Many women today don’t have a problem with being alone, or even being without sex. But there is an important number of women who cannot be alone. They feel compelled to seek relationships of any sort so as not to experience what for them are the terrors of privation, insufficiency, and lack of purpose. This is a lot more common than we would like to admit.
There are many of us who know that we are enough unto ourselves. We may even be in relationship, but the priority is the integrity of oneself. Still, even when awakened, there lurks a shadow in every woman’s mind. In this century women may no longer be deliberately dismissed, invalidated, discarded, disentitled or disabled, but the planetary computer is still plugged into that system. Nobody erased it.
We continue to be disabled in the sweetest ways by men we love and who love us, by a system that pretends to safeguard and protect us, by a spirituality that subtly imposes an approach that is not our own… in many, many little ways that add up. That look, that gesture, that changing of the subject, that forgetfulness of things, comments, ideas that might acknowledge our interests, our intelligence… this still goes on in too great a scale. And of course, so too the more direct remarks that make us shrivel with feelings of inadequacy.
Our gender has been defined as powerless, weak, illogical, and useless, and a part of us continues to believe it. Which is why we can be invalidated so silently, so subtly, so imperceptibly, as affectionately as we pat the dog. It is obvious that most women still feel lost without the pillar of righteous social orientation or confirmation – in that mate, that brother, that father who will give us the support we crave. Even if it only elicits a mild, short-lived insecurity, it is enough to create tension and doubt. Many of us can withstand the pressure, but too many others fall by the wayside. Why is this so? What is at the heart of it?
For women who find that they can’t be alone, it is not a matter of gathering enough courage or understanding to overcome it. There is no amount of talking or friendly loving-care that will relieve the yearning. It is experienced as bodily hunger, seeming to reinforce the mass belief that we cannot live without sex. For these women, it isn’t just the emotional need to have a mirror, to receive feedback, to feel needed. For this few it is a localized physical appetite whose satisfaction becomes a goal, a reason to live. Rather than the urge to penetrate, which is men’s impulse, women’s need shows up as an urge to be filled. She is like a gaping hole. Self-esteem rests upon having the fix, a relationship, which by its very need is dependent. Whether it is embellished as co-dependent or inter-dependent is irrelevant.
I don’t know which is more difficult: whether, as with most women, it is to learn to quell the overwhelming emotions that seem to swell and be everywhere around and in the body, and yet nowhere in particular, or to calm an almost violent physical yearning, that pulsates and contracts the belly and vaginal areas, with a permanently sexual-like arousal. Whether through one or the other, woman is moved to selling herself at whatever price, to get relief. The die is cast. She doesn’t stop to consider the real price of her desperation.
This is the lay of the land, the effect of mass belief over centuries that has created feminine addiction and dependence. The body and its chemistry has become its puppet, its owner totally under its control. It no longer matters who did what. At this point it is of little consequence whether the masculine mind created it. Woman is deaf, dumb and blind to the source of her power, herself. All she can think of is need. Compounded with her low self-esteem she is easily swept by the tsunami of mass thoughts and feelings without a boat, and furthermore without a shore to land on. Truly, who will value someone who does not value herself? It is like selling a deficient product. Only a deficient consumer will buy it.
It is a sad fact that we only mature through trial and tribulation. To recognize who and what she is, women have had to undergo and some are still undergoing, hell. To come back “home”, back to a place where they have never “really” been, to the Self, the Prodigal Daughter must face that which she fears the most, aloneness. Little by little, painfully, she must discover all that she is not by being all that she is.
She is not the recurring thought, the riveting emotions, the irrepressible body urge. She is not the body, nor the mind, nor the emotions; nor the reflexion of anyone or anything. The treasure is in feeling itself, not where it is aimed or where the presumed cause is. Woman is all that remains when she eliminates all that she is not. She is the state of constant feeling, the texture of all things perceived: the senses and the intuition. She is Presence, movement, eternally surging, source.
Ordinarily, a woman feels the darkness and the emptiness within as absence and concludes that there is nothing inside. All that she knows is that she cannot see, feel, touch, or reach herself except through someone else. It is simply unfair that no one ever showed her how to turn the focus she places on the other, around to herself as an experience. She doesn’t yet know that she is the power that makes things happen. This is her hidden joy: the Light that is not at the end of the dark tunnel, but at its centre.
A woman must stop looking for ends and purposes:
To feel feeling itself.
To ride the tide of life through ups and downs,
changes, unexpected and sublime,
subtle and keen.
To touch diversity.
To be part of that continuity that weaves
through forms and space
as simplicity and complexity. Now.
Maybe no one stayed with us for no reason at all, with no purpose in mind, wanting nothing in return, guiding us. Our mother did not know how, or the mothers of our mothers that stretch too far back to remember that once woman was revered, the very same woman today as ever.
Woman’s greatest enemy is not men; it is herself, or rather, the absence of herself. Her often angry and indignant reaction to these conditions is as harmful as was submitting to them. Instead of looking for structure and the promise the light at the end, which only perpetuates the same quest for physical and emotional relief, the feminine way takes us from darkness to light, from emptiness to fullness in one second of conscious awareness, to reveal courage and knowing. She discovers that she is freedom itself.
Unlearning is the greatest challenge facing women today.