What Does Masculine Spiritual Development Look Like?
To all my brothers out there, listen up: If you've ever felt like you're not doing enough or haven't accomplished enough, I'm here to tell you that, unfortunately, this might always be the case. You might always think you could be doing more, no matter your accomplishments. I know because I've been there.
Along the way, you'll feel frustrated because partners in your life will complain about your lack of presence, and the people you love most will betray you, die, or not care. You will give your heart and soul to something, only to have the world meet it with tepid approval—or it will be ignored completely. Men will disappoint you with their lack of depth and unconsciousness, and you will feel angry and want to shake them.
If you do truly care about people and the world, it will likely break your heart. The cruelty, numbness, and violence we perpetrate on one another will become too much to bear, and some days will feel like a burden as you chase the myth of success you think will finally get you someplace. You will ache for freedom, space, time. You will ache for deeper purpose, more impact, and to be seen as a man of valor and integrity. It will elude you. You will feel hopeless and alone.
This is why spiritual development is so important—especially for men. Cultivating a spiritual practice doesn't always come naturally to men, who are taught to feel little and achieve a great deal, but believe me: It is possible. Here's how to make it happen.
Start by feeling all of it.
Let the futility of your efforts break your heart. Let the pain of your own and your children’s failures, heartbreaks, sicknesses, and deaths crush you. Relax into the sorrow of living until your shoulders drop and tears well up. Surrender completely. It is only now that you can truly begin.
Choose who you want to love.
Once you've made this choice, love them fiercely—whether that's a romantic partner, a friend, or a child. Love them with a wide-open Grand Canyon heart. Let the weight of how much you love ripple into the world. Create something that is uniquely yours with the unbendable intention of a man walking through a wall. Be meticulous in the building, and let whatever it is be a monument to your truest heart and deepest consciousness. Let the rest go: There is not enough time.
Breathe in the remarkable and mundane beauty around you at every turn. Celebrate it when you can. Smile and bow with a grateful heart, and experience the true freedom of creating an unshakable tether to consciousness, that within and without you which never changes. Let the infinite drive your efforts, and pray hard. Let go of tasks and duties long enough to allow the feminine to give you her love. Relax open the center of your body and let her gift you with all that is good in the world. Let her know how grateful you are. Play with children (yours and others) as if it is the last moment on earth and your presence and love will inform the rest of their lives. It will.
Whatever you do, hold nothing back. Not one word of truth, not one ounce of love, not one word of wisdom, not one feeling unfelt. Leave this world bloody and brokenhearted, smiling and grateful. Let your legacy be your grounded presence and your fierce, aching heart. Nobody really gives a shit about the rest.
Want more insight into male spiritual practices? Here are 12 reasons men should do yoga every single day.