This writing is coming to me as a man, but it is not a book for men written by a man. Instead, it is a book for the Yang warrior in a world of Yin, where men and women both have both characteristics. It may be that mostly men benefit from these teachings and this makes sense to me, because I am a man who received them. These teachings were to correct my own imbalances and help me to succeed on my path. But they may also be helpful to women warriors who need to develop their own ability to hunt and to strike. Anyone who finds themselves always waiting for life to happen to them, and anyone who charges at the gate to fight every battle, can do well to find this moderation. So maybe for some women, these writings will help them to develop their own Yang power, and for the excessively masculine men, these writings may help to temper your overactive Yang with some patience and clear vision.
It can be difficult for the Yang to find their way these days. We are taught to trust our minds and then our minds are informed by the media, by the internet, and by other people who are influenced by more of the same energy. Our role models have fallen. Just look at the recent report of sexual abuse by leaders of the American Baptist Church. The same has happened in the Catholic Church. The same happens with political and business leaders. And it’s not the sex that is the problem; it’s the hypocrisy and the abuse. Our greatest leaders routinely fall to their hidden addictions, which they have denied and hidden so they can present a false image and cling to their all too temporary stations. But these frail and temporary bursts of misguided Yang energy must always fail and the truth must always prevail. We see this in the news every day.
So much of the spiritual advice and insight that we receive today comes from a feminine perspective, and it can be hard for the Yang to understand where it fits into the spiritual world. How can we embrace our masculine nature and follow a spiritual path? I have been on a spiritual path for 13 years now, and I am starting to see some of the lessons I have received over the years coalesce into a coherent structure about how to walk a Yang spiritual path in the world of Yin. And so with this post, I am writing the first of these essays, which may turn into a small book.
But first an introduction to Yin and Yang, which are the two that were created by the ONE when the universe was born from the great void. Without these offsetting natures, there is nothing. The Yin exists in contrast to the Yang, and the Yang exists in contrast to the Yin, yet each must also possess a small bit of the other. Yin is the primarily female aspect, and it is the earth, the moon and the water. Yang is the primarily Yang aspect and it is fire, energy, the wind and the air. Everything is made up of these opposing natures and it is in the balance of them that we can attain our highest selves.
This is also written from a spiritist perspective. We all throw the word “spiritual” around a lot. Many people claim that they are “spiritual but not religious.” And for me at least, this means that I am a spiritual being incorporated in a material world and having a material existence. My purpose in being here is to fully incorporate into this material world and experience my life here fully. When I leave through the door of death, my spirit will disincorporate from this reality, and I will wake up again in the place where I am dreaming this from. Just like when we wake up from a dream in our sleep, we only take our experience with us. And so it is our experience here that is the most important.
I want to be clear that these are lessons that I have received from benevolent guides to help me on my own journey. I do not hold myself out to be any kind of guru, any kind of shaman, any kind of person better than any other person. I am simply someone who has connected to spirit as anyone can do, and these are the lessons that I have had the fortune to receive. I am writing them here for two reasons. First, by articulating them in this way, I take my jumbled thoughts and express them in linear form, and this helps me to understand them myself. Second, by writing them here, they are open to comment and also have the potential to help someone else.
The World we live in is a world of primarily Yin, or feminine, force. The nature of this Yin is giant, enduring, patient, passive, attractive, and overwhelming. Water is powerful expression of Yin energy for it is a powerful force that pools in the lowest places. The nature of men in this world is Yang. We are fire in a world of water–we are temporary, small, and action oriented. The ultimate expression of Yin power in the animal world is the big snake, the anaconda. I have heard from friends of mine in the Yawanawa village in the far western Amazon of Brazil that giant Anacondas inhabit the woods and when they grow to immense size, they no longer need to move to hunt. Instead they stay in one place and cast an enchantment through the forest that causes their prey to lose their sense of direction and walk in circles until they walk into her. Then, in final moment, it is the Yang aspect of the big snake that strikes and consumes the prey. Thus, everything contains its opposite.
The Jaguar is the ultimate Yang predator in the Jungle. The Jaguar is the hunter and is the very definition of action. But even the Jaguar must wait for the right moment. I have also heard from my friends from the forest that a Jaguar can lock its eyes on a monkey in a tree, and attract a monkey to climb down out of a tree to its death. The Jaguar has a Yin nature as well, and uses this to great advantage in its hunting.
