BY: MICHAEL LEWIS
Luckily, it seems that embracing our spiritual being has become much more acceptable in society. It doesn’t seem to be something as taboo as it once was. For the first time in a long time, I think the inhabitants of our earth are beginning to realize that there is something else in this world that isn’t obvious. I am not talking about life on other planets, a man or woman named God who lives in the sky, or an invisible spirit – nor am I ruling them out. However, I do believe that the entity that we are realizing is our own essence which some call spirit, God, inner peace, consciousness, soul, what have you.
We are finally starting to look inwards and ask the man in the mirror if he is satisfied with his life.
I am concerned however, that our spiritual journey as men may be affected by the social “norms” of our society and how it may be inhibiting our own potential for spiritual awakening. Currently in society it seems there are still expectations of “appropriate and acceptable gender roles.” Men are shunned in society if we show emotion, enjoy shopping, where pink, like watching a “chick-flick,” prefer Yoga to weight-lifting or just want to have a heart-felt conversation. It’s unfortunate because when we do those things, so many are reduced to pejorative judgments such as Gay, Fag, Pussy, Pussy-whipped, Wimp and the like. How spiritual is that? Better yet, how evolved is that? How evolved are you?
My wife and I were having this talk some time ago and the question came up: Since when does spirituality have gender roles? (In this case, spirituality or enlightenment refers to transcending our ego [false sense of self], ending our internal suffering and rising above all judgment – self and non-self). If we are still identified with roles (gender or otherwise), it seems we haven’t yet been enlightened, doesn’t it? As far as gender, does it really matter if you have a Y-chromome? Are only females allowed to “feel?” Are “Real Men” only allowed to give a congratulatory slap in the ass if it falls under the guise of sports?
If Darwin could see us now, he may only give us another 500 years!
To date we still live in an environment where men sanctimoniously puff out their chest, feel the need to be the ‘alpha,’ or constantly try to lift themselves up by putting others down. Just hang around men long enough and the reptilian brain makes an appearance. It doesn’t have to be in “our nature” does it? Isn’t our purpose as spiritual beings to transcend ego and our false bravado? Looking deeper, to recognize that the false bravado or insecurity is probably nothing more than the “little boy” inside of you just screaming for attention. Maybe if we paid more attention to ourselves and that “little boy,” we wouldn’t be so reactive (or as my father-in-law states it) like a pinball reacting to its environment. Imagine this: What if that pinball had the awareness to ask itself, “Do I really want to roll into that bumper?” It’s a game changer!
My hat is off to the entire crew at the Men’s Center of Los Angeles, including Stephen Johnson (Dr. J) and the rest of the crew and men who continue to create and support the Men’s Sacred Path Retreat. These men constantly confront themselves and try to lift their familial and spiritual anchors so they can set adrift in this world without limitations. For me, it has been life changing and yes, a game changer! Ahoy!
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin!