"Something very ancient and very new is being presented here! Gary Stamper is bringing together many disciplines, much experience, fine scholarship, and good writing style too."
-Richard Rohr, OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and author of Wild Man to Wise Man and Adam's Return
"Gary Stamper has done a masterful job of pulling together various integral and visionary shamanic approaches to assist the change that is greatly needed for not only men of all ages but also for the masculine that is ready to be activated within us all."
-Linda Star Wolf, author of six books, including Visionary Shamanism: Activating the Imaginal Cells of the Human Energy Field
"Awakening the New Masculine is a brave, exciting and significant contribution to one of the most important aspects of our time- the birth of a New Sacred Masculine capable of being fiercely and tenderly protective of the world and human life."
-Andrew Harvey, Author of The Hope a Guide to Sacred Activism
Awakening the New Masculine is a bridge from the first wave of the mythopoetic men's movement of the last twenty-five years to what is only now beginning to emerge. Gary Stamper points the way to the second wave of men's work with humor, intelligence, and the kind of compassion that holds men accountable-daring, insisting, and giving them the tools they need to step up to a new way of being men.
You're going to awaken to the real possibility of becoming the man you've always known you could be, stepping into the truth of who you are in your fullness, cultivating potentials that have called to you, bringing your full presence and awareness to every moment for yourself, your loved ones, and the planet.
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Awakening the New MasculineThe Path of the Integral Warrior
By Gary Stamper
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Gary L. Stamper, PhD
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhat's Wrong with Men? Pathways to Healing the Masculine
Masculine or feminine, we have all been wounded by our primary caretakers, by our culture, and by each other. The premise of this book is that we not only can heal our wounds but must heal them in order to reach more awakened states of being, or what is sometimes called later-stage consciousness. That healing happens largely around exploring, revealing, and bringing forth awareness of what stops us from emerging into the powerful beings we know we can become. What gets in our way and prevents us from realizing our full potential in our work, our relationships, and our peace are our reactive and asleep selves, our shadows.
What is the work that needs to be done on the planet at this time to heal the deep wounds of the masculine and feminine? Following the lead and the work of my partner and wife, Anyaa McAndrew, one of my gifts to the world is the healing of the postmodern masculine. Her work revolves around helping postmodern women who have become overly "masculinized" to reclaim their more powerful, integrated feminine, which includes the masculine. My work revolves around helping postmodern men who have become overly "feminized"—something that needs to happen—to reclaim the healthy aspects and fullness of the new masculine without shame and with a strong sense of their purpose and a clear sense of their sacred mission, while still maintaining their healthy feminine. It is the complete integration of the masculine and feminine that allows men and women to step into a richer fullness.
Before we look at the new masculine, let's take a look at where the men's movement began and where it's been. Then we can take a look at where it might be going. By no means is this a comprehensive look at the men's movement; it's an overview.
Oddly enough, it may have been the movie Field of Dreams in 1989 that set the tone for the men's movement. According to Frank Pittman, the author of Man Enough: Fathers, Sons, and the Search for Masculinity, most women (his statement, not mine) thought it was a "dumb fantasy" about baseball. "But baseball, with its clear and polite rules, and all its statistics, and its players who are normal men and boys rather than oversized freaks, is a man's metaphor for life. Field of Dreams did amazing things to grown men, who soaked themselves in sobs. Some couldn't walk out of the theater when the movie was over. The theme in this or any other movie that draws the most tears from grown men is unquestionably the lifetime mourning for the father they couldn't get close to."
Another of our central myths is that of the son who could not get his father's approval so he turned violent and killed his brother—familiar as the story of Cain and Abel.
Other movies that carry similar themes are East of Eden (1995), the coming-of-age trilogy Star Wars (as in Hamlet or Iron John), The Godfather, and the third film of the Indiana Jones series, in which Sean Connery, as the father of Jones, shows even more masculine bravado than Indiana Jones himself.
The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
With the international best-selling book Iron John: A Book about Men, Robert Bly is credited with starting the mythopoetic men's movement in the United States. Until recently, Bly frequently conducted workshops for men with James Hillman, Michael J. Meade, John Lee, and others.
The mythopoetic men's movement is a loose collection of organizations active in men's work since the early 1980s. It was in the public eye in the early 1990s, and the movement now carries on more quietly in the Mankind Project (MKP) and independent psychospiritual practitioners. Mythopoets adopted a general style of psychological self-help inspired by the work of Bly, Robert A. Johnson, Joseph Campbell, and other Jungian authors.
The mythopoetic men's movement spawned a variety of self-help groups and workshops, led by authors such as Bly, John Lee, Michael J. Meade, and Robert L. Moore. The self-help aspect of this movement was portrayed by the popular media as something of a fad, but it continues to this day. Some academic work came from the movement, as well as the creation of various magazines, continuing annual conferences such as the Minnesota Men's Conference and the Great Mother and New Father Conference, and nonprofit organizations such as MKP, which is still active, alive, and well. Mythopoetic practices among women's groups and feminists were more commonly seen as a portion of a more general "women's spirituality."
