Where are the women?


#21

Thanks for showing up. I too have been absent for a while and feel similar frustration with the way this theory gets used, I guess. I know, from how I apply it to my own life, it has so much value beyond a debating or analyzing tool. It’s hard for me to find a way to get a focused conversation here that is not centering around political rage. I don’t know if there is much to do about it, but expressing the frustration is helpful. I value these ideas a lot, I think the power in it is still untapped.


#22

Good to hear your words, Michelle! I appreciate you’re sharing with me :heart:

Yes, American political rage was also a part of why I stopped interacting in most of the so-called integrally informed facebook-groups. As a Dane, I live in a different world, and to be honest, it can be quite sad to see the American dysfunctions being allowed so much space… Why not allow Danish social-democrat dysfunctions a bit of room too :slight_smile:

Rage and anger is also something that has occupied me for years. Let me talk a little bit about that, please :heart:

One thing is the anger I feel, the KALI fierce energy raging through me for good reasons (that I will not get into here, because this is not what I want to talk about now). But which we have not learned to express in healthy ways in our cultures because anger is an unwanted emotion that should be repressed with an ice-cream and positive reframing…

So this brings me to all of us being small children when it comes to the ability of expressing anger in a healthy way. I liked the way Robert Augustus Masters distinguished it: When expressing heartfelt anger, we do not blame others, we do not hurt others, we just EXPRESS. We might scream, smoke might be coming out of our ears, we might hit pillows, we might dance a shadow boxing dance. And we might process speak to find the root cause of the anger. And if we are very very lucky, a witness can hold space for this without being scared to death and reacting towards us.

But aggression is something else entirely, and THAT we do not need in our society. However, this is what we regularly see our leaders display in subtle forms in political debates and in so not subtle forms in wars, as well as in extreme forms of capitalism where people in welfare societies are dying because of inaccessibility to shared support systems. And of course all of us sometimes display passive-aggressive behavior, and sometimes also real aggression, being abusive and even violent towards ourselves and others.

I think a way around this (maybe) is to talk and express more feelings but without pointing fingers, without blame. I am furious because I do not feel supported in our non-whole society, because I need to cut a toe and a heal to fit my foot into the society-shoe. And it hurts every time I have to work for 8 hours straight in a grey office space, where - if I could talk a nap or go for a walk in the forest and meditate and do generative inquiry with my colleagues when we are stuck, and maybe sing with them for five minutes and dance a little anger dance when we disagree - then society already would fit my needs so much better and maybe I wouldn’t have developed a chronic illness, or it would progress more slowly? And THEN I would have more energy to deal with the huge wild wicked problems which the world so desperately calls for…

Does this make sense at all, I wonder?


#23

It makes so much sense! I think this is so relevant to what many individuals are going through, and I think this points to the collective illness the world is in. We want to solve problems before we have taken time to express the embodied feelings. That energy is real and allowing it space is essential so when the mind grabs hold of the energy and interprets it, it is doing so from a matured and processed space. This is so on point. The frustration you have with being stuck in an outdated system, is shared by many, but you are seeing the need for this matured expression.

I am sorry you are suffering. These systems are no longer serving us. I hear you. You deserved to be angry, it’s an appropriate feeling. Dance your dance of rage. I have been doing that more lately, literally, and it does help to somatically experience your feelings.


#24

Thank you for hearing me and making space for this conversation! That is indeed helpful in itself (and also something we don’t do nearly enough in our societies - just listening and reflecting back).

I will dance a little rage dance in the sun, thanks a lot :heart:


#25

I am relieved to read your interaction. I am reminded of Dyading, from Robert Gonzales and nonviolent communication. Connecting with our needs, our feelings and energy - and having a witness that isn’t scared shitless. Having someone there that only listens, is very helpful.

So I am very happy to read what you are expressing. As a guy, but an intuitive thinker, I have understood that feelings and needs are necessary, but it is not easy to learn. Learning to allow emotions to just Be, Allowing my sensitivities, my pain and suffering and weakness to ‘show’. I struggle with that a lot. I have someone to cooperate with and learn with, and that helps, but in my relationship the same discrimination against the Feminine that is in my culture, played out there. It is hard to change, but I am working hard to not only grow the Feminine in me, but also to try to heal some of the age-old Trauma and create some pockets of peace in this war between the Masculine and the Feminine.

