Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Tonight, at our 6th meeting of the SeattleIntegral Integral Warriors Mens Group, we're going to be talking about Living our Deepest Realization. That realization is different at every stage, but for Stage 3 men, part of what it's about is being willing to die each day to the person you think you are, to hand the wave back to the ocean. Awakening is not a single event in time; it is a river endlessly flowing in this moment now. It is coming home to yourself as the prelude to all else.
The way a man searches for freedom depends on his particular needs, which typically change through his life in three stages.
First-stage needs are about gaining something, like food, money, sex, power, or fame. A first-stage man tends to form a Dependence Relationship with his woman.
Second-stage needs are about self-improvement, authenticity, being in touch with your inner wisdom, and creating a Garden of Eden on earth. A second-stage man is interested in forming a 50/50 Relationship with his woman.
Third-stage needs are about letting go of self-definition, relaxing your endless search for completion, feeling through the tension of this present moment, and surrendering your limits on openness, as each moment arises and dissolves in love. A third-stage man enjoys a relationship with his woman based on the practice of Intimate Communion.
The Masculine force looks different depending on which type of need is most important to a man. For instance, a first-stage man is searching for freedom by trying to get something. Since his search is an effort to gain something, he is offended when someone asserts that he doesn't have something, whether brains, bucks, or babes. The first-stage man is an acquisitional man. He sees freedom as something to get. He is a car mechanic dreaming of his own garage. He is a predator on wall street. He is a doctor with a Mercedes and a mistress. He is a man whose goal is somewhere outside of his body, outside of this moment, and he is going to get it. First-stage victory involves acquiring the sacred object--the cash, the car, the country--that is out there to be had. The first-stage man is a man of acquisition, of gain, and of enlarged self-image.
A second-stage man looks quite different from a first-stage man. The second-stage man is not out to conquer his enemies; he is out to conquer his own limitations. He is not looking to gain more of something; he is looking to improve who he is. He doesn't want more, he wants better. He seeks freedom by transforming himself and his world, not by overpowering and acquiring things and others.
The second-stage man battles his own demons and emerges victoriously whole, balanced, a hero of self-integration. If he is afraid of heights, he learns to sky-dive. If he is shy of intimacy, he uses therapy to help him grow beyond blocks he developed in childhood. He seeks to transform his self-understanding through the study of philosophy or esoteric spirituality. He wants to transform the outer world from a battleground into a Garden of Eden. Whereas the first-stage man tries to become a hero of acquisition, the second-stage man tries to be a hero of transformation.
The first-stage hero stands victorious atop his mound of wealth, slain enemies, and respectful subordinates. The second-stage hero stands victorious atop his mound of self-control, internal mastery, and impeccable action. He has won--he is completely his own master, authentic and whole, fully responsible for his own happiness. He is free to go where he wants, when he wants. He is free to love who he wants, perhaps a woman or two, or maybe just himself. The second-stage man is a free spirit, a Renaissance man of the new age, a man of inner evolution and outer adventure--an adventure not of gaining personal wealth, but of creating a more utopian way of life.
The second-stage man is also singularly deluded. At least the first-stage man is up front with his wants: He wants big bucks and big breasts. The second-stage man often hides his own emptiness, and his own needs, even from himself. He has practiced meditation for ten years, traveled all over Asia and India, is a certified Aikido master and psychotherapist, and, essentially, nothing fundamental has changed. He still feels unfinished.
Things are a little easier than they used to be, but still, he is not free. He is still locked in his own fears. He is still bound by the fear of death, the fear of separation, the fear of failure. Furthermore, he is older now, and he doesn't have the energy or determination he once had. He has created a comfortable place for himself in the world, and although he is embarrassed to admit it, he doesn't want to risk losing too much. But he has no choice. His evolving Masculine energy moves him to take a good look at his life and face the consequences of truth.
Suddenly, the second-stage man opens his eyes and sees his life as he has settled for it. He feels his own dullness, his own fear, his own mediocrity, and he begins to burn inside. His precious self, which he has worked so hard to master, feels like a clench. His life which once seemed so easy now seems like a tedious burden. His relationships and career weight him with false obligations. He is afraid to let go of it all, but the constant knot in his gut is becoming too much to bear.
