Personality work - understanding to remove blockages

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intheword
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Personality work - understanding to remove blockages

Post by intheword » Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:38 pm

I have never undergone professional psychotherapy. While I resonate with much of Tolle's teaching on the now, the ego, etc., I want to explore some areas where my learned behavior and belief structures continue to leave me feeling frustrated with life and circumstances.

Here is a quote from one of my favorite books by John Welwood: "Many people spend most of their lives unconsciously reenacting distorted patterns established in childhood. Recognizing, working with, and growing out of these unconscious patterns is the groundwork for developing an authentic individuality that is not compulsively driven by conditioned tendencies from the past - limiting self images, denied needs, self-punishment, childhood scripts, dysfunctional inerpersonal patterns, fears of loving and losing love. This is primarily psychological rather than spiritual work."

One of the basic ideas is to be willing to step into the messiness of the past, look at the beliefs and patterns that we developed in order to handle difficult issues, realize it is not as scary as our "ego" would have us believe, and then the energy dissipates.

I am wondering if anybody on here knows of a good, solid primer on exploring psychological patterns, personality work, etc. to serve as a tool to dig into and understand (and ultimately release) limiting patterns / beliefs?

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Webwanderer
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Re: Personality work - understanding to remove blockages

Post by Webwanderer » Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:55 pm

A small note of caution. This approach can be fool's gold. While a clear recognition of existing patterns is helpful, a lingering focus here may serve to create an unhelpful tendency to look in the past. There are those who get so focused in their past that they miss the beauty and joy available in the present.

If we simply acknowledge that we have a history of conditioning that likely affects our present experience, we may then move on to a clearer understanding how our present focus will likely effect our future experience. It was after all, a historical presence and focus that set the stage for what is now unfolding as far as our current perspective on events. If we choose to make the best of current experience, that is to consistently perceive conditions and events as valuable rather than problematic, our acceptance of what is is enhanced and painful resistance wains.

If energy is creative, it seems wise to focus it on what makes experience more enjoyable and expansive than that which is painful and restrictive.

WW

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Re: Personality work - understanding to remove blockages

Post by randomguy » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:49 pm

I echo WW's word of caution regarding a lingering focus on the past. Better to explore a conditioned pattern's effects on experience in the present.

There are systems, such as Byron Katie's "The Work" for questioning thoughts or the Sedona Method for releasing patterns. These might be interesting to you. I have a little experience with the first and none with the second.
realize it is not as scary as our "ego" would have us believe
However you realize this is the good way to do it.
The best tool in my opinion is your perspective and interest.
The messy patterns of the past rear their heads in the only moment they can, the present.
Like you said, a willingness to step into it without avoiding or denying reflects the interest required to bring openness to the pattern. This rarely seems to appear at a convenient time.
Notice there is nothing to fear from the experience associated with the pattern, as it is just experience. If there is fear, then see that it comes and goes. Explore the fear (the scariness) itself. Fear visits like a wind and it only terrifies, but it does not hurt and it's allowance can be opening and pattern diffusing. The knee jerk reaction (the patterned reaction) may be to cling to a thought or idea and react to avoid the fear. What if this does not occur? Does the fear just dissipate in an openness?

For example, one great doorway is "defensiveness". We can observe in another that a sensitive defensive reaction indicates an attachment to an idea of self. It makes sense that a defensive reaction within indicates the same thing. (I'm big on inquiry.) Let's say upon hearing some words the body rings with a threatened response. This is available to your perspective alone. You are the expert on its origin. Someone could explain it eloquently. The explanation means nothing. The reaction is like a symptom of illness and the illness is yours to find and see. Want to see it at the expense of your story? When it occurs, ask, what is that reaction? What is being defended? What is being clung to or feared? What assumptions underly the perspective being defended? Is there fear that something will suffer damage at the receipt of these words? Can what you are at your core actually suffer real damage from these words, or is it just a story that seems at risk, even if it is "your" story? Does fear arise? How bad is the experience of fear really? What if the fear does its worst, are you still around? Is the fear founded in reality? What is defensiveness? etc... The more important thing than any answers to those questions is to just lean into the reaction and see it from the wider objective awareness, to see as the unattached awareness within which all experience arises and falls away. What some don't realize is that life is lived from here, from a unattached, story-less place.

