posted: Sep. 16, 2023.
Most primal cultures have initiation rites to grow the boy into a man. * While these rites exist for girls too in some form, for boys, the initiate must face death and suffering in order to draw on inner spiritual strength and develop into manhood.
These practices are considered primitive or savage, and in western cultures, we try to save and shield our boys from pain in our society, while encouraging them to do better, work harder, try more, etc. We coddle, enable, shield, and go to great lengths to make the boy comfortable and happy. Unknowingly, by doing this, we keep them in a safe, egocentric place, and prevent them from transcendence into a bigger, more mature consciousness.
These rituals involved scarification, knocking out teeth, etc., assisting the young boy from an attitude of victimhood to one of empowerment and wise healers. Essentially, we are stuck at a lower level of spiritual and psychological existence. I’m not a proponent for abuse, but for allowing discomfort and pain. If not early, some “shitstorm” will later once again, bring us to growth. Believe me.
Without this disturbance, the young man fails to grasp the following:
- Life is hard. LOL, try telling a two-year-old this.
- I am not that important. Developmentally, a child is all important. All the events of the family revolve around him.
- I’m not in control. Right… all I must do is grimace a bit, or start to cry, and mommy and daddy come running to tend to my needs.
- I’m going to die. No conception or concern about this fact.
- It’s not all about me. Really? Everyone’s schedule is predicated on my wants and desires now. They go to sleep, attend events, and regulate the movement of all other human beings in my house because of me.
Stuck, this insulation from discomfort is disastrous for us! We need some kind of painful/initiatory experience, a disruption in our familiar way of living, a challenge to our certitudes, and maybe woundedness or some form of suffering in order to let go and begin anew. Without this experience, we continue in that safe and comfortable childlike (or at best adolescent) place, bored and dull, not truly alive, victimized, and immature. Most of society is here.
*Developed from Richard Rohr’s: Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation