After feeding his hunger for a vast array of life's subjects, including inspirational, spiritual, religious and metaphysical, Greg Middleton began incorporating his viewpoints and opinions within his notes, taken from what he was reading. From these notes, ideas and thoughts, stemmed into a venture in writing, including In Search of the Soul, Pearls of Wisdom and Real Men: "What's Happening to Our Males?".
Recently Mr. Middleton was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for me. I found this to be an eye-opening and insightful interview.
First of all, could you tell us a bit about Real Men? What is the story about, who are the characters, etc?
This book addresses a very serious social issue. Basically life has changed drastically regarding the gender roles. Most men (males) have not made the proper adjustments to what life has imposed upon us. Males, in general, need to re-define their roles to reflect the new freedoms and opportunities females are experiencing. Statistics show that females are doing better in many aspects of life, while males are declining.
Women are getting better educations, while men are declining in that area. Women are getting better trained for the new job markets, while men are declining. Men are going to jail or prison about 11 times more than women. If we do not turn some of these statistics around it will be devastating in the years to come. Our young males are already showing the effects of this problem. This is what I address in this book about Real Men.
Do you have a favorite excerpt from Real Men? Could you share that with us, please?
Here is a taste of the first chapter that may give you a sense of what the book discusses:
“There is no question that males have dominated the human race since the beginning of time. Yes, this has been a man's world with women as a secondary partner. Things have never been equal for both sexes in terms of rights, power, or privileges. It is fairly obvious that males and females were either designed or created differently by way of purpose and intent. It is also as obvious that there were other factors at hand that determined the distribution of power between the sexes. We clearly see that the average human male was given superior brute physical strength over his female counterpart, but was that power intended to be used to overpower females against their will?
One could argue that Mother Nature (God or a superior power) rarely makes mistakes regarding her plans and intent, because things tend to work in a manner in which they were naturally designed to operate. If we believe males were built to dominate — that is what has indeed unfolded over the years. No one would argue the point that males were created or designed larger by accident. All things in life tend to serve a definite purpose. The fact that the average male is notably larger than the average female reveals a purpose within itself. No one had to tell the first males to go out and start hunting and gathering food. That instinct was built within the primary design. Likewise, no one has to tell a bird to fly or a fish to swim. That ability is built within them.
What do you want readers to take away from reading Real Men?
The main point is the urgency for us to redefine the roles of males in this modernday society. We must do so to the degree that we can actually teach these newly defined roles to our boys. If we do not teach them how to become men, they have no other way of learning to do so.
The reason why adolescent crimes, gangs, and things, as such, are increasing is because we are not giving our boys a better alternative. There are too many single parent homes with no man around to give boys discipline and direction. Unless we do something to correct these problems they will only get worse.
At some point ordinary people will need to make the choice to stop sitting on the sidelines, watching this problem get worse. They need to climb down into the gutters, roll up their sleeves and do something about the problem. I want my readers to see the urgency of the problem and get involved in the correction.
This is not just a problem for a narrow segment of our population. Males make up roughly half of the world’s population. If males continue to decline, our society will follow that lead.
What was the hardest part about writing Real Men?
To see the depth of this problem was staggering. To see the amount of attention that is not being given to this subject is discouraging. I don’t like the attitudes I see in most males. We have been given permission to act out badly and it seems as though bad behavior is worn as a badge of honor. Society encourages us to be bad boys because they get the most attention. Men who do the right things and set the good examples get very little attention. Only bad news sells!
No one cares when good and decent men go out of their way to do the right things. They are ignored and for the most part walk an uphill path. People who are trying to help the situation get very little assistance. Look at the entertainment industry, the sports industry, politicians, the rich and famous, all these men seem to act poorly in the news daily and that is the image that our boys are watching. They want to be like the famous bad boys, not the ones who are actually adding to the integrity of humanity. The hardest part of writing this book was actually coming to the realization of the truth about human beings. We will only get better when we decide that it is more beneficial to act in righteous ways rather than in devious and unrighteous ways. When good news rate higher then bad news we will make a necessary change.
What kind of research did you do for Real Men?
