This involves a process I call “separating the gems from the junk,” so let’s start by conversing about the gems and sorting out the jungk.
The life-goal, Wisdom, is one of the most prized traits in almost all cultures.
While it is common belief that wisdom comes with age, it is a point that is questioned by a noted gerontologist, who states, “You can’t expect a dumb youngster to grow up to be a wise senior.” (Bernice Neugarten )
A fundamental problem thus resides in a flawed education and socialization system: The average student reports being bored about one third of the time he is in school.
Considering that people go to school for least one fifth of their lives, this is not good news and suggests that, rather than nurturing initiative and creativity, current practices in the education agenda, schools and teachers — and educators and mentors even in adult life — encourage passive adaptation to external rules over and above concentrated, self -actuating effort applied over time and in response to experiences. This is where we get sheeple and short-circuiting of wisdom.
If we adopt the working definition of Wisdom as “the embodiment of the best [cultural] beliefs and disciplines of life that have been vetted and selected through the ages, and corroborated in the experience of generations;” we find that wisdom is an expert knowledge system dealing with the fundamental pragmatic issues of life and living. In other words, it is a problem-focused acquired knowledge.
In contrast with the humanistic or liberal materialistic concept of wisdom, tāntric wisdom is attained awareness -focused knowledge.
Homoerotic Tantric Happiness is Focused Awareness
Homoerotic tāntric Ψspirituality teaches that what makes a person ‘happy’ in small doses does not necessarily add satisfaction in larger amounts.
Over time, there is a point of diminishing returns (diminishing margin of utility ) that is quickly reached in many instances.
Such ‘happiness ’ is properly defined as ‘pleasure ,’ and pleasure wears thin unless increased over time, until it finally becomes suffering, and there is no longer any pleasure. There is nothing left.
Moreover, the awakening of positivity in terms of Ψspirituality is a dynamic that is constantly in flux.
The person one sees at time T is a different being from the person at time T + l; we can’t simplistically assume that what makes a man happy at 20 will also make him happy at 30 or 40.
Elements of True Happiness
If pleasure (P) is a component of happiness , it is distinct from and even opposed to enjoyment (Engagement , E).
While pleasure is arguably a component of happiness, it is a transient component; a more powerful component is enjoyment or engagement.
It is useful to distinguish positive experiences that are pleasurable from those that are enjoyable.
Pleasure is the good feeling that comes from satisfying urges such as hunger, sex, and physical comfort, or when one engages in a pastime he likes.
Enjoyment (engagement ), on the other hand, refers to the positive feeling or emotional state he experiences when he breaks through the threshold, when he does something that challenges him beyond what he was before.
Engagement, rather than pleasure, is what leads to growth and transformation, and longer-term contentment.
But most men , given a choice, will choose the mild euphoria of a transient hedonic state (pleasure) and the ensuing dysphoria, over the more lasting effects of enjoyment (engagement).
It’s orgasm all over again: arousal , peaking pleasure, exhaustion. All very nice but short-lived.
A Goal in a Positive Masculine Psychospirituality
A positive Ψspirituality of masculinity and male functionality is Reality based. A man can, in fact, experience ‘happiness ’ while living life, realistically experiencing both P and E, while practicing diligently to improve the quality of his perceptions and experiences, producing Meaning.
We well recognize that positive Ψspirituality is not a new idea. It has distinguished ancestors, and modern positive psychology and flow psychology cannot lay any claim to originality.
So we may well ask, “Why have Western social sciences adopted the premise — without a shred of evidence — that negative motivations are authentic and positive emotions are derivative (trivial)? The perennial +/- duality again raises its ugly head to distract us.
One positive affirmation for that assumption would be that if ‘negative emotions ’ often reflect reactions to immediate problems or objective dangers, they should be powerful enough to engage people to stop, increase their vigilance, reflect on their behavior, and change their actions if necessary.
