by Hans Hvass
An understanding of the concept of polarity is absolutely necessary for anyone who wants to make his/her first step on the path of tantra.
In the summer camp of 2007 organized by Natha Yogacenter, the concept of polarity was introduced to all participants in a way that they could understand it through direct experience.
The ancient texts of tantra did not include the chapter of polarity as polarity was at the time a very natural and integrated part of society. The concept of polarity should be the first chapter in any text book about tantra as this is an absolute prerequisite to understand all the other teachings of tantra.
The main idea of polarity is that the universe consists of a male principle called “Shiva” and a female principle called “Shakti”.
To give you an intuitive understanding of the two poles we present a list of “polar opposite” concepts. The concepts on the left of the table are feminine principles and the concepts on the right are masculine principles.
Mother earth God the father
The present moment Eternity
Material world Void
The astute reader will by meditating a short while on these “polar opposite” terminologies gain an inkling intuition about the nature of the masculine and feminine poles of existence.
From the list above the pair of words that best catch the essence of the two poles are consciousness and energy.
What is energy?
Everything in the universe is energy. Einsteins famous formula E=mc2 demonstrates to us that even mass is energy. Every physical object is just in fact “frozen” energy. The universe consists of a shimmering web of energy always changing form from one kind of energy to another in a continual flux or dance. Even our thoughts are fluxes of a certain frequency of energy created from other processes of energy.
What we normally define as energy or energetic is when we experience energy changing form from one type to another but actually the energy is always there and in its potential form we often define it as mass.
What is consciousness?
In ourselves we sense consciousness as that part of us which is “aware”. This part of us is able to pull back from any sensation or thought and simply observe. Consciousness and awareness are correlated, two sides of the same coin. If we try to establish the location of consciousness as science has been trying for many years we face a barrier. Science has already shown us that we cannot isolate consciousness by cutting out a certain part of the brain. No matter how much we dissect and dissect, consciousness escapes our grasp. It seems to be everywhere and nowhere. This is the enigma of consciousness. In the west where we are materially minded we tend to think that consciousness is a “bi-result” of the physical plane. A deeply complex bi result of a lot of parallel processes in the brain each consisting of the simultaneous firing of a lot of neurons.
In the east though the view is completely different. Consciousness is “free” from energy and exists outside energy somehow. We are not the only beings limited to "having consciousness". In fact the whole universe is seeped in consciousness. What we in the west would call "God the Father". Consciousness is in fact the backdrop of the whole physical universe.
In many philosophies in the world it is a common view that it is from consciousness that the energy arises. The universe was initially consciousness and out from this consciousness springs the energy. This view is metaphorically represented in the bible by God creating Eve from a “rib” of Adam. Today in quantum physics it is an observed phenomenon that out from nothingness a particle and its antiparticle can appear. From the void (or consciousness) energy springs forth. When the particle and its antiparticle join they will cancel each other out and again become void. The universe at the quantum level seems to be made of a soup of particles appearing out of nothing and again disappearing into nothingness.
Physicists have also shown that when all energy in the universe is added up we get Zero! The whole universe is in fact nothing! This fact harmonizes very well with the eastern concept of Maya. The world is an illusion spun in the consciousness of God the father.
As we cannot find our individual consciousness by dissecting our brains we cannot find universal consciousness by dissecting the world as the western sciences have attempted to do through the ages.
Today in the areana of quantum physics, we have dissected the universe into parts that are so small that these parts are under the direct influence of our consciousness. This makes phenomena at that level very difficult to study. We have reached a threshold where we see that consciousness and energy influence each other directly.
Consciousness and energy are polar opposites but yet they dance together in a universal dance which can be seen in all levels of manifestation from the universal, to the couple relationship to our own individual beings.