So again, thank you for sharing this, and daring to be vulnerable by just expressing some tidbits of what is, I imagine, just a small river running out from the rich and strong Amazon that enriches you from within.


#26

I’d like to add a couple of pennies to the conversation.

@bettina8 Just wanted to share that I too have known those fierce Kali energies, very difficult to contain or express in a “civil” manner at times, so I can empathize with anyone “under her spell,” so to speak. She has been a beloved goddess, archetype, and presence for me, indeed a spiritual presence whose essence over the course of time was made clear to me as the most stupendous form of motherly love I have ever known. That is why she is so worshipped by many in Eastern traditions; her fierce wrathfulness is in direct proportion to her fierce love and maybe you know this already, and if not, maybe (and I hope) you will!

Also, just wanted to mention in case you’re not aware that there are a number of Integral Life courses (for members) now being offered by women, including one that is just for women, that you might want to check out. In my view, there’s been quite a bit of progress in this area.


On the general topic of the masculine and feminine and this site–there are many ways that traditionally these values have been represented, to name a few we’re aware of: concepts/thoughts and feelings/intuition; competition and cooperation; agency/autonomy and relationship/communion; mind and heart; rights/justice and responsibility/care; challenge and support. I can’t think of anyone I know who is totally one-sided, and I really don’t see a major war going on, but there are imbalances I think and a lack of integration in many of us–women as well as men–and in the world.

When it comes specifically to this site, I would agree with an old post above by @ Robin, who said “I’d much rather see the feminine perspective bubble up organically…in existing conversations…” Even if it means labeling one’s post in a specific thread in bold caps FEMININE PERSPECTIVE, to draw attention to another way of viewing a situation. This is where “power” comes in, everyone using their bit of power to help balance where there may be imbalances. To be clear, I don’t object to conversations like this thread that are separately addressing the issue either, but to integrate feminine perspectives into, say, political conversations, is also useful.

I think there is some truth in that. And I also think that feelings are being expressed all the time in many conversations here and in the world–just not directly expressed and maybe not totally recognized or owned. For instance, through a little Zone 5 work, we can speculate, sometimes pretty accurately, what the feelings are behind a sarcastic or hostile remark, just as we can speculate what the feelings are behind a smiling emoji. That feelings aren’t always directly expressed has its positives and negatives, of course, but I do think it important that people at least identify their feelings honestly to themselves, whether or not they express them directly, before trying to solve problems or tell others how to solve them. Maybe in the process/time it takes to identify one’s feelings, one’s feelings or perspective changes.

Thanks @Leif-Conrad for bringing your perspective too!


#27

Kali is a tough house guest for us that we embrace. We schedule her arrival just to minimize surprises. When she’s gone we always introspect at the wisdom she brings and laugh about her subtlety. Then settle directly back into our gentle and tender household. Lol.

Someone mentioned nonviolent communication. David Diedas “Way of the Superior Man” was a transformational read for me that I have gifted copies of to several friends. Kali is a houseguest we all share. :smile:


#28

I am so happy there are men on Earth like you, Leif-Conrad! Thanks for showing yourself here and for your sharing :heart:


#29

Yes, scheduled Kali visits are not a bad idea, it might prevent her from the total eruption-destruction, so a little steam can be allowed out at a time :slight_smile: And yes, I too have read several of David Deida’s books including the one you mention, I also went to hear him when he visited Denmark, I think it was in 2005.


#30

Hi LaWanna, oh, yes, my compassion for this planet and its life is proportionate with my fierce anger, I don’t think I could bother as much otherwise. Even though a good portion of my anger also relates to a sense of me having the RIGHT to be who I am, a sense of righteousness or fairness, I also strongly believe that what I can express is what the world needs. So what I need and what the world needs coincide on this, and that is (also) why I haven’t retracted to live a secluded cave life yet… I think part of me would prefer that but I feel I have a sense of duty not only to myself to keep trying.

