Embracing the wanting-to-change-self/other polarity

How does it look when we embrace both ends of the wanting-to-change-self/other polarity?

One end is to just notice the other as a mirror for myself. Whatever advice comes up is really for myself. And it only takes one, and a good deal of differentiated clarity, to be happy. This is what we do through the The Work, and it does work.

The other end of the polarity is changing the other, or at least wanting and trying to. This can work to some extent, but if this is all we do, it typically brings a great deal of frustration and is not ultimately satisfying.

Including both ends of the polarity

So how does it look when both are included?

Well, I work with the projections, find some clarity, see that the advice is for myself and take my own advice, and resolve the struggle right here.

At the same time, I may talk about it with the other person.

:: Reading our judgements about the other to the other

For instance, in The Work, we write a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on the other person, and then read it to her or him (if she/he is receptive!)

And what we find, most or nearly all of the time, is that what one person wants for the other (a projection, when it has a charge) is what that person actually wants for her/himself. For each of us, we both want the same. There is no difference there.

So the gift is triple (or more): The person writing and reading the worksheet get to become more familiar with their advice for the other (judgments) and apply the advice to themselves. The person listening gets to see that they – most often, want the same for themselves. And it certainly relieves shadow-pressures in the relationship, and opens for a deeper sense of intimacy.

:: Picking up a dream process in the other

In Process Work, there is a very similar process.

As a facilitator, I may pick up something “in the field” and bring it out through words or movement, and see how the other responds. Whatever I pick up about the other, may be something that wants to come out in them. I may be dreamed up by the other and our shared field, to bring it up and into the open. And the feedback from the other tells me if it is really about the other, or just about me.

So by noticing what comes up in me and bringing it out in the open, I offer the other the gift of seeing if it is also in them. On my end, I will of course relate to it in my own way, so it is also a gift for myself.

Spirit as You and you, specifically YOU

At the end of the chapter on We in Integral Spirituality, Ken Wilber talks about how contemporary western spirituality tends to be very comfortable with Spirit as I and it, and less comfortable with it as You, or even you.

This goes at least for Buddhist and Adveita circles. I suspect those practicing within traditionally theist traditions, such as Sufism, Christianity, Sikhism and Hinduism, have more of a familiarity with the You and you of Spirit.

And there are of course several aspects to Spirit as You, and you.

Spirit as You

One is the traditional one of prayer and devotional practice, of praying to Spirit as You, of submitting to Spirit as You. To place myself, as a human being, under and at the mercy of Spirit as You. This itself can be very enriching and speed up the process of awakening and of maturing and deepening as a human being.

Spirit as you, yes you

The other is maybe less familiar from Western traditions, although it seems more common in some Eastern traditions. This is spirit as you, yes you – as a human being, as my partner, my children, my parents, my neighbors, my co-workers, homeless, politicians, those living half-way around the world. This too is Spirit, in all its richness and fullness, the current manifestation of Spirit as form and evolution.

The richness of Spirit as you

This is Spirit as you.

As confused, living from mistaken identity, with its inherent love and wisdom shining through the cracks. As awakened to its own nature.

This is Spirit as you, mirroring exactly myself.

This is Spirit showing me myself, in all my richness, as you. As my partner, my family, my friends, my neighbors, everyone.

This is Spirit as you. As lovable, annoying, as a helper, as a problem, as intimate, as a stranger, as infuriating, as inspiring, as one I want to spend more time with, as one I can’t stand, as one I experience magic with, as one I am bored with.

As one bringing me face-to-face with myself, nudging me along in my own deepening as a human being.