Anger – 6

(First posted March 30th, 2012)

Hellinger’s sixth type of anger is one that is taken on, felt and expressed by someone other than the originator of the anger. This is “assumed” anger. Another carries it. Taking on another’s anger occurs when someone in the family or group has

suppressed the anger felt toward someone else. It is taken on by the weakest person in the system.

“Weakest” refers to a person who is the youngest, or least physically strong, the least intellectually facile, the one occupying the lowest professional position in the group, or the one who, in a political sense, is marginal, or possessing the least relevance, significance or standing. Taking on another’s anger is unconscious occurring outside awareness.

This anger has several expressions:
1. Groups: The weakest person in the group becomes the target and recipient of the unexpressed anger toward a superior. No one, for example, has the courage to tell the boss of their resentments, so the weak one receives the others’ anger. 
2. Families or groups: When anger is not expressed, the weakest person becomes angry expressing someone else’s anger believing it to be his or her own. There is no obvious cause or reason for the weak one’s anger.
3. Families: The weakest person in the family becomes the target and recipient of the unexpressed anger that one parent is feeling toward the other. Everyone in the family is angry with this child.
4. Families: The weakest person in the family takes on the suppressed anger one parent feels toward the other. The child believes this anger to be their own. For example, a mother is angry with her spouse but says nothing. The daughter becomes and stays angry with her father. So too, a son may take on the suppressed anger of his father expressing it towards his mother.
5. Families: A son or daughter has taken on the anger one parent has suppressed towards the other. The child then expresses anger toward his or her own spouse, falsely believing this anger to be one’s own.

Anger that is taken on is easily identifiable as it is expressed with self-righteous indignation. It is a prideful anger. It renders the person expressing it ineffective and weak. Those who are victimized by it feel strongly in their righteous indignation, yet they remain weak and ineffectual; and their suffering, at the effect of this anger, is pointless. Neither they, nor those expressing this type of anger benefit from it.

In my own healing I learned that I had carried my mother’s suppressed anger toward her first husband, and toward my father. In addition, I carried the anger of the ancestors on both sides of my family. On one side the suppressed anger toward the inhumanities of Protestant Christianity – even though many were believers. On the other, the anger toward Catholicism, the constraints of which my grandparents so wanted to distance themselves. The relief of freeing oneself from carrying the weight of these angers is staggeringly palpable and freeing, for everyone.

Long before I knew Hellinger’s model I saw “assumed” anger in people in the professions around me. I intend no indictment of the persons, professions nor issues these examples reflect. Rather, I offer them to inform us about “assumed” anger.

Police and Deputy District Attorneys prosecuting defendants for crimes involving assaults on women and children often carry the anger of the victims and their families. Social workers may carry the anger of those they help. Trial lawyers can carry others’ anger regarding the institutionalized injustices of our system of justice. Public defenders too.

The anger of many environmentalists is indignant and self-righteous. “Assumed” anger is commonplace. Choose an issue arising from acts of cruelty, ignorance or oppression; note the people suppressing their anger, and we find “assumed” anger in those around them. Nurses often carry the anger of the nurses who came before them: Those whose schedules and duties have long been manipulated by the demands of administrators and physicians. Note too, that their contributions have been little acknowledged.

Look too at the Arab Spring, or to the “we and they” or “us and them” of the “ninety-nine percent and the one percent.” The peoples of the West have suppressed their anger toward those running their country’s central bank and the dominant financial institution; so too, toward the governments in support of the “one percent.” Have you been to Israel or Palestine, or Turkish or Greek Cyprus? “Assumed” anger is part of the landscape.

The examples I have given are abstractions for most of us and are the last places and issues that warrant our attention. Rather, our individual attention is best placed on our own personal, and specific, individual circumstances. In attending to the moments of our own lives, we can learn what each moment is asking of us individually. In each moment we are to ask ourselves what concrete action is this moment asking of us. In this moment ask: “What can I do? What actions can I actually take here and now?” We must state what we are going to do and do what we say. In taking these actions, not only are we changed, individually, everything changes.

By each of us taking actions individually, actions which are informed by the moments of our own lives, the world is changed. If what we are doing is not working, we must do something else. Anything else. We are to keep doing so until we get the results the moment is directing us toward. As each of us individually bring ourselves to bear in the moments of our own lives we change everything.

Hellinger Family Constellation change methods facilitated by individuated and compassionately intelligent facilitators offer a lovely approach for freeing ourselves from carrying the anger of others. This modality is available around the globe. Once you open to and learn the method for releasing this anger, you can do it without trained assistance.

Ask yourself:
•Am I self-righteous and indignant in the expression of anger?
•Have those close to me commented about my indignant and self righteous anger?
•Did, or do, my parents suppress the anger they feel toward their partner?
•Are people in my place of work angry? 
•Are the weakest one’s recipients of others’ anger?

