On Men And Women

I have written this article on the request of a close friend. She asked me if men and women are equal and if not, then why are we trying to make them?
(This article is a mixture of socio-politics, spirituality, and metaphysics).

I get where she is coming from but the words of her question could be better.

The fact is men and women are equal in their capabilities but they are not the same.

In the words of Elliott Hulse, “We are equally beautiful but beautifully different”.

In my opinion, movements like feminism and anti-feminism rise when the power balance gets skewed too much. In the previous century, feminism gained a lot of momentum and it has worked towards the betterment of women by working for their freedom and equal wages. It was good in the beginning but every good thing is subject to eventual devolution(cycle of life).

Somewhere along the line, the movement lost its true purpose and shifted its focus against men.

The problem that I have with political movements like this is that they don’t have space for the individual. They all want to mold you into a specific structure. That is in their best interests, not particularly yours.

How do they do this?

They create shame in you for your own nature and then they offer salvation for it. Much like the software security companies creating the viruses for which they offer
anti-viruses. I will touch on shame in a later post.
For now, I want to point out my biggest issue with feminism (as it is today).

It shames men for being masculine and more importantly it shames women for being feminine.

We should stop defining people in binary terms. It is a common spiritual belief that every human being has both, masculine and feminine traits. Nobody is purely masculine or purely feminine all the time. Of course, there are such moments, but they are just that, moments. In our day to day lives, we move around in the masculine/feminine spectrum. If people are behaving according to their true nature (a rarity), then men tend to have a masculine nature and women tend to have a feminine nature. This is because we are designed that way, our bodies are designed that way. We have different bodies with different body chemistries. We are naturally inclined towards different things. I’ll get to the masculine and feminine nature in a little while.

You can be a feminine man or a masculine woman, or any combination in between. Stay true to what is true for you. You use both of these natures when you need it.
Material success (or rather competitive success) requires you to channel your masculine nature. I don’t care if you are a man or a woman, if you are in any sort of leadership position you have channeled your masculine nature. On the other hand, if you have been caring/loving to someone, something or even some cause, you have channeled your feminine nature.

Now on to the masculine and feminine nature. This is the spiritual/metaphysical part. Even if you are not inclined towards those areas, I invite you to read the following section for gaining new perspective.

The masculine nature. We think that the masculine man is the brash, macho guy who drinks alcohol, wears leather jackets and rides motorcycles or some variation of this.
Completely wrong. Our disillusionment is majorly the fault of societal conditioning in the form of movies, TV shows, news, music, marketing and what not.

The masculine nature is of the observer, of stillness, of clarity, of assertiveness. The masculine nature is like a sword which cuts through all abstractions, straight
to the truth of the matter. Assertiveness does not mean being loud or abusive. Assertiveness just means to know what one wants and move towards it with clarity and
purpose. The masculine represents rigidity, discipline, and structure; at the same time, it is not abrasive. There is an edge to it. This masculine edge is required for the clarity and purpose which are inherent to the masculine nature.

On the other hand, the feminine nature is of creation. If the masculine is rigid, then the feminine being its polar opposite is fluid. It is always in motion, it can not remain fixed. A whirlwind of emotions. Since it represents creation, the feminine is accordingly a nurturing, loving, healing, accepting energy. The feminine is also much more expressive than the masculine. This is why women find it easier to express their emotions while men struggle with the same.

A good example of both the natures is a river with its banks. The river represents the flowing feminine while the masculine banks represent the structure that stop the river from flooding everywhere.

It should be fairly obvious to you now that we all need a balance of these energies on an individual level as well as on a societal level. A highly masculine society runs the risk of becoming a tyranny while a highly feminine society runs the risk of running itself into the ground because it can not efficiently handle its resources.

None of these natures is better than the other, they are just what they are and they should be appreciated for what they are. There is no need for one to bash the other.

The feminine requires the grounding of the masculine and the masculine requires the love and support of the feminine.

