Band of Brothers

This past weekend I experienced the most deeply joyous and profound gathering of the Awakened Life Project Men’s Group so far. In this gathering there was a spectrum of men from those who have been engaged in our transformational process together for 3 or 4 years to a new man who was joining the group for the first time.

I set the context for our gathering by speaking about the potential for the group to achieve what I called “escape velocity”. By that I meant the concentrated force that enables a rocket to break free from the gravitational pull of the earth, never to return again. In my metaphor the rocket symbolized our shared intention to evolve beyond separating and limiting structures of consciousness so that we could explore, and become grounded in, new worlds of liberated possibility. The gravity symbolized the individual and collective forces of resistance to change that pull us back to the sphere of a known, habitual and familiar pattern of being and relating.  


The reason that I used this metaphor was because I felt the potential at this point in the evolution of the group to break through the ceiling of our individual and collective resistances to radical transformation in such a way that there would be no falling back. While we have reached some extraordinary heights of realization and insight, and every man has clearly changed in demonstrable ways as a result, it was clear to us all that when we are not together, and go back to our every day lives, there is a tendency to fall back into typically male patterns of selfishness and false independence. These default settings of male conditioning cause us to lose touch with the all-important sense of responsibility and care for our individual and collective transformational process.

The response of all the men to the challenge to achieve “escape velocity” was deeply inspiring. Some men shared enormous challenges that they are facing with naked vulnerability and dignity, opening their hearts for help from their brothers to align with truth in very complex situations. Some others responded with humility to a big push to demonstrate more care for the group and a deeper commitment to meditation practice. Some were willing to take risks and question what was being said which opened up deeper realms of understanding for all. But transcending and including all of the different themes and issues that were addressed was a fullness of participation that took the form of deeper listening, real care and a willingness to take risks. This deeper commitment and evolutionary love released an ex-static intimacy, meaning that we were all unified and, at the same time, filled with the uplifting joy of knowing that we were moving as one body.

An exploration that illuminated what it really takes to catalyze “escape velocity” had to do with our relationship to how we feel at any given time. If we are only willing to “do the right thing” when we feel like it then we will never deeply transform, because our emotional/feeling responses to events are usually based on the past. One man said that he did not feel he was being authentic if his feeling experience was not in alignment with an action. Another man responded with a quote from an Indian yogi who said, “you have to fake it until you make it”. I said that we have to be willing to make a shift in perspective from seeing who we are from the “inside out”—meaning that our primary sense of where we are at is based on how we feel subjectively—to seeing who we are from the “outside in”, meaning that our primary sense of where we are at is based on what we actually say, do and express objectively. In the former our sense of self is contracted around the changing content of our feeling experience, while in the latter we are rooted in and as Spirit itself which transcends the changing content of experience and so aligns us with the Higher Will to "do the right thing" regardless of our subjective experience.

If we are willing to make the noble effort to do that then over time our emotional/feeling experience will come more into alignment with our deepest spiritual impulses, but in the meantime we are not waiting for that to be the case to fully show up here and now for love and truth. Because we were all making the choice to show up in this way there was a unified field of profound unity. Every man was clearly committed to our shared evolutionary adventure for real.

When a group of men come together in this way there is a particular quality of transcendent, yet deeply grounded, softness and strength that shines through each man that is very rare and deeply moving. I believe this quality is the ground for a radical reconfiguration of what it means to be an awakened evolutionary man in our time.

Read more about The Awakened Life Project Men's Group here.