YARO STARAK MSW trained as a Psychologist, Social Work Educator, and Gestalt Therapist in Canada. He established and directed the Brisbane Gestalt Centre in 1979. He is a visiting trainer for several Australian Gestalt Therapy Institutes, as well as in Europe and Canada and worked for many years lecturing in the School of Social Work & Social Policy at the University of Queensland.
He is co-author of the book "Risking Being Alive" a collection of ideas, experiments and readings which introduce gestalt oriented psychological tools that can be used to increase the sharpness with which you see and relate to the world.. Copies of this book can be bought directly from Yaro Starak by emailing him on email@example.com
“There is a world of happiness where there is no difference between things because there is no one there to ask about the difference. But that is not the world of men. Some men have the vanity to believe that they live in two worlds, but that is only their vanity. There is but one single world for us. We are men, and must follow the world of men contentedly.” Don Juan
This theory has emerged out of the studies of the unpredictability of weather. The ‘crazy’ and unpredictable patterns of clouds, winds etc, gave scientists a major discovery: that there is an order underlying chaos.
In human terms, this unpredictability is experienced in relationships. Why do people resist surges of energy (internal & external) and try to control it? There are numerous ‘taboos’ developed in all societies not to allow the flow of natural energy from one person to another. We all seek meaning and order to our responses and problems. Imagine someone saying to us: “I love you”! Such a spontaneous contact will most likely elicit a sense of inner disturbance (Chaos) and we quickly will re-order our response to the above statement according to a set patterns developed in childhood. For example: “What does he mean”? “Is she trying to come on”? and so on.
This is what Chaos theory suggests. That energy (a feeling) comes into your system from another system and you feel a bit ‘chaotic’ (disturbed) and therefore you attempt to ‘order’ the chaos so that you may feel comfortable or balanced again. The problem is that if we re-organize our contacts with the world in the same old way (same old pattern), we may not get the same result or achieve a new homeostasis at this present moment of contact.
According to Chaos Theory, if you expand the context (field) far enough, in other words, stay in process, you will find a definite new order in the chaos. If you allow the ‘disturbing’ energy to flow it will re-order by itself and a new or creative order will reveal itself out of the emerging disturbance.
Implications to eldership development
What do we mean by ELDER? Michael Meade (1993) writes about the “territory of the Elders” as a place where life experience, if held in one’s consciousness for long enough, turns to wisdom. In our western, youth oriented society we have forgotten the role of the Elder. We merely call an older man just ‘old’ and invisible. Michael continues to define his view of the Elder: “As a man passes through the elder’s gates, his focus shifts from personal striving and status building to attending to the mysteries at the core of the community. In ancient communities, those in their forties became the ‘practiced elders’. They maintained the ritual space in the community and debated issues that required wisdom and clear decisions”. In men work today, older men are placed in positions of respect and recognized for their wisdom and taken to ritual seats where they are invited to share their life’s wisdom.
Understanding the Eldership phenomena in the light of Chaos Theory is of great importance today. Elders are experienced and understand energy and it movements. They understand that energy must have space to move. This understanding can be enhanced with practice, self-observation and awareness training.
Eldership development includes the basic principles of an Archetypal view of the world. R. Moore states that “real change will only occur in a contained (but flexible) space.” Indigenous cultures designated this as “sacred space” to differentiate it form “ordinary space”. It is the Elder’s responsibility or ability to respond and create a ritual sacred space. The sacred circle is a universal container and a symbol for protection, safety and sanctuary. It is a place where men are equal and safe from danger. Such ‘circles’ are also evident at corporate meeting tables and in teams or groups. However how safe are these corporate ‘circles’ is questionable in today’s competitive culture.
Attachment and letting go
An Elder understands the process of attachment. Attachment to anything or anyone leads to inner ‘chaos’. This produces a resistance to change and regression to past ways in order to deal with such ‘chaos’ in old and familiar patterns resulting in rigid attempts at ‘problem solving’ that usually would lead to suffering. Buddha said: attachment leads to suffering.
