Tag Archives: subpersonalities

Holotropic Spontaneity and Carl Rogers XIII

In us humans the joy of being in nature brings us energy that enables seeing “into the heart of things” as Wordsworth says... "Three Worlds" by M.C. Escher, CLICK FOR LARGER VERSION

In us humans the joy of being in nature brings us energy that enables seeing “into the heart of things” as Wordsworth says… “Three Worlds” by M.C. Escher, CLICK FOR LARGER VERSION


Artistic expression can be very useful if worked as a personal therapy. A feeling of having understood experiences and feelings, of having re-understood or recontextualised them in a form that makes them compost, even of having been understood, follows naturally with spontaneous creativity, and engages non-social parts of the self. You never know, you may reveal beauty as well. Gradually one can move towards the inexpressible. A possible book is this, for example, but instructions are perhaps not necessary — just keep Rogerian principles in mind and see what comes. Doing this occasionally for a change, rather than regularly, is very good too. Professional artists may find it pays to jettison professionalism.

Kundalini is to me associated with nature itself, the creative movement of the Tao, moving us beyond appearances... "Peace" by Patrick Woodroffe, CLICK TO GO TO HIS PAGE

Kundalini is to me associated with nature itself, the creative movement of the Tao, moving us beyond appearances… “Peace” by Patrick Woodroffe, CLICK TO GO TO HIS PAGE

– Rogers’ approach comes very much into its own when working with subpersonalities. To discover parts that seem to be “not exactly oneself” is natural when one considers shatteredness. The trick in understanding them is often to realise how used to them you already are on a subliminal level, and bring that long-established relationship up to conscious listening, which will refresh it. Simply being with a part in a Rogerian way, truly understanding its point of view and resonating with it, is often what is really necessary for harmony. It may spontaneously transmute or join a whole that is deepening in meditation — a process described in Assagioli’s work by the way. One useful book derived from his methods is Firman & Gila’s Psychosynthesis. (2002)

Thus I’ve realised My own attraction to some kinds of artistic image comes from how they show nature as leading beyond its own surface to a profound heart... Leaf wrapped in red petals by Andy Goldsworthy CLICK FOR LARGER VERSION

Thus I’ve realised My own attraction to some kinds of artistic image comes from how they show nature as leading beyond its own surface to a profound heart… Leaf wrapped in red petals by Andy Goldsworthy CLICK FOR LARGER VERSION

– Actually, anything can be brought into this process. Stuff you are naturally good at or which seems linked to your Campbellian “bliss” can play into healing. Bad feelings and depression can be tremendously transformative when you know how to let go of the masks they are challenging. Even rather non-“blissful” boring/repetitive tasks can sometimes help with processing. It can be useful as well to have any artistic or other objects around in the meditation space that give you the right mood or bring you to what is important as you see it. Anything that reminds you of what is beautiful and important to you. Aim high. (What you contemplate, you imitate).

I’ll come back to art and culture in spirituality for upcoming series.


Holotropic Spontaneity and Carl Rogers VI

The extremely common estrangement of the human being from her directional organismic processes is not a necessary part of our nature. It is instead something learned, and learned to an especially high degree in our Western culture… The satisfaction or fulfillment of the actualizing tendency has become bifurcated into incompatible behavioral systems…

Carl Rogers on Personal Power (1977)

Both Maslow and Jung confirm these societal obstacles in the way of actualisation/individuation, which indeed are pretty self-evident. “Estrangement” (a cousin to “alienation” without the Marxist baggage) simply means being too occupied with the aforementioned social masks to be in contact with meaningful layers of oneself. This phenomenon was also noted by Wilhelm Reich.

Selves appear to be multifurcated and in fact shattered sometimes, in our current Western culture, rather than merely bifurcated. A great deal of psychology focuses on knitting together shattered selves into a new wholeness which is a definite achievement, existing in harmony with the underlying deeper consciousness. This process is described in subpersonality psychologies like Psychosynthesis, and also in the work of Grof. Via Rogerian processes it happens spontaneously, is noticed happening by itself, simply as a result of gentle congruous attention.

Since it also appears in shamanism, and in mythology in the stories of Osiris, Zagreus and Lemminkäinen for example, there must be a sense in which this shatteredness is age-old, probably a legacy of developments in human nervous system and culture. It may possibly be more widespread now that at previous times.


