HE'S HISTORY, YOU'RE NOT?!

I left a comment today on an article on the Huffington Post entitled: "Why Forgiveness is Overrated." The piece, by Erica Manfred, author of "He's History, You're Not: Surviving Divorce After Forty," is... well... as 3D as the title of that book suggests. Anyway, here's my comment to Erica:

"Forgiveness isn't an action you can take; it is a place you can arrive to. The action you can take, however, is that of owning your own responsibility when a relationship ends 'badly,' including owning your responsibility for entering into or staying in a relationship that is destructive and/or abusive. It's casting yourself as a victim that prevents healing. Taking responsibility may or may not lead to some kind of forgiveness, but either way, it can't be faked. Neither can healing."

FIND YOUR PERSONALITY TYPE!

Here's more from my class on The Self that I've been posting from. This segment is on "personality types," as outlined by a variety of brilliant, wise or channelling teachers.

See if you can see yourself.

PERSONALITY TYPES

Jung -Two basic attitudes: introversion and extroversion, and four mental functions: thinking, feeling, sensing, intuiting.
The introverted attitude is interested in exploring and analyzing one’s own internal world. This person is introspective, preoccupied with internal affairs, and may be withdrawn or aloof, unsocial and reserved.
The extroverted attitude is preoccupied by one’s interactions with people and things and appears to be more active and outgoing, taking an interest in what’s around him or her.
The thinking function consists of connecting ideas with each other in order to arrive at a general concept or a solution to a problem. It is an intellectual function that seeks to understand things.
The feeling function is an evaluative one that either accepts or rejects an idea on the basis of whether the idea arouses a pleasant or unpleasant feeling.
Sensation is perception produced by experiences that stimulate the sense organs - sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch, as well as sensations that originate inside the body.
Intuition is similar to sensation, but differs in that one does not know from where the intuition came or originated. (“I just know.”)
Eight types of individuals: introvert-thinking, introvert-feeling, introvert-sensate, introvert-intuitive, extrovert-thinking, extrovert-feeling, extrovert-sensate, extrovert-intuitive.
Introvert-thinking type seeks to understand his inner being, thinking directed inwardly, the philosopher or existential psychologist; tends to want to be left alone with his or her own thoughts, not concerned about others accepting his or her ideas; also suppresses feelings and may become unapproachable and standoffish, or in extreme cases, out of touch with reality altogether.
Extrovert-thinking type devotes energy to learning as much as possible about the objective, external world, understanding and discovering laws, developing theories; the scientist; tends to repress the feeling side and may become autocratic, vain and impervious to criticism.
Introvert-feeling type has strong, intense feelings buts keeps them hidden from the outside world; may have a mysterious charismatic charm and be quite profound; inclined towards melancholy and depression, silence, and occasionally may erupt in an emotional storm.
Extrovert-feeling type goes with the flow of the moment, wherever feelings lead; subordinates thinking to feelings; may be inclined to be gushy, erratic and moody and form intense attachments and then break them off suddenly.
Introvert-sensate type is immersed in the experience of internal sensations and finds the external world uninteresting; may be inclined to have difficulty expressing himself except through art, but productions are devoid of meaningfulness of thought or feeling.
Extrovert-sensate type lives for the sensations that can be derived from life, sensual, pleasure-seeking, thrill-seeking, but without meaning or reflection; can be given to addictions and compulsions, and can become crude sensualists.
Introvert-intuitive type can have brilliant insights and inspirations, but others must follow up on developing them for this type can’t really develop the intuitions; the dreamer, visionary, prophet, often regarded as an enigma, a misunderstood genius that cannot communicate effectively.
Extrovert-intuitive type discovers and initiates new possibilities in the outer world and can be great promoters, though again, without the capacity for follow-up; can be easily bored, unreliable and unwittingly hurtful, while frittering away their potentials.

Broch (“Guide”) - Three basic types of human personality, predominantly governed by either reason, emotion or will.
Reason-predominant types conduct life mainly through the reasoning process and use the will in the service of the intellect in a premeditative way, through deduction, figuring, calculating, and assessing, not by using their emotional and intuitive nature. They can be quite planful and efficient and logical. People who predominantly come from reason tend to neglect the emotions, are afraid of them, thwart them, cripple them. They are afraid of losing control. Therefore, they don’t have much access to their intuition; they don’t have much real pleasure in life; they secretly look upon the emotional types as inferior, but they are afraid of them. They are proud to be so steeped in the reasoning process.
Emotion-predominant types mainly relate to life from their emotions and pride themselves on their capacity to feel. They can be quite intuitive. These types use the will chaotically and on impulse or in the despair of the moment. They secretly looks down on intellectuals. The emotional types can completely lose sight of reason. There can be an absence of responsible, conscious planning and deliberation. This person is afraid that by curbing his nature he might miss something valuable in life. If the emotional types were balanced enough to use the reasoning capacities more, they would have access to more wisdom, which is love plus the reason.
Will-predominant types are action-oriented, doers whose focus is on achievement. The will is supposed to be the servant of reason and emotion, but in these types the will is the master. These people look down on reasoning capacity and see people of that type as in their head and they despise the emotional types as out of control and weak, seeing both of these other types as not achieving anything. Only they are the achievers. They have a tendency to be impatient, to lose sight of caution, and it is difficult for them to gain real truth because they neglect the rational and emotional sides
.
Gomez - Reich’s Three Cosmic Pulsatory Movements: expansion, contraction, rest.
Expansion in its harmonious form is movement as creativity, growth and building, forward movement, outgoingness, unselfishness, searching for union with anything outside of the self, for the other, the other you. In the negative, expansion manifests as aggression, hostility, quarreling, destructiveness, cruelty, impatience, ultimately in some cases, war.
Contraction in its positive form is assimilation, balance, introspection, inward movement, caution, patience, thoughtfulness, self search. In the negative it manifests as regressive, backward movement, resisting progress, selfishness, egocentricity, avarice, separateness.
Rest in its positive aspect is healthy passivity, preservation, a state of beingness, timelessness, gathering momentum for a new growth cycle. It is needed for fruition to take place. In the negative, it is stagnation, lifelessness, inertia.
Each human being is predominantly motivated by one of these pulsatory movements, but all three are present in everyone and ideally blend harmoniously. (If you just keep expanding, for example, if expansion didn’t work together with contraction, it would become destructive and you would lose grounding. People with tremendous will who force themselves to stay in expansion mode are blocking nature. These are the type A personalities who can get heart attacks.)