It is a helpless situation. He is absolutely unsatisfied. The breakdown of hope and the recognition of futility has brought him to the edge, and he has no real choice: He releases into the abyss. He succumbs to a crisis. His self-sufficiency and self-worth fall to zero.
If he stays in place without adding consolation to his suffering, if he remains an open-hearted warrior even at zero, then a miracle will manifest. Because he knows he can depend on nothing, he has freed himself from all false support. Because he has outgrown the first-stage need to depend on something outside of himself, as well as the second-stage need to depend on something inside of himself, he is vulnerable to grace. His reduction to nothing has rendered him helpless, but not without help.
Without looking, without trying, a spontaneous force of life begins to become obvious. It is the same mysterious force which beats his heart, moves his thoughts, and illuminates his dreams at night.
Since he has felt the futility of letting his life be dictated by others as well as by his own endless thoughts, he is open to being lived by another force, the force of truth, the force which has always lived him and is living him now. Whatever he may call this force, it is the force of existence itself, the direct and unmediated flow and feeling of being.
Today's third stage man has fallen in love with the present moment and
the possibilities of living right now as a gift of love, as a work of art. They
live for now, and now, and now.
It is who he is, even when his friends and concepts fail him. It is the one who witnesses his dreams at night and his thoughts and actions during the day. It is the force of being or consciousness that is constant throughout all of his experiences. It is who he is, always, but it controls nothing.
In the crises of futility, he realizes that his inside world and his outside world are obviously beyond his control, and that death is inevitable. So he does the only thing he can do. He surrenders, sacrificing all experiences, inner and outer, into the one force that creates, sustains, and dissolves all of his experiences.
The third-stage man is rested in the fullness of this force. He is lived by this force, as this force. Thus, his actions are spontaneous truth. His home is the fullness of love or non-separation.
When the third-stage man forgets his home, and temporarily wanders in search, he always wakes up to the same moment: this living moment, now, spontaneously arising, luminous as the objects within it, and conscious as the witness of itself. He realizes that this living moment is always appearing to itself. This moment is neither dependent on him nor independent of him, but arises, spontaneously and consciously, inclusive of him.
His search is always dissolved in this intuition of non-separation, of pleasurable unity, of love. He stands as the free consciousness in which this moment arises. The fully mature third-stage man recognizes that his nature is freedom itself, always transcending, witnessing, and including that which arises.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
"Freedom, power, fear, money, sex, enlightenment, death, wisdom, excellence, challenge, transcendence, purpose--living at your edge is the masculine form of spiritual practice. No man is truly happy unless he is living a life of facing his fears and transcending them in his quest to give the gift he was born to give." - David DeidaWhat does it take for a man to live a masculine life of integrity, authenticity, and depth? What does it mean to live at, or just beyond your edge? Being at our edge is about embracing fear and uncertainty, about growing, and about getting out of our comfort zone because staying comfortable in one spot too long is really like dying. Yes, there are times when we should relax, times for reflection, and time to be alone to rediscover our mission or purpose, but then we have to climb back out of the safety of our cocoon and embrace life. A man is not fully satisfied unless he is on purpose in his life.
There are too many places that I live on my edge to talk about here, and it appears to be something I'm quite good at, but there's one place I'd like to share with you. It's about facilitating the men's group, "Integral Warriors." When I was putting the group together, and not sure it would happen, a co-worker asked, "what makes you qualified to lead a men's group?" I could have turned that into a self-limiting belief, but instead followed my heart, where I knew inside that this is part of my purpose. I wrote about it to Anyaa, my beloved, last night:
The Men's group was amazing last night! I spoke about my edge at the group, even speaking to the fact that group is my edge (who am I to lead such a group of amazing men?), but here I am stepping into it successfully, and each of them loves the group and shows up every 2 weeks to be in the space I've created......Then their gratitude came up around what I've done, and how even the men who belong to MKP and other groups consider this their favorite and most provocative group......what a blessing!!!!It's all about living at your edge and the quickening of sacred awakening through doing so, being alive and on purpose.
