The Necessity of Love and Compassion

heart river Lama

One can always count on the Dalai Lama to say things like they are. And although he doesn’t specifically emphasize it, he’s great at highlighting cultural imbalances between the masculine and feminine principles. Today, it’s how each principle approaches love and compassion.

The masculine principle, the dominant force in our patriarchal cultures, views accomplishment and success as very important goals. That means that the ends will almost always justify the means for the masculine principle. Love and compassion are frequently irrelevant.

The feminine principle, however, sees love and compassion as exceedingly important end goals. How you do something is more important to the feminine principle than what you do. But in our out of balance world, all aspects of the feminine principle are usually dismissed as signs of weakness. What large company in America would hire someone who clearly placed love and compassion over accomplishment? Sadly, not many. The bulk of the Western world will value material success and accomplishment over love and compassion any day of the workweek.

To reclaim balance in our world, we need to bring the feminine principle values of love and compassion more firmly into our culture. Soon would be good. And bless the Dalai Lama; at some level he knows this. As he says, without them, we cannot survive.

Seek Balance: Could you spend a whole day focused on how you do things instead of what you do? Try it and see.

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Prejudice, Ignorance, and The Other

chicks Hazlitt 2

“Prejudice is the child of ignorance.”

Most people find prejudice and ignorance to be undesirable traits. And they are. Yet there’s an interconnectedness between the two that can be used to help remove them from our world and reclaim balance. Walk with me . . .

At it’s most basic, ignorance is a lack of understanding or knowledge. And prejudice is a pre-determined stance, usually negative, regarding someone or something. If, as Mr. Hazlitt suggests, ignorance begets prejudice, that means ignorance must occur first. So to be prejudiced against someone or something, first you must be ignorant about them. Odd, right? How can you have an opinion regarding something you don’t understand?

It’s actually easy if you live in a patriarchal culture ruled by fear. There’s almost always some form of “us” against some kind of “them.” That’s because the masculine principle, which likes to separate and individuate, is dominant in a patriarchy. We all have the masculine principle in us and that allows us to take personal responsibility for ourselves. But taken to extremes, too much masculine principle leads to fear of the other.

For the feminine principle, which we also all have, everything is believed to be part of a greater whole, so an “other” doesn’t really exist. Everything and everyone contributes to the whole and is understood at the level of our common denominators. We are all humans. We all live on Earth. This makes a basic ignorance regarding others much more difficult to achieve. And according to Mr. Hazlitt, if ignorance doesn’t exist, prejudice won’t exist either.

I think it’s really cool that hidden in what is a seemingly simple statement is the hint that the reason prejudice occurs at all is the fact that we are living in out of balance patriarchies. If we embraced more of the feminine principle, if we welcomed everyone and made the greater good more of a priority, not only would we reclaim balance, we would probably completely end prejudice in our world. I’m in!

Seek Balance: Is there someone who you feel threatens you? How do you respond to them? Can you change that?

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Summer Solstice (and the Full Moon)

 Stonehenge carlton

The summer solstice is a special time on our planet. At a physical level, for the northern hemisphere it’s when the axial tilt of Earth is closest to the sun. This creates maximum sunlight, making the summer solstice the longest day of the year for us northerners.

That’s the science behind the day. But for millennia, the summer solstice meant much more to people in tune with the cycles of the Earth. Even without telescopes, ancient people were aware that the life-giving energy of the sun lasted longer on this day than on any other. Just as the days after the winter solstice were times of celebration marking the return of the sun, the summer solstice was a time to rejoice in the fertility and abundance of summer because of the sun. It was a time to honor nature and the Great Mother, as they perceived the Earth, for the abundance so lovingly provided.

The summer solstice this year is even more special because the full moon of June falls on the summer solstice. This only happens once every 70 years or so and gives us an excellent opportunity for reclaiming balance because the sun and the full moon will be in the sky at the same time, directly across from each other. If you can, why not step outside today at sunset and honor the sun as he sets and the full moon as she rises and thank them both for the beauty and life they provide for our planet.

Seek Balance: How will you acknowledge our planet and nature today?

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Instinct, Intuition, and Intellect

moon in water Winfrey

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests.” – Oprah Winfrey

I’ve always found it fascinating to ponder the difference between instinct, intuition, and intellect. For me, intellect is about thinking and brain function. It’s linear and logical, and the results obtain by the intellect can be defended based on known fact. It’s a very important human tool that resides in the masculine principle toolbox.

