Which is better, breathing in or breathing out? Trick question, of course; you need both.
Short snapper #2: Is light a particle or a wave? The factual answer is … both.
Short snapper #3: Which has it right, classical (i.e. Newtonian) physics, or quantum physics? Here again … both.
Short snapper #4: Assuming you agree that, in terms of parenting, the energy of mothering is different from the energy of fathering, which is better? Same answer here: a child will benefit from both.
Which leads to short snapper #5: Which is better, feminine energy or masculine answer? I hope your answer here is similarly both.
As we have seen (per my earlier article “Duality and Polarity”), whenever one is contemplating the terrain of Duality, the answer is always both. The power of Duality is always in the paradox. That is, the answer to any Duality is always both, however paradoxical that seems.
And yet, we keep trying to slug it out between the two sides of a Duality. Science vs. spirituality; the corporeal vs. the etheric. Even though that makes as much sense as being determined to only breathe out or only breathe in. You. Need. Both.
In that context, let me foray, perhaps for the only time, into the politics of our times. (I will dare to do so only because I have no intention of taking sides in the course of offering a metaphysical perspective on the subject.) “Polarized”, our politics is, I think we would all agree. But is the political divide of our times truly about opposites in any sense? – or are we dealing here with a fundamental Duality? I will make a case here that it is the latter.
Consider the following description of the great divide in our politics. On the one side (we’ll call it the Left), it is all about the collective: equality, caring, sharing. On the other side (the “Right”), it is all about the individual: freedom, free enterprise, self-determination. The goals on both sides are hard to argue with. And yet, either side of the philosophical divide, if unbridled and taken to the extreme, creates unintended consequences and ultimately becomes unhinged.
One can observe that cruel dictatorships arising from the Left seem mostly similar to cruel dictatorships arising from the Right. Plainly, neither side holds a monopoly on virtue or the absence of virtue.
In the course of our recorded history on Earth, the East has always been more Yin; the West has been more Yang. Asia was more inward-looking, isolationist; as Europe was more outward-looking, colonist.
On the one side of the great divide in our Earthly politics, it goes like this: Don’t you dare intrude on my freedom … I get to do what I want no matter what effect it has on anyone else. On the other side of the great divide, it is rules for everything, conformity not only in actions but in thought; the whole matters and the individual does not. Each side of the divide seems determined to silence the other. Breathe Out, one side screams, while the other counters Breathe In! Each side is certain it has it right, and each is equally determined to get the upper hand.
As an example, the lines were drawn (and to lesser extent still are) in the COVID pandemic. Lockdowns, masks, get vaccinated or be excluded from participation in, well, just about everything. And on the other side of the coin, anger – visceral anger – and “freedom” rallies. And a remarkably stubborn determination to reject vaccination (with remarkably diverse reasons for making that stand). Not surprisingly, China as the paragon of Eastern thought demonstrating the strictest rules, and the United States, the self-styled paragon of Western freedoms, mostly tilting the balance to the side of individual freedom. Those politicians who tried to find some sort of middle way often found themselves excoriated by both sides.
So there you have it – politics in a nutshell. The “Great Political Polarization” on planet Earth. Still an argument over whether to breathe in or breathe out. We might ask ourselves: How is that working out?
If we can arrive at a realization that, at its core, the Great Political Polarization is a debate between the merits of feminine energy and the merits of masculine energy, then we can see the error in coming at the issue as if it were about opposites, i.e., Polarity. Rather, if we can see that we are dealing with Duality, then we can know that the powerful path forward is that of paradox – i.e., both, no matter how contradictory that may at first appear.
By some accounts, we on Earth are by no means the first to engage in a great debate between “breathing in” and “breathing out”. The tendency to lose balance as between masculine energy and feminine energy may be reflected not only in our Earthly history, but in history throughout our galaxy. Regardless of whether that is true, it seems obvious that our collective challenge here in “Earth Game” is to put the two together in beautiful harmony. This fundamental Duality is thus to be resolved, not “won”.
The difficulty that arises with coming at a Duality as a contest to be won, is that one’s chosen side of the Duality invariably becomes twisted whenever it rejects the other side of the Duality. Masculine energy – a beautiful thing, in its essence – becomes twisted into a false or toxic masculinity: the classic bully; might makes right; I can take from you because I am stronger. And feminine energy – equally a beautiful thing – similarly becomes twisted, but in a mirror-image way: the victim, the martyr; I am entitled to take from you because I am damaged and you did this to me. (Yes, bullying from weakness is a thing, and it is still bullying.) It gets ugly fast, and not just on one side of the equation. Instead of finding a way to bring both the true feminine and the true masculine into play, we get neither.
