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Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

Last post 09-25-2008, 9:20 AM by adastra. 62 replies.
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  •  08-13-2006, 11:58 PM 4288 in reply to 4188

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    Q&A Part Twenty-Four:

    NOTE: I have a blog entry in which I will post each section of the ongoing (currently weekly) dialog, numbered and dated:

    Integral Naked Interviews Robert Augustus Masters

    The blog entry contains only the questions and answers; in this thread, conversation and commentary on the subject matter at hand is welcome and encouraged.

    Liz/Tamgoddess asks:

    Robert-this month's newsletter was great, as usual. Loved the essay on doubt. Here are two questions for you. I thought seriously about posting them anonymously, but then, last time I did that, I ended up having to reconstruct my questions and it was a pain. What the hell, here goes.

    1. I've been examining my feelings about my marriage ending and my ex's girlfriend. I've come to a point where I'm comfortable with the situation for the most part, and my ex and I are getting along very well. At this point, much of my negative feelings are just tapes playing in my head, not deeply felt emotions. They're mostly empty. I've also accepted my part in the end of our marriage.

    My difficulty is in stopping these tapes from playing. Is it premature to expect that, or is there a way I can actively stop this repetitive resentment? I feel like it is coloring my new relationship in that I have fears that I'm indulging in, and I don't want to keep repeating a cycle of fear and closing myself off.

    2. Also, do you have a better word for my "ex"? It sounds horrible to me, and he's much more than that. He's my best friend and my children's father. We plan on having a relationship for a long time. I would prefer a more friendly term.

    3. Also, the physical distance in this new relationship is really hard for me. How does one who is not a great meditator and has trouble staying in the here and now live with the loneliness that comes with a long-distance relationship? Is there some sort of structured meditation or something that will help?

    Love to you and Diane,

    Liz

    Robert Answers
    :

    1. How to stop the tapes from playing? If they truly are just mental loops devoid of emotion, then simply becoming aware of them as they arise, and then shifting your attention to something noncognitive (like the abdominal sensations generated by your breathing) ought to be enough. But I suspect that there may be some emotion fueling the tapes, if only because you do refer to their playing as a “repetitive resentment” that you’d like to stop. I recommend that you give yourself permission to openly feel and express whatever hurt and anger may still be there, regardless of any thoughts you might have that you shouldn’t be feeling such feelings anymore.

    If there is any denial whatsoever of such feelings, they will energetically migrate to your head, finding a kind of pseudo-release through the kind of thinking in which you are caught up. I suggest that when you become aware of the tapes starting to play that you immediately identify what you are feeling, and shift your attention to that, whatever it may be, and keep your attention there as best you can. Sometimes doing so will not require any overt emotional expression, and other times it will. In addition to this, I suggest that each morning you do a minimum of 15 minutes of focused meditation, followed by visualizing your ex and wishing him well for a few minutes.

    2. As horrible as “ex” might sound to you, it’s important that you honor and fully accept what it signifies; you could think of him as your “ex” and still feel warmly toward him as your “ex” without bringing in whatever negative associations you might have with the term. If “ex” still doesn’t work for you, you could try extending it to “ex-partner” or try some similar labels, like “former partner” or “past partner”. You could also shorten “former partner” to “f-p” (“past partner” doesn’t shorten so well); when you mention “my f-p” to someone, you’d of course have to explain what it meant, which would give you an opportunity to say a bit more about him and your current relationship with him.

    3. First of all, there’s no alternative to practicing being present; simply saying to yourself, “Now I’m aware of...” and immediately finishing the sentence is something you can do at all kinds of times. One of the benefits of this new relationship is that it is going to force you (assuming you remain committed to it) to become more skilled at being present.

    I recommend that you date your loneliness.

    This means spending quality time with it, becoming more sensitive to it, moving toward its pain, its craving for release from itself. Notice the intensity of your pull to get away from those sensations that characterize your loneliness. What if you were to just sit there, sit with your loneliness, not doing a damn thing other than giving it your undivided attention? What if you were to simply let it settle and rest in your presence, listening to it with an opening heart and curious mind, noticing its shape and breath, its bodily terminals, its tones, its textures, its shifts?

    And shift it will, if you continue to give it undivided, compassionate attention. You can thus hold your loneliness, holding it close but not so close that it cannot breathe freely.
    Then your loneliness is not just a painfulness, but a vulnerable fullness warming you, a tender ticket to your depths, a far from dysfunctional catalyst for remembering What-Really-Matters.

    In letting your loneliness transmute into aloneness, you may still be physically alone, but you’ll be palpably connected, especially at the heart, with many others, realizing that only when you are truly capable of enjoying being alone are you capable of really being in relationship.

    Of course, none of this means that you won’t miss your new relationship. What’s important is not to make a problem out of missing him. Stay with the ache of it, the hurt and longing of it, and use that pain to deepen your connection to the Real. Also realize the benefits of being apart: You have space to truly work through whatever’s left unfinished with your f-p; you have space to digest and integrate whatever’s happening between you and your new man; you get to deepen and refine your speaking and listening skills (via phone intimacy) with him; you are forced to gradually settle into the relationship, building a solid and true friendship, without the chemistry between the two of you getting in the way.

    When it is truly time to be together full-time, the key sign will be that your separation will no longer be serving your mutual growth. Until then, be grateful for your bond, and grateful for what it stirs up in you, neither speeding nor braking the ripening of your connection.

