EXISTENTIAL LIFE REVIEW
by Sasha (Alex) Lessin, Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles)
Aloha. I’m Sasha Lessin; I live from the framework I summarize here, and can guide you to reflect upon your being-in-the-world in terms of the subjective/objective and universal/individual continua (bipolar personality theory) and in terms of field theory, your center, and the hierarchy of levels of consciousness derived from phenomenological reduction.
If you choose to explore this perspective with me, you’ll understand and personalize:
levels of consciousness
anxiety and pain
non-being and death
reflection and epoche
inwardness, subjectivity and self-reliance
uniqueness and individuality
eternity and unity consciousness
freedom and guilt
affirmation of life
commitment and cathexis,
encounter and love
analyze your relationships
flexibility and adaptability
the flowing existential moment and futurity
growth and self-transcendence
polarity, dialectic and contradiction.
I encourage you to collaborate with other people when possible. Adapt the exercises and experiments to your particular circumstances. Create parallel experiences, where appropriate. If you lack a partner on any exercises suggesting you have a partner, play the role of your own partner; create a fantasy dialogue.
Existential Life Review
Learn from Your Subjective, Objective, Individual and Universal Aspects
Experience Yourself at Several Levels of Consciousness
The Hierarchy of Self-definition
Preself, Predifferentiated Animal Subconscious .
Fantasy, Preview of Broader Levels of Consciousness (Self-concepts)
Subself & Personality: Synergize Inner Voices
Persona and Shadow Integrate as Daimon
Bodymind: Level of Integrated Organismic Functioning
Dyadic Synergy: Communication Between Centaurs
Cultivate the Cycle of Uplifting Communication
Your Self Expands to Primary Groups
Subculture, Ethnic Group; Class, Sexual Category
The Humanity Level of Consciousness
Play With Your Hero Archetype
The Anthropomorpflogenic Field
Witness & Archetypal Diety
Be Responsible (Constitute Yourself)
Experience Phenomenological Self-Disclosure
Your Higher Purpose
Value Pain & Anxiety as Chances to Learn
Define Anxiety as Excitement of Broadening Self-constitution by Self-disclosure
Use Limits to Make Life Meaningfu; Reflect on Negation, Finitude, Death
When Someone’s Died
When Your Beloved Dies
When You’ve One Week to Live
When You Die
Conjure a Coming Incarnation
Live and Reflect: Use Phenomenological Bracketing (Epoche)
Be Independent, Self-reliant, and Subjective
Realize Your Unique, Creative Individuality
Experience Transcendental Subjectivity Revere this Core Self in Each
Cope with Evil
Choose Values & Self-concepts; Guilt for Your Choices Signals You to Improve
Explore How You Exercise Your Freedom
Say Yes to Life
Encounter and Love Others
Analyze Your Relationships
Be Flexible and Adaptable
Experience Time Living Now; Use Your past to Focus on Your Future
Be Continually Aware
Grow; Expand and Transcend Your Self-definition
Use Contradictions, Polarities, Paradoxes and Ambiguities
Converse with Inner Opposites from Your Center
*In Existential-Phenomenological Psychology, you …. (select correct alternatives.) Answer the question below intuitively, then I’ll let you know what I think.
a. Take yourself and others as you exist–living, acting, feeling, thinking phenomenon, at this moment in an organic relationship with each other;
b. Appreciate the shifting constellations of meanings that constitute your and others’ bodily experienced reality;
c. Contact phenomena as you live them out and experience them;
d. Focus on people in their concrete, meaningful, everyday life experiences;
e. Recognize the interdependence between your lived-body, the space around you, your actions, your experiences and the organization of your personal world;
f. Find the meaning of life in your own limited and finite life on earth;
g. Study the embodied human being in his or her world;
h. Take into equal and simultaneous consideration (for you and all humanity) yourself what you relate to and how you and your objects relate;
I. Explicate the essence, form and structure of human experience and behavior through disciplined reflection and descriptive techniques;
j. Simultaneously ask yourself, “Who am 1? and What kind of world do I live in?” as inseparably bound aspects of your unified personality, body and environment.
Answer: See Note 1 for correct answer(s). 1
Peter Koestenbaum organizes existential-phenomenological findings into propositions or ideals. [Koestenbaum, P.: 1974, pages 39–45.] When you live these ideals, he writes, your existence is authentic, compassionate, happy and meaningful. Examine your own and your clients’ knowledge and existence, Koestenbaum suggests, in light of these ideals. He provides reflective devices, which I augment for you, to personalize the following ideals.
Realize the reciprocal INTERPLAY between you and what you experience; learn of field theory, intentionality.
Experience several LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS.
Acknowledge that you are responsible; CHOOSE your attitudes and reactions.
Consciously experience your ever-developing sense of yourself as an individual and as humanity (phenomenologically SELF-DISCLOSE.)
Value PAIN and ANXIETY as opportunities to learn.
Use limits to make your life meaningful; reflect upon NEGATION, FINITUDE and DEATH.
Live and reflect using phenomenological bracketing (EPOCHE)
Be INDEPENDENT, SELF-RELIANT and SUBJECTIVE (to balance out love and commitment.)
Realize your own unique, creative INDIVIDUALITY.
Experience TRANSCENDENTAL SUBJECTIVITY; revere this core self of each and all consciousness.
Realize you are free to CHOOSE your own values and self-concepts.
Accept GUILT for your choices as signals to do better.
Say YES to life. COMMIT yourself. Be REALISTIC.
LOVE and encounter others. Be FLEXIBLE and adaptable.
Experience time LIVE NOW, use the past, focus on future.
GROW; expand and transcend your self-definition.
Use contradictions, polarities, paradoxes and ambiguities as opportunities to establish dialogues and DIALECTICS. leading to further growth.
PREPARATORY EXERCISE FOR CONFLUENT UNDERSTANDING AND RETENTION OF THE EXISTENTIAL IDEALS
Read each of the existential ideals (below) aloud three times in the first person singular (“I”) using the present tense. As you read each, rephrase it (with no further study) in your own words.
I consciously experience the reciprocal interplay between myself and
what I experience as I understand and intentionally live with existential field theory.
I experience myself at several levels of consciousness.
I am responsible for choosing my attitudes and reactions.
I consciously experience my ever-developing sense of myself as an
individual and an illuminatory channel for humanity and higher unity; I tell myself the truth about myself as I come to know it.
I value my pain and anxiety as my opportunities to learn.
I use my limits to make my life meaningful; I use the fact of my inevitable physical death to vitalize my life.
I both live and reflect on my life.
I am independent, self-reliant and subjective as a balance to my love and commitment.
I am a unique, creative individual.
I revere the consciousness that flows through me and others.
I freely choose my values and accept healthy guilt so I can choose
I cherish and affirm my existence; I say “Yes” to life.”
I commit myself to people, principles, goals and a lifestyle.
I am realistic. I authentically encounter and love others. I am flexible and adaptable.
I experience my life at this very moment; I am one in this moment with
what I have learned in the past as well as my hopes for the future.
I am continually growing and expanding what I consider myself to be.
I welcome contradictions, opposites, paradoxes and ambiguities as opportunities to establish MY broader understandings and growth.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the ideals, proceed to an ideal-by-ideal exploration of the existential model of being.
FIELD THEORY-INTENTIONALITY (Ideal 1)
Realize the reciprocal INTERPLAY between you and what you experience; learn of field theory, intentionality
You are “a continuous consciousness-body-world field …. Whatever affects other people and the world” affects you, too; whatever happens to you “affects other people and the world around” you. [Koestenbaum, P.: 1974, page 40] You are distinct, as a consciousness, from your body, from other people, from your environment and from the rest of the universe. Yet your consciousness and its objects–body, other people and your environment–are interdependent, reciprocally and continuous. Existential field theory recognizes your inclusion in larger entities with your body, others and the world. This connection between you and the objects of your consciousness is intentionality.2
* Personalize field theory: relate how your awareness currently affects and is affected by a ) your body, b) other people, and c) your non-human environment.
* How would you benefit if you lived from field theory?
LEARN FROM YOUR SUBJECTIVE, OBJECTIVE, INDIVIDUAL AND UNIVERSAL ASPECTS
Koestenbaum says you find peace when you learn your existence is like a field with two dimensions, subjective-objective and individual-universal. [op. cit. Pages 108- 141]
The subjective-objective dimension has two poles. The subjective pole is your mind, consciousness or awareness. The objective is the environment. The environment can include your body and other people.
Existence connects you with your body, other people and the rest of the world. You and your environment define each other.
You know your individual-universal options when you realize you will die. You choose how you use your time, energy, life, realizing you have a finite life span. Knowing your body, intellect and unique personality will not survive makes you aware of your individuality options.
Humanity and nature, of which your consciousness is part, will survive you; knowing this makes your outlook more universal. You are aware that universal, infinite, eternal consciousness runs though you.
You can, at will, change your way of experiencing situations by experiencing yourself from different positions between the subjective-objective and individual-universal dimensions of the field. You have subjective, objective, individual and universal aspects and can emphasize whichever aspects best serve you.
* RELATE TO THE SAME SITUATION AS ENGINEER, NATURALIST, ARTIST AND MYSTIC
Recall the last time you were upset and unable to cope well as you prefer.
Study the chart above, then follow the cues in bold.
Identify with the ENGINEER (objective and individual) aspect of yourself (subpersonality). Become this subpersonality and imagine initiating a discussion with your other subpersonalities by telling them what your existence is like.
Finish this sentences: “As . . . (your name)’s engineering capacity, here’s what I am like …
“As Engineer and here’s what I want and why I want it in the situation….
Here’s how I analyze the situation.
Here’s what I advise….”
Now become your NATURALIST (universal and objective) subpersonality and tell state your existence as follows:
“As Naturalist, here’s what I am like …
“As naturalist, here’s how I see the situation….
“What I advise is….”
Be your MYSTIC (subjective and universal) part and say what you are like, what you want in the situation and what you intuit must be done for you to get what you need in this case.
Be ARTIST (your individual and subjective self). State your qualities and relate your experience in the situation.
Enact a discussion among Artist, Mystic, Naturalist and Engineer about how to handle the upsetting situation better. Talk as each of them talk until you collectively create a perspective that gives Artist, Mystic, Naturalist and Engineer what they each need.
Consider the proposition that you gain freedom and adaptability when you change your perspective along the subjective-objective and individual universal dimensions of the field of your existence.
EXPERIENCE SEVERAL LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS3 (Ideal 2)
While you and what you perceive always imply each other, you can also think about the “you” part of the you-object relationship.
When you think about yourself as an object, you detatch by degrees from the objective world of things by reflecting. You mentally step back from your problems, reflect on them and use them to gain deeper wisdom, centering, freedom of choice and effective action.
Progressively reflection your body, your reasoning about your reflection on your body, your observation of yourself as a reasoner, your reflection with a primary lover on you as an individual, your primary group’s reflection on you and your primary as a pair, your secondary group’s reflection on your primary group, humanity’s reflection on your secondary groups as part of all human culture, your reflection as part of nature on humanity and your reflection from infinite space and timelessness on nature. This sequence of reflections represents successive detachments from the objective pole of the subjective-objective continuum.. It is useful, in addition, to begin reflection beyond the animal level at the level of your subpersonalities [Assagioli, R., Psychosynthesis: A Manual of Principles and Techniques, New York: Penguin, 1976; Wilber, K., The Spectrum of Consciousness, Wheaton: Theosophical Publishing House, 1977; The Atman Project, Wheaton: Theosophical Publishing, 1980. Wilber, K., No Boundary, Boulder: Shambala, 1981; The Holographic Paradigm and Other Paradoxes: Exploring the Leading Edge of Science, Boulder: Shambala, 1982.]
At each successively more inclusive and encompassing level of self- identity, you identify with (say “This is who I am”) previously unrecognized parts of yourself which you had defined as alien to your self, projected into the objective realm and opposed as threatening to your narrower self-concept. You thus become one with what you had opposed and recognize your wider consciousness resulting from the now unblocked communication among your once-alienated facets.
You lose nothing by such consciousness expansion. You still have the capacities and abilities of your narrower self-facets as alternate identities. You are just no longer trapped in the more limited identifications.
In addition, communication among the attributes at any level of self-identification is synergistic–more than a mere addition of attributes. Unblocked communication allows novel interactions, fluctuations in self-organization and the reorganization which constitutes your next, broader level of self- recognition. Wider levels of self-definition add novel attributes of their own and confrontations with the higher-order dualisms (self versus nonself). At the level of unity consciousness, the subject-object dichotomy dissolves entirely and you are one with the unbroken, seamless continuous reality of the universe.
THE HIERARCHY OF SELF-DEFINITION
[Based on Koestenbaum, 1978, page 78; and Wilber, K., op.cit., 1980, page 4. ]
PRESELF, PREDIFFERENTIATED ANIMAL SUBCONSCIOUS
When you were in your mother’s uterus, you lacked a sense of self, according to Wilber. You were timelessly embedded in physical matter, desire-less and choiceless. You developed a sense of being different from what was outside your body after you were born. You were dominated by your physiology, particularly your reptilian (or brain stem) reflexes, including survival fear. You were nonreflective; lacking reflection, you lacked a self.4
From your fourth to seventh month after birth, you experienced yourself as something that did not disappear when you looked away. You recognized objects, like mommy and breast, but only when they were physically present with you. Your emotions were restricted to “rage, fear, tension, appetite and satisfaction or simple pleasure”–only those emotions that could be quickly discharged in the simple present you lived in. You were most concerned with your moment-to-moment survival. You identified with your body, which you distinguished from objects that did not give you internal feedback when you bit them.
Remind yourself of what the world looked like to you in your earliest months by reclining and performing the following experiment.
* Close your eyes. Rotate your head slowly into each possible position, opening your eyes a second after each exhale, then close them. Imagine that each time you close your eyes, all you had seen disappeared, with no visual image. Each time you open your eyes, you see a novel world. Experience new emotional reactions to each scene you view, with no emotional carry-over to the next.
Bite a nearby object. Then bite your thumb. The parts that hurt when you bite them are your self-identity at this stage.
At seven months or so, you developed the ability to make internal pictures for yourself. Your sense of your self was the pictures you made of your body and its organs. Now you could also make pictures of mommy, breast, and other objects which related directly to your body needs; you frightened and comforted yourself with these pictures when mommy and breast were physically absent. You thus put yourself in a time frame longer than the immediate present. Your emotions could thus be prolonged with the pictures you made. Your limbic (paleomammalian, emotional) brain was able thereby to sustain influence over your reptilian brain, which had dominated your preself.5
* Review this primary picturing process. Close your eyes. Imagine you’re hungry and picture your mother’s breast or a bottle. Now imagine you are cold and picture large arms holding and warming you. Now imagine you’re scared and envision a big person lifting you out of the frightening situation. Imagine you’re angry and fantasize eating mommy up. Imagine other simple emotions you have at this age and the infantile mental pictures which go with these emotions. Picture your infant body as “good me.” Picture it as “bad me.” This is your self-image at this stage. Check here when you get the pictures.
