There is a growing awareness that the currently accepted model of masculinity prevalent in western society needs to change.
This, amongst many other issues, is indicated by the decline in men’s mental health. The sacred masculine is a new type of man who is arising with an understanding that all life is sacred at his core. Without the sacred, all masculinity is incomplete because until man realises and sees, lives and acts from this higher and deeper perspective, he is still operating from a place of ego, separation, and the personal.
The sacred way is inclusive, connected, and recognises the oneness of all life.
There are many facets of the sacred man but most can be encompassed by three overlapping principles. They are Unity, Service, and Gentle Strength.
The first principle of the sacred masculine is that of unity, and this is primarily about the union of the divine masculine and feminine energies within men. Whether we are in the body of a man or a woman, the interconnected yin and yang energies are both present.
The masculine, or yang energies, are more active, outward, expansive, giving, and projective. While the feminine, or yin energies, are more contractive, intuitive, inward, passive, and receptive. Both polarities are actually complementary opposites and being able to discern which quality is called for in each moment is necessary to bring inner union.
In the modern, Western world, the yin energy has been denigrated and this imbalance, with its patriarchal origins, is largely responsible for the increase in male suicides and emotional and mental health issues that are currently so prevalent within men.
The unity of the head and heart—the mind and body—is also a vital aspect of the path of the sacred masculine. As boys, we were often told that big boys don’t cry. We were taught to suppress and hide the range of less comfortable emotions that we feel in the body. So we retreated into a prison of the mind and disconnected from our bodies, which is the domain of our feelings and emotions.
The body has its own powerful intelligence that communicates with us through what we feel in our heart and in our gut. To find unity, we must have the courage to make the journey back to the heart and feel what we did not feel as we were growing up due to shame and guilt.
When the mind and heart intelligence work in unison, then we operate from a place of balance, with words and actions that are informed by a clear mind that is guided by our feeling hearts.
Service is the second aspect of the sacred masculine trinity.
He who walks this path knows that what we perceive with our human senses is just the tip of the iceberg. He knows that each human is like a single cell in the body of humanity and, just like in a human body, the behaviour of one cell or a group of cells has an impact on the health and well-being of the whole.
To serve others is to serve ourselves and the sacred masculine knows that the external world is but a reflection of his inner world. When we dedicate our lives to helping others and alleviating suffering, we bring ourselves back into alignment with our true nature. And when we operate from this way of being, life takes care of us and there is an increasing flow and ease to our lives.
The sacred masculine knows that when he raises others up, he raises himself. A good man may take care of his wife and children and immediate family, but the sacred masculine knows that the whole of humanity is his family. When he hears of the suffering of others, he feels the pain in his heart. The warrior aspect of the sacred masculine is closely connected with an innate desire to protect and fight for justice and a wish for compassion, kindness, and justice to prevail.
Gentle strength is the third aspect of the trinity and is the energy with which the sacred masculine takes action.
He speaks his truth when he knows that it is called for, and yet his speaking always arises from a loving place within his heart, with the intention of contributing and adding to, rather than denigrating or taking from.
He speaks his truth even when he knows that what he says may not always be well received, and he is not afraid to rattle the bars of the status quo because he is aware that just because it is normal, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily right! He has the strength of his own conviction and yet is mindful of the potential of his own arrogance.
His gentle strength is also apparent when he listens, for he knows when to hold his tongue and hold sacred space by listening with the ears of his heart. His mind is still and he listens with his whole body and the listener feels safe enough to relax and open so that they might see more clearly in the gentle but strong energy of this held space.
He is not a limp, soft man and does not suffer fools gladly. He works always to heal and transform the wounds within him that may not yet be fully transformed so that the distortions of toxic masculinity are no longer part of him. Like the soft, flexible wood of the willow tree that survives the buffeting of the storms, his gentle strength means that he is resilient and not easily unbalanced or uprooted.
As he lives the trinity of the sacred masculine, he realises that the more he knows and honours himself and others, the deeper he commits to his own healing and the more he finds balance and union within.
He does not need the external validation of others and he is not influenced by the false dictates of what it means to be a man. His gentle strength and commitment to unity and service inform his every thought, word, and action so that he might facilitate the birth of a more beautiful world for all our children and the generations to come.