The masculine pole
To understand how “consciousness” can be seen as a trait in the masculine it is useful to understand the correlation between the concepts of consciousness and freedom. Consciousness is “free” from the material world so to say. By being aware or conscious of the flow of energy, inner or outer, you do not attach yourself to that energy. If we are sitting looking at a river we will initially get distracted by the waves on the surface. The glittering sparks of light will catch our awareness and we will instinctively follow the ripples on the surface. When we have contemplated the energies long enough we will not be distracted by them in the same way and we can “detach”. We are “free” so to say from the distraction and we can gaze deeper into the river. Another example can be found in the experiencing of physical pain in a meditation. If we try to “escape” the pain it will become bigger, but if we put awareness into it, we will find that (if done properly) this awareness will in a miraculous way dissolve the pain. The awareness will break the pain into its constituent parts and consciousness will no longer see the pain as pain but as a set of different experiences. We are “free” from the pain so to say by applying awareness and analysis. Consciousness is much a like a sword which can cut a problem into smaller problems which then can be solved. (A divide and conquer approach).
Sharpened consciousness or awareness can also be likened to an eagle soaring over the physical world. The eagle has a huge overview of the whole terrain but is at the same time able to include all the details. The eagle is able to zoom in on a mouse scurrying across a mountain side and to swoop down to catch its bait in one swift move.
Also the concept of freedom can be associated to the eagle which soars up in the skies in calm majesty, unattached to the physical world. In the metaphor of the soaring eagle it is easy to equate the concepts of consciousness and freedom.
The urge for freedom is a very masculine trait. Men aspire to freedom in everything that they do, whether it is business, relationships or football. In business many men aspire to be independent, to be their own boss. In relationships once the woman has been “conquered” the man is the one that values his “freedom” and the woman will be the one who follows.
Freedom can be seen as the “breaking through to the other side”. Men are fascinated by situations in life where a problem has to be transcended, a prison wall has to be scaled, a mountain has to be climbed etc. Even football is very masculine in its essence. A “tribe” of men is pitted against another tribe of men. When one tribe pushes through the defence lines of the other tribe kicking the ball past the goalkeeper and the ball enters the goal this is an expression of freedom. The freedom is reached as the ball passes the last barrier and has “broken through to the other side”. This is enough to bring certain types of men into a state of orgasm. Anybody who has attended a football match can attest to the mass orgasm that happens among the supporters of a team when their team scores a goal.
In the state of orgasm, whether it incurred during a football game or in bed, a man reaches what you could call a state of void. In a brief moment he is “dead”, free from “life”. He forgets all the problems typical of life (Shakti): financial problems, health problems, relationship problems etc. In one brief millisecond he is completely “free”. This is why in French an orgasm is lovingly called “le petit mort” meaning “the little death”. If you ask a man whether he was thinking of the problems of the day (in other words: Shakti) while he had his orgasm he would look increduously at you.
The very nature of the masculine orgasm is this race to freedom or the void. The man will enter orgasm much quicker than women who have hardly become warm before the man has reached the peak of his arousal! For the woman it is the process that is important but for the man it is the goal because the goal is the promise of that freedom. The moment the goal is attained that spark of freedom is felt. In this moment he lets go off everything.
In the depths of his being men long for the void, a place where they are free of the energy. Men will go to great lengths to be “free from” or “above the” energy. Men have meditated in caves for years on end, sat in barrels on top of poles, abstained from sex etc. According to his level of consciousness a man will strive for his freedom in different ways. For example, a not so “evolved” man will seek his freedom by sitting in front of the television with his beer. A man with a higher level consciousness will obviously see that this is a form of escapism. A more evolved man will at least move out of the couch and go to the football game. A yet more evolved man will seek his freedom through intellectual pastimes or through the attaining of knowledge.
A spiritually developed man will strive for inner freedom through meditation and spiritual practice.
It is a very masculine trait to live a life according to a principle for a principle is eternal, a principle belongs to the world of ideas, the world of the transcendent, the world that goes beyond the ephemeral always changing “Shakti”. A principle stays a principle no matter what happens in the outer world.
In societies which emphasized polarity a lot, such as for example was the case in Japan in the time of the samurai, a man would rather sacrifice his life than suffer dishonour. The principle was more important than life itself.
You can judge a man's “manhood” by his level of inner freedom, awareness and ability to follow a high principle.