Between your first and second year of life, you began learning the verbal labels of objects and simple abstract concepts, such as defecating where your parents approved. You began your membership in your language community by learning labels. You learned your infant name and the words others used to designate you (e.g., “baby,” “little sister”.) You were still unable to create grammatically connected sentences and you confused the words you used for objects with the objects themselves. You were able, for the first time, to create temporal sequences for yourself, using words. Your self-concept became your name, the words that you learned which designate and were associated with you. Your inchoate sense of past and future, with its implied possibility of your non-being, gave rise to nightmares.6
* Recall your protoverbal, linguistic membership self: mentally regress and say the words and names you and others applied to you when you were 18 months old. Say the words aloud in a high, childlike voice. Say “Mommy,” “Daddy,” “food,” “more” and “no!” in your native language. Think of yourself as little, needing to urinate, and needing adult help. Tell your caretaker this in pre-grammatical form (e.g., “Mommy! potty”).
* Recall and relate your earliest nightmare.
As you learn to relate to yourself in language, you become all the things your parents (and others and then you) say to yourself about yourself. You learn certain social roles (inner voices, subselves) that you can fill to interact smoothly with others. You hide or forget other roles and dialogues about who you are. Each of your personality facets need recognition, acceptance, expression and cooperation for you to expand your self-concept further.
Fantasy, Preview of Broader Levels of Consciousness (Self-Concepts)
Have someone read these directions to you. Otherwise, read these directions, then close your eyes and engage in the fantasy indicated.
Sit comfortably. Breathe deeply. Imagine yourself in front of the consciousness oscillator. The mode selector above the screen reads
PERSONALITY FACETS, INNER VOICES, SUBSELVES.
In succession, the screen shows you as you appear when you are the way you like to be, the way you are with people you do not know, you at your worst, the you that seldom emerges, the you that takes over your personality when you are angry, and each of your particular subpersonalities and distinctive ways of being in different situations. As you view the screened visages of your subselves, you feel the emotional states and hear the characteristic voices you experience with each. The camera pans your subs as they enter a large spacecraft shaped like your head.
The mode selector changes to
Your subs man and woman the various stations on the spaceship–some work on the engine; some plot courses; another steers; one cooks; one works the radio. All cooperate. The camera moves back to an overview of the head-shaped space- craft. See that all your subpersonalities are ultimately part of a single head-space, a single vehicle moving and moved by all your subs working together. You hear the choir for multiplicity of your voices blended as they sing together in your head.
The mode selector above the consciousness oscillator screen switches to Bodymind.
The screen shows your spacecraft landing atop a headcraft platform, shaped as a giant replica of your body from the neck down. As the head-shaped vehicle of your personality settles into its home body, the whole unit you are becomes animated. On the screen, you stroll over to a grassy knoll and lie down. You gesture to your viewer to do likewise.
Lie down and breathe very deeply with your image on the screen. Let the air push your belly out with each deep inhalation. Imagine you draw vital force into your mouth and all the way down to your belly. As you breathe out, imagine you radiate this force through your body. Let all thoughts dissolve and pass to infinity as you exhale. If you feel tense areas in your body, tighten them more. Imagine what emotion you may be holding in by these tensions and then allow yourself to release emotions and relax the tensions. Experience your integrated bodymind. [Assagioli, R., 1976, op. cit.; Wilber, K., 198.1, op. cit.]
Get up and go back to the oscillator. The mode selection switches to
The screen shows the person who you feel (or have felt) the closest to in your life walking over to you as you recline on the grassy knoll. She or he takes your hands and looks deeply into your eyes, and you relive the feeling of being connected with her or him. You know she or he knows how you feel, cares about your welfare and growth and lets her/himself to learn from you.You likewise know, care and learn from him or her. Notice your common
consciousness, your feeling of unity, your dyadic level of self.
flashes above the screen, and your family, gang at work, recreation buddies and other intimate, face-to-face intimates parade across the screen.
The image returns to your household. See you and all of your housemates interacting in your yard. As you see an aerial view of your household in its neighborhood your feeling of oneness with your family becomes salient.
flashes, and you see all your friends, relatives,
supporters and personal allies coming over for a network meeting in your yard. The friends and relatives of each of the members of your household and family also gather. This is your social network.
appears as the screen shows the school, the company, the clubs and other institutions to which you belong. With each institution shown, an organizational chart appears, showing the formal structure by which the institution supposedly operates.
The mode selector indicates
and you see yourself at different stages of your life-cycle, those through which you have already passed, your current stage and those to come. See yourself adding years of life and passing through stages where you successively develop trust, autonomy, initiative, industry, identity, intimacy, generativity and integrity. The screen shows you getting into the adult world, living through early adult crises, settling down and becoming your own person. It shows your midlife crisis, renaissance, awareness of your mortality, and your late blooming.
Finally, it shows your denial of, anger at, bargaining with, depression from, and then acceptance of death.
You see and hear yourself at each stage of your development.
You experience yourself as different at each stage; you also feel continuity as you move through the entire cycle.
Community See your neighborhood, town and city on the screen. Feel your oneness with this level of awareness.
Culture is the next level. See the various ethnic groups in the world, including your own. Notice the differences in language, customs, art, morals and habits of each cultural group. Be aware of your cultural level of consciousness.
The screen sweeps before you the panorama of human forms, colors, dwelling scenes, and activities. T he audio surrounds you with a sea of human voices, spoken in every tongue, in every way. You experience your under- lying oneness with-all people.
The consciousness oscillator shifts into the hypnopedagogical mode. You become one with all humanity. As Humanity, the different cultures, nations and ethnic groups are like your subpersonalities. The oscillator tells you to be aware of your existence as Humanity. You intuit, as the beneficent spirit of humanity, your true needs at this time. You have valuable advice to give to your subpersonalities, the diverse people of the world, who are your parts. Tell them, Humanity.
Still in the hypnopedagogical mode, the oscillator flashes Ecological Consciousness on the screen.
the spirit of the Earth personified. You are the whole earth. Get up and let yourself move as Eartha.
As Eartha, tell your constituent, Humanity, how you view her performance among the other creatures in terms of your ecology.
Finally, the oscillator flashes
The screen shows your peak, ecstatic, mystical or religious experiences, where you are with every aspect of the entire hierarchy and your timeless, spaceless identity in the various levels of yourself.
* Relate the thought and feelings you experienced, as you engaged in the fantasy above, to the notion that accepting the higher-order unity of apparent opposites expands your consciousness, or self.
SUBSELF AND PERSONALITY: SYNERGIZE INNER VOICES
For you to become into an integrated, fully functioning person, you need to recognize, accept, coordinate, integrate and synergize the diverse aspects of your personality. These are the subpersonalities you viewed in the consciousness oscillator, as well as others of whom you are now becoming aware. [Vargiu, J., “Psychosynthesis Workbook,” Synthesis, Vol. 1, 1974. ]
Within you reside a society peopled by your ways of being in the world. Your particular complement of inner voices unique to you. You also likely have subselves. Your subselves include personifications of your four functional brains (brainstem, limbic, right and left cerebral hemispheres), internalized parents (nurturing, critical, etc.), manipulative styles (placating, blaming, etc.), internalized children (negative, playful, etc.), criticalness and defensiveness, panhuman archetypes (hero, the beautiful one, etc.) and higher transpersonal levels.
As a sample of such synergistic subself dialectic, create a group of four friends for the exercise below.
PERSONA AND SHADOW INTEGRATE AS DAIMON
*Ground the subself, inner voice level of awareness in the exercise for this section. In this exercise, you’ll imagine You-At-Your-Best meets You-At-Your-Worst. What are you like as Best You? As Worst You? You reflect on each.
When you listen to your inner voices and coordinate their expression, you gain possibilities, creativity and synergy. When you meet and integrate your voices you save your self-sense from shrinking to the attributes of any single voice (persona). You stop–when you appreciate all your voices–imagining other people are like you deny you are.
Repressed voices (your shadow) grow from basic (daimonic) urges (like sex, anger, craving for power) that can dominate you. Your daimonic force–a force both destructive and creative–becomes your evil shadow, denied as a part of you.
Repressing your shadow makes you feel apathetic for awhile. Your shadow, however, eventually builds up energy and overwhelms your all your other voices. Then you express your daimon, Mr. Hyde turned loose, without regard to how your expression affects other parts of your life or other people.
Rollo May advocates synergizing energy you waste repressing your shadow (and opposing other people who personify it). Confront your shadow and encounter your own daimonic energy. Establish a dialectical, mutually growthful dialogue with it. Be it. Integrate it with the rest of what you are. Experience increased energy. Play with a two-armed daimon rather than a one-armed shadow and a one-armed persona.
See and enjoy the unity of your persona and your shadow and you raise You vault from the subself level of consciousness to the integrated personality level.
Rene Tillich taught me the next exercise. It stimulates subself synergy for your daimon. It is best done with groups of partners, but you can do it with one partner or alone in fantasy.
INTEGRATE YOUR DAIMON
Choose as a partner one of the three people in this experiment. Sit facing your partner.
Relive the worst thing you ever did. Imagine what it might be like to share this with your partner.
Tell (or conceal from) your partner the worst thing you ever did or the way you were that you regret most. Your partner listens and says, “Thank you,” when you finish. Reverse roles.
Invite your partner to share her worst thing or biggest regret.
Discuss what you dislike about yourselves. Tell each other the things you cannot stand about others.
Discuss the probable characteristics of your shadow, elements revealed your regrets, worst behavior, disliked traits and parts of others you dislike. Work out a character description of your shadow.
Join the other pair of partners in a group circle. Reflect aloud on your shadows. Become your shadows. Each of you play-act your shadows. One by one, you and the others say your shadow names and state your existences. Say what you’re like.
Stay in your role as shadow after you have introduced yourself. Interact with the other shadows from your shadow existence. Move about the room as shadows. Stay in character, even ham it up–exaggerate it a bit. Feel the daimonic energy moving through you.
Join a new partner. Tell this partner, as shadow, what you want. Be as unreasonable and demanding as you secretly imagined you never could.
Your partner asks you why you want what you want. S/he interviews you and you respond till you get in touch with what you really need, what motivates your wants. Reverse roles, so your partner has a turn finding out what motivates her shadow’s demands.
Now become persona, the personified opposite of your shadow. State your existence as persona. As persona, address shadow. Tell shadow how you feel toward her or him.
Become shadow again and respond to persona. Carry on a dialogue between your shadow and your persona, playing both parts, and shifting roles when your partner says. Let your persona and shadow dialogue their resentments, demands, withholds, unfinished business and appreciations to each other.
Center yourself. Imagine you are the Fair Witness within. Stand facing your persona and your shadow. You have clear reflection, compassionate neutrality and loving truthfulness in your voice. Advise your persona and shadow on their relationship. Speak aloud so all present may also hear. Each person in the group takes a turn enacting her or his Fair Witness.
Now become your Daimon. As Daimon, the combined energy of shadow and persona, move through the room with the energy of both. Make sounds of how you feel. Let the sound and movement develop. Interact with the other daimons. Express your power and exuberance.
Then sit with the rest of the group in a circle again and discuss your experience.
* What. did you learn from the exercise about synergizing your persona and shadow to the consciousness level of integrated personality?
Who are you, the one who knows and controls your inner voices and owns all your projections? You’re the consciousness at the next level of consciousness–an
integrated personality (Operating Ego).
You change from a self identified alternately with limited subselves to a more comprehensive self, one that includes the subs as parts. As a person, your task is to experience yourself as a co-part of a larger self which exists in timeless moments with your body.
BODYMIND: LEVEL OF INTEGRATED ORGANISMIC FUNCTIONING
When you function as an integrated personality, you are conscious of yourself inhabiting a body. You inhabit it rather than considering it to be part of you, according to Wilber, because your body has socially inhibited emotions in it and because it will die. These feelings are held in as you unconsciously tense your muscles into energy blocks.
Accepting mind and body as one creates synergistic communication to expand your consciousness to still more inclusive levels. For such synergy, “embody your mind and mind your body.”
The exercises to follow are designed to heighten bodymind dialectic and synthesis. Select a partner for these exercises.
Breathe Deeply and Become One With Your Bodymind,
Lie down on your back. Breathe deeply and easily. Keep noticing your breath until thought ceases and you feel pleasure taking in and releasing energy to and from each part of your body.
HISTORY OF YOUR BODY AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO IT
Reflect on the history of you as a physical being, from conception to your present size, health and physical abilities.
Notice your physical developments (size, weight, acquisition of secondary sexual characteristics, etc.), illnesses, accidents, problems, sports, operations, physical activities and substance addictions in each stage of your life.
Notice your body’s changes in appearance, health, sports and skills from birth to now.
Tell your partner your attitudes and reactions in your bodily existence at each stage.
Imagine you are looking into a pond, meditating on your body and the development of the consciousness which you are within your body. Images which stand for the relationship of your body and your consciousness appear in the waters of the pond. Share these images with your partner.
GESTALT DIALOGUE WITH YOUR BODY
State your existence as the consciousness embodied in your body. As your consciousness, talk to your body about your relation to it.
Become your body and reply to your consciousness.
Establish a dialogue, alternately becoming and speaking as your body and then your consciousness, as your partner directs you.
Reverse roles and take your partner through this exercise.
Tell your partner which parts of your body you like least.
Imagine that you are actually one of these parts of your body. As this part of your body, describe yourself. What, as this part, is your existence like? Begin with, “I am … (your first name)’s … (fill in the body part), and I would describe my existence as…” (complete.)
Stay in your role as your least-liked body part, talk to the person whose body you are part of about your relationship. Begin with “As your … (fill in this with your least-liked body part) I want to tell you the following about the way we interact…”
Now be yourself and reply to your least-liked body part. Dialogue, shifting roles, as in a play, at the direction of your partner.
Now take your partner through the sequence.
Both you and your partner embody and enact your centaur (Wilbur’s term for your personified bodymind). Get up. Close your eyes. Experience your breath. Feel your space. Let impulses of movement and rest move you. Move spontaneously and interact physically without talking and with your eyes closed. Add sounds (but not words) to your movement. In movement and sound express your being as centaur.
* What I became aware of, at my bodymind level of self (as I did the breathing body history, dialogue and centaur dance) is… (complete.)