Roberts (“Seth”) - Your feeling-tones are your emotional attitudes toward yourself and life in general and these generally govern the large areas of experience. Your emotional feelings are often transitory, but beneath there are certain qualities of feeling uniquely your own, that are like deep musical chords. While your day-to-day feelings may rise or fall, these characteristic feeling-tones lie beneath. Sometimes they rise to the surface, but in great long rhythms. You cannot call these negative or positive. They are instead tones of your being. They represent the inner portion of your experience. This does not mean that they are hidden from you, or are meant to be. It simply means that they represent the core from which you form your experience. If you have become afraid of emotion or the expression of feeling, or if you have been taught that the inner self is no more than a repository of uncivilized impulses, then you may be in the habit of denying this deep rhythm. You may try to operate as if it didn’t exist, or even try to refute it. But it represents your deepest, most creative impulses; to fight against it is like trying to swim upstream against a strong current.
These feeling tones, then, pervade your being. They are the form your spirit takes when combined with flesh. From them, from your core, your flesh arises. Everything that you experience has consciousness, and each consciousness is endowed with its own feeling-tone. The feeling tone, then, is the motion and fiber - the timber - the portion of your energy devoted to your physical experience.

Goleman - To some degree, we each have a favored emotional range. Temperament is a given at birth, part of the genetic lottery that has compelling force in the unfolding of life. Temperament can be defined in terms of the moods that typify our emotional life. Four temperamental types (per Jerome Kagan): timid, bold, upbeat and melancholy.

"WHY LOVE WHEN LOSING HURTS SO MUCH?!"

One of my absolute favorite movies on the subject of love and loss is "SHADOWLANDS."

Anthony Hopkins plays the middle-aged C.S. Lewis, who, we discover as the movie begins, has avoided love ever since the death of his mother in childhood. "Why love when losing hurts so much," is his creed. Then, he falls in love with an American woman, played by Debra Winger, who it turns out is dying of cancer. Hopkins' Lewis at first resists the pull to fall in love, then once he does fall, he resists facing up to the pending loss of his beloved. Winger's character insists that they face the loss together because she understands that feeling it, even in advance, will keep their love alive. "The pain then is part of the happiness now," she says. At the very end of the movie, Hopkins' character has evolved. He grieves, and through that grief, he discovers that the love lives inside of him. He is free. Hopkins' character learned that to embrace love fully is to embrace loss fully, and that ultimately, it is worth it.

"To one degree or another, we are all in a state of interrupted mourning." Mark Epstein, a psychiatrist and practicing Buddhist, who I quote often on this blog, says that in his excellent book, "GOING TO PIECES WITHOUT FALLING APART." It is not meant to be grim. Epstein is merely saying that life is always changing, always growing, evolving, etc., and as human beings, living in a physical reality in linear time, we experience that changing process as loss.

I often think that the whole human experiment is about experiencing love, the one true energy of All That Is, in physical form and linear time, and learning that the feelings of loss that go along with loving need not be felt as "bad."

"Sad is not bad," I often say to my fellow travelers. Sad is what we temporarily feel when we let go, which is what we are always needing to do in order to love.

Here's the paradox - you cannot really own something internally until you let it go. So many people, for example, feel bitter for so long after a love relationship ends because they don't let go, which would actually allow whatever the goodness of the relationship was to become a permanent part of them.

Here's Epstein:

"We cling to our loved ones, and in doing so, we distance ourselves from a grief that is an inevitable component of affection. Using our best obsessional defenses to keep this mourning at bay, we pay a price in how isolated and cut-off we can feel."

Here's a Buddhist story that Epstein recounts in his book:

"A Tibetan master's son died suddenly from an illness. Hearing him weep inconsolably, the master's disciples confronted him with their surprise. "You taught us that all is illusion and that we should not be attached," they admonished him. "Why are you weeping and wailing?"

The master answered, "Indeed, all is illusion. But the loss of a child is the most painful illusion."

REPOST: "THE EGO AND THE SOUL: HOW FAR THE JOURNEY GOES!"

This is an excerpt from a class I taught in 2001 at my Institute for Full Permission Living. The particular class was entitled: "Beyond Therapy."

This is a very important subject, addressing the question of why some people go further than others, even though they may be engaged in the same therapeutic process.

Here's the excerpt:

What determines how far a person can go at any one time in an evolutionary process? The methodology of the therapy we have practiced offers techniques for increasing self-awareness and understanding, uncovering beliefs and freeing up feelings. Those are essential ingredients needed for actualizing the goal of fulfilled living. No therapy, however, nor any techniques, can overrule a person’s free will. That is one of the basic ingredients of being sentient and conscious, that we possess “will-power” - even to disregard our own natural instincts, even to thwart our own fulfillment. Our free will cannot be taken away from us. Even under the most controlled of circumstances, such as being literally imprisoned, human beings can still exert their free will finally by ending their own lives if they choose to.
But what might cause a person to hold back from surrendering the ego’s self-will when doing so would lead to freedom and pleasure in life? Why would someone “choose” to stay in a seemingly less evolved place, and what are the implications for us as therapists and generally as people in relationships in such cases?

