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Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self

Last post 08-26-2006, 3:00 AM by leopardi. 13 replies.
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  •  08-04-2006, 2:26 PM 3255

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    Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self

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  •  08-06-2006, 5:05 AM 3498 in reply to 3255

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    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self

    As I was reading this chapter, I was thinking about the movie the Last Emperor….about the end of the royal rule in China and the heralding of communism…….I remember thinking about how if I had been reared in a circumstance where my every sneeze was responded to with waves of concern and layers of attendants, and where the illusion that I was the center of the universe was not only believed but perpetuated by all the circles around me, it would be very hard to figure out where I started and where the world began.  This relates to King Knute also, heading down to the waters edge to experiment with the limitations of his power by ordering the tides to stay back.  In the movie anyway, the last emperor was under house arrest and he was given teacher (perhaps the early methods of Therapia) and his learning task was to rehabilitate his distorted self view. I can never remember the movie exactly…but I remember, in effect that to begin with, once caught, the emperor first owned nothing. As he proceeded, he owned ‘everything and beyond’….and at some point, his teacher said to him something like: “you began by being responsible for nothing, now you are seeing yourself for responsible for everything.  What you must do is learn to accept responsibility for what is yours, and not accept responsibility for what is not yours.”   

     

    In fact, the major movement and  influence in North America, from what I can tell, that has been the most widespread and important in this regard of personal ownership  is Alcoholics Anonymous…and the 12 step program. I am thinking now of the serenity prayer…  “God grant me the serenity to accept those things I cannot change, The courage to change those things I can change, And the Wisdom to know the difference.”  In the 12 step program it is part of the program to do a ruthless inventory of behaviours and deeds that have affected others and to make amends….. in other words, I have to own what is mine…..and make amends for MY misdeeds.

     

    I remember also reading a feminist critique of the 12 step program years ago(I think  by the same woman who wrote ‘if the Bhudda married’, I can’t remember her name ? Kastle?).  Basically, an approach for women (I recognize the gender line does not hold indelibly) about how to stop taking on stuff that is NOT theirs to take on in the first place. Indeed, it is true people (most often males) have been dumping their stuff all around(disowned bits of self and creating shadows, and then shadow boxing), in exactly the process described in this chapter.   At the same time, other people, the partners(most often women) have been going around cleaning up the disowned crap of their men, taking it on, and trying to process it through the sewage treatment plant of the collective soul and carry on-- basically trying to absorb the punches and make sense of them and bring the system back to a full-loop cycle. In the AA model, such a person is called ‘co-dependent’, and the behaviour is called ‘enabling’.  The person who did the best work that I have read about how these shadows learn to play together is Virginia Satir with her family modeling work. 

     

    Using the AA model, the typical family of origin shows the father(the drunk, the proverbial elephant in the middle of the living room) the mother(codependent/enabler) and the brood of children, the first born-the star, the second-the clown, the third-the placatory, the fourth-the wall flower, the fifth-the mascot(or some version….I’m not sure I have remembered all of these correctly, but the detail is not so important).  The thing is that we are embedded as individuals into a ‘structural stage’ in our families,  just as our society is also embedded into a structural stage in spiral dynamics…..and any of us has got to learn to differentiate the particular structural stage of our lives—in Ken-speak,we have to turn subject into object, ie) for instance, my subjective experience as a placator has to be turned  into my objective noticing of ‘oh, there I go again, trying to make everybody happy, instead of allowing everyone to have their own feelings, and be responsible for the consequences of ensuing bad behaviour. (“the little shitheads, they make me mad…..oh, oh, I mean, “when they behave like that, I feel angry.” And so differentiation and ownership goes.’

     

    The reason that I am writing about this is that just as meditation may allow anyone to

    ‘transcend’ their shadows before owning them, and thusly haul their shadows with them in a pathologized version to the next stage of development---So can any of us sign up for shadows that do not in fact belong to us, (codependent enabling) and as a result we can become bloated with a huge responsibility in any one stage of development as well. In fact, this bloating may mean that we take shadows with us horizontally.   I think this is largely the gender issue that we have been trying to work out lately in modern times.

