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5. Reclaiming and Celebrating Our Natural Masculinity
"Hanuman forgot his own powers and lost them. He needed someone to remind him of them" ~ The Ramayana
Boys go through social maneuvering which changes the way they think, feel and behave. This harms them in the process. We know that this process starts early in life, from the time a boy is born. By now most boys reading this would already have gone halfway through the process and may have lost a significant portion of their real masculinity. But it is never too late to make amends.
Your natural masculinity is hidden deep within you beneath layers of social cobwebs, walls and obstacles. You need to remove these webs and obstacles and break the walls to reach it. You will find layers of suppressed emotions, needs, desires, pain and hurt on the way, with which you have to deal. Your natural masculinity is injured and suffocated. After you find it, you have to carefully heal and nurture it and bring it out to breathe, but very carefully, because the outside environment is extremely hostile. It would be helpful if you do this under proper guidance.
We suggest the following steps for boys to recover their lost masculinity, then celebrate it and develop it, for the benefit of self and the society. Before you start these steps, it is assumed that you understand what natural masculinity is and how society uses male gender and sexual roles to oppress men.
"Feeling is the language of the soul." ~ Neal Donald Walsch
Boys have forgotten to feel. They have been trained in such a way that they only use their head, and ignore their heart in dealing with life's situations. But boys need to get in touch with their emotions. Because our emotions tell us a lot about who we are and what we really want. They are our key to real health and happiness.
Reclaiming our emotions would need practice. You need to consciously work at recognising your emotions and expressing them. Don't try to run away from your emotions or try to ignore or suppress them. If you are scared, then face it. Understand it.
You don't have to talk about your emotions to everyone, but you can at least yourself feel the emotion, and then decide whether and how you want to express it to others. This way the stress is almost released. Once you accept your feelings, you can find some way to express them when you are alone, if you don't have anyone else you can trust them with.
Once you accept and understand your emotions, you will be able to understand and appreciate yourself better. You will also be able to accept yourself, as you are, not what society wants you to be. This brings a unique peace, which is difficult to describe. Plus, you are also safe socially.
"I panic at the thought of my weakness and fear being exposed" --- Jill Zevallos -Slovak
We are all human. The strongest male in the world is also human and has weaknesses and vulnerabilities. These weaknesses don't make us any less of a man. They are an integral part of our manhood.
Often what we consider our weaknesses, vulnerabilities or even our 'unmanly' aspects are our real strengths, our natural masculinity. The fake masculinity roles have fooled us by presenting these aspects to us as our weaknesses. Without accepting these qualities, we cannot reach our natural masculinity.
When some things are indeed our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, it is still desirable to accept them, because by rejecting them, we will be living in a make-believe world. Only when we face up to them can we take steps to remove them or minimise them. Also, when taking a decision, we will keep in mind our limitations. This way, accepting weaknesses can make us more practical.
All your weaknesses have a corresponding strength, of which these weaknesses are another aspect. When these weaknesses go, you also lose the corresponding power. This is the principle of yin and yang. When a weakness troubles you, the best approach may be to change that weakness into a strength by logging on to its positive side.
Therefore, learn to accept them and share them, at least with some people. The best people who would be helpful are close friends who understand you. You also need to open up to others if you want help in dealing with life's tricky situations. Accepting weaknesses will also include accepting one's femininity.
Participation in a men's group provides an opportunity to experience support and validation from other men in a safe environment. Peter Dimock
You cannot really learn to express your emotions or share your weaknesses when you live in a group full of cutthroat 'race for social manhood' where everyone is looking for the other boy's weaknesses so that he can trip him upâ¦.. or in a mixed-gender setting where you have to conceal your real self even more in order to please the girls.
You have to create your own space, even if it is small, where you can find some people, especially men, with whom you can be yourself. This could include close friends, a sibling and even your mother or father, provided they love you in spite of your weaknesses. The best person to include in this space would be a very close male friend.
Such relationships need to be worked upon. You need to be sensitive to other people's needs too. To understand them and love them in spite of their weaknesses, and allow them to be themselves before you. It will help if you stop throwing the male pressures on other boys in your group.
"Our strength is often composed of the weakness that we're damned if we're going to show." ~ Mignon McLaughlin
Because outer power which includes money, status, girls, etc. is so valued in men, they spend their entire life pursuing these. In this melee, they forget to develop their inner strength, because it has no social value. But without this, men become hollow from inside.
