When criticizing others don’t forget to look at the self and find the same criticisms. For that which is in others is also in the self. That which you find unnerving or frightening in the actions, language, or ideas of another lies also within the shadows of the self. For all are the same in the inner world; angel and devil, light and dark, good and evil. This is the universal duality that all suffer. Whether repressed or not, it is present in all beings. Resolution comes in knowing this and deciding which path is the right path of heart. The path of compassion or the path of hate? The path of equanimity or the path of disruption? The path of ego or the path of spirit? In the inner world there is always work to do. As within, so without. Change begins with you.
In the light of day the solid world appears safely discernible. As darkness approaches the discernible melds into blackness. Anxious anticipation and fear replace confidence and security, as that which awaits in the darkness draws near.
“Go to the light” is the guidance of spiritual traditions. We turn on the lights to dominate the night, to safely traverse night’s feared demons. Home security systems promise protection from real or imagined demonic projections upon the darkness.
But what is the truth of those inner demonic projections, so frequently veiling the truth of the night? Jung appropriately named that disowned portion of the psyche, that which lives in the shadow. For Freud, the personal portion of the shadow was the sequestered human animal, whose sexual and aggressive politically incorrect impulses were relegated to wish fulfillment dreams.
Jung extended the reach of the shadow into all the unknown dimensions of self. Just the venture of letting go of ego control in the journey of sleep is a leap of faith. Who can guarantee that a night’s sleep will deliver them into life in a new day?
Dream is a natural entry point into the subtle spirit realm. As the body sleeps, the spirit naively launches into journeys in infinity. Will it safely return? Will its cord to the physical body remain intact?
What encounters will the spirit face beyond Freud’s wish fulfillments or repressed sins? Beyond the personal lies the collective, replete with entities unsettled and seeking. How will spirit handle these encounters? Will it be drawn into heavens of delight, or into hells of terror? These are the challenges of the journey of the dark night of the soul.
Beyond the collective lies the transpersonal, the light of the high SOUL. But the truth is that high SOUL is the Yin/Yang of white and black. In blackness is latent spirit. In light is spirit manifest. The light of the manifest requires shadow. Without contrast there is nonexistence.
To seek the safety of the light without owning one’s contrasting shadow ill prepares one for one’s true spiritual journey. One must reckon with and explore the fullness of one’s unknown self to avoid the trap of negative projection upon blackness, and the false security of clinging to the one-sidedness of the light.
All beings are black and white. To achieve the lightness of being needed for true ascension we must reconcile with, own, and treasure this wholeness. Without the darkness of the unknown our heaven in infinity would terminate in boredom. Without the light of consciousness to navigate the darkness we’d surely lose our way.
Inextricably united, may black and white journey in oneness into that good night.
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.
On March 24, 1995, Tony Schwartz phoned Elmer Green to share his frustration that his recently reviewed book, What Really Matters (1995), which chronicled the development of the New Age spiritual movement in America, had sold so few copies. This despite favorable reviews in The New York Times and Fortune, and an upcoming guest appearance on PBS’s Charlie Rose.
When I went on to research Tony Schwartz, I discovered that he was the ghost writer for Donald Trump’s Art of the Deal (1987), the hugely successful, number one bestseller that first made Donald Trump a household name.
The coincidence and cognitive dissonance of Tony Schwartz, who has gone on to be one of the most successful proponents of New Age energetics, as applied to the workplace, being the same Tony Schwartz who first launched Donald Trump, is too compelling to ignore. Regardless of the findings of the Mueller report, Donald Trump was being groomed to become president by the forces of destiny, decades ago, as the prerequisite to the real launching of the Age of Aquarius.
Destiny insists that we reconcile our nature and our spirit selves for evolution to proceed now. Tony Schwartz reveals this polarity within himself in his 1995 call to Elmer Green. His outrage at his poor book sales, and his attachment to self-importance reflect his bottom-line-self, growling from his solar plexus chakra, saying, “what about me!?” On the other hand, the book he wrote speaks to the emergence of the New Age, reflecting a view from his heart chakra self, where the self-serving ego of the solar plexus chakra acquiesces to synchronicity and the importance of interconnected energy, versus self-importance and the will.
