ARTICLES ON BODIES AND INNER SELVES
The Energy Medicine of Selves
ARTICLES ON VOICE DIALOGUE
ARTICLES ON CONSCIOUS BODY:
The Energy Medicine of Selves
“Sometimes the function of illness is deeper than having something wrong and getting rid of it...To catch a glimpse of the forces of the psyche and the unconscious motivation behind illness is astounding.”
Brugh Joy, M.D.
Rather than thinking of yourself as one monolithic person, imagine you are made up of different people. Anyone who has ever said, “A part of me wants to do this, but another part of me wants to do that,” knows about these inner parts. To say “a part of me” is not just a figure of speech, it is a reflection of psychological reality. These parts are not an abstract idea, they are as real as any person, and they exist in everyone. Like the eyes in a peacock's tail, these many selves are discrete, shimmering components of the personality and the psyche.
Selves are natural and normal. Everyone has them. They express themselves freely all the time in the various roles we play in our lives.
Some of these selves are familiar and acceptable to us. Others lie buried, banished from our lives. These buried selves carry a key to the psychodynamic component of illness. When a part of us has been neglected too long, it emerges through the body as if it is rattling the bars of a cage, crying, “I must express myself. LET ME OUT!” If we do not hear the tugs and calls of buried selves, they eventually poke through the physical form as illness or other difficult conditions. Like great whales, they must come up for air from the waters of the psyche.
The Conscious Body Process—A Simple Story
Emily, the branch manager of a local bank, slunk into my office with her head pounding.
“It's been a long day, lots of pressure and decisions,” she explained. “My head throbs at the end of a day like this.”
“Something inside you is trying to get your attention,” I said, “as if it is tugging at your shirtsleeve, saying, 'Please come find me.' I guarantee that whatever this 'someone' is, it will enrich your life and may even heal your body.”
She screwed up her eyebrows. “Shouldn't I just take my usual pill?”
“That is up to you,” I answered. “But wouldn't you rather handle the headache without putting a chemical into your body, just using natural means?”
“What's involved?” Emily asked.
“We're going to assume that energy needs to shift so you feel like a different 'you.' Your headache might lessen or even disappear.”
I instructed Emily to lie down and relax. Then I said, “Tune into the headache, into its energy. Do you get any image or message?”
“I'm sensing something yellow. What on earth is that?”
“Your unconscious is percolating,” I answered. Stay with the yellow and notice whatever happens next.”
“I'm feeling loose. That's weird, I'm feeling silly and frisky.” “Why don't you let that energy fill your body for a moment?” I encouraged her.
“It was not my idea, Emily. The notion of friskiness came from your headache. Why don't you trust your body and try it?”
“All right,” Emily said as she rose. She put her arms in the air and took a few dance-like steps side to side.
“You look a little frisky,” I said.
“Yes, I feel it,” she smiled. For a few moments we frolicked. We grinned and laughed together. Then I asked, “How is the headache?”
“Good grief, it's gone,” she said. And it stayed gone for the rest of the hour.
That whole process lasted five minutes. It has taken me a decade to be able to work with a symptom so succinctly and to use the same approach with any illness.
Selves as an Elegant Organizing Principle of Health
In the early 1990s I was working with clients’ musculoskeletal aches and pains, rashes, and headaches. Over several years patterns emerged, and I wondered if the same dynamics would apply to more serious illnesses. I explored conditions ranging from insomnia to excessive weight, panic attacks to arthritis, colitis to cancer. One overriding theme ran through every symptom—there was a vibrant presence of living, breathing inner selves that wanted to be heard.
The world of selves has been vividly brought to life by the pioneering work of clinical psychologists Hal and Sidra Stone, authors of Embracing Our Selves. The Stones discovered that “shape our attitudes about who we are and who we should be. These selves call out to us constantly in our daily activities, in our moods, in our dreams, and in our relationships.”
Primary and Disowned Selves
Hal and Sidra Stone call a predominant part a “primary” self. Every primary self has an equal and opposite part that the psychologist Carl Jung called the “shadow” and that the Stones call “disowned.” For Walt, the part carrying out responsibilities is the primary self, and the part that wants to play is disowned. Whatever the disowned self may be—and we will meet many—it holds gifts beyond measure as it offers an entirely different view of life, a distinctly different set of options, and a vibrantly different energy in the body.