The focus on the ‘negative’ may also reflect cultural differences in the survival value of negative versus positive responses.
The prevailing social sciences that tend to view the authentic forces governing human behavior to be self -interest , aggressiveness, territoriality , class conflict, and the like are clearly toxic.
Western social sciences — including religion — must move away from such negative bias.
Hence, in our method, as previously explained, meaning (logos) is how something or someone is defined, as well as an intention or reason for doing something; while purpose (telos) is the fulfillment or consummation of the meaning. One intends, the other accomplishes.
Why Does Discernment Matter?
Differentiating and clearly discerning meaning and what is meaningful or meaningless, and purpose allows a mentor or counselor to assist a man with confidence and certainty.
Men also find definitions practical and quickly discern and become aware of what current behavior says about meanings and purpose.
In other words, he can decide what has prominence or importance in his life or lifestyle.
Guided by a skilled mentor, he can answer the basic questions, “Have I been living my life as if it has meaning?” and “If I have been leading a meaningful life, what is its meaning?”
Using the Johari Window, and understanding the consequence of each of the four quadrants, the seeker is encouraged to take responsibility (self -determination) for her or his life, and to choose a path to follow.
If the seeker selects to give importance to the meaningful, he is encouraged to commit to a meaningful life purpose consistent with his choice and strengths.
The Positive Ψspirituality of Homoerotic Tantra Psychospirituality and Physical Health
Homoerotic Tāntric Positive Ψspirituality (PPS) is the guidebook for a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Positive Ψspirituality is concerned with positive Ψspiritual states (e.g., happiness ), positive Ψspiritual traits (e.g., interests, skills, beliefs, character, etc.), positive relationships, and positive institutions such as saṅgha (सङ्घ) , satsaṅga (सत्सङ्ग), and āśrama (आश्रम).
Research has shown that Ψspiritual health assets (e.g., positive emotions , life satisfaction , optimism , life purpose and meaning, social support ) are associated with good physical and mental health.
The above WHO delimitation leaves a lot to be desired, and is ambiguous and vague. We need to define health with more conviction.
Tantric Positive Ψspirituality is an overarching term for the quest for the various components of a healthy and satisfying life for one’s self and for others (e.g., positive emotions , life meaning, engagement , and intimate relationships ).
Evidence is accumulating that a happy, engaged, and fulfilling mental, spiritual, and social life is not just a consequence of physical health ; it is what leads people to a holistically healthy and long life.
Positive Ψspirituality is a perspective within a broader spirituality that explores optimal experience , a man being and doing his best.
It calls for as much focus on his strengths as on his challenges, as much interest in understanding the desirable as in avoiding the undesirable , and as much attention to complementing the lives of healthy people as to healing their suffering.
Regrettably, a myopic view of the human condition has overpowered Western culture ; it is as if the human being is viewed as only empty, fragile, and flawed, however. This is a gross mistake.
The topics of concern to positive Ψspirituality can be divided into four related topics:
- Positive subjective experiences (happiness , gratification, fulfillment, flow)*
- Positive individual traits (strengths, character, talents, interests, values, etc.)
- Positive interpersonal relationships (intimacy , friendship, others)
- Positive institutions (family, business, community, satsaṅga (सत्सङ्ग) ).
We will focus on the first topic with regard to men’s health.
Take the Best; Leave the Rest
The goal of positive homoerotic tāntric Ψspirituality is to complement and debunk the problem-focused stance of the Western mindset.
One important idea from positive Ψspirituality is that the approach to confronting challenges should be by identifying and leveraging individual and environmental strengths and resources.
The value of positive homoerotic tāntric Ψspirituality is the competency to sort through the various claims and promises about what it means to live well, and to identify their best components, and exploit them.
Positive Homoerotic Tāntric Ψspirituality and Health
A positive Ψspiritual perspective requires looking beyond suffering and even the mere absence of suffering to define what it means to be in positive terms.
