How to Find and Keep a Conscious Man

suffragettesDuring the last one hundred years we have seen a dramatic reinvention of the role of both men and women.  It is hard to believe, but in 1914 women still didn’t have the right to vote, because everybody (men and women) agreed that women didn’t have the intelligence to make political choices.  No-one today, at least in the Western world, would ever make such a suggestion.

Today we live in a completely different world, where women have been able to claim their place as judges, politicians, police, doctors, and ministers.  And beyond that, many women have also recognized that the ground rules for most of  these fields were invented by men.  Women today are able to take a fresh look, and to see what economics, or politics, or spiritual practice, might look like when approached from a more feminine perspective.

macho-man-randy-savageWhile the evolution of women’s role in society, and her liberation from old stereotypes, is clear, men have also changed. The evolution of masculinity is just as real, but not quite as obvious. There have been a variety of reactions in men to the liberation and empowerment of the feminine heart. One, of course, is digging deeper into the old and worn out macho identity. Some men go to war with feminism, and long to take things back to the way things were in the 1950’s and before. Another reaction in some men is to become overly feminine themselves. This is the man who becomes soft, caring and gentle. As a man, he then has little to offer a woman besides becoming another of her girlfriends. Yet another reaction is disorientation: a man deeply wants to respect woman’s new freedom and full self expression, but then awkwardly shuffles on the dance floor, no longer confident of the tempo and the steps of the dance.

Before we go any further,  let’s acknowledge that this is a very touchy subject. There is perhaps nothing we become so identified with as our sense of gender identity.  We don’t want it messed with. So it is very easy to take offense when anyone makes any suggestions for how to modify the dance. Please take all that follows with many large packages of salt, then take what helps and feel free to reject the rest.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.36.50 AMIn the last months I have been researching and writing a book about the celebration of the new masculinity, titled “Conscious Men,” with my friend John Gray, the world renowned author of the “Men Are Mars, Women Are From Venus” books. A Conscious Man is one who brings some awareness and creativity to his masculinity: it is no longer a knee-jerk automatic re-enactment of genetic conditioning, nor a reaction against it, but a humorous and conscious gift to himself, to women, and to the world. In our research the most common question women asked was “Where can I find myself a Conscious Man?”

While most women now have little attraction for the old macho stereotype, still there are gifts she longs for from the masculine, albeit in a most conscious and creative form. I am going to offer you here several tips for how to attract a more conscious man, and how to bring forth more conscious masculine qualities in a man if you are already are in a relationship.

These guidelines are primarily written for a heterosexual woman in an intimate relationship with a man, or wanting to be in one, because those were the most frequent questions that came to John and myself.  But wether you are gay or straight, wether you are relating to your grandson or grandfather, or co-worker, or friend, or brother, they may come in handy anyway.  Men and women have different bodies, and a different balance of hormones  that neutralize stress and bring each back into balance.  Whatever your age, sexual orientation or political persuasion, men and women react differently to the same stimuli.

#1 Support him to take space.

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A man can more easily be fully present with a woman when he has adequate time to to recharge his batteries and go inward. Any man who has a daily practice of meditation, chi kung or any other discipline, or even a man who takes the time to regularly go fishing, will almost certainly have greater gifts to offer a woman. We have discovered that many men actually don’t know how to take space gracefully.  They either stay connected longer than is comfortable,  or they withdraw in a way that is hurtful. When you see that a man is starting to pull back and needing time for himself, celebrate it.  It will later become a catalyst for your connection. A man who takes time to go inward will likely be a good mate.

#2 Applaud his sense of mission and purpose.

superhero-splshIf you will indulge me to speak in sweeping stereotypes for a moment, the feminine aspect (in all of us) becomes more identified with beauty and radiance, while the masculine (also in all of us) is more identified with purpose and accomplishment. When a man achieves things, whether at work, fixing things around the house, making plans, or completing his taxes, celebrate him: recognize this is much more key to his sense of identity than it would be for a woman. In a relationship, if he stays late at work to get the job done, it is tempting to think that he has taken something away from you.  It may well be that by fully giving his gifts to the world, he has much more to give to you. The more he is of service in a purposeful way, the more he can also be present with you.

#3 Be happy and sometimes yield when he takes leadership.

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Let a man sweep you off your feet. The greatest challenge that most men face today, as gender roles have been reorganized, is how he can fully give to a woman.  His old role as provider and protector has been eroded through changes in the work place, and he is left at a loss for how to show his love in a meaningful way. When a man takes initiative by planning a nice date, or making plans of any kind, see if you can, as a deliberate practice, allow yourself to yield and surrender. Let him pay the bill, let him open the car door; give him an opportunity to give to you through his doing. You will still be the boss or the kick-ass lawyer at work the next day.

