The Bingo Theory: A revolutionary guide to love, life, and relationships - Mimi Ikonn (2016)
Part I. Evaluating Your Masculine and Feminine Energy
"If any human being is to reach full maturity, both the masculine and feminine sides of the personality must be brought up into consciousness."
- M. ESTHER HARDING
Chapter 1. THE HISTORY OF MASCULINE AND FEMININE ENERGY
AT THE BEGINNING of time there was only chaos. This chaos had no form but it was contained within an egg, just waiting to become something. Then one day it happened—the egg broke in two. The lighter part rose to the top to become the sky and heaven, while the heavier part sank to become the earth and the sea.
According to the Chinese creation myth, the sky was named “Yang”, and represented all the masculine energy in the world. It was dry, warm and powerful.
The earth, with its moist, cooling, nourishing waters, was named “Yin” and represented all the feminine energy in the world.
Together they were a harmonious whole. Masculine and feminine, Yin and Yang. Neither was more important than the other: they were two sides of the same coin. One could not exist without the other.
If you look at the Yin and Yang symbol, each side contains a small part of the other. Within the light, Yang, masculine side is a dot of Yin, and within the dark, feminine, Yin side is a dot of Yang. We are both. The idea that we have both masculine and feminine energies within us has existed throughout history.
The ancient Mayans divided the world into masculine and feminine energies. For the Mayans, the feminine energy was the energy of caring, sharing and nurturing, as well as respect for nature, animals, plants, and all material and non-material aspects of the universe. The masculine energy, on the other hand, was the energy concerned with the material aspects of life such as striving, achieving, building and competing.
In the yoga traditions, the masculine energy—the sun—is called Shiva, and is the form or linear structure of the Universe. The feminine energy—the moon—is called Shakti and is the movement or circular force of the Universe.
Buddhists believe the right side of our brain is feminine and the left is masculine. The left hemisphere of the brain is our rational side—responsible for language, logic, math and facts. The right hemisphere is our intuitive, big-picture side. It’s where our creative process starts.
Eastern philosophy believes that our quest in life is to balance both of these parts of us—the masculine and feminine, the Yin and Yang, the Sun and the Moon, Shiva and Shakti. Only then do we experience pure peace and harmony, power and love.
Carl Jung and Western Thought
The idea of masculine and feminine isn’t just a spiritual concept.
In the West, the psychiatrist Carl Jung explained that men have a feminine side (which he called the ‘anima’) and women have a masculine side (the ‘animus’). He taught that our journey in life involves coming to terms with both of these sides of ourselves.
He believed men are the physical embodiment of the masculine, yet they have the feminine energy within them. Likewise, women are the physical embodiment of the feminine, yet they have the masculine energy within them.
According to Jung, in order for a person to become whole – a process he called ‘individuation’ – a person must encounter and embrace both their masculine and feminine energies.
It's Biology, Baby
You can also see this concept in biology. We all come from a sperm and an egg. At the very beginning we have both masculine and feminine energy within us.
For years it was believed that men and women’s brains are wired differently – the ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ idea – but now a growing body of research shows that neurologically we are all a mixture of both masculine and feminine traits.
Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, a psychologist at Cambridge University, believes that we are all on a spectrum between Empathizers or Systemizers.
Systemizers are people who enjoy breaking down and analyzing systems, focusing closely on one task – what I would describe as a very masculine energy. Empathizers, on the other hand, are great at empathizing with others and communicating well—which is in line with what I call the feminine energy.
According to Baron-Cohen’s research, 44 percent of women have empathizing brains, 17 percent of women have systemizing brains and 35 percent of women have brains that are roughly balanced between the two poles.
So far as men are concerned, Baron-Cohen found that 53 percent of men have systemizing brains, 17 percent have empathizing brains, and 24 percent are roughly balanced. The remaining 6 percent have an extreme male brain -- and these men, he believes, exhibit behavior that has been labeled as autistic.
Apparently, these differences are created in the womb according to how much testosterone you are exposed to as a fetus. Lots of testosterone in your mother’s womb causes your brain to develop a Systemizing approach to life. Less testosterone in the womb leads to an Empathizing approach.
Some scientists believe that there may be an evolutionary explanation for the masculine and feminine differences.
In pre-historic society, men were hunters. Hunting requires the ability to select a target and zero in on the kill without distraction. Testosterone programs the brain for this kind of tunnel vision and focus.
On the other hand, women were the gatherers. They not only looked after the children and foraged for food but they also had to be alert to the possibilities of predators in the village. These jobs require a broader vision and the ability to communicate with other people, to sense their emotions.
A Unique Mosaic
A new way of thinking suggests that hormonal differences play a very small part in why we are the way we are.
The latest research, conducted by Daphna Joel, a professor of neuroscience at Tel Aviv University, has found that we are all a mosaic of masculine and feminine features.
Joel analyzed the brain scans of more than 1400 men and women and failed to find consistent differences between the sexes. Instead she found that we are all a unique mixture of male and female features. Her study discovered that between zero and eight percent of people had all male or all female brains. The vast majority of people were somewhere in the middle, showing that gender isn’t binary – we are all a blend.
The current thinking is that men and women are more alike neurologically than they are different – it’s mostly conditioning that makes us behave differently. From the moment we are born we pick up messages from our family and from society at large about how we should behave.
Psychologists believe that babies can detect whether they are boys or girls—and have also learned how to behave accordingly—by the time they are 10 months old.
Studies have shown that parents view and treat babies entirely differently depending on whether they are a boy or a girl. When a boy cries he is described as angry, whereas when a girl cries she is scared. Baby boys get spoken to and hugged much less than baby girls – isn’t that sad? This then affects how they act in the world. They learn early on that they are on their own.
According to recent studies, Biology does play a part, but our brain constantly changes based on the environment we are in, a feature called neuroplasticity. Because of this, we adapt and behave according to how we think we should behave.
Traditionally boys are encouraged to express more masculine energy, and this reinforces a sense of masculinity. We see this when boys kick and push on the playground. This might come naturally—or it might not.
As a result of societal pressures, a sensitive boy who is raised in a house where it is believed that men have to be strong, unemotional and aggressive, might go on to copy this masculine approach. The alternative for such a boy is to get laughed at for wanting to play with girls or wanting to do activities that are considered feminine.
Similarly, most families and cultures encourage girls to express more of the feminine energy. They are taught to be gentle and caring with each other, to talk and to listen.
As a result of such pressures, a girl who loves to run around and play rough with the boys might understand early on that this is not what she should be doing. Instead she should be playing with dolls and talking to other girls.
Furthermore, as children grow up their parent’s dominant energy continues to influence them.
For example, you might have a stronger feminine energy but if you were raised by a Masculine Strength Parent who was hugely ambitious career-wise and wanted you to follow the same path, there is a good chance you will go on to adopt that masculine energy, particularly at work.
The family, culture, religion and society we’re raised in greatly influences which energy we express more of, as well as when and how we express that energy.
So which energy have you learned to express more of? Which is your dominant – or strength energy?
Take our tests to find out…