Book Summary – Working Beneath the Surface: Attending to the Soul’s “Hidden Agenda” for Wholeness, Fulfillment, and Deep Spiritual Healing

Posted: February 7, 2014 by Todd in Books
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working beneath the surface
Thomas Riskas – 1997, Executive Excellence Publishing
  • Riskas began to grow discontent with initial change in clients that later backslid, which was true for himself too. He came to believe that our darker side has a “hidden agenda” that is “running the show (15).” Riskas left the Covey group to do inner work.
  • “I had moved from the stage of the ‘camel,’ which was the season of instruction and obedience, to the stage of the ‘lion,’ whose task it was to kill the dragon named ‘thou shalt’ and come to my Self (16).”
  • “the notion of care replaced the notion of cure (17).”
  • Robert Johnson: “There comes a time in life when a man’s ego doesn’t have the answers…He needs to give himself over to the unconscious and drift with its tides until he finds an island of new consciousness for that era of his life (17).”
  • “Please keep in mind that nothing of enduring value can be realized without paying a dear price, particularly in matters of the soul (18).” [more…]
Introduction – Attending to the Soul’s Hidden Agenda: Essential Perspectives and Overview
  • Synonymous terms for hidden agenda: “self-actualization” & “transcendence” (Abraham Maslow); “principle of individuation” (Carl Jung); “law of progression” (Riskas)
  • “The hidden agenda accounts for happiness and misery…the whole range of human experience (22).”
  • “The hidden agenda does not interpret success or failure as we do (22).”
  • “The heart has reasons the mind cannot understand (22).”
  • “I believe that each person’s conscious quest for personal wholeness or individuation takes our entire world to a higher level of consciousness, morality, and interdependence (23).”
  • “We need to use disequilibrium to avoid deterioration (24).”
  • “It has been said that when the student is ready, the teacher enters. The reverse is also true: When the teacher is ready, the student enters (26).”
  • “Some people, after reading this book, might wonder how they can get others to work beneath the surface…My response is that such a concern is part of the problem (26).”
  • ***¬†CHAPTER SUMMARIES ON PAGES 26-29 ***
Chapter One: All the King’s Horses…Why Popular Approaches to Human Development Don’t Result in Sustained Effectiveness or Personal Wholeness
  • “To grasp the meaning of the world today we use a language created to express the world of yesterday. The life of the past seems to us nearer our true nature, but only for the reason that it is nearer our language.” – Antoine de Saint Exupery
  • Four missing elements in our search for wholeness:
    • (1) Today’s conventional wisdom lacks real appreciation for human limitations and the unconscious values and wisdom of the soul.
      • Weakness is not irrelevant
      • “The truth is, most of us do not have access to enough of our natural power to function at ‘peak performance’ on a consistent basis, and ‘willpower’ is simply not enough (33).”
      • “The power to choose our response seems more a function of our degree of consciousness than sheer willpower of determination (35).”
    • (2) We lack sufficient consciousness, maturity, and wisdom to ensure balance, consistency, and true integrity.
      • [Todd: Consciousness “above the surface” is expanding perspectives that take in larger and larger frames of reference. Consciousness “below the surface” is expanding ownership ofdisinheritedparts of one’s self. It would seem that the two happen concurrently, but I’m not sure about that.]
      • Often, we imitate the form of success without the interior substance to accompany it, including the shadow of success.
      • “I find that such efforts often amount to nothing more than a form of cosmetic surgery or character ‘face-lift.'” [Todd: Resonates with Maxwell Maltz (a plastic surgeon) and Psychocybernetics]
      • New skills & habits are “often employed as strategies to keep us from the truth about ourselves.”
      • The “quest for transcendence of self is…a misguided response to deeply held beliefs of powerlessness, inadequacy, and unworthiness (36).”
    • (3) We have become so enamored with the false notion of perfection, and neurotic in our pursuit of it, that we have lost touch with our own darkness.
      • Jung: “In the unconscious is everything that has been rejected by consciousness, and the more [principled] one’s consciousness is, the more heathenishly does the unconscious behave, if in the rejected heathenism there are values which are important for life (37).”
      • Jung: “Observance of customs and laws can very easily be a cloak for a lie so subtle that our fellow human beings are unable to detect it (37).”
    • (4) We lack the desire, or even the willingness, to face the truth and clear the past of our wounds, losses, and wrongdoings.
        • Parable of Sower (Matt 13) as analogy
        • “To ignore or deny the whole person is to mobilize extremism, strengthen the walls of denial, fortify pride, etc (41).”
    • “We can indeed rebirth ourselves by bringing together…the conscious and unconscious elements in ourselves, which will produce a new state of consciousness (43).”
Chapter Two: Damning the Flow: How We Get Stuck in Life and Stop Growing
  • Two questions:
    • What stops our growth and keeps us stuck in old patterns of self-defeating thinking and behavior?
    • What stimulates our growth and releases us from the grip of these self-defeating patterns
    • The answer to both is: wounding (psychological and spiritual) and the suffering that comes with it.
  • Five Existential Wounds of the Soul:
    • Deprivation – being insufficiently loved, esteemed, accepted, respected, or nurtured
    • Deprecation – being falsely accused, shamed, belittled, or disapproved
    • Isolation – being misunderstood, wrongly judged, persecuted, cast out, or overlooked
    • Rejection – being abandoned, neglected, or unappreciated
    • Stultification – being controlled, smothered, or stifled
    • Loss of Power and Identity
  • We also self inflict wounds by acting in ways inconsistent with what we know is right in our hearts (47)
  • These wounds “leave us stuck in our dependency on validation, approval, and acceptance (47).”
  • These wounds are called “sore spots” or “reactive complexes.”
  • *** Reactive complexes have a will of their own. ***
  • “Our wounds can, in strange ways, prepare adn shape us for our unique callings in life and make us more responsive to the Voice of Necesssity that serves our hidden agenda for wholeness and self-realization (48).”
  • Fear of facing our needed inner work, results in addiction to:
    • Controlling behaviors
    • Rationalizing or defensive behaviors
    • Mood altering behaviors
  • “Dependency needs” – safety, approval, validation, love, and esteem
  • “Being needs” – growth, meaning, loving, and transcendence
  • via Robert Bly: “Every part of our personality that we do not love will become hostile to us (51).”
  • In childhood, we put rejected parts of ourself into a bag (only to try and retrieve them later in life)
  • All things in the “bag” equate to lost energy now unavailable to us
  • What we put into our “bags,” we also simultaneously give over to those who provoked us to put it into our bags
  • Men tend to marry women like their mothers. ¬†Women tend to marry men like their fathers.
Chapter 3: Living a Lie: How and Why We Unconsciously Undermine Our Relationships
  • Four levels of lies (chart on 66):
    • Level 1 – lies associated with our “ego-idea” & self-conception
    • Level 2 – False or Inhuman Expectations; the unrealistic “shoulds”, moral assumptions, etc; source of self-criticism (these become inhuman “when prefixed by ‘always'”)
    • Level 3 – False Beliefs; the *false* beliefs that anchor down our position into rigid relationships (these enable us to avoid responsibility or accept too much responsibility)
    • Level 4 – Ego Defenses; strategies for avoiding responsibility & preserving self-conception (outer shell protecting our most fundamental lies)
  • These lies tend to be self-fulfilling prophecies, often spiraling downward from there.
  • In the deviation amplifying feedback chains, we tend to play the role of victim or rescuer, both of which fuel the downward spiral
  • “Rescuers tend to become victims when they don’t receive sufficient compensation in the form of appreciation and acceptance (71).”
  • “Hidden within the victim is an unacknowledged rescuer (71).”
  • Reactive cycles often begin with negative judgments that form when unrealistic and/or uncommunicated expectations are violated (78).
  • “Most managers get into trouble because they forget to think in circles (80).” (Karl E. Weick)
Chapter 4: Breaking Reactive Cycles and Getting “In Relationship” with Others
  • Ten requirements for breaking free (6) and preventing (4) reactive cycles:
    • (1) We need enough self-awareness to recognize when we’ve broken “out of relationship” and into a reactive cycle
    • (2) Become the kind of people who value the truth more than being right
      • The ladder of inference (Chris Argyris):
        • Step 7: I take action based on my beliefs
        • Step 6: I adopt beliefs about the world
        • Step 5: I draw conclusions
        • Step 4: I make assumptions based on the meanings I added
        • Step 3: I add meanings
        • Step 2: I select data from what I observe
        • Step 1: I observe “data” and experiences (first rung of the ladder)
      • “We do not see things and people as they really are, but as we are (86).”
