Tao of Resilience
Tao of Resilience
Redefining Resilience in the Consciousness Restructuring Process (CRP)
Resilience helps us bounce back or recover our spirit, energy, and harmonious way of being. Psychological resilience is that factor which heals us from the traumatic stress of modern life that we are all subjected to in a variety of forms. Resilience has many facets.
In honor of the resilience process at work in all of us, the overall format of this paper represents a harmonious shuttling back and forth between the vertical logic of Logos and the more horizontally integrative experience of Eros as it weaves the fabric of its new resilience metaphor upon the loom of these pages. Resilience is an implied state of being rather than any concretely definable "thing."
Yet, this resilient "state" also seems to represent the cohesive and stabilizing elemental matrix through which a unifying life force is resonantly evolving within us. It is made up of many underlying processes, as well as a quality or state of being. In those for whom this quality is in short supply, therapy can foster first its emergence, and then its stabilization as an intrinsic quality of being, by connecting us with the source of resilience.
What reduces or facilitates the resilient nature of consciousness? Each field of inquiry has its own theories and models of psychophysical resilience. Humanistic and Transpersonal psychologies offer "missing, invisible" factors that contribute to resilience and are described with psychodynamic metaphors.
The Consciousness Restructuring Process goes a step further than Humanistic and Transpersonal psychologies by offering more than a metaphor. It provides a means of direct participation in the emergent process of creating ever-newing resilience through psychophysical healing by facilitating REM and neural restructuring.
CRP is an interdisciplinary artform. Aspects of this living process can be described, modelled or experienced through such scientific concepts as Relativity Theory, Quantum Theory, Chaos Theory, the Holographic Model, Systems Theory, Synergetics, REM Dynamics, Personal Mythology, Genetics, Neurotheology and Physiology. The practice of CRP therapy is essentially Humanistic; it is rooted in Transactional Analysis and Gestalt Dreamwork, but takes these disciplines into the Transpersonal Realms where we connect with Source, with Creativity, with Healing, with Spirituality.
CRP draws inspiration from the mythical roots of the Asklepian tradition. The ancient Asklepian dream priests never interpreted dreams, but fostered a direct epiphany of the seeker with the archetypal shamanic healer, Asklepios. CRP connects with this ancient current through the dreamhealing process and the shaman/therapist model or co-conscious mentoring proceedure.
By directly entering into and engaging our dream imagery, symptoms, and emotions we can tap that healing energy by plumbing our depths and soaring to our own heights of potential. This immersive experience produces direct conscious participation in the stream of consciousness which brings psychophysical change, feelings of renewal or rebirth, and connection with Spirit; all of which help us bounce back from the chaos and tragedies life brings our way.
For example, dreams of the 911 destruction, or nightmares of other disasters provide immediate opportunities to enter directly into the source of those fears and insecurities, into the depth of the problem or symptom. Rather than contemplating what you believe, or what you know, the process allows you to travel into the very jaws of death in the journey, to make a pilgrimage into the "underworld" to retrieve our lost and suffering souls. What we find there we know to be True...to reflect our essence.
Many people avoid thinking about death, much less volutarily undergoing a symbolic ego-death experience. But we are supposed to think about it, to contemplate our personal dissolution, for that is what highlights what is important in life. Many people near death report that the most important issues for them are, "Am I loved; and have I loved well?" We might ask ourselves, "What is it that death doesn't take?" We don't need to wait for terminal illness to ask. And one answer to that is the capacity to love.
Instead of actively trying to avoid Chaos, we embrace it and dive into its very depths for the renewal it promises. We must look at the face of insecurity; it is always there but sometimes it just explodes, personally and/or collectively. Resilience is a function or quality of our consciousness and conscious participation in the universal flow state, whose essence is pure undifferentiated chaos, (also known scientifically as vacuum potential, zero-point energy, in CRP as consciousness field or chaotic consciousness). It is more fundamental than either energy or matter, psyche or soma. It is the groundstate from which all forms, order, and self-organization arises.
In CRP, the ego and personality structure, and with it any dis-ease structure, undergoes a process of dissolution back to our most primal state, and the resurrected personality emerges holistically re-organized with a generally healtier disposition and outlook which is the optimistic hallmark of resilience.
Trying times, both personal and collective, challenge our faith and existential resolve. The world can come to us in devastating and frightful ways. That is when we are especially called upon to work at faith, to find value and meaning. We need to reach deep within ourselves, listen to what emerges from inside, and find our resilience -- the ability to bounce back and press on.
One way we find this resilience is through service, the active expression of compassion. In difficult times, when troubles persist, we may come to suffer from compassion burn-out -- eventually shutting out the world with defense mechanisms. Yet, compassion is the absolute test of any spirituality.
Only our own suffering, our own journey, our own quest for healing, gives us insight into the suffering of others; empathy for the suffering of others. But suffering for its own sake, without pro-actively seeking transformation is essentially not having compassion for ourselves. Unremitting suffering leads to depression and hopelessness. However, through suffering consciously, we learn to go with the catastrophe and find the natural healing on the other side.
In "Empathy and Consciousness," (JSC, 2001), Evan Thompson makes five main points:
(1) Individual human consciousness is formed in the dynamic interrelation of self and other, and therefore is inherently intersubjective. (2) The concrete encounter of self and other fundamentally involves empathy, understood as a unique and irreducible kind of intentionality. (3) Empathy is the precondition (the condition of possibility) of the science of consciousness. (4) Human empathy is inherently developmental: open to it are pathways to non-egocentric or self-transcendent modes of intersubjectivity. (5) Real progress in the understanding of intersubjectivity requires integrating the methods and findings of cognitive science, phenomenology, and contemplative and meditative psychologies of human transformation.