All of the great spiritual teachings available to us, both ancient and modern, at some point speak of a kind of “giving up of the self” as the task in an advanced phase of development. In addition to the great fear of the unknown that this inspires, it also calls for the release of one’s identification with the ego’s self-will. This requires the elimination of pride as a force in one’s consciousness. To many, this will seems like the equivalent of death or annihilation. Thus, even after the achievement of much emotional freedom and a great deal of self-awareness, there can still be resistance to further letting go. While most of us experience a certain level of this “death of the ego” when we go to sleep, meditate or have an orgasm, to live that way seems, in most people’s imaginations, to be the equivalent of non-existence. In fact, the ego does not die in such moments; it is merely released from all but its one proper function - that of observing.

Pathwork Guide: “Man believes this split-off ego-consciousness to be his real self...Thus, the ego maintains itself with pride. It maintains its separate state by creating an unreal, artificial conflict between the self and others. It is always ‘I versus you’ and this always creates a spirit of one-upmanship.”

Epstein: “It is the self-concept, the representational part of the ego...that is the target of Buddhist insight...the self-representation is revealed as lacking concrete existence...Thus, meditation is not a means of forgetting the ego; it is a method of using ego to observe and tame its own manifestations. Development of the capacity to attend to the moment-to-moment nature of mind allows the self to be experienced without the distortions of idealization or wishful fantasy.”

Another angle from which to understand why a person embarked on an accelerated evolutionary path may seem to hit a plateau in their “forward” motion is based on the notion of reincarnation as a developmental process, like growing up, and that each soul, therefore, may be at a particular “age” in their cycle of lifetimes. According to Joya Pope (Upcoming Changes), human souls are all in different stages in their reincarnational cycles on earth. She calls these stages “soul ages.” Just as we develop within the course of one lifetime from infants to adults, so too do souls develop over the course of many lifetimes. This may be one reason why people of the same basic age and background, for example, even two people from the same family can have such different characteristics and very different levels of maturity. It may also be why several people with the same basic character structure elements due to early childhood experiences may have quite different levels of functioning and progress differently in their therapy process. (I have tended to think of this difference between people regarding their spiritual development as a function of how much soul energy they have brought into a particular lifetime. In other words, someone leading a rather undeveloped, simplistic and not very self-aware life, yet perhaps living in a relative state of comfort with set routines and rituals, etc., I have thought of as someone who has not brought a lot of soul energy into that particular lifetime. Joya Pope would say that this is a “baby soul”, not totally brand new to life on earth, but close.)

On this continuum, one could envision that souls may bring in increasing amounts of energy with each incarnation, passing through a sort of spiritual childhood, adolescence, adulthood and maturity . Regarding the will issue, then, one might imagine that an adolescent or even young adult soul may strongly value and intensely cling to its newly blossomed human ego and the experience of asserting its will at that level above all else, while the mature, older souls may value the relaxation and peace that comes from surrendering the ego.

What does all of this mean for the practitioners of full-spectrum healing processes in their work with their clients? (And by implication, what does it mean for everyone engaged in the “business” of relationship?)

Any therapist in general is going to primarily attract and stay interested in working with people basically of the same relative level of development, or soul age, as himself or herself, with the therapist perhaps slightly ahead initially within the respective soul-age range. So, if the therapist is very ego-based, oriented towards relationships of control and outer accomplishments, a “young soul” according to Pope, he or she will attract clients with that kind of attitude and approach towards life. Together, they may enhance each other’s development and growth processes substantially, especially in external ways, though their relationship may be fraught with power struggles. An old soul, on the other hand, will mainly be interested in working with other old souls, with the focus of therapy being the enrichment of spiritual life first, and then learning how to blend that spirituality harmoniously and pleasurably with material abundance and physical well-being. (According to Pope, and my experience corroborates this, many an old soul will go through a period of material and financial struggle or impoverishment due to a lack of ambition in this area, while they are pursuing spiritual matters.)

A therapist may also attract some patients who are at a significantly earlier level of development or soul age than the therapist, or the therapist may evolve himself to a more developed place than when the initial relationship began with a particular patient. This can put him in conflict with his patient, especially if said patient hasn’t evolved at the same pace. In such a case, the therapist could become impatient, bored or pushy, or think that the therapy is failing in some way. In fact, though, the pace of one’s growth is not something that is only a function of the therapy. Accepting and recognizing that there are forces at work in a human being’s life that are not subject to the interventions of another is a crucial task of the maturing guide (and the maturing person in relationships).

Does this mean that people have developmental “ceilings” in a lifetime, places beyond which they “can’t” go due to lack of soul age or energy? Perhaps, but not necessarily so. Each soul comes in with a particular task or set of tasks to undertake and experience, and as such sets the stage for their development by arranging certain parameters (choice of parents and environment, gender and genetic make-up, time period, character structures, etc.). Those parameters will appear to be limitations to some extent in a lifetime as to how far a person can go in terms of self-awareness, understanding, knowingness and the capacity to love and experience pleasure. However, as the Pathwork Guide describes in some of its lectures, it is possible for a soul, upon completion of a particular task set forth in a lifetime to reach a certain level, to reincarnate again within the same lifetime.

This reincarnation within an incarnation will often manifest as a dramatic change in direction, lifestyle and attitude toward the main areas of life (i.e. - relationships and work) and very often take the form of some kind of crisis .

