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

Masculine 7

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

Masculinity 6

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!

THE CHALLENGE OF DEVELOPING A MORE DIVERSE & INCLUSIVE SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY, PART 4

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

~ Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland

In Parts 1, 2 & 3 (LINK) (LINK) (LINK), I explored the issue of diversity & inclusion in New Thought spiritual communities from society-wide and local spiritual community cultural viewpoints. This final post is about how our individual psychology, if not properly understood, can create unintended barriers to creating successful programs. And no, spiritual communities where there is diversity and inclusion are not impossible – even in the suburbs!

 

beloved-community-i-have-a-dream

There is a concept described by the Spiral Dynamics Model (and in other places) called transcend and include. This means that as we develop to more complex levels of thought and values, we transcend our former levels, but they are included within us. This is true of any developmental perspective of human growth. We are all familiar with the Inner Child concept – where the unresolved issues of our past remain active in our subconscious and cause us to act from that unhealed perspective if not continually, at least from time to time.

“The more ‘enlightened’ we believe ourselves to be, the vaster we discover that which remains unconscious.”

~ James Hollis, Jungian analyst

We have within us the vestiges of thousands of years of humans living in tribes – groups of less than 100 people making their way in the world, some as nomads, some settled in place, but all with a fierce loyalty to the tribe and fear and suspicion of anyone not a part of the tribe. This tribal consciousness, identified as Purple in the Spiral Dynamics Model, is not only part of our collective past, but is also a stage in our individual human development. We have tribal relations with our family, our schools, etc., and this remains true in varying degrees for much of our lives. Spiritual community can bring forth tribal feelings of connections and being unique from other groups. It can unconsciously activate our desire for intimacy, protection, and safety among trusted companions. Centered around a teaching and/or a teacher/leader, spiritual community can carry many aspects of a tribal culture.

This unconscious aspect can act in a variety of ways on individuals, ways that may well result in subtle or not-so-subtle resistance to different people showing up to join the tribe. Even though at a conscious level, we may recognize the value of diversity, our subconscious may resist being truly welcoming and inviting diverse people into the heart of the community.

 

Such a response to diversity, or to the idea of diversity, may not even be at the level of conscious awareness. There may well be a sense of “why aren’t we more diverse?” or “Why don’t others stay around long?” But, if you ask a newcomer who is different from the other members, say someone of color or LGBTQIA, you may be surprised by what they are experiencing. It often takes some deep personal exploration of one’s unconscious patternsbiases and fears – before we allow ourselves to see these repressed aspects. While there are certainly people who are consciously biased and bigoted, it is likely that most of us simply have not done the personal work necessary to dislodge old tribal patterns of thought and therefore harbor impulses and fears which lead to behaviors signaling that we are not open and affirming to those outside of the tribe. When this is the case, we simply do not pay attention to the issue at a deep level, for our repressed aspects tend to control our perception – we don’t see what others see.

This tribal consciousness, combined with a human tendency to accept whatever goes on when we are children as “normal,” has led to an American culture where things such as white privilege can exist for centuries. Our innate biases tend to make us (white people) reject the idea of such a concept when we hear about it (LINK). Accepting that such things are real and are the result of conscious cultural behaviors can be very difficult, but necessary steps in our cultural awakening.

“Stark honesty, however painful, is needed on this journey toward the Self; the unconscious will not tolerate anything less. One must be willing to face many cruel truths, those we keep hidden from the light of day, and those we keep hidden from ourselves.”

~ Marion Woodman

 

 

The repression of both negative and positive instincts and feelings into the unconscious causes them to inhabit a shadow realm. While ego attempts to continue to censor the shadow impulses-the very pressure that repression causes is rather like a bubble in sidewall of a tire.”

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés

These quotes strike at the heart of the issue that we face. No matter how willing we say that we are to open our communities to different people, our dominant consciousness will determine our behaviors. Putting up a rainbow flag but not being comfortable about LGBTIA people communicates a mixed message – and a mixed message is not a welcoming message. There is a learning curve across some differences in personal and cultural backgrounds which is much more difficult to traverse if we are bound by unconscious biases and fears.

Ultimately, each person is responsible for their own inner work – its degree, its depth, its sincerity. Certainly, spiritual leaders can and should be encouraging such work – and doing their own work in this regard. The culture of the local spiritual community, as described in Part 3 of this series, can have a significant effect on the personal spiritual and psychological development of its individual members. Is deep personal inquiry actually valued here – or just given lip service – or ignored completely?

Is spiritual leadership aware of the larger macro trends and dynamics affecting all aspects of spiritual community including diversity and inclusion, as described in Part 2 of this series? And if so, how is that awareness being integrated into the local spiritual community’s activities, planning, and ways of being?

And finally, if diversity is present in the community, or if it is a currently unrealized goal of the community, are there concrete ways of including diverse people in the heart of the spiritual community? If not, why not? A good beginning might be a very frank conversation among the community members and leadership about this issue and what may be getting in the way. There are consultants who can assist with this process, and there are programs within the New Thought organizations to provide guidance, support, and assistance.