The fact that Tony Schwartz bemoans his role in Donald Trump’s rise in his 2016 statement on Good Morning America, where he characterizes his ghostwriting of Art of the Deal, as putting “lipstick on a pig,” suggests to me that he misses the true significance of his contradictory actions. All humans have two selves that must be reconciled with to advance both themselves and the human race.
To project the evil squarely upon a president, who may have stolen an election (even if it is true), is to dissociate from one’s own shadow self, which, as is evident in the Tony Schwartz example, continues to impact one’s life, albeit unconsciously.
The self of the first three chakras is embodied in the caricature of Donald Trump, and we all have that self. The first chakra is all about the wall and core safety. Do I have enough to survive? How much of our lives is spent on this obsession?
Birthright and entitlement spring from this chakra. Did I get the attention, resources, and security promised by the ruling archetypes of family? Have I settled with my core disappointments and resentments, or do I secretly harbor acrid bitterness and jealousy? Why do I really have to share? The bottom line is everything. “I’m all for spiritual enlightenment, just as long as I get my piece of the action,” is the perspective of this chakra.
The second chakra is truly the scourge of humankind. As a therapist of some 35 years, I know for certain that child sexual abuse is a hidden industry in all communities, at all socioeconomic levels of society. It’s an ancient shadow industry that reflects humankind’s inability to face the true depths of its animal sexual nature and, with the turning of a blind eye, relegates the instinct to target the most innocent and vulnerable.
The notion that human beings have mastered and integrated their sexual selves is absurd. Many ‘solve’ the issue of sexuality through dissociation from and repression of their sexual selves. This, of course, only empowers the collective dissociated instinct that flourishes in human trafficking and the hidden corners of spiritual traditions.
Even those moderately engaged with their sexual selves have to question how much of their sex lives are commandeered by manipulation, avoidance, obligation, personal gain, control, or simply a focus on personal desire. How much of the fullness of sexual desire is integrated with true love and meeting of another? To reach this level of refinement, sexual connection must travel to the heart center, where the egg of narcissism is cracked open to reveal the other.
The third chakra is all about personal power, as the ego comes into its own. At this locale, the ego is all about Me. I want, I need, I deserve, I desire. These are the ego’s marching orders. It’s about agency and will, deeply colored by desire steeped in narcissism. The emboldened ego serves the desires of the physical plane, be they sexual or material. The tendency is to overindulge all the appetites and be granted attention for one’s specialness.
Though many may have settled for a codependent solution here, the shadow of that dissociated will-to-power fuels the energy of a Me First president, regardless of how deeply he may be consciously disavowed.
These concrete, primal, instinctual footings of the first three chakras are the basement foundation of our spiritual being, which resides in the heart chakra. Material accumulation, carnal desire, and personal power are the building block challenges through which our soul must pass. Though we may stalk the higher values of energetic interdependence and love for all beings, at the heart chakra, if we haven’t grappled with and made peace with our own first three chakras, our experience there will be overshadowed by unrequited need.
A well-seasoned warrior is one who has faced the power of the kundalini energy of the instinctual self within, and raises it for further refinement in love, compassion, truth, and right action of the heart chakra. Arrival at this heart-centered place marks the integration of the two selves, that which is needed for evolution to proceed now. As destiny is boldly reflecting to us now, we must cross the divide from the full experience of the lower chakras to the heart chakra for evolution to proceed.
The transformation of our political landscape, that which rules the world, is directly linked to each of us, as we face the fullness of our own natures. Soulful introspection into the truth of our inner opposition, as well as a sacrificial attitude that brings moderation to the heart, as well as acquiescence to the true leadership of the High SOUL, are the keys to this transition. This is our golden opportunity to face, now, with strong foundation, and launch ourselves into the spiritual potential of a truly enlightened New Age.