The Guide: “A person who is truly on a path of accelerated development can and frequently does literally reincarnate in the same lifetime...if the personality is truly devoted to give all of itself to his own fulfillment and expansion and to his capacity to change its inherent seed plan. Now, I say that a path such as this one...is indeed a very rare and intense one.”

A therapist can only be a supportive and reflective observer for patient going through such a dramatic shift. Such a change in life-tasks and parameters would also imply that the therapist’s place in that person’s life would also be dramatically altered. The nature of the relationship would surely change and could “end” altogether, at least in present time and in its present form. Likewise, if the therapist goes through such a reincarnation within a lifetime, his relationships with his clients will be pushed forcefully to a new place. Similarly, those shifts may bring about a new level of equality and mutuality between therapist and patient, or bring about an ending for the time being.

TODAY'S QUOTE!

"It should be an accepted fact of life that sometimes relationships just come to an end, and that end often occurs long prior to one of the spouses passing away. This does not mean the relationship, nor the marriage was a 'failure."
Fred SIlverberg (From a piece entitled "Divorce Is Not A Failure")

LOVE JUNKIES? MAYBE IT'S NOT LOVE!

Here's an excerpt from a blog piece on the Huffington Post entitled, "Signs That Your 'Loving Relationship' May Be an Addiction," by Suzanne B. Phillips, Psychologist, Psychoanalyst, Author:

"Addictive relating, as evidenced by the proliferation of books on the subject, is all too common, painful and suffered by both men and women. In my work with people trapped in addictive relationships, it becomes clear that their efforts to 'desperately keep someone' has much more to do with needing the other at any cost than about sharing a loving relationship."

Like Suzanne Phillips, I speak often in sessions with couples about the dynamics and dysfunction of "co-dependence," as it is popularly known, though initially, most people who are in co-dependent/addictive relationships don't know that they are.

So many people confuse love with co-dependence, just as so many people confuse love with Eros.

Those feelings of "need" - for validation, self-worth and caretaking - and the "incompleteness" one feels without the constant presence of the other in one's life are two sure signs of co-dependency. But let me say it again: co-dependence is not love, and it is not not Eros. In fact, co-dependence suffocates love and Eros, and love and Eros dissolve co-dependence

Love is that Universal feeling, the energy of the essence of All That Is, that channels through all of us to varying degrees for friends, family, lovers, nature, humanity at large and for ourselves. Love is eternal and all-encompassing and unconditional.

Eros is that special "in-love" feeling that we experience usually for one particular person at a time. It is like a laser beam that raises our vibration to the highest heights, that energy that makes the very cells of our bodies sing, that focuses and intensifies our senses. And in many cases, Eros can be fleeting, so direct self-work must be done to keep the channels open enough for it to flow through us as long as possible.

True love and Eros create independence, not dependence. Allowing love and Eros to flow through us is its own validation of the self, its own source of nurturance, and creates within us a singular feeling of completeness.

For more on this subject, you can read, or re-read, my favorite Pathwork Guide lecture: THE FORCES OF LOVE, EROS, AND SEX.

PERSONALITY!

Here's more excerpts from the same class of mine that the ego material was from. This material is on "personality." Again, feel free to ask questions.

PERSONALITY

Webster’s Dictionary - The visible aspects of one’s character; a person as an embodiment of a collection of qualities.

Psychiatric Dictionary - The personality represents a compromise between inner drives and needs and the controls that limit or regulate their expression. The personality functions to maintain a stable, reciprocal relationship between the person and his environment. The personality, in other words, is a set of habits that characterize the person in his way of managing day to day living; under ordinary conditions, it is relatively stable and predictable, and for the most part it is ego-syntonic.

Freud - Three aspects of the personality: Id, Ego, Superego.
Id: Completely unconscious, its sole function is to provide for the immediate discharge of energy or tension. It contains the Pleasure Principle and the survival instinct. It is the “obscure, inaccessible part of our personality...the reservoir of the psychic representations of the drives of sex and aggression.”
Ego: The executive of the personality, controlling and governing the id and superego and maintaining communication with the external world in the interest of the total personality and its needs. It is governed by the Reality Principle, the aim of which is to postpone the discharge of energy until the actual object that will satisfy the need has been discovered or produced.
Superego: The moral or judicial branch of the personality that represents one’s perceived ideal, striving for perfection rather than pleasure or reality. It includes idealized images of parents, positive and negative, and judgments about good and bad, right and wrong, and what is deserving of reward or punishment.


Jung - Three levels of the psyche: Consciousness, Personal Unconscious, Collective Unconscious.
Consciousness: The only part of the mind that is known directly by the individual. It has four mental functions (thinking, feeling, sensing and intuiting) and two attitudes (introversion and extroversion).
Personal Unconscious: Contains all psychic activities and contents which have been repressed or disregarded such as distressing thought, unsolved problems and personal conflict. The contents here are usually accessible to the consciousness when the need for them arises.
Collective Unconscious: A reservoir of latent, primordial images inherited from our ancestral past manifested as predispositions or potentialities for experiencing or responding to the world. The contents of the collective unconscious are called archetypes (meaning original models after which other similar images are patterned), a major one being the persona which is a mask or facade one exhibits publicly with the intention of presenting a favorable impression in order to be accepted. A person may have more than one mask, and collectively, all of one’s masks constitute the persona. Other major archetypes include the anima, which is the feminine side of the male psyche, the animus, the masculine side of the female psyche, and the shadow, which contains the human being’s basic animal nature and is the source of the best and the worst in humanity.

Berne - Transactional Analysis emphasizes the influence of the ego states of Parent, Adult and Child on a person’s interactions with others. The Parent ego state relates to limit-setting and nurturing; it is based on the subject’s perception of their own parents. The Adult ego state is concerned with reality testing and estimating probabilities in transactions with the outside world. The Child ego state comprises the feelings, wishes, and adaptations actually experienced in childhood.
Most outcomes of an exchange are determined by ulterior transactions, psychological responses that are outside the awareness of the participants. People play games, adopting the role of Persecutor, Rescuer, or Victim, using ulterior transactions in such a way that everyone loses.

