View from the botanic garden

Beyond Gender

a spiritual essay by Thomas Razzeto

For an easy-to-print Adobe Acrobat PDF version of this essay, click on this link.

A popular book has a title that states that men come from a far away planet and that women come from a completely different far away planet. The implication is that we have very different fundamental natures, that we are basically different creatures and can only hope of getting along when we both understand these natures. While this book has genuinely helped millions of people, I would like to add a few comments of my own.

What I see is that men come from little boys and that women come from little girls. And that those little boys and those little girls come from their own mothers but only when their mothers and their fathers have shared sacred sensual pleasure. And as those little babies are growing inside the womb, the same cell mass that forms the ovaries in the little girls will form the testicles of the little boys. This is one of the most profound examples of duality arising from the same source, from the “One.”

If our bodies are one obvious way that men and women are different and yet the most gender specific parts of our bodies develop from the same source, maybe we are not really all that different. Maybe men and women have more in common than we we have been led to believe.

I often wonder what we would be like as men and women and as boys and girls without the social conditioning that tells us all, young and old, what we are supposed to be and do in order to fit in, in order to be accepted, in order to be loved. I wonder who we would be without the poisonous thinking that society pushes upon us at every moment, the poisonous thinking of competition rather than cooperation. In a healthy society, we would all work together in harmony and share the fruit of our labor of love. There would always be helping hands offered at every turn.

Yes, there are differences between men and women. Vive la difference! If you have a job that requires big muscles, say you need to carry some big rocks up to the top of a hill, then maybe you will benefit from the help of a bunch of strong men ... or strong women. But if the job is the one where someone grows a little baby inside their own body, you need a courageous woman ... who has held a man.

In other words, when it comes to common chores and careers, both men and women can get the job done. Most of the time in our society, the difference in performance of men and women is not critically important as long as the task is reasonably well suited to the person.

The most important thing we do as humans is to create and raise new little people. In fact, the family of humanity can only continue to exist as long as mothers, fathers and children continue to exist. This is the natural trinity which leads to eternal life for the species if we can all cooperate with one another and with nature.

I think that we should celebrate the uniqueness of every individual and not make assumptions about who someone is or what they can do based on their gender. We each have something special to give to the world and that gift is our own wondrous self. We shouldn't look up or down to any individual because of what that person has achieved in the world or even what they have developed within themselves concerning their personality or spiritual understanding. We are all individuals learning, some even learning by teaching.

When we, as a society, learn to hold as precious every individual no matter what their faults are, no matter how far they've fallen down, when we all cooperate and help one another when one of us is in need, we might not have a perfect, pain-free world, but we will have a world as near to paradise as we can create on this physical plane, the plane of duality, the plane with loss and gain, the plane with joy and pain.

And we can learn to hold everyone as precious. Mothers and fathers will always remember the preciousness of their miraculous, newborn child. When each of us was born, we each embodied a unique, astounding expression of the divine creative force. And we each are as precious now as we were when we were born! We are still that miracle; we are still that mystery! Yes, we all deserve respect and appreciation, not because of what we've done as individuals, but because of what we all are.

We are all made out of the eternal divine essence, each of us, that never goes away, it never changes. You are not simply connected to God; every aspect of your being is divine! God is not just deep within you at a special place; you are divine at every level! Every thought we have, is a divine thought. Every emotion we feel, is a divine emotion. Every action we take, is a divine action. Every thing we see, is the divine taking physical form.

Now let's consider the following.

In our society, we are encouraged to label so many things as masculine and feminine as if there can be nothing else, as if there has to be one or the other. And yet I ask you, what gender, if any, is the essence of the following things: respect, cooperation, kindness, and peace. Or even fear, anger and war.

Suppose we have an aggressive, dominating man who has been taught for decades how to get what he wants by asserting his power over others. He might not be that open, that coachable, if we approach him and say, “Let's teach you to bring out your feminine, teach you to be gentle and understanding.”