* Draw a picture of your body. Indicate which of the sentences below are true of your drawing:
a. you have created a fairly objective rendition of your external appearance;
b. you spent more time drawing your face, hands (or other part) than you spent drawing still other parts of your body;
c. what you left out or overemphasized in your drawing corresponds to equivalent ways you are in your life;
d. recent changes in your body may be absent in your drawing due to lagging behavioral bonds with the world;
e. if you draw your head and body as separated, you are probably split between mind and body in your life;
f. your drawing emphasizes parts of your body that qualify you as attractive to others – shape, hair, facial features as well as parts you use to deal with the world, like your hands, eyes and mouth;
g. your drawing, a manifestation of your self-image, is built up around those parts which have a special relation to people and objects in your world;
h. parts of your drawing are more prominent, shaded or marked off with heavier
lines, proving your body image is not an objective record of externally observable reality;
I. there is a correspondence between the way you place your drawing on the page, how much room you take up with your drawing and your lived-space.
* Discuss the relation between your self-drawing and you lived-space.When you accept yourself as a personality (the “mind” in bodymind) and as a body, you no longer project your non-accepted physicality inward as muscular tension nor do you project your subselves onto others or the environment. You accept yourself, a bodymind, as you are. This capability is the result of “Synergistic communication between your personality and your body. You have the perceptiveness, competence and sense of identity that allows you to expand your consciousness to the next level of consciousness: dyadic.
DYADIC SYNERGY: COMMUNICATION BETWEEN CENTAURS
When you open totally yourself to a reciprocally vulnerable person, you receive feedback that lets you grow. From the perspective of a shared consciousness with another person, you can reflect upon your bodymind. You’ve transcended your level of consciousness from a single bodymind to a human couple. The two of you together have more good energy than the sum of what each of you had as single BODYMIND.
The Cybernetic, Dyadic Growth Helix
[Based on Hamden-Turner, C., Radical Man, London: Duckworth, 1981.]
Assess the degree to which your closest human relationships are synergistic, suggests Hamden-Turner, by asking yourself if you are becoming more alive, more tolerant, more helpful and expanding your consciousness as a result of interacting with your significant other. Or are you stagnating, becoming narrower, angry, frustrated and alienated?
Relating intimately to another is your opportunity to uplevel your consciousness to the dyadic level or to fail to make growthful contact and narrow your sense of yourself to the consciousness of an isolated bodymind.
Your growth and actualization in the dyad depend, according to Hamden-Turner, on a cybernetic growth cycle. In a cybernetic growth cycle, you develop your own judgment, competence and individuality and actively show your developing self to your other, who lovingly yet honestly shares her or his reactions. If you maturely use this feedback, you raise your consciousness, making yourself able to perceive with greater clarity, develop your individuality further and make better choices.
The key to growth is committing yourself to someone whom you accept, lovingly challenge and who enhances you. You risk your vulnerability with the person you commit yourself to that person could reject or accept you and your growth. You choose to stop insisting on always seeing things your way and open yourself to your other’s opinions.
You let yourself care about her or his development. You learn from each other, cooperate, and make ever-more growthful life choices, based on the loving energy you share. A growthful cybernetic cycle with your other uplevels your sophistication because you learn from her or his experience and feedback.
Your growth simultaneously contributes to your other’s growth. As you become more mature from her or his feedback, you are capable of giving her or him the greater love, acceptance, cooperation and feedback she or he needs for her or his growth.
Each time you and your other go through the cycle of choice, commitment, vulnerability, encouragement of each other’s development, synergistic learning and use of each other’s reactions, you both raise your consciousness.
Commit yourself. Get honest with your loved one. Learn from her or him and keep getting higher.
Synergizing With Your Significant Other
The following is a cue sequence for enhancing synergistic communication between you and your significant other. Allow yourselves at least one private, uninterrupted hour to both go through the cycle.8 Sit facing each other, holding hands and maintaining eye contact.
I choose to relate to you as follows (tell her or him) ….
I perceive these patterns in our interaction …(specify).
Inside, who I think I am with you is ….
Five of my successes relating to you are ….
I can be authentic and caring with you when I use my following abilities ….
These are the ways I commit myself to you …(specify them).
I drop my assumptions, letting you influence my attitudes and beliefs when ….
I bridge the distance and make contact you feel when ….
You bridge the distance and make contact I feel when I feel recognized, known and encouraged by you when ….
I rise above my narrower personal concerns and identify with your growth when I ….
I feel you transcending yourself to care about me when ….
From our dialectical confrontation, I learned ….
from it, I’m now learning ….
You learned (and are learning) in our ongoing struggle over the different ways we perceive things that ….
We can synergize these issues … (specify).
We’ve already synergized …(specify).
We’ve met each other, dialogued and grown these ways ….
GROW WITH FEEDBACK
To the degree that’s right for you at this time, tell your significant other the demands, resentments, appreciations, withheld information, unfinished business, unsynergized issues, unexpressed feelings and thoughts (negative and positive) for her or him. Encourage your other to likewise express her or his demands, resentments, appreciations, etc., toward you.
PERSONIFY YOUR RELATIONSHIP
My existence, as the dyadic relationship of (your name) and (other’s name) is … (describe what you, as dyad, are like).
* Use your experience in the exercises above to discuss the validity of the hypothesis that dyadic consciousness (the extension of your definition of yourself to include another) leads to synergy.
Feeling Dyadic Consciousness Dissolves Illusions of Separateness
Sit with a partner. Maintain eye contact. Don’t touch. Tell her or him, “I feel separateness from you when I say to myself … (specify all of the rational and irrational, serious and trivial, crazy and stupid and clear and astute things you say to yourself that make you feel separate from her or him.) Exhaust your list.
Your partner sits calmly and says, “Thank you” after each separation you enumerate.
Then have your partner tell you, “I feel separateness from you when I say to myself….” Encourage your partner to exhaust her or his separatenesses: calmly say “Thank you” for each.
Then join hands. Tell your partner, “I feel oneness with you when I tell myself … (complete with all the things you tell yourself which make you feel close to your partner..) Reverse roles. Discuss your experience with this exercise.
When you raise your consciousness to the dyadic level you still keep your bodymind awareness, your distinct personality and your inner voices, should you choose to temporarily identify with them.
When you and your significant other expand consciousness of yourselves to internalize each others’ wisdom and concerns, you are on the dyadic level of consciousness. The energy, richness, complexity and awareness the two of you share exceeds the sum of both your individual bodymind energies and aware nesses. Your couple synergy is enhanced when you use your relationship so each of you grows and has more to give to the relationship as well.
Ken Keyes provides an excellent model for such synergistic dyadic consciousness. [Keyes, K., Handbook to Higher Consciousness, 5th Edition,: Living Love, 1979 and A Conscious Person’s Guide to Relationships, Kentucky: Living Love, 1979.]
Keyes says to welcome upsets in your relationship. You can use upsets to raise your consciousness. He suggests you fully share your deepest feelings and process what you say to yourself which make you feel separate from and opposed to one another. You can then experience your oneness.
Relate compassionately, Keyes says, to your lover’s problems as signals for her or him to grow without also getting yourself caught up emotionally. Process your own emotional upsets, feel centered and loving and then act freely.
Use your relationship to stimulate internal dialogue at the personality levels of each of you, so you can both raise your individual and mutual consciousness. When you’re upset, disturbed, unhappy or dissatisfied with your mate, explore your own addictions, that is, how you tell yourself your other must be and your relationship must be for you to be happy. Such addictions trigger your upset. You stop suffering and instead grow when you stop being addicted.
Change your addictions to preferences. Preferences are desires which, if not fulfilled, do not make you suffer.
* What, in Keyes’ framework, are addictions and preferences?
* What does he mean when he says to upgrade your addictions to preferences?
Think of an addiction of yours that involves someone with whom you are in a relationship. Speculate on the form your addiction would take if it were raised to a preference.
* Imagine that you’ve up leveled your addiction to a preference. Imagine how your life would be affected. Tell me what you imagine.
* Recall a time when your intimate’s annoying habit or attitude gave you an opportunity to discard an addiction and feel better as a result. Write you results.
Stop blaming each other for not meeting each other’s expectations. Refrain from making addiction-based demands. Turn off addictions; turn on love. Let your intimate express anger, jealousy and other separating emotions aimed at you, while you love her or him more no matter what she or he does. Let her or his addictions be okay with you.
Realize that in disputes, you win some and lose some; that is okay.
Make your growth and self-expression help your love’s growth as she or he defines it.
Before you enter a deep relationship with another, Keyes invites you to know and accept your own inner voices, personality and bodymind. Enter your relationship so you can cooperate with each other in “the great adventure of life.”
Keyes recommends you avoid using intense love as a basis for involvement, since, at more inclusive levels of consciousness, you’re at living oneness and love with all humanity. You are already deeply in love with everyone. Therefore, he says, choose carefully who you share your time and life games with. Choose someone who contributes to your well-being and vice versa.
“You contribute to your mutual well-being when you enjoy the ‘enoughness’ that you do have in your life, and thus open your heart to happiness by not creating emotion-backed demands for what you don’t have. Learn to emotion- ally accept what is here and now in your life. You will find you always have ‘enough’ in your life.”
Take responsibility, Keyes says, for creating your own happiness in your relationship. You use your relationship to raise your own consciousness only when you work on your own bodymind, personality and subself integration. Keyes suggests such integration allows you to be “in touch with the beautiful, capable and loving” aspects of your own subdyadic consciousness as well as higher consciousness. “I love you,” means “You’re mirroring me and letting me see the beautiful, capable parts of me.”
Make your relationship delightful by being involved and sharing with your intimate, not by being addicted to your intimate for your happiness. To increase your involvement, you must decrease your addictions. Sharing means not hiding anything, so you can build a trusting base.
“Ask for what you want, but don’t be addicted to getting it.”
Keep noticing the beauty and preciousness of the bodymind and higher being your intimate is no matter what subpersonality she or he is affecting.
Open to the form the relationship takes, which, for couples, may be nonmonogamous.
You function at the dyadic level of consciousness when you “discover the ‘us’ place in terms of surrender, compassionate power and mutual give and take.”
YOUR SELF EXPANDS TO PRIMARY GROUPS
Dyadic awareness, your sense of yourself as part of a pair is, in turn, a component of larger-scale organizations of individuals. The people you regularly interact with as BODYMIND on a daily basis constitute your primary groups.
You transcend the dyadic level of consciousness when you see, hear and feel things from the perspective of your entire family, fraternity or running gang. You keep the dyadic, bodymind, personality and subself awareness you have gained. You still use the capacities, awareness and sense of self you developed at these narrower levels when you experience your oneness with a primary group. As a conscious member of a primary group, you share your couple, organismic and personality abilities in a wider context, involving more people.
[Based on Kelly, A., “Evaluating and Improving Family Health” in The Holistic Health Handbook, Bauman, E., Brint, A., Piper, L., Wright, P., editors, Berkeley: And/Or Press, 1978.]
How healthy is your family and each of its members? The health of each of you depends partly on how cohesive, supporting and encouraging your family is.
Alta Kelly found certain factors to be critical to healthy families. These factors are face-to-face contact, verbal and nonverbal communication, touching, empathy, commitment, enrichment and, for husband and wife, sexual compatibility. Consider how your family does on each factor and what steps you can take to improve.
The first Family health factor is one-to-one, face-to-face time spent together by each pair of family members. If you realize some members of your family spend hardly any time together, improve this by creating a natural way, like sharing a household task, for them to tarry with each other.
The second family health factor is verbal communication. Kelly says to let each other know what you are into each day. Talk often with each other as a group and individually. Improve verbal communication by sharing your daily concerns more with the family member with whom you ordinarily speak least.
The third health factor is good nonverbal communication. Tune into the physical cues, body postures and behavior of other members of your family. This helps. you help them with their health.
The fourth family health factor is touching. Infants and older folks “can die from insufficient body contact” and touching is essential to the well-being of every family member. Is there a family member you have not hugged or patted today? Make physical contact with them today.
Fifth, for family health, Kelly says, practice empathy. Develop the ability to temporarily understand things from the perspectives of the others in your family. If you or someone in your family wants to develop your empathy, experiment by pretending you are the other person and state her or his position.
Commitment, the sixth factor, is a key to family health, according to Kelly. To optimize your family’s health, you and each of the family members need to accept the idea that your family is a unit. Deepen your commitment by thinking of each member of your family and specific ways you can support each and the family as a whole.
Your family health is improved, finally, by what Kelly calls the enrichment factor, encouraging the growth and vitality of each person in the family. Think of how each person in your family, and your family as a group, can advance toward their goals and higher purposes this week. Do something to encourage this movement.
Kelly suggests you discuss your personal problems, concerns and joys with the others in your family. Have time both with and apart from your family. Create outings together. Laugh and cry together. Be able to say “no,” when appropriate, without guilt. Give and get compliments. Listen to and think about each others’ constructive criticisms. And finally, share wellness education.
With attention to face-to-face contact, good communication, touch, empathy, commitment and an emphasis on family enrichment, your family helps you stay healthy and growing.
* List at least ten strengths, good points and things you tike about your household and your relationships in it. Tell a partner, loudly and with great enthusiasm, “What I like about my family is…” (share your household’s good points.)
* Do you want to share loving feelings with your housemates?
* Do you want to feel good with your family?
* Reread Kelly’s suggestions (above), then select a ,small. doable step to improve your household’s activity, feeling, expression, understanding and intimate contact. Report results.
[based on Speck, R., “Social Network Intervention” in. The Psychotherapy Handbook, Herink, R., editor, New York: Meridian, 1980.]
You, your intimates, family, relatives, friends, peers and neighbors are embedded in larger strings of high-information exchanging relationships to form networks. When you activate a part of your network and facilitate novel and intense interaction among its members, a network, or tribal, level of common consciousness can emerge. You let the broader perspective and multiple resources of the network to sustain and support your growth, as well as the growth of the other individuals, couples and primary groups which are its parts.
Ross Speck and Carolyn Attenuate model network intervention as a way to make your network visible, therapeutic and salient as a level of consciousness. Their exercises take your network through phases of retribalization, polarization, mobilization, resistence-depression, breakthrough and exhaustion-elation.8
Activate a Social Network
The exercise below convenes and perpetuates a social network–yours, a peer’s or a client’s. Scale the instructions down to what works for you; feel free to reduce the numbers of people on the team and in the network.
The Team Team up with two to six confederates to co-facilitate a networking experiment. Choose a multiperson household or other primary group as the index group of the network you will activate.
* The team I joined consists … (list their names)
* (Name) is the ostensible leader to represent the team to the network.
Initial Meeting with Index Household. Have your team meet for one to two hours with the members of the household whose network is to be activated. A few close friends of household members should also be present at this initial meeting. Discuss the problems, crises, issues and interests of the household members. Find those issues of the index household which are most likely to involve its network constructively (examples: raise money to send a member to college, treat a drinking problem, plant a garden, find a job for a member, have a wonderful time, share at deep levels, etc.) Select the household’s issues around which you will initiate network discussion.