Hunters and Lions

(First posted June 13, 2011)

I had little interest in history, national or world, until I read Howard Zinn’s: A People’s History of the United States. From there I was drawn to historical accounts of US courts awarding corporate entities more legal rights than we hum

an persons are granted by our Constitution. Too, I read of class, labor, gender and racial injustices in the USA during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Three years ago I began and continue to read Eastern and Western accounts of the Crusades and subsequent events in the Near and Middle East. Reading (or hearing) historical accounts of events three thousand, or three minutes ago, I am aware of the African maxim “When lions have chroniclers, the story of the hunt will be different.”

This awareness notwithstanding, I tend to have little interest in the specifics of what “we” and “they” say; rather, there are larger patterns of greater importance present. One pattern: Whether the hunter is regaling us or the lion, what is being revealed betrays the teller’s desire for a favorable future, and if necessary at the expense of the other.

Recently while reading Lesley Hazleton’s After the Prophet I apprehended for the first time that we contemporary peoples are behaving as brutally as those who came before. The intellectual understandings of such things I had previously entertained paled with this new visceral awareness.

Other patterns: I see too that the same divisive skills were deployed then as now: Eloquent rhetorical narrative and pretext, the skillfully feigned congruence of orators and writers, and a reliance on the continued self-effacing and diminishing conformity of assent by leadership’s various publics.

A final pattern: It is neither we and they/us and them! Nor does proffering good and evil suffice: Both exacerbate and confound our circumstance. The pattern I point toward is my failure and your failure to move into the place of the individual sovereignty of our unity.

I wonder:
• What can I let go of that perpetuates a diminishing of self and other, and my own brutal thought and action?
• What movements can I begin now and thus weave a narrative cloak of such life-affirming warmth that my heart thaws from its closed stasis?
• What can I move into believing that gives rise within myself to the qualities of character on which human decency, kindness, compassion, patience, the appreciation of difference has expression in my daily life?
• What other movements await my consent?

Maybe it is time to take a discontinuous leap into a different future!

Anger – 7

(First posted April 13th, 2012)

Most people would characterize the topic of this post not as anger but rather as instinct. Those who classify certain behaviors as instinctual, regard them as innate and hardwired into the being. The force Hellinger identifies as his seventh type

of anger issues from beyond one’s body, mind and personality. It is a helping force of the Mystery. This force is anger without emotion. It is virtuous and beneficial. This anger is aggression. It is pure strength, strong, wakeful, centered, grounded, assertive. When appropriately directed it is enlightened and courageous. With this anger you are capable of facing up to powerful adversaries, and when necessary, harming them; yet, you are neither angry with those you harm, nor are you emotional.

This anger empowers you to do what the moment demands. This anger does not come to everyone. It comes to those who involved themselves in a long discipline and practice, e.g., martial arts; yet too, it comes easily to anyone capable of it. Its embodied deployment reduces the likelihood of you succumbing to peril.

One unfortunate consequence of New Age thinking is the existence of the seemingly pervasive delusion that if people simply connect to the abstract goodness resident in being live, all will be well. Further, were we to open ourselves to the inherent beauty of life, all peoples will get along well, and that safety will abound. Maybe in two hundred years but not now.

In my world, the universe is truly a friendly place; everything in it is love. Yet, this love presents in a myriad of forms ranging from an incomprehensibly fierce, or harsh and difficult grace, to one that is unimaginably profound, buoyant and hearteningly gentle, and beautiful.

Although we seldom acknowledge it, we humans are animals. No matter the distinctions we imagine and attribute to our own or to another species, we share certain realities. As with other animals, for us too, there are members of our own species with whom we can share a habitat and those we cannot. There are individuals or groups we are safe with and from, and there are those with whom we are not.

There are compassionately intelligent ways for our human diversely to live peaceably on this planet. To date, we have yet to embrace them. We have the opportunity to transition into such an existence. We may or may not avail ourselves of it. We will see. The starting point for doing so is consenting to the reality of our differences. Consenting to “what is.” This requires the letting go of our New Age naivete and the self-deceptions we cherish.

In this context, many people have misunderstandings regarding aggression. It has earned a bad reputation as it has been confused with hostility, which is a learned behavior, a sibling of cruelty. Aggression has no cruelty in it. It is without emotion. Aggression is a natural archetype. A force that comes to the prepared and those capable of embodying it when the moment warrants.

When a lioness fiercely defends her young, she deploys aggression. This is the same energetic force that Hellinger identified as his seventh form of anger. Any capable human mother will embody the same force when the moment asks. This is Hellinger’s anger without emotion. It is brilliant life affirming aggression.

At the risk of loosing you, I invite you to see the beauty in this virtuous and beneficial anger embodied by lioness or woman defending her young. It is a positive and good anger. It serves life. This anger is distinct from the first in Hellinger’s model, which too is positive. The first one is accompanied by emotion. This is not. This anger presents solely as a powerful force outside of your awareness. You simply act as this force lends its agency to your own.