Intuition, on the other hand, seems to be much more about trusting an inner guidance. Intuitive truth is often described as a deep knowing that is unshakable, and sometimes impossible to defend. Welcome to the realm of the feminine principle.

And what about instinct? Animals have neither intellect nor intuition, but they still have instinct. It’s almost a visceral part of their internal wiring that transcends cognition. Instinct can be a matter of survival and demands obedience at the cost of death.

So where does instinct fall in the balance between masculine and feminine principles? I believe it falls right in the middle! Instinct can be explained with intellect and reason. Instinct almost always “makes sense.” And yet, instinct can also transcend known reason and looks a great deal like intuition. It’s defendable by the very survival it guarantees.

This makes Oprah all the more brilliant for recommending that we trust our instincts as the true place where wisdom manifests. Instincts may well be the perfect balance between intellect and intuition, and trusting it a perfect way to reclaim balance.
Seek Balance: Can you tell instincts from intellect and intuition in yourself?

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Two Sides of Love

aqua bridge Rumi

The actions of the feminine and masculine principles both manifest love. The masculine principle will protect and defend in the name of love. The feminine principle will nurture and connect in the name of love. Together they weave the whole of love, but their mechanisms differ greatly. The masculine principle will push away anything threatening in order to protect those it loves. The feminine principle will pull the desirable toward itself to connect. Both are needed, both make up the whole of love.

And yet, as always, Rumi is wise in what he offers us. He speaks to us of love, but does so in the language of the feminine principle. Clearly he knows our patriarchal culture does not need more of the love that separates to protect. Our well-honed ability to fight and defend in the outer world may soon take us to the brink of extinction. We do not need more walls or division.

Instead, our world needs more of the love that reaches out to build bridges of connection, which sits in the feminine principle. For our world to reclaim balance, as Rumi wisely states, we need more of the love that bridges us to everything else: nature, our world, and each other. That connecting could be humanity’s salvation. May it be soon.

Seek Balance: Do you feel the love in your heart? Does that love want to reach out to others? Can you let it?

 Thank you for stopping by. If you like what you read here, please consider following my Reclaiming Balance blog by clicking the + follow box at the bottom right of your screen. And please help spread the word by sharing this blog with your friends. Thank you!

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Wake Up People: We Are One!

circle hands Atwood L

“I hope that people will finally come to realize that there is only one race – the human race –

and we are all members of it.” – Margaret Atwood

This is an important quote from Margaret Atwood. It’s timely, too, because wherever we look these days we see division and fear. In one sense, that’s sadly normal. We’re a world full of patriarchal cultures and an important hallmark of the masculine principle is separateness.

What’s missing? The feminine principle we all have in us. It speaks to our connectedness and oneness. We’ve lost this sense of connection because, for millennia, the feminine principle has been dismissed or even demonized. The end result is an out of balance culture that glorifies personal accomplishment and success and diminishes the importance of acting for the greater good. When this happens, separateness and fear of the “other” are the logical results.

But biologically, there’s only one species of human being alive on our planet. Our bodies function identically; our hearts beat the same. Yet we have lost our sense of being in this together, our sense of connection. And this has to change if we are ever going to reclaim balance for our world and survive as a species.

We are all one people, one race. And the feminine principle knows that. Do you?

Seek Balance: What creates a sense of separateness between people? What can you do to help create a sense of oneness?

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Happy International Woman’s Day!

Graduation Young 2

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

– Brigham Young

One reason our world is so out of balance these days is because the values, ideas, and wisdom that woman bring have been suppressed for thousands of years. And a key reason we are missing what women bring is because in patriarchal cultures, women aren’t given the same opportunities as men.

This can begin with the opportunity to live: There are still places where female babies are killed because they are considered “worthless.” After that, the biggest opportunity that women around the world lack is education. Strict patriarchies see no value in educating women, are threatened by woman’s education, or even think women too stupid to be educated. If we are going to reclaim balance on our planet, that has to change!

On this special day, this day dedicated to woman all over the globe, let’s make a commitment to help women step into their rightful, and necessary, place alongside men as equally important to our world. Whether we help a young woman find a path to a safe education, an older woman see value in what she does, or every global citizen understand that our world faces extinction because feminine principles aren’t being embraced, let’s all do something today. Happy International Woman’s Day!

Seek Balance: What act can you take today to help one woman or girl access education?

Thank you for stopping by. If you like what you read here, please consider following my Reclaiming Balance blog by clicking the + follow box. And please help spread the word by sharing this blog with your friends. Thank you!

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