2020: IS IN YOUR HANDS

Where am I? Who am I?
How did I come to be here?
What is this thing called the world?
How did I come into the world?
Why was I not consulted?
And If I am compelled to take part in it, where is the director?
I want to see him.

~ Søren Kierkegaard, “Repetition: An Essay in Experimental Psychology”

Many of us can relate to the quote above from Søren Kierkegaard, the great philosopher. Today, as we enter 2020, a new year and a new decade, I thought it might do some good to spend some time with Kierkegaard. His wisdom is both accessible and honest. Those are things and I wish to carry forth into the new decade – clarity and honesty, along with the deepest compassion that I can manage. Compassion is a tough one – for to be compassionate is to invite pain and suffering; it is to identify with everyone as yourself, it is oneness personified. That’s a hard thing to do with any kind of consistency.

2020 IS IN YOUR HANDS

“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the moment we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in this world?

~ Søren Kierkegaard

This quote set me to wondering. Could the same thing be said if we substituted any New Thought text for the Bible in this quote? Are we in New Thought scheming swindlers in the way Kierkegaard describes Christians?

Of course we are.

If we weren’t, we would only need to read the texts once or twice and take but a class or two, as the principles of New Thought, like the principles of Christianity, are very simple. But decades into my New Thought studies, I still need more because I tend to weasel out of the clear dictates set forth about how to think and feel my way to a consciousness of love. I tend to scheme and fudge in my practices and in how I view other people. You, dear reader, can answer the question for yourself.

“Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.”

~ Søren Kierkegaard

Here, Kierkegaard hits the New Thought nail on the head. Regardless of how we would like things to work, there are certain universal laws which cannot be disobeyed, meaning that they work according to how we use them – but they always work. Our experience is largely the result of the thoughts we think and the feelings we attach to those thoughts. We are also subject to larger forces – the collective consciousness of humanity and its subsets (family, community) – but we cannot escape this essential truth. My individual thoughts may not determine where and to whom I am born, nor do they determine the outcome of national elections, but they do determine my experiences within those fields of influence, absolutely.

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

~ Søren Kierkegaard

The human capacity to be misled is all to large. We all have believed and do believe things which are not true. We prove this regularly by underestimating ourselves and others, by purchasing products we do not really want or need, and by being swayed by others who have a vested interest in getting us to believe certain things. Much of this is due to unconscious processes over which we have no immediate control. Some is due to our conditioning which we tend to follow automatically.

“The most common form of despair is not being who you are.”

~ Søren Kierkegaard

The year 2020 seems set to be another year of great suffering, natural disasters, political corruption, economic inequality, and ideological battles. I must accept this if I am to increase my dominion over my own thoughts and feelings. In the past, I have tried, on my own, in consciousness; and with others in consciousness to shift these larger patterns to no apparent avail. In the process of thinking that I could affect the larger patterns of society via my consciousness, I found myself despairing and losing my often too fragile grip on my own optimism and positive intentions for my life.

It is important for me to view this apparent detachment as acceptance rather than as resignation. I accept that human development is where it is, while also feeling sad that this produces so much suffering. I also accept that there is growth happening in ways both seen and unseen. And I focus my own intentions for my development toward growth which is not dependent on how others are doing or behaving. When I have accepted myself deeply and lovingly, I can develop a greater capacity for compassion. Compassion is seeing others as one with myself.

“Resignation is a shrinking, a turning away from life. Acceptance is an expansion, an opening that helps us find the courage to be who we are and do what we can.”

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

For the new year, my spiritual practices will expand and deepen, as I seek new emergence of the vast potential within myself. I seek to craft an attitude of acceptance of both human nature as it as evolved so far and of my own limitless capacity to express love. I shall engage in the affairs of the world as the best possible version of myself in that moment; I shall arrive spiritually prepared to engage from a compassionate heart. I shall seek to manifest the intention set forth in this final quote from Joel Goldsmith for my relationships with all of my fellow beings:

“Let us never accept a human being into our consciousness who needs healing, employing, or enriching because if we do, we are his enemy instead of his friend. If there is any man, woman, or child we believe to be sick, sinning or dying, let us do no praying until we have made peace with that brother. The peace we must make with that brother is to ask forgiveness for making the mistake of sitting in judgment on any individual because everyone is God in expression. All is God manifested. God alone constitutes this universe; God constitutes the life, the mind, and the Soul of every individual.”

~ Joel Goldsmith

Have a blessed New Year. I am grateful for you.

 

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

 

NOTE: I will be speaking at the Center for Spiritual Living Simi Valley on January 5th; at the Global Truth Center in Westlake Village on January 12th; and at the Center for Spiritual Living Salt Lake City on January 26th. I believe that all are live streamed – check the appropriate websites or Facebook pages for more information.

If you attend any of these, introduce yourself as a reader of this blog – it will be nice to meet you!

ESSAY: WHY IS TRUE EQUALITY TAKING SO LONG?

