“Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. And between the two my life flows.”
― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Spiritual seekers of the non-dualist persuasion, whether they like it, already know that when it comes to spiritual practice, gender binaries are whack attack. Yes, labels help us navigate the sea of psychosis that is socialization. But, when you get right down to it, State-sanctioned gender identities (and other culturally-defined social distinctions) really have no baring on a person’s ability to achieve “realization”*.
Apparently, Facebook agrees! Now, when you choose a gender preference on Facebook, you can actually choose a “preference.” Check out these new options in the gender drop-down menu:
From the wonderful Geekosystem:
“Facebook [is] supplying a ‘custom’ gender option that allows you to fill in one of 50 different labels, from trans to cis and everything in between…. So, if you prefer ‘gender fluid’ and your friend prefers ‘gender nonconforming,’ you’ll both be able to use your own label, because they’re totally both in there.”
Thank you, Facebook, for finding time to be both lame and awesome. Not that I’m into binaries or anything.
* It should be noted, however, that having access to spiritual practices can be very much determined by social labels and their associated stigmas. This is why I am of the belief that asking people who have been identified as “other” their entire life (i.e. people of color, transgender people, little people, women) to “leave all those labels behind and get over it,” is a pretty douchey position to take.
Found this blog via Simply Aghorable via Babarazzi. Diggin your writing!
This topic, the intersect of spiritual practice as a letting go of egoness, and the reclaiming of identity on a “material world” level has been something I’ve been trying to wrap my head around for a little while. I appreciate blogs like this because I feel like it is one of the few worlds where these kind of conversations can happen and there is an understanding of the importance of both of these ideals and the realities we face when trying to walk between the two….and just because *maybe* I can get some damn answers!
I can’t say I can claim to be of any particular community that faces real oppression on the daily, just your run of the mill straight white dude who grew up middle class. But I’ve done my best to always ally myself with these communities by being supportive, continuing to listen, speak up when I see an “ism” happening, and to re-examine my own inner patterning of privilege.
Its weird with this yoga stuff….I can see and have experienced the freedom of learning to let go of attachment, wants, identity, and what i think i know about this crazy life we all inhabit for some damn reason or another. I can also see how the reclaiming of identity for someone who faces real oppression or has been in one way or another excluded from feeling valued or equal to everyone else is empowering and necessary. How reclaiming of language and the celebration of culture or just being who you are is something that gets you lost or repressed if you fall on the lower ends of the social/economic/identity shuffle.
Can these worlds come together? I suppose in some sense its the classic question, can the very real political reality of life and the yogic ideal of identification with Truth larger than our individual self co-exist? Can my Anarcho-syndicalist collective reach Samadhi by consensus!?!?!?
Hello, jorge! Lovely to see you again since The Babs/Simply A days! Welcome to the new home.
Great question! First, I really hope your anarch-syn collective reaches samadhi! Just make sure everyone is in agreement on the “yellow let it mellow” policy in the bathroom. And, yes. Corn flakes are racist. (No they’re not. Or, are they???)
Second, I’m finding myself lately feeling less and less like all aspects of the public-social and private-practice need to “come together” as you mentioned at all times. What if things come together when they do and separate when they do? In a way the question of identity (gender/race/etc.) and its relevance to spiritual practice can itself act a lot like an anarchist collective: coming together when it’s right, disbanding when it seems to be getting in the way of itself. A choice to be made be the practitioners themselves, no?
Oh goody, some more Babarazzians are around these parts. You never know with all the skeleton costumes and masquerade masks who is Cobra Kai and who is Miyagi dojo at these parties.
Hmmm…interesting. I think I essentially agree straight up in how I try and engage with people in real life, but the devil always wants the last word, huh? The reason I accept identity as a means of empowerment is two fold. One being that it is a very privileged position to be in on one hand to be able to reject the idea of identity and also ignores the very real ways in which hierarchical societal structures shit on the non-privileged groups. Duh. The second reason is…..I do my best not to be a Douchenstein when I can help it.
Putting aside the generally privileged yoga culture where non-engagement and non-attachment really means ignoring anything that might cause one to think more deeply about inequality in our everyday life and instead just calling it the ego world and karma that is out of our hands (unless its something else we can buy!!!). We can also find legit yogis and spiritual teachers of all stripes telling us the same thing. That the identities and costumes we put on and the stories we believe about ourselves are false. Just clever games the ego is playing to fortify its own existence. I’m sure you’ve also experienced seeing the silliness of some of these layers even just over the course of time as you have grown older, which to me also points to this truth. I swear to god I thought I knew some shit about some shit when I was 20 going on anarchist revolutionary/visionary musician/fascinating story teller/pretty sweet person/etc. I’m clearly not a Sadhu living in a cave yet, so the answer is probably….. chill the f out a bit. But if practicing yoga or whatever means you use to seek out truth is saying this, can we just ignore it when it suits us? Well yes, but……
So re-reading your post, maybe it comes full circle back to what you basically said:
Think or over think your own shit all you want, but definitely don’t let that shit get in the way of your interactions with everyone around you. If you need to be a douchenstein, do it on your own time.