Finding Meaning Again

By the time they reach their 40’s, many men have gotten themselves fairly oriented to the world, and have developed some competence in it, or perhaps a lot of competence. They’ve had a marriage or two, they’ve hatched some kids if they’re going to have them, they’ve gotten addictions that they picked up in their teens and 20’s under control, and now they’re wanting to take a deeper look at what this all means. Though this work might include fine-tuning in the partnering and parenting arenas, much of it will be more in the area of examining “what do I want? What am I feeling and thinking about my life and the world I’m living in? What’s important to me?”


Because, for all the discussion these days about what scoundrels men are, the truth is that most men spend their lives in service. They spend them in service to their wives, their children, their jobs,- and many in service to their community or the larger society. At the same time, the way they’re showing up in relationship may have become reflexive over the years, and they’re not necessarily awake in their actions the way they were when they started. After years of grinding it out, many men will feel tired, irritable or resentful and like they’re really not getting much return on their energy investments. This can, of course, lead to the classic “mid-life crisis” and a man might feel like he needs to make some drastic changes in order to get back on track. He may feel confused about what course of action to take and go through his days with a vague or pronounced dissatisfaction and wondering if “that’s all there is?”


That is not all there is, and he doesn’t necessarily need to go through drastic changes in order to reconnect with the passion, a sense of deeper meaning, or to feel connected to the world in a more fulfilling way. What he needs to do is to take some of that focus and energy that he’s been expending on creating his world and turn it back on himself. He needs to prioritize himself! He needs to designate some consistent time during the week when he engages in relating to himself in a deeper way. This can include writing, playing music, yoga or meditation or Tai chi, spending more time in nature and finding ways to play more. It’s also really excellent if he can find a therapist, a coach, or a mentor who can guide him, encourage him and support him in moving in this new direction.


There’s a whole art and science to engaging in the inner life. Buddhism has infinite means for bringing the inner life into view and undoing patterns that are no longer serving. What a relief it is to discover that all the tensions that one manages on a daily basis are self-created – and that, therefore, they can be un-created!

Coming to study and invest in the inner life provides the knowledge and means to make the necessary adjustments so that energy can start to move again in channels that may have become clogged and atrophied.

Approaching the world from the inside out, allows a man to be resourced in such a way that he can return to a place of service and not become a candidate for burn-out. It is possible to engage in the world in an open hearted way and also be engaged in healthy self-care and limit setting.

The knowledge that you’ve successfully negotiated this developmental milestone also adds a confidence and a strength to your efforts, that will vitalize your engagements – and be a real gift to your loved ones and those you’re involved with.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 19th, 2018 at 5:58 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


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