Make Lists. Have each member of the index household list all her or his friends, relatives, pals at work or school, social workers, athletic buddies, and others who care about her or him. Create a support list for each house- hold member. Everyone on the lists will have a direct link with one or more members of the index household. Many on the list will lack direct links with others on the list. The interstimulation from direct, collective con- tact of those thus linked makes network activation synergistic.
Set a time and date to hold a three-hour meeting in a comfortable, private place suitable for 40 to 60 people.
Call People Listed. Have each household member tell the people on her or his list of the meeting and its purpose. Callers should mention only the name of the leader. They should not even allude to the existence of a facilitation team (for reasons to be explained below).
Have the intervention team meet to plan strategy before the network meets.
Team Spreads Into Network Before Opening Ritual. On the evening of the first network meeting, team members come in separate cars half an hour early. Get to know and help arrange the meeting site and get acquainted with people as they arrive. Team members should “set an example of friendly interest, open communication.’ If asked, identify yourself by name, and if pressed, by occupation and professional role. If not asked, let people assume you are another member of the network. Establish human contact with as many people as possible. Don’t get caught with the team standing grouped together.”
Leader’s Speech and Retribalization Ritual. As leader, call for silence, introduce yourself, and, for three minutes, outline the problems and concerns of the index household and how this network could help. Tell them to expect some work, led by activists who must emerge and lead innovative tasks. The basic ground rule will be “no secrets within the network.” Tell them you will convene the network three more evenings at two-week intervals, and they are expected to attend, unless there are unusual circumstances. Convey a sense of purpose, direction and enthusiasm.
Then have everyone stand and hum until a tune appears. Then whoop, scream, and jump up and down for four minutes. Tell the people to stop yelling and join hands and sway with your eyes closed. As they sway, ave the members each say in one word how they feel.
“The team scattered throughout the group stimulates, initiates and pulls” reluctant people there to participate. “If the response is halfhearted, the team must step up its tempo, and the number of nonverbal exercises must be increased. Participation by everyone must be demanded in a direct, confronting way until the group is involved, or the network effect process will not get off the ground.”
When the retribalization phase has been successfully completed, you have the networks attention and network members have formed a bond by doing the rituals they shared.
Polarization. As leader, divide the group into two (or if the group is very large, into three) concentric circles of people. For the inner circle, choose ten or so of the most outgoing and expressive people, who represent one side of an issue or cleavage in the group, as regards the index house- hold’s problems or concerns. The inner group may represent a generational (younger vs. older), sexual (men vs. women), class or topic-specific disagreement. The outermost circle represents the opposing position. The middle group is just that. Make sure team members are selected for each ring. Place an empty chair in the middle of the inner circle.
When all are seated in the concentric circles, announce the topic the inner circle will discuss. In announcing the topic, accentuate the polarity surrounding it. Tell the inner group to share something about themselves and each comment upon, then discuss the topic “among themselves in the presence and the hearing of the entire network.” Team members in the inner circle encourage discussion. “No one is allowed to escape from commentary, but no one is purposely embarrassed.”
Do not let members of the outer circle interrupt. Tell them they too will get a chance for uninterrupted discussion. If someone who is not in the inner circle wishes to speak, she sits on the empty chair in the middle. When the person speaking before her finishes, she may then say her piece. Then she must go back to the outer circle and listen.
Each group gets its turn discussing the topic in the middle while the others listen.
The deliberate polarization you bring out and exaggerate at this phase increases the network’s energy and starts to reveal who the network’s innate group leaders (activists) are. “The entire network is forced to deal with multiple levels of concepts and interpersonal relations.”
Mobilization. As leader, end the concentric circles format, restate the problems, tasks and resources of the network. Lead a discussion designed to bring out the activists to help formulate goals and plans and organize and lead support groups for each member of the index household. Assign tasks to these support groups and make sure everyone in the network has the activist-leaders’ phone numbers to exchange information between network meetings. End the meeting and leave soon.
The team, committees and support groups meet, plan and coordinate and their activities between network meetings.
Resistence-Depression/Breakthrough. The group will, in the course of each meeting, cycle through depression and resistance, especially when it realizes “the goals and tasks are not going to be performed externally by the intervention team, but internally by the network group themselves.” Breakthrough is achieved when “volunteer activists realize they have to mobilize in new ways and take hitherto unrecognized factors into account” and this “leads into activity that accomplishes the goals of the network members.”
* Summarize the events and consequences of the network’s first meeting.
* What strategies do you and the team have for the two remaining network meetings.
Exhaustion-Elation. You leave a network meeting tired but confident the network can deal with its problems.
Subsequent Network Meetings. Begin each subsequent session with the starting ritual. Follow this with the network news-reporting committee work and sharing information. As the index family gains closure on its presenting problem, allow new index people to share their problems and become the focus of the networks attention. End each meeting with simple refreshments.
At the last of the three network meetings, create a regular opportunity for network gatherings. If you attend further meetings, do so as a member, rather than the leader.
* Discuss the remaining network meetings and their cycling though detribalization, polarization, mobilization, resistence/depression, breakthrough and exhaustion/elation.
Discuss the emergence of the network level of consciousness for yourself, the network created by your experiment, the index household and for other members of the network.
YOUR EXISTENTIAL ENSEMBLE
Picture the people with whom you have to reckon. Imagine these people, your existential ensemble, playing the score of your existence on musical instruments. Listen to your song and experience your emotions and sensations as you do. Describe your ensemble, its playing and the score.
Extension of your self-boundary to include institutions–political, educational, occupational, etc., requires (as do all levels within the hierarchy of consciousness) dialectical, synergistic integration of apparently exclusive categories.
Your personal, group and company development depend on you and the other people at your workplace growing past your roles, status and the formal hierarchy. When you grow this way, you relate as genuine human beings, able to share your feelings and thoughts without fear of punishment.
[Based on Rowed, J., Ordinary Ecstasy, London: Routledge & Kegal Paul 1976. ]
When the formal hierarchy is used in an authoritarian, “shut-up-and-listen-to-higher-ups” way, you do not relate genuinely and you do not grow. You hurt; in turn, you withhold your creativity and subvert the organization.
Researchers have shown that if you are working in such a heavy hierarchy, you are likely to have “increased feelings of inadequacy, inability to express” yourself, “inability to influence anyone, feelings of being shut out, increase in cynicism, … destructive feelings,” feelings you must “dominate or be dominated,” feelings that “to conform is the best thing,… that intolerance” and prejudice “is all right …. that new ideas must come from the top” and that “there is-no way of communicating with those at the top…those at the top see their jobs as interesting, challenging…satisfying and engaging a lot of their personality and skills. Those at the bottom feel bored … fatalistic…frustrated and… little of them is involved in the work.”
Organizational Development: Management Reaches Out to Employees
Organizational Development (OD) is designed to crumble hierarchies and allow people and their organizations to evolve in consciousness and efficiency. Management hires an OD consultant to improve those communications which demoralize people and cost the company money. The consultant starts by listening to all the people involved in the problem. Then, based on what she hears, she writes a problem proposal.
On -the-job sensitivity training for personnel begins when she gives her feedback to those whom she interviewed, assembled as a group to hear her program. During the discussion of her program, she encourages bringing conflicts into the open and cooperatively developing a plan of further research, encounter groups, team-building sessions and creativity training programs.
In the meetings that follow, the consultant helps the people at work bring out their hidden agendas, felt emotions, personal feuds and power struggles. She teaches workers and management how to interact more effectively, express feelings authentically, increase understanding and trust, eliminate wasteful competitiveness, develop workable negotiating procedures and share responsibility.
The OD consultant trains management to encourage and challenge the talent and motivation of the workforce by setting up “an open, problem-solving climate,”making sure “knowledge and competence go with the work,” and making those closest to the information responsible as possible for problem-solving and decisions. She also trains management to build trust and to reward cooperation and achievement of both organizational and human betterment goals. She encourages management to “increase self-control and self-direction for people within the organization.”
Workers Reach Out to Employers; Initiate Synergistic Dialogue, Even With Reluctant Management
Rowed writes that you, as an employee, can democratize your company, even if it’s stuck in rigid hierarchy, and even if its top management resists change.
Find allies or sympathizers on the management team; they can favorably present your positions. Then select a small project at work that is likely to succeed. Even while you are succeeding at the project, avoid having a clearly defined spokesperson, lest management fire that person.
Then “make some realistic demand” on the status level above yours in the formal hierarchy. Patiently insist on your demand and hold frequent meetings with other groups in the company, explaining your strategy.
The critical time comes when your group succeeds and management gives into you but doesn’t want your successful challenge of the hierarchy to set precedent for other groups in the company. If you resist this co-optation, you’ve created a democratic, dialectic alternative to the top-to-bottom-only formal structure.
Consolidate your democratic revolution–befriend the managers you challenged. Encourage all at work to confront, discuss and work through problems in ways that enhance them each, nourish their collective welfare and advance the goals of the organization.
* To what degree is your workplace growth-promoting or alienating ?
* How could your workplace be strengthened by employee and/or employer action to facilitate the growth of other people at work, the growth oi the work units, growth of your company and the growth oi the community? What could you personally do to strengthen your work institution?
SUBCULTURE, ETHNIC GROUP; CLASS, SEXUAL CATEGORY
Among the most inclusive groupings at the sociological level of conscious- ness, humanity’s subcultures, with their embedded institutions, customs and linguistic charts of reality each have their unique contributions for a synergized humanity. To both enjoy and go beyond the extension of your sense of self as a member of an ethnic group, as working, middle or upper class or as a male or female in a particular culture, first consciously identify with your group’s distinctness. Then accept the distinctness of other groups and experience your commonality, care and concern with humanity as a whole.
Sample this potential with several other people (if possible; or by yourself, in fantasy).
Personify Your Group
Recall the history of your people (or class, or sexual category). You may wish to consult photo albums, books or speak to others to give you a feeling for your group and the lessons your group has learned over time.
Imagine you are viewing and hearing a newsreel of the struggles, challenges and experiences of your people, from their earliest beginnings until the present. Allow yourself to kinesthetically, emotionally be in touch with the changes and continuities in your ethnic, class or sexual group’s development.
Be aware of what you, as the personification of your group’s heritage and experience, have to contribute to humanity. Tell the others what you are like, what you want, what you really need, and what you have to give the species. Move about and, as the spirit of your people, encounter and speak earnestly with the other ethnic, class and sexual category representatives present.
* As the spirit of your group, state your existence, your potential contribution to humanity and which apparent separations from other groups you can synergize into higher-order cooperation.
THE HUMANITY LEVEL OF CONSCIOUSNESS: ARCHETYPES
[Based on Wilbur, K., The Spectrum of Consciousness, Wheaton: Theosophical Publishing House, 1977.]
Archetypes are the pattern-possibilities and predispositions you and all other people have to act out roles . Archetypes (like the hero, the prophet, the mother, the wise one, the guardian and others) are mere potentials or habits of mind. You give these potentials their specific content (as the star quarterback in the case of the hero, the economic forecaster for the prophet, etc.) from elements of your actual life experience.
When you do not realize you are motivated by an archetypical pattern (as, for example, when you follow a political leader who seems to be the hero, vanquishing those you fear), you go on “automatic,” and respond to what looks, sounds and feels on the outside like your unrecognized internal archetype.
Since archetypes are common to whole cultures and all humanity, whole nations unconsciously act out archetypical patterns (the judge, the magician, etc.) If you deny your archetypes you see, hear and feel the world from their perspectives.
When you become aware of your archetypes, you gain both their power and their guidance. Reflect on your archetypes. Deliberately identify with each one of them (for you have the potential for each within you.) By deliberately identifying with archetypes, you become consciously aware of how such formerly unconscious identifications feel, sound and look. This awareness alerts you to the cues, when they arise in daily life, that you are responding archetypally. This awareness, in turn, allows you to choose to do so or not. You can consciously use your full complement of archetypes to synergize panhuman paradoxes to still broader levels of consciousness.
Archetypical symbols include the characters in mythology, dream symbols, the gods of the Olympian pantheon (cupid, messenger, etc.), the higher arcana of the tarot cards (fool, craftsperson, hermit, the beautiful one, etc.), representatives of-your reptilian, mammalian, holistic and analytic brains, and each level of consciousness. Archetypes include shadow (repressed subselves), reasoner (personality, centaur (bodymind), the lovers (dyad), ancestors (family, ethnic group), anima (female tendencies), animus (male tendencies), and many others.
PLAY WITH YOUR HERO ARCHETYPE
[Based on Masters, R. & Houston, J., Mind Games: NY: Viking, 1972 and Campbell, J., Hero With a Thousand Faces, Cleveland: Meridian, 1956.]
Seclude yourself comfortably in a sanctuary with a partner (or prepared recording.) Create an uninterrupted hour for this exercise. Assure one another of confidentiality.
Tell your partner to read the directions below slowly and calmly to you and to read them in rhythm with your breath.
Sit up straight and comfortably on a cushion. Close your eyes. Relax. Breathe deeply. With each breath, relax more. The sound of my voice is calming to you.
Imagine you hear another voice, one you heard long ago, perhaps from the once-upon-a-time, softly calling your name. Raise your left thumb when you begin to hear the voice. If you do not hear the voice, raise your right thumb. Good.
You are drawn by the voice or just by a strong impulse to an image of a safe and private place, perhaps one you knew as a child. You smell familiar, comforting aromas here. In the security of your sanctuary is the secret door leading to the wonderful realm. See the door. Reach out and open it. Hear its sound as it opens. Step out onto the landing, at the top of the stairs. Grasp the rail and step down onto the smooth wooden steps.
Descend the ten steps to the next landing. With each step down, relax more deeply. With each step down, breathe more deeply. Get in the boat at the landing at the bottom of the steps. Curl up on the cushions on the bottom of the boat. Feel safe and drowsy. The boat gently rocks back and forth as it drifts. Drift into the reverie of the omnimythopoetic realm. Proceed into this realm to the degree that it is in your best interest to do so.
Call to Adventure. Imagine you go or are lured or taken toward the gate to adventure, which will expand your consciousness. Describe the scene aloud in the present tense as it unfolds.
The Helper. Encounter, in your imagination, a creature or force who will help you when you get to the guardian of the gate. Recount aloud your meeting with your helper. Use the present tense.
The Guardian. Approach the gate and its guard. As you rivet your attention on the”guardian, shift roles and become the guardian. State your existence as guardian. Challenge the person approaching the gate.
Tests Now become yourself and confront the guardian. Receive aid from your helper.
Defeat or conciliate the guardian and go alive (or lose, die and go dead) into the dark realm. Experience the sights, sounds, feelings and actions of your encounter and describe them in the present tense as they occur.
Supreme Ordeal. Experience and triumph in the greatest imaginable test, here in the dark realm.
