose something of ourselves; we become less than the wholeness of who we really are.
Life is inherently expansive; the more we suppress it, the harder it is to keep it suppressed. Eventually suppressed aspects will reach the surface. Just try keeping an undercurrent of frustration with a loved one from jumping out at them. What is not honestly addressed will come out sideways.
When the suppression is societal, we fear being found out, that we will be exposed and judged. Judgment leads to self-judgment, and then anger and frustration. Mostly unconscious and unaddressed, there is an ongoing compounding of the original wounding.
When we are afraid to express aspects of ourselves, we eventually separate ourselves from those parts. This is similar to the process of individuation that most of us experience as infant human beings.
Being separated from and fearful of aspects of ourselves, we also become afraid of those who do express them. When men express their inner feminine, or women their inner masculine, they are often shunned and estranged, and the results of this estrangement are vast, complex, pervasive and long lasting .
My right brain and left brain are uncertain about each other. Even after years of attention they are hesitant to trust each other. Each feels that it ought to be running my life, and that the other is incapable of doing a good job. I learned all this as a child, unconsciously absorbing it from those I grew up with. It is a slow process to learn to cooperate and co-create.
Falling Back Into the Sea
In the human body, Kundalini energy is coiled at the base of the spine, waiting to uncurl, rise up through the chakras and back through the layers of matter and consciousness. This is Sacred Union, the union of the individual creation with its Source, is like the foam on top of the wave falling back into the sea.
For us as human beings, yoga involves restoring union between all the separated aspects of ourselves, and it begins with each of us internally. Perhaps the hardest thing to do is to find the aspects of ourselves that we most resist and come into wholeness with them.
These resisted aspects are often so buried that we don’t even know that they are there. They are wrapped in fear and trauma, shame and judgment. We must be able to sit with all of that, letting it rise, move through us and release. It is a good thing to heal others, society, and the planet, but it is a greater feat to find those things that most scare you and then heal them in yourself.
As I clear and release my own internal separations, I find that I AM what I am seeking. In wholeness we discover that we already are part of Spirit or Source. This is the power of Sacred Union in each individual heart and soul, in pairs, and then in groups, spreading outwards in the world. The foundation is wholeness in my heart and yours. Then we can help each other.
One of the most powerful and necessary ways to help each other is simply to listen, to witness. The ability to witness our sisters and brothers, mother and fathers, gives them permission to be, helps them to release their wounds and dissolve separation. To be affirmed in our pain empowers us to leave it behind and move forward.
Never Really Gone
Just as Shiva and Shakti dance creation together, if I am to create anything in my life I need all of me involved. Inspiration, intuition, planning and analysis all have a role to play. I have learned that I need to use both my masculine and feminine. The greatest vision will never come to be unless there is a receptivity that brings it into form. The sum is much greater and much sweeter than the parts.
The more I cultivate them together, the more I learn to listen to each voice, the more I know when to let each one lead. Their harmonious relationship allows me to live with less internal conflict, and to show up in my life more fully and effectively.
As a male trained in left-brain thinking, I have had to spend time learning to access and trust my intuition and my emotions. I am still learning, and while some lessons come from my higher self or Spirit, many come from my sisters, and talking to them about how they experience their minds and hearts.
There is a lot of talk about recovering the feminine. Actually, it never left. It has just been feared, misunderstood and suppressed. And the masculine that has done these things is distorted, fearful and out of balance. The men trying to live this way are inevitably wounded and forced into molds that do not fit the spiritual essence of the Divine masculine. In reaffirming the feminine we must look to an equal union with a healthy masculine, and be cautious not to demonize the masculine for the imbalance in the world.
Yoga, or Union, starts inside each of us. Old fear and anger must be acknowledged and resolved. Old patterns of behavior need to change. Cultivating our personal sacred union, our inner wholeness, transforms us into vessels through which Spirit expresses and shines Light into the world.
As we learn this ourselves and radiate it outwards, the world can and will transform. As we learn and accept all the facets of ourselves, we realize that there is nothing we need fear inside us. Fearing nothing inside us, we can face the world fearlessly as well. Being fearless in the world, others will begin to release their fear. The world will begin to change.
To be done solo, in partnership, or as a group. As always, improvise and enjoy. And thanks for doing some heavy lifting.
Explore Relativity. Play with dualistic concepts until you know how relative they are. What is a shadow within the shade? Is water hard or soft? Play with masculine and feminine: pick something you *know* is one or the other and find counter-examples.
Heal Duality. Feel into your own nature. Explore how you have both feminine and masculine aspects and attributes. Meditate on why you consider them one or the other. Notice if how you feel about them changes depending on how you label them. Take the labels off. Feel the life force returning.
Claim Power. Find at least one quality or activity from your childhood that you let go of because it was supposed to be for the opposite gender. Give your self permission to own it again. Repeat. Begin to feel the wholeness of yourself, comprised of both feminine and masculine. What other dualities do you combine within your Self? Own these too.
Become Whole. Where do your inner feminine and masculine fear and resist each other? Gently let this lead you back inside yourself to what lies hidden there. Witness and release. Cultivate ways in which they can collaborate. Appreciate the ways in which they already do.
Find Neutrality. Disconnect from external fear by noticing wounded aspects of yourself. Take note when you feel emotionally triggered, then disengage from the trigger. Reclaim another piece of personal power. Then re-engage without fear, and work in the world from there.
1 Pagels, Elaine, Adam, Eve and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity. Vintage Books, 1988.
2 Starbird, Margaret, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail. Bear & Co, 1993.
3 Rosenberg, Marshall, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion. Puddledancer Press, 2001.