This is the title of a set of Yogi Bhajan’s lectures back in the 1970’s or 80’s. I don’t remember exactly and as I am writing from bed with Theo in my arms I don’t bother searching.
The oriental woman in contrast with the western woman. That’s what he meant. As he came to teach in the west, America and Europe, in this respect is practically the same. Values of women have been completely lost. Maybe it was in the process of industrialization, feminization, globalization, capitalism and all those evil zations and isms out there.
Yogi Bhajan ( I prefer to call him el Maestro), el Maestro taught us to be like the oriental woman. He told us we should be like the oriental woman. But what he meant it remains unclear, and as I travel the world I always ask again and again what he meant by that. I get all sorts of answers, yet I know in my intuition exactly what he meant, but it’s too hard for many to take.
El Maestro was an advocate of women. He hated to see how we had downgraded and sold ourselves as sexual objects called ‘chicks’ instead of the powerful and graceful eagles we could become. He would teach women day after day how we should value ourselves by being a woman instead of trying to be something else, instead if going out there and search for everything. Things will search for you when you are a woman.
The oriental woman has one characteristic which I haven’t found in either American or European cultures, getting also lost in Mexico and all over the world. It is the virtue of devotion. It is a virtue which makes life soft, beautiful, divine, loving. A virtue you cannot understand or perceive fully if you don’t have a beloved to which devote yourself. This devotion I am speaking about is a divine devotion, which bridges that incredible dark gap we have in longing to belong. This hole- sometimes it is very real and physical in the chest- is something we all experience as a desire to belong. Some more than others, but it is part of coming into this life, being born and separated from that oneness, and becoming human. Nobody escapes that longing. You can call it a human condition. We all want to feel again whole, being part of that clan, that heaven which we once knew. Suffering comes when we either negate that longing or we cannot find our beloved or belonging to which belong. There is a metaphore of the wife/bride looking for his husband/groom and when she cannot find him she cries in despair, lost in the dark night, hopeless and broken. That is the state in which our soul looks for being completed, being happy, being whole. The soul inside of each of us yearns to be part of that Infinite it once knew, and here in this game called “earth” we come to find the way to do that. To win by playing within the rules. To defeat the game by playing by the rules.
So in this game, devotion comes in handy. It has the power to connect us with that beloved, that infinite, to set our anchor in the right place, to place an altar to that infinity, to realise that our wisdom has a purpose, and so we can feel Whole and One once more. In life, constantly. Not be lost like that soul bride in an empty bed. To feel the joy of being part of the One, that one which is actually inside of you, but in order to connect we need to find a path, an inspiration which will remind us of that light within. Technically, most religions started that way, to reflect that wisdom and connect you with an image of that inner reality. Many got lost in the way, but devotion is something that at least in some way has remained- in the oriental woman. The oriental woman as I see her, and as I am inspired by (and this is an image, may not be related to geographical surroundings or any “orient” in particular, but who said that El Maestro meant any geographical location?) is humble, is serviceful to her husband (her real husband but mostly her divine husband), is always accompanying her husband and walking softly behind him. She is a subtle inspiration, a light breeze which blows softly in the twilight, pointing to the right direction of the way. She is that woman who gracefully and patiently waits for her husband to awaken, making him lovingly food every day. She is that woman who is constantly in prayer, living in compassion and acting with kindness with everyone and in every situation. She is not in contradiction with a strong woman, in fact, she is stronger and steadier than any screaming and pounding woman. For her strength lies in her wit, in her inner wisdom, in her forgiveness, in her vibration, in her prayer. She devotes time for herself in deep meditation, sometimes while still serving others. That is the fulfillment of her self as a woman. And that is the highest blessing we women can awaken. It does not mean that we are not strong, powerful entrepreneurs or global women, it is not in contradiction. The same way she is a warrior when giving birth, she is a warrior without having to be in the frontline of battle. We don’t have to choose between one or the other. What we do have to choose is to do it consciously, by choice and not by imposition.
As a woman, just know that your power is a subtle one, and your light will shine through your service for others. The more lights you can awaken, the more your prayer works. Without that you have to move an inch.