Welcome to An Inner Walk-About

There is an inner landscape that sounds the wild call for stillness. It is both empty and cognizant at the same time. We may fall into its desert and become lost. Here, we may disappear, dissolve, die before we die. We are searching for a life, fully lived.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sex on the Relation-Ship

I have always been curious about the yardsticks for distinguishing the social mind’s repertoire of relationship possibilities. I feel somewhat driven to examine relationship through a specific lens, one that sees it as a “path for healing”. On this path, our partner is invited to consciously see us and be seen by us, to deliberately take our hand on this wild, wonderful ride, and realize the healing opportunity that the relationship offers us both. Taking a deeper look into all that limits our ability to show up as such a partner and recognize our partner as such really excites me.

When we hear a couple announce, “We are having a relationship”, there is an assumption that immediately rises: they are having sex.  Do we not assume the fact that they will soon run naked, back to each other’s embrace? So, could we not conclude that sexual intimacy actually launches the Relation-Ship?

In the society’s “love” model, this most basic element of the Ship’s structure, also points in the direction of rights of ownership. Sexual ownership appears to hold a trim sail on our relationship voyage, and any waning of sexual interest is felt as problematic or loss and becomes a great source of anxiety. Fear steps onto the decks of the Ship. For example, are we not conditioned to believe that failure to meet the partner’s sexual needs puts the Ship at risk?

Unraveling sexuality within our social paradigm is a monumental task. However, one small window of research found in Women’s Studies may offer a way through complicated theories and a starting point for investigating the concept of ownership that the social mind appears to hold.

From its volumes of research, Women’s’ Studies have examined human history to deliver the insight that control in every race, class and nation is gender based. Therefore, gender can be seen as one of the most important facts of every person’s life. It determines much of their daily experience. Since our genitals determine gender, the issues of sexuality, gender, and control are easily misunderstood. In this landscape of confusion, sexuality is rendered one of the most contaminated, compromised, and also hurtful aspects of our life.

When we acknowledge women in their role of  “generators of human life”, we must also consider the past and present social climate. We have to notice a history whose point of view necessitated control. We might even go further and recognize the attempt of social institutions to usurp this creative power.

If we look closely at the history, control of creative power was accomplished through the concept of ownership. We are at a time in our history where the ownership of people is unacceptable. Objects, however, are considered morally possible to possess.  Therefore, in order to own another, they must first be considered an object.  With this in mind, could it be concluded, that to the degree we insist on sexual fidelity (ownership), we must view another as object rather than simply themselves?

The social mind  focuses on a particular polarity: “monogamy verses non-monogamy”. This is a potent yardstick for what is considered a “good” relationship. The society demands that a choice be made in these terms.

Frankly, I am always quite suspicious when life rules are set up in  such dualistic terms. Observation convinces me that there is usually at least one other way (a third way), and perhaps many other ways, to intimately connect with people that have nothing to do with this yardstick.

From my experience with the “Linear Model of Life” (see previous posting), when we set up yet another polarity with its  right/wrong label,  we seem to again be ready to fall into the clutches of the ego’s linear dance. And let’s remember that the ego has no attention of its own. It can only scramble between two opposite poles. It is held captive in a world of duality. The only exit proved to be a “third attention”, one that observes the two poles but identifies with neither. 

Please do not conclude that I am  against fidelity. I am only  recommending that we  notice the dynamics and the intention of the social mind.  And if we look closely, we will notice that our social institutions feverishly encourage us to adhere to this form of control over each other. The results for the social mind are fascinating. To the degree that each of our personal lives is centered around keeping someone else controlled, the system can focus its attention and energy on institutional oppression and distract us from the truly revolutionary questions:

·      How can we associate intimately with each other and be totally free, without compromise and negotiation?
·      What is true intimacy and how can we generate it?
·      What is the connection between freedom and power?
·      How can we honor our need for touching, companionship, and comfort without being  responsible for meeting anyone else’s needs?
·      What would love look like in a landscape of freedom?

Is the organic desire to be exclusive with our Beloved not a matter of the Heart? Could we consider it a natural bi-product of love’s beautiful mystery? Can we really entrust this mystery into the hands of the social mind’s Relation-Ship form?