Pierrakos - Three levels of personal reality: Core, Lower Self, Mask
The Core: the human being’s whole capacity, a glowing, vital mass, both the source and the perceiver of life force. The Core has complete unity, no either-or, no good-bad. It is an indivisible vibratory operation, a process in which every person knows the truth instinctively by sensing the pulse of life. The qualitative characteristics of the core are the primal positive emotions, or movements to make contact and unify with the outside world, summed up as one supreme expression: love.
Lower Self: the source of the primal negative emotions. These destructive emotions are galvanized when positive impulses from level 1 are negated, whether from inside or outside of the organism. This negation is the seat of fight or flight reactions in their various forms and degrees - rage and hatred, panic and terror, cruelty and selfishness, the negative impulses described by Freud.
Mask: The outer husk of the human defensive structure, which presents a false face, an idealized, self image to the world. The mask seeks to conceal the Lower Self by misappropriating the energy of the Core.

Gomez - Three aspects of the personality: Childish Self, Adult Self, True Self
Childish Self: The Childish Self contains the primal basic human needs and the raw, negative feelings, such as rage and terror (and their derivatives), when those needs are not gratified. The Childish Self develops enough intellect to know that if it expresses itself directly from its raw feelings, it will receive a negative response from the environment, so it creates the Masked Self (False Self). In that effort, the Childish Self creates an idealized self image and then tries to act as if it really were that image to get what it needs and wants, trying to appear pleasing or cooperative, special, etc.
Adult Self: The Adult Self is the current, but temporary, “captain” of the personality with its will power and intellect/reasoning capacities; its tasks are to be in contact with inner and outer reality, with the Childish Self and the True Self, to facilitate a “dialogue” between the three aspects of the personality, and to know from which aspect one is coming from at any given moment; the main task of the Adult Ego is to integrate with the True Self, to give itself up, ultimately, and surrender to the True Self (This can only be done if the ego is strong, and the adult ego is strengthened by bringing the unconscious Childish Self to the surface so it can be seen and transformed, so the adult can be its mentor, to educate and love the child, finding and correcting the erroneous beliefs, and clearing the held negative feelings and the motives and constructs behind those feelings).
True Self: (Inner Self, Higher Self) This aspect is eternal, contains all of the creativity, intuition, wisdom and pure pleasure of one’s being; it is the Universe itself, consciousness in the deepest and highest sense, eternally moving; it manifests as inspirations and knowingness; the more we are in contact with the Higher Self, the more secure and safe we feel, the more able to cope with everything, the more apparent contradictions unify, fears disappear, and life becomes pleasurable; this is the real potential in everyone; it is the destiny towards which evolution moves us; it is the deep constant longing that we have inside.

Broch (“Guide”) - Personality is based on these three attributes - Love, Wisdom and Divine Will (True Self) which become Emotions, Reason and Will Power (Adult;) which become Fear, Pride and Self-Will (Child, distorted), with a predominance of one or two. The three aspects each have a place in the personality when we are functioning harmoniously. (Often, however, they are directed into the wrong channels. For example, when you need to use your love attribute, but you use your will instead.)

EGO!

Many people I work with ask me to explain exactly what the ego is and how it ends up becoming such a disruptive aspect of our personality. Here are some excerpts, straight from my class on THE SELF, with several descriptions of the ego from sources that I consider to be reputable and enlightened. If you have any questions, feel free...

EGO

Psychiatric Dictionary - that part of the psychic apparatus that is the mediator between the person and reality. Its prime function is the perception of reality and adaptation to it. The various tasks of the ego include perception, self-perception and self-awareness, motor control, memory, thinking, reconciling conflicting ideas and the demands of internal and external elements.

Freud - The ego is the executive of the personality, controlling and governing the id and the superego and maintaining commerce with the external world in the interest of the total personality and its needs. Instead of the pleasure principle, the ego is governed by the reality principle, the aim of which is to postpone the discharge of energy until the actual object that will satisfy the need has been discovered or produced. This secondary process does not make the mistake, as the primary process does, of regarding the image of an object as though it were the object itself.
The ego appears as something autonomous and unitary, marked off distinctively from everything else. There is only one unusual state that is not pathological in which this is not so. At the height of being in love, the boundary between ego and object threatens to melt away. Against all the evidence of the senses, someone in love declares that “I” and “you” are one and is prepared to behave as if it were a fact.

Pierrakos - The ego stands guard at the intersection of human consciousness between inner and outer reality. A healthy ego is flexible and permeable. It can drop its mask and yield to the spontaneity of the Higher Self. It sees itself in perspective in the three dimensional setting of earth time, space and movement. It gives proportion to the expressions of inner reality and seeks avenues for those expressions in outer reality, and it takes direction from outer reality and seeks its meaning for inner reality.
The abuse of the ego is the major way that people cut themselves off from their core and create and perpetuate illness. Aligned with the character structure, the ego battles to stifle the mutual exchange of energy between the core and outer reality. From a cosmic point of view, the ego is the primary faculty with which human beings fragment their unity with themselves and the rest of existence. The purpose of Core Energetics is to align the ego with the core rather than adjust to the environment, restoring the ego to its proper function of discriminating rather than ruling. The ego cannot enter the core by force of will or by rational thought. (...just as no one can force oneself to experience love, which is the outreaching movement of the soul. Love emerges spontaneously as the person removes the obstacles of misappropriated energy that stand in the way.) Opening the ego to the core gives us joy, which is the sensation of free inner activity.