Transformative change is never a painless process. But clear intentions and people who are doing deep work can work what would otherwise appear to be miracles.

“Only people with petty minds indulge in racial hatreds and distinctions. God’s perfect idea of man is the basis for every living soul, and we must believe this and act as though it were so. When we dislike people and groups, we are bearing witness to our small and limited viewpoints. The people in whom we fail to find good are born of the same Mind, operate under the same Law, and express the same Life as we do. Our inability to see their divine origin is our self-created stumbling block. Often, we are held back by our petty dislikes of other people.”

~ Ernest Holmes, “Guide to Richer Living”

 I have asked Tracy Brown, author of the recently published book, STAINED GLASS SPIRIT (LINK), to be a guest blogger here and to add her inspired thinking to the conversation. Look for that post in the near future.

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

I am pleased to announce that my two books, SACRED THINKING, and CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY will soon be available in Spanish. I owe thanks for this to a number of people who I will mention in the near future.

 

 

 

PEOPLE ARE COMPLEX – OUR SHADOW GETS IN THE WAY OF SEEING THEM

Pope Francis & Child

The photo above appeared on social media this week. Here is the caption that went with it (I saw it on multiple platforms).

A girl with Down syndrome, got up during a regular papal service, and went toward the Pope. The security men quickly moved in to take her back to her mother. The Pope stopped everyone and said to the girl, “come sit next to me.” The girl then sat down near him and the Holy Father continued to preach the homily while holding hands with the little girl.

The comments and responses were, as you might imagine, generally positive, given the image and the caption. However, on some of the feeds, the responses criticized the Church and this pope for being rigid in dogma, for the scandals of child abuse, and more. While these may be valid criticisms, I have noted a tendency by some to refuse to allow anything positive relating to those with whom they disagree to pass by without a negative comment. And, also, to refuse to allow anything negative relating to those with whom they agree. We see this all too often in our politics, our religion, our businesses, and our personal relationships. And, all too often, we forget that what we are doing is projecting our shadow elements onto others and reacting to their mirroring our own qualities back to us.

The unconscious processes of projection and denial are constantly occurring in our discourse, whether in conversation or online. Once they are activated, if becomes very difficult to see anything else unless we are aware of shadow work and know how to recognize when we have been triggered in this way. Since most do not practice shadow work and/or have no awareness of the concept, a lot of time and energy go into the projection and denial cycle – we continually trigger one another all over the place.

Perfectionism is one way this shows up – perfectionism has two main traits:

  1. A strong desire to hide what we perceive as our faults.

  2. Imperfectionism – seeing what is wrong, not what is right.

Sign - Perfection Pop 0

We will also project our need for perfectionism onto others – so no one else can have any faults. People who “catch” this type of projection are often celebrities or authority figures – parents, bosses, politicians, ministers, popes. Shadow work reveals this inner dynamic, allows us to notice our reactions to our projections, and work to heal the shadow element(s) involved.

“If we do not know ourselves, we cannot stand to our own truth and are, therefore, in constant danger of invasion by others.”

~ Marion Woodman

We will never stop projection – it is part of being human. What we can do is learn to recognize the pattern and seek the inner message which is trying to reveal itself to us. At the same time, we can let others off the hook of our perfectionist projections. We can allow people to be their whole complex selvesPope Francis can both be a loving person to children and be too slow to rectify a systemic problem in the Catholic Church. Our way of perceiving others (and ourselves) is therefore expanded.

“Projection is a natural process, through which, if we are attentive, we come to recognize our own inner world.”

~Marion Woodman

“Through the withdrawal of projections we come into possession of what Jung calls our ‘treasures.'”

~Marion Woodman

 

No spouse, no friend, no child, no minister, no candidate for office will perfectly reflect your values. The demand that they do so comes from a deep-seated sense of personal inadequacy which has been repressed as shadow. Healing this aspect of yourself allows you to be more accepting of your own complexity and that of others.

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

~ Marion Woodman

woodman

Marion Woodman

What we seek is not to be perfect, but to realize our wholeness. Perfectionism, which is ultimately an impossible set of demands, keeps us from realizing a greater sense of wholeness.

“Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. Knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness — mine, yours, ours — need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life.”

~ Parker Palmer

When we become aware of our projections onto others, we gain the power of choice over our responses. We are no longer triggered by slight differences of opinion and are open to see the complexity of others. As a result, we realize greater opportunities to connect with those who have different world views. We can relax and no longer be tied to the false idea that if everyone doesn’t see things the way we do, we are all doomed. We can express compassion rather than projected fear and judgment. We can be real. We can create #TheBelovedCommunity together.

“There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.”

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Copyright 2018 – Jim Lockard

SPECIAL NOTE:

I will be in the US for the next four weekends. Here is my speaking schedule in case you are close by – some of them will be live streamed. Info at the websites.