Have you noticed that people who are desperate for a loving relationship seldom can find it? While those who surrender to life’s shifts and are stay present in the now, usually get what they want?
EXERCISE: Open-ended problem solving
- Select a problem that involves another person.
- See the problem as a metaphor or symbol.
- Notice how you feel in your body.
- Check with your ‘spirit body’ or awareness.
- Have your ‘spirit body’ show you how this problem looks/feels like resolved.
- Check into the ‘spirit body’ of the other person.
- How is it affected by your ‘solution’?
- Give a gift – to yourself and the other.
- Bow in respect to your guide.
- Let go of expectations for success
The elder as "shaman" - stalker of chaos
“A Shaman is never worried about his fear. Instead, he thinks about the wanders of seeing the flow of energy! The rest is frills, unimportant frills” Don Juan.
Recent literature in human sciences has increasingly noted the ancient role of the SHAMAN. A Shaman is a tribal healer (name originated in the Siberian tundra) who is able to fall into altered states of consciousness, go on a journey into the ‘underworld’ or the world of spirits, find what is needed to heal a person or a community by bringing this information back to this world so that it will be useful to all. (Eliade 1982)
This ancient world view can be and is now increasingly being adapted to our current world and its problems. The scientific approach to problem solving has given us many good outcomes. Many use this approach because it gives them legitimacy as a scientifically proven system. However, much of the modern science has also created disturbances in this world, some very dangerous indeed. The alternative approach requires us to drop the intellect and get in touch with our feelings and intuition and follow the ‘field’ or process of our inner wisdom.
Arnold Mindell (1992) describes the ‘field’ as “an area of space/time within which lines of force are in operation. It is simultaneously everywhere and with everyone…this ‘field’ appears in dreams, body symptoms, in relationships and the environment. It also appears in the feelings it creates in us when we are near sacred and powerful places on Earth”… This is the way of the Shaman and the indigenous healers in all parts of the world.
Before science as it exists now, the wise men and women of early societies used their intuitive and ‘magic’ skills that helped give healing and wellbeing to their people. Now Quantum science and Chaos Theory are confirming scientifically the same processes that were used all over the ancient world. We now know that awareness of what is happening in the now is more important than the ‘rules’ about what we should be doing.
As we saw above, Chaos Theory confirms that following our experiences (letting go of structures), we discover what will be revealed on another level of organization. Meaning, that if we follow our own process, and are free to drop what we are doing that is not working in the now, we can allow the ‘unknown to emerge’ and become more spontaneous and imaginative in dealing with life’s issues. When we get in touch with the mysteries of Nature and receive its healing wisdom, we become more complete, more in tune with our potential to recover from diseases that are bringing much pain to us today.
Discovering our balance
Today the Shamanic approach and Science are getting closer. The old knowledge is getting more respect from many sections of community. We are beginning to enter the new sciences of Quantum, nanotechnology and gene manipulation and accepting alternative ways of healing mind, body and soul. Eldership work must access both – scientific and shamanic ways.
If the Elder is following the scientific way and gets stuck, he may begin to follow what is happening at the moment, surrender to process (chaos energy) and become aware of the ‘Tao’ or field. He may use rituals, intuitions, movements and dreaming as ways of achieving knowledge to help others. In this way he will gain a balance between present reality and the ‘other’ reality. Both are necessary to achieve the wisdom of conscious Eldership.
EXCERSISE: Finding balance
Most people feel that they are burdened or lack of one of the following:
- Body image & attractiveness
Make a list of the above in 3 categories: 1. Deprivation (too little) 2. Excess (too much). 3. Balance (just right)
The categories you selected as “too much” or “too little” are the areas of your life where you are lost or are losing power. In the “too much” list, start the ‘destruction’ ritual. Select what you do not want and discard it or let it go. Thank them for their service. Burning a list of things or relationships that you no longer want is another way to discard the unwanted.
