Jul 29, 2009

The Shadow Effect

I just watched the streaming video of Debbie Ford's The Shadow Effect and it was well worth the $8.00. I love this movie. It's kind of like the Anti-Secret. (My contempt for the willful denial espoused in The Secret is well documented.) The movie features an A-list of new age luminaries staring into the camera and talking about how important it is to acknowledge the darker emotions and negative self-image, that we tend to split off and disown, in the quest to be "positive." Ford's many books: Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Why Good People do Bad Things, The Best Year of Your Life, etc., have been near the top of my recommend list for some time. As anyone who knows me can attest to, I'm big on the shadow work, and not fond of spiritual practices that discourage us from addressing the dark side of the force.

For more information see the official website for the movie.

DRM Test

Jul 20, 2009

Shadows and Light

Solar Eclipse

July 22, between 2:35 am Universal Time,
July 21 10:35pm Eastern, 7:35pm Pacific,
4:35pm Hawaii

We are beginning a sequence of intense astronomical events, that many are hailing as a gateway. Together with the new moon, today, there is a solar eclipse in the last degree of cancer. There is also a lunar eclipse coming up on August 6. Estaryia Venus describes the significance in an email newsletter.

Cancer is the ancient past, our soul origins. The last degree is the most ancient of all the degrees. This fusion of energy of the Sun and the Moon create a gateway of union that opens a portal for us to receive the divine light of our soul origins.

This means we recognize who we truly are. This will be more than a concept or an idea but a literal internal knowing on a cellular level.

The global shift in consciousness is upon us. As we truly awaken to who we are and our soul origins and can embody this consciousness on a cellular level there is a huge planetary wake up. It's as if humanity has been in a fog not knowing who we are and where we came from. This eclipse is the fog buster! Soon as the collective wakes up to their truth and really knows where they came from it's like a revolution on a global level. It's like getting to know your real family. It's a cleansing of the past and awakening to the truth at the same time.

Just hours after the eclipse in the last degree of cancer - accessing the portal of union and our soul - the Sun and Moon move into the sign of Leo. Leo is the sign that rules drama and playing our divine role. During the eclipse in Cancer we get the download of who we really are and then it's time to start playing the role that we are meant to be playing. I know many of you are feeling it - it's as if everything is accelerating and the breakthrough is about to happen. It's about to happen!

We are getting ready to live the role we are designed for - our divine service and role in this collective journey is about to be powerfully activated and actualized.

The sense of something major, but indefinable, "about to happen" is something I've been hearing a lot of lately, from many people.

There will be lots of group meditation, prayer, and ritual events occurring around the globe, so it's a good time to add your voice, your thoughts, and your focus to this shared experience. I know I will be doing a day of ritual here, with a friend.

For more information on the astronomical event, see here and here.

Jul 17, 2009

Drunvalo on the Coming Changes

Hat tip to gentle_breeze for alerting me to recent of video of Drunvalo Melchizedek on the coming earth changes. I've already written a great deal about my experiences with Dru and the Flower of Life curriculum. (Note: The loading time on my soapblox blog may be slow right now. I don't know what's going on, but it's beyond my control.) I should add that I've only recently begun to comprehend the magnitude of the work itself, and that I was drawn to that training for very important reasons. Drunvalo's stuff can sound very out there, as he himself acknowledges in this lecture, but I can tell you from personal experience that doing the work is deeply transformative.

This lecture is probably the most optimistic thing I've ever heard from Drunvalo. Those familiar with Karen Bishop should notice the correlation in vision immediately. It also validates some of the things I started to see last fall. As I wrote previously, in my diaries on the Time Monks predictions, I had been getting glimmers of something rather spectacular coming, but I had not been given permission to write about it. I'm also still having trouble wrapping my mind around it. The information started coming early last September, shortly before the financial meltdown was revealed. I began receiving messages from my most trusted guide, when I was deep in disgust over a series of injustices -- many financial -- that I was observing and experiencing. My guide appeared and said, "It's over." This message came through more than once in the ensuing days, along with further information about how we would be entering a time of miracles and magic; things beyond our wildest imagination.