A truly successful person lives a balanced life in accordance with his/her true nature. And accordingly, a truly successful society maintains a balance between the two.

Now, I’m not completely free of my shame as of yet but I’m on that path. You should be on your own path too, if you have not started as of yet, stop waiting for utopia.

Walk on the path to your freedom where you be who you are unapologetically with complete ownership and responsibility.

Till next time,
VR.

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Live With An Open Heart

Even if it hurts.

The inspiration for this article came from David Deida’s book, The Way of the Superior Man. The message is simple, live with an open heart. What does this mean? Don’t unnecessarily put a filter on yourself because of the fear of offending someone or not being liked. At the same time, don’t go out of the way to insult or hurt someone.

The key here is vulnerability; sharing the feelings or ideas that are closest to our hearts. This is very fearful in the beginning (as it is for me right now). When you are vulnerable, you have the fear of being rejected/judged and this rejection would hurt deeply because in this moment you are defenseless. Realize this not everyone will like you and if they do, you’re doing something wrong. You are either being dishonest in your expression or you are one lucky person who found all the right people (it is easier to get struck by lightning). It is better to be liked for who you truly are than for the facades that you have created. These facades would have to change constantly to morph for different people and their expectations. Think about a more stressful job.

What happens when you do open your heart? You start pulsing with a vibrant energy. I know this from firsthand experience (this is the day that I told many of my friends about this blog and I am still high on that energy). When you start expressing who you are, you start untangling yourself. When you are untangled, you feel light and free. And freedom is the greatest feeling for me, which is why I write to you about it. As the old adage goes, “The truth shall set you free”.

The important thing to do before you start expressing yourself is to first accept yourself for who you are and all that you stand for. You don’t have to completely agree with someone else and no one else is obligated to completely understand you. This is how it is. When you accept your own truth and chose to live by it no matter what, a certain aura surrounds you. People might not agree with you but they will respect you for standing for something.

The following is the relevant text from the book:

The superior man practices opening during these times of automatic closure. Open the front of your body so your chest and solar plexus are not tense. Sit or stand up straight and full, opening the front of your body, softening your chest and belly, wide and free. Breathe down through your chest and solar plexus, deep into your belly. Look directly into the eyes of whoever you are with, feeling your own pain as well as feeling the other person. Only when the front of your body is relaxed and opened, your breath full and deep, and your gaze unguarded and directly connected with another person’s eyes, can your fullest intelligence manifest spontaneously in the situation. To act as a superior man, a samurai of relationship, you must feel the entire situation with your whole body. A closed body is unable to sense subtle cues and signals, and therefore unable to act with mastery in the situation.

When you are vulnerable with someone, you inspire vulnerability in them. If the person is ready to be vulnerable with you, then the interaction would lead to a deeper connection. Otherwise, the other person might shy away from further conversation. If this is the case, then don’t get disheartened. All this is not about the other person’s reaction but about you accepting yourself and sharing with an open heart.

Live with an Open Heart, Be Free.

Till next time,

-VR (I changed my pen name ;P)

Freedom

If there is one thing that is closest to my heart, it is freedom. And it is not just me, freedom is close to every man’s heart. People have died for freedom, they still do.

This is the freedom to live one’s life according to one’s own heart. We don’t want to live with obligations or under the control of someone else’s will. We want the actions that we take to be the actions that we want to take not obligations. This is why a man works; to create more freedom for himself and for his family. The simplest type of freedom to achieve is physical freedom.

No matter your age or your current physical condition, there is always a possibility for creating more physical freedom. This is related to your body. If you are overweight, then eat to get lean. If you are already lean, then train for strength. There is no end to strength training. But, if you want to take this in another direction, then take up some dance style. Learning to dance creates a different sort of freedom, a kind of fluidity in your bodily expression. I wish to take this up soon. I would love to learn tango. I’ll get there soon enough.

Meanwhile, lets get to the next type of freedom: financial freedom.