The Stones say,“Most of us are familiar with the outer family into which we were born...What is fascinating to consider, and what is a new idea for most people, is that we have an inner family as well as an outer one. Learning about this inner family is a very important part of personal growth...since the members of this inner family, or “selves,” as we like to call them, are often in control of our behavior. If we do not understand the pressures they exert, then we are really not in charge of our lives.”
A primary self maintains control by handling life and operating in our best interests. It fears that if we act a different way, life might not work anymore, we might lose our job, or people might not like us. A primary self can be deathly—sometimes literally—afraid to let a disowned self take a place in our life.
The Self Behind the Symptom
Max had an itchy, scaly rash for two years that began on his wrists. Soon it spread to his arms. He consulted a dermatologist who attributed it to stress and gave him cortisone shots to stop the itching. But Max did not feel stressed. He was a vivacious, happy, upbeat man, spiritually astute, always looking on the bright side—at least that was the persona, the primary self, that he showed to the world.
When we explored his rash with the Conscious Body process, another side of his personality appeared. Max had been unaware that beneath his effervescent exterior laid a part of him that was gravely sad. Max willingly let himself feel his sadness. When he returned the following week, the two-year-old rash was “100% better.”
A disowned self is the perfect prescription for what ails us. No one enjoys a headache, but instead of knocking it out with aspirin, we can look for the disowned self. Rather than treating a body symptom as something to eliminate, we can welcome the burgeoning life that a disowned self represents.
Common sense or a good therapist can often pinpoint the underlying causation of many symptoms. Yet if improvement is elusive, specific details of the inner story hold the key to healing.
Once I wondered why I got the flu. It seemed logical that I needed time off from my busy schedule, but when I did a Conscious Body process, the self behind the flu spoke. To my surprise, it wept about the fact that I was moving to a new home. I got well the same day. I ascended from conjecture—“I need time off”—into exactitude—“I don’t want to move”—and found the precise healing energy for the condition. The mystery was no longer a mystery.
This differs from guessing the inner cause of an ailment by the effect it is creating. Some people feel they become ill because they needed to change their lives, and the illness becomes their guide—it slows them down, it connects them with loved ones, it teaches them to receive. These are precious gifts of any illness. But we are talking about a different level of inner work in which we discover the gift of illness at another level, one that is often surprising and quite precise. When Conscious Body is taken seriously, it becomes a partner in the diagnostic process.
Each Symptom is Unique and Individual
If you share a symptom with any of the examples here, you may wonder, “Perhaps my own headache is related to my need to play,” or “Perhaps my rash stems from my own need to get angry.” It is better not to generalize but to approach each symptom as unique. One rash might unearth sadness, another straight-talking anger. Carl Jung said, even though he had developed sophisticated systems for understanding human psychology, he did not try to fit clients into any preconceived mold. He treated each client as if he were starting from the beginning without assumptions. Physical symptoms are best approached with the same latitude.
Time frames for healing, if healing comes at all, vary. Sometimes healing happens quickly because a person can unearth and fully express what was being held inside. In these cases, pain can dissolve instantaneously, or a rash can disappear within twenty-four hours. Just separating from a primary self and bringing in a disowned self solves many health problems.
Other situations take more time. One client likened the search for the self behind a body symptom to an archeological dig. As he dug down in levels, he unearthed civilizations. Sometimes he took out the little brush or pick and delicately extricated the treasure, and sometimes he brought out the tractor and took mounds away.
New pain and chronic pain follow the same laws. It takes courage to look within and discover long-standing issues behind chronic pain or serious illness. Freshly discovered selves may deviate radically from long-held beliefs and behaviors. This requires time to integrate.
The harried businessman whose heart disease reveals the desire to spend time with his family faces major lifestyle and attitudinal changes for healing to take root. The woman with ovarian cancer who discovers she thirsts to be selfish and not take care of others needs to return to this over and over again. A person who has lived a lifetime with repressed anger must keep letting the steam out. Each of these people needs to keep taking the “pill” of the disowned self for its energy to permeate their systems.
The Self Behind the Symptom:
This article appeared in the USA Body Psychotherapy Journal, 8 (2), 21-30. New York, NY: United States Association for Body Psychotherapy, 2009.