As a child I lived in a rural farming community. Twice I heard of women accomplishing Herculean feats: One involved lifting a tractor from her husband – he had been repairing it. In the other report, a woman lifted a car after it had fallen from its jack onto her husband. Perhaps you have heard of similar things. This anger comes to those capable of embodying it.

As a young adult working in law enforcement, I experienced and embodied this anger myself; so too, I witnessed it in others in life threatening situations. Once I watched a woman police officer (who had a second degree black belt in Taekwondo) being attacked. She acted with fierce aggression controlling the large man attacking her. There was no emotion on her part, simply a fiercely powerful force. It passed and the woman’s gentle nature returned.

On another occasion, I saw a police officer drive his hand through the side window of a locked car to rescue an unconscious woman needing medical attention. For a final example, a friend, who had served in Vietnam as a Marine, told me of his combat experiences. As he talked I knew this empowering anger had kept him and others alive. You too may know this anger personally, have witnessed it, or heard of another’s harrowing feat in which this anger was present.

I have two purposes in writing this post: to present the last in Hellinger’s model; and, to invite you to remember that we are not alone. The Mystery, in its loving intelligence, offers potent helping forces to those of us who are open to and capable of collaborating with Her.

As with all things, initiating movement from stuck circumstances, requires and begins with our consenting to “what is.” Acknowledging reality as it is. Most of us are loath to acknowledge our own anger. We instead squander our attention and lives by wishing and hoping for change to come from outside us. This will not happen!

If we are to live with compassionate intelligence we must consent to our anger, clean it up and move on. As stated in an earlier post, there is a time when humanity will move beyond anger’s useful and destructive forms. Doing so is up to each of us individually. The time to begin is now.

In my next post I offer final perspectives and then a recap of Hellinger’s anger model.

On Point

(First posted August 29, 2011)
When I was younger I sentenced myself to two concurrent endeavors: working as cop and attending university. When I left police work, I asked what I loved most about it. I found I loved “being on point.” I loved giving myself over to the demands of the moment. These were the events requiring that I be fully present – in real time – during which I relied on my own resources. While on point, I alone was charged with the responsibility of introducing appropriate change into circumstance.

My work-life unfolded into one of providing process facilitation and mediation services. Too, I trained and coached others imparting consultancy to leaders and managers. I entered my vocation because I could not NOT do it. The pull was extraordinary. I found the same love in this work. Doing so simply required that I give myself completely to the moment, to the point that is my place of motion.

Recently, a friend talked about kiteboarding. He said the activity requires much from a person. He explained the process of transitioning from stillness to movement at the water’s edge. He spoke too of the variables and complexities requiring the kiteboarder’s attention. Further, he regaled me with the sport’s delights and perils.

As he talked I was taken to a heartening place of awe, gratitude and excitement. I told him I believed the greatest genius of people lies in our ability to engage complexities, to flex and be moved: to be changed into one doing what we otherwise could not. For a kiteboarder to leave the beach, she or he must become amazingly nuanced and finessed with their attention, timing and actions. These abilities do not issue from others – nor from thought. They instead come from the energetic fields of the moment. If engaged in thought, the moment’s field that informs is not perceived.

Kiteboarding is but one brilliant example of the genius we humans are capable of. Your genius – in any circumstance – requires two initial movements: The first is letting go of the thinking and experience born of the stories of your culture, family and personal history. The second motion requires you to deploy your attention at the behest of the moment – in confluence with Her guidance. (To be accurate, it is becoming one with the movement of the moment. It is the aware conscious deployment of your attention. It is remaining centered in the belly of your physical body and simultaneously being grounded and connected to the center of the Earth – and at the same time – executing the motion given you by the moment.)

Everything in postmodern acculturation and training has taught us to attend instead to our conceptual understandings – those garnered from others. So too, we are to attend to the things we tell ourselves about our direct experience. We are taught to disregard, to forget our direct sensory perceptions – to remember instead the thinking we craft around them. So too, we are taught to center ourselves in our rational conceptual intellect. To only give credence to the measurable substantive realities about us sanctioned by others.

In doing what our culture asks, we give up our genuine center. We give up our ground and the stable base of our sovereignty. In doing so, we render our attention untethered. We neuter our otherwise innate creative resourcefulness. In doing so we render ourselves incapable of doing something of genuine consequence.

We are peoples who have dissociated ourselves from the concomitant gentle stability within the spirited and vital motion present in the fields of ourselves and lives. Expressed differently, the societies and cultures we have made for ourselves have disconnected us from the Life of our lives. We meet life from a “safe” distance. We are the James Joyce protagonist “…who lives a short distance from himself…” This has been our inheritance. It is what we tender. It is what we pass on as legacy.
When I was younger I sentenced myself to two concurrent endeavors: working as cop and attending university. When I left police work, I asked what I loved most about it. I found I loved “being on point.” I loved giving myself over to the demands of the moment. These were moments of being fully present – in real time – during which I relied on my own resources. While on point, I alone was charged with the responsibility of introducing appropriate change into circumstance.

