The Power of Going Deep
by Owen Marcus
Back in my high school days, being popular meant being liked and respected by many. Being popular was having a lot of friends and a lot of girlfriends. The more friends and girlfriends you had, the more successful you were.
As I moved through my early adulthood, the “more” was anything material: more or better cars, more or bigger houses, more or more beautiful women.
In spite of the simplicity of my behavior, I do see it as a necessary stage in growing up. I had to experience the benefits and the disadvantages to look for something more. I gradually outgrew of my need to conquer women and acquire more friends. I began to realize my hunger for more would never be met.
Unfortunately, I had no one suggesting any alternatives. I struggled, hoping to find that perfect woman and friend thinking that would satiate my hunger.
I tried going it alone. Telling myself I didn’t need anyone. That didn’t work.
I read books, took workshops, and traveled, looking for something more. Eventually I settled down to realize it wasn’t about getting more, doing more or having more. It was about being more. Yes, I know that sounds trite. But as an action it was something no one in my youth ever suggested.
I came to realize being more wasn’t about meditating more. It was about engaging more with life. In doing that, I realized part of my drive for more things was my fear of being with myself. With that understanding, I knew I needed to slow down and go deep. Going after many things always kept me moving. Slowing down allowed many of those things I was unconsciously running from to catch up to me.
When they did catch up to me, I eventually learned to surrender and relax. For a moment the fear intensified – then there was release into a simple pleasure. After several of these experiences (I never said I was a quick learner) I began to appreciate the power of going deep.
Shifting from broad to deep
As I slowed down and went deeper into my own experiences, much like slowing down to savor a good meal, I began to see patterns. The first pattern was exciting: it took less stimuli to please me. Before I was like an extreme athlete looking for that next edge for that next rush. I began to look in the opposite direction. I saw slowing down required fewer stimuli to produce a relatively same level of pleasure.
I also looked to a different form of support and friendship. Hanging with others who were driven for more only made me anxious. Not wanting to live a life of solitude I began looking for others who would nurture my drive to go deep. When I started forming men’s groups I felt I was coming home, albeit a new home.
Particularly with my last incarnation of a men’s group, the Sandpoint Men’s Group, I felt fulfilled. We have a micro-community of men and consequently their families who savor deep connections.
What deep connections give you
Here is a list of incredible benefits deep connections will provide. For many of us men learning, these qualities are best learned with other men. Once learned with men, they naturally generalize with our partners. Attempting to master them first with women is an uphill ordeal.
- Going deep into self – experiencing a deeper sense of who you are
- Letting go of masks – stop pretending to be someone you aren’t
- Taking risks from a place of authenticity – not “faking it to you make it”, being vulnerable as you risk
- Feeling AS you perform – not using performance as an escape, but as a way to feel more and be more present
- It’s a man thing to use action as way to deepen our authenticity
- Speaking the truth – saying what is true for you in the face of others denying their own truths
- Expressing wants – asking for what you want, knowing you may not get it
- Developing new skills – as you develop deeper connections you naturally develop betters skills of communication and connection
- Falling in love – the depth and vulnerability opens you up to love more
- Self acceptance and Love of others – you can’t love others more than you accept/love yourself
- Holding space – creating an emotionally safe space for others to feel and express their emotions
- Leading through example – when you risk to connect deeper, you show others that’s is safe to do the same and how to do it
- Fun – deep connections brings new joy
- You relax – easier than you thought possible
It takes a community
You could sit in a cave for years meditating to deepen your connection. But who has the time—or desire—to escape life completely? We live with thousands—sometimes millions—of other people. Yet we are rarely close to a group of people.
To develop the skill of going deep, it works best to practice it with others who are doing the same. For men I’ve never seen a quicker, more powerful, or more fun way to develop depth than in a men’s group. You get to model other men, experiment connecting with other men and receive feedback on your communication as all of you experience the joys of a deep community.
As powerful as a men’s group can be, it’s a foreign phenomenon for most men. Just hanging out with a group of men will not do it. You will get bored and choose not to continue. You need a tight set of agreements to create a container for your group. Then you need the commitment to hang in through the rough stages of forming a group. Having instruction and support will help, but it’s not necessary.
Along with MKP, we are committed to supporting men in learning the forgotten art of going deep. Free to Win offers Two Day Men’s Groups as an immersion into a deep men’s group. We are also offering a one-day workshop for men who are looking at joining or forming a men’s group, or men who want to take their group deeper. This workshop is in N.Y.C. June 30th.
– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.