Dualistic, or Self Verses Other, Thinking
We got here to this beautiful earth handed down human from human, parent to parent, earth to foot to heart to head, and back again.
We suffer a single wound through which all else arises and which, for centuries, has been largely misunderstood and thus continually misrepresented. This wound is the wound to self or soul. Recognizing it as the blessing through which we are meant to evolve into our real, authentic self is a new way of seeing I encourage!
The psyche projects today its earliest understanding of dualistic thinking. Mom and dad, good and bad, right and wrong becomes internalized as the right worldview. Good behavior is behavior that gets positive feedback so all else is bad behavior. This becomes an unconscious way we relate to the world!
The number one symptom of an individual acting this out is do do do, keep going stay busy and there’s not enough time. To slow down, to live moment to moment, to embody soul feels wrong. Why is that? Because to slow down means sitting still with the internalized belief system that we are actually bad or wrong. Which is human nature. Christian mythology named it original sin.
“Fundamentalisms,” said depth and ecopsychologist Craig Chalquist, “flourish as eradigms end because people caught in and psychologically fused with familiar modes of thought and habit fight to avoid changing them.” He is speaking of the industrial-era, mechanistic belief system that esteems dualism. Dualism underlies what depth, eco-critical feminists like Christine Downing or Susan Rowland called antithetical thinking or binary thinking. This is the idea of self being separate from all other reality, rather than a point of reference amidst an autonomous sphere of which all of life is a part. It sets up all base conflicts in existence, for example: if this is right for me than when you do it differently it must be wrong. Which is the basic drama of childhood: reward for right behavior. Creating an unconscious association of what is wrong…
As societies we create entire social systems out of this misconception. It’s what happens when we cannot see life as a continuum of constant flow and creation, and our role as conscious creator inside of that.
Again, this sort of thinking arises out of our earliest internalizations of opposites, and concretizes around age 2 or 3 when we understand that I and my caregiver are separate, too. Now man against man, man against woman, black against white, rich against poor, man against self thinking sets up. Internalization of getting positive attention from the Other as confirmation for Self as Right sets up a lifelong tension, meant to be the doorway to the authentic self. Jung called this creation of the persona. Taking on the tension of the opposites, doing the work of self verses other, is how to individuate. He said that individuation is our true life’s work. To become who we really are.
Embodying the female menstrual cycle means seeking inward to the autonomous place from which Self arises for confirmation of our Life. The menstrual cycle teaches life embodiment in the series of different energies that rise and fall throughout the month. These phases of female biology move back and forth from being the subject, or in control during ovulation; to being receptive or the object, at the mercy of a larger biology (the right brain) during the second half or post-ovulation. The cycle embodies the deep knowing that we are life-givers, and too experience death or loss as part of the perpetual circle of life. This is supported chemically by the hormones that are released. It is proven that the hemisphere’s of the brain stimulate differently according to where a woman is–hence the energy moves between the lobes of thought driven or creatively intuitive. Women’s biology is equipped to learn inter-lobal being, or heal the damage of the split in the self.
The wound of soul is the wound of being split off from the autonomous, uncalculated depths of wholeness and endless continuum of life.
At ovulation, for women who suffer this soul-split within, it is likely that the old, internalized beliefs about what is right or wrong, what writer Julia Cameron called the Critic, will start to play through her head. This is because the psyche, at ovulation, prepares the body to create new life. So too new ideas are stimulated, new energies that draw us outward in a motivated, excited way…just as the cycle of growth in Nature or the phases of the moon teach. All is connected. But if the psyche, as most if not all do, has that split of internalized good and bad that is not being gently, daily tended and worked out, than ovulation can be a time of unnamed sadness or frustration. It is literally the wound of soul trying to create itself anew but being stopped by the old beliefs that our true inner life and instincts that arise from within are wrong.
I know I am living in an embodied way when what Jung called active imagination, or fresh thoughts, ideas, literal images in my head or energetic new thoughts or words or poems are pulsing during ovulation. I know I am honoring my truth, living my rich life in a present way from day to day. I identify with this knowing as a feeling of being rooted deeply in the relational: when I show up first to myself and it is a buoyant joy to do so. From this joy space I can then use me as witness to see what is going on in psyche. In this way I recognize that from within I am both subject and object. I see myself, and can see that I am doing the seeing. In doing so I have a choice as to how I relate to me, to the “otherness” that I label or experience as good or bad, from within. The choice is showing up with love and gentleness, compassion. Whatever the tapes that play, the feelings or beliefs or thoughts that flow from me and that I judge or repress by not looking at them, judge or repress according to old associations of good or bad. I show up to me and witness this inside, with love and acceptance. This keeps me present throughout the day. This softens the split. This heals. It’s quite simple. I am healing the wound of self/other thinking by choosing to honor and fuse both within. The heart is where this fusion lay.
Active Imagination at ovulation is a powerful archetypal tool. Work with this can open our life to deep psychic mysteries. In my experiences, the symbology at this time, and coming into relationship with it, can introduce us to generational and lineage themes that underlie our entire family pattern. This is a rich and in-depth way to approach our life, our play, our being, our work. Our true self.
Such amazing life this is. So many, many tools and riches. Begin, within!