Relations between men and women should be a dance, not a battle. So why do interactions between the genders seem so fraught with pain, mistrust and misunderstanding?
Often it feels like we can’t see eye to eye because in fact we are interacting shadow to shadow.
Every human being contains a part of their personality which is conscious – the part that seems to be making decisions – and a part which is unconscious.
The unconscious aspect of the personality (the shadow) is often unacknowledged and difficult to access, but it wields incredible power: much more than the conscious mind! This vast network of patterns and deeply ingrained tendencies is largely responsible for our decisions in life, the way we relate to others and to the world in general.
Carl Jung wrote: “Until the unconscious is made conscious, it will rule your life and you will call it fate.”
When patterns in our lives seem to be repeating, when we find ourselves stuck again and again in the same situation, it isn’t that the universe is out to get us. It’s just that something in our subconscious is caught in a loop and pushing us to go through the same experience over and over again.
As a species, between men and women, it seems very much like we have been stuck in a loop. Centuries of pain and abuse, violence and victimhood, passed from generation to generation.
Now, at this precise moment in time, we have a chance to break the cycle. What are we going to do with this opportunity?
Of course, change must come from within, one heart at a time. I say this not to diminish the value or necessity of working for broader social change, but simply to acknowledge the basic reality of our human situation, as a vast network of intimately connected but irreducibly unique beings.
It’s this beautiful paradox: we all influence each other deeply, with everything we do, and yet each one of us belongs only to ourselves. We can only ever change ourselves and let the ripples spread out to the world.
The current movement, #MeToo and everything surrounding it, has a bit of the feeling of a forest fire or an earthquake. Powerful, destructive, frightening even, but with the potential to allow for new creation.
Space for new trees. The roots of new mountains.
As tantra practitioners, we are perhaps both the most sensitive to these dynamics and potentially in the best position to cultivate something fresh and positive from all the upheaval.
What the world needs – what men and women need – is not more laws or contracts or punishments.
It needs more understanding. More compassion. More quietness and space where souls can communicate.
Without making excuses or justifying their actions, we can recognize that those who abuse others are also suffering from a wounded sexuality. We can understand, as Ekhart Tolle so beautifully wrote about compassion, that if we were in their place, with their past experiences, their traumas and their conditioning, we would act in exactly the same way.
The world needs healing for the feminine, which has been violated and suppressed for so long. Healing for the masculine, which has suffered just as much from being cut off from sacred Femininity, from being squeezed into a box where often its only way of expression was through violence.
We need to empower masculinity, not cut it down. Make space for that strong, vertical, divine expression of masculinity that is here to protect and uplift, never to cause harm.
Of course we can’t do the work for other people. But we can do it within ourselves, in how we relate to others and especially by shedding light on the dark parts of our own psyche, the places within that are calling out for healing.
When one person is fully illuminated, that radiance shines on everyone.

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