In the category of “deprivation” use the ‘creation’ ritual. This is a way of learning to receive a gift .When the ‘spirit world’ offers you a gift of special talents, opportunities or good advice, respect that and do not feel you need to reciprocate. Everything in life is a GIFT. Receive it with grace and honor it. Light a candle and focus your energy on its flame. Allow the ‘gift’ penetrate you and warm you all over.
* Clear your life of unwanted beliefs, goods, habits and people.
* Know where you can find assistance when faced with obstacles that seem more powerful than you.
* Decrease arrogance, grandiosity, false humility and guilt and be prepared to have more in your life by focusing and clarifying it in specific terms.
* Increase your ability to have more power and energy.(see vital energy work)
* Become aware of your increasing satisfaction in any area of your life and give away or share the wealth in that area.
* Learn how to receive with grace, respect and honor.
* Develop a position where you can make a much larger contribution to your community.
The elder as a martial artist – sitting in the fire.
“A warrior thinks of his death when things become unclear. The idea of death is the only thing that tempers our spirit” Don Juan
If we take on a martial art, we discover that the martial warrior is not a killer but an artist. Young men flock to the warrior image and want to learn how to win in battle.. They soon get the real message (if the teacher is good) that to learn a skill is one thing but to learn how to flow with the energy is another. Mindell(1992) calls it a “metaskill”. He says: “In working with groups or organizations in serious trouble, either with themselves or with other groups, the decisive factor for the person is not the skills or methods he uses but the attitude (or intent) he has toward the group. These attitudes and beliefs are what I call metaskills. These generate the tools for dealing with any situation”.
Fluidity as a meta-skill
This refers to the Elder’s ability to feel, adapt and flow with the unique process of life energy. Like the clouds, energy shifts, flows and changes at all times. The fluid person is spontaneous, in the here and now, follows the signals in the ‘field’ and the essence of its changing phenomena. In this context, Eldership is a ROLE; it is a function that helps the group to proceed. It is only one aspect of the whole. No one is ONLY an Elder per se, as the Tao philosophy says:
“A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap,
At their death they are withered and dry.
Therefore the stiff and unbending
Is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.” Chuang Tsu
Tools of the martial artist
- Self balance: Most martial arts do not concern themselves about fighting and winning but are focused on the development of the participant. Occasionally we must confront the ‘enemy’ (usually ourselves) and ‘win the battle’. The teacher’s advice is to be aware of how the field balances itself. The Elder’s job is to follow the ‘ki’ – the field’s changing excitement, interest and energy shifts. The leader ‘wins’ in a group by going with what emerges in the present moment.
- Learn from the group energy: Aikido is a special martial art that teaches to focus on energy. It is not by repressing the tensions and trying to be ‘nice’ to the other. It is not analyzing the tension and trying to change ourselves and others. It is not getting tense and hurting self or others. Noticing the group energy the leader learns how the field shifts and changes and sits in the VOID and is open to the process that is happening in the now.
- Love of Nature: The Martial Artist depends upon, respects and loves Nature – the great teacher. He invokes the four directions, earth, fire, air and water and the inner Nature within himself that connects with ‘Mother Nature’.
- Detachment: The central characteristic of Martial Art is the ability to maintain awareness in the ‘center of the cyclone’ of Chaos. The intense ‘heat’ created in a group process by the positive and negative projections, strife and celebration, anger and love, disturbs the ‘status quo’ and creates much pain for the elder. But at the same time enables him to grow more, stay balanced and hold the sacred space of the group.
EXERCISE: Facilitation skills for group conflict – dancing in the Chaos.
* Imagine the worst & most painful experience you had as a facilitator in a group.
* Act out being that person who attacked you. Demonstrate this role to someone you trust who will be your witness.
* Find out what is his/her ‘hidden motive’ (energy)
* Take your own side and confront the attacker or show your hurt to the other.
* Do a gestalt ‘dialogue’ by taking both roles (yours and the other) and have reverse roles until a new form will emerge from the field.
* Recognize conflict as a teacher and honor the field (stay in Chaos)
* Work on the issue publicly (in front of your group)
* Involve the group members in this work. You are not alone in this process.
* Ask for help from the group or ask for help from your opponent to grow and learn from the experience.