Are are you living at, or slightly beyond, your edge? Why not? What's stopping you?
photo of Gary at the top of Mt. Si, in Washington
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Where Andrew Cohen seems take the position that Romantic Relationship is an illusory path toward enlightenment, Robert Augustus Masters takes an entirely different approach.
Masters' new book, Transformation Through Intimacy, seems to be coming from an entirely different perspective.
In the introduction, Masters writes about the Evolution of Intimate Relationship, and in chapter after chapter, unfolds a radical path to intimacy touching on Immature & Mature Monogamy, States and Stages in the Evolution of Relationship, reactivity, shadow, conflict, emotional illiteracy, working with jealousy, power struggles, delusions, shame, guilt, anger, sexuality - and then, bringing it all together, he then addresses commitment. the need for safety, trust, love and a deeper love, attracting our beloved, and finally, in the conclusion, Mature Monogamy.
His latest newsletter features a chapter called The Art of Listening. To quote:
Listening is all about being wholly attentive to our partner, and not just to what is being said! As we hear what isn’t being said, and respond to that without speaking, we deepen our resonance with our partner, becoming an open space for the fullest possible expression of what he or she is attempting to convey to us.Masters, like me, believes that Intimacy as a Path, is possible and desirable, not an illusion. Of course, it is an illusion if you believe it's an illusion, because here, as in so many other places, what we think creates our reality. If you're a teacher, and your partner is your student, can you meet each other as equals? Masters goes on to say:
As we listen so fully and with such authentic interest that our own thoughts all but disappear, we can hear our intuition’s messages loud and clear, without any dilution of the attention which we are giving to our partner. The deeper that we take this — or the deeper that we allow it to take us — the richer and more obviously multidimensional the intersubjective (or “we”) space between us and our partner.
When we are really listening, we are not only receiving our partner’s words, pauses, somatic messages, emotional state, and corresponding energies, but are also providing them with a conducive space in which to express themselves, level upon level.and finally,
We then learn to listen not only to their interiority (their perceptions, feelings, thoughts, and so on) and to their exteriority (their body language, behavior, and so on), but also to the qualities of the intersubjective space between them and us — as well as to the familial, cultural, and planetary forces which may be influencing them. The point is not to split these up into neat categories — for they all coexist simultaneously and share considerable overlap — but to make sure that we are covering all the bases as best we can as we listen, ever letting our listening deepen.
Listen. What do you hear? Now listen even more closely. Listen to the silence letting yourself feel its presence, both all around and inside you.Powerful transformational work through relationship! In my 6-part workshop series. "Big Love Integral: An Exploration into Conscious Romantic relationship in an Integral Context," I show people how to use relationship as a vehicle for transformation and later stage consciousness. And if they're not in relationship with a Beloved, I give them ways to call that kind of a relationship into their lives. They see it because I model it for them, and Anyaa does the same thing in her workshops.
Listen. Silence just said something. Don’t lose it in the translation. Silence does speak.
Listen. Listening is undividedly attentive, dynamic receptivity, as respectful as it is empathetic.
Listen until there is no self-contained listener, no self-conscious center of hearing, but only listening. And don’t forget to listen while you are speaking; listening to our listener only deepens our connection. Listen. There’s so much being said to you, through you, by you, for you, as you, at this very moment...
I'd almost think that perhaps someone actually has to experience that kind of relationship to see how a Beloved can inspire later stage consciousness, except I see people in my workshops who get it clear enough to want to call it into their lives. I still stand by my belief that, sadly, around this issue, Andrew Cohen doesn't get it. Andrew: Get to a David Deida workshop.
Friday, November 09, 2007
I think it's that ego. I think it's the Guru syndrome that he steps so willingly and so easily into. I think it's that he takes so much credit for things that are already emerging , with him, without him, around him, away from him, and in spite of him.
A perfect example was The Guru and the Pandit article published in WIE in Issue 37 a couple of months ago. I wrote about it on this blog when it first came out, and my Beloved, Anyaa, who has been doing Women's Work for 30 years, also wrote about it here, so I won't revisit that territory.
