Primary role patterns
We can say that there are typical roles for men and women which we can find through all ages and in all cultures. These roles are connected to profession and the position in society and in family. So just imagine the diversity of professions, the various positions in society and in family. The point now is that these roles offer a specific frame for personal development including the way of thinking, feeling, perceiving oneself, others and the world, and of showing behavior. Further on, these roles come along with specific experiences which have effects on yourself and on others.
Let´s examine a few examples for a better understanding.
Imagine that you are born as a woman in a patriarchal culture. Your role is clear. Low level of education, preparation to be a good wife and mother, early marriage, fulfilling your role, accepting the dominance of men and husband, raising many children, being passive, doing what your husband tells you, hard work. This incarnation makes you fit into the expectations of society and husband. You have no own will, all decisions are made by your parents, then by your husband. You learn to be a good mother, a good cook and to be good in managing the household. You learn to accept, to serve, to follow, etc. Certainly, you develop good skills in this, but you lack of everything else. In another life, the roles might have switched and then you are the man, with young wife, many children, having to work, enjoying freedom while keeping his wife at home. Then you know both sides.
Imagine that you live as a monk for your whole life. There is nothing else than the monastery with your brethren and your spiritual work. Daily meditations, Mantras, events, etc. You learn a lot about being selfless, serving others, true brotherhood, spiritual practice. But you have no idea about worldly things, about women, family, business, etc.
Imagine you are a beggar. You are busy the whole day with asking people for money, with looking for food, etc. There are no other topics, just survival. You feel left alone like rubbish, no friends, no family, nothing but you enjoy a specific freedom which others do not know.
Imagine you are a commander in a special forces team. Every day, you go to and beyond your limits. You are always ready to attack, to kill, to die. You and your time are one unit. No one could ever separate you. Together you manage the hardest challenges. True brotherhood. Fighting is your life. Fighting under all circumstances, even if you have to sacrifice yourself.
Imagine you are a politician, always talking a lot, presenting yourself in public, feeling important, smiling for self-marketing, making a lot of money. And maybe you feel like a whore and a fraudster behind your smile and perfect appearance. You are in a position of power and people who have even more power and money pay you to work for them like a puppet on strings.
These were just small examples which show that the role we play due to profession and social status have great impacts on our personal development and behavior. A beggar perceives the world in a different way than a businessman. A businessman has different goals than a monk. A man of power shows a different attitude and behavior than the married woman in a patriarchal society. All these roles offer different experiences and different patterns of thinking, feeling, perception and behavior.
Now, the point is that we all go through such roles in our countless incarnations to develop in personality, to balance our character and to become complete.
So far, this might be good or interesting, but it comes along with problems. Big problems arise from the imbalanced and bad things we do to others and to ourselves, one-dimensional behavior, extreme behavior. Further big problems arise from the change of roles from one incarnation to the next incarnation. When you are conditioned as a monk in your last incarnation and now you are meant to live and work as a businessman then this takes a lot of effort as you still have the old patterns in your personality as a monk. These are the difficulties in life which we all experience.
Now, a therapeutic, meditative approach for healing and positive changes would be to detect such patterns in yourself. For example, you might detect role patterns of a knight, of an engineer, a Buddhist Lama, a high priest, a shaman, etc. in yourself. These roles are connected to very specific characteristics and abilities in you, also to ways of thinking, of solving problems, of feeling and of behavior. And then you can examine these things and work with them consciously. You will be able to understand what you miss and why, what would be good and useful and what does not work today. Indeed, it is a comprehensive introspection. Know yourself!
In general, all these roles offer something positive and at the same time something negative. The positive qualities, values, skills, etc. need to be appreciated, while the negative aspects need correction and healing. And in fact, we all need a lot of healing and balancing. It is the main key to spiritual progress and happiness in life.