Lone Female Rangersam
by Lisa Tully
To be or not to be — a lone female ranger during these times of great change?
As a thirty something female on a journey of self-discovery I have found myself in a position that I would call the “lone female ranger.” I live alone, mostly work alone, reside in a different country to all of my family members and I am single. Now for some women that would be their worst nightmare and that is fair enough but for others it is not. So is this a new modern independent woman phenomenon or has this been happening overtime?
I came across a wonderful book called “Women Of Wisdom” by Tsultrim Allione. The author of this book was the first Westerner to be ordained a Buddhist nun, granted by the 16th Karmapa himself. She left monastic life eventually to get married and have a family. The beauty of that is we now have a woman who is committed to her path of spiritual growth and self-discovery who now has first hand experience of the daily challenges a family life brings to living out those deep yearnings. This journey inspired her to write this book for all the women in the West facing similar difficulties and triumphs. It contains stories of Tibetan female mystics who all achieved enlightenment and became great leaders despite cultural prejudices and other problems that male practitioners simply don’t have to contend with.
This book makes a fascinating read for any women out there struggling with any natural instincts to go against the societal expectancies. The author draws many similarities between our lives today and these ancient mystics. For example the majority of these women were single. Those who were forced to get married either died at the hands of their husbands who didn’t like their wives shifting and changing as they grew more into themselves or they found a way to get out of the marriage. The next trend was they found it difficult to practice freely and to their full abilities within the constraints of a patriarchal monastic environment, so they tended to be nomadic practitioners traveling over great distances using their feminine intuition to guide them. Opting to leave their families and friends behind they would spend decades of their lives in isolated retreats in mountainous caves. If we swing those trends back around to the ‘lone female ranger’ we can perhaps spot some similarities according to the author Tsultrim. She takes it a step further when she mentions modern women who have just come out of a crisis in their lives sometimes choose to live alone as though entering into a type of retreat. When I was at a teaching by the Dalai Lama last year one of the first things he mentioned was for effective spiritual growth we must leave the distractions of our family behind by moving elsewhere. Tsultrim also made an interesting case when she likened modern women seeking the guidance of a psychotherapist to help them ease their troubles with the teachers of these Tibetan women helping them reach a state of full illumination through mastering the mind. To be clear these women were not nuns, in fact most of them had consorts who they practiced with to deepen their spirituality through sacred sexual union. So has the time of the lone female ranger naturally evolved once again for some women to free up a bit of space for their feminine selves?
My intention for sharing these findings is to bring solace to the solo ladies and insight to the gentlemen out there during these times of great global change. Where a balancing of the matriarchal with the patriarchal seems to be afoot and my feelings are it is for the sake of all sentient beings. What do you think?
About the Author:
Lisa Tully is a keen traveler, meditator and tour host creating opportunities for people to explore themselves as they explore other lands through spiritual travel tours. She is hosting an India Meditation Tour in October, 2011 that includes teaching sessions with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.