Ancient Tantric (Hindu) texts speak of Ida and Pingala, Ida being the left side of the body that represents the moon and feminine energy, while Pingala is the right side of the body and represents the sun and masculine energy. (St. Francis of the Christianity referred to the sun and moon as “Brother Sun”, and “Sister Moon”.) This is a gross simplification of the idea, but simple often does the trick.
Upcoming events in my life are causing me to reflect on some sweet and difficult memories from the past 5 years (give or take), and I like to use this idea of Ida & Pingala– energies of Brother Sun and Sister Moon–as a sift for reflecting on different kinds of moments.
Exhibiting or acting out of masculine energy has nothing to do with the state of being male. Just so, demonstrating moon or feminine qualities or behavior is unrelated to being female. These are energies of the spiritual world, beheld only from a spiritual posture, and the spiritual being knows not the polarities of gender (that we get caught up in physically).
The Ida moments of my life relate to times of rest, rejuvenation, renewal, and cleansing. Most nights over the past 5 years I spent alone, or in a house with people from whom I felt disconnected. Channeling my Ida energy, I often played a worship song, hymn, or lullaby on my phone, as I held it close to my breast and cried myself to sleep. It was Ida energy that brought a smile to my face the first time I held a brand new baby in my arms at the hospital. Ida energy has compelled me to stay in bed or in the back yard when culture’s roar of masculine hurry would have had me run my weekend away in the exhaust of traffic and retail stores. Ida energy is meditating and meditating again when anxiety resurfaces like acid in the throat. Ida energy is unhurried, balanced, and essential to thrive.
In vibrant contrast, Pingala speaks to high energy action, standing ground, pushing through challenges and rising in the face of insurmountable odds. Pingala is our energetic radiance, the wise channeling of muscular, robust energy (in balance with the rest and surrender of Ida). When I put my foot in the dirt and decided that I would take steps to spend my life with the man I love, no matter the wait required, I channeled Pingala. Placing copies of Bible passages to read at the end of each lap I swam in order to strengthen body and mind was fierce utilization of Pingala. This energy led me in discipline (Tapas, in yogic thought) when I started using a timer to create space between bites of food in order to liberate myself from eating to nourish a wounded soul instead of the body that could best tell me what to eat and how to eat it. Pingala energy is strong, creative, and ground-breaking.
The funny thing is, both energies piss people off. And a healthy balance of both? Prepare for boundary conflict, my friend. We often do not find ourselves worthy of one or the other, or we naturally gravitate towards cultivating one and neglecting the other. Unfortunately, when we deprive ourselves of one or the other, we often resent our neighbors for having a healthy balance, or for tipping towards our weaker side. Working with these energies, we may be judged, we may find ourselves sitting in judgment of others. Either way, they are ideas as gorgeous as Brother Sun and Sister Moon in the sky above us, integral parts of our Divine selves.
In remembering, I give thanks. In giving thanks, I remember Who I Am.