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Here’s What Getting Spanked As A Kid Did To Your Personality

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The topic of parenting is a sensitive one, especially when the conversation directs to discipline. One such method of discipline in particular has long been debatable: spanking. While many parents agree on its appropriateness, more and more parents are opting out of this disciplinary action. In fact, in 1979, Sweden was the first country to actually implement spanking as illegal.

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Rights Specialist Emme Kristensson from BRIS (Children’s Rights in Society) states, “It’s a basic human right to grow up free from violence of any kind and abuse, we see that even lesser forms of aggression and violence have long-term effects on you as an individual.” [1]

However, many countries have opposed banning spanking or smacking, like New Zealand. People who opposed the ban claimed that, “no decent research shows [a] smack by a loving parent breeds violence.” But they actually may be very wrong.

A recent study published in The Journal of Family Psychology by experts at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan, claim that children who get spanked are more likely to “defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties.

And this isn’t just a typical study that monitored children for maybe a couple of years. In fact, researchers say “it is the most complete analysis to date of the outcomes associated with spanking, and more specific to the effects of spanking alone than previous papers, which included other types of physical punishment in their analyses.” This study is based off of a meta-analysis of 50 years of research involving over 160,000 children.

The analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking—an open-handed hit on the behind or extremities. When any parent chooses to spank their child, more often than not his or her intention is to create long-term obedience, when in reality, it only creates immediate obedience. “We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children,” says Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.

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Undoubtedly, parents only want what’s best for their children, so their intention of course isn’t to cause long-term side effects from what they’ve always believed an appropriate form of discipline. That’s why it is vital for all parents to recognize the effects they could unknowingly be causing to their offspring.

“The upshot of the study is that spanking increases the likelihood of a wide variety of undesired outcomes for children. Spanking thus does the opposite of what parents usually want it to do.” —Co-author Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work

Most people would say that there is a clear distinction between physical abuse and spanking, but both were associated with the same detrimental child outcomes in the same direction and nearly the same strength. Gershoff explains, “our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree,” and that “there is no clear evidence of positive effects from spanking and ample evidence that it poses a risk of harm to children’s behavior and development.”

Another big downfall with spanking is that the cycle is most likely to continue. The study explains that adults who were spanked as children were more likely to support physical punishment for their own children.

In the book All About Love by Bell Hooks, she investigates where we first learn about love and decides it is during childhood that we learn the original school of love. She expresses the confusion her and her siblings felt when they would be physically punished and told “I’m doing this because I love you” (p. 17).

“There is nothing that creates more confusion about love in the minds and hearts of children than unkind and/or cruel punishment meted out by the grown-ups they have been taught they should love and respect.”

Bell Hooks references Lucia Hodgson’s book Raised in Captivity: Why Does America Fail It’s Children? (p. 19) where Lucia, “documents the reality of lovelessness in the lives of a huge majority of children in the United States.” This of course stems from a deeper issue that Hooks delves into, believing that “love will not be present if the grown-ups who parent do not know how to love”  (p. 19), bringing focus back to the endless cycle of abuse.

Children are essentially voiceless when they are governed by their parents. Hooks highlights this point: “In our culture the private family dwelling is the one institutionalized sphere of power that can easily be autocratic and fascistic” (p. 20).

I have to say, it wasn’t until I read her novel early last year that I had actually decided to question the use of physical abuse as a form of punishment. I too have received a spank here and there growing up and thought nothing of it, and assumed myself to be a pretty sound individual. Or am I?

Hooks recounts a party she attended with “mostly of educated, well-paid professionals, a multiracial, multigenerational evening” (p. 20) and says the topic of disciplining kids by hitting was brought into discussion. She says “almost all of the guests over thirty spoke about the necessity of using physical punishment” (p. 21) and that many of the people in the room themselves have been smacked, whipped, or beaten as a child.