It's the new blog that's got me going now. In this blog, Andrew Cohen makes the claim that the biggest illusion "this side of the Milky way" is this:
What is that illusion? It is the ultimate sacred cow of our time and culture: the belief that through a romantic connection with “that special someone,” we will experience the deepest connection there is to life itself. I’m speaking about evolving beyond the conviction that spiritual connection and perfect contentment will be found in the romantic and sexual embrace.Uh, excuse me? THAT's the biggest illusion? Not "failing to realize we're all ONE?" If the world could get over romantic relationship as the Path to Enlightenment, we'd solve the biggest illusion?
This is a very tough message for most people to hear: that as overwhelming as the romantic promise so often feels, it’s just not what it appears to be! It’s what I call the “promise of perfection,” and what Buddhists would call a grand “illusion.” The promise of perfection is the illusion that a deep and profound spiritual happiness or fulfillment can be found in the electric polarity of gender attraction. Most of us will admit, in our more lucid moments, that this promise is rarely fulfilled, and even when it is, that it rarely lasts. But in spite of this, even as we get older, we seem reluctant to give up the belief that one day we will meet a person who will fulfill all our hopes and dreams.
Beside the glaring misplacement of importance, one of the other problems is that Cohen is once again doing the typical male approach to enlightenment as ascension - up and out. In my opinion, not enough attention is paid by him to the expression of our physical bodies and our existence in the relative world as an expression of the Divine.
It seems to me, that while relationship as a Path to Enlightenment is a limited option - after all, not everyone is blessed to be in such a relationship, and, as a fairly new phenomenon historically, romantic relationship simply doesn't exist everywhere and in every culture - it still is, however a path. Not the only path, but a path...one of many available to some. He ends with:
Too often in spiritual circles, men or women only come together to glorify or
romanticize the fact of gender. What I’m pointing to is something altogether different. Interestingly, it is when our self-sense disidentifies with the arbitrary fact of difference—through the deep and profound relaxation of egoic tension and self-consciousness—that the potential for the egoless expression of gender emerges. When men and men, and women and women, are committed to coming together with their own gender beyond ego, the very notion and expression of gender itself can evolve. And it is only then that men and women will finally be able to meet each other on an entirely new ground, one that has never existed before.
In my view, it's not an either/or situation. For a lucky few who discover their Beloveds, it's definitely an both/and scenario. Just as we can be be spiritual beings manifesting in the relative world. That's one of the gifts of the Divine, and I gratefully accept it in my life as one of my paths. While I honor the gifts Andrew brings, I also consciously step back from those who say "I have the path."
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
This is a time in history when it feels somewhat difficult to be optimistic. I can't tell you how many people I've heard who are referring to "a shift" taking place...a turning of the ages, if you will, predicted for this time by sources long gone, including Nostradamus, the Mayans, and, yes, even the Bible. We no longer have to worry about predictions - we only have to open our eyes.
It's hard to be optimistic as we near the end of 2007 with all of the events and circumstances we now find ourselves facing. We face monumental problems unlike any humankind has ever experienced. For one, up until about 70 years ago, at no time in our history have we had the wherewith all to completely destroy ourselves, and even that scenario and possibility, despite the end of the Cold War, is still with us today. Ideologues, despots, religious fundamentalists, and madmen seem to control these fierce arsenals, and who knows what any of them might do as result of a perceived threat or to further their own means. We don't have took far to find them, either.
Wars might have broken out in spots, but most places were untouched by them at any given time and our survival as species was not threatened.
We now have have Pakistan's leader, Musharraf, taking complete control of that country and it's nuclear arsenal. We have already seen the first resource war, the first Gulf War, where Saddam Hussein tried to take control of Kuwait's oil fields, and are seeing the second in the US occupation of Iraq. Make no mistake: Every war from here on out is a resource war, whether for oil or water.
California has it's own resource war ongoing on between the north and the south and the battle for the state's water is taking serious shape. Watch this one closely: it will be retold again and again across the globe over the next few years. LA has no water and rather than legislate, California's legislators are preparing two bills, one in favor of the south and one in favor of the north, to see which way the wind blows. Atlanta has a dwindling 4 month supply in it's aquifer and is ground zero in the epic drought that's tightening it's grip on the south. Use of middle America's Ogallala Aquifer, running from Nebraska to Texas, averages 25% above the rate of replacement - more bad news.