Putting the Jigsaw Together (means extending it infinitely on all sides)

Collecting the past few months…

A subpersonality of mine could see superconscious light and show it to “me” (previous post). I’ll compare that with: in October last year I talked about LeShan’s concept that we can ‘break the laws of physics’ and experience psi because other laws are in operation when we are in other states — ‘different states, different rules’. Whilst in normal consensus-social mindstates I couldn’t see the light, but this could change in a different state.

What could any person do if not bound to normal states? What could they experience? Emmerson tells us that most people have 5-15 commonly used states for everyday life. But there’s an awful lot more to any human than those 5-15 states.

Spiritual training = new states and expanded relationships. Entraining to one’s own chakras as described in January this year expands the energy and function of the chakra which in turn affects the whole system — as all entrainments and all selves do. Opening chakras is opening new selves.

When entraining to the consciousness of a tree as mentioned in March this year an interesting thing happens — an “image” (loosely) of that tree is in you and one of you is in that tree. Whilst the entrainment continues there can be ‘one being’, ‘one system’; later the image of the other half of the system remains. This image is known as an ‘introject’ in some forms of psychology, and is a kind of internal model of who and what the tree is or was; it is with you and is affecting and transforming the system. Mutual transformation can do a lot of processing as trees like things we don’t.

1st in Image sequence from Grof’s Realms of the Human Unconscious showing shattering-rebuilding — click to enlarge

So we swap ch’i and parts of ourselves become parts of others (not in any diminishing way), introjects are taken in, exchanged. We take on ch’i of a tree, or a friend, and they take on ours, and having the introject is related to having the ch’i. Thus after Glenn pumps a lot of ch’i into Kevin Millis he gets an occasional “urge to surf” (Path Notes, p. 52). This is the Millis-introject, who likes surfing.

Selves can build around empowered images, introjects with ch’i attached. Again in January this year, I mentioned TV controls people — by entrainment to it which implants introjects that can be empowered. A good way to ensure they are empowered is to use music and bright colour, sexual themes, friending tactics, social displays, excitement or life/death situations, and quick cuts to prevent cortical processing. This is exactly the combination you would use if you wanted to implant images to bind to Freud-style neuroses. (An empowered image is the same as a “cathected” one in Freudian terms.)

Trauma can build walls between surface and deeper self-states which can dissociate or split off, and the effects of this can be incredible — consider: Murphy describes cases where a person is allergic to citrus juice in some personalities but not in others, has stripe marks from a childhood whipping in some personalities but not in others, and so forth.

Later stage in the sequence — click to enlarge

But we know that we can regather these selves into one again, reassemble. The resulting (time-based) “one” is not stiff, it flows into every area of the world(s) and spins and triggers and entrains as it needs but remains one. This reassemblage reminds us of shamanic initiation. Also of the myths of reassemblage — Osiris and Zagreus (or Lemminkäinen, or Ganesha even). What comes of those reassemblages is not what was before, it is a new synthesis and in particular is friendlier with death. Being torn apart and reassembled is normal for kundalini experiencers. Empedocles is relevant too, with his universe alternately split apart by Strife and reassembled by Love. This post is reassembling many past posts.

The step after the previous, showing the rebuilding. Click to enlarge. The full sequence in this case study had 14 steps.

The work of Grof reveals many deep parts of everyone are already entrained to non-physical things. It couldn’t be otherwise. At the ground-of-being level we are all entrained to the same thing and thus the whole system is constantly affecting the whole system. Those with “issues” aren’t able to access easily, but the tools are there. (Sometimes the therapeutic tools are too linear but we have workarounds). Having integrated that self of mine which could “see the light” — now “I” can see it. And I can do more, I can become it, which is pretty good going actually, although not at all equivalent to en“light”enment in itself of course.

It must be clear that the same drive that pushes the OCD sufferer to wash themselves 100 times a day pushed me to the light, and pushes the goddess energy through the spine and vagus nerve, and something equally important is sought in all cases, but shifting consciousness is required to get to that something.

Entrainment means that you are being changed, the influence is coming in and also going out, and you are changing what is entrained to you as it develops an introject of you. Something is brought into being by this process, a pathway. Those pathways can be walked and their directions can be changed. Different states, different rules, different entrainments. Each entrainment works by psychological absorption. The body is a kind of tradition of entrainments — we by no means possess some complete introject of our own bodies, they are mysteries in both senses. The universe is another such tradition.

