By Tony Fahkry
A Whole Mind Approach
In a recent discussion with a health professional, I was curious why a growing number of people seem to rationalise their health concerns via logic alone. Rather than examining the mental and emotional issues to their failing health, we both agreed that our teaching system educates us from an early age to rationalise the world through reason. Surely solving our problems at the level of the mind is the best approach – or is it?
In Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind, the author argues that the future belongs to the artists and creatives among us, rather than the traditional left brain professionals like accountants, lawyers and computer programmers. He postulates that with the advent of the Information Age, left brain thinkers (logic) dominated the landscape for much of this period, as evident with the development of the internet.
What does this mean in the larger context? Pink suggests that left brain orientated jobs have moved off-shore in recent times to countries where labour rates are less expensive. Jobs that previously required analytical processing are now sourced to countries like India and China for far less than major countries. Creative jobs on the other hand have seen a rise in demand since they cannot be automated due to the specialisation of the creative process.
I find this discussion fascinating on a number of levels. Firstly, our society has been largely male dominated for a number of centuries. The heads of major countries continue to be led by men, although this is now beginning to change. We typically value the masculine energy, as evident by a recent documentary on television in view of the World Cup. It was revealed that in poorer areas of Brazil, parents have two wishes in life: that they be blessed with a boy as a child and that he can kick a soccer ball.
Having been raised in a Catholic Middle Eastern family, I still recall the voices of my parents and relatives filled with optimism when someone within the community gave birth to a baby boy. Even as a young male, the same relatives reinforced the image of a powerful archetypal male aligned with logic and reason.
The Balance of Energy
You might be interested to learn that in Eastern philosophy the body is considered to be balanced energetically in two halves, known as polarities – male (right side) and female (left side). This is also expressed as the Yin (female) and Yang (male) energy. The notable Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung wrote about the anima and the animus which are the two unconscious archetypes that each gender possess.
What are the distinct qualities of these respective energies? Well, the male energy is: protective, logical, analytical, and grounded in reason, action orientated and sets boundaries. This energy is depicted as air and fire elements. The female energy in contrast is: nurturing, listening, emotional, intuitive, perceptive, calm, empathetic and compassionate. This energy is depicted as earth and water elements. Note, I am not describing the differences between men and women. These qualities relate to the energetic relationship inherent in both sexes.
We all have male and female qualities, resulting in a harmonious union of balance. When we favour one energy over the other, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Nature therefore thrives on a sense of balance and equilibrium.
As stated earlier, our society values left brain thinking from an early age. Children are taught in school to examine and deduce the world through logic and reason. In contrast, the Steiner education model urges children to harness right brain thinking with a focus toward creative pursuits. Whilst criticism has been labelled at this method of teaching, Steiner children nonetheless mature with highly advanced emotional intelligence.
It was Daniel Siegel author of Emotional Intelligence who coined the term EQ (emotional intelligence) in the early nineties. His studies into EQ have shown that it is not one’s IQ which is the measure of success in life, rather their EQ. As an example, men are taught to disregard their feelings or alternatively ‘stuff them down’ since feelings are something women have. Therefore men have inadvertently associated strength and power with reason and logic much to the detriment of EQ.
Integration over Separation
Similarly gender roles have been obscured in recent times, as evident through various movements which sought to liberate the sexes from periods of repression. These days, women find themselves competing with men for senior roles within the workforce, at a cost to their family life. Balancing career and family has become a challenge for working women.
One would have thought that the feminist movement liberated women from the need to play on the same level as men. Rather, women have felt compelled to compete with men by playing by their rules in order to get ahead in the corporate world. Albeit this is one minor example, yet it underscores the disconnect apparent when there is a separation of male and female energies.
In a similar context, men are encouraged to deny their intuition for fear that they’ll connect with their emotional self. Intuition and feelings are deemed irrational to men, since it is devoid of scientific evidence. Women on the other hand understand the importance of intuition. They know where intuition resides within their body and trust it well. It is no wonder that women make better leaders, since they have sought to develop both male and female qualities in their leadership roles.
My contention in this article is to highlight that the future lies in integration rather than separation i.e. uniting our male and female energies. The emphasis will be towards the union of our male and female energies in a holistic sense, much like the Eastern principle espouses.
Bruce Lipton PhD, author of Spontaneous Evolution notes that humanity is advancing forward into a new paradigm known as Holism; the union of spirit and matter. ‘The new science of holism emphasises that, in order for us to transcend the parts and see the whole, we must acquire an understanding of Nature and the human experience.’ I have purposely bolded the last sentence. If we are to seek happiness and fulfillment in our lives, we must be willing to work in harmony with nature or run the risk of being at her mercy.
Uniting with our male and female energies will allow us to seek balance in order to optimise our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Problems become apparent when we swing toward one direction over the other. When we favour our male energy, the female side is minimised causing a disruption in our life-force and resulting in physical and emotional ailments.
The key is to unite both male and female energies by regarding them as the wholeness of your being. In order to thrive mentally, emotionally and physically you will need to harness each energy force at respective times throughout your life.
Men and women can live together afterall – even under the one roof!
About the Author
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