This is an essay, meaning that it is significantly longer than a regular blog post. You may want to bookmark it an come back to it if you don’t finish it in one reading. I did it in this format because I felt that the topic was better served within a single essay format than by breaking it up into parts. As always, your comments are welcomed in the comments section below. I will be on vacation for a few weeks and will not be posting – I will check in on your comments, however.

 

A thousand times I have ascertained and found it to be true:

the affairs of this world are really nothing into nothing.

Still though, we should dance.

~ Hafiz 

 Humanity seems to be in the process of waking up to some of our collective past inequities. This is nothing new, all of human history is about waking up as we learn and develop, however the current awakenings, sometimes called becoming “woke,” are to be celebrated. We are waking up to the idea that in the past, we have been unfair or worse in our collective characterizations, definition, and actions toward just about anyone who was not a part of the current dominant race or class.

This has included people of color, women, children, those who did not conform to rigid gender definitions and expressions, and so on. From the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, the Women’s Movement in the 1970’s, and LGBTQIA+ Pride movements beginning in the 1980’s, we have seen an awakening in (in the developed nations at least) in varying degrees to the need to recognize and honor equality. These movements are among the expressions of the Postmodern-Green Level of Existence in the The Spiral Dynamics™ Model (LINK). The Green level is complex and those arriving at this level of complexity view exposing past wrongs as essential in the process of moving forward to a healthier cultural future.

This awakening process is far from over, and once it is, there will undoubtedly be other things to awaken to, but we are making some progress, if not enough fast enough. This essay is an exploration of this dynamic, where it seems to be stuck and how it can move forward.

“A lot of our ideas about what we can do at different ages and what age means are so arbitrary — as arbitrary as sexual stereotypes. I think that the young-old polarization and the male-female polarization are perhaps the two leading stereotypes that imprison people. The values associated with youth and with masculinity are considered to be the human norms, and anything else is taken to be at least less worthwhile or inferior. Old people have a terrific sense of inferiority. They’re embarrassed to be old. What you can do when you’re young and what you can do when you’re old is as arbitrary and without much basis as what you can do if you’re a woman or what you can do if you’re a man.”

~ Susan Sontag

It seems that human nature is such that if people can hold themselves above someone else, or hold their group above other groups, they will usually do so. If a previously subjugated group ends up in power, they are likely to subjugate their former oppressors, at first by seeking revenge, and then by institutionalizing the subjugation. The process of seeking equality with a group which has held you in bondage or subjugated you or otherwise treated you badly is always a struggle and it is difficult to see the oppressor as human or as worthy of love or respect.

“When we are in conflict we tend to make such sharp oppositions between ideas and attitudes and get caught and entangled in what seems to be a hopeless choice, but when the neurotic ambivalence is resolved one tends to move beyond sharp differences, sharply defined boundaries and begins to see the interaction between everything, the relation between everything.”

~ Anaïs Nin 

The Spiral Dynamics Model can be helpful in understanding these dynamics. The model shows human development through the lens of increasing complexity and the values systems which emerge as our thought becomes more complex. The six stages or Levels of Existence which make up the 1st Tier account for perhaps 95% of all humans. These stages are all fear based, which is an important consideration in how we treat those who are different from us. When 2nd Tier stages emerge, this fear is gone, and an appreciation for all Levels of Existence is possible. At 1st Tier levels, there is always some fear of the other.

When an individual or group is centered at any of the first 5 Levels of Existence (represented by the colors Beige, Purple, Red, Blue, and Orange) the process of stereotyping and the conquest of others is a generally accepted way of life within the values systems of those levels. Human history bears this out, of course, and today we are dealing with both current expressions of these values systems and the after-effects of that history, most notably the periods of the Crusades and European Colonialism (including the expansion into the Americas). The murder and enslavement of the peoples of Africa, the murder and denial of education to vast swaths of the Arab world, and the genocide of the Native American peoples have left us legacies of deep harm which have yet to be fully understood, much less repaired in our times. In the East, the pogroms of Russia and the USSR, the Cultural Revolution of Mao Tse Tung, and the genocide of Pol Pot, among other atrocities, continue to affect the cultural evolutionary process.

“A stereotype carries no numinosity, no living energy, no intensity of feeling. A stereotype is a worn-out vision, a dead archetype, or perhaps even worse, a parody of it.”

~ Marion Woodman, Jungian analyst

VMEMEs Simplified

The emergence of Postmodern-Green, the most complex 1st Tier Level of Existence (LINK), has brought the emergence of systems thinking, or the ability to see many more connections among human systems than was previously possible. A result of this is the capacity and the desire to recognize past injustices and bad practices, reveal them, and encourage society to take steps to bring about a more egalitarian and fair culture.

While this is a positive step in our overall cultural development, there are new and complex challenges which arise when deep cultural shadows are brought to the light. While most people who are centered at the Green Level of Existence see the necessity of such revelations and also value egalitarian expressions of culture in all circumstances, those who are centered at less complex levels have different values. These include resistance to deep shadow exploration, both personal and societal. At the Traditionalist-Blue level, nationalistic pride takes precedence over any suffering which resulted in the building of one’s nation. Also, a more simplistic worldview sees through a very personal lens and has less understanding of differences which are not within their own experience. Racism and sexism become institutionalized and largely invisible to the privileged groups, who have little incentive to look beneath the surface.

