Does new masculinity mean being authentic? It is a hot topic of conversation but, most importantly, it is a spiritual matter:
What does it mean to be a man today?
What is a man’s role in today’s society? What should his life’s purpose be? Does the macho stereotype correspond to every single man on earth? Is the man of steel a “manly” role model? Is the Mr. Nice Guy image helpful or just an attempt to please women and a reflection of a man raised predominantly by his mother, which is so common today?
More men are starting to ask these questions. I am also inspired to consider them. Living in a spiritual community has shown me a very different side of men… One that is counter to the dominant patriarchal approach.
I feel it is only fair to add to the discussion.
Riding the Waves with Conscious Men
I have found that an incomplete perception of masculinity has been sabotaging my intimate relationships with men. I wanted to attempt to better understand the masculine essence and put an end to this confusion. So, I decided to immerse myself in an experience that could show me both sides of the “male” world: the macho type and the conscious* one.
I was in the right place for this experiment—the Hridaya Yoga Center on the breathtaking Oaxacan Coast. One of my male friends here happens to be a professional surfer, so I asked him to give me my first surfing lesson.
I figured that if I practiced a “manly” activity with a conscious man then I would have a complete view of both approaches. I would deal with the conditioning of the impact of this masculine activity (in the sense that it gives you significant amounts of adrenaline) and at the same time, I would interact with his mesmerizing energy.
I Am You
After an hour learning how to jump on the board, deal with currents, keep my balance, and ride in the powerful ocean, I went into the water and dealt with the first two waves. Both times, I only could reach mid-height before inevitably falling.
I was feeling nervous, excited, rushed.
I kept wrestling with the waves and the ocean’s passion without being able to actually stand on the board for more than one microsecond. After an epic wipeout (known in surfing slang as “the washing machine”), I remembered my friend’s words during the lesson. What he said resonated in my heart so deeply that it actually inspired me to write this piece:
The board will tell you everything you need to know about your character and emotional state. It is the perfect mirror.
Surfing is a form of meditation, I thought, but of a different kind. It is meditation in motion.
In Tantra, Shakti is the mirror in which Shiva realizes his own grandeur. They represent the feminine and masculine principles of creation and life.
Since 2004, a two-meter high statue of Shiva Nataraja has stood outside the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. CERN operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world and received the statue as a gift from the Indian government.
The New Masculinity: What We Are Made Of
In Indian philosophy, Shiva Nataraja is a visual representation of both the universe and its source. It symbolizes that underneath all movement absolute stillness abides, bearing witness to innumerable changes but remaining forever changeless.
Shiva Nataraja’s “dance of bliss” symbolizes the cycle of creation and destruction. It also embodies the daily rhythm of birth and death.
Modern quantum physics has shown that this rhythm is also the very essence of inorganic matter. According to this theory, all interactions between the constituents of matter take place through the emission and absorption of virtual particles. This is what Shiva dancing looks like at a subatomic level.
A Newness of Perspective
In the end, there is nothing new about masculinity. The patriarchal paradigm is what feels old. Although framing masculinity in a new way may seem revolutionary, it is actually nothing more than coming back to its essence.
I realized this deeply when I met the most amazing man a couple of months ago. I opened up in such a way that I could see my true colors, without shame or guilt. He started to become a reflection of my True Nature.
My dedication to the practice of the Spiritual Heart is very much inspired by the energy of conscious men. It is so welcoming and open that it creates the perfect alchemic environment in which actual transformation is possible. Without their presence I would not have being able to realize that I also needed to come to terms to my masculine side in order to heal past patterns.
They showed me that a couple is a union so strong that it illuminates those in its presence. They taught me that being in love means being vulnerable. Also, that uncertainty is part of who I am and patience is more than just waiting around.
Their beautiful energy inspired the arousal of my raw and courageous self. I feel safe, not because I am secure from harm but because I know what trust is. When they are around, I experience a feeling of warmth, tenderness, wisdom, empathy, support, and love.
New masculinity is an attitude to be cultivated in both men and women. As in the dance of Shiva and Shakti, it is a fun, intimate, and divine mirroring game for Self-revelation.
*Conscious men/women: Those who inquire about their True Nature and bring the acquired knowledge into practice. They are also people who respond solely to their heart’s call.
I would like to dedicate this post to all men in my life and all my brothers at the Hridaya Yoga Center. I would like to especially mention Craig White, a Hridaya Yoga teacher who wrote this beautiful poem about the warrior archetype. He is inspiring other men to reveal their True Essence by giving lectures, talks, and retreats around the world. If you feel the inner calling to be part of this movement, he will be leading a retreat during the first three days of September at the Hridaya Yoga Center in Mazunte, Mexico.
This is also dedicated to all the conscious men and women out there who are participating in the rebuilding of a new way of relating to the world and to each other.