     

    As an example in my own life right now, I belong to the Labrador Regional Wellness Coalition, and we have core wellness groups in most of the small communities along the coast of Labrador.  The members of this group are almost 99% all women.  They are absolutely amazing to work with, cooperative, brilliant, dedicated workhorses…..we put into action all sort of grass roots programs, environmental, freecycling, walking programs, community gardens, elder care….So we are Fabulous….the thing is we are all a bunch of fatties…..who are not only doing this amazing work in the communities, but also have bypassed essential issues of personal self care, and appropriate energy balancing.  Most of us on some deep psychological level are trying to take care of the whole world, and it is reflected in eating disorders(right upper quadrant) of one sort or another, and is accompanied by the resulting shadows …low self esteem, poor energy blah, blah, blah…and the resulting pathology of ‘I must take care of the world better, take on even more stuff, keep doing more, more, more, so I too deserve a place at the table…”

     

    So I bring all of this up, because the masculine and feminine principles are different.  Men seek freedom, women seek love/relationship……Men leave their socks on the floor, women pick them up.  This is a pathological dance, that includes two pathological partners.  Men need to stop throwing socks(dumping shadows), women need to stop picking them up(codependent enabling)…..(I know that the rough gender analysis of this discussion does not hold up in the particular, these roles can be switched around in any dyad, but it is still generally true.)

     

    It is also true that when women stop the enabling behaviour, their own shadows are still there to be dealt with---thousands of years of subverted power, ‘being the neck that turns the head’…..the truth is many of us women are control freaks, busy trying to protect our children and partners from the consequences of their bad behaviour, and this control freak behaviour is ALSO bad behaviour.  My mother has taken to saying lately:  “we must not rob our children of their experience.”  This is what she is talking about! At the same time, we want to mother all those people that we love so dearly and make sure they are okay.  I am thinking of Stuart Davis song with the lyrics: “I love you, but I cannot mother your fears.” 

     

    I have been ‘a study in placation’.  I have been a caricature of enabling.  So have the other women in my wellness group. We have learned to take care of everyone else’s needs but not our own.  As such we have learned to be ‘nice’ over being ‘honest’, and we have often backrupted our spiritual capital (horizontal enlightenment) striving to move our families and societies up the structural ladder of development.  It is not surprising that so many of the great spiritual teachers are male….oh, so many Zen masters, but where are the Zen Mothers?……

     

    I don’t bring up this discussion to further polarize any discussion regarding gender equality or responsibility…but rather to highlight that in the ‘owning of shadow’ the work that men have to do is not necessarily the same work that women have to do.  It may be, in general, men have vertical work to do, and women have horizontal work to do, on the Wilber-Combs Lattice. 

     

    I also have to say that my insight and experience  into the horizontal realms of spiritual states came totally without any formal meditation practice(though I did give some fruit and lace to some TM person once and for $400 dollars they explained about thought bubbles rising, and gave me a mantra to repeat, for 20 minutes twice a day.  Seemed like a good way to make money to me, at the time.)  My experience came from witnessing the extremes of trauma in my own life and in the lives of those around me. Like Thich Nan Han said:  There comes a time where the pain of staying a bud, becomes greater than the fear of flowering. (again poorly paraphrased).  Like a popcorn kernel, I stayed in the boiling oil witnessing the mayhem long enough to pop…… I think this is actually a way that horizontal growth can and perhaps most often does happen…and it may be more common, and it is certainly more painful, than sitting on a mat and meditating.  There is a Sufi saying something like the events in our lives are the sticks God beats us with to wake us up.  (pitifully paraphrased) or as Bruce Cockburn writes: “we kick at the darkness ‘til it bleeds daylight.”  This is also ‘via negativa’, is also the Christian Redemptive model…….oh, all of great models of martyrdom….taking on the sins of the world, hanging ourselves on the cross for crucifixion, and hanging there and hanging there, (add Monty Python music: “life’s a piece of shit, when you think of it. Ta da, ta da, ta da da da dad a…”)until, as happened in my case, my brother James came along with me hanging there dutifully  and said, “Janie, get off the cross. We need the wood.”

