Reflections on Male Spirituality
I find Richard Rohr so calming. I first heard him on a Brene Brown podcast and just needed to learn more about him, so I read Eager to Love, and this one really caught my attention. I feel like we have done such a great job at encouraging women to leadership roles and to begin to “break the glass ceiling” but it seems there are a lot of lost men out there.
Richard approaches this topic from the view of a Franciscan Monk, a kind and thoughtful approach. If I ever were to take up organized religion again, it would be from this perspective. He talks about the need for men to have male role models and the importance of understanding that there are transitions we males must go through.
I have so much more to think about, but one point he makes is that pre-industrial age most boys spent an enormous amount of their time with their dad, on the farm, in the shop, learning a trade. This male relationship was strong. When the industrial age came, most dad’s ended up leaving the house to “go to work” and that relationship with the children changed.
Hmmm…never thought about that. I know the industrial age was the origins of “teenagers” because suddenly these young adults who used to work on the farm were now presented with lots of free time.
Richard says, “We don’t think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” This aligns so much in my belief that action is how we create opportunities in our lives and action is where we can find our passions. We won’t find our passion by thinking about it.
Our local middle school had a special day for all the 8th grade girls which was great, but it left all the boys back at school with little to do. They could not have a regular class because half the students were missing. So the guidance counselors created a career day that I helped make happen at the community college. I loved it. But don’t the girls need career work?
The final concept that really struck me is that all men have four parts to our souls. The king or shadow king where we are benevolent and kind and mature or it develops into a shadow king that appears this way but really has ulterior motives. (I’ve simplified all these a bit).
The warrior or black knight side. When growing up most men are trying to physically be strong or grown men are trying to dominate and protect. Or it can develop to be more evil with the black knight side.
The magician has to do with awareness, consciousness, and growth. In his highest side, he is a prophet or truth speaker. The lowest form is the sorcerer’s apprentice and is more of a clown or a trickster.
The fourth side of our soul is the lover or the addict. The lover knows how to delight, appreciate, to enjoy that which is good, true, and beautiful. Where the addict can no longer enjoy and searches for instant gratification. Again, so much to think about.
If you are a spiritual person, (or former Catholic like me), and are looking for a thought-provoking book about men, this is a worthwhile read.