September 2017: I did the Mankind Project initiation weekend ...
So why did I do this? First of all I had a long list of reasons not to be interested in the initiation weekend:
- I despise cults and groups of people with strict rules and processes
- I despise all this macho culture stuff
- I despise "retreats" where I have to sleep in bunk beds
- and the list goes on ..
But to be honest those were all just excuses I made to cover up the real reason: I was afraid of what would happen to me. Not physically (after all we live in the USA, where people get sued for serving coffee that is too hot) but emotionally. I felt I didn't need any of this emotionally stuff. Or did I?
So what happened? One morning while sitting on the "throne" I was scrolling through my Facebook feed as usual. Trump this, cat video that ... until I saw a post by a friend of mine, something about Igroups and Mankind Project. He usually writes very interesting posts so I decided to bookmark the post for later reading. I kept scrolling through the rest of my feed ... A few minutes later I get a Facebook message from my wife (who also scrolls around her Facebook feed, about the same time as me). She sends me a link to the exact same post I had just bookmarked! For me that was a message not from my wife but from the universe that I should read the post now, rather then some time in the future. So I did.
After reading the post I did some website reading and some Google searching on reviews of the Mankind Project. Some reviews were good, some were bad. At least there were two sides to this thing. But rather than continuing my Google-based research (as I would normally do). I decided to call my friend who posted the article on Facebook and talk to him about his experience.
I asked him not to divulge what actually happens at the weekend because I worried it would lessen the impact it would have on me if I would know everything that would happen in advance. His answer was: I wasn't going to do that anyway. (Near the end of the weekend we were told that there are no secrets about the initiation weekend. But that telling too much about it is like describing all the plots and twist of your favorite movie to someone and then expect them to enjoy the movie as much as you did when you saw it for the first time. It doesn't work that way). I asked him if he thought that it would be useful for me considering all the other spiritual work that (he and) I had done up till that point. He said YES!
So I signed up for the next weekend in my neck of the woods (Pun intended since the weekend was in Boulder Creek at camp Krem, which is in the middle of the redwoods). The weekend was Friday 5PM till Sunday 5PM so only 48 hours. What can you really do in that little time, right? Well a lot as it turns out.
Now in order to not spoil your movie enjoyment I won't talk about what we actually did but I will tell you what happened to me. Early Saturday afternoon I was ready to kill my (now no longer) friend for telling me this would be great for me. The whole thing (so far) felt like a F*ING waste of my precious weekend!
And then something happened ... After that experience something shifted for me and I felt so grateful for my friend suggesting this. But most of all I felt very light and cheerful. Way different then the somber, stern, stoic person I normally portray. This weekend was the bomb (to use a phrase my 22 year old son would use. And yes, I am going to share this post with him, to see if the weekend resonates with him).
The things I learned from the weekend. Strike that, not learned but realized (since I already knew them):
- The thing I fear the most (being dependent on others), is the thing I need the most.
- I do not have to do this alone.
- There are a lot of good men out there and I am proud to be one of them.
- Just sharing my life experiences and my feelings about these experiences is helpful for others.
- Suggesting/telling others what will work for them is counter productive. I can only share what works for me.
Am I a changed man now? Is there a new Hans? Well, my wife Hema seems to think that some things have changed about me for the better. But to make these changes stick and add others I will have to do what the Mankind Project calls my "work". The "work" is done all the time and in order to stay on track I have joined an Integration Group (Igroup). Actually two groups, one that meets weekly and one that meets every other week.
Feel free to reach out to me to hear more about my experiences which might or might not lead you to do the weekend. Yes, there is a women's version of this but other than that I know nothing about it.
Hans, Lazy Lion
Some links for you to read:
- the main website: http://mankindproject.org
- the history of the Mankind Project: http://mankindproject.org/history/
- About the initiation weekend (but no spoilers): http://mankindproject.org/new-warrior-training-adventure/
- Initiation weekends for special interest groups like GBTQ (yeah no L here :), Hard of Hearing, Young Warrior, Urban, Bilingual Eng/Esp, called gateways: http://mankindproject.org/gateway-trainings/
- What is an Igroup: http://mankindproject.org/small-group-of-men-weekly-speak-truth-evolve-it-happens-in-mankind-project/
FAQ (I will add stuff here as I get questions):
- Q: Does this compliment your Tantra training?
A: Yes. It helps to get my own sh*t out of the way of my Tantra teachings and it helps to recognize/diagnose it in other men.
- Q: Only for men?
A: Yes, any man older than 18. For women there appears to be a separate type of weekend.
- Q: Can you be too old for this?
A: No. I was 63 when I did the weekend. The oldest man in our group was 69.
- Q: Do you have to be physically fit to do the weekend?
A: No, you do not have to be fit. Although there are some minimum physical requirements. Check the website or call one of the outreach mentors.
- Q: Any rough stuff? After all it is all men there.
A: No physical rough stuff. But it might be emotionally rough.