One man bragged about the aggressive beatings he received from his mother, saying that “they had been good for him” (p. 21). Hooks states that maybe if he hadn’t been brutally beaten by a woman as a child he may not have turned out to be the “mysoginist woman hater he is today.” Another young professional mother bragged that she did not hit her small son but instead would, “clamp down on his flesh pinching him until he got the message.” A clear form of coercive abuse.

The point of this story is that these are all well-meaning adults who are professional and educated and yet do not see that they are abusing their small children. Hooks points out that, “had we all been listening to a man tell us that every time his wife or girlfriend does something he does not like he just clamps down on her flesh, pinching her as hard as he can, everyone would have been appalled” (p. 21)

This was the moment that brought perspective crashing down over my head.

“All the parents in that room claim that they are loving. All the people in that room were college-educated. Most call themselves good liberals, supportive of civil rights and feminism. But when it came to the rights of children they had a different standard” (p. 21).

The irony of the word discipline is that it comes from the word disciple which means to teach. When you are using a forceful form of punishment, what message is really being relayed to your child? Is it one of love and affection? Or perhaps that if they are not happy with a person they can spank, hit, or smack them?

There is another form of discipline that is far less aggressive detrimental.

Gentle Parenting means no punishments and no rewards: just a partnership with your kids where they want to do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing.

Rebecca English wrote an article in The Conversation that provides some tips for parents looking to take a different approach to discipline.

Below is an excerpt from the article.

What might this type of approach look like?

There are many websites and groups that can help you to practise this parenting approach. Here are a few steps that parents take to encourage a partnership with their children:

  1. They start from a place of connection and believe that all behaviour stems from how connected the child is with their caregivers.
  2. They give choices not commands (“would you like to brush your teeth before or after you put on your pyjamas?”).
  3. They take a playful approach. They might use playfulness to clean up (“let’s make a game of packing up these toys”) or to diffuse tension (e.g. having a playful pillow fight).
  4. They allow feelings to run their course. Rather than saying “shoosh”, or yelling “stop!”, parents actively listen to crying. They may say, “you have a lot of/strong feelings about [the situation]”.
  5. They describe the behaviour, not the child. So, rather than labelling a child as naughty or nice, they will explain the way actions make them feel. For example, “I get so frustrated cleaning crumbs off the couch.”
  6. They negotiate limits where possible. If it’s time to leave the park, they might ask, “How many more minutes/swings before we leave?” However, they can be flexible and reserve “no” for situations that can hurt the child (such as running on the road or touching the hot plate) or others (including pets). They might say: “Hitting me/your sister/pulling the dog’s tail hurts, I won’t let you do that.”
  7. They treat their children as partners in the family. A partnership means that the child is invited to help make decisions and to be included in the household tasks. Parents apologise when they get it wrong.
  8. They will not do forced affection. When Uncle Ray wants to hug your child and s/he says no, then the child gets to say what happens to their body. They also don’t force please or thank you.
  9. They trust their children. What you might think of as “bad” behaviour is seen as the sign of an unmet need.
  10. They take parental time-outs when needed. Before they crack, they step away, take a breath and regain their composure.

The method also raises some concerns for parents who wouldn’t usually use this approach, probably feeling their child may be ‘getting away with too much’ but that’s just my own personal speculation.

The bottom line is that we are the ambassadors for our children. They look up to us and depend on us and hope that we will make the best possible decision for their safety and happiness. I believe we owe it to them to do our own research and to be proactive in creating a dialogue with them, gauging their reactions and responses to discipline and most of all, being patient. Being a parent is a never-ending process of growth and transformation for you and your child, so lets make it a beautiful one.

Sources

https://sweden.se/society/smacking-banned-since-1979/  0:57-1:10 [1]

http://news.utexas.edu/2016/04/25/risks-of-harm-from-spanking-confirmed-by-researchers

http://mic.com/articles/141851/here-s-what-getting-spanked-as-a-kid-did-to-your-personality-according-to-science#.Qc77U86KP

https://sweden.se/society/smacking-banned-since-1979/

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/discipline-and-children

http://theconversation.com/gentle-parenting-explainer-no-rewards-no-punishments-no-misbehaving-kids-31678

Hooks, Bell. All About Love: New Visions. New York, William Morrow Paperbacks, 2001. Print.