Conscious Body and the Energy Medicine of Selves
This chapter appeared in the The Voice Dialogue Anthology: Explorations in the Psychology of Selves and the Aware Ego (Albion, CA: Delos, 2012)
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Interview on Somatic Perspectives on Psychotherapy
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ARTICLES ON VOICE DIALOGUE:
Embracing All Our Selves
We met one another in the early seventies and, from the very beginning, our personal lives and our professional lives have been inextricably intertwined. Hal had been a Jungian analyst, committed to the individuation process. He had enjoyed teaching and consulting from his earliest years. Sidra had been trained in a more eclectic fashion with an emphasis upon some of the more practical aspects of psychology such as community mental health. She particularly enjoyed her years as executive director of a residential treatment center for adolescent girls. When we came together, we began a period of exploration and innovation that has continued ever since.
Our relationship has been a teacher for both of us from our first contacts with one another. We decided at the outset that we wanted to open ourselves completely to the relationship, to let it lead us where it would. We tried to be as honest as we could and to explore what was really happening both intrapsychically and interpersonally rather than what we wished were happening. This commitment has led to some very exciting discoveries as well as to some rather "dicey" moments. The basic ideas in the following article are the outgrowth of this joint personal exploration.
Since Voice Dialogue and its accompanying theoretical framework have evolved out of our relationship and out of love and acceptance, it is a work that is basically non-judgmental and non-pathological in its approach to the human psyche. It seeks to discover what is rather than what is wrong. It is committed to the belief that there is no correct way of conducting one's life, there is just the process of life, itself.
In our own clinical work, we have both continued to use a wide range of therapeutic and teaching modalities in addition to Voice Dialogue. We never saw Voice Dialogue as a therapeutic system that must stand alone or conflict with any other. It seemed to us that a practitioner of any form of therapy, healing or consciousness work could use Voice Dialogue in his or her system. Furthermore, it became clear that non-therapists could learn the dialogue process as well. Couples could be trained in the work and it would serve to enhance their relationship. One of our aims has been to establish as clearly as we could the lines between Voice Dialogue training and psychotherapy.
In our travels around the world, and as this work has become better known, we have taken a very strong position on these issues. We have taken the position that Voice Dialogue is not a therapeutic system in and of itself but belongs to all systems as an effective tool for enhancing consciousness and objectifying the many selves that inhabit the psyche. When an individual needs therapy, he or she must see a therapist and should not get locked into Voice Dialogue as a substitute for therapy. There is no substitute for good psychotherapy when this is required. In the hands of a competent psychotherapist, however, Voice Dialogue becomes a particularly effective and powerful tool.
Despite a good deal of encouragement from many of those whom we have trained in our methods, we have consistently refused to institute any kind of formal certification training in regard to Voice Dialogue. We see the facilitator as a creative musician, if you will, and Voice Dialogue as the instrument that is to be used. It is clear to us that any kind of certification process would effectively kill the spirit of this work. In this way, we have found that the Voice Dialogue process has been used quite imaginatively and innovatively not only by psychotherapists of widely differing backgrounds, but in areas as far afield as business consultation, astrological analyses and sculpting. We like to think of this work as belonging to everyone, as our gift to the seekers of the world.
Hal Stone, Ph.D. Sidra Stone, Ph.D April, 1997
The consciousness process as it relates to the complexity of the human psyche and its many disparate facets has always been a source of fascination to us. During the early seventies we were struck by the realization that our psyches contained many individual selves, each with its own way of perceiving the world, each with its own personal history, physical characteristics, emotional and physical reactions, and opinions on how we should run our lives. Since then, we have spent much of our time, both professional and personal, in studying these selves.
Because of this interest, we have been delighted to note that one of the areas of psychotherapy receiving increasing attention today is the phenomenon of multiple personalities. Not only are multiple personalities being studied in terms of their theoretical implications and the appropriate therapeutic interventions, but there is also a growing literature of brain research that seems to demonstrate the existence of physiological correlates of these psychological entities in all of us.
