• Mikaal Bates

TRUTH TELLING, Pt. 1

Updated: Mar 15


Photo: Camelot (film)


"Veritas norma sua est. / Truth is its own standard.” -Baruch Spinoza


“The opposite of Hell is Truth.” -Anonymous



They say “The truth will set you free.”

Yeah, or get you thrown into the Lion’s Den to be eaten alive.

Some would say, no difference.


Either way, beginning this coming Tuesday, I will begin leading a monthly “Truth Telling” men’s group call through Tribe Men’s Community.


And I want you there.

Yeah you.

For your own damn good.

And mine.


Fact is, I wrote this article for you.

Yes, you, bro.

Took me hours.


Why?


Because I want to live in a world where men tell the truth to their brothers so we can stop turning our women into our therapists and our mothers.


MEN’S WORK and THE TECHNOLOGY OF TRUTH


I believe in “Men’s Work”- AKA, the intentional coming together of men to consciously work on themselves by speaking the truth.


I believe in it because it works.

Because I’ve seen it work.

Because it works for me.


I believe it is one of the best practices a man can undertake—for himself, for his family, for his romantic partner(s), for his community, and for his species.


I also believe there is a technology at work, embedded in this process—a technology built right into our nervous systems.


When the shared experience of speaking your truth is met with full support and acceptance, rather than judgment or condemnation, the feeling of “being heard, seen, understood” arises in those participating in the process, which sets off a chemical reaction in their bodies, triggering their brains to produce a corresponding cocktail of neurotransmitters, namely, dopamine and oxytocin, among others.


Best drug on the planet.


This is technically what happens in your body during this experience.

It is replicable, predictable, and reliable, under the right conditions.


The “right” conditions, (safety, ground rules, consent, confidentiality,) are crucial, but what is most important is the result-- does the person sharing feel seen, heard, understood, and accepted? If so, the technology will work every time, barring major neurological dysfunction.


Truth is, I’m crazy enough to think that Men’s Work of this kind can save the fucking world, because I’ve seen it work, time and time again, every time- regardless of a man’s culture, color, religious, sexual orientation, or where his genetics come from.


I’ve logged hundreds of hours in Men’s Circles, from prison outreach programs to Burning Man, and I’ve never seen it fail.


Regardless of where you come from, your ancestors employed this technology on a regular basis—and I believe its absence in our modern world is driving a large piece of the struggles currently facing our species and planet.


-------------


So, feel-good stuff aside, here’s what I have learned, and personally experienced in 6+ years of leading men’s circles:

  • The cure to what ails you will invariably be carried in and brought to the surface by another man present in the group (and vice-versa).

  • Other men are going through (or have gone through) exactly what you are going through now, and hearing the experience of other men allows each man present to recognize that he is not alone in his struggles.

  • Sharing your truth not only sets you free, but gives permission to everyone else in the group to do the same.

  • After a man shares his truth, if I were to ask the other men in the group to raise their hands if they trust this man more now than they did before his share, EVERY SINGLE HAND GOES UP, every single time.

Lots of men hesitate to share because they think they’ll be judged, condemned, or laughed at.

Not gonna happen.

What will actually happen is you’ll become more trustable.

Measurably.

Demonstrably.

People can feel it.

And they’ll tell you about it.

Then you’re really in trouble.

Then you get hooked.

I’m telling you, best drug on the planet.


All you gotta do is be brave enough to shine some light on what you’ve been keeping in the dark.


Because when men are given permission to share their experience, medicine is exchanged.

Big medicine.


I credit the exponential growth I have personally experienced in the last 5 years with the fact that I began surrounding myself with men who were willing to tell me the truth.


Being around men of this caliber is fucking terrifying, and also infuriating- largely because you can no longer get away with ANYTHING.


And as a result, your own evolution will fucking sky-rocket.


Filling your life with men willing to tell you when you’re out of line, out of integrity, when you’re playing small, or when you have arugula in my teeth, will change your life faster than steroids.


The founders of TRIBE are some of those men for me: Justin Patrick Piece, Dave Burns, Michael Holt, Jackson Hardin-- good, honest men that completely ruin my capacity to bullshit myself, show up late to anything, say something and then do another, break my commitments, or be unaccountable for my actions.


Serious pains in my ass in the best way imaginable.


-------------


So, who do you have in your life that you can trust will tell you the truth?

Who are the men in your life that will tell it to you straight, even if it leads to your wrath, emotional collapse, or passive-aggressive FB unfriending?


Without each other, we are blind.

Without feedback, we cannot truly see ourselves.

Without constructive criticism, we will stumble forward blindly, belching false wisdom and believing ourselves more than we actually are.


Without men willing to share their own experience of how they see you both succeeding and coming up short, we all lose.


There is a reason that freedom of speech is the First Amendment.

It is the arguably the most important freedom—the freedom to speak YOUR truth to power as an irrefutable cornerstone of liberty-in-action. It is how we keep democracy robust, not just in nations, but in ourselves.


Bad news is, if you’re not telling the truth—to yourself, and to each other, you’re telling a lie—or worse, you’re LIVING one. And a lie of omission is still a lie.


So consider this my formal invitation to the brave.


WHAT NEXT?


Find your Tribe, speak your truth.

Speak your truth, find your Tribe.

Surround yourself with men who will tell you the truth.

Bravely share your truth in the proper settings/context to attract your Tribe and repel the rest.


How?


One option: Beginning next week, I will be leading a monthly group call to help men experience the transformational power of sharing their truth in front of a group of other men.


Join us.


This call is for men who understand that truth is medicine, not just for the man who shares, but for the men who listen.


Together, one man at a time, the truth will set us free.


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