This is an excerpt from Conscious Men, written by John Gray and Arjuna Ardagh.
A Conscious Man forms deep, sustainable relationships with other men in a way that supports them both to deepen in their masculinity. For most men, a few very deep friendships will be all that they need. In fact, for some men, just having one best friend will completely fulfill his needs for friendship in a way that nourishes and sustains him. When a man finds another man, or men, to bond with in this way, it feels like his family. Hence, even when there is no biological connection, the man will refer to a close friend as his “brother.”
There are two important differences between how men meet together and how women meet together. Understanding these will allow you to make best use of your time when you meet with other men in a way that can most benefit everybody. The first has to do with structure. When women meet together, they do not really need any structure. They can just hang out, enjoy some good food, talk, and laugh spontaneously, and they will automatically relax more deeply into being more feminine, more relaxed, and letting go of stress. If men meet together without structure, they are more likely to gravitate towards the most superficial common denominator. Men just hanging out without any agenda is more likely to bring out the most shallow aspects of each man rather than the depth. You may end up chatting about football scores, car engines, or politics. It may be a fun time but not necessarily deepening. Structure allows you to gravitate towards depth, presence, and a shared sense of purpose.
The second important difference has to do with challenge and support. When women get together, they bring out the best in each other by supporting, loving, and appreciating: “You are beautiful, you have so much to give, and you do so much for everybody.” If that was all that men did together when they met, it would leave something missing. Men bring out the best in each other by also adding an element of challenge: by calling each other forth to their higher potential. Sometimes, a man can support another man by pointing out inconsistencies in what he is saying or reminding him of intentions he has stated in the past that he is not fully living now. All of this happens in a bigger context of acceptance, friendship, and support. But the acceptance now has an evolutionary edge to it. It means there is a polarity between what is happening today, your intuition of your fullest potential, and what you are pulled towards. Evolution happens in that tension between acceptance of what is here now and awareness of the highest possibility.
For example, in our men’s group, one man was having challenges with his marriage. He was feeling hopeless and thinking about leaving his wife. Then another man might say “I hear that you’re overwhelmed by this situation. But think about what you are doing. You’ve got kids. Is this what you really want? Is this what you really stand for?” There is acceptance of the difficulties of the situation, acceptance of the feeling of wanting to give up, but there is also an even deeper acceptance of your potential, of your highest intention, of the promises you have made in the past.
When you meet with other men in a structured way and listen to each other, it allows you to become aware of your experience. It allows you to listen to what other men are experiencing, and naturally, everyone present becomes more aware of themselves, more accepting of themselves. Thus, a deepening happens on its own. Men are not always aware of what is going on inside them, and they do not always know how to articulate it because we are more action oriented. When another man can speak about what is happening for him, it also clarifies it for you: “Yes… I have that experience too.” It gives you objectivity so that you can see your own pain, or confusion, over there on the other side of the circle reflected back to you. And so you come to understand yourself, and masculinity in general, more clearly. “I never thought about it before. I just assumed this was my thing and I was alone with it. But he’s got the same thing going on too, and he’s a pretty conscious guy.” Meeting in a men’s group on a regular basis in this way does not need to be about giving advice unless it is asked for. Men can hold each other accountable to their highest potential, to their deepest intention, but always in an atmosphere of acceptance and being conscious.
One great example of this is that men instinctively think about sex and notice beautiful women around them all the time. Research tells that us the average man, walking down the street, will experience a fleeting feeling of attraction to a beautiful woman at least once a minute. Women do not experience the same thing. If a man was to talk honestly about these fleeting superficial attractions that pass through his mind all the time with his wife or with their friends, she would not feel okay about it. So he does not admit to being the way that he is in front of his wife. He may go through years of noticing other women in this way and thinking that something is wrong with him. The benefit of a man being with other men is that he can say, “I notice beautiful women all the time. It’s like an obsession.” Another man then can say, “I do also, brother, and so do we all. It’s a guy thing. Do you act on it? No. Then there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s biology.” This is just one random example: fleeting attraction. But there are hundreds of things like that, which a man will not admit to with women present, and he will hardly even admit it to himself.
Being romantic can increase your feminine hormones, while being with other men will balance that. When you are with your woman, you do many things together, but always in the back of your mind, you may be wondering when you will have sex again. To do that, you have to prepare for it, which involves a very elaborate and often extended process of foreplay. You have to jump through hoops. You have to listen. You have to be romantic. You have to be affectionate. You have to be understanding. You have to be patient. You need to slow down. You have to soften. You have to do all this and more to be able to get anywhere close to her vagina. To do all these things, you have to tune into your sensitive side. At a certain point, when you are making too much estrogen and not enough testosterone, you need to come back into balance. That is the time to go hang out with your male friends and support each other in being men.
From Conscious Men by John Gray and Arjuna Ardagh. You can order a paperback copy or Kindle edition on Amazon here.
Visit consciousmen.com to learn more.