I have had to spend a lot of time and energy on the male/female thing because I needed to figure out my own balance. Perhaps it’s best if I give you some of my own experiences so you can see why. In the quotes I sent you last night I said something about being balanced male/female and then projecting the female onto a woman to work out my own inner balance. There’s more to this, much more—like how subconscious that is for most people (women project their male half onto men to work things out—if you haven’t had a father all you have is a big emptiness to project, so you don’t have any standards of measurement; similarly if a man hasn’t had a mother, he has nothing but an emptiness to project—he has no standards of measurement—because most people subconsciously select their mates, their ‘other halves’ based on their parents—a man’s mother is his first female ‘other’; a woman’s father is her first male ‘other’)—you also have to deal with your own perceptions of what it means to be male or female based on the role models you’ve had (or haven’t had). That’s just a sketch—therapists make a good living dealing with all that. The entire structure of the world runs on that projection mechanism.
Anyhow—experiences—like meditating one time and feeling myself moving up and to the left, then coming back down with the distinct feeling that I was a woman in a man’s body. I spent the next two weeks being a woman inside a man’s body—and since I was working as a construction superintendent running a job building a new hotel this was very interesting. I couldn’t get my voice to come down into it’s normal range, I was hitting on any cute guy I saw, mud and grease and dirt were suddenly ‘icky’ (the word I used in my head at the time), my hair changed to being quite curly and I liked the feeling of being ‘cute’. After a while I started thinking that this was all very nice but it was a nuisance so I sat in meditation and consciously decided that I had to change back, at which point I went up and came back down ‘male’. I learned a lot about why and how people are gay from that experience.
After this I had a growing awareness of my female half sort of coming into consciousness on her own—I would be looking through my (male) eyes, my (male) emotions, and then switch to her eyes, her emotions—it was like I had two heads and two hearts and two sets of genitals. My first reaction was to make her conscious by projecting her onto the woman of my dreams—trying to find a woman that was ‘her’ in the flesh—and I’d go around looking into women’s eyes thinking ‘is this the one, is this it?’ I went through a couple of very intense relationships trying to work this out—basically because I wanted my other half to be fully present ‘right in front of me’. You may recall I told you about my staggering around the room because a woman I was having a relationship with had gotten herself drunk—that was one of the relationships. And yet whenever I was in a relationship I had to endure the problems of projection that I told you about (empty left side, etc)—one of the problems of that projection was the ability to feel her as me so I couldn’t tell the difference. I finally realized that my ‘other half’ was nowhere in the world, but was part of me already, and once I had learned about how we project like that (I had to sort through my relationship with my mother, with societal expectations about getting married and what that meant, with women’s and men’s perceptions of me and the social pressures involved, as well as the issues of self worth and place in society, etc, etc ). Once the problems of projection were more or less resolved I realized that what I was really dealing with was spiritual union and that the foundation of that is the balancing and awakening of both male and female sides in me and their conscious union, their marriage. (One of the things I did along the way was to watch tv for hours on end—I’d watch anything and everything and feel my reactions and preferences change and flow as the type of program I watched changed—going from a soap opera and crying during the emotional scenes, preferring ‘relationship’ movies, to watching football and action movies (Top Gun stuff), and getting into what I call ‘moose mind’—bull moose will charge fully loaded logging trucks or even trains during the rutting season.) What surprised me is that the change in balance went in directions I hadn’t expected—the more I balanced I became the more I came to deal not with my ‘feminine’ side but with my ‘masculine’, to the extent that my body changed (I think I said something in a letter to Chris about that —going from 160 lbs to 190 in a month and a half, etc) and I realized that I had been fighting my identification as a ‘male’ for most of my life—especially the power aspects. There other interesting things—for example, I’ve always been aware of people’s hands, I like hands, and because I work with mine I’m very aware of my own (like how they have a mind of their own when I’m working—they know what to do—they know when a board is smooth (or still rough) long before my eyes do, or when a curve is flowing and right—anyhow, at times my left hand feels and acts and moves and touches like as woman’s hand, while my right moves and touches like a man’s.
