How to Awaken and Empower the Integral Man

Aren’t men doing just fine these days? On top of most industries, running most businesses, and outearning their female counterparts, among other privileges?

A small percentage of men are indeed doing very well, financially at least, but overall men are actually the worst they’ve been in a generation.

Men have three times the suicide rate of women, die younger (and that gap is growing, currently 7 years), are more prone to cause and suffer from catastrophic violence, are graduating at far lower rates from both high school and college, and are suffering from a generational “failure to launch” into careers, parenthood, and homeownership.

Even those men who are doing well financially are often struggling with depression or rage, alcoholism, or just being shut down emotionally. And their marriages and their children suffer.

What is wrong with men today? And what can be done to help them find a healthy expression of their deepest masculinity?

Join author and men’s work guide Keith Martin-Smith, who will be talking with his longtime friend, Jason Lange. Jason Lange is a men’s embodiment coach, group facilitator, and evolutionary guide. He helps men drop in and wake up to deeper clarity in their life’s purpose and relationships. He believes every man should be in a men’s group for the growth and support opportunities they provide.

Text by Keith Martin-Smith
Images and maps by Corey deVos

I would like to make the case to eliminate the term “vulnerable” and find a more adequate term.
A look at what “vulnerable” actually means (the actual meaning of words) will show how undesirable it is for an Empowered Integral man.
1 - “In need of special care”
2 - “Open to attack or damage”
3 - “capable or susceptible to being physically or emotionally attacked, damaged or wounded”
4 - "open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, influence etc
5 - “at risk”

Out of all these I cannot find a single one that describes an Empowered Emotional man.
What has happened is a certain type of man without personal power and not integrated has crept into these circles and has taken a line from the book 1984 “Weakness is Strength”.

Allow me to describe a common situation. A man comes to group and describes an emotion he is having and other men might judge that he is “being vulnerable”, but this is pure speculation and projection. This happens to me from time to time. Perhaps THEY would be vulnerable expressing the same thing and they make up that a man is opening up himself to potential harm. But consider this - if there is the potential for him to be harmed in the group, the group should close immediately. There should be zero risk of harm in such a group. Therefore if the group is healthy, there cannot be vulnerability. Vulnerability can only exist in an unsafe group.

I may express many things in the course of a day. I might express emotions, express my fears or stressors, and so forth. I might express compassion or empathy. I would consider none of acts as being “vulnerable”.

Masculine and Feminine are complimentary and generative when they interact, so the left infinity symbol with masculine and feminine generating infinity is a good model. On the other hand, vulnerability is not complementary to strength. Instead, vulnerability interacts with the shadows of fragility, introducing a negative shadow spiral to the diagram. Instead, I would phrase the desirable trait as something that interacts more with the positive trait listed, such as compassion. Perhaps a concept like “yielding” or “acceptance” or another similar word.

The problem is that an Empowered Integral man cannot actually be emotionally harmed. Allowing another to emotionally harm you is a dysfunction and far from being “awake”. Should we expect the Buddha to lower himself down to a level where he allows that what another person says can harm him? It’s a crazy idea. The Buddha reached a point in consciousness where he cannot be harmed so therefore he cannot be vulnerable.

When I am in group and a man says 'Thank you for being vulnerable" or something similar I stop him and ask “I didn’t feel vulnerable and I don’t accept the projection. Do you instead mean that if you said what I said, you would feel vulnerable?” Thanking a man for his vulnerability is one of the most common back door projections and implies a degree of fragility.