Boon. Gain your reward, take the boon.
Return. If you are blessed by the powers, go under their protection. If not, flee, encounter obstacles. At the threshold, leave behind the powers of the realm and re-emerge with your boon, the elixir that can restore the world.
Find the place where the boat had drifted onto the beach. Get in it. Lie down on the cushions. Fall deeply asleep. Become dimly aware that the tide is rising and lifting and gently rocking your boat. Know that you are safe as the boat drifts back to the landing. Go up the steps now, one at a time, until you come to the secret door. Pass through the door, through the sanctuary with your partner.
Elixir. Now become the boon, the gift to the world you have brought back.
* State your existence as Elixir. Tell humanity your significance.
Become yourself again, deeply relaxed, seated on your cushion. As I count from ten to one, you are becoming increasingly alert. Remember any parts of this adventure which are in your own best interest to remember; forget what you are not yet ready to remember. Ten, nine, eight- becoming more alert. Seven, six, five, four – getting ready to be wide awake. Three, feeling relaxed and refreshed. Two, feeling alert and wonderful. One. WAKE UP.
* What comments or insights do you have from this experience?
THE ANTHROPOMORPflOGENIC FIELD
Morphogenic fields (M-fields) are the habits of the universe, caused by individual atoms, molecules, cells, organisms, persons, societies, species, ecosystems, planets, solar systems and galaxies. According to Rupert Sheldrake, whenever one morphic unit, such as a person, learns a new behavior, the causative field for the species is slightly changed. If the new behavior is repeated long enough, by enough people, it reaches a critical mass, which changes the behavior and outlook of the whole human species. Such changes occurred for humans when we began computerizing information or awakening to female rights. The startling thing is that the change in outlook and behavior can occur without either genetic transmission or learning through observation.
When organisms do something new, they change the behavioral and attitudinal possibilities of all other organisms of the same species. Monkeys off the coast of Japan who learned to use yams by washing them, rapidly created yam-washing behavior for all monkeys of their species, even though no observation or genetic transmission of this behavior was possible. Likewise, human athletic skills and performances keep improving, according to Sheldrake, because athletes draw on the M-field and use the cumulative experience of everyone who ever participated in the sport.
Influence Humanity’s Morphogenic Field
Give yourself at least 20 undisturbed minutes for this experiment. Center yourself. Embody deep wisdom and compassion and fairness.
Relax and deeply concentrate on the idea that “each aspect of the universe expresses itself vibrationally, and that all vibrational expressions intermingle within the master holograms). Every aspect of the universe contains knowledge about the whole(s) within which it exists.”
Imagine that what you think, feel and do can be known to and felt by everyone and everything else, as the vibrations of all interact.
Imagine yourself to embody seed crystals of all concepts potentially available in the universe.
Pretend that you can choose one such concept (such as the unity of humanity) and magnify it by your energy to change the functioning of the world.
Imagine your chosen principle to be magnified into the consciousness of all people.
Imagine, too, that you are an example of someone who lives by that principle.
See yourself radiate the essence of that principle, as though it is a white light. Imagine the white light spreading among people until everyone is enlightened by your principle. Live a typical day, week and year in such a world.
* Relate your principle and your experience in the experiment above. ECOLOGICAL CONSCIOUSNESS
Extend Your Self Sense to Nature
Take at least two hours, silent and alone, at a seashore, in a forest, on a mountain, in a desert or other natural environment, away from machines, cars, radios, buildings, roads, human sounds, and human-made artifacts.
See, hear and feel nature. Identify with and imagine you become each object of your perception. Experience your existence as the plants, birds, animals, bugs, streams, rocks, soil, sun, stars, ocean, waves, clouds, wind, etc.
Imagine you become their interrelational network, the planet. Experience your various species, climatological forces, geological features (and the like) as your organelles, cells, tissues, organs and systems.
When you feel at one with the natural, scene you selected, move with its pulse and rhythm. Become the leaf blowing in the breeze, the crawdad scooting along the stream, etc.). Dance with nature.
Sit again. From your perspective as Earth, notice humanity as it interacts with your other parts. Tell the humans how you see, hear and feel them as they interact with each other, with your other creatures and your whole body and spirit.
Become Humanity and respond to Earth.
Then become Earth again. Tell humanity your resentments, appreciations and demands. Establish a back-and-forth dialogue with humanity, playing both roles.
As Earth, advise humanity. Give specific advice to the student who is role-playing you. Record this advice.
* What is your existence as Earth and what advice do you have for humanity and the student answering this question?
WITNESS AND ARCHETYPAL DEITY
Your very broad archetypal thought forms–like the spirit of the earth–represent condensations of your alienated, potential consciousness. Become each archetype so you can discover additional, paradoxically opposed archetypes, also your alienated tendencies. As you own archetypal tendencies, you can use them, instead of letting them use you. You meet ever-more powerful projections of your alienated aspects.
The Transpersonal Witness
As you reflect on your life through the archetypal and “mythological images common to mankind,” your awareness becomes “more universal. You become an archetype called the supra-individual or transpersonal witness, impartially yet compassionately witnessing “the stream of events both inside and outside the mind-body in a creatively detached fashion.”
Experience Your Inner, Impartial Compassionate Witness
Seat yourself comfortably in a peaceful sanctuary. Center yourself. Become aware of the chatter of your subselves. Feel the dialectic of your mind and body. Picture, feel and hear the sights, touching, sounds and fragrances of your intimate others. Be aware that you are a creative gathering place for an existential assembly of humans, a network of shared feelings of oneness reaching out from your family and friends to all humans.
Then slowly say each of these sentences several times, until you disidentify with each.
I have many subpersonalities and social masks which I wear when I choose. Since I am aware of choosing my roles, I must be more than my roles. I have subpersonalities and I am not my subpersonalities.
I have a mind, a total personality, which I can feel and intuit. Since I can experience my integrated personality, I must be more than my personality. I have a personality and I am not my personality.
I have a whole, completely unified bodymind, capable of understanding and intuiting with simultaneously intellectual and bodily awareness. I can witness my integrated organism and know that 1, as witnesser, must be more than my bodymind. I have a bodymind; I am not a bodymind.
I have shared consciousness with other humans. Since I am aware of extending my care,-concern and self-concept to others, I who am aware must be more than my social consciousness. I have social consciousness and I am not social consciousness.
I am the witness. I observe the flow of what is, the interplay of subpersonalities, the embrace of body and personality, the bonding (in authentic encounter) of separate BODYMIND into dyads, the networking of humanity. I see the mythic, the poetic, the miraculous, beyond time and space. I am the witness.’ [Wilber, K., The Spectrum of Consciousness, Wheaton: Theosophical Publishing House, 1977, page 273; pages 128-130]
As witness, truthfully and lovingly see, feel and hear the life of the student, humanity, earth. Next, you behold the archetypical deity.
Encounter Deity Archetype
Keep your eyes closed and witness sights, sound, feeling and intuitive intimations of an archetypical expression, manifest in the channels best suited for you to receive it at this time, of God. Allow the archetypical deity to take a form.
Identify with the “vibrantly alive … radiance” of your essential nature.
As God, reabsorb the witness, the world, the hero, the socially enmeshed person, the organism, the personality parts of the student who has sought you in this exercise.
As God what do you want and need?
What advice or wisdom do you have for the person channeling you? Say this aloud. UNITY CONSCIOUSNESS
Detach from the embodied, envisioned, sound of the archetypical deity into formlessness. There is no god-archetype, there is no student, “there is no awareness of the absence of these. There is only radiance. All prior levels, of themselves arise moment to moment in an iridescent play of mutual interpenetration.”9
* The experiences archetypal and unity consciousness above contributed the following ways to my understanding of the existential ideal of experiencing yourself at many levels of consciousness: …
* This ideal enhances my existence in the following ways… (complete)
BE RESPONSIBLE, CHOOSE YOUR REACTIONS (Constitution, Ideal 3)
Acknowledge that you are responsible; CHOOSE your attitudes and reactions.
Koestenbaum’s third existential ideal indicates you need to recognize that you’re choosing your life. You choose attitudes and reactions to the thrown aspects of your life (sex, birth order, family, geography at birth, etc.). You choose your growth path, your obstacles and your inevitable individual death.
“I have created and am responsible for the organization of my world. I did not create the raw materials, but am fully and alone responsible for the social reality I have constructed around me and the life-style that I have created for myself. I am in charge of my life. I help shape the world. I fulfill my obligations.” [Koestenbaum, P., op cit, p 512] Koestenbaum calls this principle “responsibility.”
Archetypical Decision for Finitude
*Imagine you are being born again. This time you have at birth all knowledge you now have about your life and it’s limitations. Decide firmly and wholeheartedly to be born the person you are, to the parents you had, in the time, place and circumstances of your actual birth. Accept your conscious decision to be the individual you are.
Ground the ideal of responsibility in your experience by the following:
*Recall and write of a time in your life when you realized that something (for which you had been blaming others) was being perpetuated by your own attitudes and behaviors.
*Finish this sentence: Here’s five events in my life for which I easily accept responsibility ….
*Here’s five events in your life I find it hard to accept responsibility for … (complete).
*Here’s the positive results I’d gain if I took responsibility for what I found it hard to accept as my choices ….
* Three times, loud and clear, say, “I wholeheartedly choose to born who, where and what I was and all the experiences I have which make me as I am.”
Take Responsibility for Obstacles
Deepen your sense of responsibility by the following expansion of Koestenbaum’s strategy for taking responsibility for your problems, obstacles, hang-ups and anxieties.
Read each of these statements aloud with full authority; then make a checkmark after each.
“There are answers to life’s problems.
We find meaning and joy in searching for these answers. Every obstacle turned over is a steppingstone.”
Think of a problem which you have. Imagine you’ll put up obstacles to solving this problem. Note what obstacles you choose.
Next, read the following aloud, indicating by checkmark that you have done so. “I have a problem because I FORGOT I EXIST and because I FORGOT I AM A FREEDOM. I chose this problem to remind me I EXIST and to remind me I AM A FREEDOM.” (check)
*What denied parts of you do the blocks you created express? How does seeing your choice of obstacles free you more? “Seeing how I create [the obstacles you create] frees me because (finish).
*Write (on ten separate scraps of paper) ten traits which characterize you. Think about each trait, one at a time, and how having each affects your life. Take full responsibility for constituting yourself with these traits.
Notice opposite self-constitutions you deny by attachment to traits you choose.
Select any traits you no longer wish and, one-by-one, burn the papers with words for the traits you’ll quit. Disidentify with each trait as the word paper burn.
*Which traits did you burn? How does this exercise relate to the existential ideal that you’re responsible for your attitudes and reactions?
*Write ten rules of how you should be. Cross out the traits you choose not to live from. Add other rules you do choose.
EXPERIENCE PHENOMENOLOGICAL SELF-DISCLOSURE
Experience Your Ever-developing Self-sense as an Individual & as Humanity (Ideal 4)
Consciously experience your ever-developing sense of yourself as an individual and as humanity (phenomenologically SELF-DISCLOSE.)
Become ever more aware of your personal truth by consciously experiencing and then suspending your prejudgments and assumptions; own your experience as your creation and reflect on your life. Koestenbaum explains this ideal as follows, “I am excited at the thought of both therapy and philosophy. I look forward to exploring the person that I am. I anticipate with pleasure examining my feelings and attitudes. I want to study my personality and my body. I am also determined to understand the philosophical nature of man. I recognize the importance of questions regarding human destiny and about the meaning of life. I also appreciate the significance of morality. I consider these questions fundamental to a free and healthy life. [op. cit., page 512]
The most profound thing I’m currently learning about my self is… Finish that thought for yourself right now. Your answer’s part of your confluent exploration of the existential proposition that self-disclosure is valuable to you.
Disclose Your Mission to Yourself
[Based on Frankl, V., The Doctor and the Soul: From Psychotherapy to Logotherapy, New York: Vintage, 1973.]
One form of self-disclosure is finding your lifework, your purpose in life. Victor Frankl says your “life is meant to be lived for a specific purpose” and your most burning desire “is to discover this purpose, this meaning,” in your life. Frankl says your larger goals and commitments, the people and principles you live for (rather than just personal power, recognition and comfort) are what give you real fulfillment in life. When you keep your life purpose and your search for it in mind, you get the fulfilling sense of serving a larger cause. Focus on future goals in a way that allows you to put your present upheavals in perspective.
Your Higher Purpose
Have a large piece of paper and an assortment of crayons ready. Close your eyes. Center yourself.
Imagine you look down on the landscape of your life history from the perspective of your internal logotherapist. See all the paths you’ve taken, road blocks, detours, adventures along the road. From your Olympian perspective, simultaneously contemplate the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, ecological and spiritual regions through which you as a pilgrim on the lifepath to your higher purpose have passed.
You have ascended the foothills and are now at the base of a great mountain, symbolizing your highest purpose. Notice the clearing in which you now stand–your present existence. Fully comprehend all your unique shaping, inspiring and conditioning experiences. See your experiences and movements in life as all preparing you to climb the mountain and fulfill your purpose, meaning, mission and destiny in life. Imagine that all factors in the past and present have brought you to this place in the clearing on the foothills at the base of the mountain.
Look at the sign marking your path up the mountain. The sign has your name on it. Imagine that there are a dozen or so great things waiting to be created by you as you climb. You are the only one who can make it up this path and achieve these creations. As you look up the path, receive visions of these creations.
Draw your lifepath (show: your past, present and projected future.) “Indicate the inputs leading to the clarity you now have about your path and the creations you will actualize in your upward journey. Label the regions, markers and travel conditions and destinations. Put your drawing on your wall at home or work for one week. Look at-it daily.
* What did you learn from making and contemplating this map?
* What specific creations did you imagine yourself manifesting?
* What’s your life purpose and meaning?
VALUE PAIN & ANXIETY AS CHANCES TO LEARN (Ideal 5)
One of the keys to self-disclosure (Ideal 4) is exploring your negativity or pain. Your pain and negativity has forms for each level of consciousness. At your personality level, you experience emotional pain when any of your subselves is denied integrated expression. At your bodymind level, physical pain demands you abandon exclusive attachment to your personality as though it is all you are and that you integrate your body into your experienced self. At this level, your pain also demands you accept your decision to die (your archetypical decision for finitude.)
At social levels, your pain (the loneliness of exclusive identification with your bodymind as all that you are) leads you to include another person in your sense of you. You overcome the pain of separation from others further when you extend your love and care for your family, network, culture and all humanity. At higher transpersonal levels your pain points to your artificial separateness from nature and finally to you as your own final resistance to unity consciousness. At each level, your pain signals that you are separating yourself and that you can discover and include another in your awareness.
At each level of consciousness, use your pain to point to the apparent alienated, unacceptable truths about yourself, how you limit your awareness, and how you really are. You expand your consciousness when you extend your self-definition to include these resisted truths in your consciously experienced existence.