 

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Taurus: Growth & Perseverance

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We are having a Full Moon in Taurus on November 12th at 1:34pm Universal Time. It will appear the fullest on the night of the 11th in the Americas and on the night of the 12th elsewhere.

This is the peak of the Lunar cycle that began two weeks prior with a New Moon in Scorpio. The energies of a Full Moon build up as the Moon increases its light and are strongest in the days before and after. However, it will still be a part of the backdrop over the following two weeks.

Mercury is also currently retrograde in Scorpio which you can read more about here. In the day leading up to this Full Moon, Mercury was conjunct the Sun in what is known as the ‘inferior conjunction’ and is still playing out during the Full Moon.

Generally this is an important phase of every Mercury retrograde, however, this one has even more significance because Mercury was exactly aligned with, and visibly in front of, the Sun. This is not the case for every ‘inferior conjunction.’ This is called an ‘Occultation’ and also referred to as a ‘Transit of Mercury’ by astronomers. The last time it occurred was May 2016 and the next time will be in November 2032.

This can be a period of increased insights and the themes of this retrograde may get amplified. However, typical retrograde complications can also be stronger at this time depending on your circumstances or how you are applying your energy. In some cases, this may also be a period of ridding yourself of certain thoughts, ideas, perceptions, old interests, expectations, or other things that are not serving you to make way for new ones to be seeded either at this time or in the coming months.

Full Moon In Taurus Opposite Sun and Mercury in Scorpio

Full Moon’s are a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Taurus and Sun in Scorpio. It can play out as either a conflict, integration, or some sort of dynamic playing out between the energies of both signs.

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We can feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Scorpio side and others expressing the Taurus side. In some cases, Full Moon’s can also reflect/trigger some sort of release or change which may apply more so in this case when considering Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Scorpio.

Taurus is an Earth sign ruled by Venus. It is associated with values, worth, the material world, sensuality, money, food/substances, security, beauty, art, and nature. It is physically oriented, practical, and realistic. Taurus is thorough and also likes stability and routine. It is like a rock; slow, grounded, and solid. Negatively, Taurus energy can be too rigid, lazy, habitual, greedy, possessive, stubborn, materialistic, overly self-indulgent, and very slow.

Scorpio is a Water sign traditionally ruled by Mars and associated with Pluto. It is about power, transformation, intensity, sexuality, passion, regeneration, hidden matters, depth, as well as shared or owed resources and money. It is emotionally oriented, intuitive, primal, complex, calculated, mysterious, and is associated with shadows and the unconscious. Negatively Scorpio energy can be vengeful, manipulative, compulsive, obsessive, and fearful. (Learn more here about how Scorpio energy can play out during this period)

Full Moon Trine Pluto, Mercury Retrograde Aspecting Saturn Sextile Neptune

This Full Moon is moving towards a trine with Pluto which can be beneficial in supporting the Mercury Retrograde process in Scorpio. This can be good for getting to the bottom of things, making positive changes, evolutionary growth, empowerment, and resourcefulness.

This Pluto energy combined with the post ‘inferior conjunction’ and waning Moon is supportive of releasing aspects of our lives that are not serving us. The previous Full Moon in Aries was also in a configuration with Pluto so for some people these themes may have began around then and could still be playing out now.

This month, Saturn in Capricorn is in its final sextile to Neptune in Pisces. This aspect began earlier in the year but may be more apparent now as it is concluding with both the Full Moon and Mercury Retrograde triggering it. This can reflect developments, thoughts, or ideas around efforts or ambitions pertaining to our ideals, creativity, inspirations, spirituality, or imagination. This can also be good for commitments associated with selflessness, compassion, healing, or spiritual practices.

