Shadows and self-knowledge

Sunday, October 28, 2018

6:10 a.m. Well, guys, in a way it’s long time, no see. A couple of private conversations, nothing more.

You have a right to have private concerns. This ILC process wouldn’t be worth much if it had to be always public.

No, nobody could afford to have all their worries, anxieties and concerns – to use Bob Monroe’s language – spread out for all to see. Candor is one thing; indecent exposure is another.

A fear that you have never recorded – perhaps have never intuited – is that people’s Upstairs component might expose Downstairs secrets. This leads people to construct barriers – internal barriers – they don’t always suspect, and are rarely aware of.

Fear of Freudian slips exposing secrets.

That’s one way it expresses, yes. But of course there are more secrets people desperately try to hide than Freudian (that is, sexually-based) ones.

Such as?

Well, look to your own life. Would you like us to name even the categories, let alone the specifics?

Since I don’t have to publish this unless I agree to it, go right ahead. Maybe I’ll learn something.

Take the seven deadly sins – this is one approach. Think of your own discreditable actions and tendencies that relate to Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Covetousness, Anger, Pride, Sloth (or Ennui). LEG CAPS or LEG CAPE, to use your acronym.

A listing of our sins?

Not necessarily. A listing of your concerns about them, of your uncomfortable memories, temptations, tendencies, etc. In other words, here is an entire category of concerns that will tend to deflate any swelling of self-love, self-importance, egomania.

We aren’t as good as we like to think we are.

You aren’t as pure, as one-sided (though you never think of it that way), as all-of-one-piece as you like to think of yourselves. More than anything, you aren’t all of a piece, you are – in short – compound beings, with all that means in terms of internal cross-purposes, self-division, repression of opposites, inadequate self-awareness.

Interesting to consider sin (as a concept) in light of a correction to ego.

The tendency is to remain aware of what you are proud of, and repress what shames or disappoints you. the habit of examination of conscience need not be an exercise of fearing an unseen prosecutor or judge; it may be seen as an exercise in self-correction rooted in seeing yourself more clearly.

Not so much, “I have sinned” as “I am a sinner.”

Yes, but spell that out for those who do not have your background.

Man is inherently fallible, has an inherent tendency to fall into certain errors of conduct. That is a different thing than saying that “I, myself, particularly, have sinned in the following regards, and am worthy of condemnation for that.” In other words, it is an extension of the saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” only it applies to our own judgments.

However, “sin” is only one category of repressed experience. Virtue itself may be another, or achievement, or potential.

I’m sure people will be happy to move from the concept of sin – which they may not even believe in – to other things.

It is curious that so few people realize that your shadow contains not only the things you can’t bear to remember, for very shame, but also things about yourselves that are too good to bear.

Our shadow consists of our traits of which we are not conscious, some of them too exalted for us to allow ourselves to believe.

Precisely, so as they arise, you squash the awareness, ascribing it to inflated vanity or wishful thinking. And so you try to keep yourselves restricted to reasonable limits – but pray tell, who defined “reasonable,” who set the limits, who accepted them?

In a way I suppose it is easier for people to see themselves as sinners than as potential saints.

Much easier. Especially it is easy if their idea of sainthood is some impossible ideal of perfection, rather than, say, a description of above-average attainment that may serve as model.

But it isn’t what people conceal from each other that is important, but what they conceal from other parts of themselves. If you persist in creating and believing a self-image that does not accept your highest and lowest features alike, you will not know who you are, not why you are.

I had a friend who – when he was still a friend – said “self-knowledge is always bad news.” Meaning, I take it, that he assumed we repress only what is mean, not also what is magnificent.

He may not have realize that the magnificent is there. His opinion of himself was scarcely modest; it may not have struck you that that implied a view of others that was correspondingly too underrating.

Obvious as you say it, however.

True humility means seeing straight; it doesn’t mean feeling like a worm.

I think of Thoreau writing that he treated others that he met as traveling gods in disguise.

At any rate, he liked to think that was his reaction to them. Another part of himself was not so tolerant.

No, yet he also said something like “I have never met a man who was fully awake. How could I have looked him in the eye?”

Again, a part of him wrote that, and believed it. But he was a compound being, no less than you. Other parts of himself had criticisms in plenty for others, and for himself. At the same time – hold these two halves together, if you can – he was a god traveling in disguise, as are you all. (We all.)

Is this what the French existentialists meant in saying that “man is a bourgeois compromise?” That we cut ourselves down to fit into a socially accepted and acceptable pattern?