In December last year I mentioned the culture could turn polyparadigmatic, which is equivalent to reassembling it and might be better than nervously trying to enforce ideocratic monoparadigms. Science that knows about the non-material is split off from the culture as a rejected subpersonality. We know how many of Zeus there are — when Zeus is entrained to the Olympic festival he is Zeus Olympios, when entrained to his task of hurling thunder he is Zeus Brontios, and a hundred others. Don’t we always experience how superficial oneness not only masks multiplicity but also prevents deep-flowing-oneness-of-manyness?

Significantly, the ego-states approach, with use of hypnotic trance, shows the same pattern of internal resolution of trauma followed by transcendence that you would get from LSD therapy and from the breathwork of Grof. (Although it can be far better controlled I think, and there are many other possibly useful techniques.) Things suddenly turn mythical, archetypal, bigger — and you’re away. No-one ever really lives in just those 5-15 social selves, surely. Seated yoga and qigong are, or begin as, forms of breathwork, and altered states involve strong levels of absorption. The initial moments of LSD entrainment are playful like the initial Smile of Glenn.

Kundalini rewires all the old relationships as well as making new ones possible. Thus a person with all her introjects empowered with ch’i, with that mosaic arranged throughout her life, is carrying pieces of the world with her as live connections which are consistently informing and being informed by her life(ves) at a series of levels. It is for this reason that the world becomes enlightened when the person does.


[ego-statesquib]

I was poised to tie together the dissociation of last week with the entrainment of last month with the Lawrence LeShan-style multiple worldviews and polyparadigms of last year, when I realised: I haven’t yet summed up the state of the art on the ego states/subpersonalities/parts therapy for practical investigators.

These systems heal psychological issues by seeing the person as multiple selves. As in: “I hate it when I do that” — these two “I”s are different ego states in the same person; you go in and talk to the individual parts and they start to have room to breathe, form different beliefs, act/interact in new ways, and heal. It’s good for inner conflict resolution and it also handles trauma very well since trauma creates separate dissociated selves which can be healed and reintegrated. That’s what “straight” psych is doing with it, although it’s just the beginning…

There are various examples scattered through the Glenn corpus, eg. little Glennie and the oatmeal (Path Notes p. 148) or that interesting young guy in Martial Arts Madness (p. 144-5) who wisely says he doesn’t know “anything about anything”.

I talked about Internal Family Systems here well over a year ago now, but I love and now prefer the wonderful Ego States work of Emmerson based on the older work of Watkins/Watkins. Emmerson’s site is small but excellent — those powerpoints at the bottom are worth the time. I prefer Emmerson to IFS because he is looser and because he uses hypnosis which is fundamental to this approach for me. There are other ways to access trance states but contact with deep selves requires non-ordinary, non-social states.

Terence Watts is halfway between IFS and Emmerson since he uses hypnosis but sometimes has a limiting framework on parts. But his methods are often nicely improvisatory in practice. I haven’t yet looked at Roy Hunter’s version but it will of course also be heavily hypnosis dependent. Another way the hypnosis approach can go is Yager’s idea of allowing subpersonality work to be done out of sight, subliminally. You can do it his way, which is very active, but I also do it Erickson’s way, triggering generative creativity. Often with this type of hypnosis you just realise three weeks later things are different and it doesn’t feel like the hypnosis had anything to do with it, because the cause-effect is more synchronicitous than sequential.

Then there’s the excellent Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy of Shirley Jean Schmidt which resolves attachment issues by putting a resource base of strength in place, then using it to heal other parts. (In fact all these systems see elements in the psyche which are not simply regular states, but which organise or understand deeper purpose, taking you out of the horizontal plane. Of course that doesn’t lead to ‘enlightenment’ all by itself but it is important.)

Schmidt’s resource base ego state is built by entraining nurturance, protection and peak experience. Good states; could be added to Glenn’s Secret Smile of achievement, adult love, and fun. This resourceful self is then used to fulfil early needs of child subpersonalities.

This means that an idea from commenter AngelaN waaaaay back in November last year is confirmed — the Secret Smile can indeed meet attachment deficits. Particularly useful in Schmidt’s account is the mirror-neuron derived maladaptive introject, which seems to be solved pretty much as are introjects in Emmerson but the explanation is clever and has a lot of truth.

In addition there is a nice-looking new book by Novicks I haven’t read yet, and the older systems that use subpersonalities such as Psychosynthesis, Gestalt and TA remain relevant, although the latter again has a rigid limit on subpersonalities which doesn’t really work for me.

But anyway you see how much of this there is. I count 8 systems or 11 if you count three old ones in the last para. There’s something in this folks! To use it for transpersonal development you can soup it up.


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