Zen for Men
WRITTEN BY SHABAKA AZIBO | PUBLISHED JUNE 15, 2021
Three things are always constant in our lives: ourselves, our relationships, and others.
These will get better when we get better. By that I mean everyone wants ease in their life and for life to work smoothly with no friction, so as we move forward, improvement occurs in all areas.
How can we as men make this a true experience?
Let’s start with what it means to be a man and how we can be the best man possible.
To be a man has come a long way, and now we look at it because times have changed. In the past, material things were more important than people. Thus, people were treated as things, giving rise to institutions like slavery, serfdom, and oppression.
The term caveat emptor means “let the buyer beware” as a warning that the person you’re buying from may be trying to cheat you. Clearly this attitude is that one making a material gain or money is more important than the person with whom there is a commercial relationship with.
But today we know that is backward thinking and people are more important than things.
So what does that have to do with being a man?
Our definitions of men and our roles in society have come out of that attitude that things are more important than people. Traditionally men have been looked at based on how they can serve society in given roles versus how men might serve their higher truth. Remember that you and your relationships get better as you get better. It’s about showing up as the best version of you. When that happens, everything else will take care of itself.
Societies realized this the focus moved from perfecting things to enhancing the life experience. Thus, the science of yoga was born. And with that word let me dispel any misconception that yoga means stretching. That is not what yoga is. Physical postures are practices you can do in yoga, but the word yoga simply means “union.” It means uniting you with your highest potential. It’s the authentic you versus following outdated roles and definitions that don’t speak to who you are in truth.
Each person is an individual that within has the seed and the beauty and the strength and power of that unique expression waiting to come forth. This is what your life is about expressing: the authentic you.
With the practice of yoga, many found peace and harmony in the life that followed.
Yoga means union with who you are now and the highest version. Yoga is not a cult, culture, or religion. Yoga is a science because it’s available to everyone. Just as anyone, regardless of belief, can use an iPhone or Android device, yoga is just as approachable and useful.
The yogic science principles are available for anyone to use but specifically for you to benefit from when you practice it.
How does it work?
There are tools that can help you see the difference between outward expectations and appearances versus your inner truth.
Now it doesn’t mean an outer definition of you is wrong, but you have to ask, Is that idea of how I should show up limiting or does it truly reflect my inner reality?
Only you know you 100% and as you grow and change only you know how you should be. That inner expression is always new.
As we grow, we allow ourselves an unlimited expression and that is the potential we find in yoga.
Tools in yoga include asanas or postures that help us go deeper in strengthening, stretching, and improving the functions of the body.
Yoga offers meditation as a process to manage how we respond to situations in life that if unmanaged create stress. It’s stress management taken to another whole level.
Other practices in yoga work with cultivating healthy attitudes. Even prayer and meditation stem from the science of yoga to address our mental health.
We are mind, body, and spirit (emotions) — all of this rolled into one. How do we manage this so we can show up as the best version of ourselves no matter what life throws at us? This is the answer and potential of yoga and real men. Real men do yoga.
I invite you to join a real men’s club and do something that will improve you in all areas of your life. We look forward to sharing Zen for Men.
The Light in me honors the Light in you. And I leave you with a word that means the same — Namaste.
To he whom much is given, much is possible!
Resolve disagreements through choice, compassion, and compromise.
Shabaka Azibo teaches Lessons in Meditation each Sunday at 11a. He also co-hosts a monthly workshop called Zen for Men that helps men in diverse communities overcome the stigma of practicing yoga. To find out more about Shabaka and his teachings, book a class or visit his website.