... and my response to the Dalai Lama’s assertion that sex spells trouble*
by Janie “Oquawka” Rezner, MA
I hope someone passes Riane Eisler’s beautiful book, “Sacred Pleasure,” on to the Dalai Lama. Did he really say that “sex invariably spells trouble?” He is definitely missing something! It’s that nasty body again with all its feelings that patriarchal religion abhors, getting close, being vulnerable, opening one’s heart to love. He is missing being connected in that way.
Compare the life of a monk to a man with a family living in a community, in a life rich with attachments to his loved ones, a man who experiences a deep love for his child as he watches her grow, who cares for his friends, who is engaged in a variety of interactions and tasks in his life. A separated being like a monk is living half a life; his opportunities to experience life's important and maturing processes, like loving and being committed to another human being, like experiencing the heart connection of fatherhood, and the responsibilities of that role, are non-existent.
The Dalai Lama's remarks that "chastity offered a better life and "more freedom.." are very telling. (A little footnote here: I know from experience that there are times when not being sexual in one’s life is very important. But, that is very different from saying across the board that chastity is the way to go.) He is obviously talking about his own experience and is saying flat out that life without a woman in it is "better and freer." We are just a problem, apparently, in his world.
I don't get a sense of his awareness of or his honoring of the sacred feminine. He clearly doesn't value what a love relationship might bring to one's life or what can be created together with another person. (Interestingly, he has never spoken out against violence and sexual abuse to women and children.)
The Lama continues to put out the same lingo that "patriarchal cowboy types" put out: "Women are always trouble. Love 'em and leave 'em is the safest." To quote the Dalai Lama, "some kind of desire for sex comes, but then you use human intelligence to make comprehension that those couples always full of trouble"
Kind of a patriarchal approach to relationship, I'd say.
Are his statements based on real experience? Was he in a relationship and it didn't work out? Has he been in a loving relationship for years, fathered and cared for children, tried to be a good father to them? Has he continued to love his partner, who he not only has great admiration for, but finds the bond between them to be a source of physical and spiritual connection that is deeply satisfying to both of them? Has he experienced a full-bodied life? Of course he hasn't.
The Dalai Lama then talks about the importance of "non-attachment" to our partners and children. This statement rings of the same "truth" that has been propagated through the centuries by Kalil Gibram who, as far as I know, never gave birth to a baby, or raised a child, telling us that "our children are not really ours . . they just pass through us."
Well, I have news for them. My children are always my children; my grandchildren are always my grandchildren. Our hearts are connected. And, I am interested, and I care, always.
Amazing that we listen to these men who have NOT had the experience themselves, telling us "how life is?"
The Buddhist's much belabored “non-attachment" concept is one of my pet peeves. As far as I can see, the reason for it is so that you won't have to feel any uncomfortable feelings. (Now I know there are folks who are in a state of anxiety over things best let go of, and many of us have benefited from meditation and a daily practice. I'm not knocking it all.) So, if you steel yourself not to care, then you can't get hurt. Another patriarchal stance. No caring mother would suggest such a way of being!
That's the thing about the patriarchy. Feelings aren't allowed. Feelings and "carrying on about something" is negated as "women's stuff". NOT HAVING FEELINGS is how the patriarchy keeps itself going. If the raping men and torturing soldiers’ hearts were to suddenly break open as they inflict pain on another, they would be stopped in their tracks. They couldn't do such things to another person and hurt them like that--their own pain would be so great. By not feeling anything they manage to do what they do. Their hearts have been walled-off because of their own pain, (because it felt like too much to bear) . . . . therefore they can't feel anyone else's pain and can do the horrific things they do. As underlying rage drives it all. Of course, they do not escape unscathed, for the abuse lives on in the unconsciousness.
Feelings are where the juice is. Our feelings serve us in many ways. (They do come with the territory, you know. We must remember that! Animals have feelings too, especially strong maternal feelings.) Our feelings teach us about ourselves. They teach us about the hurts inside that haven't been mended, that need to be attended to. They teach us about the child within. Deep feelings open the door to our hearts.
