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!

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Shadow of Freedom

On this day when we, as Americans, celebrate our liberty from an allegiance to authority without consent which we once called Great Britain, I am thinking about where the unconscious behavior in my life around paying homage to yet another authority, that of a nation which was founded on the principles of liberty, such as espoused daily by people of authority and received by the masses who listen with sleepy, or should I say, unawakened ears.
The shadow of freedom is seen in the way people can celebrate their 4th of July in ways that can cause harm to others which has been the cause of untold measures enacted by our lawmakers in response to the inappropriate behavior of those few who regard the liberty to cause harm as justification for the atrocities they commit in the name of liberation.
What I'm not talking about here is either the terrorist activities that has spawned the hastily conceived Department of Home Security or the acts of those with money and power to get away with murder and mayhem for the sake of bottom line, as evidenced by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
I am talking about people who would violate a ban on the use of fireworks because of the extreme wildfire danger that exists in the drier areas of the country, such as my current hometown of Santa Fe NM, just because it is their belief that they have the right as freedom loving Americans to do so.
This is but one example of the Shadow of Freedom and not an extreme one at that.  Yet it is something to think about as we barbeque our burgers and hot dogs and set ablaze those bottle rockets and roman candles on the birthday not only of our liberty from oppression, but the day where our responsibility for our liberty first began.

A happy and SAFE 4th!    

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Dilemma of a "Green" Philosophy

Have you ever noticed that product manufacturers, from razor blades to computer printers, make their money, not on the product itself, which they practically give away, but on the refills and how increasingly, rather than fixing the original product when in goes awry, to sending a complete replacement free of charge for an additional fee at the checkout.  This goes counter to the concept of a green-friendly environment and puts many of us into a quandary between our desire to reduce waste for a better world for our uncertain progeny and our need to save more and more of our hard-earned money as incomes plummet while the cost of things like food and fuel, cars and homes, the necessary basic needs of our modern world, which have forced us into ever increasing debt in order to continue to line the pockets of a privileged class of super-rich, who, by all accounts, don't seem to care a flying frack what the consequences are from their insatiable greed and need to control every aspect of our ordered lives.

As I have explained in many of my previous posts on the subject of shadow, meaning my unconscious beliefs and behaviors that I am trying to bring to light and share with others, in order for others to benefit from my style of discourse and intent to shed some light on our human condition, I am wondering how I can come to a measure of reconciliation for the dilemma I am now examining in full view of my ardent readership.

I started recycling metal, glass, plastic and paper at a local food co-op forty something years ago in the days of my feckless youth.  I not only had to separate the various materials, I had to haul them down to the co-op in my little yellow Toyota Corolla instead of walking or riding a bike.  These days, all I have to do is sort them into three piles, like sorting my laundry for different fabrics, and put them out on trash day to be picked up separately from the regular trash by a locally owned recycling company, which is ever-increasingly stymied from realizing anything definable as a profit and which has sometimes even been forced to just deposit its haul in a landfill in order stay afloat while trying to keep people continuing to put stuff out with some form of regularity to be picked up.

What I am trying to get at by this is that there is a shadow to be found in my attempt to try and make a difference in even the most mundane of activities, to bring about a change in my own thinking and with the hope that my small part in the fabric of humanity is multiplied by degrees of magnitude beyond my wildest imaginings.  I wonder if doing my part, however small, is motivated by my desire to make a real difference, or is in some measure, simply a way to alleviate that sense of shame and fear that I carry in a world spinning head-long into chaos by forces beyond my control, forces intent on turning me into one in a zillion of hapless zombies like in movies that distract us from our reality and with what was once described in my day as a young activist as having "little or no socially redeeming value."

The possible resolution to my dilemma of a green philosophy is a realization from a Buddhist monk somewhere who said something to the effect that "what you resist persists, what you stop resisting, disappears.  By coming to terms and embracing the unconscious beliefs and behavior that I have around being green, can I simply disappear the dilemma and turn it into a catalyst for real and lasting change?  Can I turn darkness into light?

The answer, as always, is a resounding yes, however it begs the next question as to how.

The how is to, first of all, get that by blaming those very sinister forces that I have described here with a bit of irony and a lot of sarcasm, are not the cause of my dilemma or my purpose in being here.  The cause of my dilemma is my resistance to it being the way that it is.  This resistance has shown my hidden face in how I described the motivations of those who might wish us ill in the name of power and control.  This resistance is the cause of my dilemma and my shadow.  By now embracing this shadow, this unconscious need to control my world while still enjoying some of the many advantages of a standard of living that makes my recent fall into semi-poverty seem negligible by world-wide standards of measure,  I am no longer the once bitter young advocate for social change and have become a new warrior for a world that works for everyone, with no one left out.   When I was resistant to the way things were, I was still part of the very conditions that I so ardently deplored.  By embracing those conditions with a Buddhist sense of detachment, I now have the power to effect real and lasting change, one step and one person at a time.

