The first practice is sexual restraint, but it could be any kind of restraint. The first practice is self-discipline, will-power, and the directed uncovering of Will; Will is what we move towards when we unfetter from past unloving conditioning. Will is what we move towards when we are shown Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR), or Love. We may have to rely on ourselves to show ourselves this Love.
I have worried for years around setting myself disciplines of behaviour; so-called spiritual disciplines as well as disciplines of work. It’s a familiar story to many I know; the setting of a high bar; unrealistic expectations, and the self-recriminations when we fail. But more recently I have realised that the essence of discipline, of will-power, is something that is best viewed as a continual moment-to-moment practice. Self-control is not all about having a solid morning routine. It is the will-power to do the right thing, from moment to moment, in every waking moment.
As a personal practice, total sexual restraint is very useful for me right now. The importance is in accepting my urges with Love; neither acting on them nor repressing them. Repression and denial lead to toxicity, violence and death. With the acceptance of Love, or UPR, in tandem with the will-power of restraint, my Will is uncovered. I was addicted to sex, and addiction is a block to both Love and Will. Addiction is a block to the unfolding universe.
My gender-rebel / genderwild identity is strengthened by practising restraint. I see both will-power and the greater Will as ‘male’: as exactly one equal half of the divine, or put another way, one equal half of the observable universe. Since the Big Bang or whatever was before it, everything is part of the same momentum. We are all part of the same momentum. I would characterise this momentum as ‘male’. Perhaps what the universe expands into, that which potentially drew out the Big Bang, could be characterised as ‘female’?
It seems to me that the worthy cause of the exposure and destruction of patriarchy has become confused by a misunderstanding of the essential benignness and neutrality of maleness. Maleness is not patriarchy, unless you choose to construct it in that way; we all construct these concepts a little differently.
For me at least, as a gender rebel or genderqueer or genderwild person, I think that it is healthy for all people, whether male, female, both, neither, or somewhere inbetween, to strengthen whichever identity they adopt or construct, with a healthy balance of will-power and Love. Queer as well as feminist identities, I feel, would be grounded and strengthened by reclaiming a balanced ‘male’ and ‘female’ basis of personal action (you can call it spiritual or you can call it scientific, depending on whether your religion is atheism or something else.)
I understand that maleness and femaleness are ultimately constructs, so call ‘male’ female and ‘female’ male if you like. The point is, a balance between discipline, or directed action, or momentum; and Love, or UPR, or compassionate acceptance, is a healthy thing. I make a plea here for gender balance, grounded in these arbitrary concepts, for health and convenience, and in order to reclaim and disentangle what can be usefully seen as ‘male’ from what is patriarchal. Will-power is not patriarchal until it becomes will-power over someone.