To be elevated or lowered in thought and emotion is generally the consequence of identification with a power otherthan the self. There are many not-I influences that, unknowingly to consciousness, usurp identity, mental processes, moods, and actions.
On a collective level, we are in the midst of a world rapidly seized by a contagion of beliefs and intense emotions sparking heated rhetoric and threatening behavior. On one level this is the consequence of archetypal projections upon leadership.
The ruler of the personality is predisposed to absorb and mirror the attitudes of outer rulers, be they royalty, presidents, or popes. Even personalities that reject identification with leadership figures are not immune to infection, as they find themselves obsessed with revolutionary, depressed, or helpless overreactions.
Within the personality, beyond the I of the known self, are layers of influence that emanate from genetic predisposition, karma, and the collective unconscious, replete with its powerful archetypes seeking to infiltrate daily life. Contrary to the gods of yesteryear, who were housed on some faraway mountain, these archetypes quake from within, generating anxiety, terror, rage, and euphoria.
We might, for instance, awaken with a questioning thought about the meaning of the words another person had spoken in an encounter the day before. Subtly and suddenly, the thought mushrooms into a powerful conspiracy that ignites tremendous emotions of anger, fear, and protest. The ego then becomes intensely focused on plans to survive, attack, or circumvent the imagined onslaught.
In fact, the ego might find itself under the spell of an inner archetype that has dressed outer reality in the garments of the drama it seeks to enact. And what role will ego be assigned, victim or hero?
If we have the presence of mind to not get overly entranced by the lure of the drama, and revisit its status later in the day, we might find ourselves exclaiming, “What could have possessed me to see it that way? Wow, did I blow that out of proportion!”
In this case, the ego, by not succumbing to the coup of the archetype, retains its energy for reflection, differentiation, and control of the personality. Though impulse might at times save the day, it often masks the will of not-I influences that are seeking a play in human life.
The Shamans of Ancient Mexico characterize these extraneous energies as entities, who feast upon the high frequency energy of human emotion. They counsel that entities have largely only the power to infiltrate thought and perception, which may indeed generate intense fear, but have no real power to harm.
Whether seen as activated archetypes or actual entities, the guidance to the ego is the same: stay sober and grounded. Archetypes and entities seek our energy, our life force. They are merchants of exaggeration who cater to our boredom and our weaknesses. Refuse their offerings, shoo them away, turn in another direction, breathe, use dialogue to affirm the self.
Address boredom by aligning with your own personal Spirit: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Practice bringing ego to the guidance of the heart center. There it will be energized by its true path of heart.
Our weaknesses are demonstrated to us by the archetypes and entities that play and prey upon us. Archetypes offer to solve human dilemmas when ego is at an impasse, or is simply in a lackadaisical state. Entities, as well, can only hook our attention where there is a gap in our adaptation, its opening to enter and play upon our fears and wants.
Refuse the archetypes, refuse the entities, but do have gratitude for being shown by them what needs to be addressed.
When we shore up our weaknesses, through the guidance of our true spirit, we are freed to journey, weightlessly, on a most fulfilling journey in this life, in this world, and beyond.
Reason is the dominant tool of the first attention, what the Shamans of Ancient Mexico call everyday life. Beyond the first attention is the second attention, the world of energetic life, which is replete with all things irrational.
The Hindus note, for instance, that the emotional body component of the energy body, which is the home of powerful emotions and passions, is a prominent feature of the second attention.
Jung calls the second attention the collective unconscious, which lacking consciousness to guide volition, operates through the activation of powerful archetypes that can overwhelm the reasonable ego of the first attention, causing it to perform outrageous acts. To preserve the order and decency of normalcy, Jung asserts that these deeper dimensions of the psyche are repressed and housed in what he called the shadow, a component of the second attention.
Reason and shadow are mortal enemies, hence the natural tendency to keep them separated. Reason insists upon the rules of logic and fairness for decision making. Shadow insists upon the release of intense emotions and passions as its modus operandi, reason be dammed. Reason, in its own condescension, snubs the irrational shadow, misjudging the power of the repressed.
The history of humankind reflects the occasional reckoning of these two dominants in the clashes of world wars. Our current world predicament is a prime example of reason clashing with the formidable energy of the irrational. The world is rapidly disintegrating into such a primal clash at this very moment.
At a fundamental level the worlds of the first and second attention are layers of the same onion. As humans we are both consciously reasonable, solid beings, as well as irrational, energetic spirit beings. The totality of ourselves requires that we integrate these worlds despite their inherent opposition. Evolution is absolutely requiring such an advance at this time. How can we achieve this integration without the ultimate disintegration, Armageddon?
