Heart Centered Depth Work
The Starting Place
Self knowledge is an interesting process because while we’re trying to understand ourselves, the vehicle of consciousness we have to use to do this is the very vehicle that we are trying to understand! This vehicle is what we call the Mind. For our purposes, I’m defining the Mind as that ‘functioning’ that contains the Psyche, the ego ,including the Conscious and Unconscious (including the shadow) aspects, the Self, the Transcendent, and all our various aspects, and the beliefs we have about all of it. All of these aspects influence each other and then the influences influence each other, and there is a total interaction of everything going on all the time.
In addition, we’ve had experiences since we were in the womb, including woundings, failures, perhaps abuse, successes, and lovely and happy experiences, as well as every day experiences and our feelings about all of these. We also have the feelings we have about all of our life, as well as the beliefs we have about having feelings and emotions. We also make up stories about what all of this means about us. We don’t yet realize that our mind is just recording everything and we don’t have the skills to see what’s going on. We take as absolute truth everything we think. And never question whether it is the truth or not. Therefore, the ability of the so-called conscious mind to figure out any of it is sorely compromised. We may then try to ignore what’s going on, or we may get consumed by it all, assuming everything in our minds is exactly ‘The’ truth. When in reality, what we are aware of is predominately stories we’ve made up about everything, and then stories about the stories, and on and on.
Because this is mostly unconscious to us and we take the functioning of the mind for granted, we don’t realize that we can become more aware of what’s going on. We, basically, need to find the equivalent of a GPS to help us navigate the hinterlands of our psyche. You can read more about this on these pages:
How Does It Work?
The Multi-Dimensionality of the Psyche
Now, The Journey
So, if we’re trying to understand ourselves and it’s all jumbled up inside, the lenses are all dirty, and there’s no instruction booklet about how to make our way through the overgrown inner mazes, it makes sense that we’ll be very confused. It’s easy to see that we’d experience varying degrees of fear, confusion, anxiety, depression, fear, inadequacy, hopelessness, guilt, and feelings of not being good enough to be loved. In addition, we’re unconsciously utilizing unconscious defense mechanisms to assist us in reducing the pain, because we have no confidence that we can change anything. And we’re desperate to reduce the pain.
Even though we don’t know it at the beginning, there’s a step by step process to deal with this confusion. There are different stages of psychological work and everything builds on the previous steps. You can learn to sort this out and make sense of your psyche, and experience who you truly are.
The first stages of work include basic psychological work to help us understand the process and develop the tools to stabilize our ego and begin to clarify what’s causing the problems in our lives. For everyone of us, it’s essential to begin our personal work at the beginning and develop the building blocks to lay a good foundation on which to build the next steps. You learn to deal with fears, confusion, anxiety and depression, as well as childhood and personal problems which are unresolved. This doesn’t mean that all of your issues are resolved, but that you are feeling some stability and curiosity about going deeper. You have some place to stand, for now. You’ve begun your work.
You’re feeling more stable, perhaps stable enough. You’ve gained clarity and reduced your concern about what’s going on within. You’re beginning to see that your life, as well as psychological work, is a process, a journey, and that change doesn’t happen overnight. You see that self knowledge is a layer by layer learning, a life long process. But, you’re beginning to see what it means to know more about yourself and feel better.
For many people this is sufficient, all they feel called upon to do. And that is fine. As with anything, we take the introductory course, and then, step by step, decide how far to go with it. Some other people feel that this isn’t enough: they desire a deeper understanding of what they’re all about, how to get on in the world, and how to engage their spiritual journey. The principle of individual differences is always at play. We’ll are constructed differently. We find what calls us.
The work that I’m presenting here builds on these skills and awarenesses and creates the appropriate background for a deeper exploration of the psyche, utilizing Jungian oriented depth psychological work, as well as other material, as appropriate, enabling you to uncover more of what’s been unconscious to you. Having a strong enough ego, developed through basic psychological work, enables you to engage the deeper journey into your inner world with greater comfort and a feeling of being able to utilize the insights. Read more about the process.
Then More Steps
To take the next step, you need to feel solidly in your body in the present and have a sense that you’re not in psychological crisis. People engaging in this work have a deep sense that things in their life aren’t quite right, and that they don’t know what to do when their old problems continue to surface. They don’t see how things fit together. They’ve tried blaming others for their problems but that didn’t get them anywhere. There’s a vague sense that this is going to require going deeper within to identify what’s holding you back, as well as what will help your life work better. But you don’t know how. You’re afraid you don’t have the courage to identify the problems, nor the ability to be present with yourself so you can listen, not only to various teachers that come your way, but, especially, to inner intuitions that can help you understand the inner awarenesses you do have.
An important attribute of people who do this deeper work is a deep curiosity to really explore their own inner depths. They’re willing to learn to greet all inner aspects with interest and curiosity, learning to let go of self critical judgments and maintain a sense of equanimity. They feel reasonably stable in their mind, have dealt to some degree with childhood and other adult psychological difficulties so they and their ego feel secure. And they have the inner space and energy to develop the skills and knowledge to learn to explore unconscious material that provides the next steps. We’ll lay the foundation, develop the skills to shift to the Heart Center, learn to observe without self critical judgment, see the parts of you that you like, as well as the parts that are more difficult to acknowledge, and begin to see how everything fits together.
What do I do with The Ego?