Note that oppressed people at every Level of Existence on the Spiral are aware of their oppression and have a deeper understanding of its dynamics, since they live with it every day and do not have the privilege of ignoring it.

The emergence of those centered at Green in larger and larger numbers brings a values system which seeks to dig deeper as part of the process to create a fair and equitable society, including making amends for past oppression. But these Green voices are distinct if growing minority and have less presence in the centers of cultural power than Modernist-Orange and Traditionalist-Blue currently have. The response to calls for greater equality, civility, and non-violence in our society has often been a backlash of the opposite – because those levels below Green do not share the same values or worldview.

Blue-Orange power structures operate according to who has power and they do just about anything to gain and hold power. They value competition and winners get and deserve status, wealth, and the power to dictate to the rest of society. Witness current politics in the developed west; a mélange of Blue and Orange values systems fighting for control, seeking every advantage including those gained through corruption. Corporate (Orange) power using money to get the “right” politicians elected to gain influence and enable competition without regulation. Billionaires have easy access to others in power and to the media, in fact, they own much of the media. With few exceptions, they are not interested in greater equality as it would mean less influence and attention for them.

The typical white person in the middle or working class has a different lens, but one which generally supports the billionaires and power brokers, whom they admire. At Blue and especially Orange there is value in making it on your own, and there is little acknowledgement that everyone in a nation like the United States doesn’t have equal opportunities to succeed. This is a mostly, but far from entirely, unconscious belief system. Another example is the mostly unconscious, culturally driven nature of Blue/Orange racism which is captured well in this quote from a recent article:

“If you asked rural Americans how they felt about people of any particular minority group, most would pride themselves on having an unassuming, open-minded acceptance. And, for the most part, that is true on a personal level. But, to them, racism is a Klansman in a movie. It isn’t a contemporary power structure, or an implicit bias that gets black teenagers killed. They don’t see that. They can, on the other hand, see themselves struggling. They just very earnestly do not get it. The minorities they do know are — like that little girl in my third-grade class — pressured to fit in, to stay quiet. They’re not talking much about racism.”

~ Larry Womack, The Independent, UK (LINK)

Those who seek to bring about a more egalitarian and sustainable future for humanity, most of whom are centered at Green and above, would do well to have a greater understanding of the levels of complexity and the values systems of those centered elsewhere on the spiral. Those at any Level of Existence on the Spiral who do not have an understanding of the dynamics of the spiral, believe others share their own values system and that they only have to convincingly state their premise and others will see the truth of it and come into harmony or compliance. This is particularly true at the Green level, where feelings are very important. This naivety regarding how they are being heard has led to a considerable amount of anger at Green expressions, and those at Green are uncomfortable with anger. This has led to expressions such as “Call-Out Culture” (LINK) and “Cancel Culture” (LINK), two ways of using social media to correct what is judged to be bad behavior. Green will try to lovingly bring people into compliance but can become authoritarian (channeling Blue values) if others do not comply.

The problem with these approaches is that they are perceived by their targets as coming from levels of complexity and values systems which they do not possess or accept. Each 1st Tier Level of Existence works best within its own level and has difficulty working across levels. Many at Orange and below, for example, see the Green views on sexism and racism as overly sensitive and unrealistic; this is especially true on topics such as gender fluidity and cultural misappropriation.

In November, according to some conservative media outlets, there was a “War on Thanksgiving” – meaning the Green focus on recognizing the true story of early settlers and Native Americans rather than the fairy tale generally taught to children and believed by adults. This, of course, sits beside the ongoing “War on Christmas” which consists of suggestions that “Happy Holidays” be a default greeting if you do not know the faith tradition of the person(s) to whom you are speaking. But most of those in privileged groups centered at Orange and below don’t want to be told that their cherished nation and its traditions are essentially flawed, or that their default Christian culture is not at the center of Americanism. With some exceptions, they simply will not hear it.

We also see push-back and cries of excessive political correctness by comedians and others against proposed bans on certain kinds of jokes. While the views expressed by those centered at Green reflect more complex ways of looking at these issues and a compassionate desire for people to be accepted for who they are, these points are lost on many at Orange and below on the spiral. This segment from Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is about this topic:

LINK to Comedians In Cars Video

Comedian.jpg

It is important to note that each of the Levels of Existence on the Spiral were once leading-edge thinking. When Living Conditions became more complex people tended to adapt to new levels of complexity. Those who do not adapt have trouble keeping up with greater complexity, and the pace of change and increased complexity is growing ever more rapid. This means that if you do not adapt, you get further behind, making life more difficult in many ways.

It is also important to note that at every Level of Existence on the Spiral, the thinking and values are internally logical – they just may not be adequate to address a more complex outside world. As we move up through the Spiral by adapting to more complex Living Conditions, it is important that we retain the positive values of each level as we leave it behind – Red assertiveness, Blue ethical systems, Orange self-agency, and so on. If we do not retain these healthy values, we are more likely to express in unhealthy ways at higher levels. This shows up as Orange refusing to accept Blue regulatory processes on Orange’s excesses or as Green refusing to accept Orange self-agency and expecting everyone to accept whatever Green is saying as irrefutable.