Remember what DeMello says, if you are not happy, then something is wrong with you.

What better adventure is there than to explore your own construction.
Do the yellow-rose petals
tremble and fall
at the rapid's roar?
- Basho

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Re: Personality work - understanding to remove blockages

Post by hanss » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:00 pm

intheword wrote:I have never undergone professional psychotherapy. While I resonate with much of Tolle's teaching on the now, the ego, etc., I want to explore some areas where my learned behavior and belief structures continue to leave me feeling frustrated with life and circumstances.
ET says it very simple: "Be your ever alert guardian of your inner space". Cultivate awareness and see what happens now. The connection between situations, thoughts and emotions. It is important to feel the energy(emotions) and what happens in the body. To just figure it out intellectuaIly is often not enough. Old childhood stuff mixes with new energy and this is impossible to sort out I think. Take care of and dissolve what is coming up now. Or in ET way, let consciousness dissolve the pain body. There are many more structured methods (like the ones mentioned) out there and the good ones have the same core, awareness of what happens in body and mind (and what happens around you). No judging and self blame (can be difficult). I recomend methods that are not only mental, the body has "memories" and they can be very well hidden. Anyway here is something to consider and has been proven very effective (and free from words like God):
MBCT
"In today's rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being."
(Eckhart Tolle)

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Re: Personality work - understanding to remove blockages

Post by intheword » Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:16 am

Thanks for the insights. Lots of good stuff to digest. I tried the Work and found it kind of tedious. Would still be interested if anyone has specific recommendations on programs or books dealing with personality types / structures.

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Re: Personality work - understanding to remove blockages

Post by Sighclone » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:31 am

Hello again, intheword!

I have read several of Welwood's books and deeply admire him. You would do well to hookup with the NonDual Wisdom and Psychotherapy Institute here: http://wisdompsy.vpweb.com/ .

Their first two books are "The Sacred Mirror" and "Listening from The Heart of Silence." -- both excellent.

They have a new Journal also: undividedjournal.com.

Although wrangling with the personality is akin to fine tuning a bicycle to learn how to swim, we all have personalities and they can get out of tune... :)

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Personality work - understanding to remove blockages

Post by joti26 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:09 am

Interesting post and replies. I completely understand where you are coming from as those beliefs feel like the lettering running through a stick of seaside rock, etched solidly within your very core. As I read yours and subsequent posts I had a sudden realisation regarding my own.

I have one I find hard to get rid of and it isn't even that important as it is materialistic rather than spiritual but a good example. Part of my core being is that I have to draw and create, it actually isn't a choice, I have always done it and has never been a conscious choice, yet as a child it was drummed into me that I will never make any money with Art. I give my work away, I sometimes barter with it, last one I did paid for the hay I needed for my horse. The series of pictures I am doing now are huge 5ft drawings of horses for an equine centre which I initially did in exchange for lessons, they technically owe me a life times worth of lessons but am still doing them for nothing. They are good enough to sell, but, something stops me from making money from them.

I have read so many different self help books over the years but nothing has resonated as much as ET, the more I practice the more I have become to believe that it is all I need. As far as I can see there is nothing else, it is simplicity itself, I agree delving into the past is not helpful neither is the hope that in the future I might find another answer. The answers are here and now and I truly believe that the more I become present this deep held belief and others will disappear. After all isn't a blockage just part of the ego and pain body? I now know that by continuing as I am that this too will pass! Thank you for your post, I hope it has helped you too. :)

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Re: Personality work - understanding to remove blockages

Post by Sighclone » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:20 am

Welcome joti! There is much to be said for recognizing that "I have to draw and create...it isn't a choice." Many Advaitists and nondual writers state very clearly that there is no such thing as truly free will. In fact, Eckhart says that at the end of a long-winded response to the question in his Eckhart-tv dialogues, about last November. He distinguishes between the free will to, say, raise your right arm, and the deeper implication. Ramana Maharshi also was clear on that.

