There seems to be two fundamental and polar opposite essences that exist in our inner world. Many ancient spiritual belief systems include these notions: yin and yang, shiva and shakti. My teachers uses the simple terms masculine and feminine. I like these terms, even though they are loaded words in our modern society. Over the coming weeks I’ll begin to expose why.

There’s a part of you that has remained unchanged since you were born, maybe since before you were born. Even though the cells in your body have been replaced, and your mind has evolved and changed forming new habit patterns and belief systems, there’s a part of you that is exactly the same as it always was. The you that exists behind all constructed identities. The you that is aware of all this “stuff” - of form, of energy, of motion and change. It is observing and experiencing everything, yet is itself unchanging and empty. It’s hard to put words around but you might find it in deep meditation when you become aware of awareness itself.

There’s another part of you that is always changing. Your body moving, your thoughts racing, your emotions swirling, your energy rising and falling, the world appearing as momentary sensations. It’s the complement to what I described in the previous paragraph. The dynamic “everything” that is being observed and experienced by the ever unchanging observer. You might find it when you become lost dancing to great music and find your body moving and flowing spontaneously as if it were the currents of the universe itself.

We call the first part the “masculine”, and the second part the “feminine”. These don’t refer to “man” and “woman”, but rather the two polar opposite essences that exist inside all humans.

I like these terms because in my experience feminine beings, usually women, tend to feel more at home identifying with the dynamic changing currents of life and love, and masculine beings, usually men, tend to be more at home identifying with the wide open stillness of pure awareness. There are of course many exceptions, humans are multidimensional beings whose mind, body, emotions, sexual essence and spirit can fluidly identify with either masculine or feminine, moment by moment (see Multiple Aspects of Masculine and Feminine). But it is useful to notice what feels more natural and comfortable, more often, for yourself and for others. Especially in the context of relationships and sex which I plan to talk more about in future essays.

The masculine is consciousness. The feminine is life and love.

They are actually two sides of the same coin, a simultaneous arising. How can there be consciousness with nothing to be conscious of? And how can there be life and love if there is no consciousness to know it? All of this is the universe trying to know itself. And though it sounds abstract there are many very practical ramifications which I will be diving into soon.