After writing the below entry, I realize that another distinction needs to be included.
When awareness blindly identifies with the habitual patterns of the personality, there is a constriction. Through allowing awareness to be with what we are experiencing, we bring healing into the situation. We can allow our experiences to unfold within awareness, and have a sense of spaciousness, overview and choice in how we relate to inner/outer situations.
Slowly, this becomes our new habitual pattern. We stay with awareness in more and more situations – during normal operations of the personality and even when strong reactions are triggered in the personality. Eventually, we stay with awareness with few exceptions.
But even here, there are hooks for our awareness. In extreme situations, awareness may still shrink to identify with the processes of the personality. And extreme situations include when unprocessed wounds are triggered. These are areas of the personality we have not yet brought much awareness into, that have not been allowed to unfold in awareness and loose some of their charge.
This can happen no matter how mature we are – independent of how high stage we are on, how much therapy we have done, etc.
The signs are many and familiar to us: A contraction of awareness into identification with processes of the personality. A sense of blind attachment to certain inner/outer situations. A lost sense of generosity towards ourselves, others, Existence. Reactiveness, defensiveness and justification.
If we are not aware of the signs of this collapse of spacious awareness, we get hooked.
If we are aware of these signs, we can use it as a reminder to bring awareness also into this – to allow the wound to unfold within awareness and loose some of its charge. To allow it to deepen our humanity and connection with ourselves, others and Existence.
No matter how mature we are – which stage we are on (in spiral dynamics, the integral model, or any other scale), how much therapy we have done, how well we know the particular patterns of this personality, how established we are in a deepening transdual experience – there will still be hangups, wounded areas, something that triggers a contraction.
If we identify with the contractions, with the particular habitual patterns of the personality, we loose awareness. We react and act blindly based on these habitual patterns. From relating to the world in a more aware and mature way, there is a temporary lapse into reactiveness and relative immaturity.
We can relate to the contractions in a different way. We can bring focus to awareness – bring awareness into the contractions, and the contractions into awareness.
We can relax into our experience. Allow it to unfold in awareness. We relate to the contraction, and the larger inner/outer situation, with more openness and sincerity. There is nothing to prove, nothing to defend. Only an opportunity to allow an opening into a contraction. To deepen and soften our humanity a little further. To connect with ourselves and others – and Existence – in a deeper and more sincere way.
The signposts for hangups are the familiar ones. It is any form of blind attraction or blind aversion. Any habitual patterns that are triggered, on any level – physical, emotional, mental. Any habitual patterns that brings constriction when awareness identifies with them.
And the signposts for contraction are familiar as well. It is any time awareness is blindly identified with any of the habitual patterns of the personality – any time we allow awareness to push away or fuel patterns. Any time we feel that we are justified in reacting with anger, defensiveness. Any time we feel a need to justify or prove anything.
The resolution for both is the same. To bring our focus to awareness rather than only the pattern. To allow some space into it. To allow the phenomena to unfold within spacious awareness.
And to do this, we can use one or more triggers… Coming to the breath, coming to the weight of the body, asking ourselves Can I be with what I am experiencing right now?
It is a life-long and deepening practice. We become familiar with our particular signs of contraction. We notice them during – or after – it occurred. We allow ourselves to be with our experience right here/now.
We deepen a new habit of bringing awareness into contractions, and eventually to experience all phenomena as unfolding within spacious awareness.
And this in turn gives us more choice in how we relate to inner/outer phenomena. From blindly reacting to situations, we respond in ways more appropriate to the particular situation.
We allow ourselves to respond in ways that heal rather than further deepen the splits and the wounds.