My work-life unfolded into one of providing process facilitation and mediation services. Too, I trained and coached others imparting consultancy to leaders and managers. I entered my vocation because I could not NOT do it. The pull was extraordinary. I found the same love in this work. Doing so simply required that I give myself completely to the moment – to the point that is my place of motion.

Recently, a friend talked about kiteboarding. He said the activity requires much from a person. He explained the process of transitioning from seeming stillness to movement at the water’s edge. He spoke too of the variables and complexities requiring the kiteboarder’s attention. Further, he regaled me with the sport’s delights and perils.

As he talked I was taken to a heartening place of awe, gratitude and excitement. I told him I believed the greatest genius of people lies in our ability to engage complexities – to flex and be moved: to be changed into one doing what we otherwise could not. For a kiteboarder to leave the beach, she or he must become skillfully nuanced and finessed with their attention and action. These abilities and acts do not issue from others – nor from thought. They instead come from the energetic fields of the moment. If engaged in thought, the moment is missed.

Kiteboarding is but one brilliant example of the genius we humans are capable of. Your genius – in any circumstance – requires two initial movements: The first is letting go of the thinking and experience born of the stories of your culture, family and personal history. The second motion is deploying your attention at the behest of the moment – in confluence with Her guidance – to the moment. (To be accurate, it is becoming one with the moment. It is the aware conscious deployment of your attention. It is remaining centered in the belly of your physical body and simultaneously being grounded and connected to the center of the Earth. It is at once and at the same time – executing the motion given you by the moment.)

Everything in postmodern acculturation and training has taught us to attend instead to our conceptual understandings – those garnered from others. So too, we are to attend to the things we tell ourselves about our direct experience. We are taught to disregard, to forget our direct sensory perceptions – to remember instead the thinking we craft around them. So too, we are taught to center ourselves in our rational conceptual intellect. To only give credence to the measurable substantive realities about us – those sanctioned by others.

In doing what our culture asks, we give up our genuine center. We give up our ground and our connection to the stable base of our sovereignty. In doing so, we render our attention untethered. We neuter our otherwise innate creative resourcefulness. In doing so we render ourselves incapable of doing something of genuine consequence.

We are peoples who have dissociated ourselves from the concomitant gentle stability within the spirited and vital motion present in the fields of ourselves and lives. Expressed differently, the societies and cultures we have made for ourselves have disconnected us from the Life in our lives. We meet Life from a “safe” distance. We are the James Joyce protagonist who “… lives a short distance from himself…” This has been our inheritance. It is what we tender. It is what we pass on as legacy.

What I am pointing toward is the presence of an ongoing invitation from Life Herself. The one offering Her assistance to move away from the prosaic existence granted to each of us by our culture. To open instead to the poetics of truly living your own life. To open to the Life that is available to each of us on this planet – irrespective of circumstance. To find the equanimity enabling you to give yourself over to the moment. To shift your attention away from thought and ideas…away from personality and body. To place your attention on the unfolding field of the moment present around you.

It is feeling and seeing the moment’s movement and being moved by it. This is the difference observed when the dancer becomes the dance rather than being the one dancing. It is the musician who has become the music rather than the one performing. Each of us has witnessed these moments if not experienced them personally.

In deploying your attention to the field of the moment, you are moved rather than defaulting to the motion of your cultural programming. When motion is initiated from within your local self (body or mind/memory/personality), you are the dancer rather than the dance. You are the musician – not the music.

Right motion moves you. Right motion begins in and comes from the moment rather than from your story and habit. When moved by the energetic moment – rather than the one you imagine – you are giving yourself over to your own resources. You are connecting to something beyond your local self. You are, in these moments, living out the poetics of your own life.

The cute adage “You must loose your mind and come to your senses.” has relevance in our lives. It counsels us specifically to stop thinking! To leave your thought-based process at precisely the right time. To get out of your imagination. This maxim directs your attention instead to the field of the moment…to the point that is your point of motion…to give what is yours to give.

What you believe to be your own thinking and experience are instead artifacts of your upbringing. They are productions of your acculturation. They are NOT your own! They are but the rendering of the culture’s lyrics expressed through the instrument of your personality – and it – your personality – is of the culture’s intent, design, engineering and crafting.

It is when we give ourselves fully over in collaboration with the field of the moment…It is when we go on point – in real time…It is when we move the motion that the moment hands us…Doing this one draws on one’s own resources. This then, is living out one’s own life! This is when we are being and living genuinely the autonomous life that is one’s own. This is when we are embodying our sovereign unity.