    I’m not speaking theoretically here, for my wife Diane and I spent close to a year not living together, despite feeling remarkably close and bonded early on, because we lived a thousand miles apart. We missed each other terribly during our times apart, but were okay with it until a half year or so had passed (during which time we let the depth of our bond pervade the rest of our lives), after which it began to feel, and consistently feel, unnatural not to be fully together. Then, and only then, did we begin seriously talking about living together. Your new relationship is still ripening; all you and your man need do is provide the necessary conditions for that ripening to continue. Along the way you will become much more intimate with states like loneliness, patience, doubt, and faith, not to mention your own depths. Along the way meditate, pray, weep, rage, laugh, letting go of how you think it all should be. Trust, and a deeper trust...

    I’ll close this with a poem I wrote to Diane after one of our L.A. airport partings (roughly 4 months after we met):

    AIRPORT BLUES II

    So we parted once again
    Letting the pain sweep through
    Knowing it was coming
    Didn’t make it any easier
    Only in dying, living
    I leave but am not leaving

    Blazing sea of clouds below
    Clear superblue skies up here
    And I’m raining, raining inside
    Your goodbye tears ripping me wide
    Only in dying, living
    I leave but am not leaving

    We found a little corner
    Airport crowds streaming past
    Forgetting them was easy
    Letting you go was not
    Only in dying, living
    I leave but am not leaving

    We stood tenderly trembling
    In our little concrete corner
    Wrapped in our shared heart
    Knowing we’d soon be apart
    Only in dying, living
    I leave but am not leaving

    I carry our parting kiss
    Up the bustling stairs
    Leaning into the buzzing hustle
    Looking back at the space between us
    Only in dying, living
    I leave but am not leaving

    Beloved, take my hand
    Let’s pass through every land
    Until separation cannot keep us apart
    And we are what beats our heart


    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

    "You've never seen everything." - Bruce Cockburn
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  •  08-16-2006, 2:02 PM 4470 in reply to 4188

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    Hi holons

    Hey - are you dreaming right now?   Are you sureHmm [^o)]

    I just completed an interview I did with Robert for the next issue of Lucid Dream Exchange; the interview is posted in a thread on lucid dreaming which I just started in the General Community Forums.

    NOTE TO SELF: don't forget to include Michael and Bryan's questions in the next set.

    arthur

    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

    "You've never seen everything." - Bruce Cockburn
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  •  08-21-2006, 8:55 PM 4914 in reply to 4470

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    Q&A Part 25:

    MichaelD asks:

    Reasons for making reasons (within a healing context):

    Making or finding reasons for why we are as we are can possibly suggest useful strategies for making changes.

    Reasons provide meaning which in turn satisfies a desire…the desire to understand…to solve a puzzle, to satisfy curiosity, provide solace to the ego etc.

    Provide the illusion of control (the mind likes to think it runs the show, and meaning is mind-fodder).

    Provide story and explanation to reinforce and bolster continuity of identity.

    Reasons can serve to reinforce ‘the problem’.

    Reasons can provide plenty of materials for purposes of complaining.

    Based on the above, it would seem that the negatives outweigh the positives of making & finding reasons. Yet to my often amazed mind, I still continue to look for and create reasons, and frankly, I'm tired of it.

    There is the need for investigation and processing that simply doesn’t go away no matter how much I wish it away.

    I investigate what is happening within and to me because to not do so is painful. A sense of Wholeness and Understanding that is beyond mere reasoning calls me ever forward, even as the pain of looping over and over again in cycles of one sort or another insist that I bring awareness into dark areas of self via an investigative mode of inquiry.

    So I do so. Part of what happens then - is simple witnessing, and another part is analysis. (actually, I think that there are multiple layers of inquiry, and rational analysis is just one of them, but tends to dominate).

    And what does the analyzing mind do? Makes and finds reasons and patterns and stories of course.

    Reasons tend to go on and on in ever widening circles of self-justification.

    What are your thoughts Robert on the question of interpretations and meaning-making within healing?


    Robert answers:

    What are my thoughts on the question of interpretations and meaning-making within healing? First of all, remember that an interpretation, however useful or fitting, is just that, an interpretation, and don’t stop remembering it. Second, be aware of whatever value is being placed upon a particular interpretation, both by yourself and by others. Third, keep an eye on the interpreter. Fourth, allow your interpretations to retain enough of an unfinished quality so that they have room for further shaping and evolution. Fifth, keep in touch as much as possible with that which eludes all interpretation. And last, but not least, stay in compassionate relationship with the you who needs what meaning-making provides.

    When we, in a healing context, do some work and start connecting the dots, it’s quite natural to interpret our experience, to somehow make some sense out of it. There’s a reason, or reasons, for why we are the way we are, or so we think, perhaps finding a needed comfort in such explanation. We may settle for reasons that are mundane, and we may settle for reasons that are more metaphysical, like those employing notions like “karma” to explain -- and perhaps also justify -- just about anything. But Life is not so neatly ordered or mappable, regardless of our conceptualizations of it. We don’t necessarily always have to interpret or make meaning out of what’s going on; we can sometimes simply be with it, letting it make unexplainable sense; or we can allow our interpreting and meaning-making to remain functionally peripheral to our simply being with whatever’s arising.