Each path is different. Mine has been one of a combination of meditation, study, conversation and "recognitions." Eckhart may well be sufficient for you.

We hope you enjoy your stay here. There are over 3,500 members and 60 or so threads running at a given time. There are "Rules" here, and we moderate somewhat carefully...which is why we are approaching our eighth year.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

Ego Waffles
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Re: Personality work - understanding to remove blockages

Post by Ego Waffles » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:10 am

Webwanderer wrote:A small note of caution. This approach can be fool's gold. While a clear recognition of existing patterns is helpful, a lingering focus here may serve to create an unhelpful tendency to look in the past. There are those who get so focused in their past that they miss the beauty and joy available in the present.
Yes, but perhaps we are unconscious of our beliefs about ourselves, of the shame that stem from trauma from our caregivers in childhood, which results in compulsive, unconscious reactions to events and people in relationships. And until we "connect the dots" between our conditioning and our shame, we will be lost in a haze of confusion, repitition, and shame. As children, we adapt to trauma from our caregivers to survive...to avoid having to face the fact that our parents are not protecting us. That is too much for a child to absorb....so we assume it is our fault that our parents abuse us, and we carry shame unconsciously.

In Power of Now Tolle mentions only dealing with emotional problems as it affects me now....via the pain body...What if cognitive therapy can help lower the power of the pain body by helping us to be more consciously aware of the pain we are feeling? Pain is not something to be ignored...it is a messenger.....Even Tolle talks about feeling the pain...he also talks about not creating new pain. I think the mistake many have with Tolle is to think avoiding/ignoring pain is the point.

And then there is also an issue of different contexts for the "ego." Seems the psychologist's "ego" and Tolle's spiritual "ego" are not the same thing, they are in different contexts. Cognitive therapy deals with the psychological ego, which exists to make peace between the id and the superego.....so if we get rid of the ego as tolle suggests, what about the ID and the superego? That is impossible. Cognitive therapy/psychotherpay deals with reconditioning this ego. Tolle's talking about the "ego" that separates us from the spiritual oneness of everything. So apparently even a "healthy ego" can separate us from "God."

So, my point here: perhaps the "ego" should be defined in the right context, and perhaps there is a degree of cognitive therapy that many or most people should do to deal with their conditioning, and not view Tolle's message as a complete substitute for therapy. But as WW stated, one should not linger looking in the past and miss the present....yet it seems, for me, I feel there is a degree of therapy work I need to do which I haven't done.

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Re: Personality work - understanding to remove blockages

Post by Sighclone » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:14 am

Welcome Ego Waffles...hope you enjoy your time here.

Adyashanti comments somewhere that some people need ego- or personality-based cognitive, Gestalt or group therapy to strengthen one's sense-of-self to the point where you can begin to set the whole thing aside. It is a large paradox, but then, this "awakening business" is all about paradoxes.
So apparently even a "healthy ego" can separate us from "God."
Nothing can separate you from "God" if we define "God" as pure awareness, the Absolute, Brahman, Being, Source etc...
Nothing can separate the "real you" from that, because you are that, but just haven't had the experience of "Self-realization." You very likely have had the experience of "Self-recognition." That event fades but is never forgotten.

Healthy self-respect, actually self-love is important. The abiding experience that all of "This" is an illusory gameboard, or as Shankara says, "a pastime for Isvara," -- that experience is both profound and comforting...but it is not a step which can be taken until some fundamental sense of self-value (however defined) is firmly established....a basic sense of "I'm OK."

Spiritual bypassing (other threads) represents denial and substitution of recurring psychological problems at the level of the ego. (By the way, Eckhart defines ego as "unconscious identification with the mind," but uses it in the older (pre-Freudian) way as simply the Greek "self." On the forum, you will find other references, like "little me" or "in form, I am a painter."

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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