To begin, reason must address the limitations of its own belief system: “Things aren’t that bad… no one would let thathappen…” In fact, the shadow thrives on letting anything happen that offers it powerful release.
Next, reason must recognize that shadow is a dimension of its own self. Reason often doubts this, despite the many addictions or obsessions that it notices in its own functioning. Does it also notice its fascination and vicarious excitement with the emotional outbursts of now? Reason always believes that it has things under control, or that things are, ultimately, under control.
Reason must accept responsibility in developing a relationship with the energetic world of the second attention. When people discover the out-of-body world, they are often at first driven by insatiable desires, repressed in the first attention of everyday life. Maintaining the operation of reason, with the intents available in the second attention, is critical for deep responsible exploration.
I strongly recommend Robert Monroe’s three books, which detail his own journeys into the second attention with the evolving accompaniment of his first attention, reason. With his success and guidance, he is truly deserving of the title of American Shaman.
Exploration and reconciliation with the deeper dimensions of the self offer a playing field of deep soulful satisfaction, which checks the tendency of the shadow to need to project itself upon habits and outer events that mesmerize the ego and take over consciousness.
Ego must humble itself to the existence of energies within the self that are far more powerful than ego itself. Ego has reason, but that’s no match for the irrational. Ego, in its humble smallness, can say no however. What change would happen overnight in the world if all individuals just said no, not driving today, not consuming today? Such a world strike of no would force a different relationship with power.
Nonetheless, ego must not be unreasonable in its demands. The world of the irrational, the world of passion and spirit must be lived. Beyond the shadow of doubt, reason must join with its passionate, spirited, irrational self in deep exploration and life, beyond reason.
My intentions for this blog are: (1) to offer knowledge that might be helpful to those working through PTSD, and (2) to provide a greater context to a core problem of humanity that is of particular relevance to understanding and resolving our current Earth crisis. This crisis has reached a point where none should hold back their piece of the puzzle, as all pieces of that puzzle are needed to solve our current woes and launch us into health.
The TV show Grey’s Anatomy offered a boldly graphic and accurate presentation of Acute Stress Disorder, experienced by a woman immediately after a rape (Season 15, Episode 19). This blog is a contribution toward the complete healing of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the typical clinical progression of such a trauma, due to violence inflicted by another. At a certain point in that healing journey, understanding the objective reasons for the perpetrator’s actions is helpful in clarifying the truth that it really wasn’t my fault.
My Irish biological father was a violent alcoholic who beat my mother throughout her three pregnancies. When mother and I were as one, in symbiotic union in our journey through uterine space, we both absorbed the shocks of my father’s rapes and many physical blows. I was born with PTSD locked in the marrow of my bones, as well as in the subtlest dimensions of my Soul.
It would be my destiny, my karma, to locate the cure for PTSD in this lifetime, a deeply personal affair. PTSD would prove to be my worthy opponent in this lifetime. A worthy opponent, in the shamanic world, is that which most forces one to wakeup. Outwardly, in my chosen career as a psychotherapist, many have trusted me with their own frozen selves, the legacies of their own abuse. Within the shaman’s world I was led to recapitulation, the tool central to the complete healing of PTSD.
But beyond healing, what is the true etiology of man’s violence—in its many forms—toward woman? Today it is discovered that mass murderers hate women. Jeffrey Epstein clearly had an absolute need to completely control teenage girls. What was he so afraid of?
In my personal case, my biological father hailed from deep Irish culture, whose perennial ally has been alcohol to dream beyond the felt tyranny of the Mothership, England. An ally, in the shaman’s world, is a spirit that grants access to other worlds but also exacts a high toll in exchange. That same ally also gives license to the shadow’s rage at its impotence to rise above its child prison. Many a ‘good’ Irish woman hides the true deeds of absorbing the rage unleashed by the drink.
My biological father’s mother suffered from migraines and insisted my father be the one delivered, as priest, from the family to the Church. He opposed her will with the help of his ally, alcohol, and displaced his rage upon my mother, the intimate mother replacement in his life, his wife. His ally eventually tricked him into early death. Such is the fate of the refusal to reconcile the forces within the psyche with consciousness.
My adoptive Russian Jewish father, my one true father in this lifetime, venerated my mother, to a fault. Both Mother Russia, which had been his family’s home until the pogroms, and his Jewish matrilineal heritage sanctified Mother, regardless of their patriarchal dominance in practice.
Freud recognized the overarching power of Mother for son. He little understood woman, but he knew of the primal attachment and attraction between mother and son. Freud also never really valued the world beyond the nuclear family. For a son, the oedipal complex, the wish to fully unite with mother, was the single most important fact of life.