    I know I’m skimming over some deep waters here. Rather than continuing to scan the territory, I’m going to plunge into the notion of meaning itself, examining along the way the “why?” that more often than not fuels our meaning-making enterprises. Though my approach to meaning is not exactly gentle, I do not intend to diminish anyone for whatever relationship they might have with meaning, or for whatever comfort they might derive from meaning and meaning-making. And once again what started as a relatively concise response has morphed, with no real resistance from me, into something essayish...

    OURS NOT TO REASON WHY
    An Inside Look at Meaning


    Life is too real to have (or to need) meaning.

    And just what does that mean?

    Read on...

    Given the actual condition in which we find ourselves, it is quite understandable that we’d look, and keep looking for -- and at times require -- some sort of comfort or reassurance in the explanatory dimensions of consciousness, even though our attempts to find or extract or assign meaning ultimately only distract us from the raw contingency and absolute mystery of our existence.

    We act as if we need a reason to go on (plus a reason to keep on needing reasons), but, as James Hillman points out, “A significant life does not have to find meaning because significance is given directly with reality.”

    Significance, unlike meaning, does not explain, but reveals.

    Many of us believe that everything happens for a reason. But it actually happens simply because various factors have, in their mutual intersecting and coming together, made such manifestation inevitable. Each of these factors has its factors, and so on, back and back and back, in cartography-eluding, surpassingly complex contingency. This, all put together, constitutes something far more real than “a reason.”

    We may not want (or be prepared) to fully acknowledge the contingent nature of whatever arises -- including us (especially in our wanting to be special, to stand out against the rest of existence) -- trying instead to assign some kind of meaning to it, but such explanatory strategies do not even remotely approach what is really occurring.

    The assumption that anything possesses — or can truly claim — intrinsic meaning is important to cut through, but only when we are ready to do so. Whatever its value developmentally (as part of formal reasoning’s unfolding) and under certain conditions (psychotherapeutic, for example), meaning remains an interpretive process designed, however automatically, to distract us — and, more often than not, protect our separative self-sense — from that which has spawned us and paradoxically also is, as always, literally making an appearance as us.

    We make meaning, and it makes us, and on and on this goes in Möbius loopity-loops, more often than not leaving us eventually circling ourselves so tightly that there’s not much more to breathe than just more data. “Just when I found the meaning of life, they changed it” (George Carlin). And we is they.

    So is Life meaningless? Coiled deep within-and-beyond this question is the “answer,” existing not as a facile yes or no, but rather in the transconceptual illumination of what is really motivating the question. Identifying who — or, more to the point, what — is formulating it is far, far more important than just attempting to reply to its content. Whatever is generating the question needs to be fully exposed and acknowledged, not only intellectually, but with our entirety. Then, and only then, can the actual relevancy of the question be viewed in its nakedness, so that it might spark a truly fitting response.

    That is, when the question becomes primal inquiry, its investigation leads beyond the cognitive associations of the conventional mind into firsthand participation in deeper dimensions of Being. Something more real than answers — or what we “normally” think of as answers — is sought, intuited, taken in.

    Life makes sense only when we stop trying to make it make sense.

    Put another way, when we cease projecting meaning onto Life (an undertaking that should not be engaged in prematurely) — thereby giving Life more breathing room, more space to be — then Life’s natural significance begins revealing itself to us.

    The entire issue of meaning and meaninglessness, if explored with sufficient depth, provides an opportunity to become more aware not only of the functioning of our mind, but also of our attachment to knowledge and its various framings. Stephen Levine speaks of how “no ‘meaning’ can hold it all.... There is an odd way the mind, particularly when threatened, attempts to find ‘meaning’ in life, to make some intellectual bargain with the unknown.” We forget that that which seeks to explain the Mystery is just part of the Mystery, as ultimately unfathomable as anything else.

    However, the point is not to make existential real estate out of meaninglessness (which is where existentialism has floundered). When our mind is quiet and our heart open and our belly relaxed, Life can be before us in its horizonless, nameless, naked, ultravivid reality and absolute mystery, and we have room for it all to be just as it is, not minding that it carries no intrinsic meaning. Its bare existence and seeming paradoxicalness — a neverending perishing that is never other than Eternal Being — draws us to it, beyond the reach of our mind, until our relationship with it becomes, at least to some degree, identification with it.

    Nevertheless, the usual “I” is but a thought away.

    So easy it is to shift from Be-ing to me-ing.

    To reiterate: Life has no inherent meaning, both including and transcending whatever seeks to explain, conceptualize, frame, or contain it.

    Meaning provides a relatively secure (and, at times, necessary) sense of certainty, a psychosemantic hedge against the Wild Mystery of Being, a comfortingly shared or personalized flag to hold up and wave in the midst of Infinity, a neatly-bricked bastion of explanatory facticity (and corresponding values) in which to dwell when emissaries of primordial Being — like death and nondual stirrings — come knocking.

    As important as meaning is at times — as when it provides needed bridges over stormy or confusing waters — it nonetheless remains little more than a mental strategy. It may take us to the very edge of the personal, but to proceed further, we must cease hanging onto it.

    And we must also cease hanging onto meaninglessness. Where meaning seduces us with hope — nostalgia for the future — meaninglessness seduces us with despair — angst for the future. Beyond (and yet also simultaneously prior to) both hope and despair is the Now in which we are always already Home.