While many of the emerging ideas from the Green level are, in fact, morally good ideas arising from a more complex worldview, the authors of these ideas and their supporters often fail to understand the dynamics of complexity and values on the entire spiral. They sometimes take absolutist positions as to the rightness of these ideas and are surprised when others do not agree; then all too frequently, they denigrate those who do not agree. The idea of being woke or being in tune with the prevalence of racism and sexism in the dominant culture is seen as a given by many at Green, but is generally viewed as a form of elitism and political correctness at Blue and Orange.

Hence #CancelCulture and other hashtags like #GenderFluidity and #HeyBoomer, are, ironically, used to be dismissive of others outside the parameters of healthy Green values. There is always truth in the issues raised, however, those accused of being complicit in mass misbehavior often do not see things in the same way. Raising awareness is a first step in bringing change, and in that first step there will be dissonance as people hear things for the first time. The question for me is how to best move through that dissonance toward resonance more quickly and with less negativity.

This brief Twitter exchange illustrates this point:

Twitter

The comment from @ChaosComet about being perceived as part of the problem regardless of intention gets an accurate but very Postmodernist-Green and complex response from @emrazz. If @ChaosComet is centered at Orange or below on the Spiral, they will not get the complexity nor see the value in the complex idea – they will find it confusing and feel unheard or diminished. The real issue here is not so much one of values, but one of complexity and how we communicate with one another.

True equality is taking so long to realize because the strong desire for it is only recently emerging in human thinking and values systems. To progress forward more rapidly, we need strong, positive, and compassionate leadership, 2nd Tier worldviews and skills, including the solutions noted below.

SOME SOLUTIONS:

There are few immediate solutions because we are in a time where change is constant, the old models are in decline or have already failed, and the new models have yet to emerge or be recognized. This means that we have to find our way forward without a clearly defined understanding of where we are going in most instances. This requires a different set of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) for leaders.

“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

Leadership today is like being a ship’s captain before modern navigational instruments, sailing through a fog that goes on and on. You have to keep the crew motivated during uncertain times – and today’s “crew” consists of people at various stages of development in terms of complexity and values. Those in leadership positions need to be sensitive to the different values systems present and communicate across the spiral effectively. It begins with kindness and the development of compassion.

“I have read somewhere of an old Chinese curse: ‘May you be born in an interesting time!’ This is a VERY interesting time: there are no models for ANYTHING that is going on. It is a period of free fall into the future, and each has to make his or her own way. The old models are not working; the new have not yet appeared. In fact, it is we who are even now shaping the new in the shaping of our interesting lives. And that is the whole sense (in mythological terms) of the present challenge: we are the ‘ancestors’ of an age to come, the unwitting generators of its supporting myths, the mythic models that will inspire its lives.”

~ Joseph Campbell, Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine

Another key factor, one that is not directly addressed in the Spiral Dynamics Model, is the emotional intelligence (EQ) (LINK) of those involved, especially leaders. EQ is the ability to know and manage one’s emotions and to have an awareness of the emotional states of others. In uncertain times, the pressure rises, and emotional intelligence is more and more important for us to navigate.

“As much as 80% of adult ‘success’ comes from EQ.”

~ Daniel Goleman

What we often see in Green’s attempt to get other stages to accept responsibility for (or complicity in) past bad practices is low emotional intelligence on one or both sides of the conversation. In such cases, the conversation becomes a shouting match and future harmony becomes more difficult to manifest. It takes high emotional intelligence to calmly process your own shortcomings, especially if you are hearing them for the first time. It also takes high emotional intelligence to communicate in such a way as to raise awareness and gain cooperation in getting to resolution of deep cultural issues.

One positive leadership practice can be to model and teach emotional intelligence in your community or organization. When integrated with positive spiritual principles, this is a very powerful way to develop spiritual poise.

Another positive leadership practice is to model and teach good listening skills in your community or organization. This is an essential element of compassion – the ability and willingness to listen deeply, both within yourself and to others.

A third positive leadership practice is to model and teach humility in your community or organization. To be humble is to be true to what you are, which is a divine being having a human experience, but one who still has much to learn.

A fourth positive leadership practice is to model and teach patience, especially patience for people to develop along the spiral to more complex stages and values systems. This can be a challenging aspect of leadership – impatience with those who are not as developed as you, perhaps not as woke as you. It is important to remember that all of us are works in progress and that none of us is in our final form.

Emotional Intelligence, Deep Listening, and Humility tempered with Patience are a strong foundation for building equality in spiritual community and in organizations. When applied well, people at all Levels of Existence can cooperate and co-create interdependent living systems which can contribute to creating The Beloved Community.

“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

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

I will be leading a retreat for men on healthy masculinity at

The Center for Spiritual Living Simi Valley

on January 3rd (evening) and 4th (9a-5p).