A wife, like civilization itself, was but a sublimated second best for mother. Man can erect towers, but even they limply compare to union with mother. For Freud, the confirmed atheist, Mother truly was god, and her power, he believed, was transferred by man onto all subsequent permutations of her, especially in his relationships with women.
When Freud met Jung, he crowned him his prince successor and desperately begged him to promise to uphold, as dogma, what he was convinced was the eternal truth of the oedipal complex. Jung’s mother had had long psychiatric hospitalizations in his youth. Though she was an object of mystery for Jung, she was primarily an object of fear. Jung’s psychology was transcendent, reaching beyond the foundation of the family nursery. He saw a son’s primal journey to individuation as the hero’s battle for deliverance from dependence upon the mother, and the mother’s world.
For Jung, the psyche deepened beyond the nuclear family, into the depths of the collective unconscious. Ironically, both he and Freud remained chained to tortured relationships with their wives in their lives. Freud indulged in a hidden affair with his wife’s unmarried sister, who lived in their home. Jung indulged in a blatant polygamous life, with two wives (only one actually legitimate), which he publicly displayed and foisted upon his family at Sunday meals. Neither man could bear the tension of their projections upon woman without splitting themselves in two.
Freud’s theories of woman’s psychology dominated clinical practice for decades, forestalling the validation of women’s recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse, relegating them instead to mere childhood sexual fantasy. Jung never publicly explored the impact of having been sexually assaulted in his youth. Nonetheless, their personal journeys into the depths of their own psyches, and the theories they generated, shed invaluable light upon the psychology of man and his core terror of woman.
Freud captured the omnipotent power mother possesses over her infant and growing son. She is the source of life, source of nurturance, source of need gratification, source of love, source of desire, source of pleasure, source of ultimate security, source of soothing, source of entitlement, and yet, source of ultimate frustration via the oedipal complex.
Mother is the most important and most desired person in the world to son. Though his oedipal crush will not be fulfilled, his longing and rage toward her for disappointing him, or toward the power he feels she wields, is often defended against through violence toward all women, who represent subsequent molds of mother, throughout life.
Jung traced the roots of the archetype of mother to matter itself; the primal substance of all things physical in the world. All human life issues from the womb of mother. Mother is the only one who can give life. Mother is nature herself, who both giveth and taketh life. Man can never conceive or deliver life. Mother’s power is primary.
Men, from primitive times, have been fascinated with but terrified by woman’s primal power. Taboos restricting women and protecting men from contact with menstrual blood or menstruating women still survive in modern India. Menstruation, with all its emotional variabilities, threatens man with nature’s destructive, uncontrollable, and unpredictable power.
The true reason for the Inquisition was man’s attempt to control the creative primal power of woman that threatened the controlling patriarchal dogma of the Church. That same terror was the true reason for Hillary Clinton’s surprise 2016 defeat: Man’s terror of being dominated by the primal power of woman.
Man’s relation to his own primal power of sexuality, and its urgency for contact with woman, confronts him with his own nature. Mastering the irrational power and energy of the body’s sexual instinct requires a deep soulful journey; it’s not a simple business transaction.
Gaining control of and building a mature relationship with the sexual instinct is often forfeited, in exchange for demanding and expecting a woman/girl to perform to immature male fantasy. Here, control rules the roost á la Jeffrey Epstein.
Desire for, yet terror of woman—who is experienced as both a goddess who quickly overwhelms his potency, as well as a mother prototype who embodies his oedipal residue—often prompts a man to violence to overcome the supreme power projected onto woman.
Violence castrates a woman’s imagined power, making her touchable, and it titrates oedipal intimacy down to manageable proportions. This is often the reason for preference of teenage girls and children to adult women, who can only be encountered with full-out violence.
Most women have no clue of the supernatural powers ascribed to them. The mystery, for most girls and women, is why they are targeted. The truth lies almost completely in the projected imagination of the perpetrator. Her body is a blank slate for the man to act out his superimposed inner drama. That’s what it means to be an object. You really don’t exist at all. Not because you don’t have value, it’s simply that your person has been typecast in another person’s play, and you have no say.
Our current Earth crisis is man’s absolute patriarchal holdout to control, exploit, and fully dominate Mother Nature. Obvious to many, however, is nature’s growing impatience with such hubris. Young people have begun their own alchemical processes to free gender ship of its archetypal bindings, with the reconfiguration of gender assignments into he, she, and they, and beyond. Oh, what androgynous beings we are and may be!