Goana dreaming and conscious eldership
“A warrior lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by about what he will think when he has finished acting” Don Juan
Australia has been the oldest country that has not seen war, plunder and control of one nation over another for about 60,000 years. Indigenous people here are called the Aborigines or Ab-original people. In the North they are called First Nations. They have been living on the land and taking care of it for thousands of years. Obviously, they have developed natural laws that cared for both the people and the land. Much of the traditional ways were transmitted to the next generation by way of ritual and story spoken by the Elders.
We have lost much of this ancient knowledge and wisdom and now it is time to revive this wisdom before we loose all. For this reason, a new kind of men are required – men who can develop a sense of Conscious Eldership - The kind that understands the relationship to all things on Earth.
The Elders like Black Elk knew the secret of the emerging way. He called it a circle of power. “Everything the power of the world does is done in the Circle. The sky is round and the Earth is round. So are the stars. The wind in its greatest power whirls. Birds make their nests in a circle. The sun comes forth and goes down in a circle. The moon does the same and both are round. Even the seasons come and go forming a circle and man’s life is a circle from birth, childhood, maturity, old age and death. And so it is in everything where power moves”.
The indigenous people in Australia, as in all parts of the colonized world, have suffered much. But most of all they lost many of the traditions relating to the sacredness of each person’s respect for all life. Our primary nature has been forgotten and the sacred circle has
been broken. However, we know now that breaking this sacred hoop cannot be endured forever and we are in the process of reclaiming our natural heritage by recreating the once forgotten dreaming. All around this planet people are coming back to re-experience sacred rituals of the Britain’s Celts, Spanish and Slavic Gypsies, Siberian Shamans, Mexican Brujos, Tibetan Mystics, Sufis and so on. One such Elder-sorcerer was the mentor of Carlos Castaneda and he is quoted in a book “The Wheel of Time” how the ancient Mexican shamans viewed the mystery of men:
“The Mystery of awareness is darkness. Human beings reek of that mystery, of things inexplicable. To regard ourselves in any other terms is madness. So, an Elder does not demean the mystery by trying to rationalize it” Don Juan
Australian dreaming and eldership - Boomerang knowledge.
“When a warrior learns to stop the internal dialogue, everything becomes possible; the most far fetched schemes become attainable” Don Juan
The great mystery in Australia is called the DREAMING. It is at the centre of Aboriginal spirituality. The term is used in many ways and in various languages (over 140 in Australia). It basically refers to the time of creation of all things. The sacred stories are the stories about how this world was formed in the DREAMING and how the Ancestor Beings formed this land and created all life on it. The DREAMING is considered more real than our present reality but it is hidden from our present awareness. However it provides the basic foundation on which this world exists. The Dreaming is both personal and communal. As each community has its own Dreaming that connects it to Nature, so each individual is connected to a spiritual ‘totem’ represented by an animal. All Dreaming is connecting us to the ONE SOURCE. (Cotty&Cotty 1995).
Conscious initiation towards eldership
“We perceive. That is a hard fact. But what we perceive is not a fact of the same kind, because we learn what to perceive” Don Juan.
There are four stages of Initiation that give a man Personal Mastery and connect him to Community Wisdom. These stages of initiation are a lifetime journey that requires much courage, commitment and practice that takes us from an initiated ‘boy’ to Warrior, Lover, Magician and a Man of Wisdom. The ancients called such man a King.
The process of developing Conscious Elders is borrowed, in part, from the early rituals for male initiation. It begins with the KANGAROO Initiation. It is connected to the principle of FIRE. Kangaroo Dreaming asks for the commitment to be involved in a Sacred Ritual in order to discover a man’s passion for life. It also helps in developing an awareness of the gift he brought when he was born.
The Fire principle ignites the passion of the HEART and keeps it burning. The other aspect of Fire is to ‘burn away’ the outer layers of grandiosity, ego attachments in order to access the “True Self”. Each man is asked several questions as he approaches the Sacred Site. One of them is: “What is in your Heart?”
