A Blog about Shadows, the unconscious patterns of belief and behavior that block access to my authentic, sacred masculine self

The very best use of life

...is to transform to the awakened state. Next best is to develop qualities. Next best and skillful use of life is gaining deep connection to capable mentor who promises to hold you and care for you even after your passing. The least useful is to say you are a Christian or a Buddhist and expect that to save you!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Shadow Behind Cultural Insensitivity

If someone had called me a racist five years ago or maybe even less, I would have been the first to deny it. Today I have chosen to stand for my racism or cultural insensitivity because I have those insensitive thoughts all the time, judging people for the lamest of reasons, from having dimples or a melodious regional accent or preferring coffee over tea to the less sublime reasons such as skin color, ethnic background, education, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. At the same time, with people I know I hope I have been able to look past some of those differences to see them more as they are rather than what I project on them, such as my distrust, fear, and even hatred.

Seeing this shadow in me and taking ownership for it has done more for me to begin to question all of the more subtle aspects of this shadow than any class on multicultural awareness and sensitivity even though I still can see the value of teaching about those kinds of issues as a way to bring about a more compassionate society. In owning this shadow I must continually engage in the practice of seeing where I still have a charge around someone and pinpoint where, in the great diversity of human beings as we are on this planet, I have taken a difference between us, large or small, and hard-wired it to something to distrust, fear or worse yet, as something to simply ignore. While engaging my shadow I must be careful not to perpetrate one more projection, shame, which I have countless times projected on others as I have also done to myself whenever I have found myself caught up in the effects of this shadow of insensitivity, for as I continue to blame myself for my insensitivity, I will also continue to project it others. For me, the responsibility starts and stops right here, with me, and all I can continue to do for the rest of humanity is to remain true to myself and not perpetrate the taking away from the aliveness of others, in the process.  I must forgive myself and embrace my shadow so that I can dance with my shadow in the light, for I am all there is between my shadow and the light.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Withholdings and Perpetrations

One of the insidious aspects of shadow is that it can and will color my reality, just like colored sunglasses, often to the point that when I interact with another person, whether a stranger or a significant relationship in my life, I will passively view that person through the filter of my shadow and not be able to see or really be with that person. On the other side of the passive shadow is the active side of perpetration, where I will actively engage in the process of causing damage to the character or sense of aliveness of an individual or group of individuals by gossip or its more passive counterpart, withholding, along with projections, judgments or anything else that allows me to avoid responsibility and accountability, at the cost of intimacy, authenticity, vitality, integrity, in short, the cost of my aliveness and the aliveness of the other person. On the other side of the cost is, of course, the payoffs, such as righteousness, being comfortable, saving face, and most importantly, not having to be responsible.

I have lived most of my life going for the payoff of righteousness, comfort, saving face and not being responsible. I have finally reached the point where the payoff is no longer important enough to cost me my aliveness or the aliveness of another. Not only is it not important to go for the payoff anymore, just seeing the payoff itself stacked up against the cost of my aliveness has tipped the scales for me to see that by giving up righteousness by seeing it as a cost rather than a payoff, has allowed me to see that aliveness, along with the intimacy, authenticity, vitality, and integrity that aliveness brings with it, is the real payoff.

I have realized that the power in discovering my own perpetrations with another is that it also provides the opportunity for me to clean up the perpetration by communicating to the person with whom I have the perpetration, but only if my communicating is equally compassionate to the other as to myself and that also allows the communication to contribute to the relationship and not cause further injury or damage. The chance of further injury should be the measure by which I decide whether to communicate my perpetration or wait until my motive is as clean as the communication. To do otherwise will do more to hold the perpetration in place rather than to further the aliveness of the other and with that, the my own aliveness, as well.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Shadow in Not Telling the Truth

I have wondered what it was that made telling a lie to be regarded as tantamount to murder in some people’s lives. In my discovery of the power of standing for my shadows when they turn up in front of me in other people and things, I have come to realize that lying is tantamont to murder because it robs people of their aliveness. I believe that I have often justified a “white lie” because I believed that I was protecting that person from possible harm as long as that person would never discover the truth by other means. What I now believe I was doing instead was robbing them of the opportunity to experience “what's so”, and that “what's so” is the essential aspect of aliveness. That leads to only one conclusion, that lying to someone is, for all intents and purposes, robbing someone of their aliveness, their experience of being alive. Further I believe that there is nothing as indefensible as to achieve my desires at the cost of another person's aliveness.  That is, in the most simplest of terms, my purpose in being here and writing these posts.

In many ways, this discovery has become, for me, a form of liberation rather than more burden, for it has shifted the question of lying from a moral question to a question of workability, integrity and responsibility which are the fundamental qualities of wholeness and aliveness. I can still question the issue of lying as a moral question if I choose, and it will not alter the fact that lying takes away from me having to be responsible, and that as long as I am able to remember to step out of any judgment, feeling or shadow around not telling the truth, I can simply let myself see that lying does not contribute to creating a world of workability, integrity and responsibility, that it creates a world of unworkability and chaos.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Shadow of Making Resolutions

This is that time of the year when many of us take time to reflect on what we did or did not do for ourselves this past year, trying to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings, and then to resolve to make a new start for ourselves in the new year. While I really can’t speak for the rest of you, I can say for myself that this process of making New Year’s resolutions simply has not worked for me, at least with any profound change in who I am.
To examine this shadow, I went to Wikipedia™ to look up the definition of resolve and found that as a verb, to resolve means “to find a solution to a problem” or “to make a firm decision to do something”. As a noun, resolve means “determination or will power”. Both definitions seem to convey to me that a resolution is centered on the problem and requires will  power and a whole lot of struggle and effort to affect the change. So, I am thinking that if I were to focus not on a problem to be solved or resolved but rather including the problem as the seed of the intention toward workability in my life, perhaps the desired result will show up by simply looking to see what works as well as what does not, moment by moment, and then simply doing that which works, at least more often than doing what doesn’t work.
So, getting back to my shadow, does finding solutions and using my force of will to affect change really make my life more workable? Its easy to make a firm decision when I am in the throes of excitement, such as found at the changing of one calendar year to the next. Celebrations like these can foster some change in my emotions because I believe that for the moment, I am invincible and infallible, but in the light of day, I will wake up, go to the bathroom, look myself in the mirror and think to myself, “what the hell.”
One common resolution people often make is to live a more healthier life; to lose weight, eat better, exercise more, and all that other stuff. The aim is to “get healthy” when the experience of health, which is neither good or bad, is simply a state of having a mind and body which supports the other intentions in life. For me, seven months ago, I was in a state of health where I could not walk or stand for long periods of time without a support, such as a cane, and to get up or sit down brought wincing pain to my body. Somewhere I said to a friend, a healer, that I wanted a change in my life. This friend told me to imagine carrying ten pound sacks of potatoes in each hand as I walked and then to imagine doing that without those bags. That image became the seed of my intention and now I have lost 55 lbs and in my job as a deliverer of flowers, I use the stairs instead of the elevator and park farther away from buildings instead of the closest space possible. Instead of resolving to get healthy, I have simply done those things that support my body in doing its job to support me in my other intentions in life. I haven’t resolved to do anything, I have simply taken a look at what works and what doesn’t and doing what works, at least most of the time, anyway.