Individually, all are empowered to reconcile their spirits with their human bodies. All bodies are composed of matter. All genders contain father mind and mother body. Mind over matter simply doesn’t work anymore. Nor does projecting one’s inner confusion onto others. All must grant matter the respect and place it is due, as well as be guided by its leadership.
Mother Nature is shifting the balance of power by forcing us into true respect and valuation of each other as the only course for survival. Begin with the self; love and care for the body. Get to know its true powers, needs, and wisdom and let them co-lead the way. It’s the only way to go.
Rather than imbue woman with the supernatural powers of an ally and subdue her with violence, may man accept woman, like matter itself, as his worthy opponent who offers him his greatest opportunity to wakeup.
Someone once asked Carlos Castaneda if we should recapitulate our current love relationships. He paused, and with a shy smile gently replied, “Not yet.”
Carlos knew that recapitulation would take the buzz out of love and desire at the level of archetypal projection, that which fuels the dance of relationship in the physical world. He wanted us to savor our projections, before the personal dissolved into the transpersonal knowing of the all-pervasive impersonal divine, that which maya clothes in the unique fabrics of this world.
Transpersonal love simply can’t limit itself because, at that level of pure truth, all is love. Carlos didn’t want us to have to suffer too soon the essential loss of specialness that our local illusions provide, the puppy love of our desire body.
Strictly speaking, the desire body is the emotional component of the astral body, the energy body component of our Soul in human life. The astral body is the home of ego-Soul, composed of both mental and emotional components. The astral body is the conscious personality that navigates waking life in the body. At night that same astral body unhinges from the physical body and journeys in the dreams of its desires. Freud called dreams the land of wish fulfillment. Pretty astute, from a transpersonal perspective!
Emotion is the fuel of action. A thought or idea from the mental plane requires the motivation of emotion to manifest. Emotion has a magnetic charge. A want is a mental idea imbued with a feeling tone that magnetically attracts, via the law of magnetic attraction, the object of its intent to us, or us to it.
As I sit and watch a show the thought or image of popcorn might appear in the mind’s eye. If the thought or image is then imbued with the energetic momentum of desire, I might pause the show, get up, and make the popcorn! A mental thought that lacks an emotional engine is not likely to result in physical action.
Hence the guidance, don’t attach to unwanted thought. Attachment is thought which, when given continued attention, becomes strengthened by the emotional energy of desire. Sustained at this level, desire ignites into blind compulsion.
Sex is a powerfully wired instinctive mandate at the subconscious, little soul’s level of body management. Cyclical release programs of both hormones and neurotransmitters, in concert with external environmental cues, trigger powerful waves of desire that inundate consciousness from the depths of the body unconscious.
Clearly, nature’s most primal imperative is survival via propagation of the species. Archetypal imagery imbued with the highly charged emotional energy of desire dominate mind and action. The power of these archetypes to overwhelm even the most apparently spiritually committed is evident in the Vatican’s recent conference on sexual abuse.
But what about sex beyond the childbearing years? As nature’s cyclical programs recede, sex is still possible. However, it requires the higher involvement of consciousness at the ego-Soul level of the astral body, with both its mental and desire components needing to be engaged, to stir the body physical. Sex at this stage is far more a function of choice than biological imperative.
Although habitual mental patterns of sexual preoccupation and expectation may persist at this stage, the emotional energy of compulsion becomes freed for higher refinement. From a chakra perspective this is the raising of kundalini energy from the sexual and will centers to that of the heart, where a more conscious love becomes possible.
Oh course, sexual union may indeed be a concomitant of love at the heart chakra center. However, at this later stage, its overriding motivation is genuine connection and affection. This continued refinement of love ultimately flowers into universal love, as one clears the channel to the oneness of High SOUL in infinity. Reaching this state of love while still in human form is possible, though quite formidable a challenge as well.
As love descends from its purest state at the High SOUL level, where it exists as the cohesive energy that binds all into oneness, it becomes increasingly separate and personal, eventuating in the desire body of human form. The major opus of human life is to refine the physical and astral dimensions of the desire body to ascend to true love of another and, ultimately, love for all. That truly represents coming home.
This is the major play on our current world stage. Can the collective human desire body rise to the level of interconnected love in this hour of greatest need? It will, because it must, but when and how has yet to be written. We are the active side of infinity here, and the heart of every individual is the active playing field of needed change. Synthesize pure love.
Many people believe that the basic security they lack, due to parental neglect early in life, must be subsequently supplied by someone, somewhere, for healing and confidence to be established in their innermost being. When I began my professional career as a therapist at The Linden Hill School, a psychiatric hospital for nonviolent, deeply disturbed adolescents, I was told tales of former therapists who had attempted to compensate for the early neglect of caretakers by literally feeding their adolescent patients on their laps with warmed bottles of milk.