The second stage of men Initiation is GOANNA DREAMING. At this stage of initiation the Goanna image is one of dragging its body, particularly the belly and genitalia, on the Earth. This represents the process of a man’s display of his masculinity, sexuality, sensuality and being grounded fully in the core essence with Mother Earth. This is particularly a big issue in this century. Sex is considered either as sleazy or powerful. Men have been emasculated for their lack of sacredness in dealing with sexuality. The art of a man’s sexuality is to dance with both the male and the female energies. Such rituals are clearly described in the ancient Hindu texts on the Tantra.
The third stage is SERPNET DREAMING. The Rainbow Serpent represents creative force and the element water. It is one of the most sacred symbols of Australian Aborigines. The learning that is given in this initiation is related to relationships, generativity, creativity and community service.
Finally we come to the fourth stage: EAGLE DREAMING. This stage is represented as Air and it relates to the final process of Conscious Eldership. This final stage is connected with expanse, imagination, spiritual soaring and healing.
The one enduring reality for the initiated man is the fact that the Universe is the DREAMING. The Dreaming existed in the beginning of things and it will always exist. In our modern world its ‘new’ name is now “Chaos”. This world has been created out of Chaos and it cannot continue without it. People who live in this world will one day return to the Dreaming. This Cosmology is not much different from most of the ancient beliefs and sacred rituals practiced by people who lived and still live on this planet.
Men like to tell stories. From time immemorial men sat around the fire at night and told stories. Stories are ‘store houses’ of knowledge. They tell us how life was and also how to live our lives. Men seldom like to be told how to live their lives directly. The reason is not always the inflated Ego but the experience of living is in the unknowing. Life is a mystery and an adventure and men love adventures and then tell stories about what happened.
These stories are like old seeds planted for those who want to hear and learn and discover their own adventure. “Innocence is a story waiting to be understood”. (Castaneda with Martin Goodman).
It is no surprise, then, that men must first reconnect with other men. They gather in groups, festivals and meeting to re-enter the heart space they were not able to enter in their youth. Personal stories, experiences and memories are poured into the circle of men to generate a safe space to share their inevitable wounds and gain support from the Elders.
EXERCISE: Write your own story.
Example: My story about a desert lizard - by Yaro Starak.
Once upon a time, I took a little lizard for a walk into the desert and I got lost. The little lizard, knowing the path, found out that I am now in its domain – in its environment. There and then I became its follower.
The desert was very empty and hot and the way was difficult, yet the little lizard knew well the way and I just had to follow. At times the lizard smiled a mysterious smile and I thought it was especially for me, then I found out that lizards ‘smile’ all the time.
When we came to the top of a large hill, I found some shade beneath a big rock as the wind blew softly and I and the lizard rested under the shade. Soon I fell asleep and in my dream I saw lions catching a gazelle that had great courage letting go of her life and fed the large beasts.
When I woke up and looked around for the little lizard, it was gone - far away into the desert - suddenly I discovered the courage to find my own way out of the void before I died.
Points to reflect on: How is your own life journey reflected in this story? Is this your ‘power animal’? What is the ‘spirit’ or ‘field’ saying to you in this story? Can you write your own dream as a story revealing something about your inner life?
Practical applications of the shaman’s way
“For an elder (seer), the truth is that all living beings are struggling to die. What stops death is awareness” Don Juan
This is a summary of practical applications of the way sorcerers in Mexico apply their skills in developing conscious eldership to be able to serve their community.
- The concept of saving personal energy. Most of our energy is spent in mundane things. Just to get through the day is big energy expenditure for many people. We also spend a lot of energy believing in our own ‘self-importance – EGO. To deal with these things and save energy shamans developed the skill of stalking. Paying attention or focusing on our energy expenditure helps us to save it and develop greater awareness and use it to achieve greater things.
- We humans are described as TONALS. It is our ‘real’ life. What lies beyond the borders of this ‘ordinary’ life? It is a mystery not possible to describe. Yet it can be witnessed and experienced by anyone with enough personal energy. This side of life is called the NAGUAL. Our purpose in life is to integrate the two worlds: the TONAL with the NAGUAL and become whole. By achieving this integration we realize that the world is only a matter of perception. It constantly changes as we change our perception.