    Meaninglessness is a grave problem to most, a burdened sea with no habitable coast, the suffocating yet reassuringly familiar shadow of a brooding existential ghost. Meaninglessness — which is not equivalent to purposelessness — is the glum and sometimes intellectually smug companion and angst-crowned legitimizer of despair, elevating to pseudo-priesthood those who claim to be able to restore meaningfulness.

    Nevertheless, the issue of meaning and meaninglessness isn’t really that much of a core concern, being peripheral to issues like purpose. In brief, purpose involves the uncovering and fitting-as-possible embodiment of a kind of psychospiritual blueprint, simultaneously simple and complex, already written yet invitingly blank, rich with improvisational possibility. Purposefulness may seem to share some overlap with meaningfulness, but it is much more than a cognitive construction. Purpose is more organismic than meaning, rooted not just in mind, but also in body, emotion, psyche, and spirit.

    In such totality, there is a naturally felt sense of significance. Significance transcends meaning. Meaning is rooted in dualistic apperceiving, but significance, in the crunch, is not nearly so dualistically rooted or framed or limited, signaling the impact of direct contact with What-Really-Matters, whatever the level.

    Significance doesn’t ask “Why?” (because it has no need to), but meaning does, and in fact is an attempt to meet “Why?” with answers/explanations/beliefs that will silence it. But “Why” is asking for something very different, if we will but really listen to it...

    When we are suffering, we may find ourselves asking: “Why?” There is, however, no genuinely satisfying answer at the level at which our suffering is the prevailing reality for us. And nor are the metaphysical and “spiritual” reasons and beliefs spewed out by our intellect truly satisfying.

    The understanding we seek is not in our everyday mind. But it exists. It is often first sensed when we cease turning away from the pain that centers our suffering. And it is found when we — in the form of awakened attentiveness — penetrate that pain so deeply that we connect, intimately, with its essence. Then suffering’s “Why?” ceases being a conventional question, and simply becomes one more catalyst for opening the book of our life to the most fitting pages.

    Philosophically, we may rebut suffering’s “Why?” with “Why not?” or with cosmic smooth talk. But when we move beyond these and other such strategies, our sense of identity shifts from everyday selfhood — which both centers and animates that dramatization of pain which we call suffering — to the selfhood that knows itself to be but Being making an appearance. Pain may still exist here, but not suffering.

    So when you, in your suffering, ask “Why?”, shift your attention — your undivided attention — to whatever it is that you are feeling. Thoughts may be campaigning for your attention, but shift, and keep shifting, your attention from thought to sensation and feeling. Don’t try to silence your mind; simply let it be as you focus in on the feeling dimension of your suffering. Enter it. Explore and illuminate its geography from within, touching all of it with care. See it without eyes, hear it without ears, know it without thinking. Don’t stop short; enter it fully.

    Permit yourself intimacy with detail — detail of location, shape, texture, pressure, temperature, speed, color, directionality, imagery. Don’t wait for a seemingly more auspicious moment; go, go this very moment, now. Enter it deeply, passing through it until you reach the place where pain is but fierce grace. Then observe who or what it is that is asking “Why?” -- is it really you, or is it just a habit that has been given permission to refer to itself as you? Looking for meaning here is just a detour.

    Check out the billboards lining your journey into and through the feelings that are central to your suffering. Notice which ones grab you, seduce you, hook you. Maybe ones like “Life’s not fair” or “I don’t deserve this” or “Why me?” snare you. Don’t, however, get focused on the dramatics at this point — it’s enough to simply recognize that you’re caught. All the places, faces, and embraces that hook us weave the net of our suffering.

    Suffering can be one hell of a drag, but it also gives us an identity — I suffer, therefore I am. We tend to be reluctant to give up our suffering. What would we then blame for our failures? And who would we be (and who would we be responsible for being) if our suffering were to cease?

    The end of suffering — which does not mean the end of pain — means, among other things, ceasing to adopt a problematic orientation to Life. Then every feeling and thought and state, however dark or tight or dense, becomes a portal into Being, the open sky of which effortlessly renders transparent suffering’s “Why?”.

    As Presence — the self-illuminating, effortlessly sentient imprint of Being — becomes primary, and perception secondary, we find ourselves reassembled as motivelessly awakened openness, as at home with the ouch as with the aahhh!

    The answer to suffering’s “Why?” is not really an answer, but rather an openness ablaze with a recognition before which the mind gets so quiet, so unburdened by meaning, so dynamically empty, that the arising of a single thought is thunderously apparent.

    Instead of trying to get rid of suffering’s “Why?”, we could treat it as a kind of divine appetizer, signaling a feast not so far away, to which one and all are invited. The main course includes the self that turns pain into suffering, cooked to perfection. Not exactly tenderloin, but quite edible, nevertheless, and easily digested when not allowed to become food for thought.

    Suffering is but pain that’s gone to mind. Instead of minding pain — thereby letting it overfuel thinking and thinker — be with it, breathe it, feel it, inch closer and closer to it. The more intimate we are with our pain, the less we suffer.

    Ours not to reason why, ours but to come alive.

    Perhaps later on we will understand what is not ours to understand now, but that is not the point — what matters is the degree of intimacy that we cultivate with our not-knowing.

    Allow suffering’s “Why?” to be like a roll of newspaper used to stir a fire; soon, it becomes food for the flames, its transformation its gift to us, the ever so brief calligraphy of its ashes eloquently traced across Big Sky.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Any questions will be submitted to Robert each Friday.