I had to look up many statistics regarding the status of males within society today. Crime statistics, educational statistics, labor statistics, and the like. I spoke with numerous males about their relationships with females, their ability to father their children, how they deal with commitment and infidelity, how they deal with their aggressive sexual energies, and how their experiences as males of today were shaped. I organized a men's group that meets regularly in order to discuss many of our common issues. It is from our dialogues that I was able to see the magnitude of the problem. I hold seminars whereby men gather to speak about our common issues.
There is no better research than actually speaking with ordinary males about their experiences as men of this modern day. They realize that something is wrong with how our roles have changed and with the way we have not adjusted to the changes. Most don’t know how to fix what they see is wrong. This is what we do at Real Men Seminars.
We help men to become better men by getting together to discuss our most common problems. With our collective experiences we usually have the cures for our most common problems, right within our group members. Gathering men together to speak about our issues has been my most valuable research.
Could you please tell us about your writing process?
I write in the spiritual, self-help, religious, or inspirational genre. In order for me to write this sort of material it has to come from some inner inspiration or, simply having the ability to see a slice of life and communicate what you see. Most of my books come to me in the form of the title, which is essentially the message that I am to write about. I normally write the introduction to the message in one setting that covers that essence of the entire book. Once I write the introduction then each chapter come to me one at a time that digs deeper and deeper into the subject matter.
The initial message is usually written in about three to four weeks. Then it is just a matter of refining the message and rewriting it until the message is clear. There is very little actual thinking during my writing sessions. I sat at my computer and the material comes through me. Where it comes from is not something that I can put into words. I think it is my spiritual muse that inspires me and gives me the message that I am to write. I write what I am given. It comes from the streams of consciousness that float in our spiritual universe. All I need to do is tune my frequencies to what is already there and I become the receiver, the one who transmits the message.
Do you ever put yourself within your characters?
In this sort of writing I use my personal experiences to make my points. Usually I am more than willing to share my faults with others because they are usually fairly common to us all. In a book like Real Men, I realized that I had no formal way of learning how to become a man. Everything that I learned was usually by the hard way of trying things until you get them right. Some things you never seem to conquer. I learned to be a father by becoming a father, to be a husband by getting married, to control my sexual energies by very hard self-control, to control my aggressive energies by walking away from confrontations, and to do all that it requires to be a man by trial and error; mostly errors. Since I have so many faults, I assume that many men face situations and circumstances similar to mine. I write from that place of real life. Since I am part of life I write myself in the material that I write about.
Do you have any particular habits that you take part in while writing?
All I need is solitude and silence in order to receive the messages that are going through my mind. I get some chapters while lying in the bed at night not being able to sleep. It is as though my mind will not shut down until I write down the message that is coming through. Once I write it down then I can do other things mentally. I have my own home-office that I use for writing. It is equipped with the Internet, printers, and all the equipment I need for writing. I also have a few laptops that I can take with me when I am away from home. I can write almost anywhere when the inspiration comes because I have the ability to zone out distractions and stay within my conscious receptive mode. Other than that I don’t require any relevant exterior inspiration.
Where do you get your ideas and inspirations?
They come to me! I don’t sit around and think about what would be an interesting topic to write about. I could be sitting around, reading, listening to the news or television, speaking to a friend or stranger, or just walking in the mountain trails alone and I get an idea out of nowhere to write about. When it comes to me I know what I must do. In the past I wouldn’t know how to receive inspiration or even how to recognize it. After over a decade of being a writer, now I am getting to know me better and recognize when I am receiving an inspiration to write a message. I feel the power. that we call God. also inspires me to write most times. I work very hard at establishing a personal relationship with this spiritual Presence. Because I work toward that goal I am able to receive godly inspirations all the time.
How did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
For me writing came without me knowing what it meant to be a writer. For most of my adult life I kept a journal of sorts. I would write down what I was thinking or what I was experiencing with no notion or knowledge of being a writer. I was just recording my thoughts. At one point years back, I was inspired to find the essence of my being. I went on a soul-search to find meaning to life and to my existence. I so desperately wanted to find my core being. That desire caused me to read more and record what I was reading and experiencing. After about three to four months of recording so much data it became a book. From that point I had to learn how to put a book together and get it published.