The steps are fairly simple. Do some work you are good at, save some money, invest that money to make more money while freeing up your time. This same thing can be done in a million different ways but the template is the same. When your investments hit critical mass, you won’t be required to work anymore. You’ll work simply because you want to. Now, some people achieve this in a few years, some take much longer than that. Keep in mind, this freedom is also related to your living standards; what is and isn’t acceptable to you. Some people are content in a hut, some need a castle. Whatever it is, just make sure it is a conscious choice, not a desire for someone else’s approval.

The next type of freedom is emotional freedom. This type of freedom is achieved when you are free from the control of your emotions. They stop ruling you. Living with emotions is one thing but being ruled by emotions is something else entirely. Emotional freedom comes when you transcend your emotions. How do you transcend your emotions? With awareness. When some emotion arises in you, don’t run away from it. Feel it deeply, notice it. Don’t place moral judgments. If you are jealous, don’t say this is bad, just be jealous, completely. Then, allow it to pass. If you are happy, be happy, completely happy. If you are sad, be sad. Don’t run away. You just have to stay in the moment, focused. The emotion will pass. Don’t deny your emotions, with time, you’ll transcend them. No need to rush, actually don’t rush. If you try to rush, you’ll just be playing the avoidance game.

These are the three basic types of freedoms. One thing I’d like to point to you and to me (as a reminder) is that the more successful a man becomes, it is likely that he feels trapped. A successful man has the image of a successful man to protect. This will keep him trapped out of the present most of the time because he will be trying to protect that image. Remember this trap in your journey to your freedom and you will never feel stuck.

To our freedom.

Your man
-Vik

My Beginning With Radical Honesty

I mentioned radical honesty in my last post. I’m going to expand on it in this post. It is a principle by Brad Blanton wherein the person practicing it is absolutely honest with everyone about what he thinks and feels plus about facts of the past. The facts in the past being secrets that are weighing down on the person.

When you let go of these secrets, you let go of a part of your personality which was acting like a mind-made prison. It is a different type of freedom. It may be very hard for you, in the beginning, you may have to die (metaphorically) and be reborn when you choose to pull the band-aid. It can be very hard to come clean with loved ones. But sooner or later, you will realize that it was for the better as now the people love you (if they do) for who you really are, not for some version that you try so hard to be.

When you let go of the secrets and the identity that you are constantly trying to live up to, you release an enormous amount of energy that manifested itself as anxiousness in your behavior. Now, you will be free and you’ll also be able to use this energy for creative purposes (such as writing a blog ;P).

Right now, I’m just beginning to come clean. This actually marks my beginning. If you can’t do it all at once, begin slowly and start getting more and more real every day. You will build momentum and the confrontations that used to scare you will become less daunting. Start being honest with acquaintances, then come to your friends, then finally come to your family.

With each circle, the difficulty increases and so does the payoff. Don’t wait for the perfect moment when you muster up enough courage to be completely honest, start right now, however and to whatever degree you can, build momentum, it all adds up.

There is one more strategy I learned from another book that will help in this situation. When you have to have difficult conversations with people, visualize these conversations ahead of time. Make them as clear and realistic as you can. Make the reactions of the other persons as bad as you can, so you’re prepared for the worst. Repeat this visualization again and
again till their reactions bother you much less than they initially did. Also, don’t unnecessarily build the pressure, use momentum. Be real.

There is one last level with this radical honesty thing, but that is too much for me to explain. I recommend you read the book for that purpose. This is not a sales technique, it really is hard for me to explain and I’d rather not miscommunicate the author’s message.

This will help you in dealing with shame. Shame is a very negative emotion that holds you back, make you feel bad about yourself. You reduce your shame when you share. You will realize that facts are facts and the past doesn’t define you. You took some action that you thought right in that moment. You’re alive and so you change with time. Only the dead are consistent.

Be Real, Be Honest, Be Alive.

To your freedom. Your man

– Vik