The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida - my notes

  • I started reading the book a few times but never made it past the first few pages. But this time for whatever reason it “clicked”.
  • If the timing is right, it’s one of these books that fit Kafka’s description of books as “the axe for the frozen sea within you”.
  • Overall a 9/10 for me.


“I think people misunderstand what mission is and what purpose is. It is not something you have or don’t have; it is something you are ignoring or not ignoring in the present moment. Finding your purpose is fully sinking into the present moment and letting reality manifest through you as a gift to all.” - from this Interview

“If you have a more masculine sexual essence, you would, of course, enjoy staying home and playing with the kids, but deep down, you are driven by a sense of mission. You may not know your mission, but unless you discover this deep purpose and live it fully, your life will feel empty at its core, even if your intimate relationship and family life are full of love.”

“Without a conscious life-purpose a man is totally lost, drifting, adapting to events rather than creating events. Without knowing his life-purpose a man lives a weakened, impotent existence, perhaps eventually becoming even sexually impotent, or prone to mechanical and disinterested sex.”

“The core of your life is your purpose. Everything in your life, from your diet to your career, must be aligned with your purpose if you are to act with coherence and integrity in the world. If you know your purpose, your deepest desire, then the secret of success is to discipline your life so that you support your deepest purpose and minimize distractions and detours.”

“if you don’t know your deepest desire, then you can’t align your life to it. Everything in your life is dissociated from your core. You go to work, but since it’s not connected to your deepest purpose, it is just a job, a way to earn money. You go through your daily round with your family and friends, but each moment is just another in a long string of moments, going nowhere, not inherently profound.”

“Admit to yourself that if you had to choose one or the other, the perfect intimate relationship or achieving your highest purpose in life, you would choose to succeed at your purpose.”

“Your mission is your priority. Unless you know your mission and have aligned your life to it, your core will feel empty. Your presence in the world will be weakened, as will your presence with your intimate partner. The next time you notice yourself “giving in” to your woman, postponing your mission and denying your true purpose in order to spend time with her, stop. Tell your woman that you love her, but you cannot deny your heart’s purpose.”

“Tell her that you will spend thirty minutes (or some specific time) with her in absolute attention and total presence, but then you must return to carry on your mission.Your woman will be more fulfilled with thirty minutes a day of undivided attention and ravishing love than she will with a few hours of your weak and divided presence when your heart really isn’t into it. Time you spend with your woman should be time you really want to be with her more than anything else. If you’d rather be doing something else, she’ll feel it. Both of you will be dissatisfied.”

“A man must know the truth at his core and be willing to give his gifts fully. No holding back. He must be willing to dedicate his sex and his life to magnifying love by penetrating woman and world with his true gifts. This willingness is rare.”

On Finding your Mission

“Each purpose, each mission, is meant to be fully lived to the point where it becomes empty, boring, and useless. Then it should be discarded. This is a sign of growth, but you may mistake it for a sign of failure.”

“man must be prepared to give 100 percent to his purpose, fulfill his karma or dissolve it, and then let go of that specific form of living. He must be capable of not knowing what to do with his life, entering a period of unknowingness and waiting for a vision or a new form of purpose to emerge. These cycles of strong specific action followed by periods of not knowing what the hell is going on are natural for a man who is shedding layers of karma in his relaxation into truth.”

“For instance, you may take on a business project, work at it for several years, and then suddenly find yourself totally disinterested. You know that if you stayed with it for another few years you would reap much greater financial reward than if you left the project now. But the project no longer calls you.”

“Among the signs of fulfilling or completing a layer of purpose are these:        1.  You suddenly have no interest whatsoever in a project or mission that, just previously, motivated you highly.        2.  You feel surprisingly free of any regrets whatsoever, for starting the project or for ending it.        3.  Even though you may not have the slightest idea of what you are going to do next, you feel clear, unconfused, and, especially, unburdened.        4.  You feel an increase in energy at the prospect of ceasing your involvement with the project.        5.  The project seems almost silly, like collecting shoelaces or wallpapering your house with gas station receipts. Sure, you could do it, but why would you want to?”

“The next layer of your unfolding purpose may make itself clear immediately. More often, however, it does not. After completing one layer of purpose, you might not know what to do with your life. You know that the old project is over for you, but you are not sure of what is next. At this point, you must wait for a vision.”

“You stay open to a vision of your deeper purpose by not filling your time with distractions. Don’t watch TV or play computer games. Don’t go out drinking beer with your friends every night or start dating a bunch of women. Simply wait. You may wish to go on a retreat in a remote area and be by yourself. Whatever it is you decide to do, consciously keep yourself open and available to receiving a vision of what is next. It will come.”

