Duality and Sacred Union

by Alan McAllister, CCHt PhD-phys published in Shakti Yogi Journal

Winter path

A Jumping Spark is Birthed

A photon birthed in a star in the early universe, ten billion years ago, radiates outward into expanding space. Crossing all the time and space we know of, it reaches Earth and the Hubble telescope yesterday or today. Light is stable and coherent, traveling unchanged, until it encounters an atom or molecule.

Physical light is made of electro-magnetic waves, quantized as photons. It is a single phenomenon, made up of two aspects. You may think I mean the particle/wave duality, and you are right. Light sometimes behaves as both waves and particles simultaneously.

But I want to talk about the electro-magnetic duality. There are electric fields in the universe, generated by electrical charges and extending outward with diminished affect but unlimited extent. Shuffling your socks across a carpet in winter you create a static electric charge. This charge generates a field, which can connect to other conducting objects; a metal door nob, a friend, or your cat.

When a spark jumps from your hand to that nearby object, something happens besides the ‘ouch’ you may feel as the current moves through your skin. There is visible light emitted. The moving electric charge has created its partner: the magnetic field. It does this whenever it moves. The lightening of a summer storm is a similar process on a much larger scale.

There are stationary magnetic fields as well. A bar magnet creates a simple magnetic field, as does the spinning core molten metal of our planet Earth. When the magnet moves, it also creates an electric field. Move a magnet near the wires that lead to a light bulb and the bulb lights up, at least faintly. This brings us back to why there is a visible spark when you touch your cat after charging yourself on the carpet. Light is an electro-magnetic field in play. Each type of field generates the other, back and forth. Light cannot be separated into two separate fields and still be light.

Potential Arises for Creation

In the layers of consciousness that are Brahma, that source from which we and all the rest of the manifest universe emerge, there are dual aspects: Shiva and Shakti [1]. Shiva is the witness, and Shakti takes the action of creation. They are paired like the electric and magnetic fields, two aspects of one larger entity. Shakti and Shiva dance together creating levels of denser and denser consciousness, energy, and finally matter.

In this manifest universe there are various forms of duality. Many of them, like hot and cold are only experienced relative to each other. Whatever has more thermal energy (box) than something else will be warm or hot while the other is cool or cold.

As human beings, our gender is perhaps the most obvious duality in our daily experience. We generalize this to Feminine and Masculine throughout our cosmologies. In this way, Shiva is said to be masculine and Shakti feminine, although Shakti-Shiva being two aspects of an inseparable Unity, they are beyond gender.

Similarly traditions often talk of Spirit and Matter as having gender. While there may be Spirit without Matter, there is never Matter without Spirit. A masculine Spirit does not do something to a feminine Matter to bring it to life. Substance and form arise together out of the same level of unmanifest.

The Spiritual levels of the world – Brahma, the Tao, Consciousness or Spirit – are unitary like light. When an idea forms inside Consciousness, a quantum potential arises which then can physically manifest as energy or matter. This materialized level is where polarity forms structures, atoms, molecules, crystals, plasmas. Form is given to consciousness. Differences in charge, in temperature, and other types of energy, cause motion, flows, orbits. The universe dances. Yet there is a unity even in material polarity. All these forms are comprised of energy, even a rock.

Cascading Consciousness

Unlike the Indians and the Chinese, the Greeks postulated independent Ideals which could be separated. The belief in absolutes, the division of unity into separable dualities had especially unfortunate consequences when applied to Spirit. In the early Christian centuries, Spirit came to be seen as opposed to Matter. Rather than co-creating the world, and ourselves, Spirit and Matter were placed in opposition and conflict. To attain salvation (Spirit) one had to overcome the physical (Matter). That Spirit is alive in Matter was forgotten or denied.

In believing that Divinity lay in “heaven” (ie. elsewhere), the early Christians who became the Fathers of the institutionalized Church, associated the feminine with Matter and Nature, including their own bodies, and the masculine with Spirit and Heaven.

This overarching judgment led to the suppression and oppression of the feminine in general [2]. The consequences of this belief have cascaded detrimentally through two thousand years of history, impacting women, nature, men, and the whole of our culture [3].

Have you ever had a really great massage where you can feel both firmness and gentleness in the touch? It takes strength to massage in that way, not applied strength, but potential strength that holds the softness. Is this masculine or feminine? Perhaps it is both: attention and strength, awareness and action. The physical world, like Spirit, is always a combination of both.

We partake of and have potentially within us all the attributes, qualities and potentials of both feminine and masculine. Focusing on being exclusively either masculine or feminine, we necessarily loose something of ourselves; we become less than the wholeness of who we really are.

Life is inherently expansive; the more we suppress it, the harder it is to keep it suppressed. Eventually suppressed aspects will reach the surface, the life force tied up in them seeking expression. Just try keeping an undercurrent of frustration with a loved one from jumping out at them. What is not honestly addressed will come out sideways.

When the suppression is societal, we fear being found out, that we will be exposed and judged. Judgment leads to self-judgment, and then anger and frustration. Mostly unconscious and unaddressed, there is an ongoing compounding of the original wounding.

When we are afraid to express aspects of ourselves, we eventually separate ourselves from those parts. Cutting off aspects of our self we also loose connection to Self and Source. This is similar to the process of individuation that most of us experience as infant human beings.