Lowen - The ego is the mediator between the inner and outer world, between the self and the other. This function derives from its position at the surface of the body and the surface of the mind. It forms a picture of the external world to which every organism must conform, and in doing so, it shapes the individual’s self-image. In turn, this self-image dictates what feelings and impulses are to be allowed expression. Within the personality, the ego is the representative of reality. The ego shapes the body through the control of the voluntary musculature.

Roberts (“Seth”) - The ego, while a portion of the whole self, can be defined as a psychological structure, composed of characteristics belonging to the personality as a whole, organized together to form a surface identity. It is the portion of the mind that looks out upon physical reality and surveys it in relation to those characteristics of which it is composed at any given time. It makes judgments according to its own idea of itself. It is important to realize the ego’s position as the most “exterior” portion of the inner self, not alienated from it, but looking outward toward physical reality. The ego tries to organize all material coming into the conscious mind. The ego cannot keep information out of the conscious mind, but it can refuse to focus directly upon it. The ego is an offshoot of the conscious mind. The conscious mind is like a gigantic camera with the ego directing the view and the focus.
The ego is your idea of your physical image in relation to the world. Your self-image is not unconscious, then. You are quite aware of it, though you often reject certain thoughts about it in favor of others. False beliefs can result in a rigid ego that insists upon using the unconscious mind in one direction only, further distorting its perceptions.
The ego, while appearing to be permanent, forever changes as it adapts to new characteristics from the whole self. The consciousness of your usual daylight hours, the ego consciousness, rises up like a flower from the ground of the unconscious bed of your own reality. The ego emerges, then falls back again into the unconscious, from which another ego then arise like a new bloom from the springtime earth. You do not have the same ego now that you had five years ago, but you are not aware of the change. The ego rises out of what you are, but as the eye cannot see its own shifting expressions, as it is not aware that it lives and dies constantly as its atomic structure changes, so you are not aware that the ego continually changes, dies and is reborn. Left alone, various portions of the identity rise and form the ego, degroup and reform, all the while maintaining a marvelous spontaneity and yet a sense of oneness. The ego cannot be annihilated. “Kill” one and another will, and must, emerge from the inner self, which is its source. Under enforced annihilation (i.e.-from drugs), there is a frantic attempt at reorganization as the inner self tries to “send up” alternate egos to handle the situation - and in those terms, the more egos you kill, the more will emerge.

For MLK!

This is an excerpt from a post of mine from almost 3 years ago, posted during the presidential campaign that led to the election of Barack Obama. I am reposting it today to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his birthday this year:

Lately, I am struck by how much hatred has begun to infuse our public discourse around the presidential campaign, and in particular, how much hatred is being directed at the least hateful candidate, Barack Obama. Spewing so much less vitriol than either Hillary Clinton or John McCain, Obama is spreading a message of unity and hope, and yet to watch the two other candidates and the far right pundits and talking heads, you'd think he was the devil incarnate.

Why do they fear him, and therefore hate him, so much? Is there something so insidious about Mr. Obama that I am somehow missing, even after thirty years of studying the nature of human beings as a psychotherapist and sociologist? Is Barack Obama really the Antichrist? Or could it be that perhaps those individuals who hate him have become so fearful of facing how separated they've become from their own best potential, so unable to inspire anything but negativity, anger and despair in others, and so removed from their genuine capacity to love, except abstractly of course, like loving the flag or the cross or the "troops," that they must seek to denigrate and destroy anyone who puts forth a message that is positive and loving?

We've been here before haven't we? Martin Luther King, the Kennedy's, Ghandi, and of course, Jesus himself, all messengers of hope and unity, all brutally murdered for delivering that message.

King himself once said this: "Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true."

I can't predict what will happen in the public square as this election year progresses. As a species, the human race seems to barely be in its adolescence developmentally, and we know how that goes so often.

Maybe these more optimistic words by MLK can offer us some solace:

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality."

THE DEADLY SIDE OF THE WAVE, PART 2!

Beginning in January of 2010, I wrote about an energy surge moving across the planet, The Wave is what I called it, and I wrote several articles about its impacts. Two weeks ago, I wrote that The Wave was back in full force, and indeed it is. And in one piece, I reminded my readers that there was a "Deadly Side of The Wave."

The day after Christmas 2010, I wrote this:

"Now, before 2011 has even begun, I am already hearing stories of sudden deaths, relationship break-ups or financial crises, coupled with splendid bursts of new love and creative expression and prosperity."

And it's not over yet. The collective news yesterday and today is filled with the horrific mass murder in Arizona that was part of an assassination attempt on a Democratic Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, and in my own personal reality, a dear friend died suddenly three days ago.

I'm not writing this here now because I'm "worried" about anyone, though. I know that "death" is an illusion of 3rd-dimensional physical, linear reality. I'm writing this because you may know that you have something that you desire to do yet in this particular lifetime, something that you actually planned to accomplish. It's never too late, of course, but there are windows of opportunity that we collectively open up from time to time. That's what The Wave is. An opportunity to take the fast track to your highest joy and excitement and fulfillment, or to make a fast exit.

It's always up to you.

Good-bye, my old friend. Happy trails!

HAVING CHILDREN? GET A DIVORCE!

Beautiful! Lovely! How great to hear someone else revealing this: the best parents are the ones who aren't together!

In a blog piece entitled "DIVORCE'S DIRTY LITTLE SECRET," Elisabeth Joy LaMotte, LCSW, says this:

"As a therapist with over fifteen years experience, I hear a lot about divorce, particularly divorces where children are involved. I have noticed a surprising sentiment among many divorcees: people secretly like their time off from parenting."