As a self-help movement, the mythopoetic movement tends not to take explicit stances on political issues such as feminism, gay rights, or family law (such as the issues of divorce, domestic violence, or child custody), preferring instead to stay focused on emotional and psychological well-being.
As part of developing my own work, I've done the MKP's experiential weekend called the New Warrior Training Adventure. Here's how MKP defines the weekend: "The New Warrior Training Adventure is a weekend process of initiation and self-examination that is designed to catalyze the development of a healthy and mature masculine self. It is the hero's journey of classical literature and myth adapted to our modern culture."
The weekend is intended to be a male initiation ritual. MKP states that those who undertake this journey pass through three phases characteristic of virtually all historic forms of male initiation: descent, ordeal, and return. Participants surrender all electronic devices (cell phones, watches, laptops, etc.), weapons (guns, knives, etc.), and jewelry for the weekend. This is a way of removing the "noise of a man's life," separating the man "from what he is comfortable with," and ensuring the safety of all participants.
Participants must sign a nondisclosure agreement promising not to disclose the specifics of any of the processes used during the weekend to nonparticipants. MKP states that, due to the experiential nature of the program, this policy helps create an experience "uncluttered by expectation" for the next man. Participants must also promise to keep anything they see and hear on the weekend in strict confidence, protecting the privacy of all participants. MKP does, however, encourage participants to freely discuss what they learned about themselves with anyone. I'm not disclosing anything here about the weekend that cannot be found online.
Trainings usually involve thirty to forty participants and some forty to fifty staff members. The course typically takes place at a retreat center over a forty-eight-hour period, with one staff member assigned to each of the participants. Additional staff members provide support for the weekend.
MKP serves an extremely important role in the men's movement, even though there are some unresolved problems within it. For example, the experiential weekend starts off with what felt to me like a heavy dose of patriarchy and control. This is somewhat similar to what initiation has been to men throughout the ages and would be better if it were initiating boys instead of mostly middle-aged men. Although I must say that it does resolve itself by the end of the weekend, I've talked to men who were so turned off or triggered by it that they didn't complete the weekend and realize its benefits, especially men who grew up under the wing of an abusive father. Also, I think MKP mistakes tribalistic ritual for transformation. Author Joseph Gelfer comments that tribal-type rituals may backfire in other cultures, offering this about MKP's approach to initiation and ritual: "Initiation is another theme from which the movement derives its status as spiritual. But again, this is questionable. Initiation is seen as spiritual simply because it is 'tribal,' 'primitive,' and 'ancient' rather than having anything to do with an actual spiritual process. Initiation is just another expedition into [the] fantasy realm."
There's no question that MKP plays an important developmental role in the maturation of men, and I highly recommend the program, especially for young men about to emerge into full manhood. It is incredibly important and necessary work. MKP provides a solid base that the Integral Warrior builds on. I've had many MKP men in the Integral Warrior process who value both, saying that their work with MKP prepared them for the Integral Warrior process and enabled them to go even deeper into their own awareness in their quest for stepping toward the authentic, mature masculine.
The Evangelical Men's Movement
Other examples of contemporary men's work include the evangelical men's movement, typified by the Promise Keepers, a nondenominational group, which is a prime example of the Christian men's movement. Promise Keepers does include therapeutic self-help and emotional intimacy within groups; however, as Frederick Clarkson notes, "Promise Keepers says it aims to create 'men of integrity' while its leaders mouth opportunistic double talk: Honor your wife, but take back your role as head and master of your household. Seek racial 'reconciliation' with hugs and tears among the biblically correct, but ignore racial injustice when it comes to education, jobs and housing."
Because of the scope of this work as a whole, this rather simplistic look at this category also includes the Christian Men's Network, Muscular Christianity, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Catholic Men's Movement. For a more detailed examination of these and other organizations and their patriarchal leanings, I highly recommend Joseph Gelfer's Numen, Old Men: Contemporary Masculine Spiritualities and the Problem of Patriarchy.
Other Men's Work
There are many groups that fall into the category of "the men's movement," including the profeminist movement, which includes groups like Men Allied Nationally for the Equal Rights Amendment (MAN for the ERA), the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS), Rape and Violence End Now (RAVEN) in St. Louis, and Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE) in San Francisco. By the mid-twentieth century, second-wave feminists began to argue that "the personal is political," a trend that legitimized and forced political recognition of women's personal, emotional, and sexual experiences. It also required that profeminist men examine where their personal practices and political ideals connected. By the 1970s, men had begun to examine their own masculinity using a feminist framework.
A couple of other categories enveloped within the men's movement are groups focusing on men's/father's rights, men's liberation, and gay spirituality. I've touched mostly on MKP and Promise Keepers simply because they are the largest men's groups out there. The depth of the men's movement deserves a much deeper look than this book is intended to provide.