     

    I am looking forward to the next chapter…and I think there is a gender lense and analysis that needs to be applied to this chapter on disowning shadows…..it has been fun to read though…I am continuing my party of one out here….though in the RU/RL I have sponsored a juvenile boys team in the Labrador canoe Regatta…called ‘The Riversong Rocks”….Most of them stayed out at the campgrounds last night, and I suspect that with an extreme element of sleep deprivation and poor carnival-style nutrition, this may not be our finest hour…..the River Rats (the competition) all packed up and went home to sleep after the fireworks, as they should have……ah, but then, I must not rob my children of their experience.  It is a beautiful day out here…..crisp and clear….I hope my boys survived the night.  

     


    The fabric of my life is the cloth with which it is my responsibility to polish the lens of my own perception
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  •  08-07-2006, 11:04 AM 3639 in reply to 3255

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self


    i'm more of a lumper than a splitter. i don't like alot of details. i love orienting generalizations. but in my enthusiasm for them i'm afraid i tend to come up with alot of disorienting generalizations of my own.

    maybe i'm depending too much on the rest of you to disabuse me of this bad habit. like my comments on 3-2-1ing boomeritis (ch.5). none of you saw fit to correct me on this. what's going on with all of you? boomeritis is not a shadow, is it? isn't it a social disease, more LLQ than ULQ?

    put another way, don't shadows have to do with repression, not just differentiating but going beyond that to dissociation?
    in contrast, boomeritis seems like it might have more to do with
    fusion, in this case, instead of differentiating beyond ego to what is called centaur in chart 1a of IP, remaining fused (or refused) bigtime to an immature level of ego.

    another example: genpo roshi's voice dialogues. i'm wondering if this couldn't be used to engage our shadows, that is, those we're aware of as at least an 'it', in dialogue. am i going too far here in my quest to generalize? in my defense, i'm encouraged by genpo's example of allowing the voice of anger to speak to his wife, when, in fact, he's feeling pissed off, identified with his anger. this allows both of them to have a conversation with this voice and, perhaps, help educate it, or, perhaps, be educated by it.

    as we know from this chapter, 'anger' can easily be disowned in early development and become a shadow. when we seek to reown it, having identified it at least as an 'it', wouldn't it help to go through being that voice?

    like i know i tend frequently to get irritated, frustrated, disturbed or upset. so, what is going on? to what extent are these shadows? and, to the extent they aren't shadows, what are they? maybe i can investigate this by being, say, the irritated self.


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  •  08-07-2006, 2:46 PM 3662 in reply to 3639

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self

    Jane - your post is amazing, and I wish I had anything to contribute to it, just 'cause I meddle with things I like. But I've got nothing, except to note with you that Ken focuses much more on the dissociating side of shadow than the absorbing side.

    Ralph, my fellow lumper, let us lump together! ("disorienting generalization" made me laugh out loud. I resonate completely.)

    I think that voice-dialogue work, like Big Mind, can help you get in touch with something if it isn't repressed too far down and you know what you're looking for. Without those conditions, you can sometimes try to bring forth something that's you just can't grip. When I participated in Big Mind at an iWET, I had trouble getting the protector out, because I've been repressing that for a long time. And when I did the 321 shadow work, lo and behold something came up about protecting myself. I think 321 is an easier way to bring something forth if you don't know what you're dealing with already. Voice Dialogue work is a finer scalpel, so to speak, but you need to already see what you're aimed at.