Mars Sextile Jupiter, Venus Square Neptune

Mars is in Libra aligned with the benefic star Spica while in a sextile with Jupiter in Sagittarius. Considering that Mars is the traditional ruler of Scorpio where Mercury Retrograde is, this helps to bring a more pleasant, optimistic, and perhaps even fortunate energy to the retrograde experience at this time and in the following weeks.

This is in stark contrast to the previous few weeks in this same Lunar cycle that had more challenging configurations which could have reflected obstacles, limitations, delays, intense feelings, and perhaps even destructiveness.

In comparison, the energy now is more expansive, explorative, and growth oriented. We can feel more confident or perhaps even be presented with opportunities. We may want to take action in a big way or towards things connected to education, media, marketing, travel, beliefs, or ideals.

However, considering the retrograde and depending on what it is, it may not be the best time to make final decisions, or solidifying/initiating something major. However, use your judgement. Not every big decision made during a retrograde gets derailed by problems, sometimes it can just be annoying glitches or challenges can playing out in different ways that are still manageable.

Venus in Sagittarius, the ruler of this Full Moon, is moving towards a square with Neptune which is strongest on November 14th. This can play out as confusion, disappointments, and uncertainties which may be connected to relationships, values, finances, worth, or perhaps something to do with aesthetics, pleasures, or material things. We may not see things for what they really are.

Issues around boundaries, self-sacrifice, escapism, intoxication, or sensitivities may also be a theme. Alternatively, this can be good for creativity as well as social situations revolved around spirituality or art. In some cases it can also be magical and romantic.

Things To Consider During This Period

Pay attention to what comes up now or in the days before and after this Full Moon. Circumstances, developments, conversations, thoughts, feelings, or other things that catch your attention may help to provide important realizations or helpful insights. You may better understand something connected to the past and/or whatever occurs now may also be planting a seed for the future.

What aspects of your life need an adjustment, revisitation, or even transformation? Do you have ideas, thoughts, or behaviours that need to be purged? Have you had experiences, feelings, or exposure to anything connected to personal shadows or trauma? Regardless if you did or not, be open to anything that comes up now which can help you or others towards healing and achieving wholeness.

Is there anything coming up regarding financial matters or values, and if so, what changes do you need to make? What do you need to do to be constructive with your inspirations, ideals, compassion, spirituality, or creativity? Do you feel like you should be incorporating a new spiritual practice or ambition in your life? What actions can you take that are empowered or expansive?

These are just some examples of what could come up during this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out. If you wish to do any sort of intentional release connected to what has come up it is best to do so anytime after the peak of the Full Moon or as it is waning over the following two weeks. The exact moment of of it will be on November 12th at 1:34pm Universal Time. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology related content.

astrology, astrology readings, carmen di luccio

Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. 

 

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Consciousness

Dealing With “Waking Up.” How To Handle Discovering More Than Just The Tip of the Iceberg

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    An evolution in the way we view our world and the systems within it is necessary to create meaningful change at this stage in humanity's journey. This starts with an evolution in media.

  • Reflect On:

    Can we truly change our world if we don't know where we are truly at? Can we expect to see change in our world if we don't change ourselves?

A look at our current world might bring about emotions or observations linked to feelings of chaos. With the incredible divide happening in the US due to the upcoming presidential elections, the manufactured gender, race and sexual orientation divides taking place all over, it’s easy to feel like there are ‘bad’ things happening all the time.

People often look at the media and say it’s there to ruin or shift your perception of the world negatively, and I would partly agree with this for sure. After all, that’s what inspired me to create a news source that took a different approach. But the reality is, we’re in a time where we have to look at some of the tough things going on in our world in order to understand why they are happening, where we are at and how we can shift. The difference in the way we like to do that here at CE is, we might talk about some of the ‘darker’ stuff, but we’ll always help in moving through it vs leaving a reader hanging.

