This article is not about transgender. This article is about men who are becoming more feminine, as they get older, against their desires.
When you do this Ayurveda stuff long enough, you gain these cool super powers which helps to see the good in people. You start to observe when someone "doesn't look right". This is not a judgement, not in the sense of eliciting a bad feeling of non approval, but more of an assessment of where a person's centre is and the variation from that centre. You are able to get to the gist, the core, the golden shiny heart centre.
So anyway, superpower. I took note of a couple of friends of mine, men, that looked like they were carrying extra hips, and breasts. There is the very real issue of hormones in our food causing this increase in oestrogen. I advised one friend that was drinking a litre of milk/day to stop, I switched him to rice milk instead. He lost 5 kilograms and his hips and breasts disappeared. On a similar note, I was in Albertsons grocery store in Albuquerque, NM last year, getting myself milk, and as I was going for the organic brand a worker who seemed to stack the shelves asked me why I was choosing organic. I listed the basic reasons - no chemicals or hormones. He then told me of how both his daughters started menstruating before the age of 9, one at the age of 4, and both started growing breasts at the age of 5. The breast cancer council of the US has stated that there are no studies determining the link between pesticides and breast cancer. This is an irresponsibility beyond measure. The intent of science is to create hypothesis - therefore, in order for something to be known, per the Western mindset, someone has to decide to create a hypothesis.
Body morphing takes time. It's one of those situations that would do well with daily video capturing along the likes of "Supersize me". Because breast cancer is not yet a significant portion of the male population, the issue of hormones in food may not be of concern to men. It is currently subtle, however, we might see more of a gross manifestation as the younger generation age. Watch this space.
Going organic is a good thing, especially if you'd like to promote better farming methods that puts less of a strain on the environment and therefore more playground for warrior stuff you might do soon. It's a nice way to tie in the circle of life. With Milk the new movement is Ahimsa milk which does not take the milk from calves and only uses the excess available. It also does not slaughter the cows once production is done - they live for life. Do some research in your area for those that follow this creed.
As a bit of foundational preparation, I wanted to find out how the male energy in our tumultuous times is reacting to the female revolution that has occurred in recent times and how that manifests on a greater whole. We live in a dualistic world, meaning what comes up must come down. It means that where there is a push too far one way, there is fall out on the other to balance it out. In Ayurveda we look at disease of a single person in this vein - what is their middle ground of balance - however we rarely understand the middle road of the earth's inhabitants - the always interesting, forever stimulating, man vs woman conundrum.
I looked up the men's movement on the internet to find out what the men are up to -
- The mythopoetic men's movement was a collection of ideas based on Jung's myths and stories to get to the 'deep'masculine. The premise was that man was losing his masculinity in society from the natural competitive nature of corporations, spending more time with their female partners and less with male comrades, growing up without the male role model outside of the home, the feminist voice that strengthened female voices to the subsequent lack of encouragement of male voices, but mostly the lack of connection to the wildnerness. The poet Robert Bly wrote a book representing the movements' essence called Iron John: A Book about Men. The Mankind Project is a current manifestation of looking after the wellbeing of men by providing training (warrior style), mentorship and community for men to express themselves.
- The men's liberation movement had two factions. One used the feminist movement to understand how the role of a patriarchal society imposed certain expectations of men, in essence to have domain or power over women at work and domestically. The other was influenced by masculism - focusing on creating "male" attributes of courage, assertiveness and independence. Masculine norms, as described in Ronald F. Levant's Masculinity Reconstructed, are "avoidance of femininity; restricted emotions; sex disconnected from intimacy; pursuit of achievement and status; self-reliance; strength and aggression, and homophobia". During the 80's and 90's there was a surgent of courses offered for this information.
- Here is a summary of the movement in general if you're keen.
- Joseph Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" (p23) tells of how myth throughout time all followed a similar story line "A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man".
- For an insight into the play between male and female energies is David Deida's "The Way of the Superior Man". In it he describes the real need for a man to find his freedom - that which makes him come alive. He posits that once he finds this state, he creates harmony in the world. Within this idea, he naturally offers support to the female essence in his world by allowing her to be at her finest, which is the essence of the flow of love. The more free he is, the stronger he is, the more she trusts she can do her wild dance, follow her moon cycle temperament and basically offer to support him. When man deems himself worthy, she can relax.