Each moment is different from all others. Nobel laureate physicist David Bohm informed that all knowledge and thought are past tense. If they were ever relevant, that time has past. Insight is what is needed and it comes from the Order beyond our thought, dogma and story. Insight itself only has standing when acted upon in the motion of the moment. Then it too need be released.

I contend the Mystery is beckoning to each of us in every moment. She is asking us to become Her Consort: To become Wisdom’s Consort. In doing so, we become a recipient of Her Creativity. Doing so enables our creative resourcefulness. In giving ourselves over, we express our grandeur. Failing this we merely parrot what society has programmed.

Our greatest strength lies in letting go of the stasis of our upbringing and education. It is the letting go of our acculturation and experience: Going out beyond our thinking…giving ourselves over to the Mystery’s moment: Opening our receptivity and partnering with the Mystery’s brilliant creative Grace. She gives us direction. Whether this occurs while kiteboarding, writing poetry, painting, caring for an infant or taking leadership decisions involving millions of lives…our grandeur awaits.

There are three stories regarding Pablo Picasso. Whether true? I don’t know. If apocryphal, they yet have value for they invite us to remember something important that we have forgotten to remember.

Story one: Pablo Picasso once said: “When I am out of red, I use blue.” (It may have been the other way around…I don’t know.)

Story two: A farmer once asked Picasso: “Why do you not paint portraits like everyone else?” Picasso replied: “Do you know how many of those I had to paint before I could paint these?”

Last story: A woman approached Picasso while he was seated in a restaurant. She asked if he would sketch her. He put pen to napkin and seconds later handed her his rendering. She asked the cost. He responded: “5,000. Francs.”

Aghast, she declared: “It only took you seconds!” To this Picasso replied:”Madame, I have been drawing that my entire life!”

How flexible are you?

What have the “portraits” of your past prepared you to render now?

What have you been “drawing” your entire life?

What moments await the giving of yourself?

Have you let go of the culture’s designs for your life?

Are you living out your own life?

What are the poetics of your own life?

Is there a “Picasso” within you?

Perspective Shift

(First posted May 21st, 2012)

Angers rise in Westerners as passions escalate in the sordid menage à trois of governance, finance and commerce. The abandon with which leadership acts out its wantonness has consequences for us all. It appears that a tipping point has been reached. As a result many of the adversely affected are occupying various rendezvous sites attempting to interrupt the indecencies of this affair.

Those doing so are boldly following the lead of the Arab world as it began its renunciations of the long-standing amoral and immoral affairs of state in their countries. For they felt they were loosing the last vestiges of their dignity. They too longed for sovereignty. They too longed for genuine community. For decent and dignified leadership.

Whether through occupancy some of us intend to prompt an interuptus in the bordellos of governance, finance and commerce there is something of equally and greater import. Attending to things outside ourselves is of vital importance for many; yet, our real nemeses are the voices inside our heads. Those which serially condemn ourselves then arrogantly inform that we are superior to others.

These voices tell us that our beliefs, our ways of being and our actions are better than another’s. Then again our ego’s voice hastens to chastise, demean and diminish us. This cycle repeats interjecting various pronouncements in which it projects fierce judgments and harsh criticisms onto others, in justification of our biases and fears. These voices incite us to anger, rage and attack. Then, they belittle us.

The greater our differences from the other, the harsher our judgement, the more intense our fear. So too, the greater our arrogance and implacable bent. What we regard as nemesis out there will only be transformed by transforming the only true nemesis, the one within ourselves. It is time to re-constellate the love-hate affair within ourselves.

If we are of a mind to occupy, it is the rape of self by self that we need to interrupt. The one repeatedly perpetrating indecencies against ourselves, our internal nemesis. It is this affront that must be stopped. In clearing our internal debris we can genuinely occupy ourselves and the sovereign life awaiting each of us. It is through doing this we can have the creative expression we long for. We can be more relaxed in navigating the becalmed or turbulent waters of our lives.

A friend used to say: Freedom ensues from discipline. Of course I understood intellectually. I must confess however that only now years later, I apprehend and have a visceral awareness of the wisdom of his words. A tipping point has been reached. No aspect of our individual or collective lives can sustain ourselves in the context of the consequences our individual internal nemeses have rendered.

Human decency, accessing and acting with wisdom, self love, love of others, community, and living peaceably begins with self discipline and willpower. The discipline for each of us to develop and posses the abilities to consciously deploy our attentions on what serves ourselves, others and life, not at another’s expense, but rather, in confluence with the outcomes of others. There is space for each of us. There are sufficient resources to go round. This does not mean we are to befriend and engage all others. Rather, it is important to recognize there are those who differ from us. We are to discipline ourselves to let go of fears of difference. We can live differently from another and share this planet.

We have reached a stage in the evolution of consciousness where we need to consciously direct where we place our attentions, being aware of on what and on whom we give our attentions. We need to cease allowing our attentions the pleasure of behaving as though they had minds of their own, as though their habitual patterns of orienting around problems serves us. They do not. We need instead to consciously direct our attentions on creative alternatives, to that which serves life, that which is life affirming, to our individual promise, and the untapped creativity available to each of us. These are the places to direct our attentions.