    But when you're angry or irritated, that isn't always shadow, exactly as you're saying. There are often very good reasons to be irritated, and Voice-Dialogue work can help you identify

    Regarding Boomeritis and shadow, you've hit on something I've been mulling over for a while. Shadow work brings forward what we don't see because we're repressing it. But there's a lot we don't see because we just aren't high enough up the mountain yet. Boomeritis is the latter sort of problem. No amount of 321ing will 'cure' Boomeritis, because there's nothing there to bring forth. And I think a lot of us get in trouble when those lines where we're still operating preconventionally come forward and we just can't see that there's anywhere else to go. And then if we're cticitzed, we can 321 'til the cows come home and still see nothing. What I've been mulling over is whether there's any way to identify these things, personally and subjectively. Or when dealing with someone else, how can I tell if it's my shadow, his shadow, my immaturity, or his immaturity?

    Yotam

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  •  08-08-2006, 7:59 AM 3713 in reply to 3255

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self

    Yesterday, after the reading of this chapter, I remembered an event something like 18 years ago.  At this time, I was in psychotherapy with a therapist using psychological tarot.  The technique is to give a description of that I see in each selected cards and to begin again with that I said but now using “I”.  It worked very well. Usually.  But one day, I couldn’t make it with one of them. I said to her “This card is not mine, it is him (my boyfriend of the time). She said “It is really rare but it can arrive”.  I was really sure.  The card fitted really well with him, with that I felt about what he was.

     

    But yesterday, after the reading I came out the tarot again to find this card.  It wasn’t there.  Looking again I saw it in the fold of the explicative papers. After all these years, I could finally appropriate that I said for him.  Thank you Ken!

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  •  08-10-2006, 3:25 PM 4058 in reply to 3498

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self


    jane,

    i'm afraid i'm never going to tire of quoting woody allen's comment on his own generation, which just happens to be mine as well: 'just show up!'.

    dirty socks? what are you talking about? my job is just to show up! fortunately, the times they are a'changing, and, since coming to portland (oregon, that is) from knoxville, tennessee nine years ago, i've had to learn to take care of my own dirty socks. i'm speaking figuratively, incidentally, but, as any conscientious practitioner of integral practice can no doubt vouch, picking up one's dirty socks can have enormous implications--spiritual, for instance.

    as to picking up everyone else's dirty socks, i know the implications can be just as enormous. i've been on both sides of this equation, as i imagine many others have, be they women or men. if i hadn't, how could i have ever consented to begin picking up my dirty socks? we may become capable of taking on the other person's perspective at con-op, but we're still limited, it seems to me, to perspectives that actually make sense to us.

    i wish you had said something about shadow hugging, as opposed to shadow boxing. is that what we're talking about?

    one of ken's especially appealing arguments, it seems to me, for an integral map, is that it promises to relieve unnecessary, human suffering much more than any other map heretofore available to us. it would be silly of me to get into an argument with you as to who has suffered more. not exactly something to be proud of! but, anyway, we've both been at least smart enough to try out the map, and i can already say that it's working like it's supposed to for me.

    just like a psychograph can highlight disturbing discrepancies between cognitive and moral development, the wlc does this for structure-stage and state-stage growth. my understanding of a right View is that, in healthy growth, the two go more or less hand in hand. i'm with peter in his desire to know better just what our psychograph and wlc locations are, because our (interior) feelings about this can be totally oblivious to what knowledgable others can clearly see.

    i'm a little unsure about the use of the word 'gender'. doesn't it refer to 'feminine' and 'masculine'? yet we use it as if it were the defining distinction between women and men, and isn't that sex?

    ralph

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  •  08-11-2006, 5:31 AM 4063 in reply to 4058

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    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self

    Ralph,

    The ol' dirty socks!  It is interesting about how we learn things, and whether that makes a difference.

    you write:  i've been on both sides of this equation, as i imagine many others have, be they women or men. if i hadn't, how could i have ever consented to begin picking up my dirty socks?