Koestenbaum summarizes the existential ideal that pain is useful for your growth, maturity and development as follows: “I choose to value my pains. Pain is unavoidable … Anxiety and depression help me understand the meaning of life. I can successfully cope with the fact that evil is an integral part of life.”
* Note a time when you experienced pain and used your experience to grow, mature, expand your consciousness, notice a neglected part of yourself or come closer to other people, nature or God.
Emotional Pain: Identification-Disidentification With Addictions (Archetypical Cathexes); Instead, Choose Preferences, Personality Integration
Ken Keyes writes that when you are hurting emotionally, you are giving yourself a signal to expand your narrow identification with one role, subselves or mind-tape and expand your self-concept to include wider roles, other subs and new mind-tapes. Keyes suggests you do the following exercise when you feel pain, unhappiness or negativity. To explore the addiction (how you tell yourself things must be for you to feel okay) you choose to upset yourself. You uplevel (reprogram) your addiction into a preference (a desire which, if unmet, does not hurt you.) Upleveling addictions to preferences allows you to accept, express, and disidentify with your unexpressed subs’ demands, to accept their deeper needs for recognition, love and integration and to experience your personality as whole.
Do the exercise below with a partner. Take turns taking each other through this process. Locate yourselves in a private space where you won’t be interrupted for an hour or so.
Place nearby a plastic wastebasket or bucket large enough to completely cover your head and also allow breathing.
Have your partner tell you (or tell yourself) the following:
Lie down on your back with your eyes closed and your legs and arms open. Breathe deeply through your mouth, allowing your belly to stick out when you breathe in, fall when you breathe out. Make a soft “ahh” sound with each breath as you let all the air out of your mouth.
Let your mind float back over the last week or earlier until you see, hear and feel a time when you are upset, suffering, uncomfortable, tense or critical.
Name the people involved in the incident. Tell me where the incident takes place. Describe the incident and the dialogue in the present tense, as though it is happening NOW.
How does your body feel during the incident?
Name the emotions you feel during this upset. Make sure they are feelings–like anger, hurt, jealousy, loneliness, fear, boredom–not thoughts.
What’s the internal dialogue that goes along with this scene? What’s really bugging you?
Go back through time to when you had similar feelings. Name the people, place, and time. Relive this incident in the present tense, telling yourself aloud how you feel about yourself during the incident.
Relive another incident from your past when you had similar feelings.
Return now to the recent upset with which you began this exercise. How did you want the people and things in your upset to have been or acted?
If the incident had gone the way you wanted it to, what would you get? What do you really want in this situation? State the demand linked to your suffering.
Tell me how your demand causes you suffering.
Say how this demand caused your suffering in the past.
Point out how this demand will cause you suffering in the future.
Tell me that you’re ready to drop the demand and stop suffering.
Create short, simple sentences, reality reminders, which free you from
the demand. They should feel right when said rapidly with intensity.
Keep your eyes closed, kneel on your knees with the top of your head
in the plastic wastebasket or bucket on the floor. Tense all your muscles. Breathe deeply and fast, keep your upsetting scenes in your mind. Say your reality reminders loudly and intensely.
Say your reality reminder louder. Yell. Louder! LOUDER!
Keep emoting your reality reminders in the bucket. Express them with your whole body. Continue this as long as you feel emotional intensity from your upsetting scenes.
Take your head out of the bucket. Keeping your eyes closed, sit up. Breathe deeply. Imagine that you’re a hollow tube within which a ball of light moves up with each in-breath, and down with each out-breath. Allow a few minutes.
Let the ball of light within you move less and less until it comes to rest somewhere in your body. Put your hand where the ball stops.Visualize the same scene which upset you, except this time imagine your new emotional response to be according to your reality reminders.
Open your eyes and tell me what this experience was like for you.
*Relate your experience with the exercise above to the existential idea that pain teaches you to grow.
Bodily Pain: Identification-Disidentification – Bodymind Integration
Physical pain gives you the chance to realize you have exclusively attached your conscious identity to your personality. The exercises to follow allow you to extend your self-identity, using physical pain as a guide, to your body. Begin with apparently trivial pain, and realize that this model can be extended to severe pain, and is a basis of holistic healing.
Focus your attention on a strong but bearable pain you or a partner are currently experiencing–a splinter, toothache, headache, infection, burn, indigestion, etc.
Experience the physical pain right now. Imagine this paragraph contains a subliminal, magical microclonal generator process which makes a small you who will explore your body’s pain. You are generating a small you.
As very small you, enter your large body in a safe and convenient way and proceed to the source of the pain. Notice the shape, energy and appearance of the pain and the areas around it. Notice its color, temperature, smell and tension. Now become the pain. Identify with it. State your existence.
As little you, manipulate the pain in some way–do something to it. Be the pain again and respond.
Establish a back-and-forth dialogue with your pain. Find out from it what it wants from you, why it is hurting you, what it is trying to tell you, whether it is angry at you, how it is helping you, how you are dependent on it and for whom it is a spokespain.
When you reach closure of some sort, exit the pain’s area and return outside your body. Walk up to this page. Look down right here at the words “clonal reintegration process” and feel yourself reabsorbing your little clone and the knowledge the little one gained within.
*Evaluate (using your experience “dialoging with your pain” the existential idea that your physical pain stimulates you to grow.
DEFINE ANXIETY AS EXCITEMENT OF BROADENING SELF-CONSTITUTION BY SELF-DISCLOSURE
[Based on Koestenbaum, P., op. cit., 1978, pages 218-225; Wilbur, K., op. cit., 1977, pages 124, 204-205, 290-291 and 1981, page 156.]
You experience healthy excitement, or anxiety, at each level of awareness. Your anxiety’s a sign you are learning more of who you are. It’s also a sign of the pain and death of your narrower sense of who you are and the simultaneous rebirth of your wider sense of self. Your anxiety’s part of your knowledge that you are growing and will never be the same old you as you broaden your outlook.
You experience anxiety when you realize the mutual interdependence of your self-definition and your definition of non-self. You feel anxiety when you experience the dissolution of the line you drew separating you from the part of yourself which you denied (and projected onto others.) You’re anxious when you end your denial of your repressed potentials. You feel anxious when you experience freedom from being emotionally reactive to manifestations of your potential in others. You experience new anxiety as you encounter hitherto background separations on your new level of functioning. Your anxiety’s your path to dissolution of contraries into ever-broadening unities.
At your personality level, you experience anxiety as panic, which you generate from your own repressed excitement, interest, anger or pain. At your bodymind level, you experience anxiety as “a cold, almost paralyzing cramp” when you truly face the fact of your physical nonbeing and bodily death. On the higher transpersonal level, you experience anxiety when you realize that the last vestiges of your sense of a separate self that resists unity consciousness is ending.
Koestenbaum distinguishes the healthy existential anxiety you have been exploring from neurotic anxiety. Neurotic anxiety is your fear of experiencing your exciting, life-changing (existential) anxiety. Koestenbaum notes seven types of healthy, existential anxieties. You generate these anxieties when you break your mind-set, when you go beyond conventional answers and when you see your projections as discomfort with your own inner voices.
To experience healthy anxiety, writes Koestenbaum, grapple with the following existential ideals:
birth, risk and growth, evil, morality and reverence, God, centering and the pervasive ground of existence (unity consciousness), denial and acceptance of freedom of choice, timidity, death and limits, individuality and conformity, and guilt, depression or improvement.
Koestenbaum suggests you deliberately seek, welcome and crank-up these
anxieties to a level which is optimal for you to discover the meaning of your life.
* Today, I’ll use my pain, suffering and anxiety by … (Complete.) USE LIMITS TO MAKE LIFE MEANINGFUL; REFLECT ON NEGATION, FINITUDE, DEATH (Ideal 6)
Accept that your physical body will die and you move to live with full vitality, individuality and commitment. When you realize you and others will die prompts you to make authentic, intimate, feelingful, expressive contact. Since you’ll die, you understand you’ve got timetables for the tasks you’ve chosen to give meaning to your life.
When you choose to die, you take responsibility for creating your individual, unique life in the limited amount of time you have. This is the only opportunity you have to fully savor this moment. Carpe diem.
Accept your bodymind death and also accept the hierarchy of consciousness; then you can identify with broader regions of consciousness (such as a humanitarian cause, transcendent art, an archetypical deity form or unity consciousness).
Use Death to See Unfinished Communication and Tasks
[Based on Woolger, R., Other Lives, Other Selves, NY: Doubleday, 1987; Baldwin, W., Spirit Releasement Therapy, 2nd Edn., Human Potential Foundation, 1993; Fisher, J., The Case for Reincarnation NY: Bantam, 1985]
Have a partner, the reader, read you the cues in bold print (not the small, regular print in square brackets –read those silently; they’re instructions for your reader).
WHEN SOMEONE’S DIED
If you, or someone you know lost someone, this emotional release meditation may help.
Sit comfortably. Look at a picture of the deceased or in your mind’s eye, see her or him. Then
close your eyes and breathe deeply and say that person’s name aloud three times.
Notice your emotions. Make sounds to express how you feel. Let your feelings out; let your body move. Allow tears, wails, shouts, sounds, words, whatever wants to release. Your emotions may come in waves.
Lie down. close your eyes. Let the spirit of the deceased use your vocal apparatus to communicate to you. Receive the message. Hear and say aloud what her or she says.
Disidentify with the deceased and then, as yourself, respond to what the deceased said.
Have a dialogue–switch back and forth role-playing you and the person whose spirit you invoked.
Tell him/her what you left unsaid.
Pretend you’re X and reply.
Say what you need to share with her or him. Reminisce on what you
shared. Talk about what feels unfinished to you.
Continue the a dialogue–switch back and forth role-playing you and him or her.
Speak and release any resentments you have toward her or him and
take responsibility for your part.
If you’d like the deceased person to forgive you, ask.
Be him or her and forgive you.
Be you again. If there’s something you held against X make a gesture of forgiveness and forgive him/her aloud.
Tell her or him what you forgive her or him for, or that you’re open to
forgiveness when it’s right.
Let her or him tell you if they have any unfinished business on this plane that you can help with, that they need done so they can move to the next plane. Ask if there’s anything you can do for your beloved’s relatives, friends, pets.
WHEN YOUR BELOVED DIES
Visualize your dearest living person. Tell me his or her person’s name [use for Y].
Make-believe Y has only a few hours of life left, hours to spend with you.
Talk to this beloved, or, if she or he is not present, speak to her or him in your mind or aloud now, as though it’s the last time you’ll converse in this life.
Imagine you’re Y. What, in these circumstances, do you say.
What, as yourself again, do you want to add?
WHEN YOU’VE ONE WEEK TO LIVE
Imagine you have one week to live. Fantasize a final get-together with the people and animals who mean most to you. Say their names.
Tell all, some or one of them any unfinished feelings you have.
Tell your angry feelings.
Say the withholds–secrets, desires you held back.
Tell the people at your last get-together what you appreciate in them.
Tell them the loving feelings and physical impulses for them.
Fantasize and describe doing what you want your last week of life.
WHEN YOU DIE
Imagine a way you–but nobody else you know–are dying. Describe your death scene and what leads up to it in the present tense, as though it happens as you tell it. Put your body in the physical position it has as it dies. [Wait till your partner moves into position]
Tell me who’s present when you die. Describe the situation. What would you do if you still could? How would that feel?
Say goodbye to each of the people you loved. Address each in turn and say your final words to them. Tell each of them any unfinished feelings you have for each of them.
Tell them withholds–secrets, desires you held back.
Say what you appreciate, your loving feelings and physical impulses toward them.
Tell me what negative conclusions you draw from this life that you’re now completing.
What vengeful thoughts do you still have as you die?
What jealous thoughts do you have at your death scene? Say what you failed at in this life. Relate your successes in this life.
What positive conclusions do you draw from this life you’re now exiting?
What grateful, forgiving and loving thoughts are you dying with?
Say your last thoughts aloud.
What’re your last words?
What does the life you’re exiting leave you feeling emotionally?
What angry feelings do you have as you leave this life? What resentments do you carry to your death?
If you want to let go of those thoughts, rather than carry them to future lives, express those resentments to those involved now.
Tell me any sad or hopeless emotions you have as you leave this life. What are your regrets?
What bitter feelings do you have as you leave this life? What fears do vou carry as you leave this life?
What pains or physical traumas do you experience as you die?
[This paragraph should be read to women only] If you have the spirits of any babies in your abdomen, talk to them aloud and release their spirits.
Express emotions stored in injured, abused or neglected parts of your body before you die, so you don’t take these feelings on to future embodiments. If your wounds were perpetrated by another person, express your feelings to him or her. If you injured or abused yourself, just express the emotions of your hurt parts to me.
What’re the last things you see?
Tell me the last thing you hear.
Say the last things you touch, smell and taste.
Move and make sounds as you experience your death. Feel life ebbing from you. [Allow several minutes, at least]
Imagine dying. Imagine your heart stops beating.
Forgive yourself for your faults and shortcomings.
Separate from your body’s suffering and identify with
See from above, the people nearby. Try, but fail, to talk
to and touch people nearby. Realize you’re dead.
Imagine that you are laid out as you might be in a coffin, urn, or other funerary receptacle. (Gently lay partner’s body into a position of a body in a coffin.)
You’re going to go to your own funeral. [ Adapted from Huxley, L. You Are Not The Target NY: Avon, 1963.]
See all the people who have come to your funeral. See them all.
See the flowers people sent to your funeral. See them all. See and smell each bouquet separately. Who sent you which flowers?
There’s music at your funeral. Hear the music.”
There may be someone whom you’re surprised to see at your funeral. See
if there’s someone like that. Say who.
Is there someone at your funeral who’s glad you’re dead? Take a look. Tell me who.”
Notice if someone at your funeral wishes he or she were dead instead of you. Tell me.
The people at your funeral come, one by one, to view your remains and pay their-last respects to you.
The first? person to view your earthly remains is someone who you loved deeply when you were alive. Who is this person?
(the person’s name) approaches your coffin (or urn), you know what she (or he) is feeling and thinking.
Become (name.) As voice your feelings and thoughts toward (partner’s name).
Now you’re quite dead, you cannot respond or reply to this person whom you loved. But if you could reply, what would you say at your funeral to this person you loved?
If you were still able to move, how would you like to touch this person?
And now that person moves on, and the next person comes up to your coffin. This is a person who, when you were alive, loved you a great deal. Become this person, view and express your thoughts and feelings toward the deceased.
If you weren’t dead, and you still had one last chance to respond to this person who loved you, what would you do and how would you move toward this person?
The next person to come up to your lifeless form is someone who, in life, you had difficulty with. Who is this person?
Become this person and state your existence as you look at ‘s remains.
