HEALING THE MASCULINE CONSCIOUSNESS, PART 3

“As an adult, you must rediscover the moving power of your life. Tension, a lack of honesty, and a sense of unreality come from following the wrong force in your life.”

~ Joseph Campbell

In Part 1 of this series (LINK), I addressed the problem of wounded male consciousness in our culture and in Part 2 (LINK), I shared a bit about my own journey. Let’s continue that conversation here, focusing on the role of shadow in this pervasive issue of masculine wounding.

Tangled up in the inner relationships each of us has with our inner masculine (Animus) and feminine (Anima) energies, is the shadow-self, the aspects of ourselves which we have denied and repressed because we perceived that they were not acceptable. All people have these inner aspects, and in our culture, it is usual for boys to be taught to deny their Anima and for girls to be taught to deny their Animus. There are, of course, exceptions to this, but they are few; and we are learning to see gender more as a continuum than as two separate poles of man and woman.

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This series is about healing masculine consciousness, and the most prevalent aspect of that consciousness which needs to be healed is among men. This is both because men have most of the power in our culture and because this power is based upon a long history, or patriarchy which has oppressed significant portions of the population and continues to do so. At the personal level, it is about men learning to express their feelings honestly and bringing compassion forward as both a desirable and achievable way of being and expressing for men and to men. It is often a misunderstanding of power, love, fear, and compassion which is taught from one generation to the next which not only perpetuates the pain but prevents its healing.

“knowing your power is what creates humility. not knowing your power is what creates insecurity.”

~ nayyirah waheed

When we are insecure about our power, we become dysfunctional. This can take many forms, from withdrawal to violent intimidation to self-harm. Since we tend to drive self-love and compassion out of our boys, denying them the full range of emotional expression, the effects of this shadow run deeply and powerfully in our society. Men become dangerous and/or ineffectual, aggressive and/or depressive, unavailable emotionally, and unable to express humility or vulnerability. This takes a great toll on men, and also on women and everyone who does not reside on far male end of the gender continuum. It is all repressed energies or shadow, and it needs to be revealed and healed.

“Work on your shadow stuff or your shadow stuff will work on you.”

~ Steven Forrest

 

“The persona aims at perfection. The shadow reminds us we are human.”

~ Daryl Sharp

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But this can be dangerous work. Shadow and its attendant processes, projection and denial, are all unconscious, and strongly resist being brought to awareness. Much of the western male persona, the rugged individual, strong and stoic, unfeeling except in victory, withdrawn, competitive, status-seeking, and warrior-like is actually a series of defense mechanisms to keep the shadow self hidden. Since most of our shadow is developed in childhood and the local and general communities are complicit in seeing this repression as valuable, we are not even aware that we have a shadow. Even less do we know its contents. Until we begin to recognize our shadow selves, we cannot begin the process of healing, a process which is always difficult and requires support from others in most cases.

“Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with your shadow. I wish someone had told me that when I was young. It is in facing your conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that you grow up. You actually need to have some problems, enemies, and faults! You will remain largely unconscious as a human being until issues come into your life that you cannot fix or control and something challenges you at your present level of development, forcing you to expand and deepen. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding, that we break into higher levels of consciousness. I doubt whether there is any other way. People who refine this consciousness to a high spiritual state, who learn to name and live with paradoxes, are the people I would call prophetic speakers. We must refine and develop this gift.”

~ Richard Rohr

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Photo Credit: Evan Benz

The masculine energy within us is romantic – it is the initiator energy, the ascendant yearning for fulfillment and experience. The feminine energy is grounded and creative – it is a receptive energy, the horizontal yearning for home and connection. We are all born with these full capacities, and our parents and society go to work to see that we only express one or the other, when human fulfillment requires a balance of both. Very few people in our culture are raised to express a balance of these energies. An absence of seeing the value in such a balance leads to dysfunction in everything from our sexuality (regardless of sexual orientation, a lack of balance will result in sexual dysfunction of one kind or another) to family life to work life to our spirituality. The expression in all of these areas can be atrophied, reckless, or deadly. Unless the shadow issues are revealed, healed, and integrated into a healthy adult consciousness, we are walking wounded – incompletely realized versions of our true selves.

“Man, coming from Unity, is both male and female, and has, within himself, both attributes of reality. In some the male predominates; in others the female. We have two distinct types in man and woman; but they are types of one fundamental principle. There is also an intermediate sex; that is, one in which the two attributes seem to be almost equally balanced. The greatest men and women of the ages have belonged to this type, for it is a more complete balance between the two which are really one.”

~ Ernest Holmes,

The Science of Mind, 1926 Edition (LINK from CSL Asheville)

Aside from it being interesting that the quote above was not included in later editions of the Science of Mind text, the insight expressed by Ernest Holmes here is striking, given the time when it was written. At that point, Jungian psychology was emerging and exploring Anima and Animus, but very few outside the Jungian community in Europe were talking about the value of such a balance of masculine and feminine.

A dear friend of mine who is a gay man told me that when he was a boy and his father took him to the toy store, he wanted to go look at the baby dolls, and his dad wanted him to look at the toys for boys. But his dad let him look at the baby dolls and buy them and essentially made it okay for my friend to be himself in that regard. How rare of a story is this? I was and am heterosexual in my orientation, and my dad and mom (mostly dad – see Part 2 LINK) made sure that I made the “correct” masculine choices. I am actually not sure if that would have been my preference at the time again, the conditioning came so early and was so thorough. And it was supported by the larger community and society – it still is, although change is happening.

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What would happen if a parent took their child to a toy store where toys were mixed and not shelved by gender expectations and let the children make their own choices? The answer, whatever it might be individually, would be that children would be freer to express according to their true natures. What we have had up until now is a cultural system designed to rigidly enforce cultural norms of gender identity, one which is deeply ingrained into our unconscious. And, children have no choice but to try and repress aspects of themselves which do not fit in, building shadow-selves which continue to unconsciously act upon them in destructive ways unless they are revealed and healed.

This has a lot to do with why “coming out” as one’s true self is so difficult in our culture – we have to battle our own internal shadows as well as the larger shadows of the culture around us. When I am being more authentic than you are being, the nature of your shadow is to try to repress me if you have the power, so that you will be able to remain comfortable in your own lack of authenticity. It is an automatic response, which we see in ourselves, in parents, coaches, bosses, politicians, etc. It is in everyone as long as that particular aspect is repressed. And, we will keep getting the same results as long as they are rewarded.

Men in our culture carry the burden of needing to be strong and unemotional in the face of all this repression – in fact, they often become its enforcers (as to women in a different way). Here are some of the effects:

In 2018 the American Psychological Association published – the APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men.

The first report of its kind, the collected research found that quote “traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful”

Written over 13 years and based on 40 years of compiled research – The report lays out some striking mental and physical health disparities between men and women.

Men are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide.

And men die from heart disease and cancer — at rates 50% and 80% higher, than women.

(LINK)

Add to this list the huge toll of crimes and violence toward women and children by men, and you have a striking pattern of dysfunction across much of Western society. There is simply no getting around it – wounded people wound themselves and other people. Look at the wounded males in top positions in government, business, education, etc. What we so often see are men who are overcompensating for their shadow selves and sense of inadequacy by seeking power, fortune, and fame – and there is never enough to fill the gaping hole within left by the repression of essential elements of who they really are.

We must heal ourselves before we can properly redesign how we raise our children. This must be a collective effort, beginning with awareness (the #MeToo Movement is an example), however, when there is anger rather than compassion in the awareness process, it can actually have a negative effect on the healing process. Many men today, in response to the groundswell of authentic pain from women are retreating and closing off rather than confronting their own pain and dysfunction. Like an alcoholic is addicted to booze, most men are addicted to the prevailing cultural view of manhood, and their shadow responds to the threat of being revealed by either lashing out or withdrawing. These deeply rooted cultural biases will not simply be shed by telling someone that he (or she) is wrong. A wounded person, when feeling cornered, will not simply acquiesce.