    This statement embodies  the differentiation and polarity that I am talking about regarding the different work of men and women.  (I realize 'sex' may work better than 'gender'.....and I also realize that 'sexual polarities' may work better again, and that either sex can embody either polarity...so recognizing the language limitations:  ) So back to your above question:..... 'if I hadn't been on both sides of the equation..... how could I have ever consented to begin picking up my dirty socks?'  Recognizing the 'socks' are but a lame metaphor shadows, the reason I must pick up my own socks is NOT because I have picked up other peoples socks before and thus know what it is like dealing with other peoples dirty laundry  (though this may be true and I might be resentful about it).  The reason that I must pick up my own socks is because: 'they are mine'. My shadows are my responsibility because they are my shadows. This is an 'a priori' fact of my being. Likewise, there is no 'consent' needed by me to do my own work, simply, it is mine to do....this shadow work is like breathing or eating or bathing or pooping.  Nobody else can do it for me.  There is a time as a baby, and through childhood, that I need to master various developmental milestones, and prior to this  self-mastery, I need help to function in the activities of daily living and clean up the mess I am making.(And this could happen again as old age decrepetness sets in).  Still, there is no question that I need to learn to take care of myself, and that this is mandatory on my life's journey.  The analogy of mastering activities of daily living holds for shadow work as well. However, because shadow work takes place in the left quadrants, (the invisible realms) it is very hard to prove 'ownership'.  These shadows are not like socks with  name tags  The only way that I can actually acknowledge (own) my shadows  is by a ruthless inventory of my life from 1P, from the inside out, as the clear and honest witness of my own life.... It is my responsibility to sift through my learned responses of fear and contraction, acknowledge them, breathing light and love into them, and practicing opening up and letting go.  Although many people around me might bump into the resulting behaviours and quirks of my disowned shadows ( my fears and contractions) and likewise, my life may become a mess because of  the relatively unconscious choices that I am making to accomodate my disowned shadows, until I start at 1p(the first person, inside LUQ perspective) and peer out from there and do my work, I will believe that I am a victim of circumstance, and powerless to do anything else..... I will believe that the world is acting on me, and I am reacting in response. Likewise, centering myself, and acting from this center is the 'will to power'....not 'power over' another being, but the acceptance of the power of my own intention, the power of my Being.

    So I am mentioning this because there has been a gender shadow dance  taking place for a long time. There is no doubt that this dance has accomodated the disowning of all manner of shadows on both sides of the equation.  Further, this dance is a pattern of behaviour, where the disowning of a shadow creates its own shadow, and accomodating the shadows of another creates yet another shadow as well......so we have shadows upon shadows.....the Jordian knot so to speak.....I remember that story about the Jordian knot...how to undo it....was it Alexander the Great who took his sword and cut it?....ahh, the solution!  at least for the time being.  The other solution though is for everyone participating in the knot, and that is ALL of us human beings, to untangle the themselves. In other words, I must do my own shadow work.  Untangling is about owning what is mine, and not owning(not taking on) what is not mine.  I cannot breathe for another person and likewise, I cannot do his/her shadow work.

    So, I totally agree with you, the integral map does point to a place where 'suffering' is relieved. The interesting question is how do we get there from here?  I agree with you that further polarizing 'gender issues' is not  going to be helpful....the content, of who did what, and who suffered more, blah, blah blah, is likely to produce more of the same of what we are already experiencing. It is clearly time to shift out of this victim-perpetrator mode, dominator-subjugated mode; it is time to cash in the contents of this particular game.......However,  the content aside, learning the process by which these shadows and their subsequent disownment are generated, it would seem to me that this remains critical in moving to a new perspective.

    Fred Kofman's contribution this week to the media forum is about the power of perspectives, about how conflict arises from scarcity, about how the resolution to scarcity is 'more'.  In the situation of shadow work, the commodity that is scarce is 'Truth', and the resolution to this scarcity is 'more truth'.