If you are in the SoCal area and are interested, visit the link:

(LINK)

SIMI - THE HEALTHY MASCULINE

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON:

https://www.amazon.com/Creating-Beloved-Community-Spiritual-Leadership-ebook/dp/B01MR2IOBA/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3G8OYZYCLFD5B&keywords=creating+the+beloved+community&qid=1575645208&sprefix=creating+the+b%2Caps%2C208&sr=8-1

LEARNING HOW TO DIE

“Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death – ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life.”

~ James Baldwin, “The Fire Next Time

I think I have mentioned in a previous post the story of my encounter with a very old man early in my Science of Mind studies. He had been in the teaching for some time and we were having a discussion during a class break. What he said to me has remained with me as one of the most significant statements in my metaphysical learning. He said that in learning the Science of Mind, we are learning how to die.

2016-11-09-11-54-52

When I questioned his meaning, he replied that only in learning how to live fully can we learn how to die properly. If we have not lived fully, we will resist that final state of our human lifetime and likely suffer much more than necessary. The quotes from James Baldwin, above, and Krishnamurti, below, speak to this deep truth.

“Death is extraordinarily like life when we know how to live. You cannot live without dying. You cannot live if you do not die psychologically every minute. This is not an intellectual paradox. To live completely, wholly, every day as if it were a new loveliness, there must be a dying to everything of yesterday, otherwise you live mechanically, and a mechanical mind can never know what love is or what freedom is.”

~ J. Krishnamurti

In our New Thought principles and teachings, we have a recipe for living fully, not just a series of lessons in positive thinking. Our teachings are about the realities of a human existence and a realization that although we are imbued with divinity, so is everything else. Pain and suffering are not to be denied but experienced and transcended as much as possible. The “successful” spiritual pathway is not one free of negativity and pain, but one in which the inevitabilities of life are met with compassion, grace, and wisdom. Our path is never completely clear of challenges, but we can begin to clear it of unnecessary challenges created out of our own ignorance and fear.

“A good life is still a life. It must involve a full share of suffering, loneliness, disappointment and coming to terms with one’s own mortality and the deaths of those one loves. To live a life that is good as a life involves all this.”

~ John Armstrong

Beautiful Angel Sculputure 3

Our fears lead us to live false lives, repressing aspects of ourselves which do not seem to lead to our acceptance by those by whom we wish to be accepted. We develop personalities designed to manipulate others through charm, intimidation, or aloofness. We come to see ourselves as inadequate and try to protect ourselves by hiding behind masks of various kinds.

“Most hide behind the smile because they are afraid of facing the world’s complexity, its vagueness, its terrible beauties. If they stay safely ensconced behind their painted grins, then they won’t have to encounter the insecurities attendant upon dwelling in possibility, those anxious moments when one doesn’t know this from that, when one could suddenly become almost anything at all. Even though this anxiety, usually over death, is in the end exhilarating, a call to be creative, it is in the beginning rather horrifying, a feeling of hovering in an unpredictable abyss. Most immediately flee from this situation. They try to lose themselves in the laughing masses, hoping the anxiety will never again visit them. They don inauthenticity as a mask, a disguise protecting them from the abyss.”

~ Eric G. Wilson

For some on a New Thought pathway, this becomes a fixation on being positive, good, even perfect. There is a clear sense of fear if anything negative is said or if the bad news of the day is discussed. This compulsion to avoid negativity is, psychology tells us, another form of the fear of death. In this realm, no one dies, they “transition.” The fact that no one knows what happens after that “transition” is also not spoken about, unless one has a belief that they do know.

Beautiful Angel Sculputure 5

A major lesson taught by Jesus is that every resurrection requires a crucifixion. In other words, there is no new birth without a death – the child must die so that the adult can be born, ignorance must die so that awareness can be born, etc. If we do not grasp the inevitability and the necessity of death in our existence, we sentence ourselves to incomplete lives lived in bondage to fear and avoidance. This shows up every time we cling to something that no lover serves us or that is, of its own volition or nature, ready to move on. Relationships, old belongings, stages of life, and limited ideas exist in this category. Clinging to the past is a form of denial of our actual fear – that we are destined to be forever moving into an unknown future which includes a physical death, and that we fear living fully.

It can be comforting to have a belief about what happens to us when we die. The founder of Religious Science, Ernest Holmes, was agnostic on this topic. He did believe in immortality of the soul, of the essence of who we are, but he was less certain about any retention of memory of our life in human form. He did not believe in reincarnation to earth but believed that every individual has access to every thoughtform, and memories of past lives were just that – thought forms (see the 1926 Science of Mind Text). Of course, he also held that this was his own opinion and others were not required to believe as he did.

“I do not believe in the return of the soul to another life on this plane.  The spiral of life is upward.  Evolution carries us forward, not backward.”

~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind (1938), p 386.

The ability to live in the paradox of a life which ends with a physical death and the continued journey of the soul, in another form or formless, into an unknown eternity is a sign of spiritual maturity. The spiritually mature person lives with mystery and paradox easily and does not require specific answers where they are not forthcoming or simply cannot be known.

