A poetic I Ching warning advises:
Don’t hunt for deer in a forest in which none dwell.
In plain English, it translates as, Don’t look for right answers where they’re not to be found.
Let’s start with the most basic, universal question, “Who Am I?”
If we look to the paradigm of empirical science for answers, they’re, at best, incomplete. Often misleading. And they change over a lifetime.
I am so and so’s child. At times, I’m so and so’s friend, brother, sister, wife, or husband. Other times, I’m orphaned, abandoned, isolated and alone in the world.
I’m born rich or poor, or somewhere in-between.
I’m a farmer, plumber, doctor, lawyer or Indian chief; a housewife, salesman, cook or cleaner.
I’m a skeptic or believer; an atheist, agnostic, humanitarian, pagan, shaman, sage, Jew, Muslim, Christian, or whatever.
I’m a democrat, republican, libertarian, communist, iconoclast, rebel without a cause, or whatever.
And these identities continuously shift over a lifetime.
For most, biological identity is less mutable. I inhabit a male or female body which gradually ages over time. For all but the most imaginative, sexual preferences remain fairly fixed.
But these identities are all restricted to the ever-changing surface of the quantum Life Wheel.
Hidden within these answers is an implicit assumption. My things, my status and others — parents, teachers, community, church, state, or whatever — define Who I AM. Do they? Really? ?
Is it possible that I have the right – ultimately, a responsibility — to define myself?
In any case, in the long run, none of the usual answers are satisfying or fulfilling.
The cabaret singer wails, “Is that all there is?”
And the soul knows, “No.” What we see is the tiniest tip of an infinite iceberg. There’s so much more to life! None of these ephemeral, physical expressions of the True Self define the Me who I truly AM.
Attempting to change things for the better inside the trap of the materialistic paradigm is an exercise in futility. To exchange one lifestyle for another, one gender expression for another, a new hairstyle, political affiliation, profession . . . whatever . . . is to look for answers to universal discontent in the wrong place.
Fulfillment and satisfaction aren’t be found anywhere on the surface of the Life Wheel. Not really. Not in the long-term.
The deer we desperately seek – our deepest longings, our true heart’s desire – dwell deep within the energy, light and Source levels of the Life Wheel which, in its arrogance, empirical science has ruled out.
The more spacious, complete Quantum Paradigm is the right place to look for answers to our questions.
For example, over a lifetime, I’ve struggled with understanding how to define myself as a woman. It was agonizing. I won’t bore you with the pages of details confided into journals over the years. Suffice it to say, going back for generations, the war between the sexes left causalities on all sides.
Only by redefining myself in quantum perspective have I been able to put old demons to rest, saving the baby of feminine essence from the bathwater of unnatural stereotypes.
Great compassion for my father and brother, who suffered as much from the oppression of limiting stereotypes as did I, compels me to wish for others what my family lacked. Namely, the awareness that each of us is, in essence, an immortal soul.
Further, within each of us are the innate potentials to express both yin and yang qualities, balanced according to time, place and situation.
In comparison, the biological bodies we chose for this particular incarnation are but a tiny percent of the vastness of who we each truly are.
Even further, empirical science measures IQ. But it has no language for expressing the unique evolutionary path upon which each of us traveling. I’ve left you some hints in Psychology’s Blind Spot. It’s worth a look.
From another angle, I spoke to gender confusions in a comment to a locals website. The host was advocating civil unions as a way to keep all sides “happy,” avoiding religious conflicts. I responded:
“Okay. My pesky muse insists I engage in your marriage discussion. How to do this briefly, clearly & usefully is quite the challenge. But will give it my best shot.
“Restoring clarity and correctness to human relationships can only be achieved by starting with the basic understanding that everyone, everywhere shares in common the existence of a central, eternal core of divinity. From this point of view, genuine self-respect arises and from it, reverence for all life follows.
“Secondarily, there’s an energetic substratum which all share in common, the e=energy level of the Quantum Paradigm. Though suppressed by cultural conditioning with grotesque consequences, by nature we all have the capacity to blend and alternate between different combinations of yin and yang: being submissive or assertive, gentle or firm, yielding or solid, nurturing or protective, etc. etc.
“It’s only at the m=mass level of material tangible expression that souls separate into sexes, presumably for purpose of reproduction (though as Margaret Mead eloquently established in her research, the roles and attitudes assigned and assumed to these differences are not fixed. They vary greatly in different cultures).
“These basic differences are matter of fact, and can’t be altered surgically/chemically. For example, at a seminar I once attended, Michio Kushi randomly called a man and woman up from the audience to prove this point. He held a pendulum over the head of each. It circled in one direction over the man, in the opposite direction over the woman.
“Now, both men and women get bent out of shape because limiting either/or gender stereotypes are stifling across the board. The solution, however, is NOT any of the liberal BS which compounds problems rather than solving them. It is to link the levels, allowing for the natural and divine to filter through to and illumine human relationships in the infinitely variable ways they can express.
“It would be an understatement to say that the radical, extreme separation and conflict generated by misunderstanding and disrespect for feminine essence (on the part of both men and women) is at the root of current dysfunctions . . . from personal relationships up to and including cultural breakdowns.
“Legalities one way or the other don’t address the real issues, nor can they change what needs to be changed.
“PS. The problem with an exclusively rational approach is that, while it may be better than a reactive, emotional approach, it’s still half-assed. It’s divorced from the levels where problems begin and levels deeper still where genuine solutions are found.”
Once one escapes from the trap of the materialistic paradigm, the field opens wide to infinite possibilities. So I dearly wish every one of you the best in your quest for better answers.
As a matter of fact, it seems that events are conspiring to push the collective in the direction of quantum solutions. Everything we thought we knew and could take for granted in the material world is relentlessly being swept out from underneath us.
There’s no guarantee that the future will be easy. But it’ll be grand! Because you ain’t seen nothing yet!
Why do I say this? Tune in for the next installment: The Grand Finale.
Patricia West is author of The Common Sense Book of Change and Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change. She’s currently working on The Phoenix Response: Dying To Be Reborn – in the Same Lifetime.