The more we develop the traits of the King, the more whole we become and the more capable we are of knowing our true needs and fulfilling them. If we could fully embody the King archetype, our needs would be completely met and abundance would flow to us spontaneously. But this is not our reality, since—by the very nature of our human imperfection—we’re all caught in the tension between a Weakling Abdicator and a Tyrant Usurper. So for the conscious man, life becomes a continual process of integrating our shadowy tendencies as we struggle toward greater wholeness and greater fulfillment of our needs.
Need fulfillment is inextricably tied to joy and wellbeing. In fact, the word “need” could be defined as that which is required in order to maintain joy. I consider joy to be central to the purpose of human existence.
The meeting of our needs in balanced ways provides internal stamina and emotional resources for facing life challenges. When our needs are fulfilled, we become more robust and resilient. Our inner kingdom becomes stronger, which allows our emotional resources to be used for healing and for growth. When we stray from the middle path—whether through indulging our cravings or denying our needs—we experience pain, which piles on top of old wounds. This forces us to direct our emotional resources toward handling or defending against the pain and sadness, leaving us even less capable of meeting our needs.
But when we do the work required to appropriately meet our needs, we feel a sense of wellbeing that naturally motivates us to continue doing what’s necessary to meet our needs. In that joyful state, the King within us naturally wants to bless the lives of those around us, which further increases our own joy because giving is naturally satisfying. And when we feel and express gratitude to the source of our fulfillment, we invite more of those blessings into our lives.
NEED FULFILLMENT IN PRACTICAL TERMS
Let’s get more specific and practical about the role of the King archetype in meeting our needs. Let’s consider six needs that can’t be satisfied by goods or services—they can only be satisfied by individual action and by walking the middle path. While these needs are important for anyone wishing to live a joyful life, they are absolutely essential for men who want to live according to the Tao of maleness. Women might come up with a different list. But we’re not women.
Three of the needs we’ll discuss have been borrowed from John Eldredge’s book, Wild at Heart, which I consider a must read for any man who wants to grow beyond his impasses around masculinity. Eldredge states that, “in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue” [italics added]. Notice that each of these needs involves taking personal action. Eldredge doesn’t say that men need a battle to watch, an adventure to fantasize about, and a beauty to look at!
For the purpose of our discussion, I’ll use some terms and concepts that are slightly different from Eldredge’s. I’ll use his term “adventure.” But, rather than the term “battle,” I’ll use the more specific term “mission.” And rather than speaking of “a beauty to rescue,” I’ll discuss the broader need of experiencing “genderedness,” which refers to the differences between the sexes, and “complementarity,” which refers to the way the two sexes complete and balance each other. The other three needs I’ll introduce are the need for comrades, the need for spiritual connection, and the need for physical care.
Certainly there are other more basic needs we have as humans, such as the needs for safety and sustenance. I’m assuming those needs are already met for you. The six needs we’ll discuss are of a slightly higher order. These are the needs that tend to be most significant for men who are growing beyond unwanted same–sex attraction and toward masculine wholeness.
It’s possible that you may not be in touch with some of these needs at this point in your journey. Or perhaps you may even feel a strong block or resistance about pursuing one or more of these needs. For example, a lot of men with unwanted same–sex attraction feel resistance toward spirituality or toward genderedness and complementarity. If you notice resistance or resentment coming up as you read any of the sections below, see if you can understand what that’s about. Don’t pressure yourself about it. Just make note of it as something to be worked on at some point.