Lovely piece from Jason Hine about masculinity in our existing cultures, and in potentia. Try clicking on the title, but the link here has been problematic so, in case you cannot see it, here is a cut-and-paste!
‘I feel it is very important that we seek to honour the true essence of the masculine at this time. The oppressive patriarchal behaviour of men that we have seen in history for thousands of years is a stepped down version of true masculine power. In fact one of the reasons that a culture of coercion and control has been so successful in the past is that it has evolved strategies to co-opt or suppress true masculine power.
The behavour of the controlling and ‘patriarchal’ man emerges from the traumatic experiences, neglect and abuse men have been exposed to through history and continue to be exposed to in our culture. This trauma often begins in the womb and continues through early childhood, adolescence and into adult life. Systematic desensitization and disconnection from the source of life passes for the ‘normal’ developmental process in our current culture. Men who are creating abuse are not doing so because they are men, but because they are NOT men. They are acting out their infantile frustrations and their developmental trauma.
Right now men need support to move into their true power and find the ‘gold’ in the masculine, to find a masculinity they can be proud of. At this time in history we begin to see men emerging who are creating alternative ways of being upon the earth other than disconnection and domination. They are doing this alongside empowered women. In a control and coercion based system, in the neoliberal version of the business world, in sport and in institutions like the military, a man is encouraged just to support one side; their nation, team, or organisation. A fully individuated man is a defender of all life, not just one country or organisation. In a society based on control and coercion a man has to submit unquestioningly to an external authority. The true nature of man is to listen inside himself and find his own deepest calling.
Right now there is a huge amount of shame attached to being a man in our culture. Men sometimes look at the behaviour of controlling, unconscious and destructive men and feel shame at being a man. Also, men are shamed and belittled for displaying strongly masculine traits in some circles. It is important that we cease shaming men for exhibiting strongly masculine characteristics. The shaming of maleness helps to creates men who are unable to claim their power and stand up against those who are causing abuse. Instead of being shamed men need to be honoured for the gifts that they are bringing to the world. More than anything else in order to come into their full power men need to be honoured. Some men may even need to access their fierce and warrior like nature. A man may needs to access the honourable, rather than the destructive side of the ‘warrior’.
I feel the true nature of the masculine is something for every man to know and discover for themselves. It is something that can only be experienced subjectively and something men feel in their heart and blood when they emerge from or heal their shame or trauma. We have to be careful to attend to the human process of healing or we will just end up projecting the disconnected disembodied features of the wounded masculine onto the figure of the ‘sacred masculine.’ Having said that when men step into their power some common features of masculinity do seem to arise and we can perhaps now begin to sense the rough contours of the new and ancient emerging masculinity.
Men are emerging who are deeply connected with life and with nature. These men seem to be deeply connected with their bodies and their instinct. Their feeling sense in their body becomes the central guiding force in their life rather than the logical mind. The centripetal force of their being shifts from disconnected thought patterns to their body and its dreaming intelligence. They become capable of nurturing in a particularly masculine way which is distinct from the way women nurture. They are not afraid to confront an oppressor or stand up for their deepest values even in the face of a powerful attack or in the face of great challenges. They recognise that vulnerability and sensitivity is a form of strength. They have a feeling of sacred purpose which they pursue with unwavering and steadfast courage and this purpose is usually something to do with protecting, inspiring or encouraging life. The true nature of the masculine is not to destroy the earth but protect it and to co-create with the earth’s vast immanent intelligence. Men are fair gardeners of the earth, who are here to serve community and to confront and help overcome the dangers which threaten the existence of the tribe.
Jason Hine, Facebook, public post 9 October 2015′
The writer (who is a woman) has some strong resonances with the points Jason makes.
She has a curiosity about what he means by ‘strongly masculine traits’, whilst agreeing wholeheartedly that ‘it is important we cease shaming men’ (and indeed that we cease shaming, full stop – a wholly counter-productive process that perpetuates harm). Of course, the reality is that we are all creatures of our culture, and there is inevitably a strong cultural component in any perception of what ‘strongly masculine’ or ‘strongly feminine’ traits might be. That said, the writer notices the same qualities Jason does, in the individuated man: connection with the natural world, embodiment, intuitive living, trusting the feeling sense, a sense of the sacredness of life and an acceptance of stewardship of that, nurturing, standing up to oppression/injustice, courage, values around vulnerability and sensitivity as key strengths, a sense of intentionality/’sacred purpose’ and values around relationship/community. These qualities seem – at least to the writer – to be essentially similar to those she notices in the individuated woman or any individuated human being. And she too has a sense that – somewhere under the cultural overlay – there are some differences in tone and quality between sacred masculine and sacred feminine, and that these are important and complementary. We all have our gifts to bring, and for each one of us that is unique and specific. Our sense of our own feminine and masculine is an important element in that.
The writer also agrees that, for any of us, emergence into conscious living and relating, in the way Jason describes, is a personal journey which involves deep process work, usually over significant periods of time. It’s all too easy to slap a label – be that ‘new age’ or something else – on the same old unresolved projections, trauma responses and woundedness, and continue to act that through at the expense of self and other. As Jason comments ‘we have to be careful to attend to the human process of healing or we will just end up projecting the disconnected disembodied features of the wounded masculine onto the figure of the ‘sacred masculine.’
Thank you, Jason.
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling in Exeter since 1994