And thanks for the tip, maybe I should become a paying member again and take a look at the courses even though at present I do not have the energy and passion for such things as I once had. But it might change sometime in the future.

I agree with you that we are all under the influence of the present construction of our societies, men and women and gender-whatever. However, when there is not a war on between masculinity and femininity, I believe it’s because masculinity won that war many years ago. Of course I am now simplifying and maybe also reducing something much more complex and big but I am on my work to work, so I don’t have time for more :slight_smile: But in our lifetime, we have rarely seen a healthy balance between masculinity and femininity, so how should we know what we are missing when we have never experienced it? It took me a long time to sense into the longing and deep and wide holes in me to realise what was going on, which is a story for another day.

Have to run, but nice chatting and thanks for showing up! :heart:


#31

For sure feelings are expressed all the time. It just how they are situationed within the culture that I believe is causing problems. Like what Bettina said, masculinity won the war years ago. I see the evolution in this community as having a reflection of that fact too, it’s surprising to me. It’s all interesting. I certainly cannot control cultural evolution, but there is a bit of holy cow factor to me jumping back into this after a year or so. It’s amplified since I have been working with a community that I think practices this balance better, but balance doesn’t have to be the point, so it’s not a criticism so much as an observation.

I do see that there are classes that reflect this balance, but that type of structure is more masculine. It’s a masculine structure offering a feminine lesson. The container is still masculine. I see the intention and appreciate it and I am sure it’s executed beautifully. Personally, I am in a time of flow, so these spaces (not class structure) are more what I am interested in and what I see here would benefit from some feminine balance, IMO

I am interested in how to build that balance into social exchange spaces. Everyone says it’s impossible, but I don’t think so. I think we continue to underestimate the feminine…it’s why Kali comes out:)

Post thought: A better way to express this is not that there is a masculine/feminine imbalance in Integral it’s more the way it is balanced doesn’t suit me, which is just interesting for me to feel and think through given how important this has been for so long.

A we progress in this world, the evolutionary possibilities are compounded and the ways of being become so diverse and extraordinarily numerous… It’s beautiful really…even when it’s also a bit sad.


#32

Indeed, Michelle!

I would so like to hear both a) where you hear that it’s impossible to build a feminine / masculine balance into societal spaces…? but also b) what would that look and feel like to you?

PS - I absolutely believe it’s possible because it’s not more difficult to do THAT than what we’re already doing, it’s less difficult. It’s “only” our minds which stand in the way… AND that’s ALSO why I often believe it’s absolute impossible…


#33

@bettina8 So glad you haven’t retreated to the secluded cave yet! I appreciate your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person perspectives around this issue. Wanted to mention also that, if you’re interested, I have a poem about Kali posted here at this site. It’s under the Dojo category, and the topic Integral Poems and Koans.

I wanted to ask both you and @Michelle why, how, in what way do you think that masculinity has “won the war.” I made a recent comment in another thread here to the effect that “masculinity still rules the day.” I think this is true, and yet I could also have added that the feminine typology/psyche/cultural influence still rules the night! By that I mean while it is easy to see the sway of the masculine in the world, it is harder to see the cultural influence of the feminine, it being somewhat hidden and recessed so to speak, sort of like (to get a little graphic) the difference between male and female genitalia! (And to be very very clear, I do not think females are the strict owners of feminine consciousness, nor males the strict owners of masculine consciousness; that’s wildly too simplistic, from my point of view. But there are tendencies… which as integralists we minimally need to be aware of.)

For instance, since there has been a lot of discussion at this site about the war in Ukraine and NATO and such–if we look at the UN, I see the undergirding of that near-global organization as an attempt to encompass, for instance, the (traditionally considered) feminine values of cooperation, relatedness, care and responsibility. (And granted, the UN is not as effective as we would want it to be.) And if we look at NATO (also not as effective as we’d wish), the underlying precept there is consensus-based decision-making, which can be viewed as both a green stage level of development and also points to some of the (traditionally considered) feminine values. I think some of the Biden administration’s policy proposals have a strong core of feeling, heart, care and support in them. And I think of all the charitable organizations in the world, from religious to secular ones, from amber stage to orange to green, that are exhibiting some of those feminine values. Having a particular interest in threatened indigenous cultures, I think of the NGOs doing work to protect the rights and autonomy of these groups and their work on behalf of justice for them by challenging corporations for instance that encroach upon and endanger their survival. While their work sounds highly masculine in appearance, underlying and inside that work are core feminine values.