      • “It is also common for us to see our own undesirable traits in others. ¬†This is down as ‘projection (86).'”
      • “Perception is often projection (86).”
    • (3) We must examine our unrealistic expectations of others and bring them into reality
      • “Blame is the avoidance of¬†responsibility¬†(87).”
      • John Bradshaw’s method for bringing expectations of others into reality:
        • #1 – Identify characteristics of an “ideal” person in your relationship (ideal boss/wife/friend)
        • #2 – Identify accusations that would violate the ideal (“degraded”)
        • #3 – Create a list of real characteristics that reflect a dark and light side
          • Maslow: “We are at once gods and worms.”
    • (4) We must work consciously to convert the false beliefs we embrace to truth
      • Grandiosity is “believing your own bullshit (91).”
      • “We often sell out to fear and revert to complaining, quiet resentment, backbiting, or some other form of passive-aggressive behavior that makes things worse (93).”
      • “When should an issue be confronted? ¬†Whenever it becomes an issue that, upon calm reflection, bothers or concerns you (93).”
      • There’s always a way out.
    • (5) We must get honest and “start over” with the person we’re out of relationship with
      • Be authentic about our personal feelings, observations, and concerns. ¬†“Naming the Drama”
      • Listen empathically to the other person, the respond honestly to clarify needs and boundaries, negotiate solutions, and communicate natural consequences
    • (6) Resist the provocation to return to the fray
  • “Although reactive cycles are painful and unproductive, we are strangely addicted to our suffering. ¬†Without it we could never be “right” about other people (98).”
  • Four requirements for staying out of trouble:
    • (1) Align our expectations with reality
    • (2) Make our assumptions and reasoning visible to others and give them the opportunity to confirm or correct our thinking
    • (3) Get into proper (mature, respectful, adult) relationships with others
      • Plaque: “At no time, while I am helping you with this or any other problem, will your problem become my problem. ¬†The moment your problem becomes my problem, you no longer have a problem, and I can’t help someone who doesn’t have a problem. ¬†When you leave this office your problem will go out exactly as it came in – on your shoulders.”
    • (4) Align our behavior with our values in order to respond more effectively to difficult, or “triggering,” situations.
  • Apologies can go a long way. ¬†See moving story of author and his father (103-106).
  • Look for indicators of self-deception in your own behavior:
    • See 108 for full list. ¬†Below are ones that resonated with me:
      • Avoiding self-reflection
      • Disregarding inquiries
      • Minimizing seriousness
      • “He or she had it coming.”
      • Explaining away
Chapter 5: Rising Above By Descending Below: The Personal Quest for Self-Knowledge and Wholeness
  • Se”Much of what we call ‘normal’ is psychologically undesirable (111).”
  • “Successful individuation is never total, it is only an optimal achievement of wholeness (112).” (Aniele Jaffe)
  • We work towards individuation by continually:
    • (1) differentiating and integrating all aspects of the personality
    • (2) attending to the needs of the soul
    • (3) clearing the past
    • (4) responding ethically and faithfully to the call of the soul
  • “Therefore…it is the greatest of all disciplines to know oneself, for when a man knows himself, he knows God.” Clement of Alexandria
  • Self-knowledge loves the deep
    • So much of what we do “is motivated by forces we are not even aware of (113).”
    • Most people confuse self-knowledge with “only that small part of their personality they are conscious of (114).”
    • Self-knowledge requires differentiation – us being clear about who we are and who we are not
    • Differentiated people know when they are reacting in their name or in someone else’s; when they are being genuine or when they are not
    • Self knowledge means “I know who is who within me…subpersonalities or complexes that guide…my life (115).”
    • Recognize the difference between “the voice of internalized external authority (father, mother, etc) and the voice of internal authority (115).”