Feb 17-18 – Las Vegas Center for Spiritual Living (http://www.lasvegascsl.net/) – Saturday Spiral Dynamics Workshop & Sunday Service

Feb 19-22 – CSL Spiritual Living Convention – Hotel Irvine, Irvine, CA – Creating The Beloved Community Workshop on Wednesday afternoon.

Feb 25 – Global Truth Center Los Angeles, Westlake Village, CA (https://www.globaltruthcenter.org/) – Sunday Service

March 4 – Simi Valley CSL – Sunday Service & Afternoon Workshop (http://cslsimi.org/)

March 11 – CSL Los Angeles (https://www.csl-la.org/) – Sunday Service

 

 

 

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND GRATITUDE – A HEALING PERSPECTIVE

“Sexual harassment is not an inevitability. The narrative that men can’t help themselves is insulting to men. Prove it wrong.”

~ Lauren Duca on Twitter

What are we going to do with all of these MEN?

A tsunami of sexual harassment and violence allegations is crashing the shores, with seemingly universal experiences of harassment by women. Prominent men are losing their jobs, having their shows cancelled, and being vilified in regular and social media. (LINK) (LINK) Very courageous women are sharing stories of wounding which are often raw and always sad.

We have a culture-wide problem, one that has been largely (and conveniently) veiled from general public awareness over the years – sexual harassment is a nearly universal experience for women in our society. And it happens over and over again. That we as a society could repress such a universal pattern of behavior – allow so many women to be harmed in so many ways (physically, psychologically, destroyed careers and reputations), and so many men to continue patterns of perpetration – to PREY on women, speaks to a large element of our collective Shadow. *

This is very much a man problem (LINK to my previous blog post). We men need to be better versions of ourselves, behave better toward women, become champions of equality in the best sense. We must stop empowering and enabling other men who are predatory. We must become more conscious of what it means to see women as equal human beings and to channel biological desires and patterns in healthy ways. Men in our culture have some deep-seated problems: 76% of all suicides are by men, with suicide being the biggest cause of death for men under 35. Yet, men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women. Men need to break the stigma and end the silence. Yes, we do.

“I have suggested that women look at men this way: if they took away their own network of intimate friends, those with whom they share their personal journey, removed their sense of instinctual guidance, concluded that they were almost wholly alone in the world, and understood that they would be defined only by standards of productivity external to them, then they would know the inner state of the average man.”

~ James Hollis, Jungian Therapist 

It is incumbent upon men to do the work to heal themselves, to support other men in their healing, to do forgiveness work, and, where possible, to make amends to those they have harmed.

But . . . what about wholeness? Are men the only people in our society? Can any organism truly heal without participation from the entirety of the organism? For that matter, can any organism become sick without participation from the entirety of itself? Can one party heal a relationship? I suggest that women have forgiveness work to do as well – for themselves, for other women, and toward men, individually and generally. For only through forgiveness can spiritual freedom be realized. And we must remember that in no case does forgiveness mean that anyone is relieved of their accountability or the consequences of their behavior.

The Shadow elements of our society are held by all of us. And while we may have inherited the patriarchal nature of western culture, the major reason for our current situation, we all have a role to play in our healing. Women are beginning to play their role by coming forward and speaking up in greater numbers and with greater determination than in the past. Men need to play the role of acceptance and active healing methodologies. Institutions, which are male dominated still, need to play the role of holding people accountable to create an environment of equality, safety, and good mental health (which, by the way, is also good for the institutions).

Pooh - Patriarchy

As Claire Dederer writes in The Paris Review (LINK) – how we view the issue and its resolution is key to the prospects for healing. In her brilliant and well-crafted essay, she gets the concept of the Shadow, without naming it as such.

“But hold up for a minute: who is this ‘we’ that’s always turning up in critical writing anyway? ‘We’ is an escape hatch. ‘We’ is cheap. ‘We’ is a way of simultaneously sloughing off personal responsibility and taking on the mantle of easy authority. It’s the voice of the middle-brow male critic, the one who truly believes he knows how everyone else should think. ‘We’ is corrupt. ‘We’ is make-believe. The real question is this: can I love the art but hate the artist? Can you? When I say ‘we,’ I mean ‘I.’ I mean you.”

“The psychic theater of the public condemnation of monsters can be seen as a kind of elaborate misdirection: nothing to see here. I’m no monster. Meanwhile, hey, you might want to take a closer look at THAT guy over there.”

~ Claire Dederer

The Shadow dynamic of projection and denial takes us into that “we” territory and tells us that it is okay to call others “monsters” while feeling no accountability ourselves. It may feel good, even feel true, but it is neither. Until we own what we have repressed, individually and collectively, we are at the mercy of those darker aspects within us.

And here it is: Thanksgiving week in the United States. What a perfect time to practice gratitude! We in New Thought recognize gratitude as a creative element. We are grateful in advance of receiving because we know gratitude in advance to be an attractor for our good. I am practicing being grateful for this moment of uncomfortable, even painful awakening, because I imagine the new ways of being to which it is leading us. That future good exists only as potential and it must be brought into being by a consciousness of high expectation, gratitude, and action. #TheBelovedCommunity will be created out of Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness!

