Bring Meaning to Work and Purpose to Spirituality
I am participating in a course taught by Marc Gafni of Center for World Spirituality called The Evolution of Love. The week 3 homework assignment is title 'She Comes in Three's'. The assignment assumed certain development patterns of the masculine and feminine attributes in males versus females. I didn't find such correlations with gender in my own life, so here is how I responded:
In my experience, masculine and feminine, like Yin and Yang, are more psychological archetypes than gender specific traits playing out in almost infinite combinations. I’ll share two stories, one micro and other macro, to illustrate my understanding of the 10th principle: ‘she comes in threes’
I grew up in the thick of ‘cultural revolution’ in the 1960-70’s China. From my earliest memories, the ‘red guards’ and ‘revolutionary committees’ behaved like ‘thugs’. One day, our next door neighbor came back from the local school where she taught with heavy bruises on her face, arms and legs due to a political rally to expose the ‘dark’ past of her wealthy parents before the Communists came to power. Such rallies became daily routines during the ten year period from 1966 to 1976. It was one of the ugliest displays of worst human instincts. I instinctively repelled from it and desperately sought an alternative in science and underground literature. You can say that the abnormal political environment deprived me of level 1 masculine development. My first opportunity of ‘normal’ level 1 masculine development came when I began a business career in the 1990s, after many years of study and research in academics. There was a sales woman, Michelle (not her real name), who was obsessed with sex and constantly disrupts others with rude sex jokes. I ended up having to tell her that it’s unnatural to have sex in front of coworkers who are trying to get their jobs done J Later on, when I became a manager, I realized just how prevalent the level 1 masculine mindset is among workers and managers in Corporate America. Once again, it has more to do with cultural conditioning than gender. A significant proportion of the workforce today has developed a ‘hard shell’ mentality to protect themselves from perceived dangers and/or inequalities. Paradoxically, the ‘shell’ also becomes the biggest barrier of their future development and career advancement. Most people who break the rank of management are at least partially aware of both the masculine and feminine archetypes and have learned to ‘pick battles’ so that the overall balance is not completely lopsided. That’s where things stand in most companies and organizations. The so called work-life balance is a reflection of such cultural paradigm in Corporate America today. Occasionally, you will find a department here and there or even the whole company (e.g. Whole Foods Market) that embraces both masculine and feminine in an integrated versus merely balanced manner. That’s where conscious capitalism flourishes, workers are inspired and given opportunities to develop and excel both their masculine and feminine sides. For example, novel organizational design affords workers opportunities to work both on production lines (masculine, quantity, speed) and workflow improvements (feminine, quality, design).
The 2nd story describes a macro phenomenon. About 10 years ago, I attended a seminar at the University of Chicago Business School where I did my MBA. A marketing executive just returned from a 10 year stint in China. He was giving a talk on marketing consumer products to Chinese versus American consumers. He used the circle to describe the mindset of Chinese consumers and the line for Western consumers. Having lived in both cultures, I can testify the truth of his observations. The Orientals tend to believe in fate, a closed circle (level 1 feminine). The Westerners are much more individualistic and inclined to make things happen, even if one has to bend the rules a little (masculine level 1). Such general cultural orientations influence profoundly their values and choices, including product purchasing decisions. After his talk, I spoke to the executive and asked him if he could envision a marketing strategy that would appeal to both Chinese and American consumers? He thought it was impossible since the circles and lines are incompatible. In fact, the future of global marketing belongs to people who possess the imaginations and skills to transcend and include both the circle and the line into a new art form. Here ‘she comes in threes’: Closed Circle + Open Line = Open Spiral! Notice that the integration is achieved only by exposing a 3rd and new dimension of reality. If one’s imagination is limited only on the old two dimensional surface, it would be impossible to transcend and include old and conflicting reality. That seems to be a general rule of evolution in all fields, physical, biological, psychological, philosophical and spiritual. What a difference it would make if only we could persuade the democrats and republicans to take Marc’s course!
Now for the extra credits, the tears of masculine are usually shed out of frustrations and those of feminine out of losses. Neither comes from fullness. The tears of fullness come only from integration of the masculine and the feminine at certain (not necessarily highest) levels of consciousness. We only trust people whose tears are just under the surface since they must be open and still part of the evolutionary process, therefore tearful, and also mature and strong enough to hold the balance and stay the course, therefore just under the surface.