“By and large, the shadow is a hodge-podge of repressed desires and uncivilized impulses. It is possible to become conscious of these, but in the meantime, they are projected onto others. Just as a man may mistake a real woman for the soulmate he yearns for, so he will see his devils, his shadow, in other men. This is responsible for much acrimony in personal relationships. On a collective level it gives rise to political parties, war and the practice of scapegoating.”

~ Daryl Sharp, Jungian analyst, The Survival Papers, p. 82

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Our great challenge is to facilitate the healing of the wounded masculine consciousness individually and collectively. This will require the efforts of everyone across the gender spectrum. We are all in need of healing and we all contribute to the collective consciousness of our culture. The anger of those repressed by the patriarchal cultures of western civilization, while justified, will not alone facilitate healing. It must be transmuted into compassion – meaning that it is firmly expressed and dedicated to find a way to reach those in need of healing.

Healing the shadow means to reintegrate the repressed aspects of self into a healthy psyche which has access to the positive aspects of what was repressed. When a man represses his feminine side, he represses his ability to receive, to be creative, to be compassionate, to nurture himself and others. When integrated, the feminine aspect lets a man relax into finding fulfillment in connection and love as opposed to competition and the accumulation of wealth and status. Jung called this process of integration individuation.

“The soft flakes of healing are falling all around you all the time, even on your shadow.”
~ Emma Curtis Hopkins

In Part 4 of this series, I will address how we can facilitate this healing in our spiritual communities. As always, your comments are appreciated in the comments section below. Please share this blog with others who may be interested.

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

 

My book – available at Amazon in North America and Europe

– coming soon in Spanish!

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ROOT CAUSE: HEALING THE MASCULINE CONSCIOUSNESS, PART 2

“Negative masculinity cannot think in metaphor. Everything has to be concrete.”

~ Marion Woodman, Jungian analyst

In Part 1 (LINK), I looked at wounded masculinity and men in general terms. In this post, a bit about my own journey, on which my hindsight is far better than my foresight ever was. Remember, I am not saying that men, especially white men should be excused for bad behavior – what I am saying is that the wounding of men, emotionally in particular, is a deep root cause of that bad behavior. Healing is the answer – and how we go about that is the big question,

My father taught me that the worst thing you could be was queer, the next worse was to be black. He had a stereotypical view of every race, ethnicity, and gender – Archie Bunker in the flesh. He was not unlike most of the adult men in my family and neighborhood. Women were to be examined by physical characteristics only – they were all weak and at least a bit hysterical – Hysteria comes from the Greek root hysterameaning ‘uterus.’ Originally, it was believed hysteria and hysterical symptoms were caused by a defect in the womb, and thus, only women could become hysterical. (LINK)

Dad - Young

My Dad, about 1947

There was a lot of arguing when my mother told my father that she was going back to work when I was 8 years old. He saw that as an attack on his (already wounded) manhood and never forgave her. She left him six years later.

My father taught me to be tough, to stand up for myself – something, on reflection, that he had trouble doing for himself. He never forgot a slight or an insult and would tell me about them from his childhood, adolescence, and adult life. I think that my decision to enter law enforcement as a young man was an unconscious attempt to come to terms with my own sense of authority. Could I “wear my authority” – the uniform and badge? Would that be enough?

“By far the worst thing we do to males — by making them feel they have to be hard — is that we leave them with very fragile egos.”
~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Author

By most current standards, I had a pretty idyllic childhood. We had enough money, there was a loving family with grandparents in place, we lived in a nice suburban neighborhood, our street bordered 30,000 acres of forest (since developed). I played little league baseball, went to parochial school, was a cub scout. My friends and I played together every day, fought from time to time, and grew into adolescence.

When I was 14, I began high school at a Catholic preparatory school for boys. During my freshman year, my mother left my father; from then on, I spent most weekends with him. That meant that I had little to no weekend adult supervision, as he was drinking heavily before and after my mom left and they divorced. I stayed out as late as I wanted to, and my teenage years were a time of learning to be a misogynist – yearning for female companionship while learning to objectify the young women around me so that I fit in with the guys. Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Magazine taught me about sex (and conspicuous consumption). This juxtaposed with cultural images like “Leave It to Beaver,” a wholesome TV series made things very confusing.

I settled into a pattern of finding the middle – away from the jocks and very popular (rich) boys whose cruelty was legendary, so stay out of their way. And avoiding the very unpopular ones, the outcasts, less I become identified with them. I stayed with a few friends, spent free time in the cafeteria or library (or on “The Ramp,” an outdoor area where we were allowed to smoke), played no sports and joined few clubs (drama). I had lots of experiences, mostly negative and escaped with a C average.

Jim - CHC Freshman

High School Yearbook Photo – Senior Year – 1969

At my Catholic all-male high school there were five black students out of 1200, four on basketball scholarships (yes) and one, just one, who was there for academic purposes. None of them ever came to the reunions. We were privileged, white, and ignorant of so much. But there was no one to enlighten us.

“If you know a man who refuses to cry, you’ve seen toxic masculinity. If you’ve called a man a ‘pussy,’ a ‘fairy,’ or a ‘little bitch,’ you’ve engaged in it. If you’ve judged, harassed, or devalued a man for lack of aggression, you’ve reinforced it. Encourage empathy instead.”

~ @emrazz on Twitter

I heard these words, and said them myself, too many times to count from high school through university and into my police career. I heard them from my father, my friend’s fathers, coworkers, fellow students, coaches, and more. There were other words too, and there was no sense of it being wrong within the culture. I had that sense within myself some of the time, but it seemed better, and certainly was easier, to fit in.

“Young people speak of being suffocated at home. The participation mystique with the family, the unconscious identity with it, is at first all right but later it becomes suffocating and one begins to feel one cannot breathe and needs a wider space.”

~Marie-Louise von Franz

It was while at the University of Maryland from 1969-1974 that I began to grow up in the sense of gaining an expanded worldview. Having black roommates and friends helped, as did the usual experience of meeting people from different places and backgrounds. Also, during that time, the Vietnam War was at its peak, the peace movement was becoming established, the Women’s and Civil Rights Movements were well established and I was out of the circle of influence of my immediate family for the most part. Also, the Nixon presidency, Watergate, the candidacy of George Wallace (who was shot a few miles from my campus), and our proximity to Washington, D.C. (8 miles) led to a lot of political engagement for me. There were campus demonstrations and riots every year that I attended.

It was during that time that I began my law enforcement career – but within that culture I was always an outsider, due mostly to my experiences at the U of MD. During campus demonstrations, my heart was on the side of the demonstrators. It was a very exciting and also a dangerous time.

“Men who yearn for a deeper, fuller, richer life often stamp out this impulse (for emotional fulfilment) because to go for emotional fulfillment and self-expression runs contrary to society’s forces that define his success as a man. Men often have difficulty connecting deeply with who they are emotionally and going for it. The risk is too high. Many men spend their lives waiting for their emotional ship to come in, but without taking matters into their own hands and creatively shaping their lives. Men don’t realize they need to do their emotional work. They wait for social security and death, not really caring which comes first.”

~ Linda Marks,

Narcissism And The Male Heart Wound (LINK)

Negative or unbalanced masculinity is driven by appetites – for sex, money, power, influence – and everything is seen in those terms. Relationships are based either on domination or barter and exchange, not compassionate partnership. The world is seen as a jungle full of threats which much be managed and suppressed. Little energy goes into vision or positive fulfillment. Absent good male role models, most boys follow some version of this pathway into adulthood – arrested in a concretized, often primitive, worldview.

“Because of the nature of the male heart wound, many men are closed to considering that the male heart wound exists,” notes Art Matthis, a father of three boys in the Chicago area. “A characteristic of the male heart wound is the denial of the existence of the male heart wound.” 

~ From Narcissism And The Male Heart Wound 

After my father’s death, I learned from my mother that prior to my arrival (I was adopted in 1951), he had undergone psychiatric treatment, including electroshock, for severe depression. She said that he was relatively happy during my early childhood, but the depression subsequently returned and he self-medicated. My father was raised by an absent father (traveling salesman) and a mother who clearly had mental and emotional issues. And so, it goes.

