Why Are Many Men Out of Touch with Their Own Spirituality?

Christian de la Huerta has offered many retreats over the years specifically for men.  I asked him one day if he felt men in our society have imbibed a distorted view of masculinity.  He responded:

“Gamer.” Photo by Henrik Johansson on Flickr.

Definitely.  In a lot of men I find a fear of introspection, a fear of pleasure: they become very stuck in their lives.  Disconnected from their bodies; completely repressing the emotions. And that of course all comes out in inappropriate and sometimes destructive ways.

I asked him if he felt the spirituality of men is hidden or secret.  This was his reply: “It’s been repressed, a secret from ourselves.”  But Why? I asked. 

Many men have a misunderstanding of masculinity and would categorize anything spiritual as something less than masculine, something feminine.  A rejection of an intrinsic part of who we are as men.

Pitjantjatjara singer/songwriter Frank Yamma performs at the multicultural arts festival WOMADelaide. Photo by PeterTea on Flickr.

For many men their work is often a pursuit of the spiritual, an expression of it.  Their devotion to their family is the same.  For many it is devotion to their country, a willingness to give all for country or family  or for their art.  Many artists are men who are warriors in their own right, trusting the universe to provide economically and trusting the muses to feed them images for their art.  There are political warriors as well, committed to see justice happen, eco, racial, gender and more.  And there are engineers, doctors, lawyers, taxi drivers, business people, teachers, nurses, writers, mechanics, carpenters, who give life their all.  And that is spirituality, giving life one’s all.  Biophilia.  Love of life.   That is spirituality.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. xf.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Building for the planet: solar house construction. Photo by Student Design and Experiential Learning Center on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you recognize a fear of introspection and a repression of spirituality in some men who keep it “a secret” even from themselves?  Do you recognize spirituality work in many men’s dedication to their work and relationships as well?

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

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14 thoughts on “Why Are Many Men Out of Touch with Their Own Spirituality?”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you, reading daily meditation is opening me up to seeing mý worldview very different. As a senior female I understand now near too old 6

  2. Avatar

    I am so glad Matthew has invited us to pay attention to the legions of spiritual warrior men in our families and in our culture. The question that I have is – How can we ‘rescue’ the many ‘Isis-Taliban’ males who are literally be-devilling their communities, cultures and countries by seeking control of women and political power with false religion and phallic weapons? Women and children, and the men who care about them, are being starved and killed so these faux men can exercise faux power [funded by dark money elites who revel in the fact that, for them, war is profitable, which is why they continue to invest in merciless mercenaries marching lockstep to their dark tune].

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Gwen, you are right. There are Isis-Taliban men who are “be-deviling their communities, cultures and countries”–unfortunately I don’t think there is much we can do about it, because they live in areas where they can do it, and I don’t think we have much power to change what they do here. The real problem with many of the Muslim extremist groups is a warped understanding of the Qur’an. Read it yourself and you will find that much of what you have heard is NOT in the Qur’an, rather it is based on extremist interpretations of the Qur’an, in much the same way as we have men in the Church who will not ordain women or allow them to preach in the church, who uphold virginity and make women either virgins or whores due to their twisted interpretations of the Bible. We still have a lot of work to do right here !!!

      1. Avatar

        I guess I should have said ‘international dark money elites’ who don’t distinguish their purchasers by religious affiliation. The elites care about sales not about the negative consequences in various communities which result from those sales.

  3. Avatar

    As of late, due to these DM’s, my husband and I have had some very interesting discussions about masculinity. Some comments he has made regarding the queries for consideration, has been that men speak a different language within their spirituality, and this language is one of doing. This doing is a kind of active contemplation. For example preparing the wood for the coming winter, chopping, and stacking this, is not only an act of love and caring for family needs of heat and the warmth of the hearth, but it is also a time of contemplation, in which this act becomes a form of reflective meditation, in which he sorts out other issues going on within himself and his life.

    He definetely sees his spirituality being lived also through his work as a professor in the digital arts program that he teaches, in which he incorporates his spirituality and the connection with nature, through the creative process of photography. It’s in the doing, the creating, the connecting that his spirituality is experienced and expressed.

    He also commented that the term patriarchy and the negative connotations within this word, has made for a very negative umbrella that all men are now being identified with… a kind of shameful wounding projected onto the masculine, as if this negative image is the reality of all men, which it is not. This results in men being afraid to embrace their own masculinity, as well as results in confusion as to what it is to be a man, in a healthy balanced way.

    He also commented, that being a man with a balance of the feminine, has been problematic for him, throughout his life, mainly because it is not well received, but rather is criticized and judged as a weakness, rather than a strengthening of inner balance.

    I am grateful for these discussions that have taken place, for it is important for women to begin to compassionately understand the suffering and wounding that men too are enduring and going through, in order that both the masculine and feminine may heal together.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Thank you for your comment! I, being a man, can relate to how your husband feels. Your husband is right–not all men are characterized by Patriarchy, but Patriarchy isn’t about all men, rather its a systematic approach in which institutions, where men rule, discriminate against women in all sorts of ways.

  4. Avatar

    Perhaps using the word hierarchy, rather than the word patriarchy, would lead to further healing for men and women, as it is hierarchy within both patriarchal and matriarchal leadership that causes an unhealthy expression of the masculine and feminine aspects of humanity.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Hierarchy is another good word as you say, however, in the Catholic Church and in many Protestant Churches as well, the Hierarchy is male and therefore Patriarchal as well…

  5. Avatar

    …and so the entire plant continues to suffer.
    No more excuses for their refusal to put themselves under the microscope of therapy, their refusal to use self-help’s voluminous library, their refusal to engage in healthy communication, instead of grunting, throwing objects/weight around, violence: rape, intimidation, harassment, lies, denial, abuse.

  6. Avatar

    I agree with the woman who questions why there is no moral outrage at the high suicide rate of young men. I was aware of the growing suicide rate among our veterans, but there does not seem to be much moral outrage about that either, or about the PTSD, addiction, and homelessness that plagues them. There is no separating toxic masculinity, which includes some women (especially some politicians) as Matthew has pointed out before, from the whole sick society that imprisons men in some kind of fantasy male role. I have always felt that mothers bear some responsibility in this, if they do not teach their sons some sensitivity and self respect for who they really are.

  7. Avatar

    Some of the cause may also come from our many centuries of culturally devaluing women. The qualities of allowing emotions, sensitivity, caring, cultivating relationships are associated with women, and heaven forbid, young man, that you would exhibit women’s qualities!

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