Inner strength is very important for true happiness and health. Find time to develop it. Develop your inner qualities even if they don't help in your career, or add to your social masculinity.
Do not suppress those inner needs, which do not tally with social masculinity. Accept them and try to fulfill them, because these are the source of your natural masculinity. Outer power is not permanent, but inner strength, once developed, stays with you. No one can snatch it from you.
Remember, what is inside is real. Social power is just a show. Outer power has any real value only when it is achieved using inner strength.
"If we leave our own Self, then the ego will manifest itself. If we seek our true nature, then ego dies." ~ Maharishi Bhagwan Ramana
Your false ego will prevent you from reaching your masculinity. It will also make you weak in resisting social masculinity. Because this false ego has been created by these very social masculinity roles so that the fear of it being hurt will keep you enslaved to these roles.
Conquering your ego would mean, for example, that you are not afraid of accepting defeat, or accepting that you are wrong when you realise you are. Don't be afraid to say you are sorry when it is deserved. You don't need to be in control all the time. Don't be easily instigated by hollow words.
Conquering your ego does not mean losing your self-respect. Where ego represents fake social masculinity, self-respect denotes natural masculinity and is a quality of real men.
"Men have come to see power as a capacity to impose control on others and on our own unruly emotions." ~ Michael Kaufman
After you free yourself of your ego, you have to accomplish another difficult task. You have to forego fake social power that comes from fitting into social masculinity roles. You have to give up its addiction. The dependence on this power is a big weakness of man. Only after you give up this dependence can you reach your natural masculinity. Once you develop your natural masculinity, you can then use its phenomenal energies to become truly powerful. Society cannot take away this power from you. You will become absolutely self-dependent.
This task is difficult for weaklings, lesser men and real namards. Because getting fake outer power is the simplest thing on earth. Besides, it is addictive. To develop your natural masculinity you have to move mountains. But if you can do it (there is nothing that real men would want more), you will be rewarded with true masculinity.
Giving up fake social power would mean, for example, that from now on you would not seek girls for their 'power' value. Or smoke to 'appear' manly. And several other such things.
This also means that you would stop running in the 'race for social manhood' and not put pressure on other boys. At the same time, don't let others pressurise you.
It is advisable to go slow in the beginning. The best practice would be to stop depending on fake power, but still fooling society by pretending to fit into social masculinity roles as a social precaution. This is called leading a double life. Under present hostile conditions, this works. But you should know that you are just acting and that eventually you need to break free altogether.
You will have to deal with society more directly some day. Society will put a lot of pressure on you when you do this. It may even call you a namard. But if you want to access your real masculinity, you will have to fight all this boldly. You know, after all, that these are just hollow words.
Once you forego your dependence on fake social power, you will find that a new, unique power will fill you up. Almost like magic. Something you have never experienced before. It will make you feel truly masculine, and it will show. This is your natural masculinity. But you will still need to work on it, for it is injured and undeveloped. You need to cultivate it and develop it before you can revel in it.
"It is only by associating with other men that one can learn to be a man" ~ anonymous
Boys need to grow up with other boys in male-only spaces. That is the only way for a boy to develop positive masculinity. He needs to learn to relate with other boys without the pressure of having to 'date' girls. Girls can't teach boys masculinity, and when they grow up, it will be too late to learn. However, when they grow older, they can still find the right female partner to marry.
Men should keep their male-only groups all their life in order to rejuvenate their masculinity. This is why all ancient macho traditions insisted on keeping away from women. A boy needs to learn to share his innermost feelings with other boys, at least with those close to him. He should be able to respect other people's deepest feelings and fears. Boys show him how to celebrate and revel in masculinity. This is an extremely important phase of a boy's life.
An intimate friendship can be very helpful. A friend cares for your deepest feelings and understands your fears, loves you for who you are and accepts you totally ----- someone with whom you can be open about yourself. It can change your life.
It is important to stop feeling ashamed about one's sexual need for another man, even though it is easier said than done, when there is such social hostility, stigma, denigration and ridicule of such feelings. The trick is to accept such feelings as an integral part of your natural masculinity --- which they are. You should train yourself to not exercise undue control over such feelings when they arise mutually in a close bond. You should learn to give the love that you have in your heart for another man, not conceal it, even though you may want to hide it from the rest of the world.
Only a man can truly understand and appreciate your natural masculinity. An intimate friend will inspire you to develop your inner masculinity and be a companion in life's highs and lows. Of course it is mutual, and you'd be equally beneficial for his masculinity. Natural masculinity grows stronger and more beautiful nurtured by this mutual relationship. It gives both persons immense energy and power.