    NOTE: I have a blog entry in which I will post each section of the ongoing (currently weekly) dialog, numbered and dated:

    Integral Naked Interviews Robert Augustus Masters

    The blog entry contains only the questions and answers; in this thread, conversation and commentary on the subject matter at hand is welcome and encouraged.

    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

    "You've never seen everything." - Bruce Cockburn
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  •  09-01-2006, 6:35 PM 6421 in reply to 4914

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    No questions have been submitted this week.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Any questions will be submitted to Robert each Friday.

    NOTE: I have a blog entry in which I will post each section of the ongoing (currently weekly) dialog, numbered and dated:

    Integral Naked Interviews Robert Augustus Masters

    The blog entry contains only the questions and answers; in this thread, conversation and commentary on the subject matter at hand is welcome and encouraged.

    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

    "You've never seen everything." - Bruce Cockburn
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  •  09-02-2006, 8:55 AM 6504 in reply to 6421

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    Here's a question that came up in conversation last night.

    I just read yet another story about a guy who killed his whole family and then himself.

    Often, the scenario is that the woman is leaving him, and he decides he can't live with that. I have personal knowledge of this scenario, as this happened with someone who worked at a place where I ended up working later. His wife was leaving, and he was just this regular guy, seemingly. He seemed to be coming to grips with it, and then he just shot everyone in his family and then himself. From what my coworkers told me, he'd been in to work the day before, and seemed not at all different, except having accepted the situation, as often happens with suicidal people who have made the decision and are "at peace" with it. He had no history of domestic violence, as far as anyone knew. I found this so disturbing, that it could happen seemingly to anyone.

    This seems to be something that men do and not women, though of course there are exceptions. When a man does it, it barely even makes the news anymore. Do you understand why this happenes? Why do these men feel the need to take everyone with them?

    Also, this seems to happen much more frequently now. Do you think there is some social reason that it's become more acceptable in these men's minds to do this than, say, 50 years ago? Is it just that they've seen it happen with other men, and they get the idea that it's the best way out?

    I do have some ideas about this, but I wanted to see what you think before I comment on it. Thanks.

    Liz

    Upgrade to ISC!
    http://www.integralinstitute.org/public/static/multispirit.aspx
    http://pods.gaia.com/ii
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  •  09-03-2006, 10:11 AM 6632 in reply to 6504

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    The September issue of Robert's newsletter is now available.

    Great question, Liz, I'll send it to Robert next Friday.  Smile [:)]

    arthur


    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

    "You've never seen everything." - Bruce Cockburn
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  •  09-04-2006, 1:14 PM 6733 in reply to 6632

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    I just received this notice on Robert's next practicum.  One day I'd love to do this.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Greetings!

    Please find attached a pdf of my upcoming Integral Psychotherapy Practicum, a one-year cutting-edge apprenticeship and training providing an opportunity to learn (1) unique and exceptionally effective psychotherapeutic, spiritual, and bodywork skills; and (2) how to effectively integrate these in counselling work.

    I realize that my Integral Psychotherapy Practicum may not be for you, but I still want you to know about it, if only because you may know someone who would be interested in it and would likely benefit from doing it (both with regard to personal growth and career opportunities).

    This will be the fourth such Practicum that I've offered; I expect that there will be many more. The Integral Psychotherapy Practicum is a prerequisite for further trainings with me, such as the upcoming advanced bodywork modules (integrating bodywork and psychotherapy) in the Summer of 2007.

    The Practicum is not just for therapists who want to learn a more intuitive, integral, and bodywork-including approach to their practice, nor just for those who are wanting to work in the counselling/psychotherapy field, but also for those who want to participate with kindred spirits in a year of deep personal work during which they will learn skills that will serve them in every area of their life.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Blessings,
    Robert

    www.RobertMasters.com

    P.S. I've added the Practicum details as an email add-on below for those who can't open the pdf.


    Integral Psychotherapy Practicum
    2007 APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM
    with
    Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D

    The purpose of this training is to deepen the capacity of participants to effectively counsel others through a dynamic, intuitively structured approach that effectively integrates body, mind, emotion, and spirit.

    To this end, the training will blend deep work on oneself and equally deep work with others, in personal, social, and spiritual contexts. Healing will be the primary intention and activity. Approaches that are taught and practised will be held, as much as possible, in a perspective that transcends them.

    You’ll learn to not rely upon nor necessarily impose structure, but rather to let it naturally arise from your relationship and interaction with those you’re counselling. Working this way weans us from the security — the eventually deadening security — of operating from behind a preset methodology or structure, leaving us in a position that requires an appropriately creative response from us. Such creativity keeps us fresh, open, and alert.

    Throughout the training we will be working with body, mind, emotion, and spirit. Love, integrity, and presence will be the cornerstones of our practice.

    The training will take place over six 3-day weekends, beginning February 2, 2007. Tuition is CDN$5400 plus GST. A deposit of $750 is required. As the training is limited to 10 participants only, early registration is recommended.

    The training is a prerequisite for further trainings with Robert, such as the annual Bodywork-in-Psychotherapy Practicum.

    Robert is a critically acclaimed author and highly experienced psychotherapist with a doctorate in Psychology, innovatively integrating mind, body, emotion, and spirituality in his work. His website is www.RobertMasters.com.