Wounded masculinity retreats into dogmatic beliefs and emotional distance (except for outbursts of rage followed by outbursts of regret). The missing half of the self, the feminine, is cut off and the imbalance robs the person of connection and the capacity for intimacy. Wounded femininity also exists, of course, but that it not our topic here. More on the wounded feminine: (LINK) (LINK)

“Surely the greatest tragedy for men in regard to the feminine principle is that their fear alienates them from their own anima, the principle of relatedness, feeling and connection to the life force. This alienation from self obliges alienation from other men as well.”

~ James Hollis

It is all too easy for men to separate from others except in the most superficial ways. It is rare for a man of 30 to have more than one or two close male friends. A joke goes: You know the REAL miracle of Jesus? He had 12 close male friends!

I have moved around a lot in my life, and my pattern has been to have one or two close male friends at a time, most straight a few gay, but I have been able to connect with former close friends when visiting. Today, in France, I have a couple of men I spend time with, but neither has developed into a close friendship as of yet. I have had more women friends than male friends for the most part since middle age.

Since I have done so much personal and shadow work over the past few decades, I find that for the most part, women are easier for me to relate to. They tend to be more open and complex; men often have an automatic response in order to keep distance.

“Homophobia is an unwitting confession by macho types of the hidden power of the feminine … it is most pronounced among macho assemblies such as sports teams or the military where one needs to define one’s self in male constructs on a daily basis simply to hold one’s ground.”

~ James Hollis

Wounded masculinity underlies most of what is wrong in our culture – most of the intolerance, the bigotry, the hatred, the violence. Almost all serial killers are male; male CEO’s plunder the planet for short-term profits; wounded men commit violence against women at epidemic levels. None of this is in dispute.

What is difficult is how to bring about healing. The degree to which this masculine heart-wounding is at the center of our culture makes is exponentially more difficult to deal with – it is as present as the air we breathe. It is mostly unconscious, habitual, embedded, and too often, accepted. Men tend to resist most healing modalities, such as therapy. Where I have seen progress is in places like recovery meetings and in men’s groups in spiritual communities where men simply sit in a circle and share in an atmosphere of non-judgement. Wounded men have a great fear of being judged.

Few men are open to self-examination, fewer still are in spiritual communities where self-honesty and emotional vulnerability are present. How many men are in your parking lot reading the Sunday paper or looking at their telephones waiting for their wives or girlfriends to come out of Sunday service or classes?

It is a challenge in spiritual community to offer activities which appeal to men. New Thought communities are often made of mostly of women – as are spiritual communities of almost every denomination. There are very few with men’s groups or with well thought-out programs to bring men into the community in meaningful ways.

In Part 3 of this series, we will explore shadow issues related to heart wounding and how they manifest. As always, your comments are encouraged. Please feel free to share this post with those who may be interested.

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

ROOT CAUSE: HEALING THE WOUNDED MASCULINE CONSCIOUSNESS, PART 1

“Maleness is an outer physical attribute of half of humanity; masculinity is an attribute of every human being. It follows from this that one must be exceedingly careful how one applies masculinity or femininity to one’s personality.”

~ Robert A. Johnson

I believe that healing is revealing, so let’s begin this series with some revelations about the issue of masculine wounding. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that this issue underlies most, if not all of society’s dysfunction in today’s world; it is a Root Cause. Toxic masculinity is a manifestation of masculine wounding, as are the acts of violence, from dozens of mass shootings to hundreds of thousands of cases of domestic violence.

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The #MeToo Movement (LINK) (LINK) has brought the issue of bad behavior by men to the forefront, potentially revealing what needs to be healed. Our culture has been a largely dysfunctional patriarchy since at least Biblical times. This is easy for some men to see when pointed out, but, like a fish may be unaware of the water in which it swims, we men are all too often oblivious to the experiences of those who are not like us.

The patriarchy has been a white male patriarchy, where power has been consolidated to the detriment of people of color and white women. The 20th Century was the bloodiest in the history of humanity, with at least 108 million people killed in wars during that time, not to mention those killed by criminals or domestic violence or who died in industrial accidents due to negligence or lax or non-existent safety regulations. The white male patriarchy has evolved from monarchical kings to kings of finance, using greed as a reason to not only fight wars, but to make everyone’s lives be seen and valued in economic terms. This behavior is so widespread that we are surprised when we find people who seem relatively unaffected by it – when we witness true compassion for example. The biases and behaviors arising from this wounding permeate every corner of our society to one degree or another. It is, however, important to remember that the behaviors come from woundedness – wounded people wound other people.

It can be difficult to see that those doing the most harm are themselves wounded. Those with the most power are often driven to seek that power out of a sense of inner emptiness and wounding. in western culture, once a boy has reached the age of 7 or so, he is no longer allowed to feel – to cry or to express joy (except in victory) or to care or show compassion – the male heart wound. He is taught this by just about everyone in his culture, even his mother. So many boys and young men have no stable male figures in their lives, fewer have truly healthy male role models (LINK). While fathers may be wounded themselves, they are most likely to show tenderness to their own children. Unfortunately, there are fathers who are incapable of showing tenderness or love. The book and film “The Great Santini” (LINK) provide a vivid example of the wounded father harming his family – as he himself was harmed by his father.

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“The Great Santini”

IF YOU DON’T FEEL, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DEAL:

There are many secondary gains of the male heart wound. Power and wealth are two great anesthetics for the wounded male heart. Power and wealth get men the social trappings, including pretty women and all the toys, that allow men to avoid the emptiness in their own hearts. “When I am feeling powerful, I have no pain,” commented a man I interviewed. Men have built externally functional selves with worldly rewards. However, these rewards are not rooted in a core sense of self or soul which is inaccessible and undesirable, having been lost, broken, underdeveloped or never defined. This lack of sense of self, fragile self, undeveloped self results in an elaborately built psychic/emotional defense system that draws power and attention towards the person and keeps pain at bay.’

~ Linda Marks, Narcissism And The Male Heart Wound (LINK)

This wounding has arisen and continued because of a lack of balance between the energies of masculine and feminine, both in cultural and individual terms. The suppression of the feminine energies has placed us in great peril. We live in a so-called advanced culture in technological terms, but which is primitive, predatory, and violent in emotional terms. We, especially men, are at risk when we show vulnerability and compassion. And when trauma has occurred in childhood, the severity of the wounding is multiplied – narcissism and psychopathy increase. There are few solid role models for a balanced and healthy male in western society today, and too many unhealthy role models being held up as examples to follow.

The myths of wounded kings [The Fisher King (LINK) for example] show how the kingdom of the wounded male becomes a wasteland until he is healed by recovering his inner balance. When the wounded male has ruling power, the culture and everyone in it suffers. We are seeing this played out in real-time today.

“The images of adult manhood given by the popular culture are worn-out; a man can no longer depend on them. By the time a man is thirty-five he knows that the images of the right man, the tough man . . . which he received in high school do not work in life.”

~ Robert Bly

“The more a man swaggers, the more insecure he is in his own masculine nature.”

~ James Hollis, Jungian Analyst

This imbalance resulting from the denial of the feminine has led to the wounding of many men. They are left without true access to the totality of their nature. It has also led to a similar condition among women, who have been subjugated and led to believe that feminine energy was dangerous, or at least inferior to masculine energy; many have rejected their own masculine aspects (Animus in Jungian terms).

Not surprisingly, as women awaken and reclaim their power, wounded men feel increasingly threatened. The horrid comments and death threats and worse, which women who speak out about any cause or who challenge any man in power receive are evidence of this. The backlash toward the feminist movements by wounded males and by women who have accepted their secondary nature are on display for all to see. The wounded will lash out at or withdraw from initial attempts at healing, at least at first. The early reactions to the #MeToo Movement were largely men being silent and only apologizing when they felt trapped by accusations. The current Vice President of the United States will not have a meal with a woman alone (LINK) feeding the myth that men cannot be trusted in the presence of women.