Once I discovered what it meant to write and publish a book I went on to the next one, and the next, and the next, until it became something that I did naturally. After a decade now, writing seems to be the most natural part of my being. I love to write and, I write all the time, in spite of my inability to actually sell or distribute what I write.
The business of being a writer is a difficult task. Although it is frustrating not being able to break through with a hit book, I still love to write because it is who and what I am now. No one really inspired me to become a writer. I suppose the same Spirit that inspired me to search for my soul is the one that inspires me to write. I call that Spirit my heavenly Father and Creator. Apparently this is what He/She wants me to do for now.
What made you take that leap from "wanting" to be a writer, as opposed to "becoming" a writer?
All of my life I have been a creative person. I could hear music in my head when I was young, but I did not know how to bring that music alive. In the sixth grade I was tested for musical abilities and scored very high on the test. The band director asked my mother if I could be in the school band because I had natural talent. I have since found out that the same way I can hear music coming from that invisible space of pure consciousness is the same way that I hear messages as well. I suppose if I had wanted to be an artist I could have chosen that as well. When you have the gift of creativity in you, it could express itself in a number of ways.
Since we (my family) were poor and could not afford much material things, I took advantage of whatever was around and available in order to express myself creatively. Back then it was through music. At this stage writing is my way of creative expression. Today I could just as easily express myself in a musical composition or through writing an essay or a book. In a way I am not the one doing something but instead allowing something to come through me.
Once I got a taste of being a writer I decided that was what I would do for now. Whatever in me is finding a way to come through me. It decided for me that for in the current moment I would be a writer. As an entrepreneur for most of my adult life I have always acted upon what inspired me. If I had to think about how to do some of the things that I have done, I could not do them. I just dipped my toes in the water and allowed the experience to be whatever it wanted to become. For the moment I am a writer, who knows what I will be in the future?
Were you an avid reader as a child?
No! I did not learn to appreciate reading until my late 40s. All throughout my school years I only read when it was assigned to me. Throughout college I read just to pass my test or complete my assignments. I did not discover the love of reading until I started searching for knowledge. Now great books seem to find me. I love spiritual and even metaphysical books. I love to challenge what I think and believe. I love to write in that same way. I want people to stretch themselves and challenge what they believe until they find their own truth, not the truth that someone told them to believe or accept.
If you had to summarize your life and give it a book title, what would that title be?
“Out of the Cotton Fields into the Universal Playing Fields”. From where I came into this world to where I am now, it is a miracle the distance that I’ve traveled. I know what it means to be poor with very little material substance. I was born in the Deep South in a segregated society in 1949. What I have seen through my eyes would be a great book within itself. It was a movie. I have seen evil in people but I can also see the good in them. I even see the good in evil people because they know not what they do. They only follow what they have learned.
What are you working on right now? Could you give us a taste/teaser (aka excerpt) from your current WIP?
I have several projects that I am working on at the same time. In addition I have dozens of projects that are already written that I will eventually publish when the time is right. I actually had to force myself to stop writing additional books because they just sit on my hard drive and do nothing. When I leave this place perhaps my children may discover all my books and do something with them. My grandchildren can find some of my books and see where some of their character comes form.
Currently I am working on a book called The Practice. It covers the necessity to have a practice that consists of a set of rules or boundaries that you can use to keep you on track in life. Life is too vast just to be floating in the ocean without a paddle. Imagine sitting in the middle of an ocean without a paddle to help you move along. Imagine not having a map while sitting in the middle of the ocean without a paddle. If you do not have a practice that helps you navigate your way when things go wrong, you will be swallowed up by the sheer magnitude of life itself. A practice will help you through the tough times and allow you to float over the madness. After the storms of life passes through you can get back to a sense of “normal” when you have a practice.
Even though I am a self-proclaimed Christian, I do not think I am like most Christians. There are many rooms in my Father’s mansion and many ways to get there, in my opinion. If you are called by a different power in the universe that allows you to seek truth – that is the way you should go. Whatever practice works well for you is the one that you should use until it leads you to the truth. If you are not on a path toward truth – you are in the wrong practice. That is not something that I can judge for others. What works for some will not work for others. Everyone needs to develop their own practice and feel that it serves their personal spiritual needs. I don’t like it when one practice judges the others unfairly. If your practice serves you, then all the best to you.