“When it comes, it usually won’t be a detailed vision. You will probably have a sense of what direction to move in, but the practical steps might not make themselves clear. When the impulse begins to arise, act on it. Don’t wait for the details. Learn by trial and error what it is you are to do.”

“you continually feel for the “groove” of your purpose. You might have a few false starts.”

“It feels as if the universe is supporting you in this direction. You have no idea whether you can earn a living doing this, but it feels right for now. So you apply yourself fully to it.”

“Whatever the specifics of a man’s purpose, he must always refresh the transcendental element of his life through regular meditation and retreat.”

“As long as life continues, the creative challenge is to tussle, play, and make love with the present moment while giving your unique gift.”

“You are your mission, and if you don’t know it, you are not relaxed in the moment. So you don’t have to find your mission, you need to relax in the moment to discover it. It is being shown to you right now. You are being lived by a force deeper than you. Masculine practice is intuitively feeling and identifying with that force so that when you wake up in the morning, you are lived by your mission. If you don’t know what that is, it is because you are thinking. Your mind will never know your mission. You will never feel your mission if you are attending to your thoughts hoping to see what your mission is in the future.

A classic exercise in The Way of the Superior Man is for you to set up a place in the living room or a tent in your backyard to just go and sit and not move. At some point you have to pee, so your mission, in that moment, is to stand up and pee. It is very clear. After you pee, if you don’t know what your mission is, you just sit down. Maybe it will be a week or two weeks, maybe it will be a month. At some point if you stop watching TV and talking to people and attending to your thoughts all day, if you relax from attending to your mind forms and all the forms of the feminine–which is everything that changes–if you allow your attention to stop seeking feminine fulfillment momentarily and allow your attention to resolve into its heart-source, you will be living your mission, in that moment.

You then allow your body to be animated by that mission. It is very specific. So if you sit there for a week or two, suddenly you might feel, “Before I die, I have to form a business to sell this product that I am interested in. I just keep thinking about it.” So you get off the cushion and form the business. It might take 10 years, 5 years, one year, but you form the business. You sell the thing you feel you have to. When that no longer moves you, that mission dissolves. That sense of purpose dissolves. A man living his mission has some years of highly focused purpose followed by a resolution of their mission, the accomplishment of their mission or the evaporation of their mission, and then they are back to no mission, to no purpose, to being.

Be wide open to the manifestation of existence through your being, living in a state of “beginner’s mind” as some people call it, acting with precision. You don’t say, “I don’t know, so I will go to Bali and play.” You say, “I don’t know, so I will sit upright as open awareness until I know.” You don’t distract yourself with beaches, playmates, and oceans, searching for things that are merely delicious. All of those things are why most men don’t know their mission. They are basically chasing the attractive possibilities of mind, of sensuality, of adventure, seeking the feminine as a form of entertainment, rather than relaxing open as deep consciousness, choicelessly gifting, just as they are.

” - from this interview


“Neither woman nor world can be second-guessed, or fooled. They know when you are just dicking around. They want to receive you for real.”

“Otherwise, if you sheepishly penetrate them to gratify your own needs, your woman and the world will feel your lack of dedication, depth, and truth. Rather than yielding in love to your loving, they will distract you, suck your energy, and draw you into endless complications, so that your life and relationship become an almost constant search for release from constraint.”

“You can be a renunciate and live alone, apart from woman and world. But if you choose a life of sexual and worldly intercourse, you will feel trapped by woman and world unless you are free in the midst of “true fuck,” yielding yourself into the giving, holding nothing back, dissolving all time in the open of love. Through thick and thin, this is the way of the superior man.”


“Your fear is the sharpest definition of your self. You should know it.”

“Own your fear, and lean just beyond it. In every aspect of your life. Starting now.”


“Choose men friends who themselves are living at their edge, facing their fears and living just beyond them. Men of this kind can love you without protecting you from the necessary confrontation with reality that your life involves.”

“About once a week, you should sit down with your closest men friends and discuss what you are doing in your life and what you are afraid of doing. The conversation should be short and simple. You should state where you are at. Then, your friends should give you a behavioral experiment, something you can do that will reveal something to you, or grant more freedom in your life.”

“Your close men friends should be willing to challenge your mediocrity by suggesting a concrete action you can perform that will pop you out of your rut, one way or the other. And you must be willing to offer them your brutal honesty, in the same way, if you are all to grow. Good friends should not tolerate mediocrity in one another.”

Do Mode

“This “do mode” is one of men’s biggest strengths and weaknesses. It’s great to be able to plow through obstructions and get the job done. And it’s good to keep yourself disciplined and on purpose. But if you forget your larger purpose while pursuing the small and endless tasks of daily life, then you have reduced yourself to a machine of picayune.”

“Tasks are important, but no amount of duties adds up to love, freedom, or full consciousness.”

