Just finished three days at the third annual Integral Spiritual Center gathering. I was privileged enough to provide music for a group of spiritual teachers that included Father Thomas Keating, Brother David Steidle-Ross, Rabbi Zallman, Roger Walsh, Swami Sally Kempton, Linda and Saniel Bonder, Musho Di Hamilton Sensei, Genpo Roshi, Terry Patton, James Fowler, David Deida, Sophia Diaz, and of course the kooky Bodhisattva we have to thank for the whole thing, Ken Wilber.One of the things that came up at this ISC event that I really feel aligned with is the sense that what is really needed right now is a full integration of the feminine. The divine feminine, of course, but also in a practical sense, socially, politically, and personally. Not just more feminine leadership and guidance, but a more full unfolding of the feminine in men as well.
On day two of the event Genpo Roshi, while conducting Big Mind with the group, asked to speak to one of the deeper feminine voices in each of us. What came through me (speaking as that Feminine voice) was a real sense of heart break and waiting. The Divine Feminine voice in me said she was waiting for five little boys to grow up (Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism). She needs -literally- to make love in this world, to give birth to a new way for the planet to exist. She has been holding her love and attention over this planet for thousands of years, watching as five little boys have had their way with a World they are not mature enough to steward. She is waiting to usher in a future, but she can’t do it alone, and she won’t have a partner until the five little boys grow up. Humanity’s survival depends on it. Not the survival of the religions, or faith, or god, or even the planet. People. If people are going to keep living, if we have hope of being around in 1,000 or 10,000 years from now, we will have grow into a full, mature balance with the feminine -at every level of ourselves.
I’m not a militant feminist or anything, but I (stuart, that is, the normal guy, not the Divine Feminine) will say flat out that the five major religions have been an unremitting patriarchal circus for as far back as we care to trace their history. To this day, none of them have truly included, embraced, and expressed the depths of the healthy mature feminine Wisdom that is so desperately needed to usher us into our future selves.
I thought it was very interesting that David Deida pointed to research that shows women (collectively) are developmentally 15 years ahead of men in this country. I believe it. Being at ISC this week has really put me back in touch with this ache, this pain in my heart that unless all of us -men & women- find a way to bring true mature balance to our Wisdom traditions, we’re screwed. I am convicted that unless 1, the five little boys grow into healthy men, and 2, the feminine and masculine of those traditions grow into a balance they’ve never had -unless those two things happen, the prospects are very, very dim.
Either the next 1,000 years will be the age of the feminine or it will simply be one of the last ages. That would be so sad, and honestly the ache in my heart over this also comes from hoping we don’t forfeit this incredible gift. The precious, rare human vehicle. Such an exquisite combination, our blend of animal and angel. Every minute we straddle base instinct and high intuition.
I started really ruminating about this stuff around 2001. No coincidence this when I fell in love with my wife. In a very concrete way, the feminine divine showed up in my life through my wife, and since that first time we kissed I have been a student of that Mystery. I don’t just literally experience my wife as a Goddess, an Angel, a Dakini. I KNOW she is. There are few things I am sure of in this way. But I do know I am utterly incapable -on my own- of becoming a better person, of living more fully as love, of going against the seduction of my personal preferences, of being a dad, a partner, an artist, a spiritual practitioner. And I do know absolutely that my wife is the only person I’ve ever met who I trust enough to enter the crucible of Family. I am clear that I need to learn how to serve the feminine (mundane and divine) and that I really, really need help. My wife is the one. She is the living embodiment of feminine wisdom that I don’t understand but so deeply need. I cannot survive without it, I cannot fulfill my purpose without her. Having taken the Bodhisattva’s Vow (to awaken for the sake of all beings, to continue working until they are all free) I know how LOST I would be in this work without her. The truth is left to my own impulses, my own preferences, my offering would be a fraction of what it is with her.
She has not had the easiest job in the world. When she became my partner I’d spent ten years doing what I wanted, with whomever I wanted, whenever I wanted, however I wanted. I had a very distorted perspective of love, family, relationship, and spirituality. I was a dissociated Zen Practitioner. My idea of practice was climbing into my Buddhist Tree Fort in the clouds and removing myself from the mess of reality, family, relationships. My wife is the only one who’s ever been able to get me out of that tree fort in the sky. She has pulled me into mess after mess. I am not out of the woods, I never will be. But after five years with her I feel so blessed that she has had the patience and strength to sit in the furnace with me. To hold me in relationship, to help me learn to be a husband, a friend, a father. It has been slow and painful, for everyone involved. I would not trade it for anything in the Universe. I feel it working. I know my life is in the right place.
This is how the science of love works. The empirical method of “we”. I go kicking and screaming, fighting my wife (because I am that little boy, I have been all five little boys my whole life). My personality, the facade of my small self, screams “this is bullshit! fuck this!”. My soul knows better, and says “freak out all you want, we’re following HER.” And luckily, the soul is actually steering the vehicle. These experiments prove what works. You repeat the experiment, it works again. Pretty soon it’s obvious that trusting this woman, that leaning into her wisdom produces more clarity, greater depth, bigger love. You can’t deny the data.
The soul will let the personality sit on its lap and pretend its driving most of the time, but when a truly important direction is needed, it will take the wheel and tell the personality “too bad, we’re going this way”. And that’s the way it’s been with me and my wife. My personality -for years- thought it was all insane. Marriage? Kids? Messy, noisy, complicated tests that continually expose me as the clumsy, lazy, dork I am? Why would I take that instead of fucking groupies, changing towns every night, hotels, parties, and an endless succession of fun (intermingled with lots of Buddhist meditation to make me look SOOOO good and spiritual…). Why did I go with my wife instead of the carnival? More importantly why have I stayed with my wife? More-more importantly why has she stayed with me? Put up with the punishing trial that is marriage to spoiled little boy?
Because she sees beyond it. Beneath it, through it, and she knows there’s more in there. A husband, a dad, an artist, a Bodhisattva wanting to do real work, who really needs help. She sees things I can’t, and lucky for me it happens to be her craft, her genius, to patiently tease apart the knots, to study the blocks with the love that dissolves them. Over years of holding her love over the chaos in my head and heart and soul, something happens. A little boy grows up.
That is what I want. To learn in this life how to leave the World more whole, more full of love than it was when I came into it. I want to participate in serving the age of Feminine on this planet, because our healing requires it, and so does our survival. Beyond just surviving, I know we can’t really be free without that part. Nothing can be left behind, left out. It’s a very big thing to want those five little boys to grow up. But the way I can help make that happen is just really recognizing how I am that little boy. Focus my life by trusting and submitting to my wife and daughters as often as is needed (millions upon millions of times). Not just submitting in a way that forfeits my power. Surrendering in the way that allows me to die into a bigger self. I can’t do it without her.
It does not often make sense to my rational mind. The gifts my wife and daughters give me are routinely unrecognizable to my thinking self. But my soul knows its in the right hands. As the little boy of Buddhism, I am so grateful to be able to be growing up, and into a better partner for my wife. And I want my daughters to grow into a world where their feminine presence, their unique Wisdom is received as the saving Grace it truly is.
I want to take this moment to thank all the women who have been waiting for the little boys to grow up. Thank you for your patience and your willingness to remain. Please show us how to receive the gift of your grace. Thank you for not giving up on us, after all we’ve put you through. Even in the midst of what we’re putting you through right now, all over the world. Help us wake up in time.