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Surrender Spiritualities, Believing in Ultimate Goodness, See Controlling as the Problem: Sadly, a Mystical Machismo Has Invaded Current Spiritual Thinking

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Patriarchal Cultures Carry Their Advance and Conquer Tactics Into the Inner World: Correcting the “Civilized” Ego … Stormy Path to Self, Part Four — Control Versus Surrender

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Spirituality Is Self-Actualization Not Ego-Actualization

What people like White and Wilber simply do not get is that spirituality is not a matter of further ego-actualization . . . that spirituality involves surrendering the ego, letting go of the ego. Instead they would have us construct, control, strive, to build a “super” ego.

An Example of This Mistake: Homo Noeticus Is Actually Homo Ego

The Homo noeticus that White (1990) describes in his book, The Meeting of Science of Spirit, is an example of the kind of mistakes that are possible with this ego-highlighted model of human development. His Homo noeticus might better be termed “Homo ego.” For indeed, what he offers us is a continuation of the Promethean hubris that has brought us to this precarious situation. What he offers us is the same kind of attitude toward the inner world as we have taken towards the outer world, the same kind of advance and conquer, the same kind of control tactics. In support of this I note that while he uses the terms “control” and “master” often—in describing higher states and enlightenment, he uses the terms “surrender” and “letting go” only once. In White’s universe I suppose the meek do not inherit the earth.

Transpersonal Athleticism and Mystical Machismo

This entire attitude is reminiscent of a book from 1968 titled The Master Game by Robert S. De Ropp. Theorists like De Ropp, White, and Wilber have never quite understood the idea that this whole spiritual trip is not a matter of transpersonal athleticism, mystical machismo, or jocko-militaristic “mastery.” Indeed, it is obvious that White has this attitude in his espousal of the martial arts. It is understandable that he would see spirituality this way in that he is a former military man. Ken Wilber has a strong connection to the military as well, having been brought up in such a family. (Should we be getting our spiritual advice from the armed forces?)

It is equally clear that he doesn’t quite understand the concept of the surrender of ego for, even in his very espousal of Jesus, he doesn’t accept Jesus’s attitude of non-violence or “turn the other cheek.” Of course these pacificistic attitudes would not make sense in a spiritual program like his which involves the aggrandizement of the ego and its defense at all costs.

Spirituality Is Actually Attunement with God, the Giving Up of Ego Struggles

These sorts of would-be spiritual teachers also, in line with the kind of thinking I’ve described, are the ones who are wont to point out the dangers of regression to “pre-” states and so forth. Once again, in doing so, they acknowledge their fear of loss of ego in their espousal of so-called “higher” or “transcendent” striving. They do not understand that spirituality is, in reality, a matter of attunement with God, attunement with All That Is . . . is a giving up of ego struggles, and a letting go into All That; as opposed to a control, a “mastery,” a striving, or a transcendence of it all.

Control Versus Surrender

Essentially what I am saying is that there are two paths of so-called “spirituality.” One of these might be described as going up the “hierarchy of defenses” and the other as undercutting or going below such “act-outs” or spurious “atman projects.” Another way of saying this is that there are “control” spiritualities and “surrender” spiritualities, with rarely the twain meeting.

Control Spiritualities: Atman Projects, Religion, Building a Hierarchy of Defenses — an Egoic Tower of Babel

control_room11Control spiritualities are adapted to patriarchal cultures and involve the use of the ego to “control” and be in charge of even the realms of the supernatural. This is so because an ultimate evil—a devil or Satan—is postulated, which is given equal weight along with God in determining one’s ultimate fate. This type of spirituality is normally what is called religion.

Surrender Spiritualities: God As Being Good; Controlling Is Seen as the Problem, Not the Solution

surrender-to-godBut there is another brand of spirituality that is based on a belief in the ultimate goodness and rightness of All That Is. God’s goodness being essentially the dominant force in the Universe, herein it is considered safe to “surrender” in one’s relation to Reality, to expect that one will be guided correctly, in fact perfectly, in the act of letting go. Thus letting go is not to be feared … as it is in the control spirituality … but is to be practiced and fostered. In this perspective, which we might call surrender spirituality, control is seen as the problem, not the solution.