You will also find that Drunvalo talks a lot about fundamental unity, in this lecture. I expect I will be writing a good deal more about that subject in the coming weeks. It's been coming up a lot; to an extent that indicates to me that we've made a collective leap on that subject. I'm hearing about the oneness of all things from some very surprising sources these days, to the extent that it's almost jarring. As a long time student of mystical thought, I can no longer view the world in any other way, but I also understand what a threat to the ego a true understanding of oneness is. In this lecture Dru says that we will be completely losing polarity and returning to experiential oneness, as these changes progress.

Jul 13, 2009

Expletive Not Deleted

The Scream, c.1893

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As I wrote yesterday, more and more clinical research backs up the need to express our darker emotions. This flies directly in the face of the "positive thinking" advocacy that has dominated the "new age" arena for years; culminating in The Secret mania that has nearly driven me 'round the twist. From yesterday's Telegraph, comes a report of a new study on the efficacy of swearing.

Scientists have discovered that uttering swear words can help to lessen the feeling of physical pain.

The study by researchers at Keele University found that volunteers were able to withstand pain for longer when they swore compared to when they used words which were not offensive.

Dr Richard Stephens, who conducted the study at the university's school of psychology, believes it may explain why swearing is still common place in languages around the world.

Researchers found that participants who swore could withstand the pain of keeping their hands in ice cold water 40 seconds longer, on average, than those who used neutral language. They also noted that heart rate and other fight or flight responses were higher in the profane group; all of which raises the pain threshold.

Interestingly, the result of the study surprised researchers.

Dr Stephens said that the result was the opposite of what they had expected as most psychologists suggest that swearing is a symptom of "catastrophism", where there the drama-queen inside everyone takes over.

In other words, swearing is presumed to be too histrionic to be constructive. As I've noted elsewhere, in my endless litany against the "tyranny of a positive attitude," there is nothing new, or "secret," about emphasizing positivity. The simple truth is that, particularly in Western culture, we are very uncomfortable with all things negative. We are impatient with people who are in emotional pain. We are self critical and prone to denial, in terms of our own inner turmoil. We have all been subjected to a lot shaming language around those expressions. We do not provide a lot of room for people to move through their shadow experiences, such as the "dark night of the soul." Much of modern psychology simply pathologizes it, rather than recognizing it as an organic and natural expression of our soul's development. (See Stan Grof)

Also noteworthy, researcher Dr. Richard Stephens observes that his wife used a few blue words whilst in labor, and this his midwife reported it as quite common. The pain of labor has been on my mind of late, due to this discussion on another blog. When I was in my very prolonged labor, which culminated in an emergency C-section, you'd better believe I was swearing like a sailor.

Jul 12, 2009

Negative Thinking Gaining Ground

Male Figure and Shadow

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I've been writing about the power of negative thinking for some time. Here's a quick roundup:

I've been particularly hard on The Secret, because I find its espousal of denial as a spiritual practice downright dangerous. New research reported in Time adds still more credence to the idea that attempts to suppress negative thought patterns, and rescript them in positive terms, are extremely counterproductive.
The study's authors, Joanne Wood and John Lee of the University of Waterloo and Elaine Perunovic of the University of New Brunswick, begin with a common-sense proposition: when people hear something they don't believe, they are not only often skeptical but adhere even more strongly to their original position. A great deal of psychological research has shown this, but you need look no further than any late-night bar debate you've had with friends: when someone asserts that Sarah Palin is brilliant, or that the Yankees are the best team in baseball, or that Michael Jackson was not a freak, others not only argue the opposing position, but do so with more conviction than they actually hold. We are an argumentative species.

And so we constantly argue with ourselves. Many of us are reluctant to revise our self-judgment, especially for the better. In 1994, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published a paper showing that when people get feedback that they believe is overly positive, they actually feel worse, not better. If you try to tell your dim friend that he has the potential of an Einstein, he won't think he's any smarter; he will probably just disbelieve your contradictory theory, hew more closely to his own self-assessment and, in the end, feel even dumber.