# 4- Let him make you laugh.

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When we surveyed thousands of women about what they most appreciated as the gifts of conscious masculinity, the quality that came at the top of the list was his sense of humor. (Of course the worst thing that you can do in an article like this is to offer a serious analysis about humor, but scr*w it,  I’m going to do it any way.) Once again, if you will indulge me to speak in stereotypes for a moment, the feminine in all of us has a greater capacity to enter freely into feelings. The masculine in all of us on the other hand, has a greater capacity to expand beyond feelings and to see the bigger picture, and hence to see the absurdity in our small lives. If you find a man who can feel deeply with you, but also who can bring humor to expand beyond the story, that is a man worth keeping.

#5 – Let him love in his own way.

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Often women want to encourage men to talk about their feelings, which honestly doesn’t come naturally to us. This then becomes a Catch 22. If he can’t talk about his feelings, a woman may see him as inadequate, and needing professional help. If he suddenly breaks through the barrier and begins to gush emotionally, she may easily feel that she has ended up with another girlfriend and lost male presence. Let him show his love for you through building something, through fixing something, through small actions and offerings, rather than through deep sharing over a box of tissues.

# 6 – Value his sense of presence.

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We have all heard the old adage of the “Strong Silent Type.” It got to be a much quoted adage for a reason. A man who holds presence with you, looks you in your eyes without looking away, who can show up for your feelings without trying to fix them is a man you can trust. Take a moment to notice how it feels in your body to be with a man who is still and centered with you. In a relationship, if you notice a feeling of trust and security in your belly,  make sure to tell him, in a simple statement like “I can really feel you right now,”  or “I feel heard and that feels really good.” This will let him know that you can trust him when he is just being there. In the same way, whenever he keeps his words, does what he said he would do, make sure that you verbalize your feeling of trust and safety as much (or more than) you might verbalize your frustration when he is flaky.

Please have fun and play with this.  There are no rules, you are the star and director and the screenwriter of your own Oscar winning movie.  Live as feels graceful and intelligent to you.  These tips would definitely be a big help if you were married to me, as a random run-of-the-mill kind of a guy. They might come in handy in your search for a fella worthy of your heart and hand, or with the man you are already sharing your life with.

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19 Responses to “How to Find and Keep a Conscious Man”

  1. Michelle November 1, 2014 at 12:21 am // Reply

    Aloha; As a proponent and advocate for Conscious Relations, Interdependancy, and Mutually Beneficial as well as Mindful Communication, I find this still to be very one sided in its dynamic… So, as a woman I am to extend, accomodate, understand the needs of this conscious Man,…. what is he doing for me? Where is the mutual understanding? When and where is there space for my needs to understood? I take issue with the onus of accountability and responsibilty to still be mine , like a parent-child relationship rather than adult partners… This messaging seems to still reflect the archaic consciousness of meet your needs first then maybe mine will be met… I live in the consciousness that All Needs are Equally Valued and Treasured; and that there are cocreative strategies that will meet both partners needs with inclusion and mutuality and reciprocity at the forefront….

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    • Ann Manatt November 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm // Reply

      Michelle, I see where you are coming from. And also I think he is writing a whole book about how men can be more conscious. The article is about what women can do to attract that man.

      I have some conscious men in my life. And this is exactly why they are there, thank you so much Arjuna. I also find that if I respect him and pay attention, all of these things are just natural and don’t feel like work. I love men. Looking forward to the book. And maybe an article on how to attract a conscious woman? 😉

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      • Nathan November 6, 2014 at 12:30 am // Reply

        Or how to attract a highly feminine woman would be very interesting. I never thought of wanting a conscious woman. Not a bad thing. Not something I\’m missing as such.

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  2. Vivianne Bentley November 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm // Reply

    Generalizing about gender roles is always a tricky business. As a woman who looks forward to being in a conscious relationship with a man. I welcome and read with great interest your article on \\”finding and keeping a conscious man\\”. My sense is that being in a \\”conscious relationship\\” has more to do with being in appreciation and celebration of oneself and the other than trying to \\”keep\\” the other, which may have been the point of the article. I also wonder if \\”getting our needs met\\” is part of an old paradigm. When I bring that notion into my body, it feels like it places me at the mercy of someone else, which is certainly not my idea of a being conscious, in a relationship, or otherwise. I am willing to be wrong, but for me the idea of a consciousness has more to do with connecting to a broader perspective, a surrendering to the heart and spirit as our gps and main source of inspiration and knowing. Having said that, I look forward to having someone who wants to change my snow tyres for me, or put out the garbage. It would be great to be able to share and go deep emotionally with a man and I am sure there are many men that can go there. However, as a woman with a strong feminine essence, I also know that many of the \\”needs\\” I previously thought I might get in a romantic relationship might best be acquired through sharing with other women, through caring for my daughter and her friends, through dance, being in nature, service, and creativity. It seems to me that in the new paradigm the distinction between receiving and giving is a blurred one�.and therein lies the dance�. and that it may be in the giving one receives the most.