      • Internalized external authority: the voice of¬†should¬†and¬†ought
      • Internal voice tells us what we must do
    • “Inner realities are part of us, they do not¬†define¬†us…I can be overtaken by a dark mood and not only know¬†what¬†is happening to me, but¬†who¬†the mood is and what she or he wants (115).”
    • Self-knowledge requires integration of all these parts.
    • “Rarely does self-interest display itself frankly as selfishness. ¬†More often it hides behind the very moral idealism it is denying in action; a legal, moral, or even religious argument is likely to be given for what is at base a selfish action. ¬†And what is more, the moral disguise usually deceives even the self who has donned it (116-7).” -Langdon Gilkey; Extended quote at:¬†http://toddnorenhentz.tumblr.com/post/74971290174/the-deceiving-immorality-of-morality
    • You might be involved in “righteous” self-deception if…
      • (1) you stubbornly refuse to admit the possibility or capability of wrongdoing
      • (2) you exhibit absence of due diligence in pursuit of truth
      • (3) you show absence of good conscience evidenced by peace and quiet assurance or bad conscience evidenced by defensiveness, irritability, etc.
      • (4) you employ strategies like blaming, accusing, or self-excusing
      • (5) you avoid¬†legitimate¬†suffering
    • Icarus (118)
    • With self-deception, we are prey to collective self-deception where “the ‘I’ becomes the ‘we (118).'”
    • “Group Think” is collective self-deception typically rallied around a “righteous” cause; “the dark side of unity”
      • Riskas uses Goleman’s example of JFK Bay of Pig invasion as example of Group Think (119-120)
      • Group think can include: “illusion of invulnerability,” “illusion of unanimity,” “suppression¬†of doubts,” stereotyping, and “ethical blinders.”
      • Goleman: “Stereotypes are self-confirming.”
    • Four continuous steps of integrating the shadow:
      • Facing the shadow [Todd: when feelings (esp. dark) emerge, ask self, what might be lurking in the shadow that produced this in me?]
        • “our perceptions of others…are really projections of ourselves”
        • Good illustration from Star Wars – Luke & Yoda in swamp (125ff)
        • You can’t destroy your shadow
        • Effective facing the shadow methods:
          • Eating the shadow – whatever we hate or admire in others, we are.
            • When something bothers you, probe what it is about yourself that makes it bothersome
            • Not all in our shadows are negative. ¬†Sometimes we admire things in others that are unrealized positive qualities of ourself
            • Five step process of “eating our shadow:”
              • (1) What is it in someone else that is affecting us?
              • (2) Ask, “How am I seeing this person?”
              • (3) Look for the same traits within one’s self
              • (4) Look for lost power that we have given away that the other demonstrates or look for lost power in the other that would affect us similarly
              • (5) Ask how can we (re)claim our lost powers
                • Playfully act out negative image of lost power; feel what it is like
                • Engage in ritual to reclaim the lost power
                • Ask for 100% of one’s powers to come back to one’s self
          • The “Flip Side of the Coin” – identify the negative poles of our strengths; e.g., “determined” person is stubborn, inflexible
            • The less integrated one is, the more they enter into negative poles
            • The positive poles of our weaknesses are also in our shadows
            • The shadow side of our strengths isn’t their opposites, but their extremes; the shadow side of our weaknesses are the virtues of that weakness
            • Ask yourself what causes you to move from your positive pole to your negative pole?
          • Listen to Feedback (esp. those who know you best & hearing same feedback multiple times)
            • R. D. Laing: “The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice.”
            • Touching story of man facing faults putting “terrible” feedback scores on transparency for all to see (138-140)
            • Owning negative feedback paradoxically gives one more power
          • Dreams & Active Imagination – windows into the soul
            • “The personal shadow usually appears in the form of others of the same sex as ourselves, and the soul image in the form of the opposite sex (140).”
            • Steps in dream analysis:
              • (1) identify significant “dream images” (can people people, places, events, things, etc.)
              • (2) find associations that resonate with you related to each “dream image”
              • (3) connect your dream image and its associations with an inner part of yourself
              • (4) interpret what is trying to emerge from your dream
              • (5) dialogue with your “dream images,” particularly in helping to embrace your shadow
            • In addition to “shadow dreams” we can have “bigger” dreams that come from the “collective unconscious” dealing with “the revelation of evolving wholeness” or instinctual patterns/prescription/symbols/archetypes¬†that lead to wholeness and transcendence. [Todd: This seems to resonate with Rupert ¬†Sheldrake’s “morphogenetic fields”]
            • Jung: “The collective unconscious is an image of the world that has taken aeons to form…archetypes…have crystallized out in the course of time…they are the ruling powers.”
