I have recently commented about the five-toed dragon and the Chinese phoenix or peacock. So, it was with some surprise when I went out to dinner a few evenings ago in a local restaurant and found this carved panel in an upper-floor hallway. It is yet another symbolic representation of the ancient Chinese emperors and empresses, with the dragon as symbol for the emperors.
I was particularly struct by the fact that these two symbols were contained within a circle which reminded me of tizhi (t’ai chi), the yin-yang symbol which shows masculine circling attempting to enter the feminine, and the feminine circling and attempting to take in the masculine – an eternal dance that never quite succeeds in two becoming one.
Both symbols point toward wholeness, a holistic world view. When I found this wall panel, I was excited and for a while forgot that I was supposed to be in a private dining room in the restaurant. I knew that I had found something I needed in order to talk about the inner world showing up in the outer world as fate.
I want to be clear about masculine and feminine. They are often synonymous with male and female, but it would be a huge error to limit the understanding of masculine and feminine to gender. It is also a mistake to assume that in using the two terms that one is talking about two people. Within each of us are active masculine and feminine aspects. With that said, I will turn to the dance between a man and a woman as I see it, feel it, know it, intuit it – at least when it comes to my self.
For me, the question of wholeness began with my mother. I sensed that because I was born to her, I was still a part of her. Yet, I knew that in spite of being a part of her and her being a part of me, we were separate and could never again become one. As a young man, I fell in love with a woman and saw in her an opportunity to again become whole. We were both ripe for the work of becoming one. We conceived children, we loved, we held each other, we danced – yet in spite of it all, we both still see ourselves locked in our own bodies and minds, separate beings. We are curiously circling each other and trying to truly discover who the other is and what will come next. It would seem that all the work has failed us as we find ourselves alone with ourselves. But, we haven’t failed.
Both of us are forced to look within for what appears to be the missing pieces. The other in relationship will always be another person, intimately linked, but always separate. Like all couples, we learn new dances, new ways of being together after what appears to be failed expectations. We have learned that the other person has not failed nor has the self failed. What we have learned is that the other person cannot hold what is buried within the self. Love ends up being redefined and we again begin the new circling, the new dance of relationship, again two becoming one.
It’s a dance that never ends – we continue to fall into another person and away from that person, constantly circling and looking for that magical moment when two can become one.