It is important to feel it all, the joy and the pain. We need to learn to trust our own process, trust our body's and heart's wisdom. It is truly ok to FEEL. And, we need to do a whole lot more of it.
All religion as we know it is patriarchal religion. A male figure is the authority. Anything to do with the Mother, or mothering, is not allowed, not even considered. The qualities of mothering, nurturing, being compassionate, protecting - the sacred feminine with its deep connection to the earth built into our very cells - and our innate knowing of "how life is supposed to work" - none of this is allowed to surface. Of course, mothers still get to do a little mothering here and there, thank goodness, or the human race wouldn't still be here!
But, we see how very close we are to the edge of extinction, in every area. We have arrived at the logical conclusion of patriarchal religion and culture. A culture of power-over, of greed and violence and sexual depravity. A culture of death. That which destroys life is evil. That which supports life is good.
Barbara G. Walker writes, "After 3 thousand years of leading their world through rivers of blood, centuries of war, incessant exploitation, and spiritual dissimulation of the most shameless sort, the patriarchs may find that their loss of feminine understanding and creativity is their true original sin. By destroying the spirit of their Mothers they may have brought about the destruction of themselves."
Regarding the capacity for sexual satisfaction naturally built into our bodies, which the Dalai Lama cavalierly discards, aren't we grateful for that wonderful feeling of pleasure, the orgasm that releases tension throughout the body, and all that leads up to it? That moment of complete focus of attention which can transport one into a blissful connection with the One.
Wouldn't life be dreary without it? What a wonderful experience with someone you care for, with love and trust and openness between you; to be in a state of soul to soul contact. These are precious gifts from our Mother.
In the time when the Mother was known and revered, making love was known as a sacred connection and was highly honored. To be in such a "state" with another human being was deeply revered.
We can see how the patriarchy has taken this most precious and natural sexual connection between women and men -- and perverted it into a horror on earth. Where fathers and uncles molest and rape their own children and wives, where millions of children and women all over the world are turned into sexual slaves to be tortured, where illegal immigrant women being held in jail are raped; the list is endless. It happens anywhere that depraved and enraged men can rape and torture and get away with it. The possibility of rape is feared by all women everywhere.
Although we here are among the privileged, we are surrounded by a violent, war-ravaged, fear-driven world. Many of us have suffered child-abuse and sexual abuse in one form or another. And still we keep on going with our life's tasks, not the least of which is to truly awaken to our enslavement by the patriarchal culture and to say, 'no more!’
Our birthright as creatures on earth is to live in peace, in harmony with the earth and with each other. Our birthright is to live with open hearts and spirits, living into our fullest potential, which is ever expanding. Our birthright is to have our 'work' be our own unique creative contribution - to the whole.
We are living at the edge of time … in a time like no other. We are being guided and introduced into the greatest reality of all --that of the divine. This is the Journey of the Soul into the Mother.
One must come into a state of knowing one's self in order for the curtain to pull back; that means going deep and finding peace with and loving the inner parts of ourselves. There is no free lunch, however. The journey for that "knowing" crosses through the "sea of hurts and fears" that have been tucked away into the recesses of the heart. There is no way to go around it, it must be crossed. Once one enters the sea of hurts and fears, perhaps with the help of a trusted companion, and begins to uncover and honor and grieve the injustices, the shame and guilt and the losses, amazingly the pain loses its grip. The wound becomes soothed by a mothering hand. A healing can take place … a healing that opens the door to many things. Once we have opened to our own pain, we can then be fully present to another's pain.
We can begin to trust the wisdom of the Universe. We can gaze into the velvety night sky and be touched by the beauty of the stars and planets above. We begin to see the amazing journey we are on and can find the courage and moral conviction to take a stand against the injustices of the world and say, "no more!" We begin to trust the wisdom of the Grandmother, and our own wisdom, and can open to what Great Spirit has to teach us … as She ushers us into this new age of Love in the Heart.
©Janie "Oquawka" Rezner
Spiritual Feminist Warrior