What is a whole man? In truth, that is a question few in our age can answer. I suggest that wholeness means living the fullness of our masculine potential. This implies that all of our essential male traits are online and active, integrated into a functioning, unified Self.
A whole man is disciplined, powerful, and strong to be sure. He’s also compassionate, relational, and deeply connected to the feelings of his body and the intuition of his spirit. He can acquire and use knowledge through his intellect and reason. He governs himself and those over whom he has responsibility with order, balance, and benevolence. A whole man is tuned into a Higher Power beyond himself, and he accesses that power to bless his life and the lives of those around him.
Why should you be concerning yourself with heady concepts like wholeness when your immediate problem is unwanted sexual attractions toward other men? Because the very attractions you want to diminish are, in all likelihood, the result of a lack of wholeness.
In order to help you more readily understand and identify with the plethora of traits that make up a whole man, I’ll use the concept of archetypes. The Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung (1875–1961), developed this idea and applied it in contemporary psychology to describe the structure of the human psyche or mind. Jung believed that unconscious forces influence our thoughts, feelings, desires, and behavior. Jung grouped these unconscious forces into sets of innate human traits, which are sometimes described as instincts, energies, drives, or internal forces. Jung called these sets of traits “archetypes.” For example, the masculine traits of discipline, power, and strength are grouped together in the archetype called “Warrior,” while the masculine traits of empathy, passion, and connection to feeling and intuition are grouped together in the archetype called “Lover.”
Authors Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette have expanded on the teachings of Jung in a series of books about four masculine archetypes, which include the Warrior and Lover, as well as the King, and what they call the Magician or Shaman. They, like Jung, believe that these archetypal traits are part of a “collective unconscious” that is universal among all humans—passed from one generation to the next like a collected memory of humankind. Moore and Gillette support this belief by amply demonstrating that the archetypes have appeared across cultures and throughout history. They postulate that these traits are hard–wired into us and even suggest which structures within the brain may give rise to the various archetypes.
These masculine archetypal energies reveal to us the “Tao of maleness.” The term Tao comes from the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, who lived during the sixth century BC. In his book Tao Te Ching (pronounced dow de jing), he describes Tao as the universal principle underlying all things. Tao is typically translated as “the way,” meaning the way things happen, the way of the universe, the way of God. So the archetypes help us understand the way maleness happens. They represent the universal principles underlying masculinity.
The traits represented by the archetypes are the birthright of every man. You possess and can further develop every trait. You may already feel these energies within you, or they may be just on the brink of developing. Keep in mind that wholeness is not about accentuating and living from your “gift” archetype—the energy that comes most readily to you. Rather, wholeness comes from understanding and developing each archetypal capacity and trait while also balancing and integrating them.