The entire ego is let go in spiritual freedom. Not part of it. Not half of it. Not 89.65% of it.
ALL OF IT!
So any and every aspect of the ego is on the spiritual chopping block, and that includes gender and sexual egos/identities.
Losing these types of identities can be shocking for many people. A LOT of social emphasis is put into these types of identities, and unfortunately, some major religions have decided that some identities are okay and others are not. Let me be clear. The Divine Presence has no preference. It does not limit us in the ways we can express ourselves.
However, we place limits on ourselves, and many of these limits are so unconsciously done that we don't realize there is another way of expressing or a different kind of preference we can have.
Since our attachments to gender and sexual identities are so powerful, this is a place where a lot of people's spiritual paths stop cold. For others, it's a crossroads where people get confused in trying to find a correct and new gender identity and/or sexual identity. And certainly, depending on your local community, there could be more or less social resistance to any kind of exploration in this venue. So let's look at what it means to lose these identities and realize the deeper freedom that is beyond them.
Recognizing the Power of Unconsciousness
People often seek some kind of firm belief to stand on, but beliefs are all made up. You cannot point to a belief. You cannot stand on one or hold it in your arms. You can point to phenomena that actually exist in the world, but not to beliefs.
Unfortunately, we give a wide variety of beliefs far too much energy, and then we can create seemingly real social realities. For example, if preferring same-sex sexual partners is not accepted by a community, that community may inflict violence on people who have that preference. That creates the illusion that having such preferences is bad or unnatural.
But that social belief is an illusion just like the identities that get built out of beliefs. However, it is very clear that we can inflict a great deal of pain and suffering on others based off of illusions. On this path, we recognize the power of unconscious beliefs, but at the same time, we learn to be courageous in our dedication to pursuing spiritual freedom.
Being Honest, Courageous, and Dedicated
A lot of people really don't want to question their sexual interests or their gender identities. As I said, there are a lot of communities that have demonized different orientations, and that's sad. It's particularly sad when spiritual communities do this because this kind of hate is not what the spiritual path is about at all. So people get scared if one or both of these identities starts dissolving because of what their local community might do to them.
Before I go any further, I do want to make sure that I am clear on the difference between these two identities.
A sexual identity is the ego built around your sexual preference. For instance, a heterosexual man acts a certain way and prefers women.
A gender identity is the ego built around how someone genders themselves. Some gender themselves masculine, some feminine, and some in other ways.
These two identities define most if not all of someone's relationships. Breaking them down means there is likely to be radical changes for most people, but if you truly want spiritual freedom, it's time to be honest, courageous, and dedicated in understanding and releasing these two ego identities.
Dissolving Gender and the Spaciousness of Being
Beingness does not care how you gender yourself. I can't repeat this enough. At no time does the Divine run in and stop us. People will try to impose their beliefs, and people may try to put words in God's mouth to say that God likes this but not that. However, that's nonsense driven by other agendas like maintaining social control through a shared-belief system. Separating the fear and control infused into some spiritual traditions from the reality of the spiritual path can be challenging at times. But it must be done to see the greater truth that we are all beautiful as we are.
Additionally, there is such deep commitment to gendering that terms like "Divine masculine" and "Divine feminine" get used and believed in. It's another attempt to give God a preference, and it really doesn't help anyone. All it does it creates more beliefs, categories, and labels. Giving up these beliefs is another issue that many spiritual people will run up against as they dissolve their egos and realize more of the oneness that is.
Oneness and Giving up More of Yourself to the Divine
Another big hurdle will be for those who already let go of one gender identity, but then they created another. They may have created a whole new life around this new gender identity, but now the spiritual path is taking that away too. It can be shocking. People can feel like they finally knew who they were. But we are never a set of beliefs. We are so much more than that. For this individual, they have to let go again and learn to stay in the spaciousness of Being instead of finding yet another way of gendering themselves.
Ultimately, in the space of oneness, you can gender yourself in any way imaginable. It can change from moment to moment, day to day, because it is totally made-up. You are free to change, but that doesn't mean creating attachments to a new gender identity.
The Rigidity of the Ego and Sexual Identities
I just touched on the fluidity of the present moment and of Divine presence. It's an amazing gift, and it allows us to embrace the reality that all of human life is change. Conversely, the ego is rigid. While some egos appear to have more flexibility than others. It's like the difference between being in a prison cell and being in a prison cell block. Sure, the block is bigger, but you're still in ego-jail.