Beautiful Angel Sculpture Death

By learning how to live fully, to accept the mysteries and paradoxes inherent in life and to be a living expression of our uniquely divine nature is the key to learning how to die. To enter that mystery with no more knowledge than we had when we entered this lifetime is what Nature requires of us (“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew 18:3). To come to a place where we do not fear death because we accept its inevitability and its mystery is to prepare ourselves and to enable us to live fully in each present moment.

Accepting the reality and inevitability of physical death is an important aspect of living a life worth living, one that offers the chance for fulfillment of your reason for being. It allows you to live both fully and lightly, with humility and humor, and to accept death and loss as part of the journey – not tragic but sorrowful, as sorrow is also part of human existence. Living as if life is an adventure to be explored rather than a fragile jewel to be protected at all costs – finding that middle balance where you ride the crest of the wave without falling in and without withdrawing out of fear. In this way we find the grace of life, which is a sense of true belonging, of deep connection with all of life, not just the parts we think we should like. We are all learning how to die.

“The conquest of the fear of death is the recovery of life’s joy. One can experience an unconditional affirmation of life only when one has accepted death, not as contrary to life, but as an aspect of life. Life in its becoming is always shedding death, and on the point of death. The conquest of fear yields the courage of life.”

~ Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Angel Tears

As always, your comments are welcomed. And feel free to share this post with others who may be interested.

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

A COUPLE OF ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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ROOT CAUSE: HEALING THE MASCULINE CONSCIOUSNESS, PART 5

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

~ Frederick Douglass

In Parts 1 (LINK), 2 (LINK), 3 (LINK), and 4 (LINK) I covered a number of aspects of what makes up the wounded masculine and how it shows up in individuals and societies. In this final part, I will attempt to describe healthy masculine energy and how it can form a balance with the healthy feminine in people.

Without such a balance, we are incomplete in our ability to express authentically in life. As noted earlier, in our culture boys tend to be raised so as to minimize or eliminate feminine tendencies; girls tend to be raised so as to minimize masculine tendencies. Here is some typical advertising, some modern, some from my earlier years:

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Children generally have to fight their parents and others when the energies of expression opposite their appearance is strong. The terms “tomboy” and “sissy” are still used to describe such children. For most children, the process is one of accepting the signals from parents (who are watching carefully for deviation from the gender norms) and society and repressing the opposite energy. The results are often wounded people who lack inner balance and express incompletely and, too often, harmfully in society. The entertainment media provides a great imbalance in male role models.

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So, what does healthy masculine energy look like? First of all, I think that healthy masculine energy is filled with wonder and curiosity.

The masculine qualities include initiation, protection, adventure, warriorship, cleverness, and exploration. The feminine qualities include creativity, ferocity (think of a mother protecting her children), homemaking/nesting, perpetuating the stories of the tribe, nurturing, and wisdom. When in balance, these qualities compliment one another in an individual. When one set of qualities has been repressed, the person will seek completion by developing defenses and compensatory behaviors – think “macho man” and the “sex symbol.” The masculine or feminine qualities operate without balance or restraint, leading to dysfunction in life.

The healthy masculine energy when balanced with healthy feminine energy has an expanded capacity for both creativity and compassion. Yet, this person can also be a wise warrior – the healthy masculine is tough when necessary, but also capable of expressing great gentleness, and not afraid of either. If a man, he is able to express emotions, be vulnerable, but also be assertive when appropriate. He is capable of great intimacy with lovers and friends as well. If a woman, she is able to assert her power as a creative individual and collaborate effectively with others.

The balance of healthy masculine and feminine energies also increases the likelihood that the person will have higher emotional and spiritual intelligence. This means that he or she has dominion over emotions and can remain in control in very stressful situations. It means that he or she is not easily knocked off balance by others; they have fewer “buttons to push.” This also means a greater openness to self-examination, especially for men, who are often reticent to explore within themselves. Note the percentage of men and women in New Thought spiritual communities or in therapy.

Healthy masculine energy does not repress feminine energy, and it has a positive inner relationship with the Anima, or inner female. Therefore, men with a healthy balance of energies do not abuse women, nor see them as less than human, nor as sex objects. They do not seek women as sexual conquests, but as partners in relationship. They are comfortable working with women and having women as supervisors.

There are, of course, divine aspects of the masculine and feminine; ideal forms of these energies which are available to each of us to actualize. But this is difficult when we have been conditioned to be out of balance in these energies.

It is incumbent upon all of us to search within and really feel into our Anima and Animus energies. To seek therapy where appropriate, to find groups in which to explore these energies safely, and to be very conscious of how we address these energies in one another – especially in our children. We need to honor all forms of gender expression as an important step to accepting the reality that our masculine and feminine energies do not necessarily honor our gender appearance. And the truth is that most of us have been conditioned to repress one or the other energies in favor of a socially acceptable expression of gender. Changing our expectations in this regard is a healthy way forward.

Finally, we must come to terms with the reality that many people are simply not going to be willing to take the necessary steps to recognize and honor full human authenticity. So be it. That must not stop those with the awareness of the need to do so from developing these capacities and expressing them. While this can be dangerous, and one must take precautions, it is more dangerous to repress who we are.

