This is another excerpt from our new book: Conscious Men, which I have co-authored with John Gray. Please add your comments and feedback at the end.
In order for a man to feel motivated, and to achieve and accomplish his soul’s mission, he needs to be able to make promises that he can keep. When a man feels that life is too easy, he does not grow. The power of keeping your word is that every time you do your very best to follow through with action, when you do not feel like it but you do it anyway, it realigns you to the openness and the clarity of who you were at the time when you made the promise. Sometimes you may need to change a promise if it is no longer serving everyone, but regularly making and keeping promises continuously binds you back to your deepest integrity, and to your most open heart.
John says: I often work with men who feel they have not accomplished enough or feel they have failed in relationship. When I ask them why they take certain actions, or say certain things, I hear the response “I felt like it.” Following feelings is fine, but you also need the part of you which can be analytical, which can ask “Why am I doing this? What are the things that I want to accomplish and achieve in the long term?” This often means choosing long-term satisfaction over short-term pleasure.
Our ancestors, driven by the hyper-masculine trance, did what they did because they were given a particular role. A man was given goals, and he would then make promises based on what was expected of him. He got married, got a job, and knew exactly what to do to be a real man. It was obedience to what culture defined for us. This worked at the time, because he could predict the environment and make promises that were possible to keep. Sometimes these would be fulfilled over decades. Today the environment is changing so fast, in technology, at work, in relationships and in many other ways, so deciding on a course and sticking to it, no matter what, is often no longer possible.
Starting in the 1960s, men started to rebel against having choices defined for them from birth. They want to listen to what was in their hearts. “I want to choose my own life, rather than my culture, my family, my tradition, making these choices for me.” As a reaction to the rigidity of the 1950s, men learn to follow their feelings, and go with the flow. This meant that men were leaning more into their feminine side, which is more influenced by estrogen. Instead of sacrificing immediate pleasure to achieve goals, men grew more sensitive to what feels good in this moment. But running on fleeting feelings can bring you down as a man, because when you start to feel more, you may have fears and fleeting desires which can constantly distract you, and then cause you to feel untrustworthy.
The conscious man learns to balance his masculine and feminine sides, which allows him to have awareness of his higher purpose in life, in a way that is also sensitive to the changing environment in which he is moving. He is aware of his emotions, but he also maintains the ability to do the right thing, even when he is afraid. He finds the balance of masculine and feminine within himself by sacrificing short-term immediate pleasure for the long-term satisfaction of the filling his mission. He may set a goal, and later realize that it was not a good goal if the promise no longer serves him or anyone else. Then, through his feeling and intuition, he can adjust his course, set new goals and make new promises based on new information.
For example, in the past many people stuck it out in marriages long after they were only causing everyone to suffer. Men stayed in jobs they hated, because they were tough men. An overly feminized man might move from partner to partner, seeking out new pleasurable romantic feelings, or move from one job to another following his bliss. A conscious man can make these promises intelligently: he can ride the ups and downs of marriage and face the trials and defeats of his job, but he also knows when to quit in the service of everyone’s well-being.
Making short-term promises, to himself and to others, that are in alignment with his long-term vision is incredibly important for a conscious man to stay healthy. He can push through difficulties and challenges, because of adequate levels of testosterone in his blood. When he reaches a milestone, which can be something small and easily achieved, he gets to cross a small item off a list. Then he has the feeling “I solved that problem.” Success. This sense of “mission accomplished” causes a release of dopamine: he feels good about himself, he feels that he can trust himself. It also causes a spike in serotonin, which is a pleasurable brain chemical giving him the feeling that he has the right to relax. Every time he reaches a small milestone in this way, and checks a box, not only does he experience pleasurable brain chemistry, but it also creates the perfect environment to replenish testosterone. Only if he has fully exhausted his testosterone levels will his body be able to rebuild testosterone through relaxation. He needs the frequent experiences of pushing through challenging obstacles, being successful, feeling good about himself, and thus earning the right to relax and rest. This creates a positive loop, causing a man to feel better and better about himself, and to be more and more confident in his ability to create resu