But if we don't label those things as feminine and we simply say, “We would like to inspire you to bring out your full humanity, to inspire you to be respectful and appreciative of others,” he might be more open to learning these things since it does not conflict with his idea that he is a man.

And now let's consider a woman who has always been a martyr. She never asserts herself; she's afraid to explore her own power. All her life, she is the one who is acquiescing, the one who is constantly saying, “Oh, it's okay, whatever you want is fine with me.” and “How can I help you? What can I give you?” Always plenty of consideration for others but not enough consideration for herself.

The male is often portrayed as selfishly sovereign, the one who loves himself so much that he does whatever he wants while somehow forgetting to consider the feelings and well-being of others. The female is often portrayed as the martyr, the one who loves everyone while somehow being afraid to love herself. One focuses on the self and ignores the group, the other focuses on the group and ignores the self.

The selfishly soverign male and the female martyr are both very out of balance and they do not really represent the natural state of a man or a woman. It is worth noting that these two attitudes dynamically interact to produce the “villian and victim” drama that we often see all around us.

Focusing on the separate self while ignoring the group frequently leads to worry, stress and fear. People often think, “If I don't take care of myself, no one else will. But will I be able to do it? It's just little me against the whole world. What will happen to me if I can no longer take care of myself? Who will take care of me?”

Other people worry that they are not good enough to be loved by anyone, including themselves, while still others are afraid to love themselves and do good things for themselves because they think that people will judge them as selfish and therefore evil and stop loving them.

By the way, I like to point out that self-love is doing good things for yourself while still respecting others and selfishness is doing things for yourself while disrespecting or hurting others. One is harmonious, the other is not.

Some of these fears that I have mentioned manifest as competition. This is not just a male thing. Our society is highly competitive for both men and women. We compete for friends, lovers, grades, jobs and more.

And to top it off, we are taught in very subtle ways that it is both necessary and good for us to be competitive since it leads to a society that offers us all better products and services. Yet I contend that we would have even better products and services if we all cooperated. Think about it. If all the car companies helped each other utilize the best new technology and avoid pitfalls, wouldn't we have better cars? And I bet they'd be cheaper, too!

By the way, when we are told that competition leads to survival of the fitest, aren't we really being told that only the fitest are worthy of survival?

And there is something else that a world based on cooperation rather than competition would bring forth, something that is vastly more important than better products. We would have peace both within us all and between us all. I believe that the fundamental principle that determines whether our world is mostly at peace or mostly at war is the principle of cooperation as contrasted with competition. Personal peace and love are the emotions that are at the core of cooperation while fear is the emotion that fuels competition and today our society is consumed by this fear.

The magic happens when you embrace both the group and the self at the same time. Now you have unconditional love for everyone and yourself working together in harmony for the benefit of all. Since the “all” includes the self, it can be said that this is simply unconditional love for all. Indeed, one for all and all for one!

If Mars represents love of the self and Venus represents love of others, we can say that Earth, which is in an orbit between Mars and Venus, is a wonderful place to love both the self and the group! This is what will create the cooperation needed for the natural trinity to continue its magic and allow for the family of humanity to continually exist in balance with all of creation! This is what will create peace on earth for us all!

When we understand this, we can proclaim, “I am a human being, a unique expression of the eternal divine essence and I am precious. I have the power to choose and I have the ability to create things in my life for myself. Just as I love myself and do good things for myself, I will do good things for everyone!”

Now we have someone who understands true and total love. This is love that goes beyond those gender stereotypes; this is a love that is full and divine! And it is what you truly are. It is what makes up every aspect of your being. It is your very essence. Be bold and live it fully! Have courage and live it now! Honor your essence and always bring forth this divine love!

The End - Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this essay, you might enjoy my book:

Living the Paradox of Enlightenment.

Living the Paradox of Enlightenment

Here's some of my other work:

  • My main website is here.
  • All my spiritual essays are here.

In truth, I honor your divine nature, Thomas Razzeto

Thomas Razzeto's bio and email

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