Male v.s Female Spirituality-- netti, not this vs. and this, and this
September 12, 2010 3:42am CST
One of my friends, someone who was in a monastic community with TM, told me that he noticed that the men and women seemed to have different ways of decorating their housing. The men tended to want to get rid of everything and often just had the bed, a chair, and the basic necessities. There was nothing on the walls. It was sparse and simple and stark in its simplicity. And the women, in contrast, tended to hang pictures on the walls, bring flowers into the living space, and in every way possible create a homelike environment. I found his words interesting because it seemed to confirm something that I have long thought... Men and women often have different pathways to God. The male pathway sometimes is described as "netti, netti" or "not this, not this." The focus is soley on "That." There is a purity in this focus. Anything that is physical or transitory seems to be ignored or actively tossed away in favor of the eternal. And those who value the transitory are often made to feel as if they are somehow childish. This pathway values knowledge and action often more than devotion and yet there are men who also value devotion. The desire to avoid being distracted from the quest for the infinate or from the feeling of oneness with That esults in the starkness of their decor. The woman's view seems to be not a "not this" but an "and this, and this, and this." There is a desire to embrace all, to include all rather than to exclude anyone or anything, to see that the Divine is seen not just in the abstract "That" but also to insure that it is seen and appreciated in matter as there is a feeling or soul knowledge that without this appreciation the material world would be lacking something of value, perhaps even lacking in sustaining power. The word I get for what a woman does is "grounding energy into form and into matter." There is in the feminine pathway the recognition that all is one in that divinity and also the desire to appreciate the subtle differences in creation, to appreciate the transitory, and to foster the appreciation of all of the gifts of life in others. There is along with this often the desire to create beauty in environments. I am wondering if this description of the two pathways sounds accurate to you... and if so, have you heard of those who reached enlightenment, self-realization, sainthood, etc. following the feminine pathway?
• Adelaide, Australia
13 Sep 10
Excellent work, whiteheron. As always, your writing on My Lot is a breath of fresh air compared to that which we usually find here! Inspiring, uplifting, rare, unique & very worthwhile. I'm rating this discussion of yours into My Lot heaven :-) I've had the good fortune, merit or call-it-what-you-will to be in contact with many great practitioners who are, shall we say, on the pathway to the great enlightenment, etc mentioned in the Holy Writings of & about the world's religions & spiritual practice. I believe there should ultimately be a balance between the masculine & feminine aspects of any practice, but you're correct in saying that there is a feminine pathway, which has largely been ignored, not only by the world's religions, but by society in general. I can very much identify with, & validate the accuracy of your beautiful descriptions of the two pathways. Both are essential to progress spiritually on this earth, as perhaps we can see in such symbols as "yin & yang" which each has a small dot of the opposite quality inside the main quality. I believe the approach to God may appear somewhat different outwardly, but the pathways of men & women should be found to be the same, or very similar, at least from inside. Sorry to cut this short, but I must go now... perhaps more on this tomorrow. Blessings :-)
• United States
14 Sep 10
Thank you for sharing Veganbliss! I must admit that I was wondering if anyone would. I am glad that you have been able to be in contact with many great practioners. Thanks for mentioning the Yin and Yang and for recognizing the validity of the feminine pathway. That was most reassuring. I would like to talk with you more about how they can come together more in the real world application of spirituality and on the inner level too. Thanks again for posting your kind and wonderful response. Re: more on the feminine pathway It seems that even in cultures where there is Goddess worship, the women are often given the back seat literly to the men and are treated as if they are only present to meet the needs of the men and the children and that they are not valued as people. The male Gurus, Ministers, Imams, Priests and others act often as if they are afraid of the women in their lives thinking that they will somehow contaminate them with the qualities of the flesh (as if they don't have those qualities of the flesh already inside of them), that they will distract them from God (as if God is not in the women too) and that they will somehow cause them to be worldly (as if they are not physical beings who are already living in the world).Add to this their blame of the women for things like sin (as if they did not miss the mark themselves without any women's help) and blaming women or women's uncovered beauty for their "bad" thoughts and feelings (Here, I look at feelings and thoughts as being things that come and go quicky unless someone, for some reason, follows them, holds on to them and nurses them. To have a thought or feeling, any thought or feeling, is not a bad thing... but to hold on to it and nurse one that could potentially result in a bad action is unwise and perhaps sinful... It is not the one who innocently walks past uncovered that is responsible for the thought or the feeling and certainly the one innocently walking past is not responsible for the grabbing onto the thought or the nursing of the thought nor the action that it inspires... It is wrong, stupid,illogical and even immoral to believe and to act as if women are responsible for men's thoughts and feelings when the men are fully capable of taking responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings and actions.) It is my belief that men and women are no lesser and no greater than each other and that we should be able to co-exist, complement each other and assist each other. It is also my belief that we can celebrate our mutual humanity and celebrate our differences. I can be a woman, a feminine woman at that, and not have to give up my femininity to have spirituality. I should be able to go places and talk to people in safety and have the same access to spiritual teaching that men have. I see in some places that this is not possible and it bugs me. Pardon my rant, complaint... I appreciate your response.