Oz - Love Compassion Forgiveness Oh My

Has it occurred to you that this emergence of the sexual harassment issue is part of something larger that is occurring? Nothing this massive happens in a vacuum. We are in the throes of the emergence of a deep realization that much of what we have believed about ourselves and our cultural heritage is false, or, at a minimum, no longer serves us. We are seeing the denial of that realization drive political and social movements that seek to return us to a time before that realization began to dawn.

“When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. ‘This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar’ she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. ‘My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.’ It was a moment that changed my life. In that second, I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions?”

~ Sandi Toksvig

The nationalistic movements in the US, Europe, and elsewhere are, in one sense, attempts to recover a lost innocence – or, more accurately, a lost ignorance. People rationalize that all will be well again if we just get these reminders of our awakening out of our sight. Return the people of color to where they came from; promote policies that disempower women, especially regarding their sexuality and reproductive autonomy; seal our borders and bring back the old restrictions mentioned in The Bible. Then everything will be okay. Our treasured but outdated worldviews will no longer be threatened. All led by a serial sexual harasser who occupies the White House.

The resolution of each individual’s masculine and feminine natures is one of the great tasks of life. Learning to bring each of these basic elements of creation into balance within ourselves is massively demanding. But until we have done that – balanced what Carl Jung called amima and animus (LINK) within, we will project disharmony out into the world, most particularly into our gender-based relationships.

Our larger western culture has, for the most part, assiduously encouraged the denial of this task. We teach our boys to be exclusively “masculine” and our girls to be exclusively “feminine,” virtually guaranteeing that there will be an abundance of unhealthy relationships, not to mention, institutional biases against anyone who seemingly violates the rigid definitions relating to gender and its appearance. Jung saw this as a deep societal problem, as did Ernest Holmes.

“A human being coming from unity is both male and female, and has within both attributes of reality. In some the male predominates, and others the female.  We have two distinct types of one fundamental principle. There is also an intermediate sex. That is one in which it seems where the two attributes seem 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 really are one.”

~ Ernest Holmes, 1926 Science of Mind Edition

As we struggle to put the sexual harassment dynamic into context while dealing with fresh wounds and older wounds freshly exposed, we are called to attend to both the acute need to heal and assist others in healing, and to see and act upon the larger emergence of a new awareness. That new awareness, if cultivated with Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness will become a new, more healthy and creative way of being.

I am in gratitude, not because anyone was harassed or hurt, but because we can use the brave responses to these acts to propel us to a higher level of being. By staying focused on that desired outcome, visualizing it daily, I can do the work in front of me to be a positive contributor to healing myself, my own relationships, and, ultimately, my society. I will use the New Thought perspective on gratitude and healing as fully as possible.

Let us direct our thinking to high expectations of love, mutual respect, compassion, and creativity this Holiday Season. Let us take what we have been given and create something new and wonderful from it. Let us resolve to do better by ourselves and one another.

. . . for all tomorrow’s good
May rest today upon your gratitude,
For he who gives thanks before the wine
Is pressed from grapes still clinging to the vine
Has shown a faith above, beyond the present hour
And his thanksgiving holds the future flower.
~ From “The Voice Celestial” by Ernest and Fenwicke Holmes (LINK)

Your comments are welcome. Feel free to share this post. Have a joyous and a conscious Thanksgiving filled with gratitude for what has been, for what is, and for what is to come!

Sexual Equality Gender

*I am aware there are instances where the genders of perpetrator and victim are either reversed, or both are of the same gender. I will stay with the male/female description for clarity and brevity here, but urge all to remember that similar dynamics are valid regardless of the genders of those involved.

 

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

WHEN HEALING IS REVEALING – AND WHAT IS REVEALED IS PAINFUL TO SEE

I know that in metaphysics we learn that the process of healing is often initiated by having hidden truths revealed – often by negative experiences. We are wounded by something and an inner truth that we have hidden or repressed is revealed. At that point, we have a choice – to do the work to heal what has been revealed, or, to do the work of burying it again so that we do not have to face it. The work of healing what is revealed is often daunting, demanding, and scary.

Examples abound. A diagnosis of cancer reveals unhealed childhood fears about our own mortality; someone burglarizes our home, revealing deep fears that can become debilitating (many people sell their home after a burglary); a trip to the emergency room reveals the addiction that we have been in denial about, sending us into deep fear about the huge hill to climb to recovery.

Sometimes we make the choice to do the healing work and sometimes, we do not. In the Spiral Dynamics community, we often say – breakdown can lead to breakthrough, but it can also lead to collapse. There are no guarantees that we will successfully undertake a healing process after such a revelation. We may try but fail, or we may not try at all.

“Healing is not CREATING a perfect idea or a perfect body; it is revealing an idea which is already perfect. . . . Disease is a fact but not a truth; it is an experience but not a spiritual reality.”

~ Ernest Holmes, THE SCIENCE OF MIND

Until we are ready to confront those aspects of ourselves, healing will elude us.

Which brings me to Donald Trump.

