Monthly Archives: November 2011
I have to thank my wife for this photo of me walking down a new trail we found in the back country on the island of Cebu, Philippines. We are both curious about new places, seeing what is behind the public face that is presented along the coasts near villas and resorts or on the tourist trails as advertised in travel guides.
Heading down these hidden trails is as much of an adventure of discovery of the world behind the scenes as it is about a discovery of ourselves in relation to each other in the face of what we experience together as we wander and talk about what we see. What is quite amazing is how we see different things in the same scenes. As we talk about what we see, we begin to see the world through the lens of the other. The mind, in relationship, becomes open to new possibilities, to different views. It is this willingness to be open to other possibilities that animates a relationship, that keeps an eternal wonder and mystery of other.
Sadly, much of the world is not so open and hides behind closed minds, unwilling to accept any other possibility. James Hollis refers to this mind set as a fascist mind.
“Thus the fascist mind – which is always with us, in whatever culture, waiting to control what you or I might experience for ourselves. Why? Because it makes them uncomfortable! Today they show up on school boards and try to remove books that challenge their antiquarian, three-story universe. Today the seek to impose creationist dogma as science, in the name of free inquiry, of course . . . they deny the reality of evolutionary process even as their bodies mutate and evolve within their short lifetimes in reaction to antibiotics and environmental toxins . . . they show up labeling dissent, different views, and sincere questions as unpatriotic and disloyal . . . the fascist mentality occurs whenever ambiguity occurs . . . they want, need, to “save the appearances,” deny the discrepancy, patch over contradiction, and make all things fall within their control.” (Hollis, What Matters Most, p. 30)
Hollis is talking about a segment of society that somehow has the reins in the modern Western world. But he could just as easily been talking about each and every one of us. Each of us wants control, consciously and unconsciously. Like the “moral right” in modern society, we deny things that contradict whatever it is that we hold to be true. It seems that it is too much to hold the mind open for things that come from the opposite, the polar regions of being and knowing. How do we suspend what we “know” to be true and actually hear what others “know” to be true?
Though I am not empowered by the moral right of the modern world, I also have a fascist mind that sabotages my journey of individuation, my attempts at going behind the scenes to find out other answers, other ways of being my self.
However, we sometimes consciously choose things that hasted our own destruction. It really doesn’t matter why this happens, it only matters that it happens. I know that in my battle with depression I defiantly attempt to erase markers of my passage through life. During these periods of time I destroy photos of myself believing that when I am gone, I should really be gone and not hanging around in some photo album or on some computer. During these times I am certain that the world would be much better off with out my darkness. Little do I realise that in responding to depression in this manner, I am tilting the duality dance between Eros and Kronos in the favor of Kronos.
But as I grow more conscious of my self and my shadow, I hesitate long enough and avoid erasing more bits and pieces. The parts of the past I have already erased in earlier decades are gone forever. I erased without any thought of what others might need as evidence of my existence in their own lives. I knew less then and only knew that the darkness was too powerful. Today, the pull to Eros is stronger than the pull to Kronos. Kronos will wait knowing that I will eventually get there. But until then, I want to continue living, loving and creating.
I have to admit that I haven’t been doing as well as I thought since the day my mother died. I had thought that I was prepared for her death knowing that it was coming and having had a week-long visit with her in order to say our good-byes. It took four days for the tears to finally come and allow the pressure to ease up.
I descended into a darkness. I felt an intense guilt about still being alive even though it seemed a part of me had died; it was almost as if the creative inner force within me, my very soul had died. I wanted to disappear, forever, into that darkness. I was forgetting to breathe. A vise had seized my lower stomach and was squeezing for all it was worth and all I wanted was for it to stop, for stop to the pressure and pain.
But, I was not alone through this. My good wife was there as well. It is not easy being with one who is often not in this world. That we were on holidays, whose dates were of our choosing more than a month ago, when my mother died was yet another blessing though it tainted the idea of this being a holiday. I didn’t have to bury feeling even more while I would have gone through the motions of teaching. I had a time, space and place to go through this process.
Meditating at least twice a day while here in the Philippines, having adopted this routine of a morning meditation on the balcony and an afternoon meditation in a secluded beach location where the sound of the waves add to the meditative experience, has provided me no small measure of additional release. Now, with this post, it feels as though there has been a shift and I am now emerging out of the darkness.
Today’s photos were taken by my wife. The scene is a cliff-side cave quite a distance south from where we are staying. The rock was hard and sharp, but for some reason, this was okay. At least it let me know that once again, I can feel.
Today I am bringing two photos I took in Costa Rica, one of a male that I found carved on a wall, and the second of a female that stood in a garden on the side of a mountain. Though the two are representations of native Costa Ricans from a distant past, these two images tell a modern story of men and women.
As usual, active imagination takes me past the images into a different places. These images take me into a realm where consciousness is almost absent. In the case of this image of a man, the bound hands talk to me of how we become slaves to physicality when consciousness is weak. One becomes trapped by an outer life with a corresponding sense that one is a victim in that life. In the outer world, one knows that one is at the mercy of the elements, at the mercy of nature and those that have power.
All that circulates within the psyche is unquestioned, often allowing the circulating shadows to exert powerful influences over the ego. The shadows act as gods and goddesses that must be obeyed or one suffers madness. And the shadows demand much of their human hosts. The shadows within compete with each other in order to find an outlet. In the outer world the humans who give these inner gods and goddesses their due find that they become leaders, powerful beings in their collective communities. The shadow expressed touches the collective shadow and swells with the resonance.
It is all about power, power that becomes meaning, power that ensures survival. Where one is placed in the power matrix determines if one is to thrive or to simply survive. These images evoke powerlessness for men and women.; they evoke servitude and bondage.
Women become chattels of men, sexual containers that also serve to provide heirs and or status beyond the satisfying of sexual urges. In cultures in which the collective unconscious is dominant, women then look to men for protection from other men. Their bargaining tool, their sexuality, their apparent fragility. The few who rise above the collective in terms of ego intelligence learn to harness the desires of men and the desirability of women in order to increase personal power.
As humans evolved becoming more and more intelligence in the ways of human behavior and psychology, they devised more and better tools to gather power and dominate other humans and nature. The discovery of the religious center of humans provided yet another pathway for exploitation, one that rivaled if not surpassing the exploitation of humans sexual nature. The rise of religion which seemed to always find a way to either glorify or demonize human sexuality which in turn unconsciously pulled even more and more into a collective unconsciousness.
It has only been with the refusal to drawn into the collective unconscious that allows us today to see there is another way forward. Daring to consciously confront the personal shadow which in turn allows us to recognize a larger collective shadow effectively sets us outside of the unconscious participation that seems hell-bent on a descent into collective madness where even those wielding the reins of power are caught in the web of madness, a collective unconscious that has destroyed all the boundaries meant to contain it.
There is another option, but it falls to individuals who dare to challenge the collective, a collective that includes family, and community. Who will dare to tell the emperor that he is not wearing clothes, and that his shadow is showing?