The same is true of male and female humans. Men must embrace their Yin aspect to be successful in the journey, and women must embrace their Yang. Pure Yang is a fire that burns out in a flash. Pure Yin always waits and never accomplishes.
Our main guide in the way of the masculine spiritual warrior in this world of Yin is our brother Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was a spiritual master that inhabited the world near Jerusalem around 2,000 years ago. He was the ultimate Yang spiritual warrior in this world of Yin. He was a master of spiritual attainment and embodied the divine spirit, the same spirit that exists within all of us, to the point of being able to control the fabric of the dream we all inhabit to perform miracles. People saw that he was a son of God. What they have forgotten is that we are all children of God.
His wife was Mary Magdalene, his female companion of equal spiritual power and significance, whose place with Christ has been written over by the male dominated religious institutions that started with the Roman Empire in the 4th Century. We have had great imbalance of Yang energy in this world and this has caused incredible destruction and suffering. The murder of 6,000,000 female shamans and medicine women by the Catholic Church in the dark ages was the result of this weak misogynistic Yang excess, and we are still suffering as a species from the wisdom of the mother that we have all lost.
Jesus Christ is not our only Yang guide. We have guides from many worlds. We have, here in the United States, Native American warrior spirits that inhabit our natural environment and can share their wisdom with us when we are open and able to receive it. We have spiritual masters from the far east who have shared their wisdom for 5,000 years in China and India and Japan. We have the wisdom of South American shamans and their incredibly powerful plant medicines. We have the teachers everywhere, if we can only learn to listen to them. We have many teachers, but only one truth. The one truth is the truth of God, and it is this truth that forms the world that we inhabit.
The wisdom path of the divine masculine has been lost in a sea of excess. How can we reclaim it for ourselves? We must find our own inner warrior and chart our own course of divine masculine power in this Yin world that we live in. We must use all of our defenses, energies, and resources to succeed. The first lesson for the Yang on the spiritual path is to embrace true humility.
Principle Number One – Big Does not Make a Man
The world teaches us that to be a successful Yang in the world, you must be big. You have to have the best car, the best job, the prettiest Yin, you must be the king of the mountain. The man caught in this game is the macho man, and he takes great pride in his visibility, like a rooster. In this position, our Yang ego is inflamed and constantly on alert for any challenge to our dominance. So inflamed, all of our brothers are competitors, and all the prizes must be ours.
We see so many men strutting around and showing off their dominance in this world of illusion. We see the role models of the media stars– athletes, musicians, actors, rappers, politicians, billionaires– and we are told that success in life comes when we ourselves become the BIG MEN in the world as we see on the cover of magazines. We then compare our own achievements and find ourselves wanting, or we drape ourselves in the mantels of our heroes, by quoting their podcasts and wearing their uniforms, or by mounting their flags in the backs of our pickup trucks covered with bumper stickers.
But 99% of the men do not compete at this level of magazine covers and media stardom, and so we bring this competition down into our own arenas so that we can be the big fish in our own little ponds. And what are these little ponds? These “little ponds” are our offices, our golf clubs, our street corners, our barber shops, our platoons, our prison blocks, our temples, our schools and our churches. The path of the man in the material world of illusion is the path of competition against other men in a little pond. Everywhere men come together, we find ourselves sizing each other up and striving to be superior in the material arenas of the world. But this is not the path of the spiritual warrior. This is the path of the fool.
The path of the spiritual warrior is a small trail winding through the big world. The spirit warrior is a very, very, very small fish in a very, very, very big pond. And as such, we learn that humility is our greatest refuge, and invisibility is our best defense.
Invisibility is the Greatest Defense
Have you ever seen a celebrity try to walk in the streets of Rio de Janeiro? Have you ever seen a movie star in a public place? They are mobbed with people everywhere they go. Many people want a little bit of their essence, to exchange a few words, to take a picture, to get an autograph, to take a little bit of their power for themselves. These famous celebrities are then imprisoned by their own fame and wealth. They have to live in big mansions with security and fences. They have to travel in cars with black windows and fly in private jets and stay in hotels under false names.
So isolated, they live in echo chambers, where only sycophants can talk to them. Every window they look at turns into a mirror, and every mirror has a false image already painted upon it. They can only associate with other people who are as famous as they are, and they have to send others out into the world to do their bidding. They may be living a life of luxury, but it is sterile. It’s a giant fish bowl that they live in and all of their peers are other gold fish.