During this election cycle thus far, Mr. Trump has opened a lot of wounds. I do not have the time or the space to list them all, so let’s just look at one – the issue of how our culture values and treats women. This has been a front-burner issue this past week, and may well continue to be one for the remaining weeks before the election.

I am less concerned about the specifics of any issues or allegations about Mr. Trump or about former President Bill Clinton, or about former FOX News CEO and current Trump Advisor Roger Ailes, nor even the fact that Hillary Clinton is being held up for derision by many because her husband cheated on her, and more concerned about the meaning of all of this for our society. How we deal with our individual and collective Shadows is elemental to our future.

Poster - Jung - Darkness Light

If it isn’t clear to you that our U.S. culture is paternalistic, that women are, in many ways, second-class citizens, and that the objectification and devaluation of women is ongoing in ways both covert and overt, then I suggest that you wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe this post from a woman names Gretchen Kelly will help (LINK). Or this video of a speech by Michelle Obama (LINK).

Go ahead, I’ll wait for you. And yes, the speech is partisan. I suggest you watch it anyway.

meme-waiting

What the explosion of reaction around Donald Trump’s relationships with women has done is reveal a deep-seated sense of inequality in our society that costs women dearly – both in everyday indignities and, sometimes, their lives.

Once again, we are at a crossroads – as we were during the days of the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, The Gulf War, The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, the LGBTQ movement – well, I said no litanies here, so let’s stop. We have an opportunity, ironically enough thanks to Mr. Trump, to take a pathway toward healing. Will we? I do not know.

Turning our attention to our own New Thought communities, we might ask how we are doing in terms of this issue. Anything to heal here?

I can’t really answer that question, because as noted in the excellent post from Gretchen Kelly cited above, I am not qualified to answer it. As a man, even one who tries to be aware, I am largely unconscious to how the valuation of women plays out. When I do examine my thoughts and actions, I can see where I have failed to honor women in all ways. Things in New Thought may look okay to me, but I can also say that I have been told by some women in New Thought that there have been, and continue to be, issues. There are very likely, in fact almost certainly, some hidden and denied patterns that are waiting to be revealed.

I do not think that it is in keeping with our principles to take a position that says something like – things are better than they used to be and will probably get better over time. Nope, that’s an inadequate position on any issue where injustice is ongoing.

Maybe Donald Trump can help us in New Thought as well. May we take the opportunity to move toward healing.

I would especially like to hear from my women New Thought readers on this issue – what is your perspective? Men, too, of course. As always, comments are appreciated.

Copyright 2016 – Jim Lockard

HOW WE RECOGNIZE AND HEAL SHAME

“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

Shame is messy. It leads to all sorts of bad behaviors, keeping of secrets, hiding and lies, and more. More importantly, it keeps one from expressing their true selves – the loving genius that it unique to each of us.

Shame is damaging. It leads to withdrawal of our talents and skills, and it can also lead to lashing out at others from our sense of woundedness.

Shame is unnecessary. When we hold to our sense of connection to Source and to our own sense of worth which flows from that connection, we avoid shame and keep ourselves available for the good of life.

I define shame as a state of being dominated by the ongoing acceptance of guilt and inadequacy. We reside in shame when we cannot see ourselves as worthy and effective in the world. Or when we have been betrayed by someone or something and we dwell in that betrayal as a kind of personal identity – “maybe I deserved it.”

We become “the person who has been betrayed” and therefore feel unworthy. It can be quite dramatic, but it is also quite unnecessary.

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Drama is often the result of shameful feelings, but it is neither loving nor wise; and it distracts us from the healing process.

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

~ Marion Woodman

Shame can also arise when we compare ourselves to others (which is, of course, a kind of projection). For example, a spiritual leader who is struggling personally and professionally will see another whose spiritual community appears to be thriving and may feel shame. Or a New Thought student may hear of the wonderful demonstrations of her classmates and feel shame at her lack of demonstrations. “What is the matter with me?”

“Stop comparing where you’re at with where everyone else is. It doesn’t move you farther ahead, improve your situation, or help you find peace. It just feeds your shame, fuels your feelings of inadequacy, and ultimately, it keeps you stuck. The reality is that there is no one correct path in life. Everyone has their own unique journey.”

~ Daniell Koepke 

I did not make this Part 4 of the just-completed series WHEN THE SPIRITUAL LEADER IS TOXIC (LINK), because the concept of shame, while almost always present when a toxic spiritual leader is or has been present, is also present in many other situations. Just about everyone feels shame at one time or another. When Ernest Holmes wrote that “The world has learned enough from suffering,” he was also referring to shame. I will bring author and Jungian analyst Marion Woodman’s wisdom into this conversation.