            • “Some dreams lend themselves to a literal interpretation, most are highly symbolic.”
            • (From footnote #20) Robert A. Johnson, author of¬†Inner Work, recommends this four step process to interpret dreams (very similar to the 5 steps above):
              • (1) Go through the dream and write out every association that you have for each dream image.
              • (2) Connect each dream image to a specific dynamic in your inner life.
              • (3) Interpret the dream – Ask: What is the central, most important message that this dream is trying to communicate to me? ¬†What is it advising me to do? ¬†What is the overall meaning of the dream for my life?
              • (4) Do something physical to honor your dream – Don’t just keep it in your head. ¬†Perform some ritual. ¬†But use common sense and don’t act irresponsibly.
            • (Still from Robert Johnson in footnote #20) Four principles for validating interpretations:
              • (1) Choose an interpretation that shows you something you didn’t know.
              • (2) Avoid the interpretation that inflates your ego or is self-congratulatory.
              • (3) Avoid interpretations that shift responsibility away from yourself.
              • (4) Learn to live with your dreams over time – fit them into the long-term flow of your life. ¬†If you can’t settle on an interpretation, live with it for a while.
            • Some psychologists consider active imagination more effective than dream analysis for accessing the shadow.
            • When we experience images in our active imagination, “we also directly experience the inner parts of ourselves that are clothed in images.” (Robert Johnson)
            • “In active imagination I am not so much ‘talking to myself’ as talking to one of my selves…[an] exchange between the ego and the various characters who rise up from the unconscious.” (R. Johnson)
            • Robert Johnson’s 4 steps to active imagination:
              • (1) Inviting the unconscious.
              • (2)¬†Dialogging¬†with and experiencing dream figures.
              • (3) Adding the ethical element of values.
              • (4) Making it concrete with physical ritual.
            • Ways to get into active imagination:
              • Close your eyes. ¬†Clear mind of distractions. ¬†Enter into a dream that is unresolved that you remember.
              • Quietly and patiently wait for some image to appear.
              • Personify a mood, obsession, emotion, impression, intuition, or stirring. ¬†Once an image appears, ask, “Who are you? ¬†What do you want? ¬†What do you have to say?”
            • Additional tips for active imagination:
              • Don’t attempt to control the image.
              • If you sense the image feeling something, ask it about what you sense.
              • It is good to record as you go. ¬†The image will wait.
              • Sometimes, you’ve got to reframe what is emerging for you to do to be more ethical. ¬†Negotiate for an acceptable solution.
          • Slips of the tongue and humor can reveal our shadows.
            • Includes reactive language like, “I can’t…” “I have to…”
            • Look for addressing someone with someone else’s name. ¬†Ask yourself what it means?
            • Humor can reveal things that ring true for us even if we wouldn’t consciously identify with it (e.g., inappropriate jokes).
          • Reactive episodes also can reveal our shadow – they tend to reveal wounds that are causing us psychic pain.
          • “Considering the Inconceivable” is another way to access the shadow. ¬†Use the following:
            • Answer: “I could never…”
            • Under what circumstances might the inconceivable become consciously conceivable to you?
            • Think of a recent criticism someone has made of you. ¬†What character flaws associated with that criticism are you resistant to seriously consider?
            • “Whatever we are adamantly unwilling to own is part of our nature (153).”
          • Countervalues are the values of one’s shadow.
            • “The ‘dark’ values of the shadow are complementary to the ‘light’ values of the ego, not contradictory.”
            • The following questions can clarify countervalues:
              • Under what conditions might harshness, disobedience, jealousy, hatred, and so forth be ethically justifiable?
              • What might the consequences be in employing these countervalues?
              • How might such values be employed in good faith?
              • How might self-deception be involved and avoided in the decision-making process?
            • “‘Ethical isometrics’ is a powerful way to work beneath the surface in developing [a wholistic] ethical consciousness (154).”