This is done through an important process I built called The CE Protocol. This is partly how we have been creating an evolution in media for the past 10 years.

My feeling is that we must combine an observation of what we are actively creating in our world with personal transformation so that we can truly change the challenges we face at the core, versus simply throwing bandaids at the situation.

For example, we might want people to unite and be more peaceful with one another, yet we’ll actively attack, mischaracterize others and divide ourselves simply based on something like political orientation. Why do we do that? Because we don’t know who we are deep down, and we actively get caught up in the illusion of politics that has been manufactured to prey on our programmings.

Therefore, the more we wake up and see the illusion that politics is by consuming different media, the more we begin to see truth and are inspired to make new choices. This turns us inward where we make changes within ourselves and this then leads us to interact within our world differently because now we are operating from a different state of consciousness.

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Many people feel we can simply change our world by working only on ourselves, without having to see the truth of our world. Often times that changes a person slightly, but they will still support the systems in our world because they still believe in them, thus things don’t change.

CETV is our On-Demand streaming platform using the CE Protocol to shift consciousness. Sign up for a free 7 day trial here.

Here’s How It Can Be Done

In the four short videos below, I will guide you by explaining exactly what this protocol is and how it encompasses the totality of what’s needed to create a shift in inward consciousness and our physical world.

The basic steps are: 1. Breaking The Illusion 2. Awakening Neutrality 3. Deprogramming Limits 4. Living Aligned

1: Breaking The Illusion

2: Awakening Neutrality

3: Deprogramming Limits

4. Living Aligned

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Consciousness

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 12: The King)

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The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

12. The King

On a little hill on the outskirts of the village on the island of Allandon the children were playing ‘King of the Hill,’ a game in which the last one standing at the top of the hill would be able to proclaim a royal decree that all the other children would have to obey. The game would often bring on bloody noses and bruised muscles since every child wanted desperately to end up on top. On this particular day, however, for the first time that anyone could remember, a clever little girl was the last one standing and was made king. And so they began the traditional ceremony to announce the royal decree.

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“Long live the king,” said the children in unison from the bottom of the hill.

“I am your king. And you will obey my command,” the little girl said.

“How may we serve you?” the children asked.

“I ask only one thing. That from this day forward, rather than the people serving the king, the king will serve the people.”

The children were confused.

“Can she do that?” said one boy to another.

“I guess so. She’s the king,” said the other.

“Please be silent,” the girl said. “It is time to think about what you desire most. How may I serve you?”

From that day forward the game changed. Although becoming king was as revered as ever, the children no longer fought so hard with each other for the honor.

Of the dualities present in human life, one of the most prevalent in our day-to-day experience is that of male and female. It is virtually impossible to ignore, and even in the name of equality it makes no sense to pretend it isn’t there. Indeed, the suggestion that women and men come from different planets seems to be helpful in our endeavor to explore our unique qualities and accept our differences. Many a relationship has been saved or enhanced through the understanding that broadly speaking men and women have different needs and desires, as well as a different way of looking at things.

However in the larger picture of our social and political order, our recent history shows that we have used these differences more as a way to divide us than unite us. Western society leans more heavily on the side of the male perspective, and as a result our power structures have been dominated by men for most of our known history. Perhaps more significant is the fact that this has long been seen by men and women alike as the natural order of things. But we are starting to see now that this belief is no more than mere convention, a model that has been enforced through physical might to perpetuate itself over time.

The patriarchal model of society favors action over reflection, matter over spirit, and confrontation over conciliation. It is built on the equation of power with control, which has in large part defined the way in which our social, political, and religious structures have been organized. Massive hierarchies with top-down chains of command have predominated, founded on the essential belief that humans must be placed in a regimented environment and need to be compelled to act in the interests of the collective in order for a society to flourish.

