After a six year hiatus, I am thrilled to announce the resurrection of my former blog “Wandering Warrior of the Light”. With new branding and official domain name, I present to you “The Tao of Stu”. Now, more than any other time in recent history, we need the unifying voices of our warriors – those with the courage to dive deep into darkness, light and everything in between, and share their truth. I have finally heeded the call.
A flashback to my stay at Amma’s Ashram:
Known as the “Hugging Mother,” or simply, “Amma” (“mother” in the south of India), Mata Amritanandamayi Devi is a spiritual leader based in Kerala, India famous for using hugs to reach and comfort people. In fact, Amma has hugged more than 30 million broken souls around the globe – sometimes her hugging sessions last for over 20 hours! While many praise her as a saint for her seemingly unlimited compassion and charity work, devotees themselves see her as something else: God. Krishna, to be specific.
I was not aware of this when I entered the ashram. In fact, all I knew was that Amma was a famous hugging guru who had lots of followers throughout the world. But as I entered the rose-coloured high-rise, surrounded by thousands of people dressed in white, I knew I was in for quite a trip.
Work. What does the word mean to you? Is it something to be avoided? Is it a means to an end? Is it the only appropriate focus of your attention and energy? Is it a way to avoid the rest of your life? Is it a joy? Is it a part of your spiritual practice?
There is a Zen saying, “Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” What’s the difference? The tasks are the same. The need is the same. What about the frame of mind? Who is chopping? Who is carrying water?
When you labor, stay awake. Notice the frame of mind you bring to your work. Do you approach your work as if it were a nuisance? Do you remove your consciousness from work so that you are filled with resentment or worry? What would you need to do to be more fully present in your work?
Patriarchy affects men so deeply, most times without them knowing, that the average man does not understand the term or its proper use. Yet, as hooks also points out in ‘The Will to Change‘, it is “the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation.”
Let’s pause. How can this be?
How can a socio-political construct that provides men with so much privilege also threaten their health and livelihoods?
*** My views and opinions have changed since the initial publishing of this article—a sign of genuine skepticism and critical thought at work. I no longer think men ‘should’ identify as feminists and am very concerned about the radicalization of the political left. Censorship, cancel culture, gaslighting, etc. cannot be weaponized to promote equality—a violent means will never achieve a peaceful end. That said, I do still believe men and women alike are harmed by the mentality of patriarchy, and that radical self-responsibility and warrior-like courage can help usher in peace and prosperity for all. ***
The other day I read a thought provoking article in The Atlantic written by the author of Wonder Woman, Noah Berlatsky. The piece stimulated an internal dialogue which I felt was worth sharing:
“It’s true that sometimes male feminists, myself not excluded, imagine we’re brave allies, altruistically saving women by standing up for them,” Berlatsky observes. “But dreams about men saving women are just another version of misogyny — and, in this case in particular, totally backwards. Misogyny is a cage for everyone. When I call myself a male feminist, I’m not doing it because I think I’m going to save women. I’m doing it because I think it’s important for men to acknowledge that as long as women aren’t free, men won’t be either.” Continue reading