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.