Walter, a well developed young man, is a therapist who leads
Men's Groups in the Way of the Warrior.
Click on the triangle to listen to this monologue:
Yeah, we bang the drums. We go out in the woods and dance naked
around campfires. We do the Robert Bly thing and chant poems,
or we howl like wolves. But as far as the Battle of the Sexes
goes, you've misunderstood. The Way of the Warrior is not a glorification
of violence. Far from it. It's about courage, yes. But it's about
the kind of courage that means facing how things really are, and
telling the truth about that, telling it how it is.
Men growing up in this society get the idea that manliness equals
aggression. Sensitivity is weakness is female is gay. The only
emotion a real man shows is anger. He's dominance personified,
every gesture he makes is a threat. Dis him, he's got to waste
you. This trash comes to the kid from kid culture, where it looks
to a kid like strength, like honor and courage. But it's not,
it's a mask for fear. Most people fight from fear-- instinct,
kicking in with the old fight or flight response. But a Warrior
moves through fear and comes out beyond it. He's at the point
where you can say of him: "His strength is as the strength of
ten, because his heart is pure". That's the man you want for a
Mentor. A man of Peace, because he has peeled off the masks and
faced his fears. Howling like a wolf is how a man reclaims his
Of course, Yes! to martial arts: one of the subjects I've had
to master to lead groups is martial arts. A Warrior has to know
how to fight, and be ready to fight. But the main thing is that
the Mentor shows you that fighting is a choice, made mindfully,
from a position of balance and freedom. You're not to fight for
status or greed or revenge or to prove something, and you're certainly
not to fight for yourself,---you're not even personally invested
in the outcome. I know-- it's not easy to explain. That's why
there's training-- you learn by example and practice, not explanation.
I took the warrior training 4 years ago, right after the break
up of a long term relationship. It worked, so far as it helped
me get myself back together, and I felt then that becoming a group
leader might turn out to be the right path for me. But I could
see that I still had issues, and I dropped out for a while. I
worked in a New Age bookstore, and hung out at the beach and the
gym. It wasn't until last year that I did my residency. I was
worried that it had been too long since my training , but when
I saw the guys who had just come out and were all eager to jump
right in and apply all the new stuff they'd learned under pressure,
I was glad I'd had the time to let it mellow.
Therapy is therapy. It's connected at one end to mysticism, a
way of orienting yourself to nature and the universe, getting
right with God or the gods. On the other end it's just a band
aid, a patch up job for the knocks you've taken going around the
block. It's all the same, but every kind's different. The way
of the warrior isn't just patch-up. We claim that a guided encounter
with the archetypes lifts the individual up a level, to where
he has access beyond his social situation and his own hang ups.
But still, the process has to start where the individual is now,
and deal. So when people ask me, "what's a men's group like?"
I say, "what's a kids' play group like? What's a sewing circle?"
There are as many kinds as there are kinds of men. The make up
of the people in it determines the group. Of course, if I'm leading
it, it'll be somewhat like me. How can I get away from that? So
I warn the guys: use your bullshit detectors. I don't ever BS
on purpose, but BS comes out of a man's mouth as naturally as
it comes from a bull's behind. Eternal vigilance!