Friend or foe? That’s the ancient male warrior/protector concern. Harm or help? Enemy or friend? Safe or unsafe? It’s an antiquated question that needs a new meaning. Today the answer for most men is simple: Yes. Friend and foe. Enemy and friend. Safe and unsafe. Men can be – and typically are – both.
There’s a different way. It requires a new approach and a different question. Brother, who are you today? Who do you want to be when you show up in your life and the lives of others? They’re not casual questions. Any man who can answer them without pause has either achieved a level of enlightenment that takes decades of practice or he has no real idea of the depth, meaning and personal challenge they represent.
This prayer — which appears in the new book Men Pray from SkyLight Paths — is for men who haven’t begun the journey, the men who know they’ve surrendered their lives to circumstances, expectations and emotions and haven’t taken the step of challenging themselves. It’s for our brothers who are ready to join in the battle for their own hearts, the struggle for their own souls.
Friend or foe? Maybe the question isn’t antiquated after all…if I ask it of myself.
In the battle for my own heart, I am both.
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For the Lost
I am not your rival.
I am not your enemy.
I am not the source of
Your fear and shame,
Your grief and loss,
Or your nightmares.
I am your fellow.
Lost, at times, like you,
But never alone.
I rise above these struggles toward
A vision of my best self.
This is my work and my prayer:
Come with me as companion and friend,
And I will come with you as a gift of love,
Holding your life as sacred,
Your journey as an adventure,
Your wisdom as a gift.
Drop your weapon and remove your mask
So that you can see truth.
For, in truth, your mask is neither power nor shelter.
It is thin as air,
Clear as glass,
Transparent, fragile, useless.
I see you, brother.
See this man.
Your right arm.
© 2010 Alden Solovy and http://www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: I wrote this prayer the week after completing the January 2010 New Warrior Training Adventure of the ManKind Project put on by the Chicago community, along with another prayer titled “My Work Remains.” I’ve also written several other prayers for and about men.
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Photo Source: SkyLight Paths