We know that a man can truly love another man in a gay relationship and that this can be authentic and rich, for them. But, can a heterosexual man love another man truly, deeply, in a non-sexual way, without shame and fear? How would this affect society as a whole?
Lately, I have been thinking and feeling into this question a lot through my own coaching work, with reference to one-on-one male interactions and group sharings in the form of men’s circles. I’ve been exploring deeper friendships with other men, showing more vulnerability, being more present with other men, and the potential in these relationships to help me evolve and love as a man is enormous.
If men could deeply love other men, if this was truly possible, why would another man want this, what would it look like, how would this feel, and more importantly, what would this mean to the life of men in general? And the life of women?
So as a man, I ask you:
If you had deeper meaningful connections and felt genuine love for more men in your life, how would this be for you? If you had male friends who you could openly talk to about anything in your life, and be heard unconditionally, without being judged, what would this mean in your own life?
How would this affect your interactions with men in general?
How would this affect your relationship to women?
How would this affect your relationship to yourself and self-acceptance?
How would this affect your relationship with your family members?
How would this affect your confidence levels?
How would this affect your relationship to the world in general?
How would this affect male suicides?
How would this affect domestic violence in the world?
How would this affect corruption in the world?
How would this affect how we treat the natural world?
I’m not talking about male friends who go for a beer together here or to the football match and spend most of the evening discussing life on a superficial level and projecting their fears on other people. No, I’m talking about deep and loving connections where there is inner trust, where anything and everything is welcome, the dark and the light, and were men can share their deepest truths.
It seems that in our society today men are not loving each other in deep and meaningful ways. This is a disaster for society as a whole.
As men most of us have been conditioned not to trust other men, conditioned to see other men through a lens of fear, as a threat, as competition. Also, due to the fact that many of us have been raised predominantly by women, we see men through the lens of our mother, not through the lens of our father and other male role models. Often the view of our mothers towards men has been negative.
For many of us our father wasn’t around much. He was either missing or too busy with work to spend quality emotional bonding time with us. There were no role models around either for us to emulate. If we grew up without receiving deep loving connection from our fathers, grandfathers, and other male role models, how can anyone expect us to share this type of love with other men in our lives today?
“Our dads weren’t there for us, so we were all raised by women, and we can’t learn about manhood from women, so we have to learn about manhood from each other.” Robert Bly (Author and Poet)
In my own life, the way I have attempted to deepen my relationships with other men is through men’s circles. In fact, being involved in regular men’s circles, listening to other men’s stories with compassion, and sharing my own story, knowing that I am being heard is by far one of the most healing practices I have done in my life to date. The wisdom gained in these types of sharings is enormous. When I am actively involved in men’s circles and deep one-to-one connections with men, I observe that every other aspect of my life benefits. All of my relationships are enhanced and my confidence to act in this world and follow my mission is increased significantly.
It is my observation perhaps that at no time in history have there been so many restless, questioning men riddled with confusion and indecision. Lots of men are stuck in no man’s land with a belief that they have no one to talk to and that no one will understand them. To mask this suffering many men turn to addictions, such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, compulsive exercise, and pornography in an attempt to create deep feelings of love and compassion that perhaps were missing in their childhood. Unfortunately, this suffering can lead to the extreme of suicide. In most of the world suicide rates have more than doubled in the last 100 years and it is apparent that 70% of all these suicides happen to men.
“It is not uncommon for men to get stuck in this no man’s land. It is a holy place but an exceedingly dangerous one. Suicide is common, and it is easy to slip into despair or the solace of madness. It is a high compliment that one should experience this existential anguish. The fact that our culture has lost most of its guidelines for people at this point of their evolution makes it all the more difficult.” Robert Johnson (Psychologist)
So, as men I encourage you to explore your relationship with other men:
- Understand and accept your own fears towards deep and loving relationships with other men.
- Step through these fears.
- Look deeper into the eyes of other men.
- Be more compassionate to other men, understand them as men who share the same fears as you.
- Connect more with men in your life through a friendly glance, a smile, a conversation.
- Listen more compassionately without interrupting your close male friends.
- Share your deepest fears with other men you can trust.
- Form your own men’s circles.