A man who is centered and calm is a leader and a better decision maker. A man who is thoughtful and present will master all of his relationships. A man who is happy with himself is powerful and becomes the master of his circumstances.
There are those men who feel that they are at their best when they are stressed and under pressure. The high from competing with himself and others or the pressure of meeting an 11th hour deadline creates anxiety and produces adrenaline that can be addicting. This stress-anxiety-adrenaline loop feels like excitement, freedom and aliveness. Over time however, stress, anxiety, and adrenaline will slow him down, burn him out and is ultimately detrimental to his state of mind and wellbeing. Unchecked stress, anxiety, and adrenaline interferes with sleep, undermines his sex drive and weakens mental acuity.
Meditation and mindfulness, also called practicing presence, will sharpen his competitive edge without burning him out. The key is to focus on what’s happening now and let go of the outcome. When a man’s attention is continually on the end result, people, projects and objects become a means to an end. His work and his life will lack originality, joy and enthusiasm. Focusing on the outcome feels like anticipation, worry, anxiety, and stress. The practice of being in the present moment will turn stress, anxiety, competition, and worry into energy, clarity, enthusiasm, and joy.
To practice presence try this: When you find that your mind has wondered on to the next project, take a breath and ask yourself, “Is that happening now?” or “Do I need to think about that now?” The answer is usually “No, that is not happening now,” or “No, I do not need to think about that now.” Repeat this to yourself a few times, and you will be amazed at how this simple exercise will bring you back into the present moment, focused on the task at hand.
Another source of stress for many men, are feelings of obligation versus his need to be free. Obligation feels like resentment, anxiety, stress, lack of energy, lack of enthusiasm and lack of creativity. Freedom means choice, and obligation is the antithesis to choice and freedom.
All stress forms in the mind arising from his perception of how things are. If he thinks he’s trapped, he will feel trapped. If he recognizes however that he has choices in any given situation, (he can accept it, change it or leave it) his feelings of obligation will give way to his natural tendency to be and to feel free.
The bottom line is that all things and situations are temporary. A man who is the master of his circumstances can be still while the world races on, enjoying it and letting it all go. Meditation helps him to realize the stillness within, in this way he is eternally free.
Before beginning a formal meditation practice, try this: lie on the floor and place your hands on your stomach. Inhale slowly through the nose allowing the belly to rise on the inhale and hold the breath briefly. Next, exhale slowly through the nose, and hold the exhale brieflyâ€”that’s one round. Do 5 to 10 rounds, focusing your attention on the feeling of the breath and the rise and fall of your hands on your stomach.
The eye of the storm is within. No man can rely on circumstances creating happiness. He will encounter traffic, unreasonable bosses, difficulty in relationships, financial stress, and health related issues. How is it possible for any man to know himself without being able to sit and be still? Without presence how can he rise to life’s many challenges? Real men do what is necessary to create the life they deserve, real men are interested in knowing themselves, real men meditate.
Recommended reading: “The Power of Now,” by Eckhart Tolle and “The Way of the Superior Man,” by David Deida.
Photo Credit: Afonso Coutinho