In the material world, manhood is conferred on a boy by an entire group of men. In the spiritual realm, manhood is the natural birthright of all boys. In the material world, a boy might have to prove manhood. Spiritually, there is nothing to prove. You, my son, my daughter, are a beautiful child of God.
Proving manhood in the material world may involve some difficult challenges. “Real” men are strong and stoic, unemotional and not vulnerable. “Real” men are disposable and conforming. The material world needs men who will die for their country. This world operates on a we/they mentality — us versus them. It focuses on difference, scarcity and fear. The goal is to gain power over others, dominate, and be in control. This often results in ruthless and violent behavior. This “never enough” consciousness results in addictions, greed, shame and emptiness. The “big hole” can never be filled. So there is always a need for more, bigger, and better. This is EMPIRE consciousness.
In the spiritual realm, everyone is a “real” child of God. Every female is a “real” female, and every male is a “real” male. There is a ONENESS consciousness — everyone is lovable and worthy. There is no top to get to. Everyone is one with God. This realm focuses on wholeness, connection, abundance, and love.
As boys grow up, they are fed many messages by the American culture about “manning up,” about acting tough, and about discarding the vulnerable parts of themselves. This shedding of one’s deep inner nature, results in years of grieving — accompanied by anger, violence and depression. Men and boys are shamed if they do not conform to this macho image. They often suffer in silence, and lack emotional connection to friends and family. They act out against others in violence, or act “in” against themselves with shame and self-hatred.
How does a man change his consciousness from EMPIRE consciousness to ONENESS consciousness?
Men who are connected spiritually do not need the approval of others. They are God-centered, not me-centered or world-centered. They love from the inside out. First, they love themselves as beloved children of God. Then, they share God’s love with others through acts of kindness, compassion, and generosity.
Unhooking from the worldly definition of manhood takes inner work, spiritual work, and support. Unity principles provide the tools for personal, spiritual connection. God is. I am. I think it. I pray it. I live it. Prayer, meditation, affirmations, gratitude, and loving what is become daily rituals.
The Spiritually Connected Man workshop (Monday, Nov. 5, 7-8:30 p.m. at Unity Minneapolis) encourages men to come to a new understanding of what true spiritual manhood means. It is also valuable for women to learn about spiritual manhood because many women have men and boys in their lives. In these days of violence, addictions, shaming and ridicule, domination, racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, it is time to come together to support the positive transformation of manhood from me-centered, fear-centered narcissism to we-centered, love-centered compassion and community.
Dr. Michael Obsatz has worked with men and boys for almost fifty years. He has published articles and books on this topic. He has spent time with Abraham Maslow, Robert Bly, Al Gore, and many other spiritually-connected men. Mike has presented dozens of workshops on this topic all over the U.S.