There's a spectrum, like anything, of the male experience within movements and such. It seems that war and Fight Club and violence against women are merely the gross manifestation of the same idea as The Art of War, The War of Art, and befriending the ultimate female, Mother Nature, in rock climbing. One side constrains, restricts, pushes and screams, the other allows, contains, connects and contemplates.
But whatever side of the spectrum you sit at, both do not look like a lady.
It's a man's world (but it ain't nothing without a woman)
So how did we get here then?
Prakruti, the female essence, dancing her 7 veil dance, with the desire to become many, created Mother Earth and the whole universe. He just sat there in his hammock and watched on whilst she made a home.
In which case, how does man come close to finding a sense of peace within the universe that is trying to teach him? As I see it, and being reasonable that not all men are geared towards sitting in a cave/becoming a monk to find their essence - working backwards from activity to still.
Any activity that draws you from the outside to the inside, where man naturally resides, where his freedom is large. Mother nature, aka the female essence, is here to give and support the male energy. Within this landscape she provides opportunity to move against the body and the elements to find the top of the mountain, The Hero's Journey back home. This can be literal for some and metaphorical for others but it's an opportunity to play within natural law until she no longer serves you.
Herein lies the stepping stone of Ayurveda.
Dr Lad states that Praktui cannot live without Purusha, but Purusha can live without Prakruti. I would say yes, in it's ultimate form. However, whilst men are on the way to freedom, I would suggest that women can support the way. It is a known fact that men live longer if they are in a healthy relationship than single. And I do believe a lot of great work would not have been done by men if there wasn't a woman to take care of the admin of life. I'm generalising, but it seems common enough. And we are in a wonderful age where the definition of "the journey" can include the role of parenting. David Deida expresses this well - it's the essence of the connection between male and female energy that allows each to play it's God/Goddess aspect, not the traditional role playing we created to service society.
And in the wonderful destruction and questioning of definitions in gender - male and female are the pure form of essence. How they embody in nature is the wonderful spectrum of the rainbow. We are being forced as humanity to ease up on our harsh line between right and wrong/ man and woman/ black and white. Within the basic theory is the subtle understandings of everything included.
So as men find their way through understanding the power of self vs force. And as women find the courage to flow with love and be up and down and wild as they want to be, somewhere in the middle is a field.
The way you got into this is the way you'll get out of it.
The separation of spirit
The natural act of someone that feels a lack of power is to exert control over something external to themselves. This tug of war between surrender/faith and the tyranny of the belief in one's own importance can lead to a disconnect in the Self. This is what we term as disease in Ayurveda - a separation from spirit. When you lose touch with reality.
It is not possible to harm nature or it's inhabitants when the spirit and the body are in sync. You see yourself in others and the many becomes one.
That wretched and fascinating movie Mother gave us an illustrated version of the gentle whispers of female nature to the God of man. Jen Lawrence acts as Mother Nature herself suffering the inflictions of the illusions of power created by man (Javier Bardem) and it's lingering debilitating force. But even she has a limit. Her basic tenet is that she moves and changes and creates opposites of herself. She can uplift and destruct. Only the man who knows the God inside is more powerful. Mere man is at her mercy.
Violence against women is violence against nature. Without nature on mans side, he creates a potential risk for disease, both within himself and the environment at large. He can try and contain and suppress her to avoid looking in the mirror but her resilience will only acquiesce to a man that knows his own freedom - until then she will prod and poke since it's her nature to help him find his way.
Take home notes
- The male energy resides more easily in the Absolute
- The female energy of creation is what we align with most (aka Mother Nature), which creates the play of opposites.
- Nature is a doorway to understand the self. Women emulate nature. Men have an option to lean into the natural world and learn about himself from it.
- In order to enact the male energy, a regular practise of pause is required.
- Her essence is to guide the way or to veil your inner truth - there is always a fork in the road.
- Suppressing nature (her) causes disease. both internally and externally.