What is it going to take for men to thrive in their maleness in toady’s world? The article below some practical reflections on this!
In the spirit of benevolent manhood,
From coping to thriving: The path of conscious manhood
What (or where) is the path of men in today’s world?
We are all aware of the women’s movement, it’s called feminism. If you are a woman and want to explore ways of feeling more liberated and powerful, then its quite easy to find places, forums, reading around your female identity that can help you. If I then ask you ‘What is the men’s movement called?’ It is likely that you’d have to pause for a moment. Then you’d realize that there really isn’t a well-known ‘men’s movement’ whose purpose within culture is to support men. the reality is that the ‘men’s movement’ is about 30-40 years behind the women’s. This is important, because if you are a man it means that it is far more difficult to find places where you can explore your masculinity and struggles as a man. Whether they are aware of it or not, many men find themselves isolated in their struggles, and deeply confused about how to even talk about it, let alone handle it with confidence.
What is male liberation?
One helpful definition of feminism (following Ken Wilber) is ‘the liberation of women from unconscious roles’. Women can choose to be housewives, mothers, carer’s, but now they can choose to have careers, go boxing, be loud and assertive. They are (ideally) no longer bound unconsciously by traditional roles, and make their choices consciously.
The thing about this is that men have many unconscious roles too; the provider, the warrior, the strong stoic one, the silent type, the bad boy, the good boy, the ‘alpha’ male, the ‘beta’ male. The list goes on. The fact is that if you’re a guy it’s likely that:
- You are trapped in a number of unconscious roles that you aren’t aware of
- Its difficult to discover what they are because no one is talking about it much
- You are suffering and struggling in a way that you needn’t because you are trapped in these roles unconsciously
- Emotions such as guilt or shame are present for you, and your range of emotions that can give you real joy, pleasure and thriving are limited
So then, male liberation is quite simply ‘the liberation of men from their own traditional unconscious roles’. Like with women, this doesn’t mean that you can’t engage in traditional roles such as a provider or warrior, it just means you are doing it consciously, and integrating other non-traditional roles into your male path in a way that enables you to thrive and feel empowered alongside your female friends, lovers and colleagues as they tread their own path of liberation.
Some essential questions
These are either to ask yourself as a man (or to ask your male friends if you are a woman!):
- What roles as a man am I currently trapped in? And what is the price I am paying?
- What would my idea of my own path of ‘conscious manhood’ be? How can I start exploring and articulating it?
- To whom do I (or could I) go to for support in my path of male liberation and thriving?
- What can I do today to get on that path?
Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2019.
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