Who am I Without the Other?

on being a woman

excerpts from an interview with Ma Anand Dwari

hen I first came to Osho I began to ask myself: what does it mean to be a woman? This question was not just intellectual; it was about how I had been living my own life. When I looked at how I and most women related to men, I saw that it had nothing to do with real womanhood or real female energy. I saw how our conditioning creates so much conflict in our relationships.

In an early discourse I heard Osho say: I’m not interested in your personality; I’m interested in showing you how to bring the totality of your energy into this moment. That encouraged me to step out of all the concepts I had about being a woman, so I could find out what was really going on.

I began to ask myself: who am I without the other? Who am I in my own energy, in my own life juice? What is my own sense of myself in my body, in my creativity, in my needs, in my values?

In my first two years with Osho I wasn’t in a relationship; I just took energy inside. That invitation to be alone was what I got from Osho; and not only the invitation – but the courage.

I started looking at my former life – realizing how much of what I had done came from blindness or unconsciousness, from not knowing who I was energetically or how to move with my energy. I saw how disconnected and chaotic my energy had been. Through doing the meditations and coming back into myself I started feeling the amount of energy that I actually had. I realized that I could choose what to do with it and that I didn’t need to cut it back or sacrifice it or adjust it to be loved or to be in a relationship.

That self-recognition changed so much for me, that realization of: wow! I’m here! I began to relate to others from a totally different space inside. In fact I began to realize that it was only from that space that I could actually see what I was doing in my relating with others.

I saw that I had been conditioned by my mother to sacrifice my own needs for the needs of a man. My mother was an utterly sacrificing kind of woman – giving up her own life and creative impulses in order to marry and have a family and create security, a natural decision for a woman of her generation. The marriage deal between men and women was simple: security for sex and sex for security. In that kind of relationship love becomes a business and has nothing to do with opening or expansion or the magic of two different worlds meeting and merging and beginning to understand each other.

Sensing her frustration, somehow I decided not to be like my mother. I began to see how much I distrusted men and how afraid I was of being really vulnerable. In my approach towards men I was there – but in terms of a challenge. And only when they took up the challenge was I able to relax and move into a more vulnerable space. Instead of dealing with my fear I went into an unconscious aloofness. I had decided to be strong instead of being integrated in my female strength and my vulnerability.

When I began to relax slowly out of fighting against men, I started touching an energy in my body. For me female energy is very connected with the body, with the sense of feeling the body and experiencing the world through the body. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think or am not intellectual. But if I really move into a sense of authenticity with what I perceive, it comes through feeling for me. I began to feel for me as a woman that the essential energy was to be receptive, sensitive and vulnerable – not in a weak sense but strongly rooted in that sensitivity.

Over the years in my work as a groupleader and therapist I have seen how both women and men have lost contact with their essential energies. In the work I do with tantric energy, with de-conditioning, with the male-female connection, I began to realize that the root energetic cut-off in both sexes is almost always sexuality and the flow of sex energy into feeling and love. And strangely enough I saw that men are more cut off than women. They are more focused on sex but less connected with their feelings.

The reason for that is obvious. A man is born through a woman who has all the power over the child. So here the power game already starts. Many mothers in our society are deeply frustrated in their relationships with their partners. So they put all their energy into the child. And especially with the male child that bonding is very strong. In using the male child to satisfy their own emotional needs, many mothers start the process of castrating the child’s life energy.

For the little boy the mother is the world. Often the father isn’t present so the boy doesn’t have a positive identification with male energy. He stays very hooked up with the female who sucks him in for her own needs, and he doesn’t get any support to cut that bond in a healthy way. In our culture we don’t have any rituals for the separation between mother and child – especially between mother and son.

In my experience the healing can only start when we as women look at how we basically learned from our mothers how to castrate men, how to manipulate them into being weak and serving our needs. We need to realize that actually that’s not what we want. We need to step out of our own bonding with our mothers and say: hey, I’m a woman but I don’t have to play the same game as you. I want to open up and let a man be a man.

But this takes a separation from the past. It takes stopping the fight. It takes moving through the unconscious dependency movie. It takes finding your own roots in yourself.

Underneath, most women are incredibly insecure about being a woman. We’re insecure about our bodies; we’re insecure about our own energy; we’re insecure about our feelings; we’re insecure about our values.

In my view the only healing comes through meditation. Meditation means moving inside, moving into your centre. And without that I don’t think any real healthy relating can happen on any level. The energy can’t flow until you really come back to yourself, until you come back into that space of a healthy aloneness beyond all the conditioning, where you are fine if you’re with somebody or if you are alone.

Even in relationship we need to learn to be alone and to let the other be alone – and this is more difficult for women. I have seen this in my own journey. I am in a place now where I am much more honest with myself about my needs and the needs of the other, seeing where they can merge and where they can’t. I am much more courageous in allowing the spaces where they don’t merge. The fear of losing the other is still there, but it’s not so devastating anymore. In giving myself more space I find a huge space opening with the other too.

And in opening up to myself I more and more realize: wow! This is what I need and this is what I want to share. In order to love I do not need to control anymore. But I can tell you that it is very scary at times. I can watch my tendency to manipulate and I often find myself pulling that energy back and letting the situation be what it is. So relating has become more scary, more exciting, more nourishing and more rich.

I remember hearing Osho say that when we surrender in love we have the idea that we surrender to the other, but that actually we surrender to our own energy. It took me a long time to understand and to really experience that. For me the fight in love came from my fear of having to surrender to the other.

The more I get authentic and honest with myself, the more I experience myself trusting the love itself and surrendering to it. My fear of surrendering to the other was actually my fear of surrendering to myself.

Relationship is very important, but it is not number one for me anymore. Number one is my own search, my own inner journey, the exploration of whatever happens inside of me, in my meditation or my work or my relating to others. My life is more than just relationship and I would not be in this place without Osho and meditation.

For me the journey with Osho has been an incredible healing. I don’t mean just healing in a therapeutic sense – not at all. Therapy is needed but still it functions in the dimension of the mind and the one thing that limits you is your mind. Energy is limitless and meditation opens into it.

I’ve gotten to this place by letting Osho in as deeply as I have – and by still letting him in. This healing is on the being level: sitting with him and diving into that presence inside, that silence, that vastness of acceptance, that vastness of understanding, that vastness of exploring life as it is.

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