While I do not think there is an adequate appreciation in the larger world for the planet itself (which, I like to repeat, is “the body of the world”) and all of its inhabitants, including the other-than-human ones, that seems as much due to the level of consciousness evolution in the world, to “stuck” stages of development, to too few people being “awake,” as it is to masculine and feminine typologies. This is grievous in so many ways, particularly given we know that the planet has experienced 5 other mass extinction events in history, so maybe we should have been on the look-out for this possibility. Perhaps all the degradation of the environment and the loss of biodiversity and species and all the (un)natural disasters we see around climate change, as well as around wars/conflicts–all the death and destruction, the migrations and refugees, the pain, etc.-- is a Kali-esque wrathfulness leading us to the choice-point of shall we be responsible, shall we care, love?

The MeToo movement, with all of its flaws (some men being ostracized and “cancelled” for comparatively ‘semi-lite’ offenses, without due process), was to me a great example, not of a war, but of women igniting their (traditionally or typically considered) masculine traits to challenge the system as is. A lot of men ignited their (traditionally or typically considered) feminine traits to support them. That was/is encouraging, to see the traditional tendencies do a switcheroo in the sexes in a major and public way.

Looking forward @bettina8 to your “story for another day” if you choose to share it. And again, glad you’re not yet in the cave…the world does need you.

@Michelle Can you talk a little more about how “the container is still masculine”? And about “the way it (Integral) is balanced” (regarding the masculine and feminine) that doesn’t feel suitable or quite right to you? I’m not sure I understand, and want to. Thanks.


#34

Thanks for the invitation, @LaWanna! I think I would like to respond to your question about why we (I) think masculinity has “won the war” in two, maybe three ways. Maybe this can also shed light of my understanding of Michelle’s comment about the masculine container.

The first way is that maybe the labelling of “masculinity and femininity” is actually not helpful in this conversation, so maybe we should put it aside for moment? It can in itself be a polarisation and that’s not what neither of us want I think.

So let’s see it as wholeness and whatever that means. I think I read at some point that just with the ordinary AQAL aspects KW often talks about, we already have more than 200 perspectives to consider. We cannot really hold space for that in our daily consciousness, not from a cognitive point of view. But we can toggle between an analytic, cognitive understanding, where we methodically try to consider all perspectives one at a time. And then we can sense in to it in more intuitive or state-related ways, for example during various types of meditation or in generative dialogue with others. Or in dreams, or creative work, etc.

A limited metaphor could be all the color nuances of the rainbow, but it’s much more than that, because it’s like mixing all different types of materials and fabric and essential building stones, with all colors, with all mental constructions, with all feelings, with all etc. etc. etc. If we decided that all this was valid in conversation and valid to express, but of course not equally valid in each situation, what would decision making look like? What would communication look like? What would concrete manifestations like building a house or an organisation like a school, or the UN, look like? What if it was a valid expression at my job to answer a question with a dance? What if - when I could sense a conflict - I could use the same tools a kindergarten teacher does and ask the children to use their words and cooperate about a task and then hug each other? What if the subtle states, or causal or witness or non-dual states were just as prominent in daily societal interactions as the gross state? What if we were actually conscious about all of this and it wasn’t just something we sense into during meditation or rare retreats, to rekindle our energy, but something we used actively during all of our daily lives and decisions, individually and collectively and in our structures and systems?

I need to go to work soon, so I cannot go on, but I hope I open up to a way of manifesting the world that would look very differently from what we know now. It can almost be difficult to imagine because it’s so different. But once you open up to it, it’s no more weird or difficult than what we see now. I think our world now is extremely bizarre and it hurts me physically to be in it. Not in untouched nature when I can find it, but in the man-made part (pun intended, even though this is way to reductionistic of course, and a bit cheap).