    • Experiencing the shadow – feel the shadow to make it a more conscious part of yourself
      • Intellectual knowledge of your shadow isn’t enough. ¬†You’ve got to feel it.
      • Merely intellectualizing one’s shadow can be “a subtle form of denial.”
      • One way to do this is to sit and listen to one’s self in silence.
      • We need an “imagination for evil.” ¬†Without it, “evil has us in its grip.” (Jung) [Todd: This can all give new meaning to “He descended into hell.”]
    • Embracing the shadow – understand the broader context of shadow’s concerns
      • Jung: “But what if I should discover that the least amongst them all…[is] within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I myself am the enemy who must be loved – what then? ¬†Then as a rule, the whole truth of Christianity is reversed: There is then no more talk of love (156).”
      • Compassion towards self is critical to embracing the shadow.
      • The most productive place to look for understanding is in our family of origin. ¬†This is the “deeper significance of ‘honoring’ my mother and father (159).”
      • The more we resist shadow work, the more we need it.
      • John Bradshaw’s tool for embracing the shadow:
        • (1) Make a list of people you dislike, rank them. ¬†Write a line or two under each name of the qualities that repel you.
        • (2) Read over your list, pausing and reflecting on the awful aspects of the listed people. ¬†Which aspect brings out the most sense of righteous outrage?
        • (3) Reduce the people to their single most reprehensible trait.
        • (4) Each of these personality traits represents one of your disowned traits.
        • (5) Each disowned part has an opposite energy that is part of your ego.
        • (6) Talk to your disowned part directly.
    • Bring the darkness into light
      • Star Wars analogy integrating darkness and light continues on 165-166.
      • “One of the most effective ways I have found to [integrate our negative shadows] is through internal dialogue (167).” ¬†Try asking your reactive self:
        • What are you feeling right now?
        • How are you seeing this?
        • Why are you seeing it this way?
        • What are some other ways of seeing it?
        • What information are you missing to make a more accurate judgment?
        • What are you inclined to do and what might happen if you do?
      • After wrestling with these kind of questions: Ask, Is this what you want? ¬†What is the right thing to do? ¬†…in expressing your feelings…in resolving this issue…in satisfying your needs
      • Exercise for recognizing the shadow side of your strengths (169):
        • List your strengths
        • List stressful situations that tend to produce a reactive response
        • For each item in the stressful list, determine what strengths you employ in dealing with them and what corresponding negative shadows emerge as well.
        • Determine how to ethically deal with the situation harnessing strengths and avoiding the extremes of shadow.
  • “Self-disclosure begets self-disclosure.” – Carl Rogers
  • Sometimes we run into a collision of genuine morality/duty and what our deepest self seems to be calling us to do.
  • Thomas Moore proposes a “therapeutic way of life” that “is not a self-improvement project.” ¬†It involves deep listening to one’s self. ¬†Risksas suggests the following to live this way:
    • (1) What concerns (physical, emotional, or spiritual) am I experiencing right now that concern or distract me?
    • (2) What is my soul trying to communicate through these symptoms or conditions? ¬†Try using active imagination (see above) to communicate with conditions.
      • “We make the darkness productive by infusing it with light, not by suprpessing, denying, or shaming it through moralizing (176).”
    • (3) How can I best respond to the call or complaint of my soul?

Chapter 6: Beyond Habits…Responding Honestly to Our Needs for Deep Spiritual Healing and Renewal

  • “Do you so love the truth…that you welcome…the idea of an exposure of what in you is yet unknown to yourself?” – George MacDonald (181)
  • There are “hidden wedges” in our lives that prevent natural growth from occurring. ¬†Sometimes asking for forgiveness is the answer.
  • Healing wounds in the spirit caused by wrongdoing includes 6 steps:
    • (1) Recognize our selfishness, the pride of our self-righteousness and one-sidedness, and our wrongdoing
      • “Some…now suspect hidden guilt as being the central problem in all psychopathology (185).”
    • (2) Admit our acts of wrongdoing (confession)
    • (3) Sincerely apologize for the wrongs we have done
      • “There are no strings attached to genuine apologies (187).”