Generally speaking, women do not thrive in this form of organization. Historically, whenever a woman of power has appeared on the Western geopolitical landscape, she tended to be as uncomfortable with the hierarchy as the hierarchy was with her. A perfect example is Jeanne D’Arc, a teenage girl who vaulted over the entire male-dominated military establishment to lead her French people to repel English occupation in the early 15th century. It was her intimate connection with divine inspiration that gave her the wisdom and the courage to succeed where her male compatriots had failed. And while the generals may have grudgingly been willing to honor her deeds, there was no place for her in her country’s military establishment. She felt above it all, and rejected any attempts to be assimilated into its ranks. In the end, both sides of the male-dominated war she was engaged in—not only the embattled English but also the victorious French—were complicit in having her tried for heresy and then burned at the stake as a witch. Translation: she could not be controlled by the hierarchy and therefore had to be destroyed by it.

This is not the exception but the rule of the past two thousand years. It is believed that tens of thousands of women have been burned at the stake as witches, essentially because they were exhibiting a greater understanding and connectedness with divinely inspired wisdom than their male counterparts. Supported by the thinly veiled prejudice that men were superior and therefore the authority on such matters, symbolized by the all-powerful one God being male, the unwarranted violence, intimidation, and abuse that has been heaped upon women is perhaps the most relentless mass atrocity that has occurred in the course of our history.

One of the greatest shortcomings of a predominantly male-centered society is that it actually promotes inequality. The whole concept of equality, balance, and cooperation is a feminine attribute. And so in essence a patriarchy will cast women more as rivals than mates, and men will be driven to seize the gifts that women might otherwise want to offer freely. Chastity belts, genital mutilation, black burkas in the searing sun, all are telling signs of men trying to control those things that are most lacking in themselves. Male-centered efforts to suppress the power of the ‘weaker’ sex speaks to a broad if fairly unconscious campaign over the last few millennia to deny feminine influence in our society. And by and large it has been successful, positioning men as the sole rule-makers of the game of life. Men have garnered all the roles of influence: the political leaders and priests, the explorers, the literate and educated thinkers, the scientists, and the scribes and historians, those recounters of the past whose writings were rife with patriarchal undertones that reinforced the myth that men were the superior sex. We are still at the effect of the designation of terms such as ‘man’ and ‘mankind’ to represent all of humanity, as though a woman’s inferiority was so patently obvious as to be seen as a sort of sub-class of man.

In recent years, however, we have started to see through the collective fog that proclaims men superior to women. And the more we penetrate this fiction and see that it has no real foundation, the harder it becomes for us to believe that this mindset endured for so long in our history. It is certainly no coincidence that people have suddenly become captivated by the growing evidence popularized by Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code that Jesus may have had a lover or a wife in Mary Magdalene, and that she was considered an equal to him and held a high degree of honor and status in her society. The significance of this point is not to be understated: it gives us reason to infer that the Biblical portrayal of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute was part of a much larger, almost systematic effort on the part of men to strip away evidence that women ever had any power or influence in the world.

Today we are poised to acknowledge and assimilate what historians of ancient myth and culture have always known: that male domination in the world marks only the recent history of humanity, and that in fact many periods in the Ancient world were matriarchal in nature. In old agrarian cultures, where survival was dependant on the fertility of the Earth, it was natural to see the all-powerful Creator as female, as the provider of life and sustenance for all human beings. If anything, a civilization guided by women would seem more like the natural order of things. A woman’s bodily cycles put her into greater alignment with the grand rhythms of nature, and as her body is the vessel to create another human being, she is more connected to the process of bringing a life into the world.

This is not to say that I think women want to be more important in the world than men, nor does it mean that they are plotting global revenge for all the injustices perpetrated against them. This simply is not the way of women. What it does mean is that the pendulum has begun swinging back to the center, which will not only give women a greater voice but also give men permission to awaken the other side within themselves. This promises to bring more emotion to our thoughts, more art to our sciences, and more heart to our human relations.

