Sexuality, Gender and Yoga


The focus of this essay will be primarily on the issue of how you perceive your sexuality and your gender characteristics, and how this may or may not interfere with a clear perception of your true spiritual identity.
There has never been a absolute standard definintion of what it is to be male or female. There are many cultures around the world which have evolved very ridgid definintions of what is male and female, but in recent history these definitions have become more loose and less confining, still, generally, men are thought to be more intellectual, aggressive, competitive, while women are thought to be intuitive, passive and cooperative. We have all come to accept these descriptions of our intellectual and emotional states without questioning their original legitimacy or validity. How much of this is learned behavior and how much of it is innate is the question. The acceptance of these assigned attributes or traits of consciousness, forces consciousness, which is in it's original state is neither male or female, into a straight jacket of unnatural psychological conformity. You are fortunate if your natural characterists are in line with your cultures gender role models, but if they are not, then you may be harshly viewed by your culture, you may even be misidentified as a homosexual or lesbian.

The reality is that your true identity exists beyond your gender, your gender is really only a fractional part of your psyche. Your true identity is not dependent on your biological gender or your sexual orientation. Your gender is simply a focus point for your consciousness, grounding you in nature through the powerful force of sex and procreation. Your sexual qualities are a part of you, they do not define you. It is important for you to examine your own sexual nature before you open yourself up to deeper spiritual experiences, experiences which exist in a realm of your psyche beyond conventional sexual divisions. Understanding the authenticity of your sexual roles and of your sexual acting out will help you to shed artificial behavior and to live more authentically.

In nature, the male and female sexes where developed by means of evolution, because the splitting of genetic material into two separate genders was the most efficient way to transfer genetic diversity into the future. It is important to remember that it is consciousness which directs evolution and spawns physical forms. Nature may be defined as the collective unconscious of all the species. Consciousness creates evolution, it is not the other way around as we have all been lead to believe. You are a consciousness which is both dependent and independent of form, and as such, you are only temporary either male or female, your true identity exists beyond your temporal form.

Cultures around the world have adopted various sexual taboos to ensure themselves of their own survival, as for example the taboo against having intercourse during menses, this taboo was created to help keep the human population growing and so assure the survival of the species. Sexual taboos have had very practical utilitarian purposes but some sexual taboos have clashed directly with the inherent nature of human consciousness and so have created just as much social and psychological disorder as they have created order and progress. A Society in which there are very strict black and white divisions between male and female attributes and behaviors often tend to breed more violence and animosity between the sexes as well as between members of the the same sex. One of the reasons for war and social unrest and violence is conventions of gender classification.

Your interests, your abilities, your talents, your loves, all define your person hood, when these abilities and interests are culturally inhibited because they may be psychologically associated with the opposite sex, then the steady psychological ground on which you stand and hold an idea of who you are shifts uncontrollably beneath you. Many people in this circumstance panic and act out temperamentally in a desperate attempt to hold on to their genuine selves. This is why some homosexuals and lesbians live in emotional disequilibrium and why they may sometimes mock and over effect the characteristics of the opposite sex.

Most cultures around the world have not yet evolved to the point where their citizens can freely develop their own talents and abilities without gender role model confinement. Gender confinement and prejudice often leads to psychological turmoil for many who do not fit the mold, but human beings are more than their biology, their character is formed from a subtle mix of spirit and matter.

Say a person is born genetically male but has genuine artist tendencies and is by nature passive and reflective, his culture may view these particular traits as belonging only to the female of the species. Unfortunately this sets up a situation in which the person's culture may make him turn against himself, against his inherent natural qualities because those qualities are associated with the opposite sex. The result of this may be that he feels trapped in his male body to the point where he may even want to change his sex or at least adopt the habits and mannerisms of the opposite sex. People in these cases become desperate to assume the physical characteristics of the opposite sex and sometimes even their sexual organs in a heart felt attempt to conform to the behaviors and appearances of the gender which allows them the freedom to display their natural inborn characteristics, qualities or attributes. Sometimes a culture's disapproval and ostracism could even make the same person exaggerate and ridicule those same qualities and behaviors of the opposite sex, the sex he most identifies with, and visa versa in the case of a woman in this position.

In the west we think that live in a such a liberal and open culture where we see sex everywhere blatantly displayed and worshiped. Yet in reality we are sexually excessive while at the same time being gender repressed. We are psychologically trapped by our cultures limiting gender expectations and classifications. In a truly liberal culture there would be far less homosexuality and lesbianism, far less debasement and denigration of human sexuality and far less loveless sex. In a gender liberal culture a person would be accorded respect and acceptance as an individual first and as a male or female individual second. This type of gender freedom would create a variety of role model options for each gender to identify with, so that the majority of people could begin to live genuinely and without self reproach or recrimination and without having to either deny nor exaggerate their inherent psychological traits and qualities.

Human beings have great leeway in the array of psychological traits and behaviors they choose to exhibit primarily because we are not tethered to instincts. The psychic freedom given to the male and female to share in all talents and abilities equally gave humans more of an edge in evolution. At the dawn of civilization when the human species was forming the ego it adopted a certain attitude towards Nature which involved creating a psychological distance and separation between the human ego and Nature. The human species embarked on a unique psychological voyage of self discovery and so chose a direction of perception which demanded that we view ourselves as something which exists apart from Nature. In this way a new type of consciousness was born and with this new consciousness mankind could begin to investigate Nature more objectively. This peculiar slant of consciousness has some negative consequence in that it created a distrust of Nature and of inner reality in general and in the female psyche specifically.