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  3. Kristy November 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm // Reply

    Arjuna,Thanks! I thoroughly enjoyed this article. The reminder that we as human beings, whether male or female, all have these qualities to some extent reminded me to honor and accept the masculine qualities in myself as well as nurturing and accepting those qualities in a others. I am happily anticipating the addition of this Man 2.0, who brings consciousness to his entire life including relationships, into my world!Love to you,Kristy

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  4. Cat November 5, 2014 at 5:47 pm // Reply

    When does the book come out? I am very much looking forward to reading it!

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  5. LC November 5, 2014 at 7:14 pm // Reply

    Expressing my appreciation and agreement with your post!

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    • LC November 5, 2014 at 7:15 pm // Reply

      sorry i was trying to specifically reply to Vivienne’s post above but I think my comment went into the general queue.

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  6. Artp November 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm // Reply

    Arjuna, this is a great article and bravo to you and John Gray for taking the time to write this book which I very much look forward to reading. I am in a relationship with a beautiful conscious man but I must admit that in saying that the relationship has challenged me and my definition of a conscious man. I have been forced to release my preconceptions / judgements of the what a \’conscious man\’ looks like and have infact been able to expand my definition. You are right his consciousness is apparent in so many different ways like how he tries to keep me safe, how he uses his hands and creativity to build our home, how he listens to me and his commitment to me and our life together. I also agree with you that it is up to us to create the space for consciousness to evolve and deepen rather than \’finding a conscious man\’. Attracting a conscious man requires of us a greater level of consciousness.

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  7. Simone November 6, 2014 at 1:15 am // Reply

    Having had a few relationships with \”conscious\” men and currently in a relationship with a very evolved, conscious man, I agree wholeheartedly (through my own years of personal growth and learning, including self-responsibility) with everything you have stated Arjuna. I\’d like to add that I have learned, as a stereotypical-general-rule, men put \”to be respected\” above desire to be loved, while women put \”to be loved\” above respect (although of course both sexes need respect and love). When I learned this it changed a lot for me in terms of understanding the masculine and I appreciated more deeply his offerings of love in terms of \”doing\”.I love and celebrate the differences between the masculine and feminine. Self-responsibility of each party in a relationship is probably the greatest key to success.

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  8. Morgine November 6, 2014 at 5:15 am // Reply

    This is a tricky subject and the Title alone turns me off, in that is assumes that woman have it mostly “together” and they are seeking the “few more conscious” men out there as partners. It sounds a little simplified to me. Life continues to be a “co creation” of both genders.

    For me and my 65 years, I have learned life is a beautiful “mirror”. Like it not, I attract people/relationships, circumstances and experiences which show me just where my thoughts and feelings are in any present moment. I cannot “expect” anymore from a man, or woman, than I am willing to give to them myself. In so many classes, I have heard women describe in their ideal partners, many qualities they have yet to foster or grow in themselves.

    In my own relationship honesty, openness and communication were top priorities for us. We created space and time and processes for open and honest communication about whatever was going on inside, even if painful. We were free to communicate anything from an “I” perspective without blame, sharing how we were experiencing any situation. We did not expect the other person to change in order for us to be happy! We celebrated our very different ways of doing many things in our lives and how we perceived certain things. Our sex life was rich and fun, and we verbally shared what we loved and what we did not enjoy. We allowed down time for grounding and finding ourselves again. We were together almost 40 years and remain best friends.

    The way I would attract a “conscious man” would be to become a “conscious woman”! Openly demonstrate the very qualities I want to attract in another person. See through the eyes of unconditional love, the real person in front of me. Be fully engaged in the Present Moment. Intending to draw out and engage with the “brilliance” inside every human being, especially someone I desire to engage in a deep relationship with. A teacher once told me the best way to begin massaging your lover, was to touch them the way you would love to be touched! To imagine someone fully present and connected with you in the moment. Someone touching you as if you were god/Source/the Beloved. Being “in that space” you would be giving as they would love to receive.

    I have not yet engaged in finding another partner because I desire a little more time to ground myself into my deep connection with the Divine, so that the man I do attract, is a mirror to the things I most cherish in my life, and from that point, the relationship we create will be more magical and deep than I could find words to express here.

