In the latest issue of Scientific American Mind (which is edited by my friend Annie’s sister-in-law, which is almost as good as almost-having breakfast with Obama), I read today that women who are weird and different are more successful on dating sites than those who present themselves as more conformist and submissive! This is a science thang, which means that they have actually tested this according to strict methodologies — which brings up a few questions, but that’s not the point...
Their point was that this is surprising, for a surprising reason (to me): apparently the old received wisdom and the previous sociological studies on such dating sites (I’ve never been on one but most single people I know live on them), suggested that women should present themselves in their profiles as conformist, supportive and not weird or edgy, because that’s what men want. A non-bothersome and non-confronting accessory. And the yang to that yin is that men should seem different, stick out in a crowd. “You can only have one Alpha,” is the meme.
BUT... they found that the opposite was true! The weird, non-conformist women got much more hits, more dates, and more relationships. And this was very surprising (from a scientific point of view of course).
There was a book decades ago by Lynn Andrews called The Woman of Wyrrd, and a much better book by Someone Someone called The Way of Wyrrd. The olde English word “Wyrrd” (which is the ancestor of “weird” and pronounced the same) means something like “fate” or “personal destiny.” Maybe even “dharma.”
So earlier today I was contemplating my own weirdness, my unusual and sometimes frustrating complexity. (Sidebar: By the way, I don’t hate myself or anything. In fact, I hardly have any verbal inner thoughts in which a voice puts me down. Thoughts like that seem silly to me. Who is saying that to whom? The whole theory of parts of the self was a very brief romance for me, when I played with Psychosynthesis, aged 30-ish; and then I installed a thought therapist/police-person in my brain. She upgrades most thoughts that cross the word barrier that aren’t loving or helpful. This isn’t a lot of work at this point, and it’s not suppression, btw; I feel the feelings in my body instead of via negative thoughts.)
Anyway, I was contemplating how my journey into Oneness (and back out, and then back in, and so on) has been quite unusual. Hopefully this makes me very attractive, at least to God! I’m sort of kidding, but sort of not. It just occurred to me in a very deep way that I am never going to do my spiritual path the way anyone else does it. I’ve explored countless groups, teachers and teachings, including having a guru and being a renunciate monk in my 20s, yet much as I want to belong and have a nice oxytocin spiritual family, my path has moved me on again and again. Even when I try to suppress my individuality to belong, I get busted. Like the wonderful church choir I sang in for the past year or so. I wore churchy clothes and behaved helpfully. But I ran out in the middle of the service when they had a Pro Life speaker.
So just now, I was reading a guy’s blog, about trying to get enlightened, and he was saying that he took the est Enlightenment Intensive 23 times, trying to work his old patterns or, as he called them, “vasanas.” This word is used in the Advaita Vedanta path and means old impressions, old patterns... every therapist, book, teacher and seminar has its own name for these. Each time he worked through some old emotional memory, he would emerge into an experience of ectasy, enlightenment, awakening, Oneness, etc., yet before long it would come back and he would realize he was not enlightened after all. At least not in an abiding way like some of the famous enlightened ones (Ramana Maharshi is everyone’s favorite and has no scandals associated with him).
Someone else was arguing on the blog that it obviously wasn’t working, if he had to keep doing all this, and he was saying, “Hey, we have MUCH more of these vasanas than we realize, and they come from not only our childhoods but thousands of lifetimes, and their intensity cannot really be imagined, until you start messing with them. Most people don’t even want to wake up the sleeping dog.
The other person on the blog was saying, “You don’t need to go back and feel all that stuff over and over again. Just tune in to your guidance and you will be lifted above it all.” Either go down into your shadow, which will make you whole and free when you stop resisting it (Meme Exhibit A) OR reach up towards the light and live by higher principles and you won’t have to keep doing all that (Meme Exhibit B). My path has taken me in both directions, and more, usually at the same time, for decades. Although I like where I am now, and what I am experiencing more and more of the time, I would never have chosen such an intense, spaghetti-like journey: I would have loved one of the simplistic advertising narratives about what works to have come true: “Just question your thoughts and you will be free.” “Just be mindful.” “Just be still.” (Yeah, right!).
So I guess my path has been my Wyrrd, my destiny, and I guess it’s OK to be a Wyrrd Woman.