The Debt Crisis: Citibank just wrote down $11.5 billion in bad loans as a result of the sub-prime market. It wrote down another $6B just a month ago. Many are saying it's the first domino in a collapsing banking industry. That causes another serious problem:
The Stock Market: As a result of the Debt Crisis, the stock market crashes, losing approximately 25%, or more, of it's value. The dollar continues to fall.
As the dollar falls, foreign governments, particularly OPEC nations, switch to the EURO as the trading currency, further devaluing the dollar: Depression. Massive unemployment. Debt. Record bankruptcies.
Oil is going to reach $100 a barrel real soon. It hit $96 a barrel today. Up from $60 a barrel 4 months ago. Any predictions?
Global Warming. Coming down the highway like a giant big rig running on it's last gallon of diesel. More drought.
Population: 6+ Billion and growing.
I struggle for balance in the face of all the negativity thrust upon us as a result of increased awareness through being able to hold the "unholdable" perspective, and as a result, being more conscious than the average comatose individuals who have been intentionally lulled to sleep (the average people I know don't have a clue about what's going on or are in denial).
I look at these events with a belief that these are not random, meaningless events, but, rather, are occurring for the distinct purpose of waking us up, to stretch us into new territories of awareness. For me, that waking up is the profound realization that what we are now doing, as Americans, and as humanity, is simply not sustainable, and that there will be a shift, and things will be very different than they are now.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Mathew's London Integral Circle was one of the first, if not the first, organized integral salons in the world, and was the model for creating SeattleIntegral, the salon I helped co-found. LIC is one of the largest salons in the world, at over 250 members.
Plus, there's a comprehensive round-up of integral blogs, links, online communities, etc., etc. He's asked that if you like what he's doing, to please add a hotlink to IntegralStrategies from our websites or blogs (this will enable it to appear in Google search results).
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I believe that the reason this woman came into my life and that I was able to step up to her and her power, is because a few years ago I decided I had to be the kind of man that a woman like this would be attracted to. I had to fully step into my own power, and that meant doing my own work, not just sitting by and letting life take me, but by me taking charge of my life and my own embodied masculine. When both of us do our own work, it helps us support each other in the directions that most serve our growth in love, relationship and happiness.
Your woman is going through some inevitable changes in her life. She chose you and she wants you to join her in this growth and she wants your support and your strength. It's the greatest gift you can give her.
I wrote this a few days ago at Anyaa's request. She's writing an article on how the masculine can support their partners as they go through the Shamanic Priestess Process she facilitates for women all over the world. She's asked men who have successfully supported their women through this transformative process to support other men who are now going through what they went through with a couple of written paragraphs she can share.
I have a T-Shirt on the i-Boutique that says "Enlightenment ain't cheap." It's a dual meaning: Yes, we pay a lot of money to attend workshops, etc., but we also pay with our relationships, our jobs, and our blood, sweat, and tears. Many men are frightened that their relationship with their woman is going to change as a result of this process, and it is, but I refer you back to my quote at the top.
One of the responses she got was from a man who objects to the duality of masculine and feminine approaches to conscious evolution, and I understand that once one has attained the ability to rest in the non-dual, that the masculine and feminine dissolve away into one-ness. People can even attain the non-dual in altered states (temporary) before they reach the stage (access at will).
But until we get past the states and into the stage structures, there is a natural hierarchy that must be met (don't confuse natural hierarchies with dominator hierarchies), and one of those is going through and healing our masculine and feminine selves. Women have had thousands of years of domination by the masculine that they generally have to work through before they're able to begin to step into their true power, and this work, at this level, cannot be taught by men, any more than a men's group can be led by a woman.
So to get to the later state-stage structures, especially the non-dual, it's critical that the masculine and feminine work be completed, or we bring the ego and shadow aspects of those qualities with us, to trick us, harass us, and fool us into thinking we've made it when we really haven't.
So for the men who fear the work their woman is doing, do your own work and step up to who she's becoming, or at least support her....because she's becoming....with or without you.
And for those who think we can get to enlightenment in a single, sudden gift of a leap without doing the work (and it does happen but rarely), for most of us, there are many. many paths to the non-dual, and denial of those different paths is just "enlightened" fundamentalism.