“All escapes were cut off. I had to move into my own silence and find out who was in there.” ~ Marion Woodman

“So long as we are not in contact with our own potential, we are vulnerable to being controlled by others.” ~ Marion Woodman

“If we do not know ourselves, we cannot stand to our own truth and are, therefore, in constant danger of invasion by others.” ~ Marion Woodman

“For the perfectionist who has trained herself TO DO, simply BEING sounds like a euphemism for nothingness, or ceasing to exist.” ~ Marion Woodman

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Marion Woodman

In these statements, Woodman paints a picture of the descent into shame and the problems that we face when we try to stay in balance after one of life’s severe blows. Often, following some kind of betrayal, we find ourselves racked with guilt and self-loathing – “why didn’t I see what was happening,” or “why, even after I saw what was happening, did I continue on?

When a toxic spiritual leader has been operating, these kinds of feelings are inevitable, both during his presence and afterward. Often, a new spiritual leader arrives to a spiritual community where a good number of members are in some degree dwelling in shame. They will tend to act out of that shame and make life difficult for the new leader in a number of ways. Failing to understand and even expect some degree of shame can make things very difficult for all concerned.

Healing our shame requires some degree of courage, because it is difficult to create the kind of inner self-acceptance necessary to do healing work when one is in shame. But there is always hope – always a way forward.

“Through the smallest window look well, and you can look out into the Infinite.”

~ Thomas Carlyle

We always have that small window – that niche into the wonders of who we really are. Our New Thought teachings are resplendent with this idea of an ever-present access to an Infinite Love and Intelligence. It may be difficult to see from a place of shame, but it is there and we must come to KNOW that it is there and access it and move toward a consciousness of healing.

“In general, every evil to which we do not succumb, is a benefactor.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Healing our shame requires coming to a positive self-assessment, to self-love. It means that we learn to see ourselves as worthy of love and fulfillment regardless of what has happened or what we have done. It also means arriving at that immensely healthy place where you can laugh at yourself without feeling diminished in any way, so that you can live fully without reservation and fear. It means that we forgive, ourselves and others, for whatever harm may have been done; and we make amends where that is possible.

“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud…I want to
sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and
read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my every day to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”

~ Shauna Niequist

Why? Because life should be filled with laughter, but also because there is some serious work to dohealing ourselves and humanity; good sound spiritual work. And for that, we all need to be coming from a good, solid foundation of self-love, of courage and strength, and a compassionate heart. These things do not come from dwelling in shame; we must dwell in love as much and as often as we can. We must do our daily practices and accept our own goodness and power.

“Continuing to do pioneering sacred work in a world as crazy and painful as ours without constantly grounding yourself in a sacred practice would be like running into a forest fire dressed only in a paper tutu.”

~ Marion Woodman

And whether you are called to be a healer for humanity or just a small slice of it, you will need to realize the combination of strength, grace, love, and joy that go into making an effective human being. All of the raw materials and potentialities for those things reside within you and have been an essential part of you since before time began. And you can never lose them, but you might forget them from time to time. So I urge you, my darlings, to remember – remember who and what you are. Remember that you are never defined by what you do, only by what you ARE. And you are the best of this or any other universe.

“You are a child of innocence, born to wonder all your days. Do not believe it to be a gift that you lost somewhere along the way, as if the hurts you have done or that were done to you could steal its light from the center of your soul. Innocence is not the absence of pain, but the ability to face truth as an adult while still seeing with the eyes of a child. Innocence is hope. It is vision. It is love. God grant that each of us, for all the darkness we have endured, will always have the grace of innocence: the belief that what is to come will be better than what has been.”

~ Bishop Steven Charleston 

Beautiful Dance

Life without shame is a dance to be savored.

As always, your comments are welcomed.

Copyright 2016 – Jim Lockard

WHEN THE SPIRITUAL LEADER IS TOXIC, PART 1

This is a difficult post for me to write and publish.Especially right after my most recent post – WHY I LOVE NEW THOUGHT (LINK). I guess it is a case of divine timing.

It was inspired by a comment to a previous post on spiritual leadership (LINK). In my professional life, I have served for 24 years as a police officer and for 21 years as a minister of Religious Science. I say serve, because both roles are service if done properly – if approached from a consciousness of giving of your best self to something bigger than yourself. So I have served, imperfectly to be sure, but I have been able to give of myself in a variety of roles and have, for the most part, avoided the sense of separation that affects so many in the “service” professions.

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From many in my law enforcement family today there is a sense of indignation that the citizens that they serve(d) would see them as harmful, even as casual assassins. But rather than a recourse to deep inner exploration, there is an angry retort, a “HOW DARE YOU!” attitude accompanied by a refusal to give an inch in the grand debate about relationships with citizens of color in the United States. This is a response from fear, from a tribal sense of us vs. them that has been cultivated over time in the police culture. It is the result of our (yes OUR) collective failure to teach things like emotional intelligence and the Shadow (LINK) in our culture. I include this information because my experiences in law enforcement have helped to frame my viewpoints about leadership integrity.

When I see the long line of spiritual leaders who have failed to show emotional intelligence (LINK) or spiritual intelligence (LINK) in their work, I weep. From the Catholic priests who abused children (and others) (LINK) to the televangelists who scam their emotionally unintelligent flock, to the New Thought ministers who have run afoul of ethical standards, we can see the difficulties inherent in positions of “service.”

