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How do you look at yesterday and then want to see tomorrow without feeling some degree of regret, some sense of loss? I do not intend to tell you how you should feel if you were to look closely at your own past, that is too personal. Nevertheless, we measure truth in glimpses that we see or remember, in recurring thoughts and the longings they produce, and a desire to uncover a little bit more of her for ourselves. It’s an honest endeavor. My own reflections and musings are nothing more than that. I don’t mean to challenge your very reason for being, but maybe just to share with you some of the courage I have found to look deeply at everything. Isn’t it within our grasp to do so?

I begin by wondering if I am able to put into words what is still a longing for me and, as such, a lost dream. Is that lost dream the search for beauty in life or even the search for the feminine seemingly missing? In Plato’s Symposium, Socrates quotes his teacher, Diotima, on the subject of love. She says that beauty is the object of every love’s yearning. And that the soul’s journey is towards an ever-purer form of beauty transcending all laws and conveniences and finally arriving at beauty itself. So if I am in search of beauty or my idea of the feminine, maybe I am just looking for the true essence of love. And love should be present in my life. That is what I was brought up to believe.

Yet it is easy to forget our real motives in how we look at life and at what we want from it. Isn’t it obvious that what we want is the image of beauty that we hold in our minds; since in today’s society, seduction is everywhere and we run after it like a flying thought that we must catch and bring to us. We are consumed by trends finding ourselves on a hamster-like wheel where it is impossible to get off, and all desire translates into the “buying” impulse. But you wonder, is it to fill an emptiness inside of us that is impossible to satisfy, at least in that way? True beauty, that which lies within and yet radiates outward like a ray of light, seems to be sadly missing in our society today. How do you transmit inner, intimate, ideas and values in a world that lives solely for the present?

There can be no doubt that woman represents beauty. Everything about her attracts us to a moment of respite, of relaxation and meaning in a world that can and often does seem callous and hard. Most of the time, she is everything that man is not. She is caring, attentive and giving by nature. By nature, she is the mother and whether she has children of her own or not, that essence never leaves her. She is the creator of harmony and we say that because man is in search of it and probably hasn’t found it yet.

To look for the lost feminine is at the same time to try and find where the masculine identity is today, since it is obvious that man at times seems to flounder about and not be able to find a direction for himself. There is little searching into the deeper truths of his being, that is often left to the woman in his life. There seems to be a lack of true leadership abilities since we really haven’t changed that much from the legacy handed down from our fathers. If we were taking what was handed down as a base, but intent on moving on, we would change many of our thought structures and be concerned about the well-being of women in general, our children and the planet just to mention a few of the “real consciousness” issues that are facing us. In a world still led by oligarchs, dictators and members of the non-liberal, far-right spectrum of politics; it is not hard to be confused as to an honest role for the male species. What can “liberal” mean except openness to consider other points of view and to think about the safety of all living beings and the preservation of the planet in general. Yet we refuse to go there. Half of the population or more thinks it more important to worry only about themselves regardless of the cost and damage that attitude inherently causes on all of us.

When I think of feminine qualities, I inevitably think about what I need to cultivate within me. Am I not looking for a more kind and gentle perspective of the world; a more inclusive view that allows me to live in harmony with my surroundings? Is it not the search for beauty in life that gives meaning and allows me to surmount the mundaneness of my life? Like Jason Silva talks about in his video “How beauty can heal us,” see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2W6wJniitTU.

Beauty arrests because it points to something beyond the everyday, because it hints at the realm of the sacred. Beauty arrests because it awakens the religious impulse in us.

Beauty then talks about all that my soul or I long for. We see it everywhere: in the natural world and in art; we behold it in the words of the poet and witness it in a movie or a song that moves us to tears; and we see it in one another. The differences between us, on both a physical and existential level, should reflect the soul’s longing. Why then take that away from mine or yours experience?

Life should be lived to the point of tears.

Albert Camus

Beauty cracks us open and it is through our cracks that light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

This discourse on beauty or the feminine is my way to reconcile myself with the past. It has taken me this long here in writing this and in my life to address the aching or lonely nights of the soul. I wonder why in a spiritual path that talked gently to my heart, we had to move from a liberal and open view of life to a strict conservative and narrow interpretation. In many respects, women lost out. They had to cover their hair with turbans and be like men. They couldn’t find or express their own concept of beauty because they had to follow religious ones. Everywhere, and even today, extreme religious groups grow out of a doctrine of what to wear, what to think and what to believe in. It was no different for us. Women must have been confused and I think that if you ask the men from that time, they would say they were too. To look at a woman and want something more out of the relationship was to have to marry her, and most of the time it didn’t work out for her or her husband.

