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, February 27, 2010

The Shadow of Apology

I have been noticing lately that when people try to apologize for something that they believe has wronged me, I have also noticed how much I want to nip their apology in the bud by saying “your apology is not welcome” yet I know, in part, that the phrase is not common enough in our language yet to say that way without being misunderstood to the point of escalating into battle of words and hopefully, not come to blows. I have used it gingerly on occasion and I have found myself apologizing in using it, only to find myself having to eat my own words and apologize once more, and it goes on and on.

Yet as I have said since the beginning of this blog, I am not here to defend my actions, I am here to expose them as my unowned shadows, to shed light on them and by doing so, to integrate them with all that is “I”. And as I integrate them with the light in me I get to become whole once again, as if I was not always whole or will always be whole, whether or not I am seeing my shadow at any time, or I am. I now have the freedom to not always be the nice guy or the not so nice guy. I have the freedom to not always see my shadows as I have to see it when it kicks me in the butt. I don’t need to apologize for myself and I don’t have to allow others to apologize for themselves. I can be responsible for what I do and I don’t have to be responsible if someone is damaged by my unwillingness to accept an apology from them which allows them to sink deeper into a quagmire of self-deprecation which is the other side of the shadow of arrogance and when used as such to gain respect through the shadow of another, becomes not only inauthentic, it becomes unethical, as well

I hope what I have said here isn’t taken in the wrong way, but then again, if it isn’t taken in the wrong way by some, it can never be taken in the right way either, for they are two sides of the same coin.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Shadow of Sacred Cows

As I read a friend’s blog last evening on the subject of sacred cows, which I believed was inspired, in part, by my speaking of a sacred cow of my own in using “I” statements as much as I can when I speak and write, I noticed feeling myself out on a limb as I read it because I saw myself reflected back and, as it usually does when that happens, I felt uncomfortable. Just for the record, what I am talking about when I speak of a sacred cow, is that I am speaking of a person ,thing or idea that I have put above questioning in a way that it becomes unreasonable and eventually unworkable. Anyway, I have to admit that about three years ago, before I took The New Warrior Training Adventure™ weekend and began my journey of the shadow warrior, that I found myself butting heads with this friend of mine on some issues that were sacred cows of my own, and it has very much been my way of making him and countless others wrong by defending those unquestioned beliefs. This time, I saw how I got to have him show up quite differently because I really got it when he said that he was finished with apologizing for any part of his being.

For awhile now, armed with new ammunition for seeing myself in new ways from work I have been doing with myself as a self-declared shadow warrior, I have adopted the use of the “I” statement to the point that it has become a sacred cow of which my friend spoke and as I noticed my discomfort in his speaking to sacred cows in general, I now find myself in the position of being able to call myself on it. In doing so, I have the opportunity to set myself free from it by simply seeing that I have made it so.

So what does that mean for the case I have made for using “I” statements, as I have here on this blog, so far? The answer is, it means nothing. As I said when I started this blog last year, I am on a journey and as I write each piece, I am speaking from what I see today, and if I am saying it differently now than I said it yesterday, it is simply because I am at a different point along my journey today than I was yesterday.

I certainly needn’t apologize for that, so I won’t. At least now I can perhaps avoid stepping in some of the sacred droppings because I can see a sacred cow clearly for what it is, just another way in which I can get stuck in my own delusion.

I can also thank my friend for pointing it out.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Freedom in Authentic Self-Expression

I spent most of my life trying to disown my parents and now that they are passed, I have discovered how much they were simply the mirrors I chose in this incarnation to learn the next step toward perfect freedom. As to my own son, I realized very soon after he was born that I needed to humble myself in the experience that I had nothing to teach him, that I was merely a tour guide, pointing out this and that, along our short path together. Only now, as he is moving away to follow his own path, have I allowed myself the freedom to know that sharing, without attachment or the expectation that what I have to offer is of any interest to him whatsoever, is the greatest lesson I have left to teach, not only to my family or with anyone else with whom I share a path, but also to myself.

From a discussion on freedom and family with Domo Geshe Rinpoche on Facebook

My Shadow in Avoiding Inauthentic Self-Expression

For a very long time I have not been able to laugh. As I have watched others laughing themselves silly at the simplest remark or the stupidest of jokes, in my opinion, I have not even been able to squeak out the littlest chuckle. I have struggled to find something to laugh at, despite all of my efforts to do so and, except on the rarest of occasions when I am loosened up with liquor or a little “smoking mixture”, as they euphemistically call it in smoke shops, nothing happens. I have even tried forcibly to laugh, which has angered some because they believe they can see through my forcefulness.

So, can I find a shadow by looking for a need of why to laugh, as I discovered in my last posting?

One need I can think of right away is the need of fitting in and being accepted. Another is about my need for authentic self-expression or perhaps my need for avoiding inauthentic self-expression. Either way, if I mirror this need what I get is that I project on people who laugh at everything my shadow of inauthentic self-expression. This is a big shadow for me because it puts me in a position of distancing myself from people which is surely a mirror to my need to fit in and being accepted, if only I could laugh spontaneously and genuinely. And while I’m making it my business that other people have often been showing up for me as being inauthentic in their self-expression when they laugh, I am forgetting that at the same time, this projection of mine is keeping me stuck in my presumptuousness and being right.

In other words, the joke has been on me all of this time.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Shadow of Righteous Indignation

I got an email last evening from a friend which he also sent to a larger list of his friends and which, in my judgment, contained ethnically inflammatory remarks directed from one ethnic group towards another. Now as this friend of mine is a dear one to me, I was both disappointed and angry with my friend and replied with my righteous indignation and asked to be removed from any list with regards to future communications of this type. As I write this, I am both angry and sad to have received this from a person who I felt had unresolved issues in his life in areas for which I could only offer compassion and yet to whom I had promised to be commited to his well-being regardless of my feelings, and then I receive this email.