Become yourself, dead, again. Reply to this person as you might and move as you might if you weren’t dead.
[Have your partner successively be confronted in his or her funerary receptacle by each person of emotional importance to her present this imaginary funeral. For each have your partner successively become the other and voice thoughts and feelings as the other views your partner’s remains. Your partner then becomes herself and responds as she would were she not dead.]
Now that you’re dead you can reflect on a decision you were making in life and know clearly what you should have decided. Say what you should have decided.
Your EULOGY-is about to begin. Notice who rises to speak about your life and its meaning. Who is this person and what do you feel about his (or her) speaking at your funeral?
Become the eulogizer and summarize, moralize and review the life of the deceased and the meaning of her existence.
Now become yourself in your casket or urn, hearing your eulogy. Do you agree with what the eulogizer is saying? Are there parts you disagree about?
Establish a dialogue between you and your eulogizer, shifting roles where appropriate.
This is your last party. Speak to everyone at your funeral. Tell them all about yourself, your mistakes, suffering, love and longings.
No longer do you need to protect yourself. It’s your last party; You can explode, be miserable, pitiful, insignificant or despicable. At your funeral you can be yourself.
Imagine your coffin is being covered [or your ashes are about to be cast–make it fit your partner’s fantasy]. The light is shut off from you. Your coffin is lowered into the ground. Then the handful; shovels of earth cover you and the world as you knew it is distant.
Are any disembodied souls or demonic spirits attached to you? If so, tell me what you know about them.
Let your body go through the throes of death. Exhale your last breath, experience your last heartbeat. Tell me exactly what is happening as you die.
Separate from your body and suffering. Feel relief and peace.
See, from above, the people nearby. Try, but fail to talk to and touch them. Realize you died.
Whoosh down a tunnel, then up toward the light. Let the spirits of loved ones who already died extend their hands to guide you and take you to the place of karmic review. Who reaches out to guide you up toward the light?
Let your guides take you to the loving beings of Light, the Karmic Guides or the Life-Review Committee. Let them show you, by giving you direct experiences, the main events of your life and their consequences for others. Say what you’re seeing.
Witness and tell me about the love you gave and the love you got. What did you need to learn from your life? What did you need to experience that life?
At what, if any, point, did things go wrong?
What was the meaning of that life, taken as a whole?
What would you do differently, if you had it to do again?
What did you contribute to humanity, to the consciousness of the cosmos.
Find in the spirit world, one-by-one, the spirits of those you hurt, betrayed or abandoned. What do you have to say to each of them? Identify with each of them in turn, and as them, reply.
If you failed in this life, communicate with the spirits of those whom you let down. Let them forgive and comfort you. Tell me what they say.
Can you forgive yourself?
Find in the spirit world, one-by-one, the spirits of people who hurt, betrayed or abandoned-you. Let each of them, in turn, use your voice and talk to you.
And, now that you’re in the spirit world too, what do you have to say to each of them?
Dialogue aloud with any disembodied spirits attached to you from the life you just lived. Tell them to find their loved ones here in the light and to leave you now.
Converse aloud with any demonic spirits attached to you from the life you just lived. Tell them, “Look within and see that you, too, are of the light. So go now to your appointed place in the light.”
Imagine that the Beings of Light have decided that your tenure in the life you just reviewed shouldn’t be over so soon, that you’re being sent back to complete missions. What’re your assignments?
If it was hard to forgive yourself for anything, let the Karmic Guides assign you tasks to balance your karma. You need not make up your karma with the same persons you hurt or failed. What are your karma-balancing tasks?
Return to this world. Wiggle your toes. Open and close your hands. Stretch. Swallow twice. Open your eyes; look at three things you enjoy seeing. Listen for three sounds you enjoy. Say your name and today’s date.
CONJURE A COMING INCARNATION
Imagine you spiral forward through time in a time machine. You pop out in a very special future life, your ideal future.
In the future life you enter, you’ve assimilated all the lessons of your prior incarnations, including the one you just left.
Notice and tell me the details of this ideal future.
*Relate the exercises you did in this section to the existential idea that appreciation and acceptance of death vitalizes life.
LIVE AND REFLECT: USE PHENOMENOLOGICAL BRACKETING (EPOCHE) (Ideal 7)
Successive contemplation and deliberate awareness of the consciousness doing the contemplation reveals (as you learned in the second existential ideal) the hierarchy of self-consciousness. When you think about, picture and sense your self as an object, you enlarge your self-concept from a preself to a public facade, and then to an integrated orchestra of subselves. Reflection reveals you next as a unified mental/physiological organism, a coupled, intersubjective consciousness and a vessel through which flow social, ecological, cosmic and eternal consciousness.
The existential ideal of reflection involves becoming aware of your presuppositions so you can avoid distorting the object you observe, including the structure of your own consciousness, by your presuppositions. You create a first-hand, experiential description of your observations.
When you reflected upon your death anxiety, you discovered your archetypal decision to be an individual bodymind, differentiated from the other contents of time and space. You also reflected on the time and space dimensions of nature from the perspective of the infinite, unchanging, supra- individual ground of your existence. This ground is your consciousness beyond time and space that flows through you and lasts forever, in which your bodymind is forever a unique event–unity consciousness.
For you to live a full and authentic life, choose continually the levels of consciousness from which to respond.
Alternate between active, outgoing engagement with apparent non-self entities and reflective withdrawal from narrower self-perspectives using meditation, prayer, artistic endeavor, confrontational encounter, yoga, Tai Chi, meditative athletics, nature appreciation, introspection, entheogens and detachment from what you are doing to gain full benefits of both living and reflecting.
*Reflect upon and describe your existence.
BE INDEPENDENT, SELF-RELIANT, AND SUBJECTIVE (TO BALANCE LOVE AND COMMITMENT) (Ideal 8)
Recognize and respect your own strengths and abilities and feel confident, assertive and able to risk loving and committing yourself to other people.
Koestenbaum explains this existential ideal as follows: “I am an adult consciousness that exists alone: I choose to be independent and self- reliant. l have outgrown childish forms of dependency. I can be comfortable being alone. I can go through life on my own two feet. I can take care of myself–and others if necessary. I feel that this independence and my self-reliance is an attitude that I voluntary choose and not one that is imposed upon me from the outside.”
You need your independence and individuality to authenticate your commitments to others.
CONTEMPLATE & FUTURE-PACE SELF-RELIANCE
*I was self-reliant when … (complete).
* My model of a self-reliant person is , because s/he ….
REALIZE YOUR UNIQUE, CREATIVE INDIVIDUALITY (Ideal 9)
Before you can broaden your self-definition (consciousness), you need to be aware when you are choosing a narrower self-definition. When you recognize your previously unconscious, passive choice of a narrower self-identity, you recognize your individuality, or narrower self. You then dialogue with what you exclude from your self-definition.
Begin the dialogue between your narrower identity and the parts of yourself beyond this narrow self-sense when you deliberately experience yourself in your narrower self-definition (examples: public role, isolated bodymind). Objectify what you think you are not, and tell it or them (repressed subpersonalities, your mate and your peer group, in our examples) “No, I am not you. I’m not bound by your ideas of who I am and how I should be.”
Then identify with–become–the non-self your narrow self is rejecting. You then realize that the non-self-other is actually a disowned part of you. When you get that what you thought you were not is actually part of you, you expand your self-definition (as integrated personality, intersubjective dyadic couple consciousness, support group) to include both your old, narrower self-definition and what you excluded.
When you choose to experience your narrower self-identifications as well as the parts you’d excluded as all parts of you, you experience the richness, creativity and harmony of higher order unison.
Be able, when you choose, to function as an individual bodymind, a distinct, uniquely contributing facet of the social groups and networks of which you are a part.
“It is right and normal for me to seem different from other human beings. I am free to conform or not to conform as my value system dictates. I am not excessively bothered by the fact that I may be different from my peers. I am prepared to create my own direction right for me even though it might differ from the prevailing lifestyles of those around me. I am not easily pressured” to conform when my value system tells me not to.” [Koestenbaum, P., 1978, page 513]
RELATE PERSONALLY TO THE INDIVIDUALITY IDEAL
*I asserted my individuality, despite pressure from others, when I … (complete).
*A person I admire for unique individuality is …
*The person above showed individuality by… (complete).
*Today, I’ll increase my individuality and assert my own direction by …
EXPERIENCE TRANSCENDENTAL SUBJECTIVITY REVERE THIS CORE SELF IN EACH AND ALL (Ideal 10)
Reflect on your individuality and become aware of yourself as reflecting from a position outside your personality and bodymind. Transcend reflection and become one with-the flow of unity itself.
Directly experience your being at each level of self-definition as flowing through the center of the core of each of your narrow-order identifications as well as flowing also through cores of others from whom you illusorily separated yourself.
Know you are one with all your human parts, through which the same consciousness flows. Recognize your own center and you recognize the centers of others. Once you live from this knowledge, you respect the conscious centers of all people; you experience their inward cores as one and the same as yours.
“Each individual human inward subjectivity is the divine consciousness in man. Reverence for subjectivity is the highest existential principle of morality. Man’s inwardness is the source of his value. I am capable of respecting infinitely the inner ego of both myself and others. A person’s character may be evil and his body diseased, but his pure inner conscious core is infinitely precious and eternally dignified.” Men are therefore born with unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Koestenbaum calls this reverence, “the highest existential principle of morality.” [op. cit., page 514]
RESPECT AND REVERE ANOTHER’S CONSCIOUSNESS
*Think of someone whose attitude you find difficult to accept. Then, with regards to this person, complete the following: I can forgive and feel compassion for by… (complete.)
*I’ve been intolerant of . Today and I’ll revere her/him by ….
Koestenbaum contrasts respect and regard for the consciousness of others (reverence) with disrespect and disregard, which are existentially evil. “Evil is disrespect for, disregard for or destruction of any consciousness,” because you can observe, from your center, that the consciousness of others is part of your own precious consciousness. Evil is also “disrespect for, disregard for or destruction of the freedom of any human being, for to be free is the essence of consciousness. Evil is disrespect for, disregard for or destruction of the right to love and security for any human being.”
Evil, or disrespect for consciousness, takes specific forms: ignorance, ugliness, weakness, alienation, poverty and chaos.
Whichever form of evil (ignorance, ugliness, weakness, alienation, poverty or chaos)
disturbs you most points to your life goal: grappling with it.
If ignorance is the evil most bothering to you, your goal becomes knowledge.
If ugliness is your evil, artistic goals will give your life broadening meaning.
If weakness is your evil, your goal becomes power.
If alienation is your evil, improving social relations is your task.
If the greatest evil from your perspective is chaos, your goal becomes unity consciousness.
COPE WITH EVIL
*Rank the following evils in order of how much each troubles you:
How do you struggle against the evils which trouble you most?
CHOOSE VALUES & SELF-CONCEPTS; GUILT FOR YOUR CHOICES SIGNALS YOU TO IMPROVE (Ideal 11)
You are unavoidably free. Deliberately choose a level of consciousness and an orientation on the inward-outward and individual-universal poles of existence. You likewise choose your own self-concept, actions, attitudes, values and the meanings with which you organize your world.
Exercise your freedom from the perspective of your individuality. Use your willpower to overcome obstacles.
Exercise the freedom given you from your individuality as spontaneity when you meditate, hike, travel, relax or receive a message. These practices help you to expand beyond your individual personality and flow with shared consciousness with other people, nature and the universe. Exercise freedom inwardly as understanding when you analyze and meditate.
Experience your freedom outwardly by risking assertive action. Risked, outward action is necessary for you to live from the existential ideal of freedom; outward action you choose is a commitment you must make whose consequences define your being in the world.
You’re free when you listen to your inner voices, see your inner visions, feel your subjective feelings and translate these into action.
When you passively choose to ignore your freedom, you experience healthy existential guilt. Your existential guilt is the realistic assessment that you are not exercising your freedom, not living up to your positive possibilities, denying your potentials, living inauthentically from passively accepted (rather than deliberately chosen) values.
EXPLORE HOW YOU EXERCISE YOUR FREEDOM
List the key decisions you already have made. Go back in your experience to when you made them.
Notice which decisions you are still living from.
Indicate which decisions were right. What would have been better choices? What results would you have had if you made better decisions?
Be aware of any decisions you made which were untrue to your authentic self-possibilities.
Note any resistance you created to stop yourself from making authentic decisions.
Now think of the present. Focus on decisions that you are in the process of making and on those you are not making.
*Prepare a list of five overdue decisions, prioritized by importance to you.
Add a sixth overdue decision, “the one you were afraid to put down.” Feel your resistance to making these decisions in your body and emotions; ask “in what organ you feel the resistance against making a specific and necessary choice.” Observe your resistance to choosing in your failure patterns.
*What did you learn about your freedom and guilt?
SAY YES TO LIFE (Ideal 12)
Allow yourself natural optimism, joy and abundance. Affirm life. “Make living itself the highest value.” This is your moment of eternal bliss and unique individual embodied pleasure, challenge and reunion. Enjoy it.
This ideal, life, exists in the context of (and is a part of) its polar opposite, death. Together life and death (limits) comprise a dimension for embodied existence.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
*List your joys, pleasures and fulfillments. Experience the emotions, images, sounds, tastes, fragrances and intuitions accompanying each.
List and experience your appreciations.
Say “I am a beautiful and radiant, wonderful cosmic miracle.” Say it louder.
Move your arms, trunk and legs, shout with all the emotion, action and sound you can muster: “I am a beautiful and radiant, wonderful cosmic miracle!”
*I say yes to life by… (complete).
COMMIT (Ideal 13)
Commit yourself by risking attachments (cathexes) to people, principles, tasks and lifestyles. Commitment (also love) balances your individuality and independence. You give meaning to your life by investing your time, energy and interest in other people, in your life’s tasks, in the codes you choose to live by, and in your own development.
*I commit myself to understand and live by these PRINCIPLES … (complete).
*I commit myself these PEOPLE and animals …
List the names of each. After each name, specify how you commit yourself.
*I consciously choose to embody the following concepts in my style of living… (complete).
GROW IN A COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP
Are you now or do you want to be in a fulfilling, committed relationship? Such a relationship, according to Everett Shostrom is essential to your growth and fulfillment as a human being. [Shostrom, E.,. Actualizing Therapy, San Diego: Edits, 1976.]
When you commit to making your relationship work, even though you have differences and occasional conflicts, you have chosen to use your energy wisely.
The key to a committed growthful relationship: openly express your thoughts, emotions and body needs to your partner; receive all of your partner’s ideas, feelings and physical expression in a spirit of trust and compassion. If you do this, you can successfully grow through the stages of loving fulfillment.
Shostrom identifies the stages in a loving relation as emphasizing the dimensions of eros, empathy, friendship and affection. Full development of each of these stages is essential to your relationship becoming fulfilling and growthful.
