Don David Wiley recently shared his perspective on the importance of men coming together in the presence of an elder or elders, those who have important, embodied wisdom to share for the benefit of future generations. Here is what he had to say:
The problem in the masculine is that when we, as men, get nervous, we tend to hide out. We have this sense that we are going to figure it all out by ourselves because we want to feel capable in the eyes of others and don’t want to show this vulnerability in public. Yet if you are not able to see what is in the way, then how can you effectively change it? Most times what’s not being seen isn’t obvious. As an example, your mind has unseen blindness to its own nature much less being able to see the nature of situations confronting you. Therefore in order to be effective in the face of this condition, which can drive you further into your head, you need to reverse directions and come out rather than going in. Yes, you can read some articles, book or web posting, but that’s just information. What you need is real human interaction with others, particularly other men, who are successful problem solvers in the area you’re trying to work through.
So why is this? Why can’t we just go look something up and “know it” whenever we need to “know it”? This idea of “knowing”, or at least being seen as “smart” is important to men since the nature of the masculine drives a desire to create effective action. This prioritizes mind-cognitive perception over emotional perception. In contrast the feminine prioritizes emotional perception, which many people tend not to associate with perception. (As a side note, it actually is and arguably can be more valuable than thinking.) We need to connect both thinking and emotional perception in order to “know” or “learn” about what’s important in life and how it works in 3D. Generating this requires more than just being in your head. You need a setting and the right situation for this to work. Indigenous Peoples with intact, longstanding cultural traditions understand this reality. That has been the role for elders whose wisdom, coming from years of cumulatively learned and earned life experience, is modeled and thereby transferred. If it isn’t transferred, it gets lost and needs to be regained through years of struggle and study. Therefore there is a need to pass these powerful insights on to others for the benefit of future generations.
It requires being with each other, as men, exploring, deepening and reinforcing this growth in perception and perspective through the support of an elder or elders.
In order to produce this capacity to live well and walk in the world in a soul-connected way, a social process is required. Like the wise indigenous cultures that have been around for quite some time have learned, it requires being with each other, as men, exploring, deepening and reinforcing this growth in perception and perspective through the support of an elder or elders. You gain something in that setting, then you move back into daily life as your classroom. You go through your challenges – societal, interpersonal, internal challenges – you engage with them and then you cycle back to this experience with other men, again led by an elder or elders who can help take things apart and continue establishing effective life approaches. It’s something that requires help. This is natural. There is nothing wrong; you are not defective or bad. This is just the way it’s done. So, taught by my elders and path and the way of Spirit, I offer it because it works and I want to see men strong and successful. That’s what Ukilái is about.
Learn more about Ukilái: An Annual Gathering of Men.