How to Handle the Pain of Ego Death
Sexual identities are often particularly rigid, and people and society like to make claims around what is biologically natural. Once again, God doesn't stop a male from physically loving another male. Divine Presence doesn't stop a female from physically loving another female. The space to explore and be with whatever feels true in the moment is there. It's always been there. It's the ego that decides that things should happen a certain way.
Obviously, procreation works only between the exchange of important DNA in intercourse between a man and a woman, but how often do we want to procreate? That's the only time that kind of congress is "necessary."
Furthermore, we often are so good at accepting that we have to be a certain way and have a certain preference, that it makes this "choice" of sexual identity we're making seem like a reality. Someone might say, "I've just always liked women." Do you know this for sure? Have you really investigated? Have you delved into all your ego issues with men and women that defined how you look at men and women and defined whom you prefer?
Usually, the answer is, "no." So to be sincere, we bring our spiritual self-inquiry to this level, and we see what really is true. To do so, we peel away all the experiences, ideas, and some times traumas that have informed our sexual preferences and helped define the resulting sexual identity that grew out of them.
Not Seeking a New Identity
One of the common issues that happens over and over and over again on the spiritual path is the seeking of a new identity. Our deeper insecurities and desires get revealed as we let go of different levels of ego, and they don't like being exposed. So they'll attempt to take on a new gender identity and/or new sexual identity. Then the ego can announce to the world, "This is who I am!"
But we're not to the question of "Who are you?" yet. That's a powerful question. We have to be prepared to truly answer it. Typically, when we shout who we are, we have no idea at all. It's just the ego repeating what it already believes.
It's better to stay in the place of the unknown instead. Stay with the deeper insecurities that are shouting to you to pick a sex you prefer or to do something to "fix" your gender identity. No identity is fixable. They are all ego; they are all flawed. Let them fall apart. You will feel better and, in an interesting way, feel more you for the loss.
The Fear of the Unknown: Doing Inner Work to Release these Identities
Depending on where you are on your spiritual journey, inner work and self-inquiry may be brand new. Or you may be somewhat proficient with it. Or you may be very experienced with it. How I would direct you to go further in dissolving these identities would be very individual, but fortunately, there's a whole lot of info on this spiritual awakening blog for you.
You can find a lot by using the search function, but here are a few resources to help if you are dealing with the loss of your gender and/or your sexual identities.
Loss Is Gain and Nothing to Prove
On the path to spiritual freedom, loss is gain. This doesn't mean getting rid of all our possessions. We're getting rid of all of our ATTACHMENTS. That's another key point to understand and one which is badly misunderstood. Because we are so used to being attached to beliefs, relationships, and material goods, people very often get stuck because they think the physical manifestations of our attachments are somehow a problem. That misunderstanding can also cause people to stop because they are afraid of "losing" people. But the attachment--the idea--is the bigger problem. Resolve that before worrying too much about changing your external relationships.
In general, many people never even get to the point of investigating their gender identity nor their sexual identity. If you have, congratulations on reaching this point. Keep going. Keep losing.
However, it is important to realize that there is nothing to prove along the way. Strange things happen to people in terms of how they attempt to prove they are spiritual or that they are not attached to things like gender identity. There's no need to go out in public as a man wearing a woman's attire just to prove that you can do it. That's another ego game. If the interest for a man to wear women's clothing arises on its own, that's fine. But in that scenario, there is no agenda. There's nothing to gain. There's no approval to get from others nor from oneself.
The Fluidity of Openness
Residing in the space of awareness is a beautiful existence. That openness never judges, condemns, challenges, threatens, approves, or anything else. It allows you to be exactly as you are.
But your ego attachments don't.
They tell you how to act and think, and this includes how you should gender yourself and the sexual identity and underlying preferences you should have. So these attachments have to go if you are to be free. As they are released, how you express your sexual preferences or gender may change or not. It doesn't matter. It may stay the same your whole life to how you've been. It may change slightly. It may change daily. But all of this arises on its own without an ego telling you what to do. Without that, any way you express a gender identity or sexual interest tends to be deeply kind, calm, and true to you.