    Practicum Schedule
    Feb. 2-4, April 6-8, June 1-3, July 27-29, Oct. 5-7, and Dec. 7-9, 2007

    For more information, contact info@robertmasters.com


    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

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  •  09-12-2006, 1:01 PM 7667 in reply to 6733

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    Q&A Part 26


    Liz/Tamgoddess asks:

    Here's a question that came up in conversation last night.

    I just read yet another story about a guy who killed his whole family and then himself.

    Often, the scenario is that the woman is leaving him, and he decides he can't live with that. I have personal knowledge of this scenario, as this happened with someone who worked at a place where I ended up working later. His wife was leaving, and he was just this regular guy, seemingly. He seemed to be coming to grips with it, and then he just shot everyone in his family and then himself. From what my coworkers told me, he'd been in to work the day before, and seemed not at all different, except having accepted the situation, as often happens with suicidal people who have made the decision and are "at peace" with it. He had no history of domestic violence, as far as anyone knew. I found this so disturbing, that it could happen seemingly to anyone.

    This seems to be something that men do and not women, though of course there are exceptions. When a man does it, it barely even makes the news anymore. Do you understand why this happens? Why do these men feel the need to take everyone with them?

    Also, this seems to happen much more frequently now. Do you think there is some social reason that it's become more acceptable in these men's minds to do this than, say, 50 years ago? Is it just that they've seen it happen with other men, and they get the idea that it's the best way out?

    I do have some ideas about this, but I wanted to see what you think before I comment on it. Thanks.

    Liz

    Robert answers:

    I don’t have any kind of conclusive answer to the questions you raise, since each such murder-plus-suicide situation has its own unique formative elements, but I do think that there are some factors worth considering:

    (1) Increasingly pervasive cultural stress, in deadly combo with an overwhelming level of personal stress. Those who don’t handle this so well usually find “solutions” that, sooner or later, simply compound their distress. A breaking point is reached, which may manifest in all kinds of ways, including, at the extreme, murder and/or suicide. I’m not saying that stress causes a man to kill his family and himself, but that there’s a positive correlation between extreme stress and “out-of-character” acts. Put just about any of us under extreme pressure for long enough, and who knows what will be uncorked?

    (2) Twisted logic, coupled with heavy stress levels and emotional overload. The father in question may have thought along these lines: “I don’t want my family to have to live with the pain of having a father who’s committed suicide, so I’ll spare them that pain by ending their lives before I take my own.” An irrational rationalization for sure, but a rationalization nonetheless. Or he may have thought something like: “I don’t want to separate my family.” This is not an uncommon thought, especially amongst those who are in a situation that may be leaning toward unwanted separation.

    So keeping the family together by killing them all at the same time may become an appealing notion for one who is at an extreme edge. Enough distress may fuel the kind of thinking that concludes that the family is better off dead. (This may be made all the more palatable if we hold religious beliefs along the lines that we’ll all literally be together again, pretty much as we are, in some kind of heaven-world -- so what real difference does it make how we get there?)

    (3) Violence remains a common “solution” to certain difficulties, especially among men. And the greater the stress, the greater the aggression, whether it’s turned toward others, or toward oneself, or both. Even the “nicest” guy may turn into a stalker (whose self-loathing only further fuels his ultra-possessive behavior) when his wife leaves him, submitting to the most primitive of territorial imperatives. Or he may enter the uglier dimensions of aggression because of extreme shame -- think of how we, at least in a cinematic sense, almost expect the shamed hero to revenge himself on those who have put him down. Revengeisus.com.

    I mention shame because of how intensely it can arise in those who are being left, or are about to be left, by their partner. In women, this shame often manifests as toxic self-deprecation, an aggression turned inward, but in men it more often manifests as as an equally toxic putting down of the woman, a blaming of and aggression against her. Hostility plus.

    Also, a man who is about to be left by his wife may be so opposed to her being with another man, not to mention their children also being with a new dad, that he’d rather kill them all than endure such a situation; he might not have considered suicide before killing them, but once he has, suicide may seem to him to be the only way out of the horror he has brought about.

    (4) An extremely compelling sense of no-exit despair, no way out, no alternative. When someone has reached this point, suicidal thoughts are common. If significant others are being considered at such a time, it likely won’t be with any real clarity. Those who are seriously considering suicide are, with few exceptions, in immense pain, stumbling through a darkness beyond darkness. At this point our psychophysiological default will assert itself with great force: We might shut down our vital signs (as we probably first did when under unbearable stress) and sink into the “safety” of depression; we might get overly absorbed in obsessive thought-loops, finding some distance from our emotional pain through doing so; or we might try to simply disappear (which may have been part of how we survived our childhood), going in the direction of extreme dissociation or in a more overtly physical direction, like suicide.

    If a man’s family is central to his sense of identity, and he is totally opposed to having it come apart (as through the departure of one member, including him), even as he simultaneously feels certain that he is going to leave via suicide, then his backed-into-a-corner solution may be to take his family members with him into death. Such may be his answer -- however bizarre it may seem to less troubled others -- to keeping his family together, brushing him, however fleetingly or ambiguously, with a trace of moral triumph in his last desperate moments.