Up until now, the multiple personality has been seen only in terms of its pathological implications. What we have discovered in the course of our personal and professional life is that we are all made up of multiple personalities -- all of us with no exceptions! The essential difference between ourselves and an individual clinically diagnosed as being a multiple personality is that we have an operating ego of some sort that can observe and reflect on the fact that we are not a single psychological entity, but rather, as Walt Whitman would say, we contain multitudes. That is the only difference. We are, each of us, inhabited by an inner family of selves no less real than the outer family of individuals into which we were born.
THE EMERGENCE OF VOICE DIALOGUE
The discovery of the reality of these inner selves was quite dramatic for the two of us. Our relationship has always been one in which we spent a good deal of time doing personal work with one another. In one of our very early work sessions, Hal asked to speak to Sidra's vulnerability in what he thought would be a Gestalt mode. What emerged, however, was a very little girl, probably a year to a year and a half in age. We realized, much to our amazement, that this child was quite real. She was a total surprise to both of us. She was totally different from Sidra who, at that time, was a pretty rational Eastern establishment type of lady. She looked different from the way Sidra usually looked, and she saw Sidra's life quite differently from the way in which Sidra usually saw it. At first, as a matter of fact, she did not talk at all, but remained silent. She thought her thoughts to herself and sometimes she wept. It was only later that she began to speak to us. We had expected something a bit more theoretical. Neither of us could quite believe what had happened.
In subsequent work sessions with one another, the same kind of Vulnerable Child emerged in Hal. We then began to experiment with other selves. We explored the Inner Critic and Pusher. We talked to each other's Pleaser and Mother and Father Voice. We had never truly experienced the reality of these energies before. With all the dream work and visual work and Gestalt work that we had both done, why had these selves never been real to us? We began to research the literature and found very few references to the reality of these parts. Maurice Nicoll, a follower of Gurdieff and Ouspensky, described the reality of the parts in the first volume of his Psychological Commentaries. 1 Nicoll spoke of observing the selves with a kind of analytical precision. Yet it was clear to us that even the Gurdjieff system, over time, had become too analytical and had lost the awareness that these parts were quite real.
In the early years of our work together, there was very little theory and a great deal of practice. We worked in many different ways with one another as we explored these selves. Gradually, we evolved a new way of working with these selves which we named Voice Dialogue. This method is described in the last section of this chapter. A more thorough discussion can be found in our book, Embracing Our Selves, published by Nataraj Publications in Corte Madera, California.
Once the basic form of Voice Dialogue was established, we began our investigations of these selves in earnest. When we used Voice Dialogue, we had the "subject" move over to a different place whenever we talked to, or "facilitated" a different voice or self, very much as in the Gestalt mode. There were important differences, however. If, in the facilitation process, we related to each new self as a real person who was totally alive and wished to be heard, then the way that self emerged was qualitatively different from the kind of self that emerged if our perception was that the self was "just a part" and "not real." We cannot emphasize enough how critical this point is. If you are facilitating a self in someone that is associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sensuality, what you will constellate in the subject will be a function of how real that part is for you. If you know about archetypal energies and the reality of Aphrodite, then you can help to induct the energy of Aphrodite. If you know the reality of the Pusher, then you will constellate the Pusher. If you are working with a Killer then what you get will depend on your relationship to your own inner killer and how real this is for you.
There was another subtle quality that began to emerge in our work that was different from what we had done before. We did not try to change the parts or to get them to become friendly with one another. When we did, we found that they reacted just like people. They did not like to be manipulated and, as a matter of fact, they were more sensitive to manipulation or disapproval that most individuals seemed to be. So we decided that a Pusher was entitled to be a Pusher and could do its level best to get us to work all the time. Conversely, the Beach Bum, was entitled to be a Beach Bum. The Power Voice had a right to be just the way it was and the Vulnerable Child on the other side had a right to be the way it was. We began to work more and more with opposites, helping them to clarify their viewpoints, always trying to balance the different energies, but never trying to change them.
We did not have opposites try to talk to each other because we found that the purpose of having the parts talk to one another was usually to help effect some kind of reconciliation through change and accommodation. Instead, we allowed each self to remain true to itself. There is nothing inherently wrong with having two different selves talk to each other, however, so long as the autonomy of each self is respected and the therapist's underlying motivation is not reconciliation.