You can also judge a man's masculinity by his ability to stay centered in the face of any energy or woman that he encounters. He has the “void” so firmly implanted in his being that no woman or event in life can bring him out of this place of inner identification with the male principle. A masculine man goes for his goals filled with enthusiasm because he instinctively knows that Shakti will test him in all the ways she can but that his masculine essence if cultivated, will “break through to the other side” and he will obtain that goal.
A man penetrates the world (Shakti) with his consciousness. He is continuously aware of what goes around him at the same time always aware of his own energies.
All women who have had the opportunity to have a gifted lover can attest to this. He was 100% there so to say. If you want flowers he will pull out a rose from his jacket. He stares intensely at you seeing your every innermost need before you even see it yourself. He is in fact more aware of you than you are as the masculine man is very aware indeed.
In lovemaking he is completely aware into the act itself. He is more focused on the woman than the fulfilment of his own pleasure. He controls his energies so well that he can prolong the act and the pleasure as well. His gaze penetrates into energy and through his awareness a woman feels “polarized”, meaning she can allow himself to fall into her feminine pole. The masculine pole is taken care of by the man as it should because this is where it belongs.
A man who has a high level of consciousness can send women into states of orgasm just by being near her, because women can feel the level of his awareness. If you are a man reading this you can make the experiment of focusing your attention on a woman physically nearby, tracing her moves in the corner of his eye, intuitively feeling the rate of her breath and correlating the rhythm of his breath to this, intuitively feeling what she is thinking and correlating your thoughts to this. You will be surprised to notice that the woman will open to you and approach you or send you sweet smiles.
The feminine pole
In nature energy is continuously changing from one form to another. Heat becomes cold, water turns to steam and then again to water, Stella fogs condense and become stars etc. Nature is in a continual state of transformation. The feminine is continuously changing her form.
All men know how women change their moods in a continuous flux. One moment expressing anger, another moment expressing sadness and in the next moment expressing joy. Men who naturally tend towards continuity and the state of void can often be very overwhelmed by these shifts of energy in the woman. It seems to them irrational and illogical, but an experienced man will learn to listen to women like he listens to nature itself.
We bring here the famous quote from David Deidas “The superior man” as it very eloquently catches this idea:
“When you listen to your woman, listen to her as you would the ocean, or the wind in the leaves. The sounds you hear from her are sounds of the motion of her feeling energy. Of course, there are times when she speaks in the masculine style of meaning exactly what she says, but more often, and almost always in emotional moments, what she says is the sound of her feelings. Her feminine speech is far more like poetry than like a clear cut agenda for action. In an emotional moment, what she says she is going to do is actually an expression of what she feels like doing in the moment. Her feelings, and therefore what she is actually going to do, could change in five minutes. It could change every five minutes”
Like a man has to cultivate awareness as this is central in his being a woman has to learn to abandon to the energies as this is the basis of her structure. By abandoning we mean a deep surrendering. To accept and embrace all energies as they are, to accept the universe as it is, to accept her life as it is and to let herself be guided through a deep trust. In nature though things are constantly transforming we can sense the presence of a master plan behind it all. Otherwise the wonderfully complex structures we see in the creation would not be there, but everything would be completely chaotic. Do you think that nature opposes this master plan? No, it follows lovingly, enfolding itself to this grandiose vision which is the vision of the masculine aspect of the universe.
Where Shiva creates a concept, a frame, Shakti will fill it up playing close attention to all the details. The masculine comes with the idea and the woman will carry the idea through till its perfection. If a man is the river bed the woman is the river filling out all the nooks and crannies . If the man builds the house the woman makes sure all the spaces are beautifully decorated and include the correct furniture. The masculine will present the direction or mission statement and the feminine will provide the energy necessary to fulfil the mission.
We are not stating that a woman does not have anything to say in the decision making of the man. As her nature is energy a wise woman aids in the decision process of the man by presenting him with the correct “choices of energy”.
In the world of quantum physics the universe consists of an endless spectrum of choices, and it is only when consciousness “shines its light” on creation that one of the potential choices crystallizes into the reality that is then perceived by the consciousness. The man sees the content of the room depending on the nature of his light.