So how might we transform the seemingly tireless internal critic? the nemesis bent on our downfall? To begin with, let’s remember that our mind, intellect and personality are but a fraction of who and what a human being is. There is much more to one than mind, body and spirit. There are other realms of ourselves that the world’s perennial wisdom has always informed. Aspects of ourselves known to mystics, poets and Earth-based peoples.

Our unfolding consciousness is making increasingly available our access to information, wisdom and awareness beyond our psychology and mind. The internal critic is but a tiny yet robust aspect of our personalities. It is this aspect, the critic, that psychologists endeavor to skill off. I suggest instead that our task is to transform it. To conscript its great prowess. To assign it life-affirming duties, and align it with our highest and best potential, our individual brilliance, creativity, our dignity, beauty and innocence.

In a following post, I offer “how-to tips” enabling us to progress in our efforts to befriend and transform our internal nemeses. I will give tips on shifting and deploying our attentions in ways that serve us and Life. In the interim, I leave you with these provocative questions: 
• What would you do if you did not fear punishments and delightful rewards?
• How would you live? 
• What would you attend to? what would you do if you stopped criticizing yourself?
• What would you do if your internal nemesis was transformed into one who supported your self confidence? if it simply reminded you moment to moment of your great prowess and promise?

Spiritual Development

(First posted August 31, 2011)
I received an e-mail from a man asking: “Can you please give me some help to understand the importance of Spiritual Development and training?” Albeit unspecific, this is a great question. I am delighted the places my attention went at its behest.

I asked what spiritual development and training meant to him. Without knowing this, I may or may answer “his” question, I may instead answer my interpretation of it. He let me choose the meaning of his question.

Here is one answer. It is, according to my personal cosmology and how I see the world, the most germane.

Developing oneself spiritually is only important if a person is moved to unfold oneself spiritually or energetically. And then, only if the impetus to do so arises from the Mystery – rather than from another source, such as your thinking, or from outside social pressures. Without the prompt being genuine, and genuinely one’s own, and of the Mystery – spiritual development and training is wholly, completely, and unutterably irrelevant and unnecessary – FULL STOP!

To carry on with an answer would be pandering to the human personality or ego – which is itself dead set on impeding awakening of any sort, spiritual or otherwise! However, since I, too, as most, engage in such silliness, I will offer a bit more:

Recently I had the delightful privilege to sit atop a cliff and watch large birds of prey soaring and gliding on the currents of air at the cliff’s edge. After watching several vultures flying, one came along with one-fourth of the feathers on the inside trailing edge of its left wing missing. I watched it for sometime. It no doubt engaged in nuanced movements I missed, yet, it managed its maneuvers and navigated the currents and winds as well as its cohorts bearing full plumage.

Shit happens to people too. Given this, it may become important to develop and train spiritually: to carry on with a modicum of equanimity and Grace were the Mystery to send a fierce loving life altering force into one’s life. The nuanced movements of the bird of prey were NOT born out of fear, a sense of loss or rage. But instead, from a calm knowing that change is what is. Spiritual development and training will further a person’s movement toward and into such equanimity and Grace.

Spiritual development and training is the process of energetic and spiritual awakening that only works when one has genuinely committed to the process of psychological awakening too. It is the mending and clearing of old injuries and consenting to the life that is one’s own. Together these forms of awaking permit one to vacate the life the world offered and move house. To move toward and into truly living our your own life. To creatively express what is yours alone to express. To say yes to Life. To respond to the Mystery moment to moment. The Mystery is calling us ceaselessly. Few are aware of the call. Fewer still respond.

There is so much to bring to the fore around this question. That will come later in an essay which I have already begun.

Meanwhile, enjoy Mary Oliver who no doubt lives the question.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

And Now, After the Requiem…

(First posted on June 8th, 2012)
An Idea Whose Time is – NOW: OCCUPYING ONESELF
 
After over half a century of the New Age Movement what progress have we made, really? We have of course our political correctness, a “spiritual language,” our beliefs, and tightly held convictions and dogmas: our New Age fundamentalisms. We speak about helping humanity, changing or saving our planet. Yet, this is distraction!

LIFE IS NEITHER ABOUT THE COLLECTIVE NOR WHAT IS “OUT THERE!”

If salvation is warranted it lies within each of us individually. The only changes deserving our attention are those within each of individually. This is our charge, our task:

• To love ourselves.
• To heal our injuries.
• To learn to navigate personal challenges graciously.
• To embody the brilliance of our creative expression.
• To reveal ourselves to others.
• To let go of what no longer works in our lives.
• To act with compassionate intelligence.
• To befriend Wisdom.
• To remember our dignity, beauty and innocence are always intact.
• To consent to life as it is.
• To listen to the Mystery’s moment and respond.
• To improve our relationship to power.
• To stop fearing those who differ from us.
• To give up wanting to annihilate those who differ.
• To offer counterforce without attack.
• To attend to and help those coming up behind us without imposing our will or intent.
• To support the self confidence of those we love.
• To say Yes to Life!