    I have been writing on another thread, and thinking about how we get hoodwinked into denying our own perspective at a developmental stage (and likewise, now,within our gendered context).  I was thinking about all of the work by Alice Miller, (Swiss Child psychologist who wrote a book that changed my life called, 'for your own good').  Then I was looking up in 'Boomeritis' where Ken is somewhat disparaging of the boomer's propensity to see themselves as the misunderstood 'gifted child'(and I took that to be disparaging of Miller's work as well, though this might not be the case.).  Further, in the same section of Boomeritis, Ken talks about the boomeritis version of the gender issue--the dominator versus partnership models.  I  have assummed that he is refering to some extent to Rianne Eisler's work, the Chalice and the Blade, and the Partnership Way.  I remember glossing over that section in Boomeritis with glazed, unfocused eyes, and feeling a certain uneasy disloyalty to both Alice Miller and Rianne Eisler as I did......Now I can recognize that they both have very important contributions to make in forging the road of human consciousness into the 2nd tier mode of being. I can see again how important they have been for me, and how they belong at the integral table.

    So Ralph, there is no doubt that it is time to shine a gentle and forgiving and uncompromising light onto all of these knots......I can remember my riding instructor saying to me once, "don't take no for an answer." 

    All of this thinking has sparked an interest in me to go back and read some of these books more carefully, and with a new eye....It is a rainy day here, the Beloved still at a distance, so save my work obligations, and the socks(damn kids!Tongue Tied [:S]), I think I might just do that.

    Jane

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    The fabric of my life is the cloth with which it is my responsibility to polish the lens of my own perception
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  •  08-12-2006, 10:28 AM 4180 in reply to 4063

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self


    Jane,

    first let me say i'm awed by all you are doing. in the interests of openness and honesty i have to confess i'm not doing nearly as much, so you're somewhat of an inspiration, somewhat of a prod to me.

    i agree completely with you about the absolute importance of individual responsibility, although i'm not sure you would term it that way. but, again, i'm just trying to be honest in indicating that i'm not as responsible as i would like to be, not even as responsible as i could be to become more responsible. my hope is that these i-i forums will at least provide a good environment (the lower Qs of the holon that i am) for the ULQ, that's i, to do what it needs to do.

    thanks for sharing some of your limited time in a thoughtful reply,

    ralph

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  •  08-13-2006, 3:01 PM 4268 in reply to 3662

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self

    thanks yotam,

    you've clarified this considerably for me, except for boomeritis. if we define it, for simplicity's sake, as green infected by red, a la spiral dynamics, then the implication seems to me to be that it is a social disease, more precisely, a cultural, LLQ disease. it behooves us, then, to build up our immune system to keep narcissistic red from running rampant. a little red, even the narcissistic variety, is healthy, of course. it's not really a shadow so much as carelessness on our part that lets it get out of hand. we're unconscious of it in the sense that we were seduced by it, shall we say?, and turned our watchful eye the other way.

    and like you say, it becomes easier to deal with, the higher the altitude we're able to achieve, but potentially more difficult for deeper state-stages.

    about who's shadow, i'd say the appropriate 3rd persons could do the trick. if people i trust tell me of a shadow i might have, i'm going to listen closely. or, if they seem to be having the same kind of difficulty as i do with someone else, that will tend to confirm that it's not just the moat in my eye.

    there's still another message of yours i owe you a response to, i think. i'll keep looking.

    ralph

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  •  08-15-2006, 11:05 PM 4402 in reply to 4268