This, to me, speaks of a deeper problem than the obvious deduction of the researchers. That is, that it plays to our dualism, and actually entrenches us further in our tendency to split. One of my larger criticisms of the emphasis on "the positive" is that it rips yin from yang and actually prevents us from experiencing wholeness. It keeps us riding the see-saw. Ultimately, we need to integrate our negative, or shadow, self in order to be whole. We can't just keep splitting it off and denying it, if we want to heal our deepest wounds.

In this newest study, researchers took on the issue of low self esteem; one of many manifestations of what we call "the God-sized hole."

For the new paper, Wood, Lee and Perunovic measured 68 students on their self-esteem. The students were then asked to write down their thoughts and feelings for four minutes. Every 15 seconds during those four minutes, one randomly assigned group of the students heard a bell. When they heard it, they were supposed to tell themselves, "I am a lovable person."

Those with low self-esteem — precisely the kind of people who do not respond well to positive feedback but tend to read self-help books or attend therapy sessions encouraging positive thinking — didn't feel better after those 16 bursts of self-affirmation. In fact, their self-evaluations and moods were significantly more negative than those of the people not asked to remind themselves of their lovability.

I found something very similar, when I was experimenting with "new thought," during the heady "new age" era of the '80s. The action of reciting positive affirmations only served to make me more conscious of my internal opposition, and brought on feelings of depression. The scolding of "cancel, cancel" every time I articulated a negative thought, caused a sinking, twisting sensation, in my gut. I don't think those well-intended souls have any idea how personally invalidating it is to be constantly shamed for simply speaking your truth.

I was fortunate to be working with an excellent energy healer, who was quite grounded in the gritty realism of twelve step. She gave me tools to explore my resistance to those affirmations. I think this process is decidedly missing from a lot of the pop "new thought" vehicles like The Secret, which emphasizes the importance of thinking only positive thoughts. The problem many of us have had with that paradigm is that it's impossible, which this new research would seem to validate. In fact, those "negative thoughts" are very persistent. You can't simply shout, or repeat, them down. As I wrote here, they must listened to and acknowledged, in order to really bring about transformation and healing.

Jul 6, 2009

Contemplating A More Esoteric Patriotism

Lincoln and Washington Memorials and Capitol, Washington D.C. Usa

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"Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains." ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

While watching the fireworks last Saturday evening, I found myself ruminating on the deeper symbolism underlying our patriotic traditions. I guess I've always found it a little dark that we celebrate our independence by evoking the sounds of battle. This particular display was a bit intense, as I explained on my Facebook page.

Montclair's fireworks go to 11!!! Innovative idea starting with a grand finale type display and building to a crescendo that sounds like incoming mortar fire. My husband turned a little white -- hell, it triggered my ptsd and I wasn't even in Iraq -- but really, really great!!!

So, that was our 4th. Very loud and very evocative of the "rockets' red glare" and "bombs bursting in air." It got me to thinking about what all that sacrifice was for; about our foundational principles. And so, I was ruminating on what "freedom" really means. (No. In case you're concerned, this is not the moment at which I suddenly veer off into some jingoistic rhapsody filled with meaningless platitudes, abstractions, and yellow ribbon magnets.) What, I pondered, did our founding fathers really mean by words like sovereignty, freedom, and liberty? Could there have been a meaning beyond independence from the British Crown; or even beyond any political reality.

What came to mind is some of the research mythologist William Henry has been doing into the esoteric underpinnings of our nation's heritage. I read some of the material on his site, some months ago, and found it very compelling. Certainly, much has been written about the symbolism in our nation's Capitol, the great seal, and other monuments. There is also a lot of paranoia about the association with Freemasonry and symbols that look very occult. Not surprisingly, Henry's take is entirely different.

The U.S. Capitol has numerous architectural and other features that unquestionably identify it with ancient temples including stone construction, an underground entrance, chapels, an image of a deified being, religious imagery, symbols, and inscriptions, divine proportions, massive columns, palpable spiritual energy, acoustic trickery, terrifying guardians, mystic visitors, closed doors, private members, secret chambers, and orientation to the Sun.