In addition I am writing my second Real Men book that goes much deeper than the first one. It covers the psyche of being male and discusses it from a “purpose” point of view. Another project that I already completed is about how we allow religion to kill the only God we know. People who are extremely religious seem to be blinded by something that is not godly. Most just follow traditions that has very little truth in it. When you do something just because it pleases others, that is not about God, it is about religion. We are allowing our religions to block us from even recognizing the real God, which is the real truth. In this book I am not trying to judge others, but they should be willing to judge themselves according to the measure of truth they already know about.
What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading a book called The Mustard Seed by Osho. It covers the revolutionary teachings of Jesus the Mystic. It is a fascinating read. It takes the teachings of Christ and shed them of all the false interpretations that the church built around them. Many of Christ’s teaching have been diluted from what He intended of them because the very same people who had him killed were the ones that formed a religion based upon His name. This book will challenge any Christian according to what they may have been taught about the parables as written in the four Gospels of in the Holy Bible. As I read through this book I am finding the truth ringing out very clearly. Much of it is far different from what I had previously accepted. I love to stretch my beliefs and let them come back as they should. I am no longer bound by tradition because I seek truth. This book is reaching into the chambers of my knowing.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
There are too many to mention, but just to name a few: Ekhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Osho, Vernon Howard, Dr. Myles Monroe, The Gnostic Writers, The Bible writers, or any writer that speaks truth and makes me flush out falsities.
If you could have lunch and chat with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Even though He was not a writer Himself so many people claim to have written down His messages. Because of this I would love to sit across the table and have a chat with Jesus Christ, who is, to me, the greatest man ever to walk this planet. I would love to get the truth directly from him and not the watered down version that many claim to be from Him. I think much was lost in the translations and much was changed in order to fit the picture that the religious bodies of those times wanted people to accept. Christ to me is the author of human life. Therefore in hearing from Him firsthand about life in all the various realms of being, both spiritual and physical, that would be the most precious conversation ever. To hear truth undiluted would alter my life and I believe everyone who hears it. If Christ weren’t available I would love to sit with any of the great spiritual mystics and learn truth directly from them. When you are ready to learn nearly any teacher can teach you something. When the pupil is ready the teacher always shows up.
What do you hope to accomplish within the next five years?
I want to develop my seminar program regarding Real Men Seminars. I hope to take this program across the nation and help men redefine our new roles based upon these modern times. That is the reason I wrote the book, Real Men. We must correct the faults that are too prevalent in men today. Through my seminar program I want to start the dialogue and encourage men to form their own discussion groups and thereby workout their collective issues. My goal is bringing the problem to the public’s attention. I may not get the job done in my lifetime, but if I can cause others to work on this problem, I would have done my part. I want to become a speaker spreading this particular message to males and even to the females that are forced to deal with us as co-partners of the family and of society as well.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
I want my readers to know that I am just an ordinary man who sees life as it is. I am no longer under the spell that this world has placed upon most people. My eyes have been opened to the truth. This is something that is very important to me. Strangely too many people seem to care very little about the truth. Most are so hooked into the systems of this world that they believe this is the only place for us. We are actually only passing through this place, this realm of being. This is not our eternal home. This does not mean that we should put off what we should be doing now, but instead we should be living right now in this moment because each moment we experience is shaping our future. It is like laying down the foundation of your eternity right now. We should live as though ever moment and everything that we do in life counts, because in truth, it does! If we simply do our best and help others as we can, that would certainly go a long ways toward curing the ills of this troubled world. If things are not the best they can be, it’s because each of us have not done our very best. Each needs to hold themselves responsible.
Where can readers get in touch with you? Twitter, Blog, Facebook, etc?
As a writer I have my writer’s website that showcases all my published works.
Greg's Website Anyone can contact me through that site. In addition my business for my men’s organization is called Real Men Seminars. We have a company website that covers the issues we are attempting to solve. Real Men Seminars Anyone can contact me through that site as well. You can find my latest two books on Lulu. I have two books on Lightning Source You can search for me there by author, Greg E. Middleton.