All of this is the process of the ‘spiritual marriage’, the ‘alchemical marriage’ in western spirituality, the ‘union of red and white’ in tantra. The most important ‘dream’ of my life is the one that explained all this to me when I was in the midst of it—perhaps I should say the ‘throes’ of it, because a lot of it was definitely a descent into hell. In the dream I was sitting with some people in a sort of court yard in an old Romanesque church —at the same time I could see the scene from overhead and I could see that there was a wing of the church that could only be seen from the air—you couldn’t tell it was there from the ground. So, on the ground, I decided to see if I could find the wing and I wandered around until I came to this descending passageway which I followed. I came to the end of the passage and there was a door at the end and I started towards it when this large ‘dragon’ suddenly appeared as a sort of guardian of the door and it started toward me with menacing gestures. I suddenly realized I had a large key in my left hand and that I was entitled to go through the door—I held the key up to the ‘dragon’ so show it to him, and then I walked through him as though he had become a hologram and went to the door, unlocked it and opened it and went through. The door led to the hidden wing of the church—I went down a sort of hall way and into a large round room with large pillars around the edge forming large open portals looking out into a vast blue space. In the middle of the room was a large round table. As soon as I saw the table I realized that I’d been here before and I realized that I had made it back from ‘something’. I suddenly felt quite lonely and remembered that there had been others there at one time-—my first thought was ‘where’s everybody else’, and immediately I heard this voice say “they either got married or succumbed to self-inflicted wounds”. I said ‘I don’t get it’ and immediately remembered a dream I had had a couple of months earlier, and then I ‘re-dreamed’ that dream as if it were for the first time . In that dream I was once again going down a long passageway and came to a door at the end—as I approached the door I became more and more anxious but I sort of willed myself through it. The door was very ancient, studded with nails, and I thought ‘man, I haven’t been in here for a long time’—I finally forced the door open and went into the room, which was very dark and musty and I was still anxious so my first inclination was to make some light , so I started pulling off all these old worn out tapestries from the walls and the walls underneath were bright white. The more tapestries I yanked down the brighter the place became until finally I could see a rough rectangular table in the middle and I realized there was an opening in the ceiling of the room. I had no sooner seen that than a shaft of light came down from above the ceiling and shown on the table. Immediately in the shaft of light there was a sort of holographic image of a large chalice or cup and as soon as I saw it I said “that’s what I’ve been looking for” and jumped on the table and grabbed the image to my chest. As soon as I did that I started to go up the shaft of light with the image clasped to my chest, and the farther I went the more solid the chalice image became. Now I flipped back to the church, only I was both in the room and looking at the scene of the room on a large tv screen and there was a small blue person standing beside me and he said “now do you understand” and then reached out and fiddled with the tv image to make it sharper. As soon as it was sharp, I stepped through the screen and into the scene again. I looked out through the portals at the blue light and began to realize what I had done, and suddenly the blue light changed to this intense white and the scene began to dissolve and I dissolved with it into this overwhelming love. The end.
If you were to ask me where I got the key to unlock the door, I’d have to say that I took it from my mother when she was asleep—it was mine, and I gave it to her when I was born, but I forgot about it and thought it was hers. Your father has your key.
(More to the same friend on the same topic)
About the key in the dream I told you about—if you don’t have the key then the dragon appears to be real and threatening and resides in a place where you definitely don’t want to go, so you can’t even imagine that there’s a door, much less that the dragon is guarding the door. The dragon is like the wrathful deities in Vajrayana—they’re only wrathful and only inspire fear if you’re not aware enough to see them for what they are, and not intent enough to want to see what’s on the other side of them—usually you get intent enough when you’ve got no place left to go. The trap of being able to reach subtle planes, or of being able to abstract or detach oneself from the ‘normal world’, is that it’s usually easier to bliss out or space out, or tell yourself that the world is an illusion (it’s funny how that gets translated—I think ‘illusory’ would be a better word—like a hologram, or the image of a stained glass window on a floor) and go into denial (“when things get tough, I can always take consolation that the world is an illusion”—that kind of attitude). When you feel you have to option to ‘leave’ and yet know that you have to face the dragon, and to do that you have to find your key—is very hard. If you follow most traditional, especially Eastern, spiritual paths, you renounce the world and you move off into the subtle realms and possibly to the space I talked about when I said I saw these guys meditating on the right who were completely out of touch with the feminine (or something to that effect—I can’t remember how I said it)—but these are dead ends. To find the key you have to go where you don’t want to go, you have to go into the very things that made you want to find ‘a better place’ or to escape the wheel of birth and death—you have to go into the heart of the world, not away from it.
For any man, finding the key begins with his mother, for any woman with her father—because the first projection from the left side (for man or woman) is toward his mother for a man, and toward her father for a woman. Men frequently wind up marrying their mothers and women frequently wind up marrying their fathers because they simply and automatically replace their mothers or fathers with the next closest reasonable facsimile—and then call it love. If you don’t have anything to act as a template you can’t find a facsimile, there won’t be any, and you go around trying on everything hoping it’s the one you’re looking for.
The love and the wholeness we keep looking for in the ‘perfect partner’ is really a search for that wholeness in ourselves. There’s a story in Plato about how men and women were created: how at one time human beings were spherical in shape and were both male and female at the same time and were extremely powerful; and how the gods were very fearful of the power of the humans so they devised a way to split humans into male and female beings who then spent all their time and energy running around looking for their other half so that they could return to wholeness.