The only one we can change and save is our own self. Improving conditions for humanity, for our societies, cultures, economies, and our relationship with our Earth cannot be pursued directly. Doing so is folly. Distraction. The changes we desire for our world ensue from doing what changes ourselves, giving ourselves over to change. This requires self compassion and self discipline!
 
CLARITY, STRENGTH AND POWER ENSUE FROM BEING HONEST WITH ONESELF! 
 
• What will it take to stop pretending?
• What will it take to stop pretending that I am not pretending? 
• What self-deceptions await my letting go?
• What will it take to let go of resisting life? 
• What will it take to say YES to Life?
• What will it take to make the radical step of truly loving myself?
• What will it take to attend to something beyond my mind, self-critical nemesis, personality and body? to attend instead to life’s beauty and Grace? 
• What will it take to muster the discipline and courage to allow myself to be changed by the Mystery? to claim and occupy my sovereign self?

Adrienne Rich’s poem: Time

Either you will 
go through this door
or you will not go through.

If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly 
and you must look back
and let them happen.

If you do not go through 
it is possible
to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely

but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?

The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door.

Curiosity

(First posted September 13, 2011)

Recently I received a comment and curiosity regarding my website. I decided to post them along with my response.

Comment and curiosity:
I did enjoy reading your website. As I was reading I wondered if the philosophies change according to regional or from country to country or even religious denominations? I also was wondering if your consultations are done with well known companies? I am a critical thinker not to be confused with negative thinker and my curiosity was piqued.

Response:
Thank you for your kind acknowledgement!

I appreciate your curiosity. The attrition rate for genuine curiosity itself warrants quantities of curiosity from each of us. Author Tom Robbins’ phrase “Vatican thought police” may point to one of the many unscrupulous culprits imposing their genocidal bent on curiosity. I fear that there are many unmarked graves concealing the remains of formerly active curiosity.

My interest revolves around energetic curiosity rather than thought-based curiosity. These two processes and skills are entirely distinct: the former unlimited and the only authentic and true catalyst of change. The latter receives more credit than is its due. Nonetheless, compassionately intelligent thought-based curiosity can be catalytic. It is often necessary in moving one toward and into genuine energetic curiosity.

I too appreciate the distinction you offer vis-a-vis negative thinking. Itself a plague on the Earth!

Regarding well known companies. Generally no. A few are multinationals: One, a household name operating world wide. Two operate on four continents. Another, involves thirty-five countries. Another operating throughout the EU. And, one operating in the USA from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. However, that is a bit of grandstanding on my part. Most of my client organizations are small. Too, I have worked with governmental entities in the States, at all levels of governance, and with not-for-profits and NGOs.

Regarding whether my philosophies change regionally or from country to country, or even with differing religious denominations…I love this question!

The short answer is no, and for this reason. The models I use regard the origins of difficulties people experience to arise from a single source: An intended “built-in” bug in the operating system or hardware a person comes with. The bug bears a positive life-affirming intent and is itself a positive process for a human being. To me, the origin of an individual’s issues are distinct from genetics and culture. They are however symbiotic, as they incubate in the context of family and culture.

What is required of me is to meet people in the dignity, beauty and innocence of the Human Heart, and, too, to meet them intellectually. When I am successful in this, together we can begin the process of going beyond the familial, cultural, religious – and those stories of one’s personal history. In the process I need honor one’s respective narrative, yet, unless I assist them to change how they define themselves, to change, too, their personal cosmologies, and then to locate themselves beyond the myriad of their local pseudo-identities – the one’s they believe themselves to be – I help no one. I am but wasting their life and my own.

A good teacher must meet people where they are and then take them where they could or would not have gone on their own.

I trust there are threads of coherence here.

Thank you again for your curiosity! I wish you well!

Outgrown Clothes

(First posted June 15th, 2012)
Recently I was given a lovely, humbling, and hilarious insight. This good fortune presented itself while awaiting a Cyprus bound flight from London’s Gatwick Airport. First the images: I watched a thirty-five year old man who was entirely uncon

scious of his actions: He, in feigned, affected, noisy and labored breathing ‘in a breathless state’ moved in an asymmetrical and slow, attention-gathering gallop as he approached the gate where I stood.

As he pounded his national identity card and boarding pass to the counter, he spoke dramatically in an English that bore the lovely accent of his native country. He requested immediate assistance as he had missed his flight from a nearby gate. In response to each of four kindly delivered responses from the gate agent, he loudly exhaled an exasperated NO! She then informed that no matter how many times he made his pronouncements, circumstances remained the same: Her help is that of directing him to the airline service counter for rebooking.

