Sunday, December 5, 2010

On Men Being a Strong Container

One of the stereotypes of the masculine, especially in integral circles (think polarity work a la David Deida), is that masculinity is a container for emotions or other energies associated with the feminine. The implication is that masculinity is strong and structured and that femininity is diffuse and unstructured.

I intentionally used the word stereotype because I do not believe that men or women are inherently more or less able to contain emotions, energies, or whatever else (except new life - women CAN contain that). However, I believe that men are culturally shaped to act as containers, to provide structure.

This little Daily Om from the other day talks about the ways we can be containers for our own emotions and feelings, through breath and grounding.
Being a Strong Container
Grounding Ourselves

When we are grounded, we essentially become a strong container in which our spirits can safely and productively dwell.

We often hear people telling us to ground ourselves, but we may not be sure what that means and how we might do it. Grounding ourselves is a way of bringing ourselves literally back to earth. Some of us are more prone than others to essentially leaving our bodies and not being firmly rooted in our bodies. There's nothing terribly wrong with this, but while we are living on the earth plane it is best to stay grounded in the body.

One of the easiest ways to ground ourselves is to bring our attention to our breath as it enters and leaves our bodies. After about 10 breaths, we will probably find that we feel much more connected to our physical selves. We might then bring our awareness to the sensations in our bodies, moving from our head down to our feet, exploring and inquiring. Just a few minutes of this can bring us home to bodies and to the earth, and this is what it means to ground ourselves.

We can go further by imagining that we have roots growing out of the bottoms of our feet, connecting us to the earth. The roots flow with us so we can we always move, but at the same time they keep us grounded. We receive powerful energy from the earth just as we do from the forms of energy we associate with the sky, and our body is a tool that brings these two energies together in a sacred union. When we are grounded, we essentially become a strong container in which our spirits can safely and productively dwell. This is why grounding ourselves every day, especially at the beginning of the day, is such a beneficial practice. Fortunately, it's as simple as bringing our conscious awareness to our bodies and the earth on which we walk.

We can learn to do this for ourselves, through breathing, through connecting with nature, through sitting on the earth (or metaphorically sitting on the earth). When we learn to do this for ourselves, we can then do it for others - for those we love. Both men and women can act as containers.

It may very well be easier for men - because of how we are raised - to do this form of energetic work in relationships, but I am no longer convinced we are inherently better at it than women.

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