Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Integral Warrior Book Talk to an MKP iGroup

Last night I did my first official "book talk" and my book hasn't even been released. Oh, we're not too far off from that happening, maybe 4 weeks from this writing, but I was invited and I went. I'm very glad I did.
I first want to say thanks to this Mankind Project mens' group for allowing me to present my book, "Awakening the New Masculine: The Path of the Integral Warrior." I hope the 25 or so men who attended got as much out of the evening as I did. I learned quite a few things. Slow down, relax, and perhaps most important, framing the discussion of masculine and feminine outside of gender aspects and labeling.

One of the criticisms I got from a couple of the men about my presentation last night was that it lacked a multicultural viewpoint. They were right. It did. I flat forgot to set up the conversation with the caveat that---although I would frame the conversation within a gender context, because that's the perspective I come from---all references about masculine and feminine transcend gender and apply across the board, regardless of our sexual essence, but strongly informed by it. If you don't know, sexual essence is a complex subject all about how we each identify more with either masculine or feminine qualities, and more, and nothing to do with gender (this is a simplistic telling, as books have been written around this subject)

So all of us can carry a preponderance of masculine or feminine sexual essence, in spite of our physical gender. This is also known as the two fundamental energies of the Universe in Chinese Philosophy: Yin and Yang, with Yang being masculine, and Yin being feminine (again, somewhat simplistic). This is also where it gets interesting.

Each of us, men and women, can carry a combination of these energies. For instance, most men in our culture---but not all---carry Masculine, or Yang, as their primary archetypal energy, and most women---but not all---carry Yin as their primary energy. But there are also many of us who do not. Some men carry more Yin energy, and some women carry more Yang energy. It doesn't necessarily mean they are gay, but they may be. To further complicate this picture, there are also men who carry more Yang energy who are gay, and lesbian women who carry more Yin energy. 
So that creates four patterns and here's what that might look like:
Men: Yang-Yin
Men: Yin-Yang
Women: Yin-Yang
Women: Yang-Yin
Gay or straight, male or female, the majority of us are going to pick a partner who represents the polar opposite of who we are, because the polarization of the opposites is one of the qualities that create sexual tension between human beings.

My friend, Joe Perez, writes in his book "Soulfully Gay" (Shambhala 2007):
"If you're not used to seeing the world in terms of archetypal masculine and feminine energies, then you may have doubts that this way of thinking works for queers, You may wonder, does same-sex attraction somehow disprove 'yin and yang?' The answer is it gets a bit complicated. I largely agree with David Deida's perspective."
"Deida acknowledges universal sexual principles, but he also allows for complex permutations of gender and sexual preference. Deida believes there are universal sexual essences corresponding to yin and yang. A sexual essence is an inner psychological and spiritual drive and is not the same as our sex, gender identity, or sexual preference."
Joe then goes on to say that he believes this approach is generally correct, but that he would prefer a more nuanced typology than than Deida's, and points to that approach in another chapter. I have shown a short version of it above as the "four patterns."

For an even more nuanced approach to this subject, I highly recommend Joe's book.

I believe everyone pretty much got where I was coming from by the end of the discussion, although I could tell there were still some men who didn't yet trust me, but it was a valuable lesson for me, one I won't soon forget.

Again, this is part of why I'm doing this and why I wrote the book in the first place: To deepen my own understanding about these issues. And when we go to these places together in a "we" space instead of "me vs. you" duality, we all benefit. I couldn't ask for more.
Thank you, men.

Read what one Cincinnati MKP man had to say about the workshop, The Integral Warrior

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