We can experientially come to realize that our consciousness of ourselves as embodied individuals in the world is founded upon empathy -- on our empathic cognition of others, and others' empathic cognition or grasp of oneself. This is the antidote for the poison of mutual projection of negative traits onto others, which happens both personally and culturally. This projection of animosity lies at the root of war, which can only be weeded out individual by individual through experiential confrontation with Shadow elements.
Empathy is a basic emotional faculty. Empathy is an evolved psychobiological capacity. Empathic grasping of another, especially by sensing them as animated by their own fields of sensation, means sharing the same field of experience -- essentially a shared virtuality. According to Depraz (JSC, 2001), there are at least four possible kinds of empathy:
1) The passive association of my lived body with the lived body of the Other;
2) The imaginative transposal of myself to the place of the Other;
3) The interpretation or understanding of myself as an Other for you;
4) Ethical responsiblity in the face of the Other.
In empathy and compassion the values in question transcend personal concerns, sometimes transcending even the concern for our own continued existence and nonexistence. Compassion is not merely an expression of nonegocentric value-feeling, one that can emerge only as a result of inward meditative disembedding. It plays a guiding role in moving from one mode to another, in the expansion of the value-sensing repertoire. This is the reason that practices of compassion, benevolence, or love are emphasized so strongly right from the start in the practices of many wisdom traditions.
Empathy is not limited. The extension of empathy and compassion to the nonhuman world seems rather foreign to the Judaeo-Christian tradition (at least until recently), but is central to the Buddhist ideal of compassion for all sentient beings, and to the Neo-Confucian ideal of "forming one body with the Universe."
This understanding is the root of philosophical choices which are fundamental to continued quality of life on our planet. With empathy for the Earth we respond positively to such issues as vegetarianism, recycling, "living small" or "lightly on the land," humane treatment of animals, human rights, population control, conservation, environmental protection, deep ecology, right livlihood, health care and spiritual practice, among others.
CRP helps us identify with a myriad of forms from the inside out to experience first-hand what that is like. Compassion is the heart of interbeing, and is the superlative expression of the human capacity for empathy. The feeling of commiseration is the beginning of humanity.
We've seen this commiseration in the U.S. since '911' in a myriad of ways, sharing fears and small triumphs. Somehow this disaster has brought us closer, and it is more than a trauma bond. People seem more open and inclined to speak with strangers on the street, to help one another. The question is, "What was preventing this easier flow prior to that time?" But it is rhetorical. Suffering is universal -- resilience is not. Sharing the burdens of our suffering and finding a way through fosters resilience.
Neuroscientist Arnold Mandell (Omni, 81) reports results from his own research that suggest agreement with the foundations of CRP. He cites the Hindu sacred poem, Bhagavad Gita as saying that transcendent action is possible through detachment with empathy. He goes on to assert that,
"Maybe dragging around yesterday's messages, maintaining old order in thought forms, is a lot sicker than reality that's an existential randomness. The whole idea underlying, say Buddha's enlightenment, transcendence, "no mind," may be a return to randomness, to a lack of order. Maybe letting go, religious surrender is the feeling equivalent of a loss of order -- the order Eastern philosophers say is, was, artificial in the first place.
Is this the unconscious, the disordered part of oneself? Before Homer, it was thought to be the voice of God. It's William James's mystical experience, the Quakers' inner light, Jung's universal unconscious, Hinduism's "that," St. Theresa's ecstasy, Roger Sperry's right hemisphere. There is order in randomness.
The brain is unstable and we all live on the edge of disorganization, whether we allow ourselves to be conscious of it or not. Knowing the limits is wisdom."
So, whether we like it or not, we all live an atmosphere, both inside and out, that can be characterized as the edge of chaos. William James's preconscious stream is back in full force. It's tumbling through our minds like the weather, and we're left in a position to observe, to explore, negotiate maybe, but not control.
We are complex organisms and chaos theory best describes this. In the new paradigm, our structure of self emerges from chaos in an environment of complex interacting systems, responsive to and shaped by that environment. What else is the moment of our conception? Eventually, the structure grows brittle, doesn't respond to the ever-evolving and changing environment and disintegrates back into chaos from which emerges new structure.
At the personal level we experienece this process as a life crisis or a disease, particularly if we fight the change, when the framework of our reality changes. It is this dance of evolution that is reality and healthy, not the temporary forms and structures that we fix on, nor the chaos that we avoid. They exist only in passing as our existential perceptions. Our true health is in being, becoming, and accepting this ever-evolving self -- in a word resilience.
Fundamental to CRP is that it works in REM with sensory elements of our dreams. Healing, as are dreams, is a sensory not an intellectual process. Senses inform us when we are sick or well. Our dreams also reveal disease, often before symptoms appear. Mind and intellect only deal with symbols of reality. Dreams alone are healing, as the havoc wrought from dream deprivation shows.
The deep illness image, when experienced, spontaneously self-destructs into chaotic and unbound consciousness. The new emergent sensory self image that is found in chaotic consciousness is a new easeful structure that has replaced the disease, for example, a deep-felt sense of warmth, flow, and boundarylessness.
The CRP teaches a new way of flowing through life, philosophically and experientially. It provides the experience of doing so in a virtual reality experience of wakeful REM, and directly alters self-image and reality perception that empowers us by making us more resilient.
What's New with My Subject?