They are all in a constant battle of King of the Mountain and their life is a constant struggle to stay on top.
Great freedom comes from invisibility. I enjoy my freedom to walk anonymously in any place I go. I have walked through the streets of small towns in the Amazon outfitting myself for journeys into the jungle, and no one there gives me a second look. I buy my Andiroba and Copaiba oil, my farina and my colorão, my hammock, whatever I need, and nobody thinks anything of it. I can catch a taxi in Rio de Janeiro, and move around the world without attracting any attention at all. What gives me this incredible power is that really I am, at the core, nothing special. I have no fame and so there is nothing for anyone to recognize about me.
But this anonymity is very easy to lose. I lost it myself one time in Tijuana. I had never been to Mexico before, so my friend Bob and I walked across the border from San Diego. We were on the hunt for some Cuban Cigars. As soon as we got across into Mexico, we were swarmed by vendors offering everything from T shirts to drugs. One vendor was selling “rain sticks” which were long pieces of heavy bamboo filled with some kind of beads. I foolishly purchased one for my kids. I learned very quickly that the bamboo rainstick was a “schmuck stick”. Every vendor from there on out knew that if I was stupid enough to buy a schmuck stick, I was stupid enough to buy anything. I found myself saying no no no no over and over again. One vendor was so irritated by my refusal to buy something for him that he pointed at the schmuck stick with indignation as if to say, hey if you bought that, you have no right to turn me down.
I had lost my invisibility.
Every warrior must realize that they are inherently weak and fragile, and as soon as we stand out from the crowd, we become targets. We live in a giant world of tremendous Yin power, and we are just little tiny Yang warriors in this world. One of the most powerful secrets of the warrior is to find shelther in humility. We must learn to be small. We must learn to live simply. We must learn to carry only what we need for our journey. We must learn to be light, and fast and resourceful and nimble. We must learn to tune into the signs that are all around us. We must listen more than we speak, we must conserve our energy. We must protect ourselves from attacks. We must be invisible to our enemies and from those who would take from us.
I used to think that Humility was a personality trait. I remember a joke saying “one of my best features is my humility” and the joke was that just saying this reflects a lack of humility. But what if humility is not a personality trait? What if humility instead is a refuge? Then you can say very easily “my greatest refuge is humility.” There is no lack of humility in this statement at all.
Humility is a very small shelter, no larger than a pebble. But an elephant can stand on a pebble and not crush it. To get into the shelter of humility, you must reduce your own size to the size of an ant. And as a Yang ant, you can crawl into the shelter of humility and be safe in the world.
Humility frees you from taking anything personally
Our big Yang egos love to take offense and to become inflamed, especially when amplified by the very Yang power of Alcohol. This excessive Yang energy is on the lookout for any slight, for any disrespect, and immediately ready to challenge anyone. As such, anything anyone says is taken personally and used as fuel for this angry response. Humility is a refuge from this cycle.
Imagine any conflict where someone criticizes you. The excessive Yang heats up and fights the challenge. But the warrior guided by humility is not provoked at all. Instead he has learned to wisdom of listening to ones enemies, because often it is our enemies who can say things to us that our friends would never say. And so the Zen humble response to any insult is simply “Is that so?” That is a question the Yang warrior must always ask when faced with any kind of insult of verbal attack. By asking his question, we are asking to see the truth, and to see the truth, we must have humility.
Another aspect of humility is to not get caught up in the desire to receive credit or recognition. As soon as we are motivated by getting credit or recognition, we start to lose our invisibility and our humility. It’s far more powerful to own a TV station than to be a newscaster. The local weatherman gets all the credit and recognition, and he can’t go into an ice cream parlor without being mobbed by attention seekers. The owner of the TV station can walk down the sidewalk in his tennis shoes and nobody will look at him twice. Power does not come from recognition. Power comes from invisibility.
And this leads to a true secret that I have held for 9 years. I received a beautiful lesson in humility from an indigenous spirit that shared a vision with me in Brazil. He said to me that the secret power of humility is that it gives you clairvoyant vision. This is the first power needed by the Yang warrior. We need to cultivate our power of clairvoyant vision that can only come from the clear view of humility.
This is the first essay about the path of a Yang warrior in a Yin world. I pray to receive and share more of them. Please share comments.