The man then moved from the counter, stopping in the center of the aisle. He thrust his ID card and boarding pass to the floor and while loudly exhaling, further collapsed his shoulders. There he stood with his head hanging in seeming profound disbelief at his fate. Just two steps away, I, barely containing the incredulity of my insight, and my urge to laugh more audibly, stepped to his left side and stood mimicking his posture. In a couple moments, I turned my head toward him and in a quiet and dramatic voice said, so only he could hear, “Its fucked isn’t it?” I remained a moment longer, then slowly stood more upright…then slowly and silently walked away. Seconds later he collected his things and did the same.

My insight: I do what this man does all the time. I do it differently, of course. Yet, I too, have many unconscious habits of behavior, each with dramas large and small. Mine revolve around being impatient or being in a hurry. After all, I have so many things to do. I often move fast. I am in a hurry.

As I write this, there is a humor surfacing in me that is a blending of at least three mental and emotional states. The first is a delight in my new awareness. The second involves a bit of disbelief for the silliness of my little dramas, and for not having recognized them previously. Lastly, I feel chagrin. The second and the third are themselves examples – equivalences, though less visibly dramatic than the man’s actions in the airport.

As I rotate the prism of my perception, three perspectives vie for my attention. The first involves what I judge as the normalcy of our all too human obliviousness and somnolence: our insistence on remaining imprisoned by trivialities, on remaining dead asleep. The second angle prompts a warm compassion in seeing the plight of my own and others’ humanity. The last view prompts a remembering that I am best served when I see the humor in my own petty dramas, then let them go.

Our dramas perpetuate an embodiment of our having said ‘no’ to our lives and the Mystery. We can ill-afford to continue denying our sovereignty and the experience, expansion and creative expression awaiting us. Life asks us to announce, in an unequivocal and robust voice, ‘yes’ to the Mystery! And then to live out our lives embodying this ‘yes’ – taking all that life offers.

What will rouse me from my sleep?
What will prompt the letting go of my petty and distracting dramas?
What will move me to say ‘yes’ to my life?
What will open me to genuinely experience the immediacy of the Mystery and my life?
What will foster the expansion of my genuine nature?
What will prompt my genuine creative expression?

What I Am Learning

(First posted September 13th, 2011)
I had the delightful privilege of receiving a lovely letter via Spiritual Networks. In it there was a question asked of me. My response follows.

Hello:
I am delighted to receive the bundle of energy that is yourself and your promise (These things are imbued in your note). To me this is the dominant message in your writing. Feeling your heart energy buoys me.

I, like you, find it pleasing to meet energetic siblings on awakening’s path. You are correct, no one is alone, ever! Yet we humans benefit from reminders.

Wow! Your question! I am intrigued with your curiosity! Now to your question: “Out of all your years of teaching, what would you say is the most important thing you have learned?”

The most important thing I have learned is that we (humanity, you and I) are not what or who we are purported to be. The dominant behaviors humanity exhibits have nothing to do with our actual character and true nature. Our ancestries, biographies and cultures fail in their characterization of us.

There is a yet to be expressed creativity and motion available within the precincts of the human heart awaiting our embodiment. There is the promise of our promise awaiting fulfillment. This is a place of creativity and motion. It lives within the human heart. Yes, of course, this is a place of fierce and nurturing love of self, other, the Earth and cosmos (in other words, the Mystery); yet is much more than this.

This place is a leaping off point. A point where each of us can experience worlds and realities beyond this one; and, with these experiences be changed. If you give yourself over to this point and the experiences it offers, you will change again and again. In the accumulation of these changes you may experience theplay casino whole of the multiplicity of universal places at once, experiencing yourself – as the gestalt.

The most important thing I have learned is that something beyond us is continually asking something of and from us. The opportunity of the human heart is to respond with an immediate and robust YES and move in response to the Mystery.

The most important thing I am learning involves each of us moving into the unity of our own sovereign divinity. This involves a letting go of the denial of our onboard capacities for seeing the Mystery for what it is: Our loving playground, our design studio.

The most important thing I am learning is that YES to the Mystery is the only path.

The most important thing I have learned is that survival of the ego, whether keeping your looking good looking good, or ensuring the survival of one’s physical body and one’s life, individually or collectively, are meaningless endeavors, really. (Yes, of course, maintain yourself.) However when the universe offers you a test or opportunity (whatever its form) an immediate yes is the only response that is life expanding, life affirming!

I think I am just beginning to approach the place of the most important thing I have learned – that of living the Yes to the Mystery. With this, moving into truly living my own life – rather than the one the world has given me. I am not there yet however this movement has begun in my system of “self.”

I will leave this for now.

And you my friend? Is this place all that much different from the places of your learning?

Feel free to redirect the question if you like.

Warmly,

Stephen