The first stage of your relationship, its first six years, is the erotic stage. It’s sexually-based and involves kissing, petting, depending, jealousy and fighting. You and your partner usually enter the relationship with idealized, unrealistic images of each other’s worth, beauty and power. Your task during this stage is to realize your partner is a normal human being with faults and weaknesses, who is not going to totally take care of all your desires. You learn to meet your own needs and to enjoy your partner as she or he is.
You learn through constructive fighting to respect each other’s differences. You learn that THE SURE WAY TO FEEL YOUR LOVE IS TO ALSO EXPRESS YOUR ANGER AND WORK IT THROUGH CREATIVELY.
Working out your differences takes you to the second stage in a growthful relationship: empathy.
The empathy stage develops fully in the sixth to twelfth years of your relationship when you and your partner deepen your compassion, appreciation and tolerance of your differences.
As your relationship deepens, in its 13th to 21st years, you enter the friendship stage. Now you deliberately expand your common interests by traveling, entertaining and becoming good friends with other couples.
The culminating stage in a fulfilling relationship is affection. Here you find “a sense of completion in the spontaneous joy and achievements” of your partner. You use your resources to help your partner find fulfillment.
“Love, in its fullest expression,” requires elements of all the stages– “the power and tenderness of eros, the understanding and vulnerability of empathy, the assertion and relatedness of friendship” and “the responsibility and receptivity” of affection. When you have all these you make with your -.partner more love, awareness, creativity and joy than you ever could alone.”
*Relate Shostrom’s model of development for a committed relationship to your own, to your parents’ or to others’.
BE REALISTIC (Ideal 14)
Distinguish clearly among your self-definition (inwardness., subjectivity), what you view as non-self (object, world, other) and the connection between them (dialogue, dialectic, synthesis).
“I clearly distinguish reality from fantasies, dreams, rationalizations and wishful thinking. I am always in touch with what is real. (Ego-cogito-cogitatum). I know that there is a reality beyond my inwardness. I know that this reality is different from my subjective ego. I know that this reality may be other people or the objects of nature, but it can also be my body or my unconscious. I know that this reality is independent of me. At all times I feel that I am directly in touch with that external reality. I always sense that I am in contact with that part of the world which is other than me. Even while I am rationalizing, deceiving myself, or having fantasies, I know that what is real is that I am dreaming.” [Koestenbaum, op. cit., pages 514-515]
ENCOUNTER AND LOVE OTHERS (Ideal 15)
Simultaneously experience your current level of self-identification (subpersonality, personality, bodymind, etc.), the uniqueness of the nonself you encounter (shadow, body, other person, another culture, etc.) and the joy and excitement of recognizing you and the other are a single field of consciousness.
Referring to the bodymind level of love, Koestenbaum writes, “I can choose to meet, confront, witness, understand, and be mirrored by another. I can also choose to love him or her and care for him or her. l am capable of loving like an adult. I can love spiritually and I can love ,physically. In love I can accept the dignity and the needs of my partner in love. I enjoy spiritual, emotional, and physical love and love is easy and natural for me.”
You and the person you reciprocally love transcend your respective identifications as isolated BODYMIND. You recognize your differences and the unique contributions you each have to make to the intimate dyadic consciousness you become.
LOVE AND ENCOUNTER UNIQUE OTHER
The exercise below can heighten your awareness of your respective unique backgrounds. The exercise lets you reflect on your relationship from your dyadic consciousness.
Think of someone emotionally important to you and with whom you are in regular (at least weekly) contact (directly, person-to-person, not phone or letter). If you have a spouse, lover, or sweetheart with whom you regularly spend time, think of this person. For this exercise, refer to this person as your “significant other.”
Write the name of your significant other. Put her or his picture in front of you.
Describe your relations with this person from your perspective.
Describe your relationship with your other from his or her perspective. If your other will tell you how she or he views your relationship, record what is said. If your other is unavailable for comment, fantasize her or his view, label it “guessing,” and record it.
Chapters of Other’s Life
Write the chapters of your significant other’s life. The best way to do this is with the help of your other. If she or he agrees to help you, share with her/him the chapters of your life as a model. If she/he declines to help you, write the chapters anyway, as best you can, and indicate these circumstances.
Make a list of 8-12 chapters. Start with the birth and family situation into which she/he was born. Include childhood and adolescent chapters from your other’s lifebook, for these are the years during which her/his current attitudes were greatly formed. Include your other’s present life chapter. Also speculate on her/his future chapters.
Put the approximate years for each chapter of your other’s life. For each chapter, write the main events.
For each chapter, note the main self-feelings of your other.
For each chapter, note the important persons and describe their relation- ship with your other.
Make a similar table of contents for your own lifebook.
Share your lifebook with your other. If you have written a speculative lifebook’s contents for your other, share this for commentary and revision. Get to know each other’s unique individual history in greater detail and broader scope.
History of Your Relationship
* Write the chapters of your relationship with your significant other. Specify the phases of your relationship and the years, events, people, and feelings for each chapter. Begin with your initial encounters and the early impressions you had of each other. Share and discuss with your other.
ANALYZE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Inspiration: Corrierre, R., and Hart, J., Psychological Fitness, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1979.]
Analyze your relationship with your most significant other in terms of how active, feeling, expressive, understanding, and contacting you are in the relationship. Plot your analysis on the following graph, where 5 = very much and I = very little.
Circle the elements of your graph which are out of balance. Choose a small, easy-to-do step to achieve greater balance in your relationship. Take your step daily for one week. BE FLEXIBLE AND ADAPTABLE (Ideal 16)
For this existential ideal, Koestenbaum suggests you decide to be adaptable and realistically flexible. Say, “I can be reflective and inward or active and outgoing, depending on my own choices and the circumstances in which I find myself. I can be self-reliant and independent if I want to and have to, but I also can be dependent and trusting if I choose that personality structure. I can be both a leader and a follower, as my decisions and the world’s circumstances dictate.”
* Relate specific times in your life when you are flexible.
* Who’s a model, paragon or exemplar of flexibility?
* I can increase my flexibility by… (complete).
EXPERIENCE TIME LIVING NOW; USE PAST TO FOCUS ON FUTURE
When you recognize time, you differentiate yourself from the eternal moment (nunc stanz) of unity consciousness and identify with the flowing moments (nunc fluenz) which arise and pass. When he experiences time as flowing this way, Koestenbaum says, “I experience my life as a continuous progressing. My sense of time is not fragmented. My focus is on the future. I live in the present and I realize that both past and future are connected to me in the present. The burdens of the past exist for me in the present. Hopes and opportunities for the future exist for me in the present. I experience the time of my life as a river that flows always and smoothly in the direction of the future.” [op. cit., page 515]
Consider whether any past burdens exist in the present for you.
What present consequences of your past are salient for you now?
Be aware of your past in your present.
What is your present awareness?
What are you aware of now?
What about now? Remain in continuous present awareness for several minutes.
Imagine what opportunities, challenges and chances exist for you in the future.
Picture your fondest hopes and desires being realized. As you imagine the future, be aware that your hopes for the future now.
BE CONTINUALLY AWARE
Notice your sensations, emotions and perceptions each moment. This allows you the unity with your current existence which is organismic self-regulation
Now My Awareness Is
For five minutes, tell a partner your current awareness. Begin with, “Now I’m aware of …” Add, “And now I’m aware of …” every minute or so. Then, for five minutes, listen to your partner’s continuum of awareness. Reverse roles, taking turns, three times, so each of you share a total of fifteen minutes of your awareness.
Be aware that the separation of consciousness into conceptual categories of past (dead), present and future (unborn) is a linguistic, analytic, conceptual, illusory bounding of atemporal unity consciousness.
GROW; EXPAND AND TRANSCEND YOUR SELF-DEFINITION (Ideal 18)
Growth is your-consciousness recognizing, synergizing and transcending itself by recognizing its oneness with its apparent other. “My life is an endless process of growing, emerging, and reaching out For me, to live is to grow. My concern is … process and movement in my life. The meaning of my life is found in continual growth – in education, in human relationships, in occupational progress, in creativity, in building.” [ibid., pp 371-380]
*I expanded my self-concept and grew when I … (Finish)
*I’m now growing by … (complete).
*I can grow more by … (outline your growth program.).
USE CONTRADICTIONS, POLARITIES, PARADOXES AND AMBIGUITIES TO ESTABLISH DIALOGUES LEADING TO FURTHER GROWTH (Ideal 19)
When you live by this ideal, Koestenbaum indicates, you say to yourself, “When faced with contradictions in life I am challenged. I realize that values and situations are usually ambiguous and unclear. There are many sides to most issues. I feel no compulsion to discover always and absolute right. I can act in spite of uncertainty. I can make decisions in spite of ambiguities. I can make commitments without being certain of the truth. I can tolerate disagreement, opposition, rejection, and denial. Contradictions are to be a source of strength, because I find polarities within myself. I can integrate the polar opposites in me and achieve a mature sense of wholeness.” [ibid. p 42]
* Describe a time when you found a contradiction within yourself and you brought the two sides into a satisfying blend.
CONVERSE WITH INNER OPPOSITES FROM YOUR CENTER
[Based on Stone, H. & Winkelman, S., Embracing Our Selves, and Embracing Each Other both 1989, New World Library: San Rafael].
Have a partner read you the cues in bold print aloud. Exception: read words in square brackets [like this] silently. Ask your reader to give you a few breaths’ time to respond aloud where he or she sees asterisks (***). If you don’t respond to a cue-sentence, ask your partner to pause several breaths and read the cue to you again.
Sit on this cushion; it’ll be the position for your Center, the place from which you hear all your inner voices.
Tell me about one of the main voices (like Intellect, Critic, Pleaser, Pusher) you present to the world. What’s this voice like and what does it do for you. ***
Shift your cushion to a new position, a position for that Primary, that main voice. [Wait till Ir actually move; use the name (eg: Critic) I use for my Primary, where you see the word “Primary” below].
Hi. Embody that Primary voice and tell me who you are and what your job is. ***
When did your life start? How long have you been around? What’s your history as [say my name]’s Primary? ***
Tell me, Primary, what vulnerable voices you protect? ***
What contributions have you, as [my name]’s Primary, made to [my name]? What would you like to be acknowledged and appreciated for? ***
Thank you, I liked talking with you. Would you let [my name] return to the Center position? ***
[Wait till I moves.] Hi, Aware Ego Tell your observations on the voice you just embodied. ***
Tell me about another of your voices or subselves (eg: Instinctual One, Creative Voice, Playful Kid, Sexpot, etc.). ***
Move your cushion to a position for that voice. [Wait till I move.] Become this second voice, Voice 2. As Voice 2, say how you are, what you do for [my name]. Then tell me main events in your life with [partner’s name] and what you’d like to be appreciated for. ***
Thank you, I liked talking with you. Would you let [my name] return to the Aware Ego position? ***
Hi, Center. Tell me about a 3rd voice that [my name] has. ***
Move your cushion to a position for that voice. [Wait till I move.] Become this voice, Voice 3. As Voice 3, say how you are, what you do for [my name]. Then tell me main events in [my name] life and what you’d like to be appreciated for. ***
Thank you, I liked talking with you. Would you let [my name] return to the Center position? ***
[Wait till I move.] From your space as Center, describe a 4th voice, Voice 4. Become it and say
who you are, what I should call you ***
what you’re like ***
what you do ***
what you’d like to be appreciated for. ***
If a vulnerable or instinctual voice would like to you to know something, but it or your protective voices would rather not have you identify with and embody it, just tell me about it from the Center position. ***
[When your partner has spoken as each of the voices (or described vulnerable voices from the Aware Ego position) for which you have time, say] Stand behind me, facing the spaces you occupied for your voices as I summarize the things you said as each. Feel each voice’s energy from the perspective of neutral observer. [Summarize what your partner said in each space.]
Return to the Center place and tell me what you learned. ***
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1. All are correct. The sources of each of the definitions are as follows: a. Rollo May (Valle, R., King, M., op. cit,., page viii), b. Alex Lessin, c. Edmund Husserl (ibid., page 7), d. Donald Moss (ibid.., page 83), e. Moss again (ibid.), f. Peter Koestenbaum (op. cit., 1978, page 295), g. Moss, D. in Valle and King, op. cit., page 73), h. Koestenbaum again (op. cit., page 40), I. Ronald Valle and Mark King, op.cit.., page 7, j. Moss, D. (op.cit., page 92).
2. Koestenbaum, op.cit., 1978, pages 87-94. Koestenbaum conceives of the field of consciousness as having two primary dimensions: the subjective (mind, consciousness, awareness)-objective (body, others, world) and the individual (finite)- universal (infinite, eternal). The latter is demarcated by constitutionality (pages 137-138), which I discuss later. Collectively, these comprise what he calls bipolar personality theory.
3. I include here three of Koestenbaum’s categories: empirical ego, transcendental ego (eternity), and transcendental intersubjectivity (modes of consciousness).
4. Wilbur (1980, op. cit., pages 7-11) calls your womb stage (pleromatic” (undifferentiated). He refers to your neonate stage as “alimentary uroboric,” after a snake that is so self-ignorant it is swallowing its own tail.
5. Wilbur divides your preverbal bodyself (which he calls “typhonic,” after a mythological half human-half snake, corresponding to your brain-stem and limbic organized functioning) into the pre-imaging (“axial” or physically present), emotionally-immediate (“pranic level”) and picturing (“image-body”) substages (1980, op. cit., pages 3-21).
6. Wilbur designates this level of your self “the membership self” after Carlos Castenedas’ notion that others continually relate to you the labels and syntactical logic you must acquire to belong to (be a member of) their language group (1980, op. cit., pages 22-29).
7. The exercise is my operationalizing Hamden-Turner’s sequence of choose, perceive, individualize, master, commit, suspend judgment, risk, bridge, confirm each other, transcend your isolated bodymind, negotiate, synergize, integrate and choose again (“the person exists freely–the strength of his/her identity, and their synthesis into an experienced competence–He/she commits this, with intensity and authenticity in the human environment, by periodically suspending and risking experienced meanings–-in trying to bridge the distance to others–and make a self-confirming and self-transcending impact, and through a dialectic achieve synergy–Each will try to order the feedback into minds of greater complexity”) (Hamden-Turner, C., 1981, pages 179-180).
8. 1973, op. cit. The model is designed for activating therapeutic networks for people in crisis. An intervention team, capitalizing on a crisis, helps a network become an ongoing therapeutic community, independent of outside intervenors. The model can be used, with or without a crisis, for sustaining and encourage growth of consciousness to the social network level. When you function on the level of your social network, the welfare and development of all of the members of your network become aspects of your consciousness (or self). So, too, does the wisdom and assistance of the others augment your individual, dyadic and primary group functioning.