“In ‘Castration and Male Rage: The Phallic Wound (LINK),’ a sequel to Phallos, (Jungian analyst Eugene) Monick argues that men suffer castration because the world wounds their sense of personal identity.’ The signs of this are over-compensation and an inflated power complex (think of Donald Trump naming his casinos after His Sameness, Wall Street scandals, & the meteoric rise and subsequent fall of business empires), and rage, often directed outward. Men also reveal their disempowerment through timidity and shame. One analysand I met who had been abused by his father could barely hold his head erect and look at me, lest I shame him the same way. Monick too, as I have here, asserts that a primary enemy of men is fear, fear of the feminine and fear of being wounded by other men. ‘Patriarchy, which substitutes power for love and measures worth in material terms, worshiping not the divine but its own erections, is a compensation for this fear.’”

~James Hollis, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst, Under Saturn’s Shadow, p. 94

It seems odd to think that people in power need healing, but the evidence is everywhere in our culture of woundedness. The macho consciousness is a false projection to cover up shadow wounds and fear. One who knows his wholeness can be kind and seek connection; one who is wounded and disconnected from his feminine nature lives in fear and becomes a loner, interacting with those he can dominate, or being dominated himself.

toxic-masculinity

“. . . obviously male children feel and feel deeply, but eventually socialization takes care of all that…. the feeling boy is gradually molded into the unemotional man.” Quoting a 45-year-old graphic artist, “’This culture… destroys the sensitivity in men. It annihilates the male emotionally, sexually, spiritually and creatively.’” 

~ Daphne Rose Kingma,

“The Men We Never Knew (LINK)

We teach our boys to emulate comic book heroes who may be good but who are single-dimensional and are not in touch with their emotions or with their feminine side (Anima in Jungian terms). In my generation, it was movie star John Wayne – the epitome of the stoic, rugged individual, the warrior who could not connect – who rode off into the sunset at the end of the story. Sexism, homophobia, racism, and bigotry are all a part of the wounded male worldview. I do no profess to know what percentage of men and women are affected by this wounding, but I am sure that it is a majority.

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Before healing can occur in any large sense, compassion must be present, which can be very difficult in dealing with those who have done harm. Our spiritual nature must come forward in this endeavor. None of us is free of the need to heal, and none of us is free of the effects of the unhealed.

In Part 2 I will explore my own journey, in Part 3 explore how shadow plays a major role in keeping woundedness hidden, and hopefully shed some light on what we can do together to heal our culture (maybe in a Part 4).

As always, your comments are encouraged. Please feel free to share this post with those who may be interested.

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

 

There is still time to register for my upcoming course in Metaphysical Psychology which begins on September 13th. For more information, email me at JimLockardTravels@yahoo.com

METAPHYSICAL PSYCHOLOGY FOR TODAY –

A TIME FOR INTEGRITY ~ A TIME FOR DISCERNMENT

“We live in an era when rapid change breeds fear, and fear too often congeals us into a rigidity which we mistake for stability.”

~ Lynn Townsend White

The world around us is growing more and more complex and the vast array of media outlets, commercial and social, are competing for eyeballs and ears, many of them all too willing to feed the fears of those who feel left behind by the growing complexity.

Cartoon - Bird Newspaper

Maybe we should stop lining his cage with the newspaper. ~ The New Yorker 2019

Trust is fading in our institutions and, all too often, in one another. Those on a spiritual path must double down on spiritual practices (LINK) and be open to the new while using discernment (LINK) in consuming information. And we must increase our ability to act with impeccable integrity toward ourselves and our fellow human beings.

If these times seem particularly challenging in this regard, it will get more challenging as complexity continues to increase and people are left farther and farther behind. The rush to conspiracy theories on both sides of the political spectrum in the US over the death of Jeffrey Epstein (LINK) this week gives a glimpse into this dynamic. We seem to be falling deeper into a hole of manipulation and “fake news.” Along with this resistance to complexity comes a rise in nationalism, which is essentially a fear-based desire to return to a more predictable time in the past. But evolution only goes in one direction, and we have to learn how to survive and thrive in more complex human societies. Our integrity and discernment are essential to this process.

I understand personal integrity to mean a conscious connection with my deepest self, cultivated through practices of meditation, spiritual mind treatment (affirmative prayer), contemplation, and other practices. As I engage in these practices, I learn to live less in a fear-based egoistic self and more in a love-based higher self. This is also a key element in what is called spiritual intelligence (LINK). This integrity, which needs constant tending, brings me to a place where I can be more honest with myself and others, yet also compassionate in my expressions. These qualities of integrity and discernment link to every area of life, as Osho points out in this quote:

“A mature person has the integrity to stand alone. And when a mature person gives love, he or she gives without any strings attached to it. When two mature persons are in love, one of the great paradoxes of life happens, one of the most beautiful phenomena: they are together and yet tremendously alone. They are together so much that they are almost one. Two mature persons in love help each other to become more free. There is no politics involved, no diplomacy, no effort to dominate. Only freedom and love.”

~ Osho

Integrity and compassion mean caring for others to the extent that you are willing to use truth in the most skillful way possible – even if it upsets others (or yourself). It is not just being nice – it is being real but holding oneself accountable for expressing as clearly and lovingly as possible. When we are living in our fear-based egoistic selves, we resist any attempt to change us or to challenge our beliefs. I often catch myself in defense when another points out something about me that is unflattering – and I have learned to make every effort to be open to such comments, take them under advisement, and explore their truth. Only then can I grow, but it isn’t easy – a glace at the comments sections in most social media sites will confirm how difficult it can be.

“You can’t make everyone happy. And someone shouting at you doesn’t mean you’re wrong. What matters is maintaining your integrity.”

 ~ Henry Cavill

Integrity means that I recognize, as much as possible, what others need to hear from me and see me do. It also means that I recognize my own agency, my own vulnerability, and be willing to be truthful even when it is difficult. This is true at work and in my organizations, as Frederic Laloux points out:

“Crashing through the woods is how we have learned to be together in organizations. All it takes to scare the soul away is to make a sarcastic comment or to roll the eyes in a meeting. If we are to invite all of who we are to show up, including the shy inner voice of the soul, we need to create safe and caring spaces… We must learn to discern and be mindful of the subtle ways our words and actions undermine safety and trust in a community.”

~ Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations

To the degree that I am capable, I ought to be creating atmospheres of welcome and connection, where people are heard and respected, but not shielded from the truth. Can we create spaces where it is safe to be truthful – where people come to see that they will not be attacked, nor however, will they be safe from all discomfort. We have important healing work to do in our spiritual and work communities, and we ought to make them places where integrity and discernment are honored, expected, and allowed to develop.

“I am most proud of my integrity and least proud of my cynicism.”

~ Chloë Sevigny 

When we fail to develop sufficiently, we need to use compassion in getting back on course and not fall into the trap of recrimination and spite. The world around us has no sympathy for our need to slow down – the rate of change is accelerating and we are called to adapt, seemingly continually. In order to do this, we must be in integrity. Compassion (LINK) the deep quality of seeing others as one with oneself, is essential in these times. Compassion is the surface action of inner integrity and discernment.

‎”Having compassion does not mean indiscriminately accepting or going along with other’s actions regardless of the consequences to ourselves or the world. It is about being able to say no where we need to without putting the other out of our hearts, without making the other less of a fellow human being. There is a difference between discerning & sometimes even opposing harmful behaviour and making the other wrong – less than we are, less a part of that presence that is greater than ourselves- in our own minds & hearts.”

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Our present calling is to move into an increasingly complex future while developing and expanding our inner capacities for integrity and discernment, AND by increasing our expression of compassion in every area of our lives. It is no small thing; however, it is within our capacity to grow into this calling. Our spiritual communities can be havens for this kind of development, but we must each own the accountability for our own development as we build #TheBelovedCommunity together.

 “The world will be saved by individuals of integrity freely joining together.”

~ R. Buckminster Fuller

Oh, and as for the news and social media – if you can’t find any compassion in the message, be skeptical (not cynical), and find a way to add compassion to it before passing it along or responding to the author.