I myself once had a cat who’d been separated from his mother prematurely; we called him Ricky. Every time Ricky was held and petted he immediately attempted to nurse on anything his mouth could reach. No matter how much Ricky nursed through the years, this behavior never changed.
There appear to be critical periods for meeting certain needs through age specific behaviors. In the field of ethology, the study of animal behavior, Konrad Lorenz discovered that there are critical periods for imprinting and attachment. For instance, a mother goose will not bond with a separated chick beyond sixteen hours after hatching. In other words, that chick has just 16 hours to get the mother goose’s attention! If that fails, it’s on its own.
In humans, nursing behavior enacted beyond infancy will not supply the archetypal love as it does for an infant being loved through this form of nurturance. Fixation upon the now outdated archetype might persist, but acting it out merely provides a temporary fix, with powerful dependency on others continuing to be necessary to provide basic security. An internalized sense of being loved, with its resultant feeling of confidence, remains lacking.
How then does one fulfill a missed first chakra need of secure footing in this world? Regardless of the state of integrity of our personality foundation as separate beings, our bodies continue to grow. We are forced to adapt to new situations in life even if we are lacking in confidence. Fortunately, some inner parent, what I call one’s High SOUL, invokes a variety of strategic maneuvers which prioritize continuing to be able to grow, cognitively and emotionally, in spite of the lack of completion of a secure personality foundation.
One such strategy of the High SOUL is to prompt a child to make believe everything is OK. An adult name for this strategy is to act-as-if. When we act-as-if, or fake it till we make it, we willfully explore a behavior that stretches us beyond the comfort zone of our habitual repertoire. Though acting-as-if may be experienced as a false self, or may not serve deeper personality transformation, it is useful for adaptation in the moment. It may allow one to stay in the moment and actually continue to grow in vital ways.
Another powerful intervention by the High SOUL is the use of amnesia. Frequently, in the trauma of primal neglect, the memory of the traumatic experience is completely lost to consciousness, stored alternatively in the unconscious mind or somewhere in the physical body. Through this dissociation an individual is enabled to stay somewhat present to the experiences and lessons of the current moment.
Interestingly, as I have witnessed in my personal clinical experience, the High SOUL decides when, at some future point in time, the forgotten experience will surface, often decades after the event. This parental wisdom, exercised by the High SOUL, is to wait until a stage of life when adaptive needs are lessened and focus can shift to the integration of lost wholeness. Indeed, I am suggesting here that our true parent is our own High SOUL, always present behind the scenes, supporting our ability to undertake and fulfill our mission in this life.
Addressing traumatic memory or the fulfillment of basic needs requires a strong adult presence. When one opens to need or trauma, the emotional state of the inner child is evoked through the little soul of the subconscious’s connection to the body and its release of powerful hormones and neurotransmitters to activate emotions specific to the state of the trauma or need. The ego-Soul is then asked to stay present to the activated emotional, cognitive, and body states associated with the memory or need of the inner child.
In effect, High SOUL has determined that ego-Soul is now ready to become the parent to its own child self. This is not a matter of going back to some earlier time and fulfilling a need in the form that was missed out on. What is required is for the adult ego Soul to stay fully present and open up to the experience of its formally dissociated inner child. This means feeling it in emotion and body, and knowing it cognitively as the child believes it to be. High SOUL, who raised ego-Soul, now asks it to become the adult parent to its personality in the time and space of this world.
But how to do this? How does one develop such affect tolerance? One approach is deep relaxation. The little soul of the subconscious does what it is told to do. If, in the midst of a highly clenched physical state, ego-Soul can volitionally place its awareness on the points of tension in the physical body and instruct the body, through suggestion to the little soul of the subconscious mind, to relax the body, the body will respond and lessen its grip. Repeated instruction will deepen relaxation and allow ego-Soul to help its child self to regulate its own emotional intensity in the face of the experience it is in the midst of.
This loving act, of staying present to and helping to transform the inner child’s emotional reaction, opens the door to a deeper cognitive perspective where the child state sees the fuller context of the truth of its early experience, which can clear up false negative beliefs it may have held about itself for much of life.
This adult ego-Soul relationship with its younger self becomes the true supplier of the primal nurturance long sought in life. With this foundation, genuine transformations occur that provide for enriched fulfillment in life, within and without.
Whenever stressed, practice relaxation. Pause, take a breath, shift focus to the subconscious with the instruction to release the body tension. Stay present, see what happens! This is love in action, the right mechanism for archetypal completion, now.