- The Toltec shamans believe that the body is a field of energy constantly affected by other fields of energy. Whether this energy field is coming form the sun, moon or other people, it gets left inside us and affects us for many years. Bad or toxic energy must be rid of in order for the man to be healthy.
- Recapitulation is a skill of remembering, re-experiencing and reviving events to release them and recharge our personal energy. Finishing unfinished life situations and sharing their stories. Writing your autobiography is one way to recapitulate your life.
- NOT DOING is an exercise to de-structure the ego and the way we view the ordinary world. Suspending our ordinary perceptions by walking backwards, spending time in sacred places, learning from dreams and gazing at the ‘space between’ or shadow of things will enable us to deepen our state of awareness. Meditation and the 5 Tibetan exercises are another example.
Elder mastery practices adapted from George Leonard.
“Once inner silence is attained, everything is possible. The way to stop talking to ourselves is to use exactly the same method used to teach us to talk to ourselves; we are taught compulsively, unwaveringly, and this is the way we must stop it…” Don Juan
George Leonard is a wise Elder living in America. In World War II, he served as a combat pilot, later an intelligence officer in Korea and then an air force magazine editor. He became senior editor of LOOK magazine where he reported on the Cold War, Civil rights movement, religion, politics and finally education became his passion. He coined the word “Human Potential” when he reported on the marvelous pioneering work at Esalen Institute in California in the 60’s. There he met Mike Murphy and soon they began the long journey into the human potential research. They called this work: Integral Transformative Practice or in short: MASTERY. Some of their work is summarized here.
To develop Mastery of Eldership, we need to integrate what we have learned most of our lives into community service. This means all aspects of our-selves: Mind, Body and Spirit. We need to transform ourselves by having the courage to say and do things we feel are right - not socially correct. We need to call on our inner resources and wisdom and demonstrate this wisdom in practice and example.
The basic principles developed by George Leonard can be adapted here to our own development of Eldership. These are:
- A lasting transformation of mind, body and spirit requires a long term commitment and practice.
- A full development of an Elder is best guided by several mentors, teachers who have gone on the same journey, survived and learned from the experience.
- Although the practice requires surrendering creatively to others, the final authority always remains with the individual.
To gain further details about the Leonard’s method read his book “Mastery- the keys to success and long-term fulfillment” (1991).
The five keys to mastery
To begin a practice towards Eldership is to begin a new chapter in your life all over again. The Eastern traditions see practice as a path (Tao in China and Do in Japan). The path is a path of heart, as Don Juan told Castaneda, his student of more than ten years. The path is also one of knowledge. The more we know, the more there is to know. By our very knowing we create more knowing. For as long as we live we are learning more and more. The more we create, the more we can create. The more we love, the more we can love and so on.
There are many ways to travel as the great Chinese sage said: “The Great Way has no gate. There are thousands paths to it”. George Leonard simplified this Way for the busy westerners by describing five steps or ‘keys’ – the keys to Eldership Mastery.
- INSTRUCTION – Learning from a Master. Get a top rate Mentor or Coach or Teacher and trust yourself totally and the teachings
- PRACTICE – regular practice is integral part of life. A professional ‘practices’ his skill and adds to his knowledge all the time.
- SURRENDER – Let go of attachments that no longer serve you in your growth. Surrender to a Mentor or Teacher and also to the demands of practice.
- INTENTIONALIYTY (INTENT) – Develop by way of visualization (imagination) and action the journey to Eldership. Maintain impeccable behavior in all action.
- KNOWING THE EDGE - Challenging your early limitations and boundaries and not being locked in by ‘old’ rules or protocols. Live in the “Chaos”.
Blocks to mastery
“Elders do not win victories by beating their heads against walls, but by overtaking the walls. They jump over walls; they do not demolish them” Don Juan
Our modern society is now organized around an economic system that requires constant growth and therefore a high level of consumer spending. We are offered huge choices as to how to spend our money. Values are ‘marketed’ by the media and not by the teachings of the family, tribal elders, spiritual and secular traditions and initiation rituals.