The good news is that the opposite of all this is also true. That is, when the true feminine and the true masculine are both in play and in proximity, they begin to lift to what I will call the “Divine Feminine” and the “Divine Masculine”. In that alchemy, Heaven and Earth become as one; and “Heaven on Earth” begins to enter into the realm of the possible.
I am not suggesting that a new wave of enlightened politicians are about to begin spouting about the “Divine Feminine” and the “Divine Masculine”. Rather, baby steps. Perhaps that will someday lead to political contests that focus not on competing ideologies, but rather on the creativity, practicality, and efficiency that the respective candidates bring to the table. Including, at least implicitly, an understanding and acknowledgement of the need to answer “both” to the question of whether to bring to bear feminine energy or masculine energy in the resolution of whatever happen to be the most pressing issues of the day. Yes, caring about everyone matters. And yes, individual free will also matters.
The shining light here is that true masculine energy and true feminine energy do not battle. No, they combine beautifully. Likewise with the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine; despite their entirely different perspectives, they do NOT disagree. It is only when this fundamental Duality is looked upon as if it were a Polarity that the twisted, false masculine and the twisted, false feminine invariably battle for supremacy.
Meanwhile, how do we, in our daily lives, begin to put together both aspects of the pervading Duality; i.e., the feminine and the masculine, yin and yang, spirit and matter, Newtonian physics and quantum physics, Oneness and individuation, being and doing, and, in the realm of politics, collective caring and individual self-determination? Well, there is no handy hack for all that. But I suggest that it is nonetheless fertile terrain for our collective and individual imaginations. If we can let it in that the paradoxical “both” will be at least part of the solution to whatever riddle we are looking to solve in the moment, the nature of the exercise itself changes. Instead of working to defeat a perceived adversary, we are looking for ways to bring things together. A more pleasant task, and way more fun, I suggest.
I suggest not starting by rejecting masculine energy – which seems to be a too-common knee-jerk reaction these days. Yes, masculine energy got all twisted up when it rejected and repressed feminine energy; centuries of that experiment surely show us the folly of it. But it would equally be folly to go off track in the opposite direction – i.e., focusing solely on feminine energy and rejecting and repressing masculine energy. That would inevitably lead to the mirror-image twisted feminine energy. (Which, as noted above, can be every bit as bullying as twisted masculine energy – even though the bullying devices are very different.)
Besides, we all need the thinking and doing and building that masculine energy brings to the table (i.e., every bit as much as we need the feeling and being and connecting that is inherent to feminine energy). Even childbirth, of all things, is masculine energy – because it is an act of separation. (If you are skeptical about that one, ponder for a moment the hee-hee-hoooo outbreathing that seems to be commonly recommended as the moment of separation approaches.) No, it can’t be all “breathing in” as we make our way here in “Earth Game”. Again: You. Need. Both.
In the big picture, the energies of the times in which we are living are fully in support of the rebalancing that is in progress. After 13,000 years of “breathing out”, we are now (since 2012) embarking upon 13,000 years of “breathing in”. We are already on our way. What remains to be seen is how quickly and how well we manage – this time – to balance the masculine and the feminine in our world, individually and collectively. The stage seems set for this drama to play out in our world.
For a practical guide to all this, you need look no further than the iconic Yin-Yang symbol. The Yin (feminine) and the Yang (masculine) curve into each other, almost intertwined. Beyond the obvious nestling, there is the black dot in the middle of the white, and the white dot in the middle of the black. The Yin and the Yang do not merge, but each is present in the core of the other.
Or, think of human coupling. Irrespective of gender and sexual orientation, one of the couple will almost always have something of a lean towards masculine energy, and the other will have a lean towards feminine energy. (The resulting polarity seems somehow a necessary element of the “spark” needed for a lasting coupled relationship.) Each is an individual with their own life. But somehow they also have a life as a couple. As the (Buddhist) saying goes, “Not One, not Two”.
The above applies equally to approaching the fundamental Duality of spirit and matter (i.e., spirituality and physicality). If you want “Heaven on Earth”, you can’t leave the “Earth” part out of the equation. You came here eagerly, and you did not do so to eschew the physical, or to regard it as some sort of prison or penitence. No, you want to engage in physicality, to relish every physical sensation. Yes, hold that spirituality as the essence of who you truly are. But infuse it into every experience of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. Always, in the moment. Here again: Not One, not Two.
After all, you are both hologram (the whole within you) and fractal (an individuated piece of the whole). Bring the two together. Find that synergy within yourself. No, not so you can somehow fix it all “out there”; that is not your job in any event. But you will create a trace, an energetic pathway, a map. By doing so, you will make it easier for others to follow your example.
So, take a moment. Let the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine nestle within you, in beautiful harmony. Each acknowledging the other with reverence and affection; neither seeking precedence over the other. Individuation and connection; uniqueness and Oneness. Spirit and matter; being and doing. Words and music. Breathing in, and breathing out.