FROM CRISIS TO MATURE MASCULINITY from Albert Moore
How would you feel if you knew that a part of you was missing? It’s not a body part. It’s a void in you that longs to be filled. In my case, I filled this void with external things. I got a great education. I married. I got jobs then started my own business. We had children. I became successful by most common metrics. I purchased houses, cars, and toys. I traveled the world searching for this missing piece of me.
I felt like life was dangling a golden carrot out in front of me but no matter what I did or how hard I tried, I could not grasp it. As a result, I reacted angrily or jealously when someone else got a prize. Feeling alone, I was certain that if I shared my inner sense of incompleteness with another man, I’d be perceived as weak, unmanly. It took a crisis to have me realize that none of these material things and experiences could satisfy my longing to fill the void. I needed to find a different path. But what was it? I was fortunate to find a few other men who would share about this longing.
When I speak at events, this is one of the stories I share when I’m asked, mostly by women, “Why are men so angry?” In response, I ask this question: If you sensed there was a part of you that was missing and no matter where you searched, you couldn’t find it, How would you feel? Might you feel angry and alone or at least frustrated?
A STORY (unknown origin)
Once there were three angels. They became discouraged upon learning that God planned to make new creatures in God’s Image and Likeness. These angels thought they alone were God’s Image and Likeness. They devised a scheme to hide God’s Image and Likeness from these new creatures called Human Beings. Angel one said, “We’ll hide God’s Image and Likeness on the top of the highest mountain.” The angels considered this but on second thought, they realized that humans would explore the world and eventually discover this Image and Likeness. The second angel said, “Oh, let’s hide God’s Image and Likeness at the bottom of the deepest ocean.” After considering that idea for a while, the angels thought, “No, humans would also explore the oceans and find God’s Image and Likeness.” After more contemplation, the third angel exclaimed, I think I have the answer! “We’ll hide God’s Image and Likeness within these humans. They’ll never think to search for it there.” So they did just that.
For many contemporary western men, even contemplating the journey of self-discovery can be terrifying. Traveling the inner road requires uncommon courage often found after reaching bottom with nothing left to lose. To encourage men to take the first step, the Universe often initiates a crisis in career, finances, relationship, or health. For example, your job ends unexpectedly, you might find yourself homeless or you lose all your retirement savings, you get divorced, or you receive news from your doctor that you have a dreaded disease. You could think that you’re a victim. Or you could examine the possibility that this crisis was designed by your Soul/Self to draw your attention inward to find your gift, the loving Essence of God’s Image and Likeness.
I’ve come to understand that a man must know who he is
as the embodied Essence of his Soul/Self, before he can answer the questions,
Who shall I to go with through life? And, what is mine to do?
Often we seek a companion and collect material things to fill our void, believing these people and things define us, give us value, and provide clarity for life’s meaning and purpose. But when we focus on external things, it obscures our view of our Essence.
Through human experiences of feeling separate from our Essence, we are actually advancing our Self-Awareness. We are learning that in human form, we are the extension of the All-Loving Light of our Soul/Self. Further, human life on Earth is shown to be a game played by the Soul/Self. Then we begin seeing ourselves as co-creative partners with our Soul/Self. Human and Soul/Self are One. Realizing this, an expansive understanding forms, including a cosmology. The Soul/Self of each human being holds our Essence while we play the game of forgetting our true identity as the Image and Likeness. With this revelation, a renewed child-like wonder and ebullience fills every cell in our bodies with the vibration of our Soul/Self. This vibration provides access to all the resources required to fulfill our Soul’s Design for our lives. Then with certainty, we remember that everything belongs to everybody and there is always plenty for everyone.
Accepting that the journey
Into Self-Discovery never ends is helpful.
Accepting sets the mind free from reliance upon logic.
Your heart opens to become your compass.
MY SEARCH FOR EXAMPLE
My search for wholeness involved a crisis of trust. I discovered that I needed to look beyond my human form and my mind’s logical framework for meaning, purpose, and answers to my questions. It required diligence, but I came to trust that by following my Soul’s soft-spoken inner voice, a new path would open up for me. My intuition informed and directed my heart to Self-Love and Self-Acceptance. I learned to make choices to live free from fear and other limitations.
The pathway leading through my crisis required me to surrender to the “noble choice,” to face my mortality, figuratively or literally. In making this “noble choice,” every day became “a good day to die.” This attitude diminished ego’s dominance over my choices. I discovered that the dream of WE is in me. This dream had been inside me all along, to serve something greater than my self, my Soul’s Design for my life. Then my external world responded positively by reflecting my new way of being, Self-Loving and Self-Accepting.
INSPIRATION FROM LEGENDARY FIGURES
At times when I needed encouragement, I drank from the well of wisdom offered by the ancients. Socrates for instance, remarked about this inward journey at his trial where he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Perhaps he was referring to the timeless wisdom inscribed above the entry to the Delphic Temple: KNOW THYSELF. This process of self-examination spoken by the Greek sage still applies today. In his book, The Stormy Search For The Self, Stan Grof describes this journey well. When my crisis hit, I was inspired by both of them and others to continue on my journey inward.
If you choose to embark upon this journey into Soul/Self-discovery, a place to begin is by recalling the adage: The eyes are the windows to the Soul. Then try the following exercise:
Stand in front of a mirror.
Look deeply into your eyes and ask:
Who Am I?
Why Am I here?
What is mine to do?
Then summon courage. Allow your Soul/Self to speak to you through the voice of your intuition. Then surrender all your thoughts and concerns. Mentally focus on following your breath, in and out. Give your Soul/Self permission to reveal the mysteries contained in the Soul’s Design for your life. Your Soul/Self will guide you along a pathway to an inner dimension where the answers to your questions already exist. This will help you to be your own guru and never again look outside your Soul/Self for anything.