    • (4) Make direct amends, whenever possible, to those we have harmed
    • (5) Commit to a life of greater integrity
    • (6) Forgive ourselves and those who have offended us
      • It is impossible to forgive others when we are playing the victim role.

      “The Love Letter Technique” (John Gray) – Work through this letter outline to facilitate forgiveness:

      • (1) Anger & Blame: I don’t like it when…I resent…I hate it when…I’m fed up with…I want…
      • (2) Hurt & Sadness: I feel sad when…I feel hurt because…I feel awful because…I feel disappointed because…I want…
      • (3) Fear & Insecurity: I feel afraid…I’m afraid that…I feel scared because…I want…
      • (4) Guilt & Responsibility: I’m sorry that…I’m sorry for…Please forgive me for…I didn’t mean to…I wish…
      • (5) Love, Forgiveness, Understanding, and Desire: I love you because..I love it when…Thank you for…I understand that…I forgive you for…I want…
    • “To ask well is virtually to answer (194).” – Robert A. Johnson
  • Four step process to heal childhood pain and grief based on Gestalt “empty chair” technique and J. Konrad Stettbacher’s four step approach. ¬†Set up with an empty room and two chairs facing one another:
    • (1) Identify triggering events that “set you off.”
    • (2) Select one of your triggering events that has emotional energy behind it and allow your memory to produce an actual situation.
    • (3) Begin the confrontational conversation with the imaginary other in the chair across from you.
    • (4) Substitute the person in the chair with one of your parents. ¬†Modify the context to better fit home life.
    • (5) Demand an explanation from the parent by questioning their behavior. ¬†Then switch chairs to the role of the parent and tell the child why you did what you did. ¬†Then move back to the child’s chair and respond.
    • (6) Make demands of your parent. ¬†Tell them what you want and don’t want.
    • (7) Remaining in the child chair, imagine yourself in the parent chair and make the same demands of yourself as the internalized parent. ¬†Repeat until you believe it.
    • (8) Sit in the parent’s chair and identify with the wounded child, considering his or her feelings. ¬†Ask for forgiveness.
  • Don’t actually confront your parents. ¬†This exercise is about internalized parents.
  • We must also work to heal the loss of close family members.
  • There is a “mystery” that happens when personal change occurs. ¬†It can’t be explained.
  • Moving “The Story of Joe” on pages 202-206.
  • Moving story of Teddy Stallard and teacher Jean Thompson on pages 206-208.
  • “The voice emerges literally from the body as a representation of our inner world (209).”
Chapter 7: Emerging from the Darkness: Toward a Higher Vision of Living and Leadership
  • Think in polarities, by which Riskas means nonpolarized thinking (which is ironic). ¬†This allows us to see the complexity of humanity within others and ourselves, e.g., obedience that brings freedom, weaknesses that reveal our strengths.
  • Four internalized realities to help us get to nonpolarized thinking:
    • Perception is projection
    • Things are not always what they seem
    • Our judgments are limited
    • We tend to look for and produce the necessary evidence
  • True moral dilemmas force us to stand alone in the moral tension.
  • It isn’t enough to feel that you’re right. ¬†You must feel compelled to do something by a higher voice from within.
  • We must learn to recognize the unique voices of our own internal assent in order to understand them fully. ¬†These voices can include wholeheartedness, rationalization, restraint, hesitancy, and more.
  • Working below the surface enables us to practice nonattachment in the face of unconscious extremes.
  • “As anxiety increases, consciousness decreases (229).”
  • “Until we are willing to lose our job, we can’t do our job (229).”
  • To go straight around the circle means flowing¬†with¬†resistance and not against it. ¬†[Todd: resonates with¬†Polarization and the Healthier Church]
  • Self is “I am.” ¬†self is “I think I am.” ¬†The voice of God is “I am.”
  • Listening to the I am within can cause us to be at odds with our communities – a “losing of our life to find our life (233).”
Epilogue: The Hope for Tomorrow
Working beneath the surface is timely. ¬†The world is demanding it. ¬†This “requires a journey into the darkness wherein one’s¬†center¬†can shift from the ego to God, and from God to the Self (238).” ¬†“Real character is formed in the midst of the battles for the soul (238; Hugh B. Brown).”
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