The Alchemy of Male and Female
By Thomas Leichardt, L.Ac., DMQ About Tom
Prior to our intense identification with male and female principles, or roles, we exist as individuals. We are spiritual energy embarking upon a human experience, an experience of form and substance that adds immeasurably to the expansion of the spiritual dimension as well as the evolution of biological life. That individual energy is neither male nor female, then, but rather, it is a whole field of identity within which a grand variety of patterns, behaviors, and tendencies are possible to develop within the medium of human experience.
Once fully immersed in physical life, however, how often is that rich, diverse, and expansive field of individualized spiritual energy squeezed into our culture’s narrow, limited, and predetermined molds based upon male or female? How often is that individual human energy molded into patterns based upon gender, curtailed to think, behave, and be a certain way due to cultural molds and pressures? Or, are some behaviors set biologically, hard wired into the body, that then cause that individual spiritual energy to express itself in set patterns based upon whether it operates through a female versus a male body?
Just like bones grow in response to the stresses placed upon them, so too, our brains grow in response to how we use them. If we are trained at an early age to identify with our sex, and to conform to rigid and narrow definitions of that sex’s behavior, then our brain, via a miraculous and magical process known as neuroplasticity, actually grows in response to those neurological habits. Our so called sexual habits are then hard wired into the brain. Anyone studying brain imaging could easily conclude that yes, there are biologically set parameters for behavior according to sex. However, that would be putting the proverbial cart before the horse. In fact, it is form that follows thought, and not the other way around. Our brains grow in response to our patterns of habitual thought, which then become hard wired into the brain. We assume then that certain characteristics are biologically coded, when in fact they are culturally transmitted, and then assimilated into the brain. Thus they become biologically and neurologically reflected in studies, yet their source remains a cultural phenomenon.
I propose that the only real differences with regards to the male or the female are those pertaining to the biological processes and functions of procreation and the continuation of the human species. However, beyond that aspect of biological function, no psychological or spiritual differences actually exist, and those that do, are a result of cultural programing, and not biological programing.
Before delving further along these lines, lets back up and look at a bigger picture of reality, a picture upon which these premises are based.
Simply put, our beliefs form reality. Form follows thought, and ideas with sufficient momentum begin to reflect in physical reality. As mentioned earlier, even on the level of biological growth and development, beliefs (and their attendant emotions) affect neurological structures within the brain. It is well known that patients who suffer from chronic depression or post traumatic stress disorder who do not transform their early programming, trauma, and negative beliefs and conclusions about reality, over time demonstrate actual changes in the physiology and size of various areas of the brain. It is equally pertinent to mention that these changes then do predispose said individuals to continue to perceive reality through their established beliefs and conclusions, thereby creating more momentum for their existing condition. However, it is also true that those who actively change their frame of reference through various forms of psychological and spiritual healing can and do change that momentum, and do not over time suffer the same and continued response on a neurological level. In other words, neurology reflects their current states of healing and wholeness, and is not set by previous neurological or psychological imprints.
Now, neurobiology aside, it is important to realize a plain truth which makes it self evident that we are not programmed genetically towards certain set psychological or spiritual behaviors based on gender. That stark truth can by summarized in two sentences, a Yin and Yang pair, if you will:
A woman is capable of being and doing anything and everything that a man is capable of being and doing.
A man is capable of being and doing anything and everything that a woman is capable of being and doing.
These two statements obviously exclude those previously mentioned aspects of procreation and the continuation of the human species. We are talking about psychological and spiritual aspects, then.
If there were biological parameters set that would predetermine an actual psychological and spiritual difference between women and men based on biological programming, then those set parameters would effectively preclude any woman from achieving what a man can achieve. Conversely, it would also preclude men from achieving what women can achieve. The fact remains, however, that there are women who can perform as well as men in any arena, or better, while there are also men who can perform as well as any woman. If limits were set biologically, those limits would preclude any man or woman from effectively and successfully expressing traits that supposedly belong to the opposite sex. However, this is simply not the case.
Our world proves this many times over, as we see women in traditionally male roles perform equally, and sometimes better, then men. Business, finance, politics, law, science, and engineering, among other fields, were once considered the realms of men, yet today we’ve seen many times over that indeed women are not biologically precluded from excelling in these fields. On the other hand, we can also see that men are capable of expressing so called feminine traits, be that intuition, sensitivity, depth of feeling, thinking by association, nurturing, compassion, and so forth.