Being separated from and fearful of aspects of ourselves we also become afraid of those who express them. When men suppress their inner feminine, or women their inner masculine, they are often shunned and estranged, and the results of this estrangement are vast, complex, pervasive, long lasting [4].

My right brain and left brain are uncertain about each other. Even after years of attention they are hesitant to trust each other. Each feels that it ought to be running my life, and that the other is in its own way incapable of doing a good job. I learned all this as a child, absorbing it from those I grew up with, unconsciously. It is a slow process to learn to cooperate and co-create.

Falling Back Into the Sea

In human body, Kundalini energy coiled at the base of the spine, waiting to uncurl, to rise up the spine and travel back through the chakras, back through the layers of matter and consciousness. This is Sacred Union, the union of the individual creation with its Source; the foam on top of the wave falling back into the sea.

For us human beings yoga involves restoring union between all the separated aspects of ourselves, and it begins with each of us internally. Perhaps the hardest thing to do is to find the aspects of ourselves that we most resist and come into a unified wholeness with them.

These resisted aspects are often so buried that we don’t even know that they are there. They are wrapped in fear and trauma, shame and judgment. We must be able to sit with all of that, letting it rise, move through us and release. It is a good thing to heal others, society, and the planet, but it is a greater feat to find those things that most scare you and then heal them in yourself.

As I clear and release my own internal separations, I find that I AM what I am seeking. In wholeness we discover that we already are part of Spirit or Source. This is the power of Sacred Union starts in each individual heart and soul, in pairs, and then in groups, spreading outwards in the world. The foundation is wholeness in my heart and yours. Then we can help each other.

One of the most powerful and necessary ways is simply to listen, to witness [5]. The ability to witness our sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, gives them permission to be, helps them to release their wounds and dissolve separation. To be affirmed in our pain, empowers us to leave it behind and move forward.

Never Really Gone

Just as Shiva/Shakti dance creation together, if I am to create anything in my life I need all of me involved. Inspiration, intuition, planning and analysis all have a role to play. I have learned that I need both my masculine and feminine, that I have to learn to use and listen to them both. The greatest vision will never come to be unless there is a receptivity that brings it into form. The sum is much greater, and much sweeter, than the parts.

The more I cultivate them together the more I learn to listen to each voice, to balance them together and know when to let each one lead. Their harmonious relationship that allows me to live with less internal fear and to show up in my life more fully and effectively.

As a male trained in left-brain thought, I have had to spend time learning to access and trust my intuition and my emotions. I am still learning, and while some lessons come from my higher self or Spirit, many come from my sisters, and talking to them about how they experience their minds and hearts.

There is a lot of talk about recovering the feminine. Actually it never left. It has just been feared, misunderstood and suppressed. And the masculine that has done these things is distorted, fearful and out of balance. The men trying to live this way are inevitably wounded and forced into molds that don’t really fit the spiritual essence of the Divine masculine. In reaffirming the feminine we must look ahead also to an equal union with a healthy masculine.

Dancing Forward

Yoga, or Union, starts inside each of us. Old fear and anger must be acknowledged and resolved. Old patterns of behavior need to change. Cultivating our personal sacred union, our inner wholeness, transforms us into vessels through which Spirit expresses and shines Light into the world.

As we learn this ourselves and radiate it into the world by practicing it with others, the world can and will also transform. As we learn, accept, and own, all the facets of ourselves, we realize that there is nothing we need fear inside us. Fearing nothing inside us, we face the world fearlessly as well. Being fearless in the world others will begin to release their fear. The world will begin to change.

Action Items: to be done solo, in partnership, or as a group. As always, improvise, enjoy. And thanks for doing some heavy lifting.

Explore Relativity. Play with dualistic concepts until you know how relative they are. What is a shadow within the shade? Is water hard or soft? Play with the concepts of masculine and feminine: pick something you *know* is one or the other and find counter-examples.

Healing Duality. Feel into your own nature. Explore how you have both feminine and masculine aspects and attributes. Meditate on why you consider them as one or the other. Notice if how you feel about them changes depending on how you label it. Take the labels off. Feel your life force returning.

Claiming Power. Find at least one quality or activity from your childhood that you let go of because it was supposed to be opposite gender. Give your self permission to own it again. Repeat. Begin to feel the wholeness of yourself as comprised of both feminine and masculine. What other dualities do you combine within your Self? Own these too.

Becoming Whole. Where do your inner feminine and masculine fear and resist each other? Gently let this lead you back inside yourself to what lies hidden there. Witness and release. Cultivate ways in which they can collaborate. Appreciate the ways in which they already do.

Finding Neutrality. Disconnect from external fear, by noticing wounded aspects of yourself. Take note when you feel emotionally triggered, then disengage from the trigger. Reclaim another piece of personal power. Then re-engage without fear and work change in the world from there.


1 Commentary on Ananda Sutram. Ananda Marga Publications, 1981.

2 Pagels, Elaine, Adam, Eve and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity. Vintage Books, 1988.

3 Starbird, Margaret, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail. Bear & Co, 1993.

4 Senior, Shareshten, “Abuse is not Love: Confessions of a Woman Living in Rape Culture”, Shakti Yogi Journal, Winter 2017.

5 Rosenberg, Marshall, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion. Puddledancer Press, 2001.

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