Hang on. Its going to be a bumpy ride

Its been over a year since I have been posting to this blog on a regular basis. The last six months have been particularly difficult for my partner and I with her diagnosis of a life-threatening illness and the loss of her business due to her disability and my own loss of employment through layoff , along with my own need for a full hip replacement which I was unable to even have diagnosed, much less remedied, without affordable insurance which, ironically, both she and I now have been able to secure because of our new status as low-income, senior citizens.  I have also been forced to take an early retirement, both because of my temporary disability and my inability to find employment for myself, in part, due to my advanced chronological years.

What the two of us have been through this past year could easily fill a book but, in truth, our story is by no means really that different from what so many others have had to deal with in their lives and in this economy.

The upside to all of this is that now, because of the internet and social media like Facebook, Twitter and blog sites like Blogger, I have the time and where-with-all to resume a level of activism that I have not enjoyed since my college days in the turbulent 1960's, a way of giving back to my fellow humans in a way not possible or as unprecedented as it has ever been before in the history of activism.

My intent is not to suddenly change the thrust of this blog from the focus of examining my unconscious beliefs and behaviors, which I call shadow, and suddenly become a zealous proponent of one political or social cause or another. I am really hoping to find a synergy, a mutually advantageous blending of my personal journey toward an awakened consciousness and my desire to resurrect my social activism toward a better world for all.  I do this in the midst of preparing for the surgery and the recovery period that will follow, excited both by the prospect of a new life with hips that support my intentions rather than frustrate them and the return again of my activism and my writer's mojo.

In the words of the late great actress, Betty Davis, in All About Eve, "Hang on, its going to be a bumpy ride."

By the way, I changed my animal totem name from Raven Laughing at his Shadow, to Dancing Raven because of my new intention to be able to do the latter real soon.

David Hallmark
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Monday, February 28, 2011

Love and trust:From Shadow to Mirror

A talk given at The Celebration Service November 14, 2010

Good Morning!

For the past year and a half I have been in the process of taking a stand for my shadows, that is, I have been taking ownership of unconscious beliefs and behaviors that are present in me and ultimately in all of us. 

Because they are unconscious, in order for me to take ownership of these unconscious beliefs and behaviors, I begin by observing these beliefs and behaviors in others, for as I observe them in others I also begin to notice how these observed behaviors are as much a part of me as they are with those observed.

Once I have noticed these beliefs and behaviors in others and seen where they appear in my own life, taking ownership of them is crucial to take them out of the shadow of unconsciousness and into the light of day, for as they remain in unconsciousness, they have the potential to cause harm.

The culmination of this process of observing others and taking ownership for myself this past year and a half, has brought me to what I believe are the two most significant of shadows for not only myself but I think most of us. 

Those two biggies are love and trust, and I suspect that I am on perilous ground to call them shadows, yet I believe that without first acknowledging that both love and trust are unconscious beliefs to begin with, as I have stated before in previous talks on the nature of shadow, that these shadows can not also bring great joy to all of us, but can also be the cause of great harm to humanity as well.

So let me begin by defining love.

From the microcosm of the infinitesimally small quantum realm to the macrocosm of inter-galactic space, love is the force which manifests all that we know as sentient, that is, self-knowing beings.

Like “the Force” which is spoken of in the universe of “Star Wars”, this force literally binds the universe together.

It is the tendency of all matter in the universe to connect with all other matter in the universe and which is universally called gravity.

It is also the force in the smallest realm of matter whereby negatively and positively charged protons and electrons are attracted to and repelled from each other by electromagnetic force, and by the other two forces or interactions referred to as weak and strong interactions, all which have the effect of attraction and repulsion, although in many respects, physicists would probably debate long and hard on such a simplistic view as mine, yet I think you can get my point.

So what of love in the realm and on the scale of human interactions, this tendency of human beings to connect to one another that involve both interactions which attract or repel?

Since our Western way of thinking stems back to the Greco-Roman civilizations, I will use the four types of love that have been defined by the Greeks.

There is first eros, often thought of as passionate, sensual love or longing, even unto sexual desire.

Secondly there is philia or philos, which means friendship or dispassionate loyalty to family, friends, tribes or nations and is the source of the word philosophy or “love of wisdom.”

Thirdly there is storgé, or affection, such a love of parents for their children.

And finally there is agapé, a holding one in high regard, even to the idea of “true love” as one would have for a life partner or spouse or even a love of God.

Agapé is the word that would be compared to the French “amour” and translated in our English phrase “I love you.”

In addition, in the European Middle Ages came yet another distinction of love, called romantic, chivalrous, even sometimes courtly or platonic love, which implies both a longing, but yet also a sublimation of the erotic or sexual desire of eros.