“If you want the body to continue, you must eat and breathe. You must work, care for your family, and brush your teeth. But these are just the mechanics of life on Earth. They never come to the absolute truth of your being.”

“Whereas many women waste precious time swirling in emotional currents and eddies, many men waste their birth seeking the completion of tasks.”

“To help you remember the triviality of your daily tasks, interrupt your schedule with refreshers. These refreshers should cut to your core and strip the fat off the moment. Consider your own death. Behold an image of the most enlightened being you know. Contemplate the mystery of existence. Relax into the deepest and most profound loving of which you are capable. In your own way, remember the infinite, and then return to the task at hand. This way, you will never lose perspective and begin to think that life is a matter of tasks.”

Feminine Testing

“A woman often seems to test her man’s capacity to remain unperturbed in his truth and purpose. She tests him to feel his freedom and depth of love, to know that he is trustable. Her tests may come in the form of complaining, challenging him, changing her mind, doubting him, distracting him, or even undermining his purpose in a subtle or not so subtle way. A man should never think his woman’s testing is going to end and his life will get easier. Rather, he should appreciate that she does these things to feel his strength, integrity, and openness. Her desire is for his deepest truth and love. As he grows, so will her testing.”

“Why is she being this way? Because she simply wants to deflate your success? No. She is challenging you because your success doesn’t mean shit to her, unless you are free and loving. And if you are free and loving, nothing she says can collapse you. She wants to feel you are uncollapsable, so she pokes you in your weak spot.”

“She wants to feel your strength. She wants to feel that your happiness is not dependent on her response, nor on you making a million dollars. She wants to feel you are a superior man.”

“If you are aligned with your mission, you are essentially happy, even though times cycle between difficult and easy. You don’t need your woman’s strokes to fulfill your mission. It still feels good when she strokes you, but you don’t need mommy anymore, telling you what a good boy you are. And your woman doesn’t want you to need mommy. In fact, it sickens her.”

“But if she is a good woman, a strong woman, she won’t tolerate your childish needs for a pat on the head, collecting bigger toys, and being king of the mountain. A good woman will love the childlike part of you, but she wants your life to be guided by your deepest truths, not your untended childhood wounds. She wants to feel that at your core you have grown beyond the need for kudos and million-dollar toys. She wants to feel your self-generated strength of truth.”

“If you remain full and strong, humorous and happy, your truth unperturbed by her testing, then you pass the test.”

“It never ends. This is the secret. You can’t get out of it. Finding a different woman won’t get you out of it. Therapy won’t get you out of it. Financial or sexual mastery won’t get you out of it. Your woman is testing you because she loves you. She wants to feel your truth. She wants to feel your love. And she wants to feel that your truth and love are stronger than the barbs she can throw at you. Then she can relax and surrender into the polarity of man and woman. Then she can trust you.”

“The most loving women are the women who will test you the most. She wants you to be your fullest, most magnificent self. She won’t settle for anything less.”


“If you want real passion, you need a ravisher and a ravishee; otherwise, you just have two buddies who decide to rub genitals in bed.”

“Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, if you want to experience deep spiritual and sexual fulfillment, you must know your natural sexual essence—masculine, feminine, or balanced—and live true to it.”

“Most people, about 90 percent in my experience, seem to have a definite preference. They definitely either prefer that their partner kills the cockroach crawling toward them, or they’re fine with doing the crunchy job themselves, perhaps with sporting fervor. Most people clearly favor watching a romantic love story on TV to a bloody boxing match, or vice versa. They might be able to enjoy both at times, but their core becomes more emotionally involved in one or the other.”

“Even though all people have both masculine and feminine qualities that they could use in any moment—to kick corporate ass or nurture children, for instance—most men and women also have a more masculine or feminine core. And this shows up in their regularly chosen entertainments, as much as in their preferred sexual play.”

“For the masculine, mission, competition, and putting it all on the line (indeed, facing death), are all forms of ecstasy. Witness the masculine popularity of war stories, dangerous heroism, and sports playoffs. But, for the feminine, the search for love touches the core. Whether on soap operas, in love stories, or talking with friends about relationships, the desire for love is what appears in feminine forms of entertainment.”

“A lot of people today think they have a balanced sexual essence, but in most cases they are actually suppressing the natural desires which spring from their real masculine or feminine core.”

“Most people are forgetting that the sameness that works in the office does not work in intimacy for about 90 percent of couples: those couples composed of partners with masculine and feminine essences rather than balanced essences.”

“You can have a loving friendship between two similars, but you need a more masculine and a more feminine partner in the moments when you want strong sexual polarity.”

“You have to animate the masculine and feminine differences if you want to play in the field of sexual passion.”

Written on April 29, 2024

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