Some years ago, since I had a background in law enforcement, I was asked to help revise the then RSI/ICSL policies regarding ethical complaints and investigations. In order to see what was needed, I reviewed a number of old cases (which I will not reveal here). What I saw was a number of very sad and disturbing cases where ministers or practitioners preyed upon or took advantage of those in their circle of influence.

What were the main drivers of these ethical and legal violations? The same ones that I saw in police work:

  • Money
  • Sex
  • Power

Actually, when sex was involved it was usually about power, not just sex. All of these issues arise from a sense of separation and a lack of self-value of one sort or another. Our New Thought teachings and their emphasis on positive thinking can form a mask, or create a spiritual bypass, over our inner fears, hatreds, and dysfunctions – even when they appear out in the open. The spiritual leader who becomes toxic (not in essence, but in actions) will often attract into his circle people whose own inner needs make them enablers of the dysfunctions of others. The Law of Attraction (LINK) works here to create a situation where harm can and does occur.

integrity-5

In many of our spiritual communities, we are conditioned to believe that the spiritual leader has the deepest knowledge of the teaching and that his knowledge should not be questioned; then, we may observe dysfunctional behavior and have to decide what to do about it. If we are lacking in emotional and spiritual intelligence, we will likely form a mindset that makes what the leader is doing acceptable and understandable, or we will deny it entirely. Those upon whom the toxic leader is preying will often come to be seen as the ones who have done something wrong.

The kinds of behaviors that occur in such cases can include relatively common ones, such as the spiritual leader being needy and creating a group around her who enable her neediness by trying to give her what she is not providing for herself. This can include attention, money, companionship, even romantic relationships, etc. Such a situation can upend the vision and core values of the community and put all of the community’s energy into serving the spiritual leader.

Another version of this is the spiritual leader with an autocratic streak, who insists on complete fealty from members, including board members and other leaders, to his authority. Often, people are bullied and trampled emotionally by such a leader. Trust quickly evaporates in such conditions and those members with a healthy sense of self-value will likely depart; leaving behind those who are inclined to be the victims and enablers of such behavior.

There may be no obvious great harm in this, at least not in the short term, however, the spiritual community who has such a leader will expend most of its energy in “supporting the spiritual leader” rather than in developing spiritually intelligent members.

Poster - Jung - Shadow Warrior

Other behaviors can be more damaging – such as a spiritual leader who borrows money from members or lets members pay for his expenses on a regular basis; or who takes “advances” on future earnings from the community bank account; or who embezzles the spiritual community’s funds.

A spiritual leader who takes advantage of others sexually through relationships established in classes or in counseling settings is another example of such seriously harmful behavior. Such abuses of power are always out of integrity – even though some have led to marriages which have endured. It is a paradox – but one that more often has a sad outcome for the spiritual leaders’ “romantic” victims.

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So what are we to do when such situations occur? The spiritual leader is expected to be the living example of integrity and spiritual intelligence. What do we do when he or she is not?

In Part 2, I will explore what resources exist for such issues within the spiritual organizations, and what options members of a spiritual community whose leader is expressing toxic behaviors have in creating a healing outcome.

In Part 3, I will explore healing options for the spiritual leaders who find themselves out of integrity.

As always, your comments are welcome – however, I am asking that any comments about specific cases not include specific identifying information (names/places), for what I think are obvious reasons. Comments which include such information will not be published.

I am available for personal consultations – contact me at DrJim-Lockard@ATT.net for that purpose.

Copyright 2016 – Jim Lockard

PRESENCE: THE ESSENCE OF SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP

“Isn’t there a way to break the patterns of the past and tune into our highest future possibility—and to begin to operate from that place?” ~ C. Otto Scharmer

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C. Otto Scharmer

In that quote, C. Otto Scharmer, author of Theory U (LINK) and Leading from the Emerging Future (LINK), co-author of Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future (with Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flowers) (LINK), grabs the essence of modern spiritual leadership. But he is not writing for clergy, for theologians, or even for the leaders of religious organizations. He is writing for the corporate world.

“The ability to shift from reacting against the past to leaning into and presencing an emerging future is probably the single most important leadership capacity today.” ~ C. Otto Scharmer

His words, however, are perfect for spiritual leaders on the edge of a transforming culture. He speaks of presencing – the ability to BE the essence of your best self in your leadership role. This enables you to both come from a strong degree of personal authority AND be open to the gifts and talents of those around you. At its highest level, presencing is the ability to access and actualize your Higher Self to bring it to bear within the framework of leadership. Presencing is a key element of my coaching practice that I do with my wife, Dorianne Cotter-Lockard, Ph.D. (LINK).

You are an effective spiritual leader to the degree that you are presencing the highest and best within yourself in your work. You will attract to you those who resonate with what you presence and how you presence it. This is true regardless of the type of organization or group that you lead. The ancient saying As Above, So Below” applies to all leaders in all situations. If nothing else, the spiritual leader sets the tone and creates the parameters for the environment of a spiritual community. As Dr. Gary Simmons puts it – “to be who you came here to be.”

