The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More on Maturation, Primitive Gestalts and stuff…

My, Ann Coulter certainly knows how to sell books, doesn’t she? In case anyone out there really doesn’t understand why her use of the word “faggot” is offensive, please grasp that the meaning of a word is the reaction it gets in the listener. An English-speaking person doesn’t get to define what a Spanish word means against the protests of Mexicans. The first time you use it, you get a pass. After you’re informed, if you use it again, it was a deliberate attempt to evoke a response. One might protest, as with the word “nigger,” that members of the offended group use it amongst themselves, so what’s the big deal?

The big deal is…wait for it…permission and context. Within a group, such words mean something quite different than the exact same word used by someone OUTSIDE the group. If permission and context are not issues, then what is the difference between you having sex with your wife, and ME having sex with your wife? Permission and context. One is legal and presumably consensual. The other is grounds for divorce or prosecution. Arguably the same physical act. Completely different meaning.

Annie knows this, and all I can say is that she must be one sick and twisted puppy to walk that moral tightrope over and over again. Especially since her side of the political aisle makes political hay of homophobia. This is disgusting.
Back to primitive gestalts. This natural process of maturation can be interrupted by conflicts early in life, and until those conflicts are resolved, they remain fractured. Much therapy tries to give the individual a chance to bring old conflicts up to consciousness, communicate between aspects of personality, communicate with family members or surrogates, etc.

Imagine that white light is needed to move from one “chakra” up to the next. Trauma (or life experience in general) is like a prism, splitting white light into component colors. One must re-combine those colors to get back to the white light, and make progress.

As an individual, it would be useful to march up the chakras conceptually, and be very certain that your foundations are clean as you move forward. The first four would be:
Survival, Sex, Power, Emotion. If there are blockages or fractures in any of these “lenses” your personally evolutionary “white light” cannot progress—only component colors. I am terribly sorry for the clumsiness of these metaphors, but I am simply unaware of any knowledge base or language pattern in the West that really covers these concepts effectively.

It might be useful to look at the following arenas:

1) Survival. What were you afraid of as a child? Were any of these fears in your home environment? Were you forced to repress any healthy aspects of your personality to survive or gain approval? What fears currently stop you from full expression of your personality, hopes and dreams? Were you given any beliefs or values that played upon your fears to control or limit you? Do you take responsibility for your goals, dreams, actions, and emotions?

2) Sex. What was the attitude about sex in your home? Would you consider it healthy? Were your first sexual experiences healthy and consensual? Have you crossed any boundaries in your sexual experiences that should not have been crossed? Do you have apologies to give or accept? Do you have a full and healthy expression of this aspect of your life? Do you exchange sexual energy in a relationship (single or plural) of mutual respect and affection? Have you ever bartered sex in a way that you would want your own child to avoid? Were you legally self-supporting when you first had sex? If not, are you certain that the interaction was healthy and non-exploitive? When you look at your body, do you consider it sexually alluring (according to your own values)? If not, are you dishonest about your emotions when others are not attracted to you? What stands between you and developing a body that you WOULD find attractive?

3) Power. Do you make your living doing something that you enjoy? Are you able to create the resources to provide comfort and safety for yourself and one other person? Do you have healthy boundaries—can you prevent others from stealing your time, energy, ideas, etc? Do you allow yourself to be manipulated into doing things contrary to your goals and values? Can you trust yourself to keep your word? Can you accurately predict your own actions in most cases? Is your energy level high and stable?

4) Emotions. Are you emotionally stable? Do you go through long periods of depression or anger? Can others manipulate you into anger or sadness? Do you love yourself totally? Can you forgive yourself and others? Can you see the world through the eyes of others without assuming they are better or worse than you? Can you put the needs of others ahead of you from time to time? Can you protect your own emotional needs against the demands of others?

Those are some of the questions that, in my mind, arise from this concept of the shattered Self. Clearly, the Self, an ego-construct, must be healed before Maturation can occur. Then, paradoxically, it can be safely destroyed to approach Enlightenment. Spooky, huh? I would NEVER suggest the kinds of deep meditation that lead to this state to an unstable personality.

My best guess is that “Enlightenment” is an opening of the perceptual doorways that ordinarily only open at the moment of death. For those who are ego-bound, this would be a moment of ultimate terror and loss. For those who are prepared, this would be a moment of freedom, power and wonder beyond compare.

Now, this doesn’t mean that enlightened masters have no ego. Seems to be another contradiction, but envision it thusly: you shed your ego-skin to become free. If you remain in freedom (and there’s a linguistic problem here: there IS NO “YOU.” That’s a part of the cosmic joke) you cannot operate on this plane of existence. So if “you” choose to hang around this world, the ego-skin is slipped back into, and you can communicate with us slobs. The song “what if God was one of us…” comes to mind here, heh heh.

At any rate, the unhealthy, unbalanced individual could never go through this process and return in any form other than raving insanity. In fact, I doubt seriously that most people on a “Spiritual” path REALLY want to know what’s out there. They want to feel warm and fuzzy and loving and God-realized and Unification Consciousnessed and all that other stuff. They want Kundalini experiences and Mystical revelation and psychic sex and to Save the Whales and be Reborn. Fine. But at the core of all world spiritual traditions seems to be this same truth: Die before you Die. And that path is not for sissies, and it isn’t for children.

But a nation of children works great for the political forces that be, be they Left or Right. And it works great for Corporations, trust me. If I ever hit upon a perfect formula to crack this nut, I’ll almost certainly be killed, trust me. This is as dangerous as it gets.
In my mind, a true adult could not, for instance, own a chattel slave and then enslave that slave’s children as well without deep and painful conflict. Could not sexually abuse children. Could not gain pleasure or power from the destruction of innocents, or take pleasure in devising ways to hold himself or his culture as superior to others. Is capable of embracing the future without dragging a fossilized past with him every step of the way. Does not accept outside authority above his own experience. Could not do many of the things we have to legislate in our culture. In seeing the deep humanity in others, concepts of charity and compassion barely even need to be voiced. Guilt is replaced by honor and “right action.”

Guilt, blame and shame are for children. Right Action is for adults.
How do we heal, then? Looking at the Hero’s Journey, it starts by making the commitment to GROW UP. To be Awake to the proper sequence of life. We’ll touch on this more, but my good friend Mushtaq taught me to awaken within dreams by asking the question “am I dreaming NOW?” often enough that a habit is formed. Eventually, you will ask yourself that question in a dream, and awaken.

And he had one of his students do the same thing, on this meta-level. In other words, to ask himself: “am I awake NOW?” over and over again during the day. And after some time (weeks? Months? I don’t know. Mushtaq?) he had the experience of “waking up” in THIS world. Awakening from this “dream” so that for hours he had an experience of hyper-awareness.

Awakening within a dream gives you power beyond belief. And awakening within this world has much the same effect.
Give it a try.

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