We showed the same respect to each self that we would show to a person. We allowed each self to grow and to change at its own rate and in its own way. Trying to get opposites reconciled seemed to us to be a way of trying to control peoples' lives, a way of controlling the therapy. We became aware of the tension created in us when we had to live with the reality of opposites in another person. We began to see how our need to reconcile opposites and thus solve problems for others was a function of our own inability to live with the tension of these opposites in ourselves.
The Jungian framework provided yet another dimension to this concept of allowing the opposites to remain as opposites. Let us say, for example, that we are working with two selves that would be related to the archetypal figures of Apollo and Dionysius, two irrevocably different energy systems. Apollo was the Greek god of the mind, clarity, organization, and pure thought and Dionysius was the god of expression, ecstasy and release. In the ancient holy city of Delphi, both gods were worshipped, but worshipped separately. Each had his own shrine and each had his own time of the year for worship. Apollo's were the summer months and Dionysius, the winter ones. Thus, we can see the respect accorded to opposing energies on an archetypal level. The gods and goddesses of mythology are simply the projected images of our own inner selves.
As we continued to work in this way, we began to see the psyche as a vast array of energy patterns manifesting in a variety of different ways. These different energy patterns could express themselves physically, emotionally, mentally, imaginally, or through the direct experience of energy. We saw that we needed to become aware of all of these different energies/selves and that we also need to experience them. They each wished to be honored, very much as the gods and goddesses in the tales of ancient Greece. Each new part that we met and spent time with added a new color to the psychic palette of the individual.
How, then, was one to hold the tension of these irreconcilable opposites? To do so, one needed a new kind of ego, one that we named an "Aware Ego", an ego that was always in the process of becoming more aware and one that was able to experience a greater and greater variety of these selves or energies. We began to see with increasing clarity that what most people refer to as an "ego" is, in fact, a cluster of dominant or primary selves. These selves represent the traditional ways of being and operating in the world that have characterized an individual over time. Until the work is done that separates one's ego from these primary selves, the Aware Ego does not yet exist. The Aware Ego is born out of the separation from the
We continued to use Voice Dialogue, along with other approaches, to explore ourselves. Our primary objective was the maintenance of the vitality of our own relationship. We also used it in our clinical work with clients. As a result of these explorations, we began to formulate new ideas about the selves and how they operate in our lives and we developed much of the theoretical material that now underlies our work. We were particularly curious about why a relationship would shift from a place of the deepest love to total negativity in the space of seconds. In looking for an answer to this, we examined the interactions of the different selves in relationship. We looked at our relationship at first and, later, we looked at the relationships of a multitude of clients. It was out of this exploration that we developed our way of thinking about bonding patterns and how they affect relational issues. This article is too short to allow time for a complete discussion of bonding patterns in relationship, but let us look now at some of the basic concepts underlying our work. A more complete discussion can be found in our book -- "Embracing Each Other" published by Nataraj.
THEORETICAL CONSIDERATIONS --
The key issue in thinking about the development of personality is the understanding of vulnerability and the pivotal role that it plays. We are all born totally vulnerable and in our early months and years of life, we must be taken care of by other people. Our very lives depend upon this. We must begin to develop a personality that will protect this vulnerability. This vulnerability remains as the Vulnerable Child that operates deep within each of us for the remainder of our lives.
The cornerstone of this personality, the core of our Operating Ego, and the first selves to develop, are a group of primary selves that serve to protect this child from pain and to control our behavior in such a way that we can avoid pain and begin to reach our goals. This Protector/Controller group of primary selves emerges very early in our lives. It looks about, notices what behavior is rewarded and what is punished, it figures out the rules of the world around us so that this world is predictable and makes sense, and it sets up an appropriate code of behavior for our specific environment. These primary selves are constantly on the lookout for more information and, when they are functioning appropriately, they will change the rules to accommodate any new input. These primary selves explain our world and ourselves to us and provide us with the basic frame of reference within which we will view our surroundings. It helps to keep life coherent, and it is basically rational in nature. Let us see what this might look like for the developing child.
