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We Need a New Men´s Liberation!

Find out about the Strong Spine & Open Heart Awakening Man Retreat.

For almost 2 years I am part of the Awakened Life Project, a project deeply sprung out the radical teachings of non-duality (nothing top do with half-baked pseudo neo-advaita though). The Awakened Life Project aims to liberate human beings from their belief in separation and limitation, which is a way one could define ego. In this context ego is understood to be not a static entity but rather as an “activity”, a conditioned movement of contracting the Infinite Consciousness that we all ARE.

As part of my involvement with the project I am part of the ALP Men’s Group. I figured out I never really take the time to express to friends and relatives what this is all about so I wanted to share a little bit about my experience to whomever would be interested.

It is a fact that our culture´s patriarchal ethos leads both women AND men astray. Men´s implacable history of degrading, condescending and objectifying attitude towards women has to be acknowledged. As a man I think it is important to recognize that these movements are deeply engrained in my behavioral and thinking patterns whether I am aware of it or not, while at the same time to not personalize neither dramatize them. That is one of the reason why the spiritual context is so important as it allows one to dis-cover our True Identity as That which lies prior to any personal feature. And from that ground there is the possibility to freely inquire into the multi-dimensional perspectives of what it is to be a human being and in my case a man. It is therefore a delicate endeavor for a man to lean in and take his responsibility for his conditionings while at the same time understanding that he is not limited by them. That implies having the humility, bearing insecurities and being vulnerable and more than anything the courage to see TRUTH more than anything else which may be tremendously challenging at times.

Now women have had their part in this asymmetrical relation too, a bit like the dialectic of the master and the slave, by acknowledging men’s superiority women locked themselves up in their supposedly inferior roles and made it real. And this is of course why feminist movements have had and still have so much importance. But again without a spiritual context that transcends (and includes) all difference it could just lead to another dis-orientation that plays the game of separation between a “them” vs an “us” rather that seeing human being for what it is prior to any sexual differentiation ( i.e. infinite consciousness, immense potential ). Also I have countless examples of close friends taking a strong stand against the patriarchal society but at the same time reproducing totally unconscious behaviors dictated by these same old structures, which makes it clear that both deep inquiries into our True Nature beyond gender and into our biological, psychological and cultural conditionings is of paramount importance.

Both women and men suffer under the status quo. As a man I am constrained either to the macho behavior, to “ man it up”, and show off that I have "balls" or to its postmodern reaction of being a sensitive nice guy. Neither orientation embraces the true potential of being embodied as a man represents. So along with my brothers in the Awakened Life Men´s Group I am stepping out of these conditionings to embrace my natural strength, one-pointedness, integrity, loyalty AND my sensitivity, vulnerability, my capacity to deeply feel and let the pain of the world in.

In leaning into this I am left with the UNKNOWN for our cultural background has not produced models or maps I could refer to and thus, potentially, a new masculinity is to be re-invented. This is one of the themes we explore in our Men’s Group in a context of ego-transcendence, which from a certain perspective could be described as bearing the fears of the unknown.

Find out about the Strong Spine & Open Heart Awakening Man Retreat.

Bernard Erken, Belgium

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About the project

The Awakened Life Project is situated in a beautiful and wild ecological reserve in the mountains Central Portugal. We offer volunteer programs, courses, events and retreats to support the liberation of the human spirit in a context of evolutionary emergence and communion with the ecological web of life.


Quinta da Mizarela
3305-031 Benfeita
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