Earlier last week, my family and I took an unplanned drive through D.C. Unplanned because our intent had been to bypass it on the major highways. But, a lot of new construction on Rte. 95 and our GPS system conspired to take us on a more byzantine path. It was quite exciting for my daughter who had never seen such a view of "where Barack Obama lives." But, she recognized the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument from the television. It's been a while since I was this close to those structures myself. But, for years now, I have not been able to look at them without seeing an omphalos stone at the navel of the earth, and the tekhenu (obelisk), with it's gleaming benben. Why indeed does our nation's Capitol owe its design to such ancient and sacred architecture? Henry suggests a very conscious connection to our deepest creation mythos.

Domes have been called the perfect architectural shape: the circle, symbol of the universe, executed in three dimensions.

. . .

The oculus or eye of the dome is considered the Gateway of the Sun. From this gateway at the top of the dome rises the World Axis, the link between heaven and earth. Domes, therefore, are the threshold or gateway of the spiritual world.

Rotunda Canopy, Capitol, Washington D.C.

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And, in the elaborate fresco, Henry sees allusions to religious iconography of many cultures, depicting perfection and ascension mythology. The title of the piece painted by Constantino Brumidi would seem to make that fairly obvious: "The Apotheosis of George Washington."

Apotheosis is a Greek word that means ‘to raise to god like stature’ or the glorification of a person as an ideal. Indeed, this fresco depicts Washington as a god-man. Christian art portrays Jesus sitting on a rainbow and enthroned exactly the same way. The sun is a symbol of Christ from the prophecy of Malachi 4:2 “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.”

Tibetan artists use identical imagery to portray their high holy ones (called lamas) who have achieved “The Great Perfection” (Dzogchen). The aim of the Great Perfection is to awaken the individual to the primordial state of enlightenment, which is naturally found in all beings. The initiate’s goal is to integrate enlightenment into all his or her activities and to unite the physical body with the energy of Nature. The supreme realization of which lies in the manifestation of the “Rainbow Body” or body of light.

Perfection is the foundation tantra of the European Enlightenment thinkers Locke, Voltaire and Rousseau who inspired the deeply spiritual, even mystic, founders of America (many of whom were Freemasons and Rosicrucians). Human beings are not inherently depraved or sinful, Enlightenment thinkers reasoned, we are naturally good.

Tearing a page from Plato’s Republic, they saw enlightenment as a process of revealing what is already inside the person; self-perfection into the Gnostic “Man of Light”. The Enlightened ones of Tibet say the same thing only adding that perfection or holiness is the natural state of every living being whether they know it or not and that we also have the capacity to manifest perfection (= Rainbow Body).

The implication, here, is that the founding fathers, and other of our wiser historical leaders, did not build all of this symbolism and sacred geometry into our national icons simply for their own Masonic entertainment; nor to hide in plain sight some nefarious intent. That, in fact, they were imbuing our national heritage with cues to the possibility of an even greater level of freedom than most have conceptualized.

Graham Hancock speculates in Heaven's Mirror that ancient monuments, the world over, are gifts to humanity bearing messages meant to awaken hidden knowledge; keys to our remembrance of a greater reality. Of King Jayavarman VII, whose manic devotion to construction at Angkor Thom has been construed as egotism, he writes:

It might all be an accident and modern historians might be 100 per cent correct when they allege that this high-speed building programme was just megalomania, resulting in the random construction of many temples here and there: 'an orgy of building, a brief yet sustained period of hectic, almost crazy architectural creation'. Yet in inscriptions from which we have already quoted in earlier chapters, Jayavarman sounds far from crazy or egocentric. On the contrary, he tells us explicitly that his temples were part of a grand scheme to win the 'ambrosia of immortality' for 'all those who are struggling in the ocean of existence'. We know, too, that he saw the Angkor monuments as effective instruments in this quest because of their special qualities as 'mandalas of the mind'.

Perhaps too, our founding fathers, with their allusions to creation and ascension mythology, had a similar scheme to free us from the "ocean of existence."