As always, your comments are welcomed!

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

 

ANNOUNCEMENT:

I am accepting a limited number of private students for a 9-month program in metaphysics and psychology beginning in September. There will also be an informational video call on 31 August for those seeking more information.

If you are interested, email me at JimLockardTravels@yahoo.com and I will send you more information and put you on the list to receive the link to participate in the video call.

METAPHYSICAL PSYCHOLOGY FOR TODAY 2Who We Will Study Image

THE SHOOTINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THE CONSCIOUSNESS CHANGES OR UNTIL THE GUNS ARE CONTROLLED; THEN THE HEALING CAN BEGIN

“No matter how cynical I get, it’s impossible to keep up.”

~ Lily Tomlin

As I began to write this post in response to the horrific shooting in El Paso, Texas, I saw that another horrific shooting has occurred in Dayton, Ohio. This post may ramble a bit, but I thought it more important to be timely. And no, cynicism is NOT the answer.

Just a few days ago, I wrote this on Facebook: Once again, we are called to prayer as the result of a shooting – this time in Gilroy, California. The dead include a 6-year-old boy.
May peace prevail in the hearts of humanity and may peace prevail on earth.
And may America gain the political will to enact reasonable gun control legislation. May politicians be more willing to confront gun lobbyists and less willing to allow our children to be in the line of fire.

 I have written before on the epidemic of gun violence in America (LINK) (LINK). The darkness in the collective psyche of the United States makes it a very dangerous place to be – not just in terms of gun violence, but in terms of all kinds of violence, plus racism, sexism, shaming and blaming. It is an emotionally violent nation with regular outbursts of physical violence as well. Metaphorically, this means that what is diseased is seeking to be revealed and healed, but the egoistic mind is in denial and represses this tendency toward healing. Politicians and most citizens refuse to acknowledge and address the deeper issues, so they fester and expand.

We see some of this in the actions of too many young white males committing mass shootings – motivated by ignorance and fear flamed by online sites dedicated to hate any by the apparent encouragement of top political leaders. These young men, who have yet to develop their critical thinking skills (LINK) are like soldiers going blindly off to war, worked into a hateful countenance and willing to sacrifice themselves to destroy the “enemies.” This is only one symptom of the illness that is within the United States, one of the deadliest.

“Healing depends on listening with the inner ear – stopping the incessant blather and listening. Fear keeps us chattering – fear that wells up from the past, fear of blurting out what we really fear, fear of future repercussions. It is our very fear of the future that distorts the now that could lead to a different future if we dared to be whole in the present.”

~ Marion Woodman

help-button

 

Marianne Williamson, in a seemingly quixotic bid for the US Presidency, is both serving as a wayshower to those unfamiliar with New Thought (and related) spirituality, and as a mirror to those of us in New Thought who are seeing our teaching held up to the cynical lens of mass media and social media. She is planting seeds, some of which will doubtless bear fruit as the most Googled candidate – people may gravitate to our way of thinking about spirituality and the world we live in. The wayshowers of Wayne Dyer’s generation are largely gone. I am in the teaching because I read one of Dyer’s books – how many more would say that? Who is showing the way to New Thought today?

How do we reach a larger segment of the world with spiritual principles which empower one and greatly reduce the likelihood of violence? How do we, ourselves, further embody those principles so that we face the challenges of this world from a more spiritually realized way of being? If an individual were exhibiting the symptoms of the United States (and many are), the first thing one would do is remove or at least limit access to tools of violence. You might, for example, put the kitchen knives out of reach of a disturbed child, adolescent, or adult in the home. You would not expect that to heal the illness within, but it would be a reasonable action to take.

 “Until we go to the root of our image of separateness, there can be no healing.”

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

A national policy on gun violence including an assault weapon ban, universal registration and background checks, universal data bases available to law enforcement, and additional research on gun violence as a public health issue would be a start toward creating a safer environment from which to deal with deeper issues. But only a start.

All healing, all change, begins on the inside and works its way out. The US has deep inner wounding and shadow seeking to be revealed and healed. Reasonable and effective gun control measures are a necessary outward step to create a safer space to so the inner healing. The current national leadership are clearly not up to the task of recognizing the need for healing nor the task of facilitating that healing. The influence of money in our politics has led to corruption, both legal and moral. But that is a symptom and should be treated as such – healing will require deeper work, and we must ask if the United States or any nation is up to that task.

“The manifestation of emotional and psychosomatic symptoms is the beginning of a healing process through which the organism is trying to free itself from traumatic imprints and simplify its functioning. . .. when properly understood and supported, this process can be conducive to healing, spiritual opening, personality transformation, and evolution of consciousness.”

~ Stanislav Grof, Shift Magazine, June-August 2004

The good news here is that the raging symptoms being revealed come from a living system seeking healing. May we find the wisdom to promote a healing process.

Meanwhile, in France this week, we are seeing the end of peach season, the cherries are fewer in number at the marché, but the figs are coming in. Lovers stroll by the river and tourists fill the town squares. The Yellow Vests (Gillet Jaunes) are down to a small trickle, crime is low, and school supplies are on sale.

As you find the spiritual strength to engage the problems in your world, look around at the people, places and things which make that effort worthwhile. Let our spiritual awakening and positive actions be based in a consciousness of gratitude.

May Peace Prevail on Earth.

“Carl Jung said that if you find the psychic wound in an individual or a people, there you also find their path to consciousness. For it is in the healing of our psychic wounds that we come to know ourselves.”

~ Robert A. Johnson

 As always, your comments are welcomed. Please share this post with those who may be interested.

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUED SPIRITUAL AND PERSONAL GROWTH – And an Announcement

“I am convinced that the study of the soul is the science of the future.”

~ C.G. Jung

Full disclosure: This is, in part, a marketing piece. At the end of this post, is information about becoming a private student with me for a course of study which begins in September 2019 and concludes in June 2020. I conducted such a program this past year, and it was very valuable for those students and for me, so I am offering it again. Bu more about that in a bit.

“We are on the hero’s journey when we submit to the deep processes of life and allow them to affect us and bore their necessities into us. We are the hero when we take on the challenges and go through our initiations and transformations, enduring loss and gain, feeling happy and sad, making progress and falling back. The hero is engaged in life The hero is not the one who displays force and muscle without deep insight or the courage to be. The hero may not look heroic from the outside but may go through powerful developments in a quiet way. The difference is that the real hero engages life and reflects on it. She becomes more and more what he or she is destined to be.” 

~ Thomas Moore

The importance of continued study and practice on the spiritual developmental pathway cannot be overemphasized. When we stop studying and our practices become repetitive and stagnant, our growth does not just cease, it withers. Gaining a practitioner license, becoming a lay leader, even obtaining a ministerial license and becoming ordained is not the end of the journey. Each of these is the beginning of a new chapter in your journey. This is true whether or not one aspires to future certifications, recognitions, or awards. We either grow through our efforts or we wither.

Teach Coach Mentor Inspire

 

And the farther one is along the pathway of spiritual growth, the more esoteric and practical knowledge they have obtained, the more powerful their practices, the stronger is the need to do really deep and disturbing work into the depths of the self. And the truth is that today in New Thought, with very few exceptions, you can reach the pinnacles of certification and recognition, even winning awards, without ever having done the deep inner work of healing. While the organizations have a lot of excellent education, it is difficult to create curriculum for this depth of work. Additionally, there are, quite frankly, relatively few spiritual teachers qualified to work with students at this depth – not having done their own work in this area.

“We have a fear of facing ourselves. That is the obstacle. Experiencing the innermost core of our existence is very embarrassing to a lot of people. A lot of people turn to something that they hope will liberate them without their having to face themselves. That is impossible. We can’t do that. . . . That is the foundation of warriorship, basically speaking. Whatever is there, we have to face it, we have to look at it, study it, work with it and practice meditation with it.”

~ Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

What we have repressed since our arrival in this incarnation is called our Shadow. Working with the Shadow is difficult and disturbing and requires a long-term commitment to the process. When we do not do this work, or do it partially, we carry or repressed selves into every decision, every relationship, every aspect of our lives. The results are self-sabotage, drama, ennui, and mediocrity.

“Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with your shadow. I wish someone had told me that when I was young. It is in facing your conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that you grow up. You actually need to have some problems, enemies, and faults! You will remain largely unconscious as a human being until issues come into your life that you cannot fix or control and something challenges you at your present level of development, forcing you to expand and deepen. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding, that we break into higher levels of consciousness. I doubt whether there is any other way. People who refine this consciousness to a high spiritual state, who learn to name and live with paradoxes, are the people I would call prophetic speakers. We must refine and develop this gift.”

~ Richard Rohr

I have quoted four prominent teachers in this post, three of whom I do not utilize in my program. However, the message is known far and wide. If we are to realize our spiritual potential, we must do the deep work of personal transformation, and the way to that goal goes through your Shadow.

THE ANNOUNCEMENT:

The program is called METAPHYSICAL PSYCHOLOGY FOR TODAY, and it is a teaching, coaching, and mentoring process. It is for students with some basic metaphysical education, not for beginners. It is a very challenging course of study, not a weekend or a class of a few weeks. It is for those willing to make an investment of time, money, and effort into deep processing and growth. It is also fun, inspiring, and creates a new community. In last year’s group there were ministers, practitioners, and lay members of New Thought communities, and students without affiliation to any New Thought organization. Students from North America and Europe. Students from their 40’s to their 70’s. The maximum number of students I will accept is 12.

 

The course involves a 2-hour group session on Zoom communications software just about every Saturday plus a 1-hour one-to-one session with me for each student. There is also a 5-day retreat in Europe at or near the end of the program.

METAPHYSICAL PSYCHOLOGY FOR TODAY –

Here is one testimonial:

“I am happy to have had Dr. Jim Lockard as a teacher and mentor and just love the wealth of information that he continues to share. As I have said many times throughout the 9 months, I feel as though this gave me more depth and breadth in my awareness of metaphysics, who I am how the world works and I know I am better because of this journey and having you as a teacher and mentor. Thank you!”

~ Rev. Staci Hylton, The Center, Las Vegas, NV, USA

And another:

I highly recommend this class to those who have already “worked” their spiritual path diligently—not a beginner’s class. This course is about deepening one’s spiritual awareness, beyond traditional New Thought boundaries, and may well be very challenging to some New Thought sensibilities. The course materials and time commitment are rigorous and, for me, provided a profound experience in developing new personal spiritual insights.

~ Dr. Steven Brabant, RScP, Emeritus

If you are interested, email me at JimLockardTravels@yahoo.com and I will send you more information. I am announcing this to my blog followers first, but please feel free to share this post with others who may be interested.

 

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP AND FOLLOWERSHIP IN TIMES OF TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE – PART 2

“Don’t judge Religious Science by Religious Scientists.”

~ (the late) Rev. Dr. William Taliaferro

If you read Part 1 (LINK) of this series, and the two recent posts from Harvey Bishop’s Blog, entitled “Don’t Look Behind the Curtain,” (LINK to Part 1) (LINK to Part 2), you know that these series were initiated based on how some Centers for Spiritual Living (CSL) spiritual leaders have treated practitioners who were unwilling or unable to meet requirements set for them, usually about financial giving. If you have not already, you might want to catch up on those posts before you continue.

While Bishop has focused on the treatment of some practitioners using unskillful, even shaming leadership tactics, my focus as also included the aspect of good followership – the accountability of members of a spiritual community, particularly people in positions such as staff ministers or practitioners to both the leadership and the community as a whole. I see followership not in any diminished sense, but in the realization that every organization needs both leaders and followers who are as healthy and accountable as possible. In CSL, staff ministers and practitioners are actually in both roles, serving in followership to the spiritual leader(s) and in secondary leadership to the membership.

 

I have also focused in Part 1 of this series on issues that so many bring into their roles – psychological and/or emotional issues from earlier in life, issues which have not been resolved and which affect current thinking and behaviors. When we have unresolved issues, we are often incapable of being our best, particularly when we feel under pressure or in fear. This might show up as taking an unskillful approach when confronting a practitioner about being out of integrity with some agreement (financial or otherwise). It might equally show up as feeling a burning sense of shame when reminded by the spiritual leader that one is out of integrity with an agreed upon expectation, even when that reminder is skillfully expressed in an appropriate manner.

Naturally, the higher the position of authority one has, the more accountable one is for one’s behaviors. But we are all accountable for our own behaviors, are we not? Now, I am in no way saying that the stories shared in Bishop’s blog are inaccurate. As described, they reflect a failure of appropriate leadership at a minimum. They seem to illustrate a lack of emotional intelligence, which almost always results in failed interpersonal communications.

 

But I wonder.

I wonder how many of those practitioners approached the spiritual leader(s) of their community and shared that they would be unable to meet the expected level of giving? Or did they leave it for someone else to discover? I wonder whether the spiritual leaders communicated the policy regarding giving to the practitioners AND had they created an atmosphere in which it felt safe for practitioners to let the leaders know if and when they were unable (or unwilling) to meet the expectations in the policy?

In my time as a spiritual leader, we usually had giving expectations which were both clear and flexible; and I had situations where practitioners or others on the leadership team did not meet the expectations. Some told me about it as it unfolded, others did not. While I can understand their embarrassment, I cannot approve of their lack of accountability in not approaching me for that conversation when I had encouraged them to do just that. Of course, their lack of accountability did not give me permission to be unskillful or to shame them – it also did not give me permission to ignore the problem.

Perhaps we are talking about two different things here (although they are often intertwined). One is how often those of us in spiritual leadership fail to be the best version of ourselves when we feel pressured (and how easy it can be for us to feel pressured); indeed, how many in spiritual leadership lack necessary temperament and competencies for their positions. The second thing is the too-frequent breakdown of an atmosphere of accountability and support among the leadership teams of our spiritual communities, usually due to failure to address issues proactively.

So-What-Am-I-Supposed-to-Do-HEADER

AND: what are WE supposed to do?

“Not responding is a response –

we are equally responsible for what we don’t do.”

~ Jonathan Safran Foer

Deep-seated personal issues on which we have not done deep spiritual work are unlikely to be resolved until we engage with that work; this is true for both leaders and followers. However, there are some things that leaders can initiate to create an environment of trust, safety, and accountability.

  1. Have you explored the pros and cons of having required giving expectations? Why or why not? What are the costs and benefits, both financially and to the culture of the spiritual community? What does having such a policy say about prosperity consciousness (or lack thereof)? And if you have such a policy, how and when is it communicated? Is it written into bylaws or policy manuals? If not, why not?

  2. Leaders should promote the overall mental and spiritual health of the leadership team and the spiritual community. Have the conversation often: state expectations clearly (put them in writing where appropriate); speak about openness and accountability; create space for people to share what is bothering them – either in groups or one-on-one. Make it safe to have personal problems or concerns about policies. Do this with your board and your ministerial/practitioner teams regularly.

  3. Ask people how things are going and do so when there is the opportunity to respond truthfully – not during fellowship time or in other inappropriate situations.

  4. Leaders – show your own vulnerability from time to time. This is healthy. It can, however, become unhealthy if it becomes your default way of being. If you are a leader, you have the accountability to lead and to set an example of integrity and compassion. Finding the proper balance is a sign of emotional intelligence.

  5. Followers – you can best support your leaders by being honest and open with them. Being an accountable follower means that you are supportive, but not in lockstep with the leader(s). It does not mean always getting your way or never disagreeing, but it may mean supporting an approved policy with which you do not agree. If leaders are not open to hearing you, or if they are toxic (LINK), you must protect yourself; do not remain in an unhealthy situation – if you can’t influence it in a positive direction and it is toxic, your best option may be to leave.

  6. If there are ethical violations occurring, use the ethics process. Ethical standards and procedures for Centers for Spiritual Living are described in Section 7.1 & 7.2 of the Policies and Procedures Manual. It is advisable to review this before making a formal complaint if you are a minister or practitioner. If you are not, you probably do not have easy access to that document. The contact information for ethics complaints is below. I am sure that Unity has a similar set of policies and procedures.