We have looked at the difference in sexes as a problem of gender inequality. The society kept us all in well-defined roles. In the last 50 years or more, we have seen a revolution with women everywhere stepping out of the shadows and reclaiming the light for themselves. We have moved to a societal understanding where women are rightfully the owners of their own bodies. To subject anyone for whatever reason and especially women to exploitation because they are women is unjust and probably criminal. To value them as equals for the contribution they make to our lives is paramount now, and as it should be. We have come out of the dark ages. Yet at what cost.

We are all absorbed with our fears. Our fear of not being accepted, appreciated and valued. We fight for the recognition we feel might be missing. The idea of seduction is present everywhere but it seems different from times gone past. We are afraid of employing natural charms because they may not be accepted and might lead to uncomfortable situations. In today’s society all of us are forced to change habit patterns in order to protect sensibilities. We live in politically correct times but have perhaps undermined self-worth and confidence in oneself.

If there is true self-worth, which must be an investigation into the deepest recesses of our being, and says: “I am who I am, and I will live my life as a woman or I will live my life as a man.” I will define for myself those boundaries and frontiers so that I am contained therein and can see myself for who I am; but I will not forget who you are either.

We move from the mundane to the spiritual, from attraction to inner understanding. But I live in the world, so let my understanding of the feminine and beauty be met. Let it be a part of me. Why try to erase it from life? We all have to move to the deeper meanings of life and certainly beauty is one of them – it should change my very being and infuse it with energy, joy, light and purpose. To not have it in my life is to deny myself the right towards beauty or the ideal of the feminine and that is too painful to bear.

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?

Khalil Gibran

So, I keep searching and stay on my path and know that the heart’s desire will be answered. If it is pure, how can it not be? For my search for beauty and to have the feminine in my life is only my longing to have something so much more than that, that of true love. It is a quest where the soul finds its home and where life ceases to be something you wonder about but rather the act of living it.

7 Comments

    • Hargobind Singh

      Sat Nam Satya! Thanks for reading me and feeling what I was trying to say. See you soon!

      Reply
  1. Rosalie

    Fears, mainstream, social cliches, gender norms, religion, bureaucracy, all of this Undermines what makes us so special and unique and restrict us from speaking with our heart. I really like your sentence saying that “We live in politically correct times but have perhaps undermined self-worth and confidence in oneself.” I hope people can realise how unique they are and how the world would benefit from them being more open to each other. Each individual has this inner beauty and it is such a bliss to meet those who are able to share it with the world, with love and compassion.

    Reply
    • Hargobind Singh

      Rosalie, I really agree with you. Thanks for sharing. There is something about being yourself, just yourself, and sharing what is inside of you. We’re just trying to find what it is. This text of mine is about what I need, which I think is obvious, beauty, kindness, love in ones life. Nothing more. It’s an ideal given the society in which we live but maybe we can get to this place together.

      Reply
  2. Daria

    Sat nam Hargobind,
    This is a beautiful text and I thank you for sharing these very personal and profound thoughts with us. I agree with you on many points. In today’s world, we all have to be politically correct and to behave as the society expects us to behave and sometimes it makes us forget who we truly are. The true beauty is very often mistaken for appearances and, as you say, we all have to move to the deeper meanings of life .
    But then why do you regret that some women wear turbans? If they decide to do so for personal or religious reasons, I don’t think that it hides their beauty. Do you think that Snatam Kaur is less beautiful and her voice less full of love because she wears a turban? I think that the real freedom of a woman is to dress as she thinks it suits her at that particular moment. Of course, not because religion or her husband forces her but also not because fashion and marketing or the society thinks she should.
    And perhaps real beauty is to be found in ourselves before finding it in others.
    “The appearance of things changes according to the emotions; and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.”
    ― Kahlil Gibran

    Reply
    • Hargobind Singh

      Dear Daria, thank you so much for your thoughts and your heart therein. It’s complicated. Talking about the turban was just a symbol and at the risk of not explaining everything, and really not wanting to (and of course only from my perspective), I didn’t develop the idea enough. I have always thought that the turban on a man or woman added to the natural beauty of the person, yet, growing up with Yogi Bhajan and the Sikh religion, it was pretty much forced upon you if you wanted to be his student. That was okay at the time, we didn’t think anything about it except to feel special and apart from everyone else. After his death, many have looked at wearing or not wearing the turban again and I think it is more of, “I will wear it if I feel it.” The message of wearing a turban for teaching is still very much at the forefront with most schools associated with KRI. At Imagine Academy, we are just trying to offer an alternative. But, again, the idea of the turban was a symbol for something more. I would be happy to talk with you more about it when I come.

      Reply
      • Daria

        Dear Hargobind,
        I really like the idea of ‘I will wear it if I feel it’ for anything, not just the turban 😉
        Thank you for sharing your experiences and your thoughts and being so honest about your feelings. I really appreciate it and I better understand now what you meant. If I chose this school is primarily because of your open mind.
        Looking forward to seeing you soon.

        Reply

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