Perhaps we might be inspired to look to the horizon, beyond the decks of the Ship, and ponder what a refreshing dive overboard might generate for our precious, relational selves.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Relationship - The Layers of Indoctrination

I try to keep this life principle from the Tao as a refuge:  anything you can hold on to, you can also lose. Nothing remains the same. We are a part of this dance of emptiness and form. This profound truth also comes to sit with us in the midst of our togetherness.  In looking closely at relationships, if we follow the wisdom of the Tao, perhaps keeping the space as empty as possible offers a key for the most intimate connectedness between us.  In all of the theories about this subject, are we not searching to find the most skillful way to stay in the dance, to be fluid together?

Sometimes we become willing to shine the light on our denied, disowned, and lost shadow selves, to empty these out so that our true essence can pour into the space. With the same willingness we can also illuminate all our preconceived ideas, beliefs, emotional expectations and assumptions, all of the shadow forms of relationship. This could offer us a very different vision of our union with another.

If relationship, for you, is filled with so many rules, so many voices of should and should not, do and don’t, then the canvas for intimacy is already limited. If, however, relationship is ever changing, free flowing, dynamic with the vital force of presence, then the result is a spacious potential that can evolve with its own vital spirit.

This is the  “play” ground of relationship that is magical.  But how does the social mind relationship model measure up to this? Let’s trim our sails and set out again to explore deeper into the experience of sailing on the SM Relation-Ship. Let’s get very clear about how our Ship navigates these seas. What are the belief riggings that protect our insecurities, as we skim the waves? What kind of life rafts do we insist are necessary for the survival of this Ship?

No doubt the years of structured rules about relation-shipping can give us a sense of guidance, however, living to conserve the rules” is a far cry “living to liberate the spirit”. And in order to discern between these two relationship experiences, we have to examine our own indoctrination.

As we move into the heart of this inquiry, simply begin to notice where your attention is when you ponder about relationship in your life.
* Is it on a need to hold on to things or someone?
* Is it on building some structure to insulate the sense of uncertainty?
* Is the Relation-Ship form a part of this security structure? (see previous postings on this subject: Sailing on the Relation-Ship & Heartbreak on the Relation-Ship)
* Is your attention on monitoring your partner?

Human interaction, layered with all its fears, anger, frustration, sadness, jealousy, judgment and manipulation, is viewed by the social mind as normal. When these "normal" reactions become extreme, the psychological community applies labels such as borderline personality, paranoia, disassociation, psychosis, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. However, this "normal reactive behavior" is the creation of a very sophisticated mind and its protection system.

In this complex denial we begin with our own self-deception, lie to ourselves and then to each other. This necessitates the stories and belief systems that justify the deception played out by the multiple characters we create to defend and protect our wounded Shadow. All of these reactive responses are strategies designed to soothe our pain. In this consuming effort of denial we create a personal mythology of Imaginary Identities or Characters. These Imaginary Identities begin to weave the tales that uphold our false self.  A whole limited inner landscape emerges, as well as the outer landscape we now call reality. And the society’s mind is created by the collective consciousness of all the Imaginary Identities that operate within it.  An entangled mythology develops.

This vast collective ego-consciousness dictates the rules of our society. It also projects its expectations. The dynamics of projection, which are involved in the social mind, are exactly the same as those that apply to us as individuals. The external focus of attention creates the story that locks the gateway to the heart and obstructs access to Who We Really Are. We stand locked out of our organic garden, the garden of radiant love and light.

So, how is the social mind involved in the capture of our attention and the creation of Imaginary Identities?
The education of an Imaginary Character begins with behavior modification.  It is accomplished by the same methods as any organized propaganda program and follows the same rules of indoctrination: repetition, punishment and reward.  This happens in our homes, our schools, our churches and finally within our own minds.  The path is always one of fear in which love gets shut out, awareness closes, and stillness disappears

Consider the following steps; Are these not the consistent progression we experience in our educational systems and all of our institutions?
·      The fear of punishment
·      Followed by the fear of no reward
·      Thus, the fear of rejection arises
·      In turn leads to the concept of being somehow deficient or incapable
·      Now, a need steps forward, the need to be accepted
·      Suddenly, other people's opinions are more important than our own opinions
·      The creation of the Image is now complete
We are educated into pretending to be Who We Are Not. 