Centers for Spiritual Living
Rev. Barbara Bue, Licensing and Credentialing Manager
Email: bbue@CSL.org Phone:  +1 (720) 279-1634
573 Park Point Drive Golden, CO 80401, USA

These are particularly challenging times for leaders of all kinds. We are facing tectonic shifts in cultural evolution and issues such as the worsening climate crisis, among many others. As Nora Bateson has written:

“Whatever leadership used to be — it used to be. Now, it has to be something different. Now, we all have to be more than we were. The kind of leadership that I want to explore may not be identifiable as leadership at all.  I am interested in a kind of mutually alert care and attention to the well-being of all people and ecological systems. This kind of leadership cannot be found in individuals, but rather between them. It cannot be found in organizations, nations, religions or institutions, but rather between them. I have called it Liminal Leadership to highlight the relational characteristics.”

~ Nora Bateson

 

I think it is obvious that leaders facing these kinds of transformational challenges which affect the very nature of leadership itself must improve their ability to have positive interpersonal relationships with everyone, especially those in their inner circles. New Thought Organizations can only do so much for spiritual leaders in this regard – perhaps better psychological testing at entry level and better support for those in service, but spiritual leaders have to be open to such interventions, and that has too often not been the case. Additionally, no one wants a heavy-handed organization intervening too often. Most issues are best resolved at the local community level – and taking personal accountability is a significant and necessary first step.

The organizations do need to improve their ability and knowledge to develop and support healthy and competent spiritual leaders – focusing on emotional and spiritual intelligence as understood today would be a good start. Many issues within a spiritual community do not rise to the level of ethics violations but are extremely destructive. Blaming the larger organization usually misses the point – accountability lies with each of us to be in the highest and best integrity in our roles, regardless of the behaviors of others.

There may be more to come on this topic but let me close this post with a quote from a distinguished citizen of my new hometown, Lyon, France. I think that Ernest Holmes would agree.

“You must begin by assuming responsibility. And you alone are responsible for every moment of your life, for every one of your acts.”

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

As always, your comments are welcomed!

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

 

 

SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP AND FOLLOWERSHIP IN TIMES OF TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE – PART 1

“Contradictions, whether personal or social, that could once remain hidden are coming unstoppably to light. It is getting harder to uphold a divided self….The trend toward transparency that is happening on the systems level is also happening in our personal relationships and within ourselves. Invisible inconsistencies, hiding, pretense, and self-deception show themselves as the light of attention turns inward….The exposure and clearing of hidden contradictions brings us to a higher degree of integrity, and frees up prodigious amounts of energy that had been consumed in the maintenance of illusions. What will our society be capable of, when we are no longer wallowing in pretense?”

~ Charles Eisenstein

A blog post by Harv Bishop (LINK) this week brought up a very significant question about leadership and shadow in New Thought organizations and spiritual communities. The Eisenstein quote above came to mind as I thought about the dynamics of the question – it is ultimately one of integrity.

The topic of the post is about how some practitioners (trained spiritual prayer partners) in Centers for Spiritual Living (CSL) spiritual communities have become alienated due to rigid requirements about financial support to their spiritual community and unfeeling/unskilled leaders essentially failing to see their humanity.

I believe that the issue goes much deeper and has a number of “tentacles” – some organizational and some psychological – which have led to this moment when this issue is being addressed out loud (at least in the blogosphere and on some social media). This is more complex than it might seem at first glance, both for leadership and for followership. Let’s examine a couple here.

One organizational issue is the structure of the Practitioner system in Centers for Spiritual Living. Bishop writes, “These highly trained professionals pray for and help people change their thinking. They can be thought of as the special forces of the New Thought movement. Practitioners serve as prayer volunteers within churches and do not receive a salary from their sponsoring churches. They can charge clients for their services if they start a private spiritual counseling practice. Becoming a practitioner is also a first step to ministerial studies.” To become a licensed practitioner takes about 4 years of study with testing along the way. Once licensed, there are requirements for ongoing education, etc. Practitioners serve “at the pleasure” of the spiritual leader of a spiritual community.

Holmes - Young

Dr. Ernest Holmes

The original idea of Ernest Holmes in the 1920’s was to teach and license practitioners who would go into private practice, generally following the successful model of Christian Science at the time (Holmes studied Christian Science briefly). This was before the idea of churches or spiritual communities had been introduced into Religious Science (Now CSL). The 6-week course at the Institute in Los Angeles resulted in a license to be a Practitioner of Religious Science and do Spiritual Mind Treatment for clients.

Well, so far so good. However, it was soon learned that some of the folks who became licensed were doing all kinds of things under their license which were not at all related to being a Practitioner of Religious Science. No need to go into detail, but the Institute and Dr. Holmes came to see that they could not enforce policies on these independent actors. So, after grappling with a number of alternatives, it was reluctantly decided to start churches with ministers to whom the practitioners would be assigned. The ministers would oversee the practitioners, who were still thought to be professionals who would earn their main living from being a practitioner.

Jump ahead nine decades, and we have thousands of practitioners around the globe, with perhaps a small handful (if any) making a living from their efforts; most practitioners today barely make enough to cover their license renewal fee, if we are to be candid. An increasing number do not charge for their services at all.

The organizational issue is that the practitioner program as it operates today is very different than the Founder’s vision, yet the basic structure and expectations have changed very little since 1930. The only significant change is that the 6 week program has been expanded to at least 4 years. Spiritual leaders feel compelled to perpetuate the idea of the Founder, at least to a degree, and thus find themselves in a very difficult position in terms of setting expectations. So, a major issue involved in Harv’s post is this:

CSL is perpetuating an obsolete model with expectations based on past practices which do not reflect how the modern practitioner functions.

“For us to remain relevant and contemporary we will have to slay some sacred cows.”

~ Edward Viljoen

While organizational and structural issues such as this put leaders and followers at a disadvantage, we are each accountable for our own responses to conditions. If I am approached by my spiritual leader and questioned about my financial giving (assuming there has been an agreement regarding expectations in advance), and I feel shamed because my current conditions include insufficient funds to keep my agreement, then is the spiritual leader the cause of my feelings? Even if the spiritual leader is unskilled at having a compassionate conversation, am I not accountable for my emotional reactions? And if I would respond to such a question with a feeling of shame, does that mean that it never should have been asked? I am wondering about the desirability of having developed a sense of spiritual grit or resilience – is that not something one might expect of a practitioner after all of their study and practice? One quality of good followership is personal accountability, another is emotional intelligence, both are tied to integrity.

This is not to say that the leader(s) have no accountability, of course they do – but it comes down to a very basic issue – am I my own authority? Is it reasonable for others to expect me to meet my obligations or, if I am unable to do so, to reach out and have the necessary conversations with those who are counting on me? If the answer is no, where does that leave us?

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

~ Carlos Castaneda

That first “tentacle” is unique to CSL, as is the practitioner program they utilize (although other organizations may have similar issues structurally). The second tentacle is more general and has to do with the underlying psychological factors which affect us all, particularly in relation to how leaders lead and how followers follow.

“A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to create the conditions under which other people must live and move and have their being, conditions that can be either as illuminating as heaven or as shadowy as hell. A leader must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside his or her own self, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.”

~ Parker Palmer,

quoted in CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY by Jim Lockard

No organizational system can fully overcome psychological (mental and emotional) issues. This is why employees and especially leaders are often subjected to psychological screening and developmental training over time. We all bring our unresolved childhood issues with us into the workplace, into our spiritual community, and elsewhere. We then project them onto others, unconsciously seeking healing through the process of mirroring and modeling. When we remain unaware of this process and its dynamics, we generally do not heal; we perpetuate the dysfunctions of ourselves and others within the group. We cannot be in integrity with our true selves because we have created barriers to that very connection,.

“Our unwillingness to see our own faults and the projection of them onto others is the source of most quarrels, and the strongest guarantee that injustice, animosity, and persecution will not easily die out.”