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“Control” and “Surrender” Psychotherapies

Of course these two approaches to spirituality represent two approaches to surrenderpsychotherapy as well. The control attitude is the dominant mode of psychoanalytically-based approaches … in which the “demon” of the id is postulated. The attitude of “letting go” and “surrender,” on the other hand, is the dominant attitude of the experiential psychotherapies, which are themselves rooted in the tradition of humanistic psychology with its belief in the ultimate goodness of the human organism and which thus allows a faith in the ultimate rightness of human processes.

Hero’s Journey as “Control” Psychotherapy

the-control-attitude_thumbSince the control attitude, in any of its manifestations, requires the postulation of an ultimate evil against which one must remain vigilant and must fight, the common “hero’s journey” myth—with its typical fighting and slaying of supposedly evil parts of the personality and reality symbolized as dragons and other monsters—is a prevalent focal myth to this attitude. Corresponding to this myth are the emphasis on disciplines and practices seeking to develop the ego and the will … over against the dangers that are postulated to exist in the universe requiring these disciplines and, so-called, ego developments.

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A Different Heroic Response in “Surrender” Paths

05.Rue.JonahintheWhaleWSince the “feeling” therapies and the other spiritual and experiential psychotherapeutic modalities with which they are allied are so different in attitude to the traditional “control” attitude, should there not be corresponding differences in myths to exemplify them? Indeed, there are.

In history, the surrender spiritualities have had correspondences in myth in which the dragon is not fought, conquered, and slain, but rather is www-St-Takla-org__Jonah-and-the-Whale-1either tamed and becomes one’s ally or pet. Saint Margaret is the prime example in the West, but this is a depiction prevalent in the East.

Or else one is swallowed by the “dragon” or monster and, after a while, is reborn. Jonah is the prime example in the West for this latter depiction. But again this reaction to the fearful dissociated aspects of the personality, or the Shadow, is not a common one in the Western patriarchy. However, it is rather prevalent in traditional cultures … especially in shamanism … and in the East.

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Continue with The “Patriarchal Mistake” Involves Struggling to Keep Out “Negative” Thoughts: For “There Is No Coming to Consciousness Without Pain.” – Carl Jung

Return to Ego Weak Mystics and Shamans: A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Modern “Sanitized” Spirituality … the “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Be Medicated Today

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Control

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Surrender

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Continue with The “Patriarchal Mistake” Involves Struggling to Keep Out “Negative” Thoughts: For “There Is No Coming to Consciousness Without Pain.” – Carl Jung

Return to Ego Weak Mystics and Shamans: A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Modern “Sanitized” Spirituality … the “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Be Medicated Today

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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Religions Are About Control; Spirituality, Surrender. Let Go, Let God to Correct an Arrogant Modern Ego

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Yes, Tina Turner, We Do Need Another Hero … a Different Kind. Dreaming Out Loud, Part 2: The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

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The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

Those in the know about the pervasive pre- and perinatal influence on personality and behavior, and especially those of us actively engaged in working through the effects of such early traumas, are fully aware, like Dante, that the path to heaven leads through hell. We have found that the path to the transpersonal light leads through the psychodynamic and perinatal darkness, that the path up and the path down are parts of the same path outward. [Footnote 2]

A Dark and Hideous Shadow World

Our experience has been that the information avalanche and multicultural onslaught have eroded our personal boundaries to an influx, not only of transpersonal bliss-love-compassion, but equally—and very often, initially—to a dark and hideous shadow world, a backwards bizarro world, of pernicious and insidious disorganized feelings comprised of elements ancient, infantile, pathological, biological, scatological, and perinatal. These are some of the forms spiritual emergence can take, especially initially. And they are the ones most likely to be seen as spiritual emergencies.

Pre- and Perinatal Themes in Cinema

Therefore, it is interesting to see these views confirmed by the bubbling up of psychodynamic and perinatal themes in our collective consciousness as evidenced by current films, books, and music. I have mentioned the pre- and perinatal themes and symbolism in films and explained why, along with other elements of postmodern times, they are evidence of something significant occurring in the consciousness of our age—an emerging perinatal unconscious.

