Have you ever read a book that is so good you wanted to, or actually did, cancel your plans to finish it?
This happened to me last week. I found myself so immersed in The Way of The Superior Man by David Deida, I cancelled my evening plans to finish.
This book isn't new new, it came out in 2008, but I missed it or wasn't ready for it back then. Though it could have saved me from a few more years of mistakes had I read it.
Why, you may ask, would a woman be reading a book called "The Way of the Superior Man"?
Well, because I was looking for a profound articulation of what a great man could be...so I would know how to better identify them in my own personal and professional life. I've been blessed beyond words with a fantastic father and step-father. I have lived in the presence of men with great integrity and profound love. So in a broad sense, I didn't actually need Deida's book. On the level of intimacy, however, he is extraordinarily articulate regarding what moves a woman about a man.
He articulated so well what we truly love about each other.
For a few days, I was walking around reading passages to who ever would listen. Now I will do the same to you because it's a message worth hearing, for men and for women.
Deida's major thesis is that the 1950s version of the masculine-feminine union is staid, this has been well recognized by many. The next iteration, whereby women taken on the pants and men learn to be more sensitive, creates a kind of banal 50-50 split in which couples lose the polarity that make love hot as well as warm (my words not his)
He notes that this polarity exists in male-female relationships as well as male-male and female-female. The polarity is what we're looking for. So how to create this polarity in places where 50-50 has become the norm?
Know your purpose.
He tells readers the primary purpose of an intimate union is to,
"serve one another's enlightenment through your unwavering commitment to love, and to enliven one another's core by the bodily transmission of love via sexual polarity." (p. 94)
Try to get that into a fortune cookie.
Surely this mission statement for love doesn't speak to everyone but it speaks to me with such resounding resonance I like to keep re-reading it.
It asks both parties to come forth together for the purpose of one another's unfolding. Delicious.
How to do this?
In this book Deida focuses on the masculine . He calls on men to embody the masculine so their woman doesn't have to.
This is not a politically correct book - which is why I love it.
For example he says things like, "Never base your plans on what your woman says she wants to do, unless she is in the full flow of love when she says it." (p. 60)
His metaphor for the male/female energies, speaks however to our modern sensibilities. He describes the female as the ocean, flowing
"with great power and no single direction."
Whereas the masculine "canals, dams, and boats the unite with the power of the feminine ocean and go from point A to point B." (p. 71)
The feminine need not be bound by such an agenda, for she can flow in multiple directions
The book speaks to men about how they can call their masculine essence forward in a way that feels good to them and allows their woman to relax into their feminine.
He rightly tells men that his woman can feel the slightest break in his integrity. If he's not living his highest purpose or has sold out on his mission in life, she will feel it. She will express this through her moods, dismissal or even tantrums.
He challenges men to choose a woman who will hold him to his highest integrity. It's so much easier to have someone who lets you slip. Neither, however, can be as deeply fulfilled with this kind of agreement.
A man can be so much more. He can truly and beautifully take world and woman. But this takes hutzpah, more than most will ever have. Because...
"To bloom woman and world for real takes authenticity, persistence, and courage of heart. A man must know the truth at his core and be willing to give his gifts fully. No holding back. He must be willing to dedicate his sex and his life to magnifying love by penetrating woman and world with his true gifts." (p. 32)
He says this is rare quality in the masculine,
"Few men are willing to give their deepest genius, their true endowment, the poetry of their very being, with the thrust of sex and life" (p. 32)
I think the world needs more of this poetry within the very core of men...
The book Men On Strike which I blogged about earlier holds feminism, in part, accountable for the lack of the inspired masculine. I think that's right. In some ways we women have contributed to making men think we are no longer interested in seeing their deepest genius.
How wrong they are. But no wonder they feel this way, even the Dalai Lama said he believes the western woman will save the world.
That's very flattering, but we need our men. The kind of man that Deida articulates is needed in every corner of society. I'd be tickled, moved, and incapacitated with joy to see a world filled with their own personal articulation of Dedia's masculine.
So hopefully, this blog will be read as an encouragement and invitation to men to step up and women to support them. Not that men need that invitation from us...if they asked for permission, it would actually betray their core...But consider it an old-school cheer.
I hope woman can see this not as a dismissal of their purpose or desire but to live out their purpose according to the divine feminine within them. Deida has book on this which I haven't read. In the meantime you can pick up Sera Beak's work. She writes delicously sinful books on how women can get down with their inner divine.
If you read Deida's book, I'd really love to hear your thoughts. Happy to hear your thoughts regardless.
Here's the PDF available on-line if you like digital copy..I prefer actual books for these kinds of subjects. Amazon has copies.
Don't make plans if you start reading...
If you live in the DC area, you probably find yourself saying where you went to school at least weekly, if not daily.
DC, but the U.S. culture generally, tends to be quite University-centric. Honestly, though I have met enough brilliant, kind, strange, eccentric people from Ivy Leagues and community colleges to realize it's not a litmus test for greatness.
Am I smart?
Yes, I attended an Ivy League school. I enrolled in, and in some cases interviewed for, the hardest humanities classes (philosophy, religious studies, ancient literature, constitutional theory, military history, etc). Then, I sought out the hardest honors classes to settle the question once and for all, "Am I smart?"
I had to study all the time...like almost all the time...I recorded classes and walked 5-7 miles listening to the lectures...because I am no prodigy. In some cases, I just found the smartest person in the class and asked them to explain everything to me...again and again and again.
Yes I am Smart
Anyway, at great sacrifice to my health and my social life, I did it. Graduating summa cum laude, I proved to myself I could understand anything that mattered to me.
(I am telling you this story because I want you to know I am not writing this due to insecurity about my own intelligence or admission to top programs.)
True, that experience has served. I rarely find myself intimidated by someone's brilliance. If I don't understand, I either think
A. They're not explaining that well, or
B. If I spent more time with the material I could figure it out.
Is Smart What Matters Most?
But that driving question of my youth "am I smart?" has transmuted into new questions. I don't want to ask people where they went to school, I now want to know...
Where did you learn about love?
Where did you learn how to forgive?
When did you first realize many of your beliefs were handed down to you?
How or when did you update them?
Or did a former lover or friend break your heart and in the process of learning how to forgive your identity shifted?
Maybe you helped transform someone else's life and in that process transformed yourself.
Or did you lose someone or something precious to your that forced your to explore the emotional universe that resides in all of us?
Did you attend a program like Mastery University or Landmark?
Try therapy or coaching?
Do you journal?
Or did you learn from great literature, a wise teacher, a parent, coach or boss?
What poem made your fingers tingle?
Where did you learn that being smart without being compassionate is far worse than being ignorant?
Or how focusing primarily on your own significance while looking for love is like trying to inhale and swallow at the same time?
Not where did you go to school, but "where did you learn to be human" ought to be the new question.
Knowledge matters...I love learning, but I think I now love love more. So much of the atrocity I have studied would have been averted by love, not by knowledge.
So, today I'm just wondering would it be like this week if everyone in DC asked each other these questions instead of trying to find out if their companion is part of America's intellectual elite.
Just something to think about....
Sarah Federman, PhD
Enjoy these short blogs and videos designed to bring you a little cheer.
My other blog Language of Conflict addresses the importance of word choice and narration in conflict.
Finish and Flourish supports writers struggling to complete projects.