Reference to the Divine Feminine seems to be on the increase, but what does it mean to embody feminine qualities at their highest level? How do we approach the understanding of something so far removed from our normal experience? And how might understanding the qualities of our brain hemispheres enhance our understanding of the Divine Feminine?
The best way to understand the Divine Feminine is through a sense of feeling, the energy most closely associated with the spiritual realm. But feeling is notoriously difficult to put into words, and since the Divine Feminine can also be accessed through our minds, I would like to share with you a glimpse of the feminine based on what science and philosophy can tell us about the world of brain and mind, and their effect on our thoughts and behaviors.
A considerable body of research shows that the brain’s right hemisphere—typically associated with the feminine—unifies its information, and as a result interprets the world as a whole, without divisions such as “us” and “them”, “yours” and “mine”, or even “Venus” and “Mars”. And although we can’t know what the Divine Feminine perceives from her infinitely informed perspective, we do know that the human right brain can access that same limitless, omniscient perspective that is aware of everything within its vast experience, where multiple layers of experience and considerations are happening simultaneously.
The broad holistic nature of this feminine perspective seems to explain why the thinking of some women has been described as “scattered”. When we see all aspects of a problem, we naturally experience a need to address all of them, and in doing so, by necessity we may jump from one aspect to another in order to connect them and convey our big picture view. One might assume that this way of communicating is understood and welcomed by the Divine Masculine, but to the limited and highly focused mind of mortal men, this way of processing can be very confusing.
Science has found that the holistic right hemisphere directs our attention to the collective aspects of our experience, to larger cultural issues, an example being the needs of the disadvantaged and oppressed. Seeing our world from the holistic viewpoint we care about everyone and everything of consequence—and from this broad perspective, everything is of consequence. We understand that things like race, religion, sexual orientation, and body size or shape do not divide us, rather they add to the diversity of our world, creating specialists with wide ranging unique talents that enrich our experiences.
The feminine side of our brain is altruistic (complementing the selfishness of the masculine side). And this peaceful, inclusive and rewarding viewpoint reflects an internal harmony that is only possible in the absence of the many divisions that characterize our perception when the left side of the brain is running the show.
A part of that altruism is to give others the space to be themselves. Thus, in harmony with its altruistic resolve, the right hemisphere is non-judgmental. It values the diversity created by different ways of doing things, and has no need to judge people or things. When judgment—the discernment of differences—might appear helpful, we can consciously call on the left hemisphere, as judgment is a specialty of the left brain.
Another aspect of the altruism that we more often see displayed in women than men is a devotion to service—serving the needs of others—another trait that brain researchers associate with right hemispheric dominance. The right side of the brain has also been shown to focus our attention on living things in our environment, whereas the left side attends to objects—explaining why left-brain-dominant men so often objectify women, and women find it difficult to understand why.
Although our current experience with the right hemisphere is far from one we might describe as divine, if we try to imagine a world where the aggressive forces of the masculine with its protective ego, driven by selfish, competitive, impersonal, objectifying, impulses is kept in check—in women as well as men—we might then position ourselves to begin to understand the role of the Divine Feminine.
Right-brain-dominant women, being holistically guided, are inherently focused on spiritual values such as we find in personal relationships and feelings or emotions. Right-brain-dominants intuitively recognize spiritual energy as the mother energy and as being real in a way that other energies are not. Unlike other energies, spiritual energy does not dissipate over time but endures and strengthens. We all experience it, but the dualistic mind may not acknowledge it because, paradoxically, spiritual energy is everywhere, as water is to a fish.
Our brain’s holistic operating system gives us our connection with universal energies, the energy of love, and with the energy of truth, beauty, and goodness. It is inherently nurturing and receptive to the needs of others. It is harmonious, peaceful, and cooperative, and thus it is gentle in disposition. The holistic right brain sees and knows that everything is part of a wholeness that is, by definition, holy, as is implicitly recognized in the common root of these two words.
It is important to avoid the impression that right-brain-dominants have the answers to all of our problems. Although the brain’s holistic operating system nests its dualistic system, and technically has access to both perspectives, there are a number of reasons why a holistic-dominant system can fail to give us clear and accurate perception. Chief among them is a failure to recognize and respect important details, as a result of being so heavily focused on the larger, more obvious aspects of the issue under consideration.
In the present cycle of life, expression of the peaceful feminine side of our brain is largely suppressed by a world of fear and intimidation, but with the cosmic pendulum at or near its extreme, it’s just a matter of time until we can look forward to bringing the collective yin and yang of our right and left hemispheres together. And although it might take a while before our culture changes, there is nothing stopping us as individuals from making this shift. It begins with whole brain thinking.
Adapted from How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future (Origin Press, January 2017) from James Olson.
James Olson is an integral philosopher whose studies have included religion, art, psychology and neuroscience. Olson’s mission to help bring the planet’s masculine (dualistic left-brain) and feminine (holistic right-brain) energies into greater harmony through his advocacy of whole-brain thinking. thewholebrainpath.com