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self

    Hey Ralph,
    I don't think our watchful eye can even see our own boomeritis-like pathologies. It's not like we've turned away, we don't know how to turn there. But we're saying similar enough things that I'm happy to agree to disagree at this point, assuming we're disagreeing at all.
    I'm not sure what other post you might be referring to. There are so many conversations going at this point, I've forgotten about half of them anyway.
    I was thinking about shadow vs. immaturity, and I wonder what you think. If I'm working from a shadow issue, I'll deny the pivotal motivation or belief, and hide it behind something else. The essence of shadow work is finding the real causal bit. If I'm working from an undeveloped perspective, I'll own my thoughts completely, endorse them shamelessly whenever prompted, and not even consider the possibility that I could be wrong. I'll happily express my beliefs and motivations, and never notice that they're undeveloped, since I can't see the development. If I'm cognitively second-tier, and undeveloped on some other line, I might consider the possibility that I'm undevelped somewhere, but I'll need outside help (a 3p like you're saying) to figure out where. I imagine that with a lot of experience, one might be able to feel in a 1p way what the difference is. It just takes a lot of familiarity with shadow to recognize its fingerprint, so to speak.
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  •  08-16-2006, 10:05 AM 4435 in reply to 4402

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self


    yotam!

    i think we're basically in agreement, and i like what you've just posted re: shadows. the thing about boomeritis, where there is a difference, is that my childhood was completed before the 60's and the emergence of boomeritis on a large scale. so i have a reference point of a world largely uncontaminated by boomeritis, which i was willing to give up for both good and bad reasons.

    ralph

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  •  08-25-2006, 10:47 AM 5313 in reply to 3255

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self

    I generally agree with almost everything Ken writes. That is the case also with this Integral Spirituality book so far. However at the end of chapter 6 the rare thing happened that I disagree with him. Generally I find his way of summarizing of the shadow to be helpful in incorporating the western psychotherapeutic approach to a wider context.

     

    All in this chapter is fine until he starts to speak about inauthentic fears.

     

    I have done myself a lot of work with my suppressed emotions. My problems have been quite severe, because of a traumatic and violent childhood. Also the suppression has been a more severe 3rd person case in form of psychosomatic diseases. Also many of my traumas go back to preverbal levels and hence cannot be memorized conceptually or visually as actual memories of past events.

    I have done this work through meditation, deep breathing exercises, and also gone through eight year long analytical psychotherapy. All these approaches have been useful in their own ways.

    I have practiced meditation (TM) 33 years now. All this time my appreciation has been on the side of stress releases or digging out my shadow stuff and suppressed emotions.

    This is probably because I already before starting meditation deeply appreciated many of the approaches of modern psychology and that framework formed an essential part of my view. I started reading Freud at 16 and loved his approach.

     

    Soon I observed that my meditation took different direction than that of other meditators. I had a lot of releases going on internally and less silence, and I loved meditation that way. Experiencing only emptiness and silence has never fascinated me.

     

    Deep breathing techniques have further helped me to connect to my suppressed emotions. Also I've gone through eight yearlong analytical psychotherapy and it has   improved my capacity  of internal discrimination and inner dialogue with my different voices.

     

    All this has helped to improve my general health immensely. Now at 55  I'm pretty healthy.

    When younger I had many health problems. Most severe of them has been a mild hereditary muscular disease together with deep exhaustion problems. Nowadays my energies flow much better and I have a rather good stamina and I am in good physical shape. I practice nowadays successfully rather heavy astanga yoga. This healing has happened through successfully working with masses of suppressed difficult emotions such as anger, rage, fear,  heaviness, sorrow, numbness.

     

    Therefore I feel myself qualified to criticize Ken's idea of inauthentic fears. I have never encountered an emotion that I could call inauthentic in the sense it being somehow false.

     

    I 'm not sure what he means by transmuting fear. I use the concept working through emotions and finally they may become transformed to something else.

    Fear of one's anger is not inauthentic even if you don't know the fear being caused by your own anger. It is very real fear and by working through it you get access to the anger, because you are not anymore afraid of owning it.

