Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Gender Identity
Being Transcends Gender
Just as will infuses men with a sense of manhood and women with a sense of femininity, softness and delicacy do the same for both sexes. Softness, delicacy, and sweetness are culturally seen to be feminine qualities. However, regardless of how they are referred to, they have nothing to do with sexual differences. They are qualities of Being, which transcend gender.
Concept of Sex or Gender
Experiences of physical and emotional pleasure and pain greatly influence the formation of the concepts of self and world, and either attachment to or avoidance of certain concepts renders our mental world rigid and closed. An example of this is the concept of sex or gender: We learn in the course of growing up that we “are” a girl or a boy. The notion that one is a girl or a boy is always fraught with various value judgments, ideas of what male and female or masculine and feminine mean, and related beliefs about oneself and others, which may be very far from objective. So even though there are objective differences in the noetic form of female and the noetic form of male, the concept of male or female will for any given person be deeply subjective; it will be a personal concept, involving all kinds of judgments, reactions, opinions, prejudices, and associations. These reactions and associations then limit our capacity to see clearly even what we are personally believing at any given moment about reality, and tend to make the rigidness of our reified concepts even greater. In turn, as we have seen, this rigidness and opacity about ourselves and the world separates us further from the truth of who we are, and thus is the source of our suffering and alienation.
Gender & Brilliancy
One of the ways of experiencing Brilliancy is the sense of majesty, regardless of whether you are a man or a woman—gender doesn't matter when it comes to experiencing Brilliancy or its majesty. Both queens and kings have majesty, for example. The sense of majesty has the qualities of expansion and radiance. So some traditions—the Sufi tradition, for example—don’t call qualities masculine and feminine; they call them the qualities of majesty and beauty. They don’t get into the question of male and female at all.
Gender & Discrimination
As we mentioned earlier, the phenomenon of social discrimination is closely connected with this specific difficulty of inferiority. When you discriminate against someone else, you are compensating for your own sense of inferiority; this is obviously a rejection of another person. Discrimination is based on value judgments of inferiority and superiority, and is rampant in our society. There are many kinds of discrimination, such as racial and cultural, in which one skin color or ethnic group believes itself superior to another. Black people, for example, were and are discriminated against in this country and in many others, as well. Some cultures choose a scapegoat, based on religion, race, or culture; or there is class discrimination, as in India, where the untouchable caste is supposed to be inferior to, and to contaminate, those of higher castes who touch them. Gender discrimination, in which women are typically seen as inferior to men, is pervasive. Children are often discriminated against, in the sense of not being taken seriously because they are not adults. To discriminate against someone is to inflict great suffering, since it touches the wound of inferiority that everyone has. It will bring up a tremendous lack of self-esteem, as well as a deep sense of shame about this painful wound within. Any discrimination of any sort—relating to another as if they are less than you—is a projection of your own sense of inferiority.
Gender & Soul
The soul's receptivity, especially when seen in terms of essence's active relation to her, is the reason that traditionally the soul is given the feminine gender. Traditionally, soul is seen as feminine and essence masculine. When receptivity is thought of as a feminine property, this attribution makes sense. In fact, some religious teachings—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, for example—take the view that the soul needs to become feminine in relation to essence, spirit, or God, in order to achieve her fulfillment and liberation. To attain completeness, she needs to be receptive to essence, rather than either being active toward it or receptive to the influences of the world. This perspective means that soul needs to be receptive to the influence of essence for the latter to structure her experience, which will allow the soul's experience to be formed by the dimension that is inherently perfect and free.
Need for Will and the Personal Essence
We find that in both men and women Will and Personal Essence are needed for gender identity. The Will leads to accepting one’s genitals, and having confidence in them. The Personal Essence makes them an inseparable part of who one is. The significance of such deep integration for personal functioning, especially sexual functioning, is obvious. One’s personal life becomes richer and more fulfilled, and one’s relationships attain a new depth of pleasure.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 308
Wiil, Personal Essence & Gender Identity
We find that in both men and women Will and Personal Essence are needed for gender identity. The Will leads to accepting one's genitals, and having confidence in them. The Personal Essence makes them an inseparable part of who one is. The significance of such deep integration for personal functioning, especially sexual functioning, is obvious. One's personal life becomes richer and more fulfilled, and one's relationships attain a new depth of pleasure.