Fairfield County Edition

Cultivating Gender Harmony

Transform Strife into Understanding and Love

Taoist and Tantric principles, like yin-yang polarity, help us resolve conflicted human relationships. Yin and yang are complements that operate harmoniously. They arise in great subtlety in the midst of intimate relationships. For example, women don’t come from Venus or men from Mars. Women and men aren’t alien to each other, and needn’t feel so alienated.

Intimate relationships encompass our sexual gender as men and women, but also the larger archetypes of feminine and masculine. The complex interaction of these four isn’t easily grasped—they don’t simply cross-correlate. Women might prefer men as their intimate partners, and vice versa, because of the obviousness of our biological genders. This serves procreation very well. However, some women most identify the dynamic of feminine-masculine energies in partnership with other women, and men with other men. Why? Because in their loving relationships, feminine-masculine complementarities speak most convincingly independent of their biology as women and men.

A new—or renewed—model of gender relationship is needed. Both women and men enjoy the integrated complementarities of feminine-masculine, dark-light, yielding-firm and compassion-courage. These arise as a fluid dynamic in great subtlety, and can’t be so easily separated and categorized. Their integration models a holistic way of life. When women limit expression of their positive masculine qualities, and men their feminine, an imbalance is created. This highly limits our love for each other and joy in life.

When we feel a fundamental complementarity with our intimate partners, we will pull (yoke) together in some form of greater integration and common purpose. But the key to pulling together is to each take responsibility for our own integration. By harmonizing our own complements, we become intimate with ourselves. The alternative may be to not really know ourselves and hope that someone else will somehow complete us, in a kind of enmeshed or dependent relationship. If we always want, or expect, our partner to be the one who “provides the emotional warmth” or remains “coolly rational”, we may be compensating for each other’s weak suits. When we each feel committed to personal integration, we’ll then really love supporting our partner’s own work, and together feel like we are evolving toward universal truths amidst our real lives—especially our intimate relationships.

The Taoist Way and Tantric Path refer to the way reality as a whole operates. It refers to nature’s universal order and organic patterning, as well as the process of life and how to live it well—challenges and all. The Way includes such principles as wholeness and the integration of polarities, as well as effortless action and natural power—as opposed to controlling behavior. These principles model personal integration, translating into more intimate, intensified and resonating human relationships. Gender harmony is the consummate possibility of togetherness for couples, but its capabilities transcend us as individuals. Integration helps to heal divisions within, between and beyond ourselves. We learn to transform polarization and strife into harmony and love. Differences and diversity are celebrated rather than being washed out in integration. Harmony is a dynamic way to keep a balanced integration of polarities—even the love and strife found in all relationships.

We don’t need someone else to “complete” ourselves—a popular misconception of relationship. The universe is fundamentally relational and organic in that every level forms an integral element of a “deep ecology”—for example, an integrating individual, complementary partnership, conscious community, and the greater evolution of humanity and planet. In resolving their internal divisions, and separateness as individuals, what embraces and envelopes a couple is wholeness—playing out in their purposeful belonging together.

Conventional notions of romantic love and eroticism take a respectful back seat to the larger scope of perception, which increases in breadth and depth, subtlety and clarity—operating through sensation, emotion, imagination, and in-depth awareness. We become more individuated, actualized and true to ourselves; which simply describes how we feel when we are aware of wholeness imprinting us. It always is, but we aren’t always aware of it.

Accepting responsibility for integrating ourselves is precisely how to best help our partners do the same. The question becomes what are we willing to do for our partners? And if we aren’t in a partnership right now, how could we get ready for one? By expanding our mutual belonging and bonding to embrace universal themes, we invite the whole to re-create itself within and through each other. We evolve into a deep appreciation and profound enjoyment of life lived holistically. That is what truly makes for a fulfilling yogic relationship, heightened by universal value, respect and love. Out of profound love and encouragement, we nurture each other’s evolution and travel “home” together.

Valley Spirit Cooperative and Wellness Center in Washington Depot will host a workshop on Cultivating Gender Harmony on July 29-30. It will be facilitated by two of Valley Spirit’s staff members, Alex Boianghu and Lama Urgyan Zangpo, who are also partners in MindBodySpirit: Psychotherapy and Healing Arts, in Ridgefield. For more information, visit ValleySpiritCoop.com. See ad, page 12.

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