One of the greatest shortcomings of Enlightenment thinking and the Industrial Age was the commoditization of men and masculinity. The tunnel vision of a medicalized and scientificated 20th century further distanced men from their essential Nature, depriving them of a sense for emotional expression and spirituality. The 20th century may have inculcated the masculine mind with myths of heroism as the bellicose illuminati ground them up in some of the most brutal wars in human history; corporate machines would grind up what was left.
Men today have to bear the accusations and burdens of the past, while being constrained by PC — whether one defines that as political correctness or political control — and living under the intimidation of so-called sexual harassment.
The digitalization of the global community and the information glut that accompanied it as the world entered the 21st century has further marginalized men and diluted masculinity.
Awakening and awareness are essential components both of masculine erotosensuality and general men’s health and well-being.
While this article presumes that the reader is on the homoerotic tāntric path, and that he has established a regular discipline of self-reflection and a meditation practice, any man will benefit from this discussion, even if he does not have a regular spiritual practice.
Is it any wonder that focused and authentic correctives are urgently required for a return to a holistic Welt- and Menschenanschauung or a perception of humanity that embraces the harmonious co-operation of the masculine body-mind-spirit triad as the basis of men’s health and overall well-being.
For western men, probably one of the most difficult shifts in perception, and the most critical step he has the take is that of awakening and becoming fully aware of his True Self; he has to become aware of his nature as a communal being, as a member of a communal Creation, but he must also live out his unique created nature, his pradhāna (प्रधान) or prakṛti (प्रकृति) that is, as a male human being, or more particularly as a mānuṣya (मानुष्य) or mortal man, or pūruṣa (पूरुष) a masculine man. While you, as a man, may view yourself as unique, individual, independent, autonomous, you are in reality part of a Whole, a communal, a component dependent being. This is a difficult concept in a culture that aims to separate and divide individuals, fracture community, and segregate, all of which makes control and subjugation so much easier!
One has to wonder where all that ‘freedom’ is that gets so much lip-service.
It would follow from the above assumption of wholeness, that any impairment of or obstacle to men’s health or well-being would adversely affect the Wholeness; in other words, we are considering a “butterfly effect;” what happens locally has far-reaching ramifications for the universe. Perhaps the ancients already had propounded chaos theory or quantum mechanics in their notions of karma (कर्म) and flow and their emphasis on non-violence or ahiṃsā (अहिंसा).
It goes without saying that any shift in a man’s perception of himself cannot be accomplished without reframing his perception of the entire universe — that Weltanschauung and Menschenanschauung I mentioned earlier —, in which he as a person and as a man operates; it’s not only a perceptual shift, it is a paradigm shift, a fundamental change in approach or in underlying assumptions; it’s an ontological, existential transformation that that redefines his entire reality.
The shift cannot and should not be made in one fell swoop, that is, it is not a quantum leap from one set of paradigms to another; that would be disastrously traumatic. The shift is just that, a shift and not a leap. The shift must be done incrementally, flowing, by self-reflection, assimilating the new knowledge of one’s self, learning to accept the new information, and gradually working it into one’s life, and it should be done with guidance from a competent spiritual guide or mentor.
For the homoerotic tāntric man practicing self-reflection and meditation, he would be at a stage, at which he is sensing a profound change in his heart-mind, his way of perceiving the world around him; he very likely becomes a calmer person, a person who can step back, accept himself and his nature, and accept the natures populating the world around him.
Some of the many questions today’s man might ask himself might include: Why am I? What is my purpose in this place and time? Do I have meaning? What is my part in the Ultimate Plan?
These kinds of questions can be dealt with only if a man is willing to accept his natural vulnerability, to surrender to Reality, and to let go of all pretense of knowing and understanding, or being in control of anything about himself and the Cosmos. In other words, he must step back and let go of all of the illusions he has had of himself and the world around him.
It is those illusions that cause him his greatest suffering, and it is those illusions and the suffering they cause that keeps him hunkered down in paśu (पशु), animal mode.
It takes a lot of courage to simply accept and to live with the implications of being a mortal part of an eternal Whole that is immanent, imminent, and transcendent. Acceptance of being a drop in an ocean is a terrible, almost impossible task for the ego, but for the natural Warrior man, he sees himself as maybe a drop, but also that he is part of an awesome whole and shares in its power.
For the ego to even conceive of anything greater than itself, much less being a microscopic speck in something wholly indivisible and ineffable, is an impossibility; the ego will fight the idea to the death, and that’s the only way it will happen. The ego has to go!
Many men in animal mode — what I call in homoerotic tāntric terms paśu (पशु) — have only the ego, and the very thought of disengaging his ego is a cause of a panic attack; that’s the ego’s way of letting a person know it is confused, terrified, by the real nature and unfathomable potency of such a situation as a man’s transformation.
If confronting the Awesome and the Transcendent is no easy task for the committed and devoted seeker; it is all but impossible for the man who is entrapped in his paśu (पशु) or animal-self, completely imprisoned in his physical body with nowhere else to go.
As we gradually work our way towards Consciousness and healing/balancing of our traumatized masculinity, we must confront the reality of a fragmented sense of self, a fundamental conundrum of life, and most clearly illustrated by most men’s almost total disconnection from the Inner Self, from the essential knowledge of himself, from whom he is, in fact. This is the result of toxic cultural conditioning and stereotyping of men in western culture.
If you are a Tantrika (तान्त्रिक) you will likely have reached a stage in your daily meditation and reflection progress, at which you have overcome a substantial part of the egotism that once plagued you; you can now begin to envision yourself in a process of transformation. You are becoming countercultural.
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2] ↑ While I prefer to use Sanskrit words in order to assign a specific, non-vulgar meaning to key concepts in het, there are some pitfalls, which is why I ask that my readers bear with me and note the sometimes very subtle differences in spellings, which can make an important difference. Pradhāna (प्रधान) means the natural state of something, or the cause of the material being. The words pradhāna (प्रधान) and pradhyāna (प्रध्यान), the former meaning a gift or donation, the latter, deep thought or reflection (cf. pradhyānatatpara (प्रध्यानतत्पर), overthinking).
3] ↑ A man who is practicing the disciplines, science, philosophy, and spirituality of traditional yogic Tantra (तन्त्र).