Your journey into the Soul/Self is a solitary one. Only you can take it. But this must not be construed as selfish. It’s your gift to yourself. Men especially require Time Out from the daily motion of frenetic contemporary life. Time Out yields quantum leaps in Self-Awareness. During Time Out with the Soul/Self, you will likely learn that your Soul/Self has given you an aspect of its Essence, your unique and original way of being. This is your Soul’s energetic signature, your way of expressing Love in all your endeavors and encounters. I think of Essence as the Image and Likeness that the three angels hid within us. When you discover your Essence, name it, claim it, accept it, value, and practice it consistently in all your endeavors and encounters. It leads you to a state of UNION with all that is. You’re likely to experience a profound sense of belonging to the WE-ness. Your heart overflows with joy and you want to share your wholeness with the world. The notion that something is missing in you disappears and you know you are never alone.
Follow your heart!
It will take you where you want to go.
ENCOUNTERING A GUIDE
Along this path, fortunate is the man who encounters a true Hierophant. This is a mentor who never promotes his/her services. He/she extends his/her vibration of Essence and appears on your path seemingly by happenstance. But you were divinely guided to meet. He/she understands the dualistic nature of human existence. He/she has traveled this path before you and mastered its challenges. The Hierophant mentors you about the mysteries around and within you. This Master tutors you in applications of Universal Principles to consciously create life experiences that reflect the loving Essence of your Soul/Self. He/she instructs you about honoring and bringing into balance the masculine and feminine aspects of the Soul/Self. You learn to apply the knowledge of the masculine and the receptive creative nature of the feminine to co-create unifying outcomes for all concerned. You gain the ability to respond lovingly from your Essence to all stimuli rather than automatically react from the illusions of your emptiness.
TIME IN NATURE
The Hierophant encourages you to commune with the natural world, the waters, the deserts, the valleys, the mountains, the forests and all their creatures. In these places, you can spend Time Out learning from nature where all, without exception is honored as sacred. You learn what life is like to be without judgment. You learn that all experiences of your life are designed and guided by your Soul/Self. As you flow with the rhythms of nature, your body, emotions, and mind become energetically integrated. No longer conflicted by life’s dualities, you fluidly weave your way through life. You no longer participate either/or, life/death, right/wrong, up/down games. You are no longer daunted or confused by contemporary social demands to follow only the mind’s logic. In nature, you find it easier to surrender to the intuitive guidance of your Soul/Self. Your five senses peak in nature, revealing the glory of being a Soul/Self incarnate as Human Being. You’ve won the game of forgetting.
A PERSONAL STORY
One crisp autumn day while living in Northern New Mexico, I decided to take a Time Out for self-exploration. For some time I’d wanted to return to Plaza Blanca for a hike. In this unique environment, the native sandstone cliffs, spires, and valleys are soft white-gray. My mind and emotions relax when I hike in this place.
Driving north from Santa Fe, I found the early morning sky to be a deep electric blue, without a cloud. A few miles before the turnoff to Plaza Blanca there is an area where the sandstone cliffs of the Sangre De Christo Mountains and foreground pastures are blood red. These pastures are thickly dotted with pale green sagebrush set against the red ridge tops peppered with the deep green needles of Ponderosa Pine. This combination delineates the blue sky from the red earth with its diverse greenery.
Driving through this area, I found myself completely enraptured by the vibrant colors. A flood of grateful tears filled my eyes and my heart leapt with joy. I could no longer navigate my car while enveloped by this state of rapture. I pulled off to the side of the road. I clenched the steering wheel. Then I screamed, “God! Are you looking through my eyes at the beauty you have created for me to witness? I am so grateful!”
I stepped out of my car to ground the intense energy of beauty and joy running through my body. Afterwards, I proceeded to Plaza Blanca where I spent the day feeling that I am the meeting place of Heaven and Earth. I was happy to be alive as human having experiences of acute sensory awareness. Without having discovered the Essence of my Soul/Self, I wondered if my heart would have been sufficiently open to having this profound experience?
Along this path, I’ve not only experienced ecstatic moments like described above, I’ve also had moments of despondency. With practices and applied self-discipline, I’ve learned to manage, balance, and ground extremes in energy flows. I‘ve accepted that this contrast is integral to advancing Self-Awareness. As I surrendered to it, the void began to fill. I felt complete. All the separateness and aloneness I’d experienced now made perfect sense. Every experience had led me to this perfect present moment of understanding that filled me at the cellular level with joy. Finally, I understood that the void I’d felt is filled when I realize that all dichotomies are illusions presented by my Soul’s Design to help me expand beyond ego’s perceived limitations.
The true Me is my Soul/Self, the objective observer of my human experiences. Accepting the light as well as the dark parts of my human experiences, I am no longer the angry man I once was. I now remember that I am the extension of the light of my Soul/Self experiencing all that life in human form has in store for me. I am honoring the decision of my Soul/Self to express in masculine form during this incarnation. Accepting the Essence of my Soul/Self as my true identity, I am a tender and compassionate masculine Being applying the knowledge and wisdom of my Essence in all my endeavors and encounters. I accept the natural role of the masculine as my own to support the creative nature of the feminine within myself and within others.
Albert Moore is the author of Eyes In The Mirror: Everything Changed When He Met His Soul. Al resides in Richmond, Virginia. Through in-person and online consultations, he facilitates the course, Adventures In Self-Mastery, designed to diminish ego's voice of limitation to hear the voice of our Soul's expansiveness. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.