Alicia is lying in her crib. She is six months old. Her mother and father are standing over her; they are gurgling and cooing and she is gurgling and cooing right back. Sometimes, however, she does not feel like gurgling and cooing. Her Protector/Controller system of selves notices a change in them when she stops being happy. Her primary self system begins to come into operation at this time and it lets her know that she needs to gurgle and coo, that they like this and expect this. Her feelings are less important in the long run than their feelings and they clearly expect something of her. So the gurgling and cooing becomes a kind of overriding behavior, built on top of her natural inclinations to gurgle and coo. This voice that starts to talk to her and guide her is the beginning of what we refer to as the "Operating Ego." When most peope refer to the ego, they are actually talking about the operating ego. By definition, the operating ego is the group of selves that define our personality, how we operate in the world and how the world perceives us. Our initial primary self is already supporting the development of another sub-personality here, and that is the Pleaser Self. This Pleaser usually gets started quite early for most of us generally becomes a significant part of the primary self system.
Johnny is two years old. His father is a very physical man and he is swinging Johnny around the room holding him by his arms. Johnny is not a physical child and this behavior frightens him. His Protector system says to him -- " Now look - this man likes swinging kids around - maybe he thinks he's Tarzan - whatever the case, you'll do better to enjoy it, to go along with it. He'll be happier. If he's happy, then you're safe. You can't be hurt. If you're unhappy there will be ridicule and criticism. Who needs it?" The Protector/Controller helps Johnny to develop a Brave Young Man self. Needless to say, we are being a bit humorous in our presentation, and we hope it is obvious that the Protector/Controller self system of a two year old would not speak in exactly this way. What we wish to convey is the general sense of how this Protector/Controller and the dominant selves of the Operating Ego evolve within each of us.
As time moves on, other parts of the personality develop, each contributing its own flavor to the Operating Ego. A Pusher may develop to make sure we get done what has to be done, and more besides. If it pushes us hard enough, then we will be so successful that no one can criticize us or attack us. A Money Self may develop because if we have money we are safer and less dependent upon others. A Pleaser develops, as we have seen, that makes sure we are nice to people and please them. Our basic protective system assumes that if we are nice to people, they must be nice to us and this is a way of keeping ourselves safe in the world.
Along with a Pleaser might be a Loving Self. After all, if we are loving then we are loved in return and the child is happy. Each of these Selves develops in relationship to, and under the aegis of, the original voices that emerge to protect and control and guide our behavior. These original selves create the rules that determine how we live or lives for a long time into the future, sometimes forever.
In other instances, at a later time in life, a competing primary self may emerge, a rebel, who declares war against all rules both outside and inside. In this case we have two primary selves inside constantly at war with each other.
Together this combination of selves comprise what is known as the Primary Self system or the Operating Ego. It is this Primary Self system that provides us with the basic conception of who we are in the world, and, generally speaking, it also determines how we are perceived by others.
JUDGMENT TO LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF
As we grow up, we gradually learn to identify with a set of rules and certain ways of thinking and behaving that increasingly define who we are in the world. These determine both how we see ourselves and how other people see us.
We have discovered that these primary ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving - which are related to the rules that govern our life - are a function of a group of selves. We have named these the "primary selves." This simply means that they are the selves within us that are dominant - they are the ones that determine how others (and we, too) experience who we are.
The really strange thing about all this is that most of us don’t know that we are identified with these primary selves. They feel like just who we are. These primary selves are very important to us because they are what give us the strength and focus to be successful in the world in particular ways. A Pusher for example helps us to get things done. A Perfectionist makes sure that we do them right. A Responsible Self helps us to behave responsibly in the world. A Power Self keeps us in charge.
On the other side of the coin, if selves that are more relationship-oriented are primaries then we have the equipment to be in relationship in an enjoyable way but we may lack power in the world. A Pleaser helps us to sense what people need and want and it knows how to make relationships pleasant. It protects us from people's displeasure by not letting us react too strongly to them. But a Pleaser cannot take power directly; others always come first.
If the Vulnerable Child is a primary self then there is a danger that we might become victims in the world because although vulnerability gives us sensitivity and the ability to connect deeply with others, it doesn’t give us power.
Where things really get interesting is that when we grow up with a primary way of being in the world, that self - or group of selves - colors the way we see the world. It determines what we like and don’t like; what we judge and don’t judge. For example, let us say that you are a man who has grown up with a very strong Pusher energy that drives you mercilessly towards success and achievement. You meet a woman who is very much the opposite of you. You like her and feel attracted to her but - at the same time - you feel heavy judgments towards her because she is so laid back, so lacking in ambition. Instead, she is interested more in her creative process.
