Mindfulness and Masculinity
Masculinity is a huge and strong body of framework. It has lived through ideas, rules and principles for years. The medium it chooses to express itself is through human thoughts. To talk to masculinity has always been about raising one’s voice, stepping out of the body and taking the power it is actually projecting.
It is usually present in common phrases-
“There is no time to feel hurt, get up and walk”
“You are a failure if you are not powerful in front of the other person”
“Be a man” (Be masculine)
“You have a whole family, you can’t give up on the responsibility” (doesn’t matter if you actually care)
Masculinity tries it’s influence all around but more often seen in this one particular gender who identify as men/boy/seen as men.
The rules of masculinity are very vocal, out there and well established. Sometimes given as generational assets. In different languages it takes its stand – Telugu- magatanam, Hindi- bahadurtha. (Like weapons on human beings)
It’s difficult to navigate an inner world of thoughts, feelings and sensations within human bodies in the act of masculinity.
Mindfulness is an embodied practice and a support space that allows us to function in the present moment by the awareness of here and now.
In the face of masculinity, we take up the voice and roles that are dictating, powerful and oppressing. But here is the thing! Does this land in our bodies? How are the bodies responding to it?
Sometimes that’s all we are able to do given its power. Sometimes it’s just a conflict time, that is replaced with high functioning jobs and busyness.
Mindfulness allows us to see that our bodies are always responding to masculinity. When we come back to the present moment, it is a way of not letting the conditioned masculinity voice take over us.
Present moment awareness is cultivated with observance, curiosity and gentleness. (A new language altogether to the internalised masculinity.)
It’s these skills that support our bodies in seeing what it wants, feeling what it wants to feel.
Masculinity for over the years has taken our whole self. Questioning it, facing it is daunting and most times isolating from the spaces we always belonged.
However, questioning it is allowing us to notice these responses within our bodies which sometimes result as anxiety, stress, panic etc. All those ways in which our bodies are protesting the violation of love, care and gentleness.
How can Mindfulness be support one to keep in check with Masculinity?
It introduces you to “Autopilot” – an opportunity to bring awareness to experiences as they are and distancing supposed ways, behaviours and rules that masculinity imposes.
It supports one to ground in the now, far away from the world of M.
It is a splendid opportunity to cultivate COAL stance.
Curiosity– towards exploring “YOU” in the absence of masculinity.
Openness– ability to listen/express from a space of intention.
Acceptance– being flexible with the roles and being okay with not fitting into the boxes of M.
Loving kindness– heart filled experiences of feeling loved and sharing love without restrictions.
It allows us to step within our bodies, where our intentions for ourselves and others lie which then help to navigate conversations.
-Written by Dr. Swetha Turlapati