To be alive in such times as these is the envy of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico, who treasured the opportunity for spiritual advancement as they faced the tyranny of the invading Conquistadores. Nothing tempers the spirit more than to shake loose the bindings of self-importance, that which is needed to cleanly arrive at the sobriety of the heart chakra. Owning the tyranny of narcissism, both within and as reflected without, is to find the ark to begin the journey across the great chasm of self-reflection to SOUL purpose.
Modern civilization values highly its rational ability to be in control of its animal self. But what happens if a seventeen-year-old teenager drinks too much and the desire body of his human animal self takes charge of his decision making ego and aggressively tries to rape a girl? Should he be held accountable for his behavior?
Most people would say yes. Some would blame alcohol excess, hormones, or the seductive impact of the girl. Few would simply dismiss the encounter.
Our civilization’s approach to reckoning with its animal self, with its powerful instinctual energies, is to expect its mental body, the ego, to keep its animal self in line. This is particularly emphasized at a level of society that values perfection as a major qualification to become, say, a Supreme Court Judge.
Civilization, as is now clearly being revealed in such highly regarded moral institutions as the United States presidency and the Catholic Church, has quite overinflatedly judged its prowess at containing the impulsive instinctual side of its animal self. Repression or suppression does not transform or raise an instinct to mental obedience, in fact, quite the contrary. The animal, tucked away in the shadows behind a squeaky clean persona, gains in energy and waits for its opportunity to pounce, a frequent occurrence at a college frat party.
As Robert Monroe, in energetic form, recently explained to Jan: “Always the sexual drive is dominant in men, and when present needs to be dealt with.”* Dealing with it in a blackout state is often highly traumatic to the recipient of its fury and can haunt a woman for a lifetime. Is there an alternative way for men to elevate their animal drive to human consideration?
Jung discovered mental programs that attempt to govern our animal impulses and contribute to our humanness, allowing us to rise beyond the nature of our primate relatives. Perhaps the most primary is the incest taboo, which is essentially universal, spanning all peoples on our globe. Though in many cases this innate taboo fails to control men’s sexual drive, it nonetheless has allowed for the stabilization of the family unit as a relatively safe building block for civilization.
Other innate archetypal programs that address the instinctual energies of adolescent males are the initiation/puberty rites of many ancient civilizations that, when properly enacted, result in a real transformation of the irresponsible/dependent child into a respectful mature adult. Modern civilization has either watered down these rituals to the point of meaninglessness or abandoned them altogether, with the result being a preponderance of uninitiated men, inadequate to safely channel their sexual drive.
Effective initiation in our time is largely a solo journey, as our civilization has largely locked the minotaur of its sexual self away in the labyrinth of the repressed unconscious, preferring to project its darkness on the evil other, who should be removed from our borders. This of course allows the real shadow to act out with impunity at the highest levels.
Perhaps the reinstitution of group puberty initiation rites will someday happen in some modern but meaningful form, but for this to happen society will first have to face the true status of men’s beleaguered sexual instinct and be willing to seriously address its need for transformation and integration into humanness. There are signs of this today in the consciousness raising effect generated by the Me Too movement with its takedown of exploitative men. But it cannot solve the transformative/maturity issue at the crux of the problem, to say nothing of the grey area of human sexual exploration that can hardly be deemed abusive.
Nonetheless, the transparency of Me Too is shining a needed light on the sexual shadow that leads to a more honest reckoning with the massive hidden acting out of men’s inadequately matured sexual instinct. Punishment, however appropriate, will not result in transformation.
Real human maturity requires the heart. Maturity below the heart stops at power and control; truthfully, right where we are now. To rise to the heart, we must advance beyond the compulsive entitlement of our narcissistic instinctual desires. In a country that now sets the standard for the world as me first, instinctual drives are unlikely to rise to the level of combining sexual drive with true human love and consideration for another. We just aren’t there yet.
Nonetheless, the rising feminine, be it in the Me Too movement or in political activism, is being mostly promulgated by the ultimate feminine herself, Gaia, Mother Earth, who is absolutely insisting that mankind take respectful care of her body and come together as an interdependent whole to face the real deficits in human maturity by rising to the true heart of the matter.