This work is very helpful for people engaging in spiritual practices and are having difficulty reconciling the different realities within, and their relationship to everyday life. We must learn what the ego is, see the different definitions of the ego and ‘what to do with it’, and then get acquainted with our ego and make friends with it. Then it is easier to understand the various difficulties which arise when engaging in a spiritual practice. Students may become confused when what they see looks like totally different realities, and believe that they have to choose one reality or another. They often mistakenly believe that if they opt for the spiritual path that they won’t have to deal with their psychological issues, which they’re typically running away from. So, they try to repress or ignore, any personal difficulties (which we all have), and then try to get by with pretending they don’t need human/psychological skills and understandings because they aren’t ‘real’ in the spiritual sense. This is attempt at a ‘spiritual bypass’, believing that being ‘spiritual’ (whatever that is) is enough, just doesn’t work, as we typically find out too late. Trying to repress our personal/psychological/relational and shadow material sets us up for big surprises: it emerges when we least expect it, creating difficult, embarrassing circumstances.
This work teaches you how to hold the tension of the opposites, holding each reality in its own place. Much of this work is about again and again holding the tension of what you understand now and what you don’t understand, what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense. You’ll notice that I am using language which continues to emphasize process, journey, a gradual unfolding. and developmental cycles which our conscious mind is not in charge of. Sometimes you might like for the thoughts to move more quickly and for me to get on with it.
Instead, you might exhale, let go. Allow the breath, in its own gentle timing to inhale and exhale. Practice letting go.
New Set of Skills
As I’ve suggested, Heart Centered Depth Work requires a different set of skills and awarenesses than ego-oriented work does. Various sections of this website explain what I’m talking about more fully. When we engage this work in a group, the group process may include other processes and material, dependent upon the needs of the group. Each situation calls forth the material to be covered.
And, I remind you, having a deep sense of curiosity, as well as a calling, to explore your inner world is critical. Taking the time and energy to learn to see through the eyes of the Heart Center and develop these skills prepares you for this journey in the same way learning mountain climbing and deep diving skills prepares you for those experiences.
For me, it’s a joyful experience of understanding myself better, seeing how my inner puzzle fits together and observing how my life unfolds. I have a sense of inner freedom and expectancy as I continue to open to Life, a deep sense of an inner guidance, and clarity as to how I can more consciously participate in my my own development. It’s well worth the work, time, and energy the journey requires.
For example, I had this very deep inner insistence that it was crucial for me to close my psychological practice, leave California, and make a complete change. The inner voice was very clear: I must let go of everything I had created there in order for my next step to appear and to unfold. And I am still in the journey. The next steps reveal themselves as they will. First, it was revealed that long periods of rest were essential. Everything conspired to provide that quiet, alone, healing time for me. Then it began to appear that it was time to do a website. As I began to begin the website, I found that it had a life of its own that I had not expected. And it continues to reveal itself. And the next steps will reveal themselves as they will. I take one step at a time. I trust my process.
There is an interesting story in the book of Exodus in the Bible about Moses leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Here are thousands of people with no food out in the desert. Not a happy situation. The story says that God provided food twice a day for them…. Manna dropped from heaven. They were to only take the amount needed for each meal… any extra would spoil. That’s the way it is–a step at a time. Trusting the process.
Why Would I Want to Do Depth Work?
We do depth work because we feel we must:
Because our life is not moving ahead in the way it could, should, or might.
Because we want to know our inner dynamics
Because we want to see how we are the main player in our lives, how everything in our lives starts with us, is about us, and dependent on our participation
Because we want to connect more deeply spiritually
Because we want to ‘take it all on’
Some of the particular reasons you might want to open to these process include the desire to deal with typical life concerns such as these:
- Understanding myself: “I’ve met the enemy and it is me” (Pogo).
- Identifying how I create, and contribute to, the difficulties I’m encountering, as well as, to the successes.
- Learning to be connect with my shadow, that is identifying aspects of your self you’ve judged and stuffed away in the Unconscious, only to find they do not go away
- Seeing, and understanding, how I get triggered and reactive or stuck, in my infantile power drive?
- Learning to hold the tension of the opposites
- Understanding family dynamics, including family businesses: How did it go from one big happy family to conflict and power struggles?
- Understanding and dealing with the ego in psychological and spiritual contexts: dealing with such things as ‘killing the ego’ vs. ‘loving the ego’, and having a partnership with the ego
- Understanding dynamics of business relationships, cooperation and mutual development, or power struggles
- Becoming conscious of your unconscious material as it arises and seeing the roots of these dynamics from a place of curiosity and ‘Isn’t that interesting’, rather than self critical judgment
- Understanding and appreciating your emotional self and its roots
- Given all that is going on inside of me, how do I love myself unconditionally and come to peace?
And There Is More
And then, there is this even deeper something that calls me into my spiritual path. Perhaps, impossible to put words to. Certainly a strange thing happening. It doesn’t look like I thought it would look. But, when I release into it, and settle back and let go, I feel at ease, like ‘all’s right with the world’. It’s spacious. There’s a silence holding me in its arms, allowing me to sink into Its presence, and there is nothing but the present moment. It feels like I have something to stand on, and I’m being taught to fly. And, there is inner work to do.
It’s a journey, a process each person deepens into in her/his own timing. In her/his own way. A pathless path. It seeks you and carries you.
If this work interests you, read about my services, HERE, including the free get acquainted phone call.
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