So, I ask myself, what is my friend mirroring in me that I’m supposed to get in this situation. After all I spoke of earlier yesterday morning (see Celebration Reading 2/21/10 - A Shadow around Being Inspired) about mirroring and humbling myself to being inspired, am I to suppose that I might have to humble myself to being righteously indignant?

I don’t quite know what the answer might be or if there is an answer, but I know that if I look hard enough that I will see in the mirror a reflection of something I really don’t want to see. I am not going to resolve this before a night’s sleep intervenes so I am going to wait for the light to cast my shadow in this and that requires the light of day, in this instance. Yet as I sit here I’m beginning to feel a rush of tingly energy in my back, arms, legs and chest, really breasts, and my heart is pumping faster, I’m feeling agitated and somewhat sexually aroused, all at the same time. If my friend really believes this as truth instead of propaganda, he has crossed the same line that he once said I would cross if I used one particular ethnically charged slur towards him, even in jest. I feel that even though I am of neither ethnic group in this case, I still feel violated in the same way.

Well at least I have my mirror and yet this issue still generates a charge in me. Again I will have to wait to channel the rest until light shines on the world.

Wow! It just dawned on me, no pun intended, that I didn’t realize that I had this line that I am not willing to cross to see that what my friend is doing right now is expressing a need, and that I just can’t see what it is yet, even though I know that his need is there.

So then, what is my need? Maybe if I can see that, I will able to mirror my need to his. I know that I need to be able to really get past my shadow long enough to listen and hear. Am I mirroring his fear and anger from his forgotten past? I certainly do not feel safe with him, and maybe that is all I need - to look at how I can make myself feel safe with him again. So now the ball is in my court to play and I’m no longer agitated though I’m still feeling aroused. I’m also actually relieved and humbled by my experience that all I have yet to do is to feel safe with my friend again because now I can see that needing to feel safe is what was being expressed by the email that had started this match in the first place.

And I’m also wrong about needing that night’s sleep to discover what is so for me.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Shadow of Psychic Vampirism

I saw a question on Answerology.com today which asked for a definition of a “psychic vampire,” how to recognize them in others and in oneself as well as developing a strategy for protecting oneself against these unwanted intrusions into our emotional world. I said that if, by definition, a psychic vampire is one who feeds on the energy of another, I would suppose that we are all psychic vampires to some degree, because I believe that we all feed on the energy of others, some more, some less, from the somewhat benign unconscious behavior of a "drama queen" to those with an intention to act in a malevolent way, such as people who foster hatred and fear, instead of love and compassion, to further a political or social agenda. And while I believe that I have the innate ability to shield myself against the attempts by others to draw more emotional energy than I am willing to give freely, such as allowing myself to be upset with a person or situation well beyond the triggering episode, I also have the ability and obligation, as one who takes ownership of my shadow, to nip my emotional reaction “in the bud”, so to speak, by looking to see how I will, at times, draw on the energy of others beyond that which I need to regain my own emotional balance by perpetrating the perceived wrong on yet another innocent third party.

There is, however, one more thing that I must do in order for me to keep my own shadow of psychic vampirism from being added to the collective shadow of psychic vampirism that exists. While I do not personally believe that psychic vampires, in the human sense, are real, in that they exist in people either with intent of malice or by unconscious shadow, I must honor that they can produce consequences in my world that are as dangerous as a rattlesnake coiled to strike from only a few feet away. I must also honor the fact that there are those who may require carrying a handgun, while others may require some form of ritual, such as creating a circle of protection around themselves with ritual objects and visualizing a white light surrounding them, while I might only require a simple declaration of “Red Alert, Shields Up” to create all the safety I need, for it is in the collective intention to protect ourselves from the conscious or unconscious intent of others, real or imagined, that the power to manifest safety in a dangerous world can be realized, to be made real. To achieve that for myself, I must show compassion for the shortcomings of others by showing compassion for myself by choosing safety over an unthinkable alternative.  I could die as easily for a right choice as for a wrong one, but I will have lived my life in love, rather than in fear.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Shadow in Wanderlust

There was a time in my life when I traveled a lot. In 1978, which I consider the great year of wanderlust, I traveled to both the coasts, the East by car and airplane, the West coast by railroad. It was a time in which I was trying to define who I was and what I was about and I saw traveling by myself, for the most part, as a means to try out different parts of myself on different places and people, or so I think I thought. The truth of the matter was that instead of running toward myself, I was, in fact, running away from myself and this is what I now am calling my shadow in wanderlust.

Living a place like Santa Fe, I have friends who travel in and out of the US. Each time I have heard about their traveling, I have found myself bemoaning the fact that I can’t travel with them or that I can’t travel at all and the feelings of regret and shame often pour into my soul like a flood of emotion that takes me out of myself and out of the joy in living that can be found wherever I find myself to be. I have noticed these feelings and have often made those others wrong in some way for their traveling and that too, comes from my shadow in wanderlust that I hadn’t quite defined as such, until now. Even as I am writing this I am feeling an urge to escape from this moment by trying to get away from my computer where I write to have a shot of liquor or eat in order to regain the loss of love for myself that follows those feelings of sadness and loss, guilt and shame. Like all shadows, this one is continuing to show up as I am noticing it, trying to hide itself again as its nature is to do and I must continually check in on myself in order to dispel the grip this shadow has on me.
My shadow even wants me to finish this train of thought in order for it to move on to the next thing where it can keep me from experiencing the truth, that I am master of my soul.