This distinction of romantic love is the source of much of our old and modern literature on the subject of love.

There is this popular notion that we often hurt most the ones we love the most. This may be a clue to what I am talking about when I speak of a shadow of love, for it is in this realm of social interaction where much of the unconsciousness around love resides.

The fallacy or shadow of love is that beyond the boundary of my own egolove is only a projection.

Let’s take a look at that again.

Beyond the boundary of my own egolove is only a projection.

How can I say this?

I say this because there have been written numerous how-to-books about finding happiness and contentment in a relationship and all of them seem to be hot seller’s for a while, on the top of the New York Times Bestseller list or some other list, and all of this is so necessary because of the fact that if I really look hard at my beliefs and behaviors around love and in that recognition that beyond the initial feelings and longings that come from “falling in love”, love actually becomes a high maintenance activity for most of us.

I certainly does seem so to me when I look at it honestly.

Now let me talk about trust.

Trust is defined in Wikipedia as being naturally attributed to relationships between people. It can be demonstrated that humans have a natural disposition to trust and to judge trustworthiness that can be traced to the neurobiological structure and activity of a human brain, and can be altered by certain brain chemicals such as oxytocin.

But as trust is more difficult to define I will take a look at where I believe trust originated in my psychic being.

When I was born into this world I was living in the realm of trust even though I was too young to be able to know trust as a concept but may have known at the level of being as unconditional benevolence.

If I cried, for whatever need to be fulfilled, as I was yet to be able to understand about when and how my need would be fulfilled for I knew not even the concept of time, I would cry until my need was fulfilled or until I fell asleep in exhaustion, in which case, my need for the moment was fulfilled.

This reciprocol behavior/response was wired into my growing brain as a survival mechanism.

In a sense, if I could conceptualize this experience as an infant, would I not call it trust?

And if I can know this unconditional benevolence on some level as a child, and since I survived into self-knowing and into reason, is trust not my birthright?

Just as the bibilical Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of gruel, at what point did I sell my birthright of trust for survival?

It probably began somewhere in my second or third year when I realized that the source of my unconditional benevolence, my mother, no longer could or would provide for me unconditionally and that now I had to work for my needs, therefore, I now had to earn this benevolence, this trust.

Instead of having this trust be a part of who I am, I forgot it in the lesson learned in the stirrings of my sentience, my self-knowing, that with this self-knowing came also with the sense of who I am as a being separate from everything else. 

I chose to project on another this notion that the other is untrustworthy because I am unworthy of trust.

And herein lies the Shadow of Trust.

How do I get out of this trap I have created for myself so that I can transform these significant unconscious beliefs of love and trust from projections of my unconscious beliefs into mirrors of who I am or wish to be?

In being a mirror of love and trust instead of projecting my own thoughts, feelings and judgments I become the reflection rather than the projection.

Holding myself up as a mirror of love and trust requires that I recognize that I made up all of my beliefs and behaviors around Love and Trust in the first place, whether they were accurate accessments or bunk.

To change love and trust with it, from a projection to a mirror, I must step up out of my ego, even for just an instant, and when I do so I step into the realm of being.

When I am Love and trust as my way of being, everything becomes a mirror of who I am instead of me projecting my unconsciousness out there.

At this level just above the level of ego and somewhere just below the level of God, I get to see in the mirror of Love and trusting another as a reflection of who I am, in the smile or loving words of my partner, in acts of random kindness of a stranger, in the pain expressed by a dog upon whose toe I just stepped or the disbelief of the owner of a brand new car I just backed into.

I can see Love reflected also in the hatred expressed by ones I would call my enemy, which allows me to forget for a moment that their hatred is a reflection of my own revulsion which is the other side of attraction, two sides of one coin, which are love and trust.

All of these are mirrors of who I am in the moment.

When I am Love as Cause, I can no longer fight against anything, I can only lend my support for something.

I can’t fight against the hatred, I can only support love.

When I am Love as Cause, I am connected with all, whether or not my ego can see it.

As for trust, I turn this mirror back on myself and look in that mirror, telling myself that I trust the person or thing, despite my incessant mental chatter that is telling me otherwise.

This is hard work to own up to being this mirror for love and trust while others are looking outward to find both.

I turn my problem of distrust, inspired by all the reasonable assessments that I have devised for myself and fed by my made up need for anger and revenge, into love and well-being for all involved.

I thus turn my problem into the solution, and as I already know for myself, I can’t find a solution with the same level of consciousness that saw the situation as a problem.

If I go to bed with a problem, I can know in my awakening to the new day that I have survived yet another day and night, and in that process, I can also remember that whatever the problem was the night before, that my consciousness is one day closer to the solution and that I can let go of my fear and anxiety generated by the mistaken idea that I really don’t already know the everything will turn out exactly the way it will turn out.

As if I was expecting anything different!

Thanks for listening.