~ C.G. Jung, Depth Psychology and Self-Knowledge

The difference between the workplace and spiritual community is that we should be able to expect the latter to be a place where compassion and healing are prized and available. But as humans insufficiently aware of our own unresolved issues, we are limited in our capacities to express these positive qualities. When someone’s behavior strays too close to one of my shadow (repressed) issues, I will lash out in some fashion – perhaps by invoking my “authority” as spiritual leader or by relying on the most rigid interpretation of rules and policies as a means of protecting myself from being too vulnerable in that moment. And, it is likely that the practitioner, or staff member, or congregant with whom I am engaged will be doing their version of the same thing. The results of such dynamics often include shame, guilt, frustration, anger, etc. But that is not the end – then the blaming has to start, finding a scapegoat (the individual, the organization, the teaching) and having that repetitive inner dialogue about how I have been harmed through no fault of my own, and so on. This may lead to triangulation, gossip, withholding of presence and support, and the like. Sound familiar?

“The effect of projection is to isolate the subject from his environment, since instead of a real relation to it there is now only an illusory one.”

~ C.G. Jung, CW 9ii

“It is much easier to deny, blame others, project elsewhere, or bury it and just keep on rolling.”

~ James Hollis, Jungian analyst

On top of all of this, what it means to be in spiritual leadership has changed since the time of the Founder; indeed, it has changed since this 21st Century began and continues to evolve. Mew Thought spiritual organizations, like most others, have not been sufficiently responsive to these evolutionary processes to substantially uplevel how leaders are trained (much less to have effective and coherent programs to re-train leaders already in the system). We will muddle along, doing our best (which is often enough in the moment, but generally insufficient for the transformational times we are in), making our mistakes and hopefully learning from them. The reality of massive tectonic cultural and whole-system changes – cultural evolution (LINK), climate disruption, political unrest, economic unfairness and uncertainty, massive human resettlement, global health issues – means that we have to develop different ways of leading, new models of ministry, new healing modalities, understanding living systems (LINK), and more. And, we have to be as graceful and compassionate as possible in the face of these challenges and the inner transformations they demand of us.

As I reach this point, I realize that there will have to be a Part 2 to this post – Part 1 describes that it’s raining, so Part 2 will be necessary to try and explain how to build an ark. There may be more after that – it is a rich vein of leadership awareness we are opening. I hope that this adds to the important conversation which Harv Bishop has started.

 “Mistakes are not just opportunities for learning; they are, in an important sense, the only opportunity for learning or making something truly new. Before there can be learning, there must be learners. There are only two non-miraculous ways for learners to come into existence: they must either evolve or be designed and built by learners that evolved. Biological evolution proceeds by a grand, inexorable process of trial and error — and without the errors the trials wouldn’t accomplish anything.”

 ~ Daniel C. Dennett, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking

 

As always, your comments are welcomed!

 

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

My book speaks to this topic – a great gift for your spiritual leader and for yourself!

IN THESE TIMES, DOUBLE-DOWN ON YOUR SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”

~ Zen Saying

We westerners have two significant challenges today – one is that we are too busy. There are a million things to do! The other is that we and our societies are going through seismic shifts, from what we were to what we are to be next, and this transitional period is very turbulent, chaotic, and disruptive.

While our attention and intention are needed to help us to move through these times successfully and to contribute to the greater good, many of us are too busy to do that effectively. Our calendars are full, we have lots of possessions to buy and maintain, then to get rid of, and there are many social and work demands on us all the time.

“Being too busy has this result: that an individual very, very rarely is permitted to form a heart; on the other hand, the thinker, the poet, or the religious personality who actually has formed his heart, will never be popular, not because he is difficult, but because it demands quiet and prolonged working with oneself and intimate knowledge of oneself as well as a certain isolation.”

~ Søren Kierkegaard 

Meditation Ocean

And there is more happening – we are being driven from WITHIN as well. Evolution is the action of the soul’s longing to move forward with the expression of life. The reality of this inner evolutionary response to the changing outer environment is a dance as the inner and outer seek to merge. The turbulence of the world is both being generated by the human need to evolve and being distorted by the presence of so few who are READY to evolve. The heart described by Kierkegaard is the wisdom and love of the intuitive self coming to the fore and being available to us as a default aspect of ourselves. Those who depend on a static world where traditional practices or intellectual analysis will solve our problems are being left behind.

The increasingly rapid rate of change which is unfolding now is human-driven (what else is speeding up? – not the rest of Nature) and seems to have the largely unconscious purpose of increasing the speed of our development toward greater capacities for complexity and healing. Learning to match our heartbeats to this faster and more complex pace is our current calling, perhaps leading to new evolutionary breakthroughs. Our spiritual practices can equip us to master this transformation and to thrive as we move through the turbulence, even as others resist it and push back against forces which are ultimately irresistible.

“It’s a recognition that reality as we know it is being animated by an evolutionary current. This is true on the cosmological large-scale structure of the universe. It’s true biologically. But it’s true on a human level, too. The great mystery is living and wanting to transcend itself through us toward greater expressions of beauty, truth and goodness. And so evolutionary spirituality says that, for lack of a better word, God is implicate, intrinsic to that evolutionary push.”

~ Rev. Bruce Sanguin

Evolution is the mechanism for all forward movement in this universe. Nothing in the universe is untouched by it. Amazingly, human beings are now in a time when we are capable of directing evolution consciously. 14 billion years of the evolutionary process being unconscious and now a new era dawns – and we must prepare ourselves to take dominion of our minds. It is time to double-down on our spiritual practices and on our positivity. As some great minds have written about evolution:

“It seems that this higher order is entropy. Evolution is entropy. It requires disorder in order to jump to a higher order.” ~ Barbara Marx Hubbard

“We are moving from unconscious evolution through natural selection to conscious evolution by choice.”  ~ Barbara Marx Hubbard

 “Evolution is in part a self-transcending process.” ~ Ken Wilber

 “Is evolution a theory, a system or a hypothesis? It is much more: it is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow and which they must satisfy henceforward if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man

 “We may be sure that the whole aim of evolution is to produce innumerable selves which are all consciously centered in the Universal Self.” ~ Ernest Holmes

 The cure for being “too busy” is to learn to set priorities and focus – with intention and attention – on the important priorities while minimizing distractions. If your priorities are what you are passionate about, this will be fairly easy. If not, you may have set the wrong priorities. We should be passionate about our priorities.

Awakening to and encouraging our evolutionary nature is to come into alignment with our true nature. We are evolutionary beings, designed to develop and unfold from within in response to outer and inner stimuli – we evolve to adapt to our environment, which we also have a hand in designing. This is a critical thing to understand for all of us today.

ELP Butterfly

By doubling-down on spiritual practices you bring yourself toward a greater expression of life, toward being who you came into this incarnation to be. Doubling down is a gambling term for what you do when things have begun to go your way – you increase your wager, your commitment. Doing that with spiritual practices means increasing both the breath and depth of your practice. You may not double the time you meditate, but you do increase it; and you find ways to go deeper into your meditation. You may not double your prayer-treatments, but you increase them and you go deeper into the feeling tone of love and connection with the Divine. By doing these things with all of your spiritual practices, you integrate your higher self and transform your life.

Spiritual practices, done with purpose, passion, and discipline, are transformational. We all profess to know this, but not all of us have experienced it to the degree possible – but we all can! Sit and do your practices without fail, without distraction, staying positive and using positive emotions to set your intentions deeply into your subconscious mind. Find your evolutionary core and bring it forward and you will never be “too busy” or too fatigued by change again. You will be a master of time and space.

“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”

~ Lao Tzu

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

Announcing:

THE BELOVED COMMUNITY
SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP IN CHANGING TIMES

With Rev. Dr. Jim Lockard
A Summer Webinar on Zoom
Dates: 6 Fridays – June 14,21; July 12,19,26; Aug 2

For additional info or to register – email me at DrJim-Lockard@ATT.net

Leadership Class - Summer 2019