Well, thank you, Elisabeth. Nothing more refreshing than speaking and hearing the truth. I have frequently pointed out to people, and written about on this blog and others, that in my 30+ years of practicing psychotherapy, I could count on one hand the number of people who told me that they wished their parents hadn't gotten divorced when they were kids. Conversely, I can't even count how many have told me that they were glad that their parents got divorced, that it was absolutely the best thing for all involved, etc.

Here's more from LaMotte's piece:

"A newly divorced client in her forties puts it this way:

"I feel terrible admitting this, but I cherish my down-time each week. It rejuvenates me and leads to a great amount of patience and positivity when I am with my kids. I totally lacked this in the past. I sometimes wonder if what my ex and I really needed was more help with the kids, more down time, and more romance.'

"A divorced dad in his thirties echoes this sentiment, admitting:

"It wasn't until we separated that I truly invested in quality time with my kids. When we were married it was as if we were stuck on this gruesome, endless treadmill of chores, meals and obligations. I was just trying to get through the day. I'd read books to my kids and have no idea of the plot, because I was thinking about what I would say in the emails I needed to send when I finished. Now, my time with the kids is limited and precious and I make the most of it. I listen to them and I'm totally in the moment."

Yes! Yes!! YES!!!

Parenting, as we know it, folks, is not only dysfunctional, it is impossible!

In the soon-to be-extinct nuclear family model (just follow the statistical trends), 2 people (usually young) are expected to undertake the most incredibly taxing job on earth, 24-7, for two decades, with no qualifications!

That's right. Parents, of all available adults, are usually the least qualified to raise children. You need to pass two tests to get a license to drive a car or sell real estate. It's required to have a college degree or some period of focused training for most careers. Yet, to have children, one of the most important and difficult occupations in our society, all you have to do is (excuse me) fuck somebody!

Children need love to thrive, yes, but let me say two radical things here that might upset some parents or prospective parents: 1. Love is not enough; and 2. Love is not a function of biology.

In other words, in addition to love, children need guidance and training and protection, and for that, the guides in question need to be self-actualized to a significant degree, which means they need to have some amount of serious self-work under their emotional belts. And to provide the genuine love necessary for children to thrive, the caretakers in question need to be capable of giving that kind of love, not the co-dependent, over-identified, symbiotic substitute that so often is mistaken for love. And once again, to be able to channel that kind of love to another human being, the person in question has to be fairly self-actualized and... well, we're back to the self-work, aren't we?

So, what about LaMotte's piece? Well, we're obviously not at a place yet in our society where people will commit themselves to the needed self-work before they become parents (The ones that do, more and more often don't become parents.), and we're not yet at a place in our development collectively in which we will allow the wisest of the "village" to raise our children, so...

Divorce is the next best interim step!

Here's LaMotte again:

"If you dig past the pain and disappointment that devastates those who divorce, many will admit that they recharge during their time away from their children and become--albeit in time-limited doses--the parent they always wanted to be."

Hey... You're human. I understand. You may really want to express your generativity by having a child (Please don't even think about having more than one!). Fine. Then consider this: you will need at least two separate households, and preferably two complete sets of parents, as well as a small staff (housecleaner, babysitter, driver, cook) to do it right. And obviously to do that, you need to be fairly well-established financially.

Will adhering to such measures probably decrease the world's population?

Would that be a bad thing?

Happy New Year!

"MC" RESPONDS TO PL'S "HAVING CHILDREN? GET A DIVORCE!"/PL RESPONDS!

Here's MC:

I relate to the comments in this article, as a divorced parent of two young children myself; I know all too well what not taking time away from the “important tasks” of childrearing does to a marriage.

It is quite astonishing how, after a divorce, sharing children with a capable ex can be such a life-saving and fulfilling experience. My question is why can’t we do this when we’re together? What interferes with creating an environment that supports two adults living self-actualized and fulfilling lives within a family dynamic?

The article by Elisabeth LaMotte speaks to the idea that marriage and parenting need a complete overhaul. This archaic standard we all attempt to live up (down) to does not work in our times. We need to redefine the entire package. We have become a nation of overachievers in areas that don’t really matter. If meaningful relationships are to survive, we need to start looking more deeply at what matters, like our true purpose for being here and understanding our true nature.

I have met countless parents who are on some sort of psychotropic drug to help cope, who have little or no sex life, and consciously or not, hold a great deal of resentment towards their spouse and others. This is clearly a toxic environment to raise children in, yet it is the most common situation of our time. I must agree that most families are ill equipped to deal with the stress and responsibilities that comes with this awesome task of raising children. The reason we find it stressful is because we are not prepared for the task.

I am an advocate for self-healing prior to having children, in fact I believe that it is infinitely more important than having the financial resources. In my experience I have known many children that have been raised by families with ample resources, families that could well afford child care, private schools and housekeepers, but these (now) adults are no more self actualized or healthier that their counterparts who went without these “luxuries”. In fact, the ones with “less” in most cases have a quicker path to recovery and self-realization than the others. It is misleading to believe that money (or a staff) can take the place of parents that have taken the time to discover who they are and worked on living to their fullest potential as loving confident human beings. Is it a coincidence that most adult individuals that do the real self introspective work on them selves decide not to have children? I believe that it is because they have become painfully aware of how bad parenting destroys lives, and not just the children's.

Maybe instead of getting married and then going through a painful and costly divorce we could redefine what families really are and start out relationships more independently. A way that gives both parents an opportunity to be more present and yet, at times, completely removed from daily care taking, a situation that takes into consideration our real needs, not the social construct that suits the corporations and governments but one that really speaks to who we really are today.

Since the divorce rate is now well-over 50%, then maybe we should start seriously looking at this social construct. Maybe instead of seeing ourselves (the majority of us) failing a system, we need to see that the system no longer meets our needs as individuals and families.