Let me finish with the two other ways. One is a story from a work place, where I caught a person (a boss, and I was an external consultant ultimately employed by him) lying and covering it up, and I outed him in the moment as soon as I saw it, in front of a whole room of people, because I didn’t think, I acted on instinct, and because what he did jeopardised the whole project and the reason I was even there, to save their skin reg. this project. And his reaction was of course to dismiss me and call me unstable and out of touch with normal behaviour (which, from his point of view, of course was true). If we saw that from the perspective of the multicolored, multidimensional world I described earlier, how would / could that conversation have played out instead, and would he even have jeopardised this project to hide his own personal failings? Would it have been safe to admit that this was over his and maybe everyone’s head, and demanded much better, bigger, deeper, wider collaboration from everyone?

The last way to explain it would be using the words and images of Frederic Laloux who wrote Reninventing Organisations in 2014. I will see if I can upload the screenshots I took from one of his presentations where he tried to describe wholeness and illustrate the lack of it in the organisational setting. And now I really have to go even though I would prefer to stay - another present day conundrum :heart:


#35


#36

@LaWanna

PS - reg. the story for another day, I actually wrote it (in Danish) on one of my websites: http://www.integral-lifestyle.dk/bettinas-beretning

I at some point translated it into English, but as I haven’t translated the full website, I can only share it with you as a pdf (attached, if the system allows me). OK, I couldn’t so here is a link to the pdf: http://www.integral-lifestyle.dk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Integral_lifestyle_Bettinas-narration-20220322.pdf

PPS - I can see that I haven’t translated the last section about Creativity, but I think you get the idea even still :slight_smile:


#37

@bettina8 Yes yes yes! This is a wonderful verbal expression of the issue I am feeling into. Thank you, because I don’t think I could have found the words or metaphors as clearly as you did.

@LaWanna. I love your examples of the way the feminine is influencing our masculine structures and in certain pockets deeply remaking masculine structures. This does matter and needs to be acknowledged. I do think this developmental process has been the main focus of Integral. The fact that I am fortunate to live in one of those pockets, work in that pocket, my daughter goes to school in the pocket and all while studying Integral so I could see and process it made the reality that I found it empty come as quite a surprise. The emptiness of Integral is in many ways what led me to seek out this other thing… I don’t know the best word, but I do think the feminine is close. The past year has been the most liberating experience of my life.

Words here are hard, which is sort of the point. From here on out this is just an exploration with words, not an analysis of something I understand. I think if we start with the LR it helps. I am not talking about reproductive bodies UR or cultural controls that followed LL. It’s a deep exterior but we have a very hard time accepting the interiority of the LR. I think there is something fundamental about the cosmos that express through the masculine and feminine. The LR is conscious, there is a second person experience you can have of it, and it is more than mystical, it’s downright pragmatic. The fact that these experiences are pushed into a mystical category may be what I am calling the “masculine container”.

I threw a question out around this, again, a sketchy idea. Leif_conrad gave a reply. It was very sensitive and astute. It just left me laughing because, for the first time I really got how intense AQAL is. Really, ALL lines, ALL quadrants, ALL levels, ALL states. There is no way we will ever be able to manage all of that. Our systems of understanding and analysis are hysterical. I don’t think trans-rational means being super, super, super rational. I think integral is built on a masculine, hyper rational platform that pulls in feminine mysticism as more information, to assist in this quest to understand it all. I think there is something beautiful about this, but there is also another path, one where you actually relate to it.


#38

IMHO the Integral lens itself is initially a rational tool. Leastwise, that was how I first got access into Integral theory. It has taken me quite some time to get a handle on how best to use this tool. And I’m still a long way off having a degree of facility with it. When I first started looking through it, it was (and for me still is) hard to see beyond the masculine rational. (I’m reminded of Peter telling Mary Magdalene (sub thought: I expect people to know who I mean when I write Peter, but feel I have to add Mary’s surname - institutionalised sexism??) that as she was a women her words were not valid). For most of history, development is written up by the males. Most of the stuff out there on which to train the lens is male in origin.
So
Is the Integral life website set up in a rational masculine way that discriminates against those who are not masculine? Could it be set up in a more fluid, flex flowing kind of way that better meets our feminine side. Would the work we would need to do to be able to fully use and appreciate such a way into the Integral world give us a profound rebalancing?