Positive health is not only the ideal of a long life free of suffering; it more realistically includes
- Less frequent and briefer episodes of suffering
- Greater recuperative ability and resilience
- Rapid triadic healing
- Greater triadic reserves
- Frequent transformative challenges
Health assets are the individual-level factors that produce positive health over-and above the frequently cited risk factors for poor health , like high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, immoderate alcohol use, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Among the psychosocial risk factors frequently examined with respect to poor health are identity issues, anger, lust, greed, social isolation, depression and anxiety. Homoerotic tāntric Ψspirituality takes a strongly positive position regarding such risk factors, however.
Research has shown that positive health assets indeed predict health assessed in a variety of ways. The positive Ψspiritual assets predicting good health include:
- Positive emotions
- Life satisfaction and engagement
- Optimism and hope
- Forgiveness and compassion
- Self -regulation and self-control
- Vitality and joy in living
- Life meaning and purpose
- Good interpersonal relationships , both social and intimate
- Spirituality or healthy religiosity
The so-called Nun Study, for example, demonstrated that a positive emotion al disposition was significantly related to longevity.
In other words, happy nuns lived longer than less happy nuns. In more worldly terms, unhealthy behavior like smoking on average subtracts 7 years of one’s life.
Another study showed the relationships between positive emotions and vulnerability of catching the common cold.
Positive emotional experiences lowered the risk of developing a cold and there were fewer reports of symptoms. Conclusion: experiencing positive emotions resulted in greater resistance to developing common cold.
In Japanese culture, subjective well-being is expressed as “life worth living ” (ikigai ) Having a sense of “life worth living” (ikigai ) means having a purpose in life and realizing the value of being alive, which becomes a motivation for living.
One of the ways to achieve a sense of meaning and purpose is through helping others, and doing regular volunteer work in communities, a style called altruism.
In addition, the importance of social support and positive relationships on health and well-being has long been documented.
Supportive social relationships are associated with longevity , less cognitive decline in aging, greater resistance to infectious disease , and better management of chronic illnesses.
In the case of optimism , biologically, it has been linked better immune system functioning, and behaviorally, people who are optimistic engage in healthier behaviors. Optimists have better and more frequent social contacts and greater social support resources.
I refer to interventions informed by positive Ψspirituality as Ψspiritual interventions; interventions informed by positive Ψspirituality can indeed evoke positive psychological states and traits , frequently in lasting ways, It is important to recognize that long-term benefits do not result from one-shot interventions unless these result in a durable lifestyle change. What is required is a sustained lifestyle change.
Well-documented “healthy’ ways of behaving, include consistent sleep schedule, regular meals and balanced diet, not smoking, moderate alcohol and caffeine consumption, regular social activities, and regular exercise.
Positive Ψspiritual interventions can help a man not only to think and feel in positive ways but also to behave in more healthy ways:
- he is more actively engaged with the world
- he confronts obstacles and challenges more positively
- he has more frequent and more satisfying social contacts
- he enjoys more social support
2] ↑ The ideologies and the resulting politics of race, gender, gay, trans, identity should also be included here.
3] ↑ I use the philosophical terms logos and telos to mean the active pervading Divine Plan or Implicit Rationale and the full potential or inherent purpose, respectively, assuming that there is some sort of system operating here.
4] ↑ By triad and triadic I mean the three aspects of a man: the physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual.
5] ↑ Danner DD, Snowdon DA, Friesen VW. Positive emotions in early life and longevity : findings from the nun study. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000;80:804-813.
6] ↑ Cohen S, Doyle WJ, Turner RB, Alper CM, Skoner DP. Emotional style and susceptibility to the common cold . Psychosom Med. 2003;65:652-657
7] ↑ Sone T, Nakaya N, Ohmori K, et al. Sense of life worth living (ikigai ) and mortality in Japan: Ohsaki study. Psychosom Med. 2008;70:709-715.