“Never for the sake of convenience or acceptance give up the authenticity of your journey.”

~ Bishop Yvette Flunder

Finally, healing wounded masculinity is both a huge challenge and a necessity for individuals and for all of humanity alike. It is a Hero’s Journey we all must take, as it is the root of so many of our challenges and also of our greatest potentials.

And for the last word:

“As you proceed through life, following your own path, birds will shit on you. Don’t bother to brush it off.
Getting a comedic view of your situation gives you spiritual distance.
Having a sense of humor saves you.”

~ Joseph Campbell

As always, your comments are welcomed. For those who have persevered through this series, I thank you. Please feel free to share with others who may be interested.

 

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

 

My Companion in blogging about things New Thought, Harv Bishop, has published an anthology of materials from his HarvBishop.com Blog. It is titled NEW THOUGHT (R)EVOLUTIONARY, and there is an interview of me in the book. You can find it at Amazon.com. Check it out.

Bishop Book Image.png

ROOT CAUSE: HEALING THE MASCULINE CONSCIOUSNESS, PART 4

“Culture that celebrates the cunning and cleverness of people who win at being predators shouldn’t be surprised they occupy pinnacle positions. Justifying exploitation as normal or necessary was a dead-end game. The future is in the integrity of recognizing interdependence.”

~ Nora Bateson (Twitter)

 

“The experience of the feminine is the psychological key to both the sickness of our time and its healing.”

~ Marion Woodman, Jungian analyst

In Parts 1 (LINK), 2 (LINK), and 3 (LINK) of this series, we have explored a number of aspects of the wounded masculine consciousness. In this post, we will sum up and offer some prescriptive ideas which may lead to healing at the individual and societal level. The dance of masculine and feminine underlies everything in human existence – it is essential to the creative process and to being fulfilled as a human being. This has been known for a long time – and in modernity, we have forgotten many of the basic truths of our nature.

“The I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes, recognizes the continual shifts that go on within the individual. The Yang power, the creative masculine, moves ahead with steadfast perseverance toward a goal until it becomes too strong, begins to break – and then the Yin, the receptive feminine, enters from below and gradually moves toward the top. Life is a continual attempt to balance these two forces. With growing maturity, the individual is able to avoid the extreme of either polarity, so that the pendulum does not gain too much momentum by swinging too far to the right only to come crashing back to the left in a relentless cycle of action and reaction, inflation and depression. Rather one recognizes that these poles are the domain of the gods, the extremes of black and white. To identify with one or the other can only lead to plunging into its opposite. The ratio is cruelly exact. The further I move into the white radiance on one side, the blacker the energy that is unconsciously constellating behind my back: the more I force myself to perfect my ideal image of myself, the more overflowing toilet bowls I’m going to have in my dreams.”

~ Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, pp. 14-15

 

As noted previously, we tend to raise our children according to firm gender roles and expectations, many of which are so culturally ingrained into us that we are blind to them. As a result, we are conditioned to repress the masculine or feminine energy according to our outer gender appearance by our parents and by society at large. This leads to those “overflowing toilet bowls,” not only in our dreams, but in the society we have created and in the individual lives we lead.

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Nothing in this series should be interpreted as a denigration of either “toughness” or warriorship in men or in women. The defense of what is valuable is healthy, and that is what warriors do. What is destructive is aggression and a sense of macho bravado that has nothing to do with defending what is valuable but is about defending one’s insecurity and inauthenticity. Such energy has done damage to countless human lives and to cultures over the years. That is what needs to be healed. The mature spiritual warrior comes to realize that the important battles are all within.

“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. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our excrement, our most undesirable parts. We have to see them. 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

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There is no single answer as to how to heal the woundedness of the masculine consciousness, nor the wounding to the feminine consciousness which has been a result of the masculine wounding. A beginning step is an awareness of the existence of the wounding – something that some are aware of (some men and probably most women), but not enough to forge meaningful cultural changes to how we parent and teach our children about the masculine and feminine energies.

“Men have been taught to sacrifice their hearts and their lives for the forward movement of civilization. And we have collectively been taught to assume men will not be affected by what the male role requires of them. . .. The definition of a man is to put duty ahead of emotional fulfillment.”

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

The way these creative energies have been viewed during the development of patriarchal culture over several thousand years has resulted in deeply ingrained biases in almost everyone about gender roles and expectations. “Coming out” is the act of stating that who I am is not within the rigid boundaries of what is culturally accepted as male and female gender roles, or as masculine and feminine consciousness within an individual. The fact that one has to “come out” at all is proof that these rigid beliefs exist, as do the structures and practices which arise from them; and that they reinforce one another. The cultural norms which have resulted in and from patriarchy are seen as a clear path to power, just as much today as two thousand years ago.

“We need to note that patriarchy and masculinity are not synonymous. Female patriarchs can be just as domineering as males. Like their male counterparts, they live in a patriarchal ethos that operates through control over others, over themselves, over nature.”