Once again, I want to acknowledge and honor my dear friend, community mate, and teacher, Brad Collins, founder of the Shamanic Priest Process for men, with whom I've apprenticed. The Integral Warrior workshop series is partially based on his vision, to which I've added the work I've been doing for several years.
I have intentionally left out philosopher Ken Wilber's Integral Spirituality as a part of the men's movement, as its focus, while arguably masculine, is not part of a men's movement and does not deal with intrinsic men's issues. However, in the integral approach championed by Ken, there is a writer connected to the integral movement who does encompass evolutionary masculinity.
Meet David Deida
I've included Deida here because his developmental model of how the masculine and feminine grow through three distinct stages is an important part of the Integral Warrior workshop and because, even though Deida doesn't do men's groups per se, men's groups about his work and philosophies have sprung up organically in a lot of places. When I was living in Seattle in 2007 (population 582,000), I facilitated one of three David Deidabased men's groups there. Imagine my surprise when I moved to Western North Carolina in 2008 and found five or six Deida-based men's groups in Asheville, with a current population of about 75,000!
David Deida's first two published books, Intimate Communion (1995) and It's a Guy Thing (1997), were oriented to a general readership and introduced some of Deida's key concepts, such as his three-stage model of psychosexual development and an understanding of non-gender-based masculine and feminine identities in a Western cultural context. His three-stage model lays the foundation for a developmental understanding and application of how to move from "first-stage" sexually differentiated codependence and power struggles to "second-stage" sexually neutralized coindependence and cooperation, culminating in the "third-stage" realization of the nondual unity of consciousness and light, with its potentially sexualized expression in love.
The first stage is characterized by self-serving egotism and also by the traditional 1950s gender roles of man as breadwinner and woman as stay-at-home mom. Stage two is the "fifty-fifty" level of empathy and balance we see in much of the postmodern West today, where equality and congeniality reign supreme between the genders and our main aspiration is really just to get along. Then there's stage three, [Deida] says, where we finally break free of the more timid and passionless aspects of second-stage partnership and begin to reawaken the [nongender-based] masculine devotion to mission or feminine desire for love that allegedly will bring back our vital core energy and lead to a renewed sense of purposeful being ... "There is the [feminine] energetic light aspect of existence, and the [masculine] consciousness aspect of existence, and they are not separate," Deida says. "Light is the shine of consciousness. Consciousness is the cognizance of light or energy. It's the knowing aspect of energy, and it's impossible to separate them. They're together, and that's why sex feels so good, because sex is the recapitulation at the human level of consciousness and light in unity.
In The Way of the Superior Man (1997, 2004), Deida summarizes his three-stage view of men's sociocultural evolution in colloquial language: "It is time to evolve beyond the (first-stage) macho jerk ideal, all spine and no heart. It is also time to evolve beyond the (second-stage) sensitive and caring wimp ideal, all heart and no spine. Heart and spine must be united in a single man, and then gone beyond in the fullest expression of love and consciousness possible, which requires a deep relaxation into the infinite openness of this present moment. And this takes a new kind of (third-stage) guts. This is the way of the superior man."
The Way of the Superior Man profoundly changed my life. I had just come off two very quick and intense relationships in which I thought I might have found "the one." While I have a problem with believing in predetermined destiny, it's difficult for me not to believe that both of these women were sent to me so I could learn some very important lessons about both the feminine and the masculine.
Each of these remarkable women touched my soul, and I was inexorably pulled to each, one right after the other. Each, in her own way, was horribly wounded and carried those deep wounds by pushing away and closing down or projecting the causes of those wounds onto men who tried to get too close. In my ignorance at the time, instead of giving them the space they needed, I continued to move forward, driving them even further away. I did not realize at the time how many women have abusive histories. The numbers are staggering, and I wound up in relationships with two, back to back. Reeling from the emotions of what had happened and desperately wanting to understand everyone's role, I began reading everything I could about relationships and why they go wrong. That's when I found Deida's The Way of the Superior Man.
Excerpted from Awakening the New Masculine by Gary Stamper Copyright © 2012 by Gary L. Stamper, PhD. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: What's Wrong with Men? Pathways to Healing the Masculine....................1
Chapter 2: How the Masculine Grows....................16
Chapter 3: Shifting Perspectives into Later-Stage Consciousness....................26
Chapter 4: Mastering Opportunities for Change: Developmental Systems Theory and Spiral Dynamics....................38
Chapter 5: Do We Really Need More Warrior Energy? The Path of the Integral Warrior....................50
Chapter 6: Setting Up the Container: Creating Sacred Space....................59
Chapter 7: Integral Shamanism: Moving from Magic to the Transpersonal....................76
Chapter 8: Masculine Archetypes: The Hidden Forces at Work in Our Psyches....................99
Chapter 9: What Do I Need to Work On? The Psychology of Spirituality or the Spirituality of Psychology?....................121
Chapter 10: The Missing Link for Boys and Men: Initiation and Ritual....................128
Chapter 11: Sacred Activism: Shape-Shifting Your World....................136
Chapter 12: Emergence of the Integral Warrior: We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For....................145