The ‘quick fix’ permeates our culture globally and it has become more and more difficult for young and old to develop a discipline for Elder Mastery. Some of the blocks to gain long-term benefits are mentioned by Leonard. They clearly apply to our attempts to gain conscious Eldership.
The Dabbler – This person may begin with great enthusiasm, commitment to something new and exciting is foremost. However, the high energy of the ‘fore play’ soon looses its value and the man begins to judge the effort as ‘too hard’, ‘not good enough, any time’ and so on. Then he begins to search for a new high.
The Obsessive – He wants the ‘best possible’ deal. He takes on tasks, duties, books, tapes and videos to keep on ‘learning’ obsessively. He will not be able to tolerate a ‘plateau’ but pushes himself to the limit. His goal is action, action until gets totally exhausted and then withdraws.
The Path of Least Resistance – He is willing to maintain the momentum and stay at the plateau indefinitely. He thinks he can ‘skip’ certain stages of development and go on. He does only enough to maintain a semblance of work with the minimum of effort. Under further pressure, he runs away.
The Path of Endless Climaxes – This is a very common ego trip. This man follows the idea that life must be one climax after another. Fast sports, bungee jumping, parachuting, getting to the ‘top’ first, quickie love affairs and so on. Finally he burns out, gets stressed out and lost.
To be more specific, here is a simple guide to discover your own blocks or walls to long term commitment to Eldership written by Jose and Lena Stevens (1988) in their book “Secrets of Shamanism”.
Emotional Head person
Active Head Person
Active Heart Person
Thinking Gut Person
Emotional Gut Person
Add your own
Add your partner’s
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it” Goethe
The quantum psychology way
“Personality is a mistaken identity” -Nisargadatta Maharaj
What is Quantum Psychology?
Quantum Psychology is a practical approach to becoming mindful and aware of both the relationship between our automatic responses and what triggers them. Also are included the mechanisms themselves of those automatic responses. Most of these responses come out of ‘old’ or early learning in dealing with past or earlier life’s challenges. The Quantum Psychology way is to enable us to stay in our adult experience (here and now) of what is our present moment and maintain rather than lose access to the inner resources which our automatic responses cut us off from. The automatic responses have a ‘trance’ quality. To be able to manage this trance response we can respond more effectively by being free of loaded emotional charge of our past experiences.
The CORE of Quantum Psychology:
This core is based on the nine principles developed by N. Maharaj, who was a mentor of the S. Wolinsky, author of Quantum Psychology books.
- There is only ONE SUBSTANCE – the principle of non-duality
- What you know about yourself came from outside of you, therefore let it go.
- Question everything as reality – do not believe anything.
- In order to find who you are, you must first find who you are not.
- In order to let go of something, you must first know what it actually is.
- The experiencer is contained within the experience itself. (Phenomenology).
- Anything you think you are – you are not. (we exist prior to the thought).
- Hold on to the “I AM”, let go of everything else.
- Anything you know about you can not be the total you.
Developing multi-dimensional awareness
G.I. Gurdjieff said: “When I pay attention to the external world, I am like an arrow pointing outward. When I close my eyes and sink into myself, my attention becomes an arrow pointing inwards. Now, if I try to do both at once – to point the arrow in and out at the same time – I immediately discover that this is incredibly difficult. After a second or two, I either forget the outside world and sink into a daydream, or forget myself and become absorbed in what I am looking at”.
He was teaching the importance of ‘self-remembering’. Quantum Psychology requires that we learn how to focus on three or more dimensions simultaneously. Our awareness is unknowingly fixated on enacting old patterns, reinforcing early learning, resisting or re-creating avoidances of reality – this process maintains a False Self. By placing our awareness by choice, we liberate it and develop the Authentic Self.
There are eight dimensions of Awareness and three dimensions that are beyond awareness. They are needed to manifest the Authentic Self.