    When you love yourself first, your entire perspective in life changes. When I loved my partner “without conditions” the rest worked itself out in amazing ways. We sought more ways to connect more deeply and released any need to change or control the other person.

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  9. teresa November 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm // Reply

    I always enjoy your writings and insights. But this one is too simple…..is better to leave this to Jhon gray…and the hendricks….teresa

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  10. Jacqueline November 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm // Reply

    I so appreciate the wise, articulate responses by women here. I will be rather more acerbic. The article was painful for me to read, Arjuna – shades of Helen Gurley Brown, 1962 – the same ol’ How a Woman Takes Care of a Man! I appreciate you having a go and not hiding from the subject, but oh I do wish men would stop being experts about how women should behave. Morgine knows so much more about this subject than you do.

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  11. Vicky November 6, 2014 at 11:57 pm // Reply

    Dear Arjuna,Thanks so much for your article. I loved it as I love all your work. BUT, as a 53 year old single woman who is longing to find a conscious man to share the rising of consciousness in my own life, I was really hoping that you would give us some tips on how to find a conscious man and that wasn\\\’t the case. It is more about how to keep him and relate to him which is fantastic, don\\\’t get me wrong. Sending you lots of love and thanking you again for your amazing work.

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  12. JL November 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm // Reply

    I think Morgine makes a good point – the article does imply that women have it more together than men….I

    In my experience, typically in my relationships the opposite has been true for me…..Over time I have found the needs and temperament of women to be a burden. The relationship ends up taking away more from your life than it gives….at that point it has to end…..

    I agree with many aspects of this article…..But it could be simpler….the best way to keep a conscious man – honestly – stay in shape and don’t be crazy…….It’s not complicated but it’s surprising how many women do not do this…..

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  13. Jim Ross November 17, 2014 at 7:28 pm // Reply

    I look forward to the flip side of the message. This was well wrought and thought provoking. As a self proclaimed conscience man I concur overall. I am sometimes concerned with invoking too much of the feminine and appreciate the permission to be balanced in the duality of gender roles.
    Smiles Jim

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  14. Constance Demby November 17, 2014 at 11:51 pm // Reply

    How to Find and Keep a Conscious Man

    good article / but before you can KEEP a conscious man first a woman has to actually FIND a conscious man… sigh! and some of us with way bizzy careers, wonder how we’d find the time to do that….it’s not like some of us are socializing or going to parties and such…
    and this kind of thing like connecting with cool guys used to be much easier before our careers took over our lives…. best, Constance Demby

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  15. Kim young November 24, 2014 at 2:49 am // Reply

    It amazes me how we all come to the same conclusion, but differ in the solution. At the end of the day you have to laugh.

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  16. Christine Dufond January 26, 2015 at 12:39 am // Reply

    Arjuna, Although the title was misleading, your advice for women does work because I\\’ve tried it. However, it only works if we as the female partner also invite our man to have \\”nurturing talks.\\” I am an MFT and use this with my couples. I practiced this method for cultivating verbal intimacy and trust with my former partner who wasn\\’t comfortable with this level of vulnerability initially, but grew to appreciate it, and it deepened our love and trust tremendously. It is the best way to release potential resentment without getting into a hurtful argument. In a nurturing talk we sit facing each other, in full affection mode, looking deep into each others eyes (the windows to our souls) for a couple of minutes, and then take turns sharing, with a soft, nurturing voice tone what we are appreciating about our partner, and then whatever relationship pattern that is happening that is causing us to feel hurt, without blaming each other. We are a team, fighting the unhealthy patterns and projections that surface. I much prefer your article \\”Why it is Wise to Worship a Woman\\” (which I posted on Facebook). I have to say, when I read it I saw that my former partner of 4 Ã�½ years (soul mate relationships in which you learn and grow and suffer and love deeply don\\’t necessarily last forever) and I had, for the most part, achieved what you and you described having with your wife. If you don\\’t mind me elaborate on what you were getting to in that article, I would say that the way that you worship a woman and gain access to her sacred well of sweet, nurturing, ecstatic love is by accepting the influence of her feminine wisdom. This means being willing to, at least once or twice a week, sit down and engage her in a nurturing talk that perhaps enters into a deep philosophical, spiritual, and conscious love oriented conversation. Don\\’t lose interest or get a complex just because she is more the expert in that area than yourself. Unfortunately, that\\’s just the way we\\’re gendered in this culture. In conscious love we learn from each other. That\\’s the beauty of it. We learn from men how to have more autonomy, and they learn from us how to have more connectivity.Thank you and bless you Arjuna! I look forward to your book on conscious men!Christine Dufond

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