    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

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  •  09-12-2006, 2:49 PM 7673 in reply to 7667

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    Thanks, Robert. Especially the part about shame resonates with me. It seems like our society is always, always about bigger and better, and if you don't continuously prove your chops, you're nothing. Men have been really crushed by the expectation that they need to be successful in every way or they are a complete failure. Phrases like "giving 110%" drive me batty.

    The implication when a marriage "fails" is that one hasn't tried hard enough. But we expect marriage to be what it can't, and it's a recipe for disaster.

    Liz

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  •  09-22-2006, 1:21 AM 8833 in reply to 7673

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    I just got back from a Diane Bardwell concert, which was held in the cottage she does therapy in, behind the house she lives in with Robert.  In addition to the therapy sessions she does there, it's also where Robert and Diane got married - there's a lot of energy in that room!  The decor is so beautiful and the acoustics are perfect, I love the warm, cosy space.

    The concert was amazing, held for a small intimate group of people; all of us had done work with Robert before, and so were familiar with those of the songs which she has sung before at the end of workshops.  Many of the songs have Robert's poetry set to her music - the combination of his profound lyrics and her angelic voice is a wonder to behold and stirs the soul.  She sang a set, we broke for refreshments, and then she did a second set - the latter part of the concert was mostly composed of chants and it felt so good to sing along with her and everybody. 

    I got to talk with some people I've met before at workshops, as well as meet some new people.  It was such a privilege to be there and I'm still glowing from the experience.  Diane will have a CD coming out at some point - can't be too soon for me! - which will accompany a collection of Robert's poetry.  Much as I have grown to deeply appreciate his poetry, in my mind the book just happens to be unusual packaging for the CD, which is what I'm really looking forward to! 

    Thank you so much for this evening, Diane.  You are a beautiful soul and I feel grateful to know you.  Smile [:)]


     



    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

    "You've never seen everything." - Bruce Cockburn
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  •  09-22-2006, 8:12 AM 8860 in reply to 8833

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    yes, the world needs many healers and Diane is Beauty-fullBig Smile [:D]

    on divorce and men who.......i was very  glad my ex  found someone to be with - a boomer lady , whom i knew and very much liked. the hard part was seeing him sad...that's why i told him to find somebody else.  he protested "that's just it, i don't want anyone else" .she was lonly too. he left what was left after paying all bills ,  the house sell cash for us .. all house content...we still love each other.the other night , in subtle, he came around in the night to check up and it felt nice.  the other sat. he came out to help son install a toilet. we hug bye. 

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  •  09-22-2006, 10:57 AM 8885 in reply to 8833

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    adastra:
    I just got back from a Diane Bardwell concert, which was held in the cottage she does therapy in, behind the house she lives in with Robert.  In addition to the therapy sessions she does there, it's also where Robert and Diane got married - there's a lot of energy in that room!  The decor is so beautiful and the acoustics are perfect, I love the warm, cosy space.

    The concert was amazing, held for a small intimate group of people; all of us had done work with Robert before, and so were familiar with those of the songs which she has sung before at the end of workshops.  Many of the songs have Robert's poetry set to her music - the combination of his profound lyrics and her angelic voice is a wonder to behold and stirs the soul.  She sang a set, we broke for refreshments, and then she did a second set - the latter part of the concert was mostly composed of chants and it felt so good to sing along with her and everybody. 

    I got to talk with some people I've met before at workshops, as well as meet some new people.  It was such a privilege to be there and I'm still glowing from the experience.  Diane will have a CD coming out at some point - can't be too soon for me! - which will accompany a collection of Robert's poetry.  Much as I have grown to deeply appreciate his poetry, in my mind the book just happens to be unusual packaging for the CD, which is what I'm really looking forward to! 

    Thank you so much for this evening, Diane.  You are a beautiful soul and I feel grateful to know you.  Smile [:)] 


    Wish I could have been there, to chant with you, especially.Smile [:)] Waiting for the CD!

    Liz

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  •  09-22-2006, 12:06 PM 8893 in reply to 8885

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    tamgoddess:
    Wish I could have been there, to chant with you, especially.Smile [:)] Waiting for the CD!

    Liz


    She's currently in the midst of trying to raise $40K to finance the completion of the CD; donations, ideas, prayers etc. are welcome - people can contact Diane through her website.

    It occurs to me that with this project in the works, it would be an excellent time for Stu to interview her - I seem to recall him mentioning wanting to interview her in the dialog he did with Robert.

    I also recall that Stuart has used innovative techniques to raise money to finance his CD projects; maybe he would have some advice for her about that.

    arthur



    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

    "You've never seen everything." - Bruce Cockburn
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  •  09-27-2006, 6:38 PM 9634 in reply to 8893

    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    One day - OK, maybe 3 days - I'd love to do the following kind of sustained retreat with Robert.  Judging by the thickness of my wallet (or lack thereof) it's not going to happen anytime soon.  But somebody needs to go to this and report back to me - or to the forum as a whole.  His retreats are somewhat pricey but very potent, and Diane adds a wonderful sweetness and light with her divine feminine energy.

    I seem to recall MichaelD mentioning during the Vancouver gathering or shortly thereafter that he was planning to go; I seem to recall long-lost Feral saying much the same; is this still the case, I wonder?

    spirals,
    arthur


    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Greetings!

    December 1st to 3rd this year, I (assisted by my wife Diane) will be leading a residential intensive (devoted to deep healing and awakening) at Brew Creek Lodge, a beautiful, secluded resort near Whistler, BC. Attached is a pdf describing the group.