As a man you have quite a dilemma now until you realize that your judgments, that all judgments, come from your primary self-system. If we talk to your Pusher and your Achiever we discover that it is they that have the judgments. When you are able to separate from these selves and have the ability to use them in a conscious way, then your judgments begin to disappear. If you are identified with responsibility and you meet someone who is irresponsible, one of three things can happen. You may be irresistibly and mysteriously drawn towards this person; you may be filled with judgments, even hatred, towards this person; or you may feel both the attraction and the judgment simultaneously. You might even marry this person because of the attraction and then spend your life alternating between judgment and attraction/ love..
The basic teaching in all this is very simple. Whenever you feel a judgment towards another person, pay attention to the particular trait or traits that you are judging. If you feel that someone is untrustworthy and every time you think of him or her you get angry, ask yourself what the actual personality qualities are that push your buttons. You might find that your friend is selfish and self-serving and always puts himself first. It these are the traits that you resent then you have a remarkable gift coming because you are being given the opportunity of learning about selves that you have that are unconscious or disowned. What a gift this can be to you!..
Remember too that judgment and discernment are not the same thing. You may make a discernment about someone without having a judgment. Judgments are always more visceral. You feel them in your body whereas discernments tend to be more objective.
Most people like to think that they are discerning rather than judgmental because judgments seem to be a bad thing to have. This prejudice against judgments is there because most of us haven’t learned yet how to use them creatively, how to make friends with them, and how to learn from them about our many disowned selves.
So, pay attention to your judgments and use them constructively. Welcome to the world of creative judgment. Enjoy!
There are many different kinds of energy that can be disowned but one of the more powerful groupings in western culture are the ones we refer to as instinctual energies. The blocking of selves that are related to these energies causes no end of difficulty in our lives because we don’t have a connection to our natural aggression, to the expression of our emotions and feelings and to a natural survival energy that understands the need to take care of ourselves in the world. Instead, the selves that develop often have to do with being nice, overly responsible, overly sensitive, identified with the mind and also with spirituality. How the unconscious as expressed in the dream process reacts to these disowned instinctual energies is what this article is about.
A young woman who is identified with new age spirituality has the following dream: “I am going down some stairs that lead from my kitchen to the basement. In the basement, much to my surprise, I discover many cages and inside the cages are lions all of whom are sound asleep while new age music plays in the background.”
There is a profound intelligence that lives within us that is constantly trying to help us balance things out in our psyche. The “you” in the dream is most often the primary self and generally gives us a good picture of how the primary self behaves in the world. Less often the “you” is the disowned self and then we are doing something totally counter to our usual way of doing things. For example, a very controlled man dreams that he is driving a car very fast and very out of control. This would be an example of the disowned self breaking through in a dream, something that happens infrequently in dreams but typically in daydreams.
The image of lions being lulled to sleep with the aid of new age music is both profound and humorous as the same time. The dream makes its point with great clarity and speaks to the awareness level of the dreamer to help wake her up from her own unconscious sleep state. Whenever we do not have access to awareness and to some level of the Aware Ego process we are living in some kind of sleep state, just like the dreamer’s lions. How different life would be if these lions woke up and their energies became available to her as they were thoughtfully and carefully let out of their cages and allowed their freedom. The dream paints a portrait of her relationship to new age spirituality that is very clear and precise and gives her clear direction on what she needs to work with – her separation from those selves that are connected to her new age spiritual identification as well as her need to learn how to use in a conscious way the new lion energy that would be available to her.
On a similar note, a deeply spiritual woman whose connection was to her church had the following dream: “I dream of angels. There were many, all surrounded with light. Some of them are carrying lilies, some palm branches. Their faces are radiant. They were all straining upwards. Suddenly there is a long table. Seated around it are all kinds of evil looking creatures masked and in black. The scene is like the Last Supper and the one in the center of the table says ---- Don’t forget us! We’re here too.”
People often think of their communication as a framing process. The unconscious at times is the master framer. It does not make her spirituality wrong. It simply re-frames it in relationship to the dark side, to the disowned instinctual energies. It puts these energies at the table of the last supper to make sure that she understands that both the angels on the one side and the dark and evil looking creatures on the other side are both part of her spiritual nature..
