What About Men?

we're in this togetherThe Hits Men Take
Relationships With The Unreal
Prostrate With Grief
We're In This Together

The Hits Men Take

My appreciation for the body's center derives from my own experience living in a woman's body. I can't presume to speak for men.

That said, I observe that our culture's distress regarding women and our pro-creative power injures men as well as women. We're all born from a woman's belly. When our culture invalidates the women who are our mothers and limits their self-expression, we all feel the impact.

In devaluing women, our culture also injures men in specific ways. In order to be respected as a "real man," a male human being must frequently deny and distance himself from the culturally-defined "womanly" aspects of his identity as a whole. He numbs his emotional awareness, his tenderness, his non-logical knowing. He takes the playground punches to his gut without crying, tightens his belt, adopts the breathless "chest out, belly in" posture of the good soldier. What "real man" can stomach being called a weak sister, a "sissy"?

Relationships With The Unreal

The consequences of such self-alienation are devastating. Human beings need to feel whole. On a global scale, the violence, injustice, poverty, war, hunger, and greed rampant in the world today are the manifestation of men's urgent need to reclaim what's "womanly"—not by finding it within themselves but by controlling it and exploiting it in others.

This is the scenario as it often develops among individuals:

In order to approximate a sense of wholeness, a man projects his own rejected "womanly" ways of being onto the screen of a female human being that he can (or thinks he can) control. As a result, he no longer perceives that woman to be a self-determining, self-validating person. In his world, the female human being must be a robotic manikin, assigned to model his fantasy of what a woman should be. Accordingly, the man's interactions with the woman become a power struggle, a skirmish between "me" and "the parts of me I disown and still yearn to integrate." Isolated in such narcissism, he's unable to recognize the other's autonomy, unable to enter into authentic, intimate relationship with another human being.

Prostrate With Grief

The longing for the womanly is ancient within each of us. As we humans develop embryologically, we're all female: the female body is the template for the human body. As development continues, sex-specific features emerge. The tissue that blossoms into the uterus in a woman's body becomes, in the context of a man's body, a cluster of cells in the prostate gland, the prostatic utricle. I suspect that men's prostate problems, even the incidence of prostate cancer, reflect men's longing to acknowledge their own "womanly" ways of being. Perhaps, however unconsciously, men are prostrate with grief: they've been dying to experience and express the womb-like aspects of who they are.

"Masculine" and "feminine" are complements, polar aspects of the totality of who we are. Integrating polarities, engendering a sense of wholeness, expressing authenticity—such qualities and capacities emerge as we humans develop and direct our hara-power. The hara relates to the womb, the uterus, within a woman's body. The Asian healing arts refer to a man's hara as his "palace of essence." As a man develops his hara-power, he reaffirms and repossesses the "womanly" qualities he's previously disowned. He begins to perceive a woman as a person, informed by her own purpose. His need to control her diminishes. He becomes more capable of entering into a relationship of mutual respect.

We're In This Together

As men increasingly live and breathe from center, they prepare themselves to enter into the egalitarian relationships many women desire, and which we deserve. Truly loving relationships can develop as the partners each live from their inner source of being and support each other in returning to their core wisdom, again and again. In this way the relationship takes its strength from the shared center that emerges in the partners' midst.

In the context of such relationships, men and women can serve as allies for each other, affirming the natural beauty of our bodies and our bellies, the wisdom and power dwelling within our body's center.

As men and women support each other in coming home to ourselves, we can engender a more peaceful, just, and sustainable way of being human together on this planet.

2006 Self-Health Education



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