    For those of you who have already done group work with me, the work will be much the same, except that instead of wrapping up at 6 o'clock on the same day that the group began, we'll have 3 days together to deepen and more fully digest the work, with the added benefit of staying in the location where the group is taking place.

    And what a location! The setting will only add to the experience of working at your edge with kindred spirits: wonderfully secluded rustic luxury, cosy high-quality accommodation, a river that runs right below the groupwork room and right beside the hot tub, and great meals (including gourmet 3-course dinners from a French chef), all set in lush forest.

    There will be many opportunities for each participant to do deep work, as I'm limiting the group to 14 participants only.

    We'll begin at about 1:30pm Friday, December 1st, and end at about 4:30pm Sunday, December 3rd. Our daytime work will feature an intuitive, dynamic mix of bodywork, psychotherapy, dream exploration, conscious movement, and meditative practices, and our evening work will feature spiritual opening and deepening work, plus soundwork and music with Diane.

    I'm excited to be offering this group; it feels like a great way to cap off the year.

    If you're interested in participating, please let me know as soon as you can, as the group is already half full.

    Hope to see you there!
    Robert


    RADICAL OPENING


    THREE DAYS OF GROUPWORK DEVOTED

    TO DEEP HEALING & AWAKENING


    with

    ROBERT AUGUSTUS MASTERS, PH.D.


    assisted by DIANE BARDWELL


    December 1st - 3rd, 2006, Whistler, BC




    The Situation:
    You’ve done work on yourself and have opened and benefited (and want to maintain that openness), but find certain issues surfacing again and again — relationship hassles, insecurities, emotional inhibitions, and so on. Now, more than ever, these are in your face (perhaps because you’re now ready to fully face them), asking for your undivided attention. And, quite possibly, also for a suitable setting, featuring both cutting-edge guidance and the company of others as committed as you to healing and awakening.

    The Context:
    You might think that these issues are blocking your path, but in reality they are part of your path, and need to be treated as such. All you have to do is stop turning away from them, stop trying to rise above them, and make the journey into them, with awareness, compassion, and curiosity. This is not necessarily easy — for if it was, you probably would’ve already done it — but it can be done, leaving you more whole, more alive and present, more functional in every aspect of your life, allowing you to live a life that is as practical as it is liberating. This healing is what Radical Opening is all about. 

    Who It’s For:
    Radical Opening is for those who want to make wise use of their difficulties and who are ready to work through whatever is obstructing their liberation. It is especially suited for those whose longing to be truly free is stronger than their longing to continue distracting themselves from their suffering.

    About the Work:
    This group will be small and intimate, being limited to 14 participants only, so that there is enough time for everyone to receive in-depth attention. The group will involve therapy (in its focus on personal history), and will also involve much more than therapy, given its integral nature. Deep catharsis, psychodrama, and spiritual breakthroughs will flow in and out of each other during the group, in spontaneously apt ways. All emotions are welcome. 

    All kinds of issues and concerns — from the deepest trauma to the seemingly trivial — will be dealt with, through a dynamic, creative mix of psychotherapy, bodywork, spiritual disciplines, dreamwork, and group practices. The atmosphere will be one of deep trust; the group will be a safe place to let go of being safe, providing a crucible not only for personal healing, but also for awakening from all of our entrapping dreams. 

    Participants will learn to become more intimate with all that they are — dark and light, high and low, shallow and deep, neurotic and transcendent, dying and undying.

    The structuring of the group will  not be preset, but instead will arise in accordance with group and individual needs. Each participant will have an opportunity to work, in relevant detail and in sufficient depth, with his or her particular issues, and not necessarily just once in the group.

    LOCATION: Brew Creek Lodge (15 minutes south of Whistler, BC), a magnificent, secluded resort featuring rustic luxury set amidst lush forest. Gourmet lunches and dinners (3 courses) follow group sessions. A river flows directly below the group meeting room; previous participants have especially enjoyed braving the river’s cool depths after spending some time in the hot tub right beside the river.

    FEE: Tuition: $775 plus GST. Lodging & All Meals: $250. A deposit (nonrefundable after October 15, 2006) of $200.00 is required, payable to Robert Masters, 16133 9th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 1A5.

    ROBERT is a critically acclaimed author and highly experienced psychotherapist with a doctorate in Psychology, innovatively integrating mind, body, emotion, and spirituality in his work. For more information on his work and writings (and to subscribe to his free newsletter), visit www.RobertMasters.com.

    DIANE, Robert’s wife and spiritual partner, is an intuitive healer and Reiki master, as well as a songwriter and professional singer, with a special talent for accessing and transmitting heartfelt spirituality through her music. Her website is www.DianeBardwell.com.

    To Register, or For More Information, contact info@robertmasters.com. Early registration is advised, as the group may fill quickly.
    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

    "You've never seen everything." - Bruce Cockburn
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  •  09-27-2006, 7:29 PM 9647 in reply to 9634

    • MichaelD is not online. Last active: 09-09-2008, 6:34 PM MichaelD
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    Re: Q&A with Robert Augustus Masters

    I seem to recall MichaelD mentioning during the Vancouver gathering or shortly thereafter that he was planning to go; I seem to recall long-lost Feral saying much the same; is this still the case, I wonder?

    Wonder no more my dear Arthur.  The answer alas, to both questions is no.


    HeartMind.us
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