3-2-1 Byron Katie!

The Integral Institute includes the 3-2-1 Shadow Process as part of their Integral Life Practice.

This is one of many ways of working with shadow projections:

  1. Identify someone that triggers aversion in you.
  2. Write about this person (3rd person).
  3. Write a dialogue with this person – both sides (2nd person).
  4. Write as this person (1st person).

When I use this approach, I find it quite juicy and rich. It definitely opens my heart and sense of connection with the other, and – not the least – I see in myself what I see in the other.

Apparently, they say this is a modification of the Byron Katie inquiry process, which seems a little odd to me.

First, because the 3-2-1 approach is nothing new – many other approaches out there are more similar to the 3-2-1 approach. The deity visualizations from Tibetan Buddhism is only one example, including in the form of using this same approach with someone we experience attraction/aversion towards (projections): I visualize the person I experience attraction and/or aversion towards in front of me, vividly, and stay with this experience for a while. Then I visualize myself as the other, physically and with all the personality characteristics which function as triggers for me. This is the 3-2-1 approach in a non-verbal form.

Second, because it is only partly overlapping with Byron Katie’s approach.

The 3-2-1 approach seems to have a sense of fullness, richness and a way of opening the heart. And it works exclusively with shadow projection.

Byron Katie’s approach may or may not have these effects, in my experience. But it does several other things that the 3-2-1 approach leaves out.

Both identify someone/a situation “out there” that is perceived as a problem, although Katie’s inquiry goes one step further and identifies our statement (belief) behind it.

Both allows it all out, in terms of allowing me to pour out my grievances with this person/situation without censoring.

The main difference is in Katie’s fourth question: Who or what would I be without this thought? This brings me to myself as space & awareness, as that which is distinct from the small self and the world of phenomena.

Katie’s turnaround and the 1st person perspective is similar in both cases, although with a precision and clarity in Katies’ approach and a fullness and richness in the 3-2-1 approach.

Katie’s approach has several effects: It allows for catharsis (allowing it all to come out without censoring), it brings me to myself as space & awareness, it allows beliefs to fall away (first the ones we work on, and then the whole tapestry of beliefs) and reveal myself as space & awareness, and it helps me recognize and integrate projections.

As full and rich the effect of the 3-2-1 approach is, it does have a more limited focus – which is great, although it seems important to realize the differences between it and Katie’s inquiry process.

2 thoughts to “3-2-1 Byron Katie!”

  1. Thanks, yes that makes sense. I have seen it described a couple of places as derived from BK’s inquiry process, but that may just be a mistake. They do have clear parallels and the effects seem overlapping, but they each seem to do different things as well.

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