Presencing involves the capacity to go deep within and to allow Source to emerge and carry you forward. You “lead from an emerging future” rather than trying to extrapolate from an inadequate past.

Theory U Graphic - Co-initiating

“We collectively create results that nobody wants because decision-makers are increasingly disconnected from the people affected by their decisions. As a consequence, we are hitting the limits to leadership—that is, the limits to traditional top-down leadership that works through the mechanisms of institutional silos.” ~ C. Otto Scharmer

Effective spiritual leadership in today’s complex world must be a living invitation to people to step into their own greatness and to actualize their inherent wisdom and love. This begins within the spiritual leader. He does the inner work necessary to both embody the spiritual philosophy that is the core of what they represent, and to bring forth the best of themselves into the actualization of the leadership role.

This inner work includes Shadow revelation and healing so that hidden repressed aspects of the leader do not inhibit her expression. This work is difficult and must be done with a guide or guides who have walked that path successfully.

What we presence is a reflection of what we have embodied. You cannot fake it, it is directly tied to authenticity. The ultimate example of positive presence on the planet today is probably His Holiness, The Dali Lama. He truly presences his teaching and his leadership role. He can be light-hearted or very serious, and always, his sense of presence shows through. What we call 2nd Tier leadership emerges from a consciousness of presencing.

There are, unfortunately, too many examples of leaders, both spiritual and secular, who do not presence their authentic selves, but are stuck in a more shallow level of beingness. You cannot hide where you are within for very long. The key to growth is to recognize that you are in such a place and to begin, right where you are, to deepen your personal inner work.

To be sure, leaders also need to expand your outer work, that is, get educated in the external skills, the competencies, which are important to the leadership role – things like community building, marketing, negotiating leases. These external skills are also important, but they will be approached from the level of beingness that the leader has attained within him or herself. When there is alignment within, when the leader is presencing her best self, there will be a passion for the external things that was not there before.

“Energy follows attention. Wherever you place your attention is where the energy of the system will go. ‘Energy follows attention’ means that we need to shift our attention from what we are trying to avoid to what we want to bring into reality.” ~ C. Otto Scharmer

Here again, Dr. Scharmer, a professor at M.I.T., an engineer, gives us a lesson in New Thought principles. How much time do you spend giving attention to your problems? We all know that the pathway to solutions lies in our ability to direct the mind’s attention faculties toward solution. Yet, too often, we fail to follow this basic dictum. Why?

AttentionWhere we direct our attention is not free from the effects of conditioned patterns in the subconscious mind. If the leader has not done his inner work, including Shadow work, then those repressed aspects have been granted a seat at the table in the inner decision making process. This is why we make decisions that are against our self-interest or against the interest of the group.

Energy follows attention, and attention follows the existing subconscious patterns unless consciously and consistently directed otherwise. When we are influenced by the repressed subconscious patterns, our vision is narrowed, our capacity for compassion is reduced (or eliminated), our sense of fear expands, and our problems multiply.

“Leadership is about being better able to listen to the whole than anyone else can.” ~ C. Otto Scharmer

Being in a state of presencing expands our view of what is, of what is possible, and of where we are going. It is a more inclusive space – we listen more completely and we see more clearly. The “problems” that leaders face arise from within and are a projection of the adjustments to the inner consciousness that are needed to transmute the “problem” into a realized goal. As the saying goes, the problem is not the problem; your attitude about the problem is the problem.

Taken in the context of previous posts on this blog, I believe that the fully realized leader, who is operating from a state of presence, will see the transformations occurring in the larger culture and will naturally inspire his or her ministry toward a new way of being. We cling to the old when we have unfinished internal business. When we are fully realized, we easily release what no longer serves us as the snake sheds its skin. We are grateful for what served us, but we do not cling to it.

What are you presencing in your ministry?

Leadership woman

BEGINNING SHADOW WORK – A LINK TO AN EXAMPLE

Working with The Shadow will be a recurring theme on this blog. The other day, Dr. Gary Simmons posted an excellent example of how to begin Shadow work within a spiritual community on his blog, Unity Spiritual Center Update.

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Here is a quote:

“The current paradigm of ministry (minister-centric) is family system based. And while the family system itself is the most efficient in the delivery of intimacy and care-giving, the unintended consequence in the wake of misbehavior is hurt, loss, grief, disillusionment, victimhood, and blame. Before a ministry can evolve and get to the next level (2nd Tier Ministry) it must mature the family system dynamic. This can only happen with shadow integration – with both the individual community member and the organization.”

And here is a link to the post: (LINK TO BLOG POST)

I share this both because the work that Gary and his wife, Dr. Jane Simmons, are doing is important, and because I want to enter into the conversation about Shadow work in spiritual community. It is one of the most difficult and in-depth processes that there is, and very few ministers are competent to undertake training others in Shadow work. But few, if any things are more important if spiritual communities are going to move into 2nd Tier-level (see other posts on Spiral Dynamics™ at the search bar) ways of being.

More to come.

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