But there is another element evolving in current films which has to do with a changing or evolving collective attitude toward these perinatal elements. And along with a changing attitude, there is evidence pointing to an evolving collective response to it.

Control vs. Surrender, Death vs. Life

“Control Spiritualities” and Patriarchal Cultures

Specifically, a different kind of heroic response, which characterizes the perinatal arena, can be said to characterize the postmodern movies replete with perinatal symbolism. Most striking of all, this different kind of heroic response corresponds to a different kind of spirituality than what is commonly portrayed in this society, or at least has been the norm up until now.

For basically there are “control” spiritualities and “surrender” spiritualities, with rarely the twain meeting. “Control spiritualities” are adapted to patriarchal cultures and involve the use of the ego to “control” and be in charge of even the realms of the supernatural. This is so because an ultimate evil—a devil or Satan—is postulated, which is given equal weight along with God in determining one’s ultimate fate. This type of spirituality is normally what is called religion.

“Surrender Spiritualities” and God As Being Good

But there is another brand of spirituality that is based on a belief in the ultimate goodness and rightness of All That Is. God’s goodness being essentially the dominant force in the Universe, herein it is considered safe to “surrender” in one’s relation to Reality, to expect that one will be guided correctly, in fact perfectly, in the act of letting go. Thus letting go is not to be feared—as in the control spirituality—but is to be practiced and fostered. In this perspective, which we might call surrender spirituality, control is seen as the problem, not the solution.

“Control” and “Surrender” Psychotherapies

Of course these two approaches to spirituality represent two approaches to psychotherapy as well. The control attitude is the dominant mode of psychoanalytically-based approaches—those in which the “demon” of the id is postulated.

The attitude of “letting go” and “surrender,” on the other hand, is the dominant mode of the experiential psychotherapies, which are themselves rooted in the tradition of humanistic psychology with its belief in the ultimate goodness of the human organism and which thus allows a faith in the ultimate rightness of human processes.

“Hero’s Journey” As “Control” Psychotherapy

the.control.attitudeSince the control attitude, in any of its manifestations, requires the postulation of an ultimate evil against which one must remain vigilant and must fight, the common “hero’s journey” myth—with its typical fighting and slaying of supposedly evil parts of the personality and reality symbolized as dragons and other monsters—is a prevalent focal myth to this attitude. Corresponding to this myth are the emphasis on disciplines and practices seeking to develop the ego and the will…over against the dangers that are postulated to exist in the Universe requiring these disciplines and, so-called, ego developments.

A Different Heroic Response in “Surrender” Paths

Since the “feeling” therapies and the other spiritual and experiential psychotherapeutic modalities with which they are allied are so different in attitude to the traditional “control” attitude, should there not be corresponding differences in myths to exemplify them? Indeed, there are.

In history, the surrender spiritualities have had correspondences in myth in which the dragon is not fought, conquered, and slain, but rather is either tamed and becomes one’s ally or pet—Saint Margaret is the prime example in the West, but this is a depiction prevalent in the East—or else one is swallowed by the “dragon” or monster and, after a while, is reborn.

Jonah is the prime example in the West for this latter depiction. But again this reaction to the fearful dissociated aspects of the personality, or the Shadow, is not a common one in the Western patriarchy, and it is much more common in traditional cultures and in the East.

A Shift to “Surrender” As a Corrective to a Western Overweening Ego?

All of this may be changing in recent times in the West, as once again the humanistic attitude and the new spiritual perspectives, as well as the experiential psychotherapies such as primal therapy, make us increasingly aware of the ultimate beneficence of the body, and of the Universe beyond even that, and of the importance of surrender and letting go as a corrective to the overweening control and defensiveness of the diminutive Western ego.

Footnote

2. See, for example, Michael Adzema, “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 25(3), 83-116. Reprinted online at the Primal Spirit site at “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality.”

Continue with The Necessary Hero and Descent Into the Underground–When There’s “Nothing But Trouble,” You Know You’re in The Perinatal Below

Return to Does It Look Like We’ll Duck Armageddon? The Information Tsunami, Ego Erosion, and Movies Are Collective Dreaming: Dreaming Out Loud, Part One

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