     

    Also when I have worked with my anger at some point I may find fear beyond that anger. Still it wouldn't occur to me to call the anger inauthentic. Deep sadness and a certain kind of heavy feeling can emerge after working with anger also. Nowadays I don't always know which appears after which. One day the feeling to be worked with is anger, next fear, and then possible heavy feelings. And I locate them all precisely in the same area in the body. I always locate the feelings somewhere in my physical body. If I'm going to successfully work with the feelings I have to find their counterpart in the physical body. Focusing on mental ideas is less important and can be distracting. Usually cognitive understanding of the suppression appears with proper time quite spontaneously.

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  •  08-25-2006, 1:48 PM 5337 in reply to 5313

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self

    leopardi,

    I appreciate what you are saying from your experience.  What I was left with from your post was the notion that you're not certain that labeling the fear inauthentic or even thinking about it generally outside of some kind of practice of therapy or physical/emotional work may distract from the task at hand.  I think that can be true.

    I also think that does not invalidate the idea.  If the original (ie original in time) emotion/cognition was, say, anger, and that anger was dissociated because I'm a nice guy and nice guys don't get angry, then there is now anger in the world around me that occurs as "not mine."  When I percieve the anger "out there," likely I will experience anxiety or fear.  That anxiety or fear is inauthentic because it is not the original emotion; it is secondary.  To deal with the secondary emotion is not to deal with the original emotion/cognition.  In fact, I might never see the original emotion/cognition if I don't know to look and see if it's there.  I believe that is the point.  To do work solely on the anxiety or fear because I can't or don't see the underlying anger is to treat a symptom and not the injury itself. 

    Namaste.


    One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. --Andre Gide

    Hope is as hollow as fear. --Lao-tzu
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  •  08-26-2006, 3:00 AM 5408 in reply to 5337

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 6: Shadow/Disowned Self

    Cahacker,

     

    I hope my English is not too awkward, as it is not my native language. I’m Finnish, and have never visited an English speaking country. But I have been reading books in English. E.g. not a single book of Ken Wilber has been translated to Finnish.

     

    I have grown up in a hostile and violent home, where anger and hatred was in the open all the time as my parents could not deal with it in adequate ways.

     Starting  at adolescent I hated my mother for about 15 years more than anything else in the world. I could even have killed her, but I understood I would that way only harm myself. And I never felt any moral problems or stings of conscience with that emotion.  And then one day I observed that I didn’t anymore hate her and I actually kind of liked her. The essential thing here was that I could contain the anger and feel it internally without acting it out, and the feeling of anger became healing.

     

    I can well understand what kind of harm it can do, if you cannot accept anger as a natural emotion and because of fear of it suppress it.

     

    In the 90’s during my long therapy a new wave of anger  and fury towards my mother appeared from a deeper level and it clearly had been suppressed.

    This suppressed fury gave symptoms in form of exhaustion and burning sensations in my feet rather than clear feelings of fear.

     

    The therapist did a good work in helping me to connect to the rage behind these symptoms. But was the symptom of exhaustion inauthentic? It was as a felt experience very authentic. I also understood already much before my therapy, when I tried to work with this problem, that behind it most probably was suppressed anger. I just could not do the work alone. Or maybe I could to some degree, but the progress was rather slow.

     

    After the therapy I have been much better connected to deep fears inside me. These fears are often felt as an annihilation fear. I have learned on my own to work with this kind of fear quite successfully in deep meditative states. There it is important for me to disconnect from all ideas of what I’m afraid  of, and instead feel the fear as an energy in the body and relax to.

    This process I enjoy nowadays very much, much more than the simple bliss of meditation without the simultaneous work with energies.

    Intellectual understanding of what I’m afraid of appears during this process.

    I don’t have this understanding, when starting the work. I may have some idea, but it is usually limited.

    If you feel fear it is a real and authentic feeling as such. But the understanding of what you are afraid of can be distorted. But if the fear is truly worked through and not just suppressed, the process itself brings clarity to this matter. For this reason I have very difficult to accept the idea of inauthentic fear.

      

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