You’ll have to ask them.

Very funny.

Well, you understand, there are as many forms of existentialism as there are existentialists. How do we query an abstraction?

I see. And I guess I don’t really care to ask Sartre. At any rate, what I said could be expressed that way, if I ever used the word “bourgeois,” which I do not.

Compromise, anyway, yes. It is the socially acceptable compromise that is your Procustes bed. It stops you from realizing that your boundaries are self-selected – one might say, self-inflicted.

This gives me one more reason why it is well for people to be in communication with their Higher Selves.

More than one. People need many more Attaboys than they ever receive. Certainly more than they ever admit to themselves may be deserved. Usually the worm of unworthiness sneaks in there one way or another, and some overcompensate by hubris and over-valuation of themselves; others, by tying self-worth to whatever they conceive of as their achievements; others, by presuming that they are empty shells fooling others into thinking they are worth something. And, of course, this is not to imply that any given person reacts only in one way, once and for all. Many people move from one position to the next.

We’re back to [the question of] crystallization, aren’t we?

It applies. If you must judge yourselves, and you try to do it from a continually shifting platform, what can you expect but documentation of continual failure? We have been saying, right along, that you never have the data to judge yourselves or others, but you will persist in doing it anyway. This is another reason why it is futile.

To sum up?

It is easier to live, if you admit to yourselves as much as you can of who you are that you have not yet lived out.

“There is more life to live. The sun is but a morning star.” [The correct quote is “There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.” It is the concluding passage in Walden.]

It is harder to be benefitted by the light, if you spend so much time and effort blocking it out, lest it blind you.

And that is enough for now.

Our thanks as always.


7 thoughts on “Shadows and self-knowledge

  1. “It is easier to live, if you admit to yourselves as much as you can of who you are that you have not yet lived out. It is harder to be benefitted by the light if you spend so much time and effort blocking it out, lest it blind you.”

    Thanks Frank, very strong, powerful, emotional words for me. The direction of the feeling and concepts (perhaps) come from TGU, but the words that sing come from you. “ …your shadow contains things about yourselves that are too good to bear.”

  2. Frank,
    It seems like TGU is (and has been) doing what they warn about in this post: don’t spend all your time focusing on ‘negative’ characteristics, have the courage to honestly consider and admit your ‘positive’ traits.

    Maybe one day they’d discuss (from their point of view) the value and ‘magnificence’ of us compound beings?

    1. I’m a little at a loss as to what more they could say. From the first, they have emphasized that we and they are the same, operating in different spheres. Not worms, in short. But I’m open to suggestion. Give me a more pointed question, and I will ask.

  3. Appreciate your ‘nudge’ to look closer: I see my comment came from thinking of a parent who looks at their child’s report card with four A’s and one B, and asks “Why did you get this B?!”

    In terms of “we and they are the same”, one could ask do ‘they’ have “internal cross-purposes, self-division, repression of opposites, inadequate self-awareness.” If ‘yes’, how about a discussion of how they deal with such issues? If the response is ‘no,’ why the difference and could we discuss that?

    This ‘examination’ pushed me to ask the ‘right’ questions of my guidance (MG) to get/recognize responses. They reinforce my awareness of how unique we each are … the me that is Jim+MG, the you that is Frank+TGU. Yes we are the same, and yes we are different. The remark about “internal cross-purposes …” comes from a worldview different from ‘mine;’ my job is to understand such differences to help in working on my own worldview.

    1. “do ‘they’ have “internal cross-purposes, self-division, repression of opposites, inadequate self-awareness.”

      That’s what we’ve been getting, right along. As above, so below. Only, things manifest differently in 3D or non-3D. (And lucky us, we span the two, so depending on how we choose to see things, the world looks different.

  4. Frank, this is a big thank you for all the beautiful writing, sharing and teaching that you do. It really struck me in this post when TGU said “It is curious that so few people realize that your shadow contains not only the things you can’t bear to remember, for very shame, but also things about yourselves that are too good to bear”.

    It’s very hard to put into words how deeply this touches me.

    At the end of the post TGU says ” It is harder to be benefitted by the light, if you spend so much time and effort blocking it out, lest it blind you “.

    Here is a link to a video by Akiane Kramerik. She was a childhood prodigy at 8 years old when I first saw her on Oprah. This video of this painting reminds me of my own light and my connection to guidance.

    Frank, with deep love and respect, thank you for helping build my bridge:

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