A Little MENitation. ~ Dara McKinley

Via elephant journal
on Jul 9, 2011
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Photo: benjieordonez

Before you dive into this one, please know that although I currently do not meditate, I have a deep respect for meditation and imagine that I will one day practice again. My desire for this post (and every post I write) is to create awareness of our feminine essence.

From 1999-2006, I was heavy on the Buddhist meditation path. By 2006, after establishing a thriving Buddhist inspired psychotherapy practice, I made things official and took refuge with a renowned teacher. Things took an unexpected turn when within months of becoming pregnant, my love for Buddhism and its practices … tanked. Though I knew Buddhism was no longer my path, I was miffed as to why a view I loved so dearly suddenly felt useless.

Clarity arrived while listening to David Deida’s Enlightened Sex CD set where he discusses the differences between the masculine and feminine essences. He distinguishes the following:

Where the feminine essence prefers connection and togetherness in times of strife, the masculine essence likes to figure it out solo. Are you familiar with the Hero’s Journey? The hero goes off to be alone in order to find his truth, just like the monks meditating in caves. Independence is the route.

Where the feminine essence performs and receives attention, the masculine essence is the observer who watches. Think of all the dudes who love to watch sports, the scientist who stands back and observes his environment, and the utter nirvana many guys feel when watching the tube.

Photo: MikulPhotography

Where the feminine essence bases her experience on how she feels, the masculine essence sources thoughts and beliefs. Ask most men how they felt about something and you might as well have said “ufhdjhfkjdhfpiuwfhkjsbpiUGTPWIfpif.” Ask them what they think about something and you will get a plethora of information.

After making these and many other incredible distinctions between the feminine and masculine essence, Deida states that meditation is a “male spiritual practice” because you sit alone, observing your thoughts.

For a woman who spent most of her life proving how independent and rational she was this description hit me like a ton of bricks.

Meditation is a spiritual tool created by brilliant men to soften our egos. The ego IS the male essence: the part of us that experiences separateness, that wants structure, facts, wants things to make sense, add up, to be fixed and practical. The wonderful left brain. Without it, we’d all be happily sitting around staring at each other unable to speak.

Though many eastern philosophies would like to convince us differently – our egos are rather phenomenal. They administer tons of goodness and kindness. Things go awry in our inner and outer world when the ego believes it is in service of itself, AKA unawareness.

This is one of the main reasons why meditation is extraordinary. It tames our ego and shows us that there is something else, completely beyond conception that is driving the human experience. When we realize this, we can position our ego to create goodness.

Am I saying women shouldn’t meditate? No, no, no. All beings have a feminine and masculine essence, which means that all women have egos, thus meditation is a relevant spiritual tool.

However, I can’t help but wonder if male created spiritual practices, designed to address the ego through solitude and discipline, are best suited for those whose male essence is primary? I am currently living this question.

As a mom and a healer, I believe that the feminine essence creates egos and keeps them healthy/in service of our deepest truth. It is through divine relationship, pleasure and our desire for something more that our feminine truth is honored. Quite the opposite of meditation.


Dara McKinley is a Naropa grad who traded in her thriving Buddhist psychotherapy practice to become a Pleasure Revolutionary. With adoration and truth as her swords, she is a warrior for the healing power of our feminine essence and the rise of emotionally brilliant folks. Find more of her provocative and soul-stirring writing at volvernow.com.


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5 Responses to “A Little MENitation. ~ Dara McKinley”

  1. strongropes says:

    What a relief to have you put words to this. I constantly find myself bumping into how my own femininity seems so obscured to me. Everyday I feel struck by how much what I expect of myself is modeled after the masculine. Women coming together to relate and find meaning is what we do best. I think once men and women embrace their real, albeit subtle difference, we will dream a more balanced world.

  2. dara says:

    Hi Ilona,

    Yes, I hear all of your crystal clear points and I am grappling with them also, so your reflection is really good for me – thank you.

    By "tool" I mean path and I think we are in agreement that the path of meditation, for both men and women, leads to our actual experience and a compassionate heart. And the design of this path is solitude (even if you are in a sangha the practice is a solo act) and discipline.

    I am suggesting that there is possibly another more efficient and potentially more fulfilling path for women (and maybe for men also?) to arrive at our actual experience and compassionate hearts, that is designed around relationship and pleasure.

    There are many roads to Rome and there are many paths/tools to compassion.

    Ultimately, I am in the midst of great contemplation around all of this.


  3. dara says:

    "Women coming together to relate and find meaning is what we do best. I think once men and women embrace their real, albeit subtle difference, we will dream a more balanced world."

    I feel the same way.

    I am delighted that you like my article. Thank you for letting me know.

  4. drupchen says:

    As long as you're dealing with the concept of ego, you are missing the point of egoless practices such as those buddhism presents. The division of feminine and masculine is couched in ego. The concept of ego draws the differences… Best to consult guru and find more appropriate practises to address your individual issues here. BTW, a buddist psychotherapy practise is not buddist if you aren't.