The feminine psyche became suspect because the woman through her childbearing capabilities was a constant reminder of the power and force of Nature much more than the male psyche was. This is way any many traits associated with the female psyche are denigrated and thought to be inferior, it reminds mankind's newly developing consciousness of the place where they have just emerged from, the womb of Nature where instinct and powerful urges rule. Those qualities which were associated with child rearing such as intuition, telepathy, nurturing, tenderness and socializing skills were thought to be secondary and inferior traits and some of these traits were even concidered dangerous to society if they were allowed to dominate. Thus mankind set itself apart from the overwhelming power of nature and created a psychological distance from which it forged a self consciousness unique in the animal kingdom.

A person in a male body may naturally posses traits thought to be feminine, as each man does to varying degrees, but he can not express these traits freely because he may fear societies ridicule and derision. He may not actually be homosexual but he can find no natural expression for the qualities in him that are concidered feminine so he either suppresses these traits or neurotically exaggerates them. As ideas about gender became more and more distorted it had the effect of further limiting the extraordinary capacity for love and loyalty common to all human beings. Love, tenderness, creativity, and intuition are not the prerogative of any one sex or for that matter any one species.

Sexual identification is superimposed on the Psyche by cultural conditioning, your psyche is a huge repository of traits and abilities from which sexual affiliations are drawn. Men are believed to be more logical and mathematical, active, and aggressive, while women are considered to be more nurturing, intuitive, loving, and gentle, but these qualities are natural to both sexes. So much of our behavior is learned and culturally mandated and may not be programmed biologically into either sex. This kind of absolutism about gender is the reason behind the enormous psychological suffering on the part of some homosexuals, lesbians and many heterosexuals as well. Intuitively gifted men who love to nurture and are tender by nature, may come to believe that they are homosexual because their traits fit the accepted female portrait so much better. This may also force men to guard their emotional lives very closely where they only allow themselves to show love in the context of sex exclusively.

Both men and women share equally in the creative processes of conscious fulfillment. There are women who are naturally more logical and active and aggressive and many men who are very nurturing, intuitive, tender, or artistic. So much pent up aggression and hostility is tied to this issue of gender role suppression that it's phychological ramifications may well be blamed for wars and large scale violence. We have put artificial labels on intellectual and emotional qualities so that they can appear to be opposites and then we further divide them between the two sexes forcing us into stereotyped behavior which can put stress on our fragile ego struggling to understand the world and itself.

There are many men who have codified their personality to the point that they will even deny their own intellectual capacities in favor of feelings, sentiment and intuitive action and the cost of rational behavior, this is why some homosexuals may exhibit bizzare and outlandish behaviors. On the other hand some women will adopt a heavy male persona, becoming unfeeling, unsentimental, and excessively serious, in so doing they forfeit real joy and love, all because they need to be taken seriously and thought of as significant by their culture.

An overly specific gender orientation reflects a severe division in consciousness. This mental attitude not only separates the male from his intuitions, creativity and emotions and the woman from her intellect, her drive, her reason, but it also creates a culture which believes that the mind and the heart, the material world and God are also completely separate. Then great legions of time and effort are spent in trying to reunite them again through religion, art, meditation and Yoga.

Each person is a unique psychological being who's psyche contains in the simplest terms both male and female elements, these elements are assembled into a personality with tremendous leeway and in varying proportions. There is of course scientific evidence that there are brain differences between the sexes but what science has not yet shown is that human biology and genetic information can be effected and influenced by beliefs and learned phychological factors. Survival of the species demanded that certain beliefs about gender be translated into physical codes or chemical cues so it therefore became biologically efficient for the males to act in a given manner and a females to act in another manner. The news is that evolution is a more rapidly changing phenomenon than previously understood and the human species can alter it's biological programing in much shorter time span than is currently understood or accepted, so even though there may be physiological evidence of biochemical differences between men and women this can be changed even within a generation.

Strictly speaking the division of psychological attributes between two sexes is more of a cultural phenomenon than previously understood and there are infact no specific psychological characteristics of any kind which can be said to naturally attached to either sex. If your individuality were dictated by your biology then it would be literally impossible for you to preform any action that was not sexually programed.

The central point of this analysis is that a much deeper aspect of the human psyche lays beyond the cultural and even biological distinctions made between the sexes and that there exists a repository of Love who's reality transcends the physical body and is the basis for all the attributes and characteristics of both sexes. To genuinely experience your psyche and to move into a place of authenticity and transcendence is the ultimate goal of Yoga and all other meaningful spiritual Inquiries. Alterations of consciousness or attempts on your part to explore your inner self may reveal a kind of sexuality that can appear to be deviant or unnatural so an understanding of your true nature is important. Yoga can provide you with a clear window into your soul which an understanding of your souls true sexual nature can help to prevent the shock you might feel as you get glimpses of your natural bisexuality through meditation.

The damage that has been done to both the male and the female psyche in the name of establishing the emerging human ego has been terrible in may aspects but the development of ego consciousness has also has had great purpose and meaning and has produced the unique cultures around the world. Now we are at a point in human history where the subconsciousness and the great power of Nature need not be feared or subdued and we can finally be liberated from antiquated ideas about who and what we are. The release of the ego from primitive gender taboos and prejudices will see an age of unsurpassed creativity and expansion. This revolution of consciousness is happening now as more and more people are awakening to their true nature through the study of the great science of Yoga and meditation. I hope that you find the energy and the courage to uncover you own inner reality and become the unique individual you already are.

Namaste, Ava

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