- The external dimension. (Outside world)
- The thinking dimension. (Inside world)
- The emotional dimension. (Reactive world)
- The bio-animal dimension. ( Survival world)
- The ‘I AM’.
- The collective unconscious.
- The Not-I-I.
The three other levels beyond are:
- The void
- The nameless absolute.
- The beyond.
Each of the eight dimensions has a different function. The more each dimension is clearly understood and available to us, the will be the subjective experience of freedom and developing an Authentic Self. Confusing one level of awareness with another can cause many difficulties. For example, if we want to make money by visualisation and expecting that the ‘Universe will provide’ it for us, we are confusing the imagination or thinking world with the external world. This is the way of the False Self.
The False Self Made Easy:
When the child realises that it is a separate being from mother, it is a traumatic shock. The ‘I AM’ or authentic Self becomes rigidified. Then we spend the rest of our life dealing with this trauma by trying to overcome it, heal it, resist it, drug it, resolve it, transform it or spiritualize it. Quantum Psychology calls this phenomenon ‘the False Core’ which we continually try to overcome in some way. This False Core is an illusion or concept that was created so we could survive our early years and attempting to ‘deal’ with it leads to false outcomes.
The major False Self outcomes:
False Core False Self
| 1. “There must be something wrong with me” |
2. “I am worthless”
3. “I cannot do, such & such”
4. “I am inadequate.”
5. “I do not exist.”
6. “I am alone.”
7. “ I am incomplete”
8. “I am powerless”
9. “I am loveless”
NOTE: The ‘as if’ statement is part of an integrated act or pretend of the False Self and hence it is not real or authentic.
Quantum .Psychology : S. Wolinsky, 2000.
Acting ‘as if’ I am perfect to prove I am OK
Acting ‘as if’ I am a worthy person, I am valued.
Acting as an overachiever ‘as if’ I can do things.
Acting ‘as if’ I am adequate by acting over-adequate.
Overacting ‘as if’ I am something better
Act ‘as if’ I am connected to others
Act ‘as if’ I am complete ‘I am OK’
Act ‘as if’ I am all powerful.
Act ‘as if’ I am lovable.
The False Self cannot be transcended or deleted. The False self is part of the False Core and it needs to be understood as an Illusion and an ‘age-regression’ then it can be stabilized in the Essence of I AM. (Paradoxical theory of change)
Exercise: How to go beyond the False Core-False Self dilemma
- Acknowledge that the False Core does exist. During the separation from the primary carer, the false core solidified as a survival tool.
- Notice where it is located in your body. Chest, belly, neck etc.
- Observe it carefully, step into it, be it fully. Then step out and observe it again. The key is not to try to get rid of it. This process develops the essential quality of acceptance.
- Do this a few times as often as you can.
- Stay in the now –I AM. Do not use thoughts, perceptions, interpretations, intentions or emotions.
- Begin to allow it to ‘dismantle’ itself and loose the energetic pull to ‘survive’ using the False Self.
- Pay attention how this False Core tends to come back in situations of stress. Notice how the ‘old’ identifications arise.(see above).
The essence of heart
To develop an authentic self or being an authentic Elder (man of knowledge) it is necessary to take the ‘path of heart” as Don Juan said to Castaneda. Intimacy is not reserved only to couples in love but it is also a function of the love we experience as ‘Agape’ or the LOVE of all things. Essence is at the heart of everything for that is where the heart is. We experience a resonance with another being by way of the heart.
Prior to all our conditioning and introjects, we encounter the “heart-to-heart” connection in the womb of the mother. This becomes the essence of intimacy. As we grow older the intimacy experience has greater levels of relationship and the greater the number of relationship levels is available to us, the more whole and complete is our contact with the other. A successful relationship depends on a greater number and variety of heart to heart experiences.
Love is at the ‘heart’ of all. Authentic love is acknowledging where we are in our intimate contact with the other without judgement, evaluation, rationalization, blame, shame, labelling or ‘diagnosing’ self or other. What is LOVE? The freedom to choose to be in relationship.