If each individual took the responsibility of healing themselves and becoming self actualized maybe the standards of what real adult relationships are would change and the choice of becoming a parent would start to take on a whole different meaning.
In the end, each of us is responsible for our own happiness, regardless of pressures to conform. You can make it work, however unorthodox. If it works and you're happy, than you've reigned supreme in a life where most people are struggling to find joy.


Here's PL:

Thank you so much for a very thoughtful, insightful, heartfelt and full response, MC. You touch on many areas, all of great significance, including a favorite subject of mine, the archaic nature of the institution of marriage. I agree that we should "look seriously at this social construct," and I do believe more and more people are. While the divorce rate is climbing, on the one hand, at the other end, the number of people getting married at young ages is declining, as is the number of young people having kids. This is great news!

I do agree, as you suggest, that marriage and childrearing can be restructured to facilitate rather than interfere with a couple's personal growth and self-actualization, and I look forward to watching that transformation unfold. Perhaps if we started spending those tens of thousands of dollars that modern weddings cost on a few years of therapy and childhood development training, that transformation would accelerate.

Thanks again, MC! Your kids are lucky to have you!

TODAY'S QUOTE!

"The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all there is."
Albert Einstein
(Read an interesting blog post entitled "Albert Einstein and the Scientific Proof of God" HERE.

TODAY'S QUOTE!

"The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear before he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist."
Steven Pressfield

HAPPY 1-1-11! NOW GET OFF THE "GOLD" (OLD) STANDARD!!

Got some channeled information last night as part of a New Year's Eve meditation that I'd like to share with you.

The question put forward at one point was about money (Ahh, yes, money...), and how to bring more of it into one's life. The answer that came back was quite interesting.

Our evolving relationship to abundance was likened to the change-over in the early 1970's from "the gold standard," in which the value of money was tied to a specific amount of gold held by a country, to a monetary system in which the government could print money without being tethered to a quantity of precious metal. In effect, the gold standard prevented a country from printing "too much" money.

Now, while the wanton printing of money can lead to its own definite problems for a 3rd-dimensional economy, the metaphor being put forth was that we no longer need to base our levels of abundance, individually and collectively, on a fixed amount of physical material or matter, and by extrapolation, on a system of old beliefs and formulas. In other words, like coming off of the gold standard, it is time for us, now, to come off of the old standard that controls our relationship to money.

The short answer to the question of how to bring more money into our lives was given thusly: "Print more!"

Or to be more exact, create and attract more.

Ha! Sounds too easy, right? Well, that's the point. It is easy. The creation/attraction part is what we're doing all the time, in every area of our lives, whether we're conscious of it or not. Nothing happens in our lives that isn't our creation or co-creation. Shit doesn't happen, folks. Not ever.

What we do experience as hard, however, is coming off of our own personal old/gold standards - in other words, surfacing, challenging and giving up our old system of beliefs, so we can enter into life in a whole new way.

That new way has been laid out for us in many different bits of channeled information by many teachers throughout our history, including on this blog, and it comes down to to a few simple principles:

First, become conscious of what you're creating and why you're creating it. These are the first two levels of consciousness in our development after "reflex" - "awareness" and "understanding." (See my blog post "Moving through the Levels of Consciousness" for more information)

Second, become consciously connected to your emotions, and your body, which is where your feelings reside. This connections moves you beyond understanding to a place of "knowing."

Once you have become conscious and connected, knowing, the next level is "being." This place is where a lot of advanced individuals I work with today can and do get stalled in their evolutionary process. This is a place of decisive action, of exerting one's free will in a significantly conscious way.

As the entity channeling last night put it:

"2011 is about doing and being."

In other words, once you have become conscious of your inner life and able to feel your feelings freely, it is now time for action:

Time to print the money!

Instead of leading your life through a process of analyzing and excavating with your mind, this new place calls for following your desires and passion and pleasure-principle, and your five senses, letting your excitement, joy and love direct your course, while simultaneously allowing your mind and ego to return to its original intended purpose of simply observing and documenting your journey, not directing it.

The actions to be taken here are "focusing" and "letting go," which may at first blush seem mutually exclusive, but they're not. Whatever you desire - more financial abundance, greater opportunities for creative expression, deeper love, Eros and sex, more vibrancy in the health of your body - focus on it. Set your intentions to create and bring those elements into your life in whatever way works organically for you - meditating, writing, visualizing, talking to people about what you desire and intend for yourself - then, let go of the focusing until a message/direction/opportunity presents itself to you, which it always will. When it does, take the appropriate follow-up actions, and set your next set of focused intentions. And so on.

This may sound new to you, but it's actually how we operate all the time. If you desire food, for example, you feel the desire, set the intention to satisfy that desire, then go into action - walk to the store, shop, cook, etc. - until the desire is satisfied. Simple, right? Well, it's no different for anything, great or small, that you desire.

So, why would anyone get stalled so close to the "finish line?" Well, "having it all," which is what we're talking about here, being self-actualized at your highest potential, is a place of complete self-responsibility. It means we are conscious of the fact that we, totally and absolutely, create our reality, and there are no other "fall-back" positions. No parents or parental figures that can rescue us from ourselves or give us what we want in spite of our resistance, no excuses, no scenarios in which we are the victims of a cruel or unfair fate.

It is, in reality, a wonderful place to be, that place of full responsibility, or as Karen Horney put it in a recent post I put up, the place of "Prime Moral Privilege."

So, Happy New Year, everyone! Enter into this new decade knowing that you can, just like Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s character in Jerry Maguire, shout out: "SHOW ME THE MONEY!"
And then, you can print it!
 

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