While male energy is more of a doing force, female energy is centered more in being. Men and women alike have both male and female energies within them, and it is only when these energies are balanced and working together that we are able to act in a way that makes us feel fulfilled. The shift that is coming in our society is away from commanding and towards being of service. A male-centered perspective views serving and being a servant in a most pejorative fashion. Subservience means disempowerment, servitude implies a lack of will, being a servant is closely associated with being a slave. To desire to serve rather than command is seen as a sign of weakness. The implications of this are clear: a society where everyone has to fight for what they need, where citizens feel alienated from each other and disconnected from the community.

We have to hearken back to less patriarchal societies of the past to see that being of service was once revered as a strength, not simply because it benefited the community at large, but the individual as well. Serving others without expectation of personal gain or reward helped to move individuals away from self-consumed isolation to a feeling of connectedness. When I was in a Yoga Ashram in India, which promotes a balance between male and female influence in daily life, we were asked to practice selfless service, or karma yoga. I noticed that the simple act of serving the morning meal to other yoga practitioners brought me closer to all the people there, towards the blissful feeling of unity that is the goal of yoga. During one of our lectures, the swami was asked about the burden of availing himself in the service of others throughout the day. He responded with a wry smile that he might actually be the most selfish one of all, since he knew very well from experience that as he serves others he is served tenfold.

The growing strength of the voices of women in our society has been a big part of the shift away from a self-service mentality and towards a service-to-others mentality. This is starting to gain traction in the way we look at our environment, our governance, our economy. New business models today are actually preaching service over self-interest. People are volunteering for community-building activities more than ever. And the very wealthy in our society, from our athletes and entertainers to our politicians and businessmen, have come to realize more and more that their most worthwhile endeavors involve contributing to others less fortunate or even creating foundations of their own in order to share their wealth.

Of course some of the old power brokers will not change their ways. They want to stay driven by a heart that beats to the drum of control, and they will try to tighten their grip. The only thing is that a growing number of men aren’t buying into it anymore. And women are gaining confidence that they no longer need to put up a male-centered façade in order to have some sway in the ‘Old Boy’s Clubs’. With the gradual but steady influence of more and more women into positions of power and influence, we are seeing things differently. The fact is that we have become weary of control-oriented governance. We can feel now that we have been suffocating and we just want to breathe again.

As we become more aware of how much this disparity of opportunity and influence between men and women has skewed the unfolding of our lives, we will become conscious participants in restoring balance and issuing in a greater sense of belonging for all. Rules will be taken down in favor of freedom, intuition will move back into collaboration with reason, and indeed women will start to take their rightful place beside men in returning a wholeness to the process of human evolution.

My own experience speaks to the benefits of increasingly giving women a voice and letting them be a bigger part of the conversation. I look back to an educational program I took part in recently where women served not only as facilitators but also as the program architects and administrators. What seemed different was that although the subject matter was complex and sometimes even confronting, there was an atmosphere of mutual support, acceptance, and trust that pervaded throughout. It was completely unlike my experience of academic life, which dealt more in superficiality and rarely struck to the heart of issues important in my own personal growth. The conversations in this program were intelligent and subtle, capable of cultivating a shift in my thinking and my life. And because I still came fundamentally from my mind rather than my feelings, this experience was exactly what I needed. I was able to gain a brand new awareness of what a balance of male and female energies felt like. Near the end of the week-long program I was moved to stand up and make an acknowledgement to ‘the brilliance of women’ for creating a fertile environment for learning and transformation and fostering such an inspiring conversation throughout the program.

The new conversation not only promotes the bringing-into-balance of polarities such as male and female, it is at the same time being informed by the way this growing balance is manifesting in our society. This illustrates how the new conversation is emerging organically while we slowly raise our consciousness together. As more men and women enter into the new conversation, we will develop an ever clearer vision not only of more balanced personal relationships but of a higher social and political order. Women will be poised to have a shared influence in the corridors of authority in our society where, anchored in the wholeness of its citizens, power can be transformed from something that is feared and fought for into something that can be celebrated and enjoyed by all.

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