#39

I like your reflection here, @Andrew_Baines ! Hopefully, technology could work with us here, where for example we could show a website according to the needs of the persona using it.

Reg. integral theory, it’s meant to be a theoretical framework, so it’s academical and dry in nature, and you’re meant to use your cognitive line when understanding it. This was also why I wasn’t drawn to it initially (you can read more about that in my profile description on this site).

However, the way we use it and unfold it shouldn’t be (only) dry, cognitive or academical - if we actually understand and embody integral theory, it should be “everything” - if you know what I mean?

PS - when you just mention Peter and Mary, I wouldn’t immediately make the connection that you were quoting the bible, so thanks for saying Mary Magdalene (I guess that isn’t her surname exactly, though) so I understood what you meant. I am not well-versed in the bible, so I tried to find the quote you refer to - is this it? https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Luke-24-11/ Because then it’s not exactly what Peter or anyone said - they didn’t believe them because it sounded too fantastic that someone could rise from the dead (which I think is fair enough?) - it wasn’t that they were women (even if that might have been part of it, I don’t think it’s what it says, and I believe in fairness…).


#40

@bettina8 I haven’t had a chance (I haven’t even had breakfast yet!) to check out the videos and pdfs you provided, but I did want to respond to your overall post here. I totally agree that Wholeness is the container in which all of this needs to be held, and is one of the reasons I kept saying “traditionally or typically considered” feminine or masculine, because as integralists, most of us have probably transcended to some extent a view that is ‘either-or’ one of those binary terms, while still including them as ‘both-and’ in our discussions. And as @Michelle stated, yes, yes, yes! to your expression of the dynamic we’re talking about, wonderfully stated.

You know, Ken Wilber has given a term to what we all seem to be desiring in common, a “soul culture.” He speaks about it in the book “The Religion of Tomorrow” (starting on page 443), asks why we are still a predominantly mental-egoic culture, and identifies some of the reasons he thinks soul and subtle behavior and culture haven’t manifested, despite there being plenty of us who are “awake” or who have had minimally a peak experience at least at the subtle level of states of consciousness.

I do think it’s not only really needed but possible to bring more soul culture, to use Ken’s term, into the world. And the benefits can be huge. It’s not at all difficult for me to imagine as I have done it as well, bringing both indigenous healing methods and shamanic teachings and practices into large mental health organizations, for instance. I have worked with therapists in individual clinics within a 150-member organization, teaching basic shamanic journeying techniques and facilitating that group’s team-building and morale, through helping them to “get a vision” for their clinic through their individual journey experiences in higher states of consciousness induced by drumming. The first time I ever did this, the 20 or so members of that particular clinic, while having very different individual journey content, all arrived at a consensus that their visions shared the common element that “we are one.” In follow-up work with them, there was building on the vision through different exercises and “talking stick” circles and yes, singing and such, and the productivity levels for that clinic drastically rose. So yes, undoubtedly, organizations are a place that some of this kind of stuff can happen. Some organizations at least.

As well as in these spaces at Integral Life. I do not doubt that Corey or Ken or other Integral leaders share these concerns and desires for a more soulful space and world. In the Integral lines of development (e.g. multiple intelligences), cognition is viewed as “necessary but not sufficient” for development of the other lines, and for overall understanding and growth. Not sufficient. But necessary. Which is why cognitive-rational material and approach is warranted at Integral (but again, not sufficient), and particularly warranted in the larger world, given that somewhere around 60% of the world has not yet reached the rational stage of development. Which isn’t to say that subtle experiences, which can occur at any stage of development, and particularly group subtle experience, cannot help people reach the rational stage; I think they can in the sense that some group subtle experiences tend to assist in the forming of a shared “we-space,” more of a union among people, so to speak, and in that union, perhaps some are influenced positively towards more inclusiveness, towards the world-centrism of the rational stage.

I see no reason that we can’t be “actually conscious about all of this” and bring it to these spaces; it just takes a creative impulse and will to do so, don’t you think?

I have more to say, but gotta go now, gotta eat…