Our last example is that of a man who attended one of our European conferences. He had been working with a spiritual teacher for many years but he was feeling a good deal of discontent because his own male power/instinctual energy was emerging and creating conflict in the spiritual community of which he as a part. He had the following dream about his teacher: “ I’m exploring the compound of my teacher. I see that in this compound children are being trained to kill animals.”
This was a remarkable dream to us, to the group and especially to the dreamer. It does not say that his training was bad. What it points out so clearly is that in this training, his feelings ( children ) are being trained to kill the animals, his instinctual nature. The dream had a very strong impact on the dreamer and he discontinued his studies with the teacher within a very short period of time.
We personally do not appreciate the emphasis on spiritual training that governs so much of the consciousness community. We prefer to speak about psycho-spiritual development. The name itself makes clear that transformational work requires that we move on the path of the snake, a path that is forever interweaving between psychological, emotional and physical reality on the one side and our spiritual nature on the other. From our study of the dream process it is clear that the higher mind that directs this process wants us to be in balance and requires that we embrace all of our selves.
Some Thoughts on the Inner Patriarch
When a woman is having difficulties in her life - particularly in areas having to do with her relationships, her power, her sexuality, and her ability to set and hold boundaries - ask her the following questions: "How would you act in that situation if you were a man?" or "How would you feel about that if you were a man?" The answers to these two questions lead directly to the discovery of the woman's Inner Patriarch..
Listen to the answers you get - usually given smoothly and easily -- and often with a smile:
"I wouldn't worry about the relationship. It's basically
the woman's job
"I'd go ahead and take the chance."
"I'd know I was entitled to ask for it, so I would. After all, I deserve it and I'd get it."
"I wouldn't worry about what people think."
"I'd go for the top position without a second thought."
"I'd never even think of assuming that kind of responsibility for someone's feelings."
There you have him! The Inner Patriarch is an old-fashioned kind of guy - a guy with a well developed double standard - who likes his women to be women and his men to be men. He has strong opinions about what this means, and lots of rules to make sure that the difference between them is preserved. As a matter of fact, he's one of the biggest rulemakers we've come across. And he's operating underneath - in the shadows - in just about every relationship we've seen. That's why Sidra called him the "Shadow King" on her book.
The Inner Patriarch isn't totally bad. Just like the Inner Critic who originally developed to help us to avoid shame and pain, he developed to help women live in a patriarchal society. He truly believes that they need his advice - as a man - to help them deal with the men in their lives. And he's not completely wrong.
He has rules about how a "real" man should be and how a "real" woman should be. He has rules about women and power, women and sexuality, and a surprising number and variety of rules about how men and women should behave in relationship.
If you ask any self-respecting woman whether or not she has an Inner Patriarch, she will most likely answer no. After all, the patriarchy is a clear force on the outside, a force to be consciously - and conscientiously - resisted. It is a force that a woman must no longer allow to dominate either her thinking or her life.
But the need for consciousness raising and the struggle for "women's liberation" has moved form the outer battleground to the inner. As women vigilantly look outside for the challenger, he creeps up from below. We can assure you that the patriarchy is alive and well within. Women's lives, careers, sexuality, and relationships are deeply affected by the Inner Patriarch.
As we've said, the Inner Critic works hard to enforce the rules. The Inner Patriarch gives him or her plenty of rules to enforce. The more rules you become aware of, the more choice will be available to you, and the freer, more loving, and more spontaneous your relationships will become.
So start looking for your Inner Patriarch. The signs are usually subtle, but they're there!
DANCE FOR PEACE
Written by Judith Hendin for World Peace Day
It has been said
Does that mean only the happy part of the Universe, the
part we like,
Whatever part of the Universe Within we do not accept
When the Universe is ready for us to meet a new aspect
of our Selves
And the Universe laughs, … and waits for us to grow that big
So I ask you to take a giant leap across a mountain range
When we embrace the whole spectrum of life within ourselves
There’s a happy ending to this tale.
THE LADY OF DESPAIR
Kate Lampe, 8/15/02
I am the same
Your hair is longer
A husband and mate can put salve on the despair
Most people tell you it is not ok to feel. They do it
with smiling bright eyes.
You can follow their advice for awhile. You can believe them in their decrees of mental instability.
The woman inside.