While meditation boasts a number of benefits for everyone, it just may be the most important thing that men, in particular, can do every day to advance the qualities most often associated with their nature.
Qualities like courage, assertiveness, and independence, while certainly not relegated solely to masculinity, are hallmarks of what it means to be a successful and fulfilled man in our world, and meditation greatly advances all these qualities.
Yet, as a male meditation practitioner who has been involved in spiritual circles for over five years, and as a new meditation teacher, I’ve often noticed that women gravitate to meditation practice more than men.
It seems that while women are eager to explore the practice, often performing it in tandem with yoga and other holistic activities, many men view it with suspicion. I’ve come to suspect that many men regard meditation the same way they regard introspection—as something that involves the emotions, and as such is inherently “un-masculine.”
Perhaps this idea birthed from the notion of the primitive hunter-warrior, in which men were regarded as champions of the external world, journeying through the land into the unknown. Anything external we came to regard as the domain of the man, and anything internal we came to regard as the domain of the woman.
While these rigid and archaic notions have certainly softened and mended over time, I believe they nevertheless exert an unconscious influence that prevents many men from pursuing the kind of growth they actually need—the ability to introspect.
What many men don’t realize is that meditation can push them further into the unknown—the unknown depths of their own being, testing the limits of their growth beyond anything that the external world can offer.
Most men are desperate for a regular practice of meditation, but they don’t even realize it.
Whereas Shiva refers to that which is unmanifest, unmoving, unchanging, and unswayable, Shakti refers to that which is creative, potent, changing, energetic, and moving.
While it’s true that a man can play the role of Shakti and a woman can play the role of Shiva, traditionally the distinction has not been looked upon in this way.
Regardless, all men can benefit from enhancing the aspect of themselves that thrives on a capacity to remain still and grounded, especially during challenging situations.
When we meditate, we root our feet to the earth and cultivate unwavering attention, usually to a single point of focus.
Because the world is always changing, a man’s ability to find his center and establish his presence in this world is his greatest tool in overcoming any obstacles he may face.
Here’s how meditation can advance three of the key qualities that men require in order to be more successful and fulfilled in our world:
Meditation teaches us to become the witness of our thoughts. When we meditate, we learn to stop identifying with our thoughts. As a result, when a thought of fear arises, we recognize that we are not that thought. We allow thoughts of fear to arise without resistance, but simultaneously allow ourselves to let them go.
Meditation does not make fear go away. We are always facing new fears, always testing our limits. What meditation does do is enable us to better manage our fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Courage means feeling the fear and doing something anyway.
Meditation teaches us to develop our powers of concentration. When we meditate, we often choose one object of focus, such as the breath, a mantra, a sensation, an image, or an emotion, and gently return our attention to it whenever distractions arise.
Meditation, therefore, trains our minds to cultivate single-pointedness. Success in life depends on our ability to align ourselves with a single purpose, not vacillating between different plans. When we know what we want in life, and when we train ourselves to stay focused on our goals, we will not feel deterred when obstacles arise.
Meditation teaches us how to become more comfortable with being alone. When we meditate, we set aside a certain amount of time every day to sit in silence and stillness by ourselves. Perhaps the sole root of unhappiness in most men is their inability to sit quietly in a room.
Meditation helps us build the grit and resilience required to remain alone with our goals and visions, and continue pressing forward for as long as necessary, even when we must do so on our own.
Author: Henry Bond
Editor: Emily Bartran
Copy Editor: Leah Sugerman
Source: Elephant Journal