Our cultural beliefs and social roles (which, thankfully, are breaking down) act as powerful molds, and yet at the same time, they are stumbling blocks and psychological fetters, keeping the full and complete spectrum of human being from emerging. Instead, they force the whole individualized spiritual energy into a distortion. The role allows certain traits to shine forth, through development and expression, while deranging and suppressing others, all dependent upon what is allowed or disallowed within one’s gender role.
The masculinizing and feminizing of traits sets up barriers, then, which serve to limit the free flow of ideas and energy, allowing free flow in some areas while stifling it in others, causing an overall derangement to the whole identity. The molds cause development to be lopsided, allowing for the creative development of some traits over others, creating imbalance, stresses and distortions within the psyche where instead there could be free flow, integration, connection, and balance. Feelings and logic, or, the heart and mind, which are meant to work together, are set against each other, causing artificial divisions within the psyche that ultimately stifle the full and varied expression of an otherwise whole psyche that naturally seeks integration.
The divisions are artificial, then, as at the forefront we are individuals, prior to our intense identification with so called male or female principles and roles. Our ideas of male and female principles are purely a cultural phenomenon, rather than a set biological, physiological, or genetic pattern. Had the feminine and masculine actually been divided biologically, those roles would be fixed. Men would not express those so called feminine traits of caring and nurturing, while no woman would express those so called masculine traits of assertiveness, strength, logic, or rationality. Clearly this is not the case, as examples counter to these molds do exist, and in fact are abundant and readily apparent to those who are willing to see.
At a very basic level, then, modern culture identified form, structure, logic, and reason as masculine; while identifying caring, nurturing, loving, and supportive as feminine. Thus the “man” builds the house and protects it, while the “woman” fills it with love and nurturing. This basic and artificial split has been the mold of human civilization for several thousand years. Nevertheless duration in time is not proof of infallibility, nor are even the deepest root assumptions of our culture free from the all pervasive laws of change and evolution. Therefore it is only right that we question; even our deepest root assumptions about reality. These basic questions must be looked at, sooner or later: Are these root assumptions about male and female roles fundamentally true? And are they serving our greatest integrated human development? Or, do they trap men from feeling their emotional hearts? Do they trap women from feeling their assertive power?
What if we did away with this split? What if we raised our children as integrated whole beings, while giving ourselves that same freedom?
Anyone who is split, and therefore forces him or herself into a narrow cultural definition of man or woman, is only using half of their capacity. The other half goes underground, is repressed, and ultimately distorted. Is it any wonder, then, that men trained to repress their so called feminine principle within themselves can’t relate to women? And is it any wonder that women, who repress their so called masculine principle, then can’t relate to men? For that which you suppress within yourself, you would also suppress in another. Is that the foundation we want to set for a loving relationship, either within the self or with the opposite sex?
Therefore, this is what I offer humanity: the complete human being. I offer the fully integrated man and woman; the compassionate, nurturing warrior; the strong, assertive, and loving mother. I offer humanity the melding of the heart and mind, the blending of the home and the office, the marriage of science and religion, the alchemy of love and finance. I offer the commingling of waking and dreaming, and the fusion of intuition and logic. I offer the alchemy of all that is said to be male with all that is said to be female, swirling and dancing together until the very definitions of each fall away, and there is freedom to be our whole and complete spiritual being in this splendid and varied human experience. I offer an alchemy of these seeming opposites, until an entirely new and unified faculty is borne of two, much more than the sum of its individual parts, a heart-mind resident within each individual that will propel our culture and civilization into an unprecedented age of emotional, mental, and spiritual maturity, sophistication, and intelligence.
About the author: Thomas Leichardt is a holistic medical practitioner applying various modalities to help restore his patients’ natural alignment with health, vitality, joy, and clarity. Thomas has an acupuncture and energy medicine clinic in San Jose, CA. He also teaches classes in energy medicine and is faculty at Five Branches University. Make an online appointment, or for more information, visit the author’s main site.
This article reflects the teachings of Seth (Jane Roberts), as well as many other wonderful spiritual teachers that have crossed my path, piqued my curiosity, and influenced my life. Thank you all!
References: All the Seth books, esp. The Nature of the Psyche, by Seth (Jane Roberts)