Ultimately, men will be able to destroy the social oppression mechanism only when they organise themselves. This will happen hopefully some day in the near future, by reclaiming the power to bond with each other, like they used to do in the wild.
"Love is the key to our healing" ~ anonymous
On the way to your natural masculinity, you'd come across layers of suppressed emotions, hurt and pain, which you had been unmindfully dumping inside. As you unearth them, you need to deal with them. You need to heal your inner wounds, your inner self. When your inner self is hurt, your natural masculinity is hurt too, because your natural masculinity is a part of your inner self. Healing these wounds will help your natural masculinity heal itself.
For this, you can seek counselling and practice meditation, Reiki, yoga, etc. You can also participate in spiritual traditions. An intimate friendship can be extremely helpful in healing your inner self.
"Courage is rightly deemed the first of human qualities . . . because it is the quality that guarantees all others." ~ Winston Churchill
Now that you have a healthy and freely breathing natural masculinity within you, and hopefully a close friend to support you, you can develop the positive masculine qualities which will make you a superior man, an alpha male.
Some of these positive masculine qualities are: Courage, honesty, fairness, defending the weak, playing by the rules, honour, reliability, self-control, risk-taking, being a man of words, socially responsible, being principled, self-respect, politeness, etc.
In contrast, some of the common attributes of social masculinity are:
Cunningness, meanness, selfishness, cruelty, not playing by the rules, dishonesty, manipulating, bragging or boasting, exploiting the weak, bullying, rude, egotistic, unreliable, lack of principles, etc.
"There can be no fairer spectacle than that of a man who combines the possession of moral beauty in his soul, with outward beauty of body" ~ Plato
It helps to develop your physical masculinity by partaking in things like martial arts, wrestling, gymnastics, athletics, trekking or rafting together with other boys. It can give you the much needed confidence and physical power. It can also help you develop physical masculine beauty. Today's society lays stress on bookish education but ignores such things. You can give these activities importance and time. You won't regret it.
The best thing to do would be to get associated with one of the ancient traditions which are still alive today, e.g. Kalarippayattu, Chhau dance or akharas. Today's mixed-gender, anti-male societies have no place for them, so they are dying out. But you can still access them in more traditional places. These traditions will develop your physical masculinity as well as your inner masculinity. It will instil positive masculine values in you, which include a moralistic lifestyle.
The modern temples of (so-called) masculine men ----- the modern mixed-gender gyms (which are more of dating joints) ----- only make men appear heavy, but not strong from inside, neither physically, nor mentally or morally.
"â¦..our future lies in going back to the time when men's sacred duty was the preservation of the earth." --- Jed Diamond
When a man gets in touch with the natural masculinity within him, he automatically develops a respect for the nature outside. He begins to see himself as a part of the larger nature and hates to disrupt it. He wants to live in tandem with it. This is how man was supposed to be in the first place.
There is a deep relationship between the nature within and the nature outside us. Modern man is unapologetically destroying his natural environment because he has been removed from his natural masculinity for centuries. He does not realise that he is part of the delicate natural system that he is destroying. He does not understand or respect the nature outside him, just like he does not understand or respect the nature within him. That is why he calls the destruction of his environment 'progress' or 'development'.
You can do a number of things to get in touch with nature. You can reduce use of plastic to a minimum. You can stop wasting gas, electricity and water. You can start using scooters and cars less and more of bicycles and public vehicles, or just walk whenever you can. You can plant trees and protect them. You can look after animals. You can get involved with environmental groups in your city that put pressure on the government to protect the environment.
"You have a chance to define a new kind of manhood. . . . . It will be a world where we can love together, laugh together, and work together without fear and without judgment; a world of celebration, not a world of accusation and apology and unexamined assumptions." --- Kent Nerburn
With the power that natural masculinity gives you, you are now ready to change the rules of social masculinity. Be a man on your own terms, not on the whims and fancies of those who don't know a thing about manhood. This will make you a free man ----- as nature made you ----- glowing with natural masculinity. A true man who cannot be unduly manipulated or controlled by society to live a life full of indignity, suppression and misery.
You will then be looked upon by other men as an ideal. They will emulate you. They will try to achieve what you have achieved. That is how we can change the world. At the same time, get united with other men. That is extremely important. Talk about men's rights and issues. Help and support men in need. Understand and help women in their struggle for their rights. Then we win freedom by destroying the social mechanism of oppression.