~ Marion Woodman

“The consequence of the patriarchal male’s haughtiness toward women leads to the inability to make any genuine contact with the Feminine (Anima), i.e., not only in a real woman but also with the Feminine in himself, the unconscious.”

~ Erich Neumann

“Women are taught that they aren’t allowed to be angry, that it’s aggressive, ugly, always unwarranted; so we cry when we’re mad, and we are mocked, diminished, dismissed. There is never a safe way for women to feel rage, yet even in silence we are blamed for saying nothing.”

~ @emrazz on Twitter

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Coming to terms with one’s position in the Patriarchy.

The Women’s Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and the LGBTQA Movements have unfolded within a patriarchal context, often seeking goals similar to those who operate within the accepted frameworks of the patriarchy. The desire for equal employment, equal pay, and for marriage equality, speak to the desire to be allowed to enjoy rights of the while male class which has been atop the patriarchy for centuries. The initial phases of movements by oppressed peoples have, of course, be to gain rights relating to civic and economic life. These are essential rights within a society, but they do not necessarily address the deeper healing which needs to occur.

For a true healing of masculine consciousness to occur, we must go deeper. While laws may govern behaviors, they do not govern beliefs. The continuing efforts to repeal laws of every kind which have been passed in the last 50 years to protect those who have been oppressed show that beliefs have not changed as much as we might wish. The negative reaction among white people to conversations about reparations for slavery is another example. It is not unlike speaking to an active addict about their addiction; the ego-self will lash out, so strong is the denial. We are dealing with largely unconscious accepted biases and beliefs.

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Healing begins with an awareness of the issue to be healed, then one must see the value in pursuing any healing process, then one must follow that process. The dynamics for individuals and cultures are somewhat different, because cultures will have a mixture of people at different stages of and openness to the healing process. Until there is sufficient conscious awareness of the problem and its nature, perhaps from a deep loss or trauma, healing will not be undertaken. Shadow integration is a difficult and painful type of healing, requiring a willingness to reveal very uncomfortable truths. The ego structure will resist any approach which threatens to reveal the deeper issues which it is working to deny. Remember, denial is an unconscious process, shadow is unconscious, and the ego seeks to keep them that way.

“Any serious spiritual work brings up the shadow, the rejected parts of your own psyche, which have to be faced and accepted. It’s the process of inner purification. Other spiritual paths may focus on purification through diet or yoga or good living or correcting bad habits. Our particular Sufi path has a very strong psychological element, and the purification is analogous to Jung’s ‘shadow work’ in which the rejected parts of one’s psyche come to the surface to be confronted, loved and accepted. This begins the process of transformation. As Jung said, ‘One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.’ Then he humorously added, ‘The latter process, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.’”

~ Llewellyn Vaughan Lee

Healing can be facilitated in a number of ways. One is by participation in men’s groups (LINK) focused on healing, in the recovery movement (AA, NA, GA, etc.), in therapy, and in spiritual communities where there is a psychological element (as noted in Lee’s quote above). It can also be done alone, but this is the most difficult path, as the ego will resist the kind of deep examination and revelation necessary for true shadow work. It is important to work with someone who has done their own shadow work successfully (which does not mean they have no shadow; it means they have resolved most of the major areas of repression). Things will come into conscious awareness which are difficult to deal with and must be managed in a healthy way.

MASCULINE ENERGY books

Starting points might be the books of Robert A. Johnson (LINK), a Jungian therapist with a deep understanding of symbolism and mythology. Also, the work of James Hollis (LINK), another Jungian who writes clearly about these issues. The poetry of Robert Bly (LINK), Coleman Barks (LINK), and David Whyte (LINK) can be a way to reach into one’s symbolic, mythological, and archetypal self. Debbie Ford’s classic book “Dark Side of the Light Chasers” (LINK) is a great primer to the shadow and shadow work.

In our New Thought spiritual communities, we need to take an approach that we are all works in progress, the products of patriarchal culture with conscious and unconscious biases which limit our ability to be authentically masculine or feminine. The healing practices of affirmative prayer and meditation are wonderful and to be encouraged, however, we must recognize that they can also be used as spiritual bypass when deep and uncomfortable issues are not explored.

There is no more important spiritual work than shadow work. Revealing one’s true self is paramount in moving toward a deep realization of spirit within. The path to the realization of spirit is within yourself; shadow block the path of realization. There are trials involved in this deep work; it is a true hero’s journey (LINK). And it requires a willingness to be uncomfortable, which can be difficult in spiritual communities where everyone appearing to be happy and satisfied is valued (and enforced).

It is time to stop dancing around the edges of spiritual awakening. It is time to dive into the painful waters of radical self-exploration and radical truth-telling in a community where compassion forms the essence of co-existence. It is time.

“We’re all just walking each other home.”

~ Ram Dass

In Part 5 of this blog, I will describe to the best of my ability what a healthy masculine expression might look like. I recognize the possible varieties of expression are endless, however, the essential elements would be consistent.

I am deeply appreciative of the responses to this blog series thus far. 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

 

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.

Masculinity 9

 

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!

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.

Masculinity 2

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.

Masculinity 5 Santini

“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.

Masculinity 5

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