Before awareness is cast on a wave of light it remains a wave, “a potentiality”. The moment awareness is cast on the wave of light it becomes a particle, a certainty, an object with a certain position in time and space. Depending on the consciousness of the observer the universe moulds itself completely to the presets of this consciousness.
We choose to believe that there “is a spoon” because our consciousness believes very deeply that the spoon exists, and the universal Shakti responds immediately: “You choose to see spoon, ergo I present spoon to you”. As we grow in our spiritual development we learn that the “spoon” is a fabrication of our consciousness and we learn to bend it with our consciousness.
At the level where we are, we do not realize that there are other choices available to us than believing in the existence of the spoon.
The higher the consciousness, the bigger the spectrum of choices available to us in any given situation. The higher the eagle soars the more potentiality it can grasp in its vision, before zooming down into one detail (or choice).
Testing the man
It is in the deepest nature of woman to “test” men. For men it may seem a test but for woman this is a natural way of being. A woman feels to manifest her energy, to abandon to it completely. If she follows her nature but the man cannot stand in the face of her stream of energy she feels lost and dissatisfied at a deep level as she does not allow her full power to unfold. If a woman shouts at her husband and he shouts back as emotional as she does they will both sink to the bottom of the ocean of chaos. If instead he remains calm and aware and can see through the anger to what was the initial frustration or energy that started the whole tirade he has thereby cast his awareness on that situation and “polarized” the woman. Any gifted psychologist “polarizes” his client finding the essence of the problem (energetic blockage) and thereby releasing the energy that was blocked. A woman wants the man to “stay above the surface”. The man must stay in his boat so to say, and not get pulled into the water.
Men must understand that in front of this ocean of energy he is but a boat. He cannot fight the ocean but he can speak with the ocean, he can navigate the ocean and send his love to the ocean. If his heart is pure, his will strong and his vision clear the ocean will help him navigate across her, sending him the correct winds and currents.
These mechanisms can be translated to all kinds of examples we can see in the daily relations between men and woman but this is out of the scope of the current article. For the beginner I warmly recommend the book "The superior man" by David Deida. For more advanced though, this book is not enough and a serious study of Tantra should be applied.
Many men who have not studied polarity or intuitively understood these mechanisms feel anger towards the feminine. For them the feminine is irrational, illogical, disturbing and overwhelming. They want to run away from the challenges and problems of life. The superior man understands that behind any test in life lies a deep meaning and a deep love. By challenging Shiva, Shakti allows him to grow until he flies as the eagle.
By successfully passing the test, the consciousness of the man grows and he will be placed before new and bigger tests.
When Eve asks Adam to eat the Apple, Adam should have taken it, cut of the bad parts and given it back to her. This would have been a wise man who understood that women want the discernment and generosity of men. Instead Adam follows his own ego and eats the apple. In this way starts the separation from the essence and Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden.
The state of Androgyny
As we grow in our spiritual development we approach what in tantra is called the state of androgyny. Androgyny in this context does not mean a wiping out of the poles, but the strengthening of each of the poles within us so that the masculine pole is strong and the feminine pole is strong. A spiritual developed person is often more masculine than most men and more feminine than most women.
When there is a strong polarity within us we have access to endless amounts of energy and inspiration exactly like in a fresh battery where there is a big “polarity” between the plus and minus.
A person with a high level of inner polarization, meaning a person with a strong masculine pole and a strong feminine pole, is a person who works efficiently. That persons masculine part will provide a very coherent framework for the solving of the problems of the day and for the attainment of the goal, and the feminine part will fill out all the details in the framework coming with the right inspirations at the right times.
A person who understands polarity will give his/her subconscious mind a clear and firm request (masculine) and knows that the subconscious mind (which is feminine in its nature) will come up with an answer. This is why it is good to state a problem that you want to solve before sleeping as you will put your feminine part to work out the solution while you sleep. You will often wake up with the idea of how to proceed.
The list of examples like this is long but we hope you have understood the fundamental principle.
By understanding and applying the principles of polarity in our life we start using the energies around us in the correct and efficient way. We gain a deepened sense of awe of the universe and the fascinating game between the masculine and feminine.
In the time to come we will present more in depth articles about polarity here at Natha.net as this article just scratches the surface.