The Imaginary Identity crystallizes. The landscape of beliefs and strategies goes to work to protect our experience of unwholeness.  Do we not habitually medicate this sense of unwholeness with the acquisition of emotional support, recognition and acceptance by others in the external world? In this external world, do the social mind programs that have all been developed by countless Imaginary Characters and their institutions not seduce us?

We have programs that tell us to be famous, be powerful, be rich, be gorgeous, be a winner, be productive and perform well.  This becomes the personal landscape, which we believe is real.  However, this landscape is out of touch with reality. Isn’t it fascinating that our definition of insanity is "being out of touch with reality"?

These are the programs that are “hijack our attention”, draining the life energy out of our circuit.  They are passed on from one generation to the next, like a debilitating print on the genetic memory

Once our attention is caught we have no more power of our own.  We disappear under the repetition, and are tamed by punishment and reward.  The need for acceptance and the fear of rejection are now our primary experience.  The opinion of others is the focus.  Image ripens like collective fruit on a tree.   The Imaginary Identity takes over to accommodate the expectations of others in our life.

Relationships multiply all these dynamics.  Not only do we struggle with our own Image, we now interact with the Image we have of our partner, often trying to persuade or manipulate him/her into our expected costume. Our own layers of indoctrination and that of the social mind have constructed an enormously slippery deck. 

To keep the Ship well tended, that is, to preserve it, becomes the primary focus of our attention and interaction. The dynamic result is a tremendous accumulation of energy; this vital energy now charges the sailing vessel. We have become generators for the Ship instead of our own being.
Cracking the complex puzzle of relationships requires an examination through many layers of complex design.  

As we look closely, might we see that we imprison one another in multiple cages in the name of love? Let’s examine how we negotiate for time, attention, and sex. We might become shockingly aware of the ownership model we participate in on the Ship.

Stay tuned for a peek into the complex sailing maneuver we call “negotiating on board the Ship”.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Social Mind's Love Myth

Well, I am back with my pet subject, relationships. My first venture on the desks of the Relation-Ship was titled "Sailing on the Relation-Ship" (2009).

Over the years of observing “relation-shipping issues, I have noticed a consistent social mind content, created through countless expectations and assumptions. I gathered a long list of these from my own mishaps and those of friends and clients as we sailed into the storm called, “ If you truly loved me, you would...”.

Here are a few of the most common add ons to this repeating theme of "if you really loved me, you would": need me; agree with me; want to share most of your time with me; meet my emotional needs; put me first in your life; ask my advice; try harder to please me; want what I want; share your money with me; have sex with me when I want to; do anything to save the relationship; marry me.

This appears to be the agreed upon Relationship Belief System. In this system, the focus of attention falls on our partner, monitoring the level of adherence to the love-model, based on these expectations and assumptions. Can we notice how our attention is so clearly external in this system? The more we look at this Relationship Belief System, the more unavoidable the conclusion is that it functions as an archetype of control programs within the Social Mind.

Let’ s consider that there are few subjects on which we can find such a barrage of persuasive marketing propaganda. We are bombarded with millions of ads, books, lyrics, films, and photos in which the basic assumption for happiness, safety, and success in our lives is portrayed as the “two-by-two” model.

Here is what is so confusing and suspicious to me: Why is it so important for the Social Mind to convert us to its religion of love? Why has it continued to crank out its love-doctrines for centuries? Is it really necessary to convince us of something that it claims is so organic to our nature? Does it make any sense at all to create a massive intervention in our behalf and devote such effort, time and resource, to something that it claims is natural to us?

Might this all point in a very different direction, one that unveils this relationship behavior as “programmed” behavior? Does it suggest that the Social Mind Relation-Ship patrol must perpetuate its marketing campaign, because it is so contrary to anything we would pursue in our natural, uncontaminated state?

As I consider the content and form of what has become the society’s Relation-Ship Institution, I am convinced that relationship failure has much to do with the model, and perhaps much less with the current assumptions suggested by the psychological community.

If we each pondered our untamed, powerful selves, what might we find after stripping off the layers Relation-Ship conditioning? Would we stop negotiating our love